Follow TV Tropes

Following

Nothing Is the Same Anymore

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nuthinsame2_1563.png

"The show itself is taking episodes to ‘recover’ from the trauma of the end of Series 2. That episode horribly wounded the show itself. Cut it to pieces. Shattered it. Dismembered it. We are now watching a show, a formula, a set-up, in fragments. Roughly stitched back together but unable to return to its former shape."
Jack Graham, "Theses on Hannibal"

For many shows, the Status Quo Is God. No matter what happens in a given episode or arc, somehow, things go back to the way things used to be by the end. However, there are shows that have the guts to break this pattern — to seriously change their premise, or at least to shake up major parts of their story, and really mean it. No Reset Buttons, no Snap Backs, no way to restore the comfortable status quo. Nothing Is The Same Anymore is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — the setting, or the characters' situation, has changed significantly and irrevocably, for better or for worse, and now the characters have to deal with it.

If done well, it can elevate the series to new heights and give new life to the series that would have otherwise gotten stale. The trick is to do it without Jumping the Shark, which can be a difficult task.

As there isn't an easy out if it all goes wrong, the writers tend to have to resort to desperate measures like All Just a Dream to attempt to undo the damage should things go pear-shaped and are rejected by audiences. This rarely goes well, and can even result in a Franchise Killer. Pretty much the only hope is a well-executed Continuity Reboot.

See also Game Changer, Wham Episode, Freak Out, Post-Script Season, Breaking the Fellowship, Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome, and Ascended Fridge Horror.

SPOILERS AHEAD. You have been warned.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The series #DRCL midnight children introduces Abraham van Helsing as a reliable adult who will help Mina and co. in getting rid of Dracula, however, this gets cut short when at the end of Chapter 18, van Helsing is killed off by one of Dracula's wolves.
  • 20th Century Boys combines this with Your Princess Is in Another Castle! all in one hell of a Wham Episode which ends in a Time Skip, where about a third of the way through the Big Bad Friend actually manages to completely screw over our heroes and become prime minister of Japan. Cut to 15 years later and it's a bona fide Villain World, with the main character from the first third presumed dead along with most of his Nakama. The series does this again about two thirds of the way through when someone takes the Big Bad's place and releases a virus killing about a third of the world's population. Cut to 3 years later and things are much worse than before, setting things up for the finale.
  • ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is about employees of a government agency investigating a possible planned coup d'etat, plus some ordinary slice-of-life style subplots with them and their friends and family. Then we find out that the deputy chief of the Inspection Department is actually heir to the throne.
  • AKIRA's third volume ends with the destruction of Neo-Tokyo, shifting the story from a cyberpunk to a post-apocalyptic setting.
  • While the world of Animal Land is cruel, it has its genuinely lighthearted moments. Then Monoko, the cute little adopted tanuki mother of Tarouza the human protagonist, sacrifices herself in order to protect her children and it's laid pretty bare how much of a Crapsack World the world of Animal Land is.
  • Attack on Titan has several cases, due to its Anyone Can Die nature. Some notable events are as follows.
    • The reappearance of the Colossal Titan, which leads to the Battle of Trost. Humanity snatches back victory from the jaws of defeat, mostly due to the interference of Eren himself, who is revealed to be a Titan Shifter.
    • Annie being revealed as the Female Titan, responsible for multiple deaths in the Survey Corps. It results in a massive approval drop amongst the public for the Survey Corps, due to Erwin's plan resulting in deaths of hundreds of civilians in Stohess.
    • The Battle of Castle Utgard, where another shifter, the Beast Titan invades the Survey Corps. Titans attack for the first time in night time. But this all is dwarfed by the major reveal, Reiner and Bertolt are the Armored and Colossal Titans respectively, being responsible for the deaths mentioned above. Ymir is also revealed to be another Titan Shifter, and Eren is revealed to hold the power to control the Titans.
    • The Uprising Arc begins with the Survey Corps being officially disbarred by the government and forced to go underground. This is a shocking change to the status quo where Erwin is allowed to do as he wishes as long as he uses Eren to fight Titans. In this arc, Erwin is arrested, many veterans of the Scouts are killed or detained by the Interior Military Police and the walls are left basically undefended for a large amount of time. The last point is actually used by the Scouts to come out on top later.
    • The end of the Uprising Arc. The fake ruler governing the citizens inside the Walls is deposed, and Krista, revealed to be Historia Reiss, takes up the Crown, with the Survey Corps being the true ruler. The power to control the Titans is revealed to come from her family, which Grisha stole by killing them, and giving it to Eren. The technology the Military Police hid from them is gradually revealed to the citizens, causing a technological jump inside the Walls. All this means that the Survey Corps is officially sponsored by the government and now has the funds and support to finally launch the operation to take back Shiganshina.
    • However, all of the above were nothing compared to what happens during The Battle for the Shiganshina Arc. Specifically, the Survey Corps is decimated to nine members — along with the death of Erwin Smith — due to their suicidal charge to defeat the Beast Titan. The Armored and Colossal Titans are decisively defeated, which results in Bertolt's death and Armin inheriting the Colossal Titan. But, the fact that Humanity is reduced to the ones living inside the Three Walls is proven to be a massive lie, with majority of Humanity not only alive, but thriving with greater technological advancements. The citizens inside the Walls are revealed to be Eldians, a race hated by the world due to their warmongering past and their ability to turn into Titans. The Shifters who attacked the Wall people are revealed to be coerced by Marley, an enemy state having most of the Titan Powers under threat of the well-being of their families. And, the Beast Titan is revealed to be Eren's older half-brother from Grisha, with his first wife being the Smiling Titan responsible for Eren's mother's death. And to cap it off, all Titan Shifters are doomed to die in 13 years due to 'the Curse of Ymir', making the recently transformed Armin and Eren's lives shorter. The revelations are so hard-hitting and consequential that many fans says it alters not as much as the story but the entire genre of the manga itself.
    • The Marley Arc and its immediate aftermath in many cases, but mostly with respect to Eren Yeager himself. Eren publicly transforms into the Attack Titan in front of hundreds of people after Willy Tybur's declaration of war, the Survey Corps are forced to attack Liberio in order to bail out Eren, causing numerous deaths of men, women and children, something the Corps had been trying to avoid earlier, with Eren being responsible for majority of the civilian deaths. Eren kills most of the Marleyan leadership and wrests the Warhammer Titan from its true ruler, and escapes with the help of his friends. Zeke is captured by the Corps in order to get his Beast Titan as well. But after the attack, an extremely vengeful Gabi attacks the Survey Corps' ship and kills Sasha along with many other soldiers, leading her to witness that Zeke has indeed defected to Paradis. Angered by such tragic turn of events, the 104th break their friendship with Eren and plan to kill him if he turns into a liability, as Eren later coordinates his own breakout and the assassination of the military leaders of Paradis en-masse, permanently breaking the Survey Corps apart into Eren's followers (who seize Paradis's leadership soon enough and free Zeke, who is revealed to be working directly with Eren), and his opponents, who are restrained by Eren himself. Confronting Mikasa and Armin, Eren bluntly tells Armin he's weak, and reveals to Mikasa that he hated her since they first met, shattering the iconic Shiganshina trio.
  • The Eclipse in Berserk is as Earth-shattering an example of this as can be imagined. Though as the pre-Eclipse story was essentially the longest ever flashback it loses a little of its impact. Even that got drastically changed when Griffith manipulated Skull Knight's power to fuse all the planes of existence together.
  • Chainsaw Man:
    • The story begins its Cerebus Syndrome during Himeno's death in Chapter 23 where it spells out that even main characters aren't safe from the Devils and Fiends..
    • The climax of the Gun Devil Arc. The Gun Devil is unleashed by the US President in order to assassinate Makima, who has been the Control Devil all along. The Gun Devil goes on a massive rampage across Japan, eventually killing Aki and possessing him as the Gun Fiend with the help of Makima, who then has to be put down by a horrified Denji.
    • The opening of the Control Devil Arc. Makima kills Power to break Denji, while revealing everything she did for him was just giving hope before crushing it so that she could break the contract between him and Pochita. Makima also reveals that the reason Denji and Pochita were so feared throughout the manga because Pochita can eat the devils and erase their concepts from history.
  • Claymore: The Time Skip after the Northern Campaign serves as the watershed for the series: the protagonists desert from the Organization, who replaces their generation with a brand new one, new threats and complications are introduced, and Power Levels make a quantum leap through the roof.
  • Code Geass:
    • The series developed gradually for a while. The Black Knights would win small battles and recruit allies and basically consolidate their power overtime, sure, but they never made grabs to free Japan rapidly, and no major characters died nor were any important Knightmares permanently destroyed. Then episode 22 rolls around and jacks the plot into high gear quite quickly, forcing the Black Knights to try and retake Japan all in a single day. Unfortunately for the Black Knights, they weren't quite ready yet.
    • The final four episodes of R2 take it to a whole new level. Lelouch spent the majority of the series working towards Britannia's destruction. Lelouch is now the Britannian emperor. Suzaku spent the majority of the series trying to capture or kill Lelouch. Suzaku is now Lelouch's bodyguard. Kallen spent the majority of the series as Lelouch's most devoted follower. Kallen is now desperately trying to kill Lelouch. The Black Knights were under the command of Lelouch and working towards liberating Japan. Lelouch conquers Japan, again, forcing the Black Knights to ally with Schneizel (their former enemy) in order to try and liberate it from Lelouch.
  • Death Note has the deaths of Higuchi, L and Soichiro Yagami in chronological order as major turning points in the story.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • The battle with Lower Rank demon Rui, which results in Tanjiro's sword breaking as well as Tanjiro's near-death at his hands after the former No Sells his own beheading. It also includes Tanjiro unlocking Hinokami Kagura, despite being trained as a Water Breathing user for so long.
    • Oh boy, the climax of the Infinity Train arc, where Akaza is revealed to be Enmu's backup. How does this end? Rengoku, the Flame Hashira, dies after refusing to accept Akaza's offer in turning into a Demon. Goes to show no major character, not even a Hashira, is safe from the Demons.
    • The climax of the Entertainment District Arc. Tanjiro unlocks his Demon Slayer Mark after the battle with Daki and Gyutaro, and Daki and Gyutaro both perish after a protracted battle with the Demon Slayers, becoming the first Upper Ranks to die after a century. However, Tengen is forced to retire from being a Hashira after suffering from numerous career-ending injuries in the fight, resulting in yet another lost spot in the Hashiras.
    • The Swordsmith Village Arc counts as a big one for the series. Nezuko becomes immune to the Sun after attempting to sacrifice herself to kill Hantengu, which is witnessed by Muzan using Hantengu's cells.
    • The entirety of the Infinity Castle arc is a massive one on both sides of the story. First, the Ubuyashiki Estate blows up with Kagaya, Amane, and two of their eldest children sacrificing their lives to injure Muzan just enough for Lady Tamayo to also sacrifice her life at Muzan's hands but not before injecting him with a drug that would slowly weaken him. Then, when all of the Demon Slayers are transported to the Infinity Castle, batches of them are pitted against a great number of Muzan's minions, including members of the Twelve Kizuki, all the while Kiriya Ubuyashiki forces himself to take on the role as the new leader only at the age of 8. And while all of the Upper Ranks (including the newer additions, Kaigaku and Nakime) perish (effectively disbanding the Twelve Kizuki for good), it did not come without significant losses, including Shinobu, Muichiro, and Genya.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The series started out as mostly light-hearted, wacky adventures that Goku and his friends gotten into. Sure, there were some threats, but you knew they'd come out on top eventually. But all of it changes at the end of the 22nd Martial Arts Tournament and the beginning of King Piccolo Saga with Krillin being killed by one of Piccolo's henchmen. Things took a darker turn from then on with much more at stake and this would continue on into Z.
    • A comparable minor one, but the cast is stunned when they see little Goku had grown into a handsome young man and Krillin has also gotten noticeably bigger. The dub episode is even called "Changes". This marks the point where Goku's childhood adventures are officially over.
    • Z starts with Goku visiting his friends after five years. In that afternoon, we learned Goku has a son and he's an alien from a warrior race, the Saiyans. In the same saga, we learned Piccolo is also an alien and that there is another set of Dragon Balls in the universe.
    • Goku becoming a Super Saiyan in his fight against Frieza. A transformation of this level had never been seen before in the series or even Shōnen at the time.
    • Goku spent the vast majority of the Android and Cell saga out of the action due to a Heart Virus, and when he finally does get to fight is killed by Cell. This creates a world where the Z-Fighters can no longer rely on Goku to save the world and all have to step up. Status Quo Is God kicks in by the Buu Saga and beyond where Goku gets revived once more and saves the world again.
    • Seven years after the end of the Cell Games and at the start of the Majin Buu Saga, Gohan is now a teen, there is now a second son of Goku, and Krillin is married with a child and has hair.
    • The Z movie Battle of Gods did this by introducing real Physical Gods such as Beerus, a new branch of Super Saiyan that is separate from the normal transformations, and the information that the Dragon World we have come to know is Universe 7 out of 12.
    • Dragon Ball Super tops this by introducing Jiren, the mortal stronger than his God of Destruction, and the introduction of Ultra Instinct.
  • Fairy Tail originally started out as a lighthearted shounen heavy on the comedy with some minor drama. However, from the Tower of Heaven arc onwards, things start to get a lot more serious, including but not limited to Erza's dark backstory, a couple of good characters' deaths in the whole story, and Natsu actually losing fights! The drama then tends to overshadow the comedy for the most part from then on, and it only gets darker from there.
  • Gintama has been majorly comedic and occasionally go through serious story arcs that highlights the main characters' backstories but shifts back to the regular tone following the ending of the story arc. That is until the end of the Shogun Assassination Arc with the status quo changing from the revelation that Gintoki being the one who executed Shouyou out of Sadistic Choice, Nobunobu becoming the new Shogun via Tendoshu's intervention, and then Shigeshige assassinated this time for real as we thought he was really safe. To hammer the changing tone, the fallout begins another serious story arc, Farewell Shinsengumi Arc, and nothing becomes the same even more after that.
  • Haikyuu!!: The semi-final and the final of Spring High Preliminaries is this to Karasuno as well as the status quo, as the powerhouses Aoba Johsai and Shiratorizawa are defeated by Karasuno High, enabling Karasuno to go to the Nationals after several years and Shiratorizawa unable to go to the Nationals for the first time after a few years. Karasuno's status also changes from a fallen powerhouse to a rising champion due to these victories.
  • The Greece arc of Hayate the Combat Butler ends with Nagi ending Mikado's game of "Whoever destroys Hayate's King's Stone gains Nagi's entire estate" by destroying the stone herself, sacrificing her inheritance to help Hayate settle things with Athena so that he can return to being her butler. When the arc ends, Nagi, Maria and Hayate have to move out of the mansion the entire manga's been spent in and start making their own way (though they bounce back surprisingly quickly.)
    • Athena's appearance in general marks a major turning point in the series. Athena herself is the first serious antagonist in the series, and is not only the reason for Hayate's superhuman physical prowess and fighting skill, but proof that his tragic backstory extends even further beyond his Abusive Parents.
  • High School D×D seems to treat Status Quo Is God the same way as the in-universe one — dead as a doornail. Enemies are dealt with completely, whether it's via redemption or death. With clearly-defined, low-level exceptions, dead is dead — a villain blasted to atoms isn't coming back, and this is consistent enough that Issei's death comes as a genuine Wham Episode, and his resurrection is as miraculous to the reader as it is in-universe. Characters and relationships develop over time, and changes tend to stick. By far the biggest example is Volume 21, where pretty much every senior figure of the alliance has sealed themselves in a pocket dimension with Trihexa, meaning the young adult protagonists suddenly find themselves in charge of entire nations and war efforts and have to do a lot of growing up very quickly. Part of this is The Champion Issei stepping out of Rias's shadow and becoming a High-Class Devil himself, succeeding in his long-term goal of having a peerage of his own.
  • Hoshin Engi: After the Great Sennin War, the first half of the manga ends with both Mount Kongrong and Kingo Island collapsing, thus destroying the Sennin's home, forcing them and the Yokai to live amongst humans. Also Yin's ruler, Bunchu, died and so did Hiko Ko, leaving the Ko brothers without parents. Things go From Bad to Worse as Dakki returns to the Human World and regains control over King Chu. The Hoshin List is now a thing of the past.
  • Hunter × Hunter has the end of the Chimera Ant arc, as well as the Hunter Election Arc. Netero is dead, Gon burns out his nen abilities, leaving him back at square one, but succeeds in his goal of finding his father, and it's revealed that the entire world that everyone knows is just a tiny oasis in the middle of the Dark Continent.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen:
    • The Shibuya Incident Arc is a major turning point in the manga, as Mahito, Jogo, Dagon and Hanami are all killed/incapacitated by Jujutsu High despite being recurring antagonists, but not before sealing Gojo in the Prison Realm, killing Nanami and leaving Nobara in critical condition, thus breaking the Power Trio. Geto betrays the other villains and absorbs Mahito's powers, and Sukuna regains ten of his fingers at once, growing exponentially powerful as a result. Sukuna then destroys most of Shibuya in his reverie, and so Itadori is ordered to be executed before Sukuna grows too powerful to be controlled anymore.
    • The final chapters of the Culling Game Arc. Tsumiki is revealed to be Yorozu, another Cursed User possessing her, and is revealed to be using Yuji and Megumi to set a fight with Sukuna. Sukuna himself decides to take center stage after Yuji tells him in no uncertain terms he is ready to die with the help of Angel, taking control of Yuji and possessing Megumi instead. Sukuna later kills both Tsumiki and Yorozu, effectively making Megumi's journey All for Nothing. In a moment of desperation, Gojo is finally unsealed from the Prison Realm in order to defeat Sukuna.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Iino joining the Student Council in Chapter 69, shaking up the initial dynamic of the Student Council.
    • Shirogane revealing in Chapter 111 that he's going to Stanford, bringing an urgency to end the battle of love and to confess from both sides.
    • In Chapter 136, Kaguya kissing Shirogane during the latter's Grand Romantic Gesture.
    • Chapter 152 revealed that quite a bit changed during the winter break. A quick rundown: Kaguya and Shirogane now have a Secret Relationship, Iino is guilting Ishigami into being her servant after something he did resulted in her arm breaking, and Fujiwara is convinced that Hayasaka is in love with her.
    • Hayasaka leaving her job at the Shinomiyas' during the class trip, allowing her and Kaguya to openly be friends in public.
  • Kekkaishi's central premise of defending the Karasumori site (aka Yoshimori's school) from ayakashi while Yoshimori occasionally muses about sealing away Karasumori's power permanently changes when Yoshimori's mother returns and removes Lord Karasumori from the site, leaving with him and Yoshimori to find a new location to seal him away.
  • Kill la Kill starts as a revenge story in which Ryuko Matoi goes to school to square off against the fascist Satsuki Kiryuin and her Absurdly Powerful Student Council with their superpowered Goku Uniforms. Until Episode 17-18 when it is revealed that Satsuki was Good All Along and raising an army to fight her mother Ragyo from destroying the world using clothes woven with alien lifeforms. The remainder of the series involves Ryuko and Satsuki joining forces with Nudist Beach to fight an Alien Invasion Plot.
  • Konosuba has a more benevolent example than most. After several Broke Episodes, with Kazuma and Aqua being homeless and struggling just to scrounge up money to live, a screw-up on Aqua's part ends up getting Kazuma's party an entire mansion to live in on the cheap. That isn't taken away from them by the end of the episode.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes pulls this three times after Whamtastical episodes involving two deaths and one invasion.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS takes the series through a Genre Shift from a somewhat unorthodox Magical Girl series to a full Sci-Fi/Military series series with a few Magical Girl elements still remaining, kicks out roughly half of the previous cast into obscurity and ages the main characters via Time Skip.
  • My Hero Academia has the defeat and imprisonment of All For One, leaving Shigaraki as the true leader of the League of Villains rather than just The Heavy, while All Might is forced into retirement after burning out One For All defeating him, leaving the world without its symbol of peace. The updated ranking in the Hero Charts with All Might absent is a clear sign of this trope. Even more serious is the increase in criminal activity with both All Might and All For One out of action, needing more heroes than ever because of the former, and a power vacuum in the criminal underworld because of the latter.
    • Before that is the defeat of Stain, whose disdain for heroes who are only in it for their own personal benefit inspires more villains to take action. The League of Villains' ranks grow in response, while Shigaraki finally realizes a proper motivation for his role as de facto leader of the League of Villains.
    • The Paranormal Liberation War Arc outright shows the absolute damage in the aftermath. Despite many of the Front's members being detained, the consequences are seriously dire. All For One has escaped Tartarus and sent many other Villains back into freedom. Dabi, aka Toya Todoroki, exposes his identity to not only Endeavor and Shoto, but to the entire public, ruining both Endeavor's and Hawks' reputation in the process. Gigantomachia's rampage levels several cities and leaves thousands either homeless or dead, and Midnight, along with seventeen other Heroes, are killed during the war. In short, the world of Heroes will never be the same after this, something that Shigaraki has envisioned.
  • My-HiME. Halfway through, the premise changes from A straight Magical Girl show with high school girls using their mysterious powers and Mons to fight monsters and take down an American organization plotting world domination in the first half to: The HiME festival where they have to fight and kill each other's Mons until only one remains, which means killing the person most important to their opponent and/or their opponent themselves.
  • My-Otome: In a Wham Episode a little past the halfway point of the series, Nagi conquers Windbloom and deposes Mashiro, while Nina's jealousy boils over, leading her to finally fight Arika, accidentally killing Erstin, who in turn had just turned out to be a Mole, prompting the previously Uncannily good Arika to fly into Unstoppable Rage. And nearly the entire cast is depowered. Ultimately, the Garderobe academy is nearly entirely abandoned as the central setting of the show while the main cast, largely in a state of freaking out, is dispersed to the wind. Even the opening credits change (albeit one episode too early, somewhat spoiling the surprise).
  • Naruto has Team 7's fight against Zabuza, showcasing how dangerous the Ninja World truly is.
    • The attack on Konoha by the Sound and Sand Villages also counts, as it results in the Third Hokage's death and the seeds of Sasuke's defection sown.
    • Sasuke's defection proper, as it leads to several of Konoha 12 being critically injured and Naruto leaving the village with Jiraiya to train for 3 years.
    • Itachi's Pursuit Arc, one of the major instances of this trope, as it leads to Jiraiya and Itachi's deaths, with the latter being revealed to kill his clan due to orders from the village, sparing Sasuke not because of his weakness, but he loved him so much he can't bear to kill him, which cements Sasuke's desire to destroy Konoha.
    • Pain's Assault Arc, as it results in Konoha being physically destroyed by Pain, and Naruto finally being acknowledged as a true hero by the village.
    • The Five Kages Arc. Sasuke is declared a missing-nin, all the five villages join up to combat Akatsuki, with Tobi declaring war on them, and most importantly, Sasuke Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and having most of his former friends in Konoha now itching for a chance to kill him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion does this often as the series goes on, especially in the latter half as the events involving Shinji and the others become darker.
    • Shinji's friend Toji is maimed after being trapped in an Angel-possessed Eva (or killed, in the manga); Asuka suffers from Mind Rape and loses her ability to pilot an Eva, becoming depressed to the point of catatonia; Rei is killed and seemingly revived, only to be revealed to be a clone (with the remaining clones being destroyed shortly after their reveal); and most of Tokyo-3 gets destroyed, causing almost all of Shinji's friends to leave.
    • While the first two movies of the Rebuild of Evangelion are remakes of the original series, with the second half of 2.0 starting to go Off the Rails, the third movie changes the entire setting in a complete departure from the original series, taking place 14 years after the end of 2.0 and the Third Impact ravaged the planet even worse. Misato is now at the head of a new organization trying to prevent new Impacts from happening, the Angels are long gone, and Tokyo-3 is a giant ruin transformed into core material housing the now automated ruins of NERV HQ, from which Gendo and SEELE still plot to unleash Instrumentality on the world. And Shinji slept through all these events inside EVA-01, discovering upon waking that he's hated by all of his friends who survived for having played a part on Third Impact at the end of the previous movie.
  • One Piece:
    • We saw how quickly the early villains were getting defeated by the hands of Luffy and others. But in the Baratie Arc, Dracule Mihawk, the best swordsman in the world, appears, frightens the Arc Villain into submission, and goes to town on Zoro, with a dagger. The chapter emphasized how much the Grand Line's danger truly was. And oh, Mihawk nearly killed Zoro, while no one was even injured before.
    • Crocodile's first fight with Luffy was spelled out with this. It was the first time any villain not only defeated Luffy, but also mortally wounded him.
    • The Water 7 and Enies Lobby arcs also was this. The World Government was revealed as the true Greater Scope Villains of One Piece, with the rampant corruption inside it, and Robin's flashback also revealed that a hundred years of history has been actively suppressed by the World Government, which might be catastrophic to say the least.
    • The Sabaody Archipelago Arc. Oh boy. The Straw Hats were given an utter and complete defeat at the hands of Admiral Kizaru and the Pacifistas, and later Kuma arrived and scattered the Straw Hats to various parts of the world, showing us how ruefully underprepared our heroes were to the New World.
    • The Summit War Saga. Several defeated enemies are on the loose again, such as Buggy, Baroque Works, and Crocodile, Luffy's actions ensured Blackbeard had an easy access to Level 6, Ace is revealed as Roger's son, Ace later dies protecting Luffy, and becomes the first major confirmed fatality outside the flashbacks, Luffy goes into a really tragic Heroic BSoD, Blackbeard and his crew kill Whitebeard on live transmission, not before Whitebeard himself declaring that the One Piece is real, Blackbeard later incorporates Whitebeard's Devil Fruit onto himself, and all this leading to a much worse age of Piracy.
    • The revelations at the end of the Fishman Island Arc. Akainu is now the Fleet Admiral, Blackbeard is now one of the Four Emperors and has perfected the way to steal and hold multiple Devil Fruits, and Luffy has declared open war on Big Mom.
    • At the end of the Punk Hazard Arc, Luffy and Law form an alliance to take down Kaido, one of the Four Emperors.
    • The beginning of the Dressrosa Arc. Doflamingo has Ace's Devil Fruit, Sabo is not only revealed to be alive, but wins Ace's fruit as his legacy.
    • The end of the Dressrosa Arc as well. Fujitora makes it public that pirates defeated one of the Warlords, disabling their cover-up, the allies of Straw Hats join together to form the Straw Hat Grand Fleet under Luffy, and Sanji's bounty now appears as 'Only Alive'.
    • The Zou Arc. We see the first ever bounty right in the billions, Momonosuke is revealed as the son of Kozuki Oden, the man whose ancestors made the Poneglyphs, the way to Laugh Tale is cleared by the Minks in Zou, and the biggest: Sanji's family is finally revealed.
    • The Reverie Arc, in spades. The antics of Luffy and Bege leads to the rise of Luffy's bounty to 1.5 Billion, with the news declaring him as the Fifth Emperor, the National Treasure of Mary Geoise is revealed to be a large Straw Hat, and we see a glimpse of the true ruler of the World, Im, whom to even the Gorosei bow down to, as the true Big Bad of the series.
    • The Wano Arc. Time travel as a concept is introduced in One Piece, with Kinemon's entire group being from 20 years into the past, the true power of a proper Pirate Emperor is shown, with Kaido in his normal form knocking out Gear Fourth Luffy in one swing, Big Mom and Kaido TEAM UP to bring the Straw Hats down once and for all, and the biggest one, The Seven Warlords System has finally been abolished. And also, Kanjuro is revealed to be The Mole in the Nine Scabbards, putting past arcs in a different light, and Kaido executes Orochi and broadcasts their ambition to Take Over the World. And then, the true nature of the Gum-Gum fruit has been revealed. It's actually the Mythical Zoan Fruit Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika and Luffy awakens to its true power and goes to town on Kaido. Big Mom is defeated by Kid and Law awakening their Devil Fruits, and Kaido is also defeated by Luffy after a protracted battle, resulting in the World Government in a state of panic.
    • The Egghead Arc. Dragon's revolutionaries have finally made their move with Sabo leading the charge and freeing Bartholomew Kuma in the process, and the big one, Luffy and Buggy the Clown have become members of the Four Emperors. After Sabo discovers that Imu is the true ruler of the World Government, Imu erases Lulusia from the maps and history for reasons unrelated to him. Furthermore, the Kid Pirates and the Heart Pirates are soundly defeated by Shanks and Blackbeard respectively, making it clear that the Four Emperors are still nothing to be trifled with.
  • Happens after the third freaking episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. How bad was it? The main character couldn't properly enjoy food anymore because of what she witnessed. Happens again after the tenth episode, in which we finally find out Homura's backstory. This single episode completely recontextualizes the events of the entire series. After seeing Episode 10, you'll never see the previous episodes the same way ever again.
  • Rebuild World:
    • Inabe's assault on the pristine Inner Kuzusuhara Ruins. Not only is Akira a bona fide One-Man Army with no support from Alpha now, but Katsuya, The Rival who's also The Ace, is Deader than Dead, proving to have been a Paper Tiger after having gone Murder the Hypotenuse on Akira in a Freak Out over Sheryl and gotten killed in self-defense. Additionally, there is the built up shift of the once mighty Drankam being supplanted by Sheryl's gang, which is marked with a Call-Back to the truck patrol mission Katsuya was introduced in being done by them. Additionally, Airi has become a Dangerous Deserter plotting revenge on Akira with the full support of Alpha's other half, Alias.
    • While it's not a climax to several plot threads like the above, afterwards there's Akira getting a 50 billion aurum price put on his head and subsuquent going on the lamb with Carol.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The reveal of the Silver Crystal and the Moon Princess brings a sudden end to both the find the Crystal and find the Princess arcs (though differently depending on the version), and both the Sailor Guardians and Dark Kingdom start really stepping up their game, especially in the finale. From that point on, nothing for the entire season, yet alone series afterward is the same.
    • Usagi was traumatized for the first few episodes of the R season, given what happened to everyone (including herself) at the end of the previous season, to the point where her powers started to fail due to the stress of wanting to be a normal girl, fearing that the others might die again (notably Makoto in the episode where she's weak after giving blood), and depressed over the fact that Mamoru doesn't remember her and that the Moonlight Knight seemingly isn't him. It isn't until she finally accepts that she's always going to be Sailor Moon that she gets her resolve and power back, and she's noticeably less silly and more dedicated from that point onward for the rest of the series.
  • School Rumble revolved around Harima's attempts to woo the girl of his dreams, until he mistakenly declared his love for someone else.
  • Episode 8 of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Some people try to apply Fanon Discontinuity to the remaining episodes, as they simply cannot accept Kamina's true role as a Decoy Protagonist.
    • Happens again after the Time Skip, accompanied by the Genre Shift from Desert Punk to Space Opera.
    • The revelation of the Spiral Nemesis. In a series where the Rule of Cool is an actual in-universe force, it's revealed that the heroes' blatant abuse of it jeopardizes the entire universe, forcing some rather controversial decisions from Simon after the final battle in order to help safeguard everything.
  • Toriko: The Cooking Festival arc shakes up the status quo quite a bit. The Gourmet Corp. invade the festival and successfully put Toriko, Sunny and Zebra out of commission (while Coco is off investigating something). Many chefs (including Komatsu) are kidnapped, all of the 0th biotope members are simultaneously intercepted and destroyed (some of them get better), President Ichiryu is killed by a Blue Nitro, leaving Mansam to become President of IGO, and Midora bombards the world with Meteor Spice, killing and injuring billions and causing a worldwide famine, thus ending the Gourmet Age after 500 years. Last but not least, Coco's reaserch discovers that the reason why the planet is split into two sections is because Earth was struck by a meteor from another dimension, expanding mass around it and corrupting the ecology. This marks the end of Toriko's adventures through the Human World and after many arcs of training for it, he finally ventures out to the Gourmet World.
  • Everything changed when Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- entered the Acid!Tokyo arc, where the Syaoran, who has been with the group since the beginning, is a clone and the real Syaoran escapes only to arrive too late when the clone attacks his former companions, which includes ripping out Fai's right eye. It goes downhill afterwards where Fai's past is revealed and that Sakura, Syaoran's beloved, is also a clone.
  • The World God Only Knows (Post-Goddesses Arc) qualifies as this. To articulate, Hell's terrorists tried to overtake Earth. Six of the girls in the events not only remember their time with Keima, but now know of each other and the Goddesses they host. Chihiro, though not remembering her conquest, knows of the truth about the girls after having her heart broken by Keima in order to protect her. And lastly, Keima cries alone as he apologies to Chihiro for leading her on and then breaking her heart so fiercely. As the Heart of Jupiter Arc takes center stage, the plot thickens a lot more, and people actually start dying.
  • Xam'd: Lost Memories does this after the Zanbani is damaged during battle and is out of commission until the Series Finale, both Akiyuki and Nakiami leave the Zanbani and are separated, and Furuichi kills himself when Haru rejects him for Akiyuki. But what really cements the trope is when Nakiami sells her iconic red wave rider.
  • This also happens to its companion manga, ×××HOLiC where Watanuki's past is revealed and Yuuko turns out to be Dead All Along, with Watanuki taking her place as the shop owner.
  • Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, starting when the heroes start chasing down Cobra. Apart from the bad guys, even the regular students are shown to be jerks, and not just in their elitism. And Yubel. The events are far darker from then on until essentially the end.

    Comic Books 
  • This trope is commonly invoked in the marketing of any given big comic book event. Whether it's a Crisis Crossover or a big storyline within a single book, editorial loves to entice readers to pick it up with the promise that nothing will ever be the same afterward. Sometimes this is true... but just as often, whatever changes the storyline brings are eventually undone either by plot contrivance, reset button, or retcon (usually of the cosmic variety).
    • Lampshaded in an issue of The Flash in the early 2000's. At the time, the book was famous for pulling big storylines about once a year. The ad copy for the following issue promised that "nothing will ever be the same again! Yeah, we know we say that all the time... but it's been true every time we've said it."
    • As both Crisis Crossovers and The Flash were mentioned, combing them leads to Flashpoint.
  • When talking about Comic Books as a medium, no point of no return was as important as the third issue of All-Star Comics, which introduced the Justice Society of America. Not only did it give DC a place to put their less popular heroes for continued adventures without the need for a solo book, but the very notion of a Shared Universe, the superhero team and continuity were rooted in the creation of this team.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men: Cyclops killed Professor X while under the influence of the Phoenix Force, and is attempting to redeem himself while everyone he knows hates and fears him. Also, the Phoenix Force is now destroyednote , causing untold damage to the universe (some effects are briefly seen in Gillen's Iron Man run; the Celestials are now aware of aliens living off of their lifeblood, and are not amused). And after the events of the series, the Avengers and the X-Men formed a united sub-team, the Avengers Unity Division.
  • Batman: The series has had this trope happen twice (or more depending on definitions) in ways that are likely to stay permanently (a rarity for comics), and a bunch of others that might change.
  • Daredevil: This seems to be the motto of the series, with every noteworthy writer since Frank Miller trying to outdo the other in terms of who could shake up Matt Murdock's life the most.
    • Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker love changing their characters' status quo. To stick only with Daredevil: During Bendis' run Daredevil was unmasked by the press, The Kingpin was killed but got better, Matt got married, became the new Kingpin, was left by his wife, and was thrown in jail. When Brubaker was in charge Matt got out of jail, The Kingpin left the country, Matt's wife came back to him and went mad thanks to one of his enemies, Matt had a one-night stand with his friend and left everything to become the leader of the Hand in Shadowland. And please, don't ask how it goes in their other titles.
    • More recently, Mark Waid's run made Matt Murdock publicly admit he was Daredevil, later embrace his alter ego, and subsequently ditch his double identity, fighting crime without a mask, using the same suit as Matt Murdock and Daredevil, and addressing himself as Daredevil.
    • When you're writing for a comic about "The Man Without Fear" writers kind of feel obligated to provide situations where the hero is afraid.
  • Hellboy: Hellboy dies duringthe events of The Fury and goes to Hell.
  • The Incredible Hulk: One dramatic change was during its early years when the US military had no idea about Banner's Hulk condition, but suspected the scientist and the monster were compatriots. In Tales to Astonish #77, Rick Jones, convinced that Banner was dead, told Col. Glenn Talbot the truth, and from then on, Banner was a fugitive from the US authorities who were determined to kill or contain him.
  • Invincible: The series is sort of like this, though it only goes twelve issues with the initial status quo before the main character's father does a Face–Heel Turn and beats the living crap out of his son, starting the status quo for the rest of the series. Issue 50 looks to shake things up again.
  • Iron Man: In the 1960s, the writers decided that Iron Man's Achilles' Heel of his external pacemaker function continually threatening to run out of power and cause heart failure was getting old. So, they wrote a story where Stark is Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee, where the arduous questioning goes so long that Stark collapses with his battery problems. A doctor examines him, discovers his seriously poor state of health and has him rushed to a hospital. After that, Stark finally gets some serious medical care by professionals which leads to a heart transplant to help him. (He still needed the chest plate for a while so his body wouldn't "reject" his new heart, and he's suffered a spate of other health-related problems over the years.)
    • Armor Wars: A preeminent storyline of the 80's, this story was about Tony going after people who stole something special in his Iron Man Armor. However, doing so meant that he went after not just criminals, but government agents. As such, Tony "Fires" Iron Man. Thus ending the "Iron Man as Bodyguard" era of the comic forever.
  • Judge Dredd: This is enforced by the 'mega epics', big crisis story arcs that change the status quo. For instance, during "The Apocalypse War" half of Mega City One and all of East Meg One is destroyed, and "Day of Chaos" ends with Mega City One reduced to a virtual ruin. As the comic also avoids Comic-Book Time by taking place in real time, Judge Dredd has aged significantly since the comic's debut and is feeling it.
  • Les Légendaires: The series went through this during the Anathos Cycle: Danael is possessed by a God of Evil, killed and resurrected but no longer part of the team, all the other protagonists have been scarred or crippled to life and get new powers and abilities, they finally got rid of their Hero with Bad Publicity status, their Arch-Enemy has been Killed Off for Real, the couples have fallen apart and a Sixth Ranger has been added.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Sinestro Corps War: The opening act for the great Myth Arc Geoff Johns would create in his run on Green Lantern, it introduced and shook up the GL mythos thoroughly. Arch-Enemy Sinestro creates a lantern corps of his own and launches attacks across the universe, culminating in him leading a Legion of Doom to doom Earth. Among the many long term effects of this story, Kyle Rayner loses control of the Ion entity, Ganthet and Sayd (The Only Sane Man of the guardians) are kicked out for wanting to warn the lanterns of the Blackest Night prophecy, Coast City gains a new positive reputation thanks to their fearless trust in the green lanterns to save them, and as part of creating a more mature view of the Green Lanterns, the threat of Sinestro's Corps has the guardians authorize lethal force against enemies of the GL. More importantly, the fact that you could harness other emotions to create a lantern corps besides will would become fully canonized in the future as a kind of Uniqueness Decay properly set in as it's revealed there's actually 9 possible lights to use. Oh, and The Anti-Monitor was also turned into the power battery of the black lanterns at the end of this story.
    • The Bat Family Crossover Lights Out was billed as "the story that will change the Green Lantern universe forever". And given that by the time it's over, we see the destruction of Oa, the Green Lanterns relocating to Mogo, the Blue Lanterns wiped out (save for Saint Walker) and the Red Lanterns given sole jurisdiction over Sector 2814 (including Earth), it's safe to say it lived up to the hype.
  • Lucifer: The series does this at a rate of about every ten issues. The most memorable times include when Lucifer makes his own universe, when God leaves creation and locks it behind Him, when His granddaughter takes His throne; when the Angel of Silence speaks.
  • Mélusine: Cancrelune committed suicide out of guilt for endangering her best friend Mélusine. Even after Mélusine went to Hell to rescue her, Cancrelune refuses to leave and remained in Hell, having accepted her fate. This signaled to fans that the Status Quo Is God is no longer in effect and the series will never be the same after this.
  • The New Universe: Justice did an impressive one of these about halfway through its run. In Issue 15 (cleverly titled Everything You Know Is Wrong) the readers — and the main character — find out that he isn't an Interdimensional holy warrior but in fact a DEA agent who had an entire false life mentally implanted into him by a drug lord. He then becomes a borderline psychotic loner, who still can suffer flashbacks to his fake life if drugged up enough.
  • Savage Dragon: The series tends to change its status quo quite often.
  • Secret Wars (1984): Despite claims by the comic's marketing to the contrary, this is mostly averted with the mini-series. Given that it was competing with Crisis on Infinite Earths (having been released almost simultaneously), Secret Wars (1984) was advertised as being a complete shakeup of the Marvel Universe, and that nothing in Marvel would ever be the same afterward. This was only true in a few instances:
    • Spider-Man acquired his black suit, which would go on to empower the supervillain Venom.
    • She-Hulk joined the Fantastic Four, and stayed with them for some time. She's still considered a close friend of the family.
    • The Hulk had Banner's brain and had recently been pardoned of all past crimes. Something on Battleworld caused him to slip back into an angry persona, leading to a multi-state mindless rampage with thousands of fatalities. The fallout from that rampage was subtext or text for decades.
    • Most other changes, like the destruction of Ultron and Kang, did not stick.
    • In a couple of places, they even restored the status quo that had previously been shaken up, like Doctor Doom, who had been dead prior to Secret Wars but mysteriously showed up for the story, leading to the need for a later storyline to explain how he'd come back.
  • Shattered Heroes: In Battle Scars, the original Nick Fury goes under the radar, being replaced with his son, who resembles Ultimate Nick Fury.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Issue 50, the final issue of the "Endgame" arc, saw Dr. Robotnik be eradicated when his Ultimate Annihilator weapon goes unstable. At the time, this was a major game-changer, with the following issues (including the next 48-page special, aptly named "Brave New World") finding the Freedom Fighters dealing with a world where they finally achieved their ultimate goal and how to bring peace to a land without Robotnik.
    • Issue 175 has Eggman launch an all-out attack on Knothole, that evolved from a humble village and regufe to a bolstering kingdom. Though Sonic is defeated, he and his friends rally to save everyone. However, the home they fought for and protected for years is gone, but at least Nicole helped create a new kingdom from once-dormant nanites.
    • The aftermath of Dr. Eggman's refusal to let Sonic win during the crossover Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide: the comic's first (and only) complete Continuity Reboot, the multiverse collapsing, and the planet shattering.
  • Spider-Man:
    • In The Night Gwen Stacy Died, Gwen Stacy dies. Spider-Man loses his love interest of five years, gains a Shocking Defeat Legacy, and develops the beginning of a romance with MJ. The Green Goblin also dies, which would remain the status quo for over 20 years. It's not for nothing that this story is considered the end of the Silver Age.
    • In The Amazing Spider-Man (1999), the series introduces a number of major status quo changes—such as the revelation that Peter's powers are supernatural in origin, Peter obtaining organic webbing after a run-in with the Queen, Peter leaving his life as a struggling freelance photographer and part-time teacher behind to work at Horizon Labs, Eddie Brock becoming Anti-Venom, and Flash Thompson becoming Agent Venom.
    • "The Hunger" arc of The Spectacular Spider-Man reveals that Eddie Brock had been dying of terminal cancer before meeting the Venom symbiote, that it's had a resurgence, and that he had an uncle who died of cancer—putting a more sympathetic spin on why he hated Peter: he would have died without the symbiote, which was only using him to try to get back to Spider-Man.
    • The aptly named "Changes" arc of The Spectacular Spider-Man has Spider-Man run afoul of the supervillain Adriana Soria, aka the Queen, whose mutant ability lets her control humans with the "insect gene"—including Peter Parker. A kiss from her causes Peter to mutate into a Man-Spider form and then into a giant spider, before seemingly dying and molting in human form but with amplified physical abilities and organic web shooters—changes that lasted until Brand New Day reset the status quo.
    • "Sins Remembered" very controversially revealed that Norman Osborn took advantage of Gwen Stacy's loneliness and despair following the death of her father and her subsequent breakup with Peter Parker, seducing her and fathering twins—a son named Gabriel and a daughter named Sarah; and that Gwen threatening to take the kids and raise them with Peter was one of the reasons Norman decided to murder her.
    • In Dying Wish, Doc Ock switched bodies with Peter Parker, and killed his own body with Peter Parker in it, but not before inheriting all of Peter's memories. Influenced by Peter's memories, he decided to make a Heel–Face Turn and continue fighting crime under Spider-Man's mantle, as a Superior Spider Man.
    • The ending of Superior Spider Man changed everything again, with Peter Parker regaining control of his body, but is left holding the bag of everything Dr. Octopus had left over, including Parker Industries, a doctorate, a girlfriend in the form of Anna-Maria Marconi and a lot of ill will. Thankfully, the superhero community is more forgiving than, say, Mary Jane Watson.
  • Ultimate Marvel: The Ultimate Universe started out as Adaptation Distillation, but has moved to having this as a goal to set it apart from the main Marvel Universe. The first big change was the Ultimatum event, but that's not the only one:
    • With the X-Men, everyone considered a mutant leader or potential leader (Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Wolverine) died in Ultimatum. Mutancy is now outlawed and people are allowed to shoot on sight, forcing mutants underground. And it's been revealed that the mutant gene was created in a lab, removing any protection they would have gotten as "the next step of evolution".
    • The Fantastic Four also disbanded after Ultimatum, and it's unlikely they'll come back together anytime soon as Reed has undergone a Face–Heel Turn, with Johnny going off to join the Spider-Man cast and then the X-Men instead. Ben "The Thing" Grimm also shed his rocky skin, gaining energy powers instead.
    • Spider-Man was killed in action, and a new character with no direct connection to Peter Parker has taken up the mantle.
    • In the fall of 2012, it looks as though that Captain America will become the President of the United States (a divided and broken up U.S., mind you, but still...).
  • Wonder Woman: A constant occurrence (some would say problem) with Wonder Woman, who for all her Informed Importance as one of DC's "Big Three" only had one book to her name after the 1940s. Since they don't have any other books to coordinate withnote , pretty much every new Wonder Woman writer feels free to toss out everything the last guy did in favor of a brand-new status quo:
    • The first instance of this was probably the infamous "white suit" period of the late '60s/early '70s in Vol 1. Under new writer Dennis O Neil, Steve Trevor was killed, all of Paradise Island (aka Themyscira) was Put on a Bus and Wonder Woman was depowered into an Emma Peel-like martial artist who no longer bothered with a Secret Identity.
    • The iconic George Pérez run on Vol 2 ended on one of these, with the Crisis Crossover War of the Gods. Killed off several members of Diana's supporting cast, had the Gods of Olympus Put on a Bus, and stripped Themyscira — just beginning to come out of its Hidden Elf Village phase — of all its mystic protections.
    • The first chance he got, Perez's successor Bill Loebsnote  dropped a bridge on all of Themyscira, apparently so he could take the character in a more urban, "small-picture" direction (though at least he let her keep her powers). After a few years, editorial made him bring Themyscira back, explaining it wasn't really destroyed but instead banished to a realm of demons.
    • Loebs' successor John Byrne kicked off his run by moving Diana to the West Coast and having Darkseid invade and kill a third of Themyscira; after that things mostly settled down... until the Olympians came back, Diana got killed by Neron, and the former promptly resurrected the latter as a new Goddess. In the meantime, Diana's mother Queen Hippolyta became the new Wonder Woman — who, due to Time Travel shenanigans, was retconned into being the "original" Wonder Woman. Diana took the name back in the final issue of the run anyways.
    • Byrne's successor Eric Luke didn't do much in the way of big shake-ups, though the last issue of his run had Diana establish Themysciran embassies all around the world.
    • After Luke came Phil Jimenez, a master of Continuity Porn like no other (if you read any of DC's official Wonder Woman reference books, chances are he wrote it). As such, he did his best to cram all his predecessors' work into a single narrative. Unfortunately, the Crisis Crossover Our Worlds at War happened early on in his run, and its plot-mandated Themyscira be destroyed and Hippolyta be killed off; while Jimenez couldn't undo the latter, he had surviving Amazons rebuild the former into a bigger, better Magitek paradise than ever before, open to ambassadors and academics from every nation. Oh, and the monarchy was abolished too, leaving Diana with the epithet of "Once-Princess, Once-Goddess".
    • Wonder Woman: Odyssey shook things up completely by messing with reality and history itself to place a more violent Wonder Woman in a world where she grew up on the streets with the few surviving Amazons after their home island was destroyed.
    • Brian Azzarello pretty much ignored everything that came before for his New 52 revamp and used Olympian gods and monsters almost exclusively as an extended cast for Wonder Woman, who was also revealed to be related to them, Zeus being her father (that whole "shaped from clay" thing was apparently just a lie to hide her from Hera's noted tendency to do horrible things to her husband's bastard offspring). It also turned the Amazons to snakes and Hippolyta to stone, because it wouldn't be a proper Wonder Woman revamp if something horrible didn't happen to Themyscira.
    • The current (as of 2018) state of Wonder Woman has retconned everything away again (though Wonder Woman being the daughter of Zeus was brought back eventually), and Wonder Woman is now mainly hanging out with Steve Trevor, Etta Candy and their various army buddies. She also has recently discovered a twin brother who is occasionally evil. And it turns out that every appearance of Themyscira set after her origin story has been a hallucination, because anyone who leaves Paradise Island is forever banished from it.
  • X-Men: House and Powers of X was a MASSIVE shake up for the X-men line. As a reveal that side character Moira Mctaggart was actually a mutant all along spawns a secret chain of events through all of "this" timeline where all of mutantkind forms an Enemy Mine on the isle of Krakoa, and does so with a new promise of health and IMMORTALITY for mutants in the future. All the great x-men foes, including Magneto, Apocalypse and the Hellfire Club get onboard, forming a new alliance against the world while dangling medicine and potential to keep them docile. And almost all formerly dead X characters are resurrected in a new "paradise" for mutantkind. And as the tie ins revealed, they abandoned the X-mansion so that there would be no easy snap back.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • An Impractical Guide to Godhood: The conclusion of Perseus's first quest sees one God Brought Down to Normal, two Mount Olympus couples divorcing, a new co-ruler of the Underworld, and more.
  • Code Prime:
    • The events of Chapters 32-36 of R1 fundamentally shatter the story's plot, especially on the Code Geass end. Megatron impersonating Euphemia via Pretender to initiate the SAZ massacre cements him as the Crossover Villain-in-Chief and Big Bad of the story. The elements of Britannia that were clued into this tidbit are turned against the Decepticons, driving a wedge with others who believed the massacre was sanctioned by the Royal Family. The following chapters see the Decepticon/Britannia alliance shattered when Megatron orders an invasion of Pendragon, where he manages to kill Charles and take the Ragnarok Connection for himself. The remaining members of the Royal Family at Pendragon are taken as hostages by the Decepticons, who broadcast their victory and declare themselves as the new rulers of Earth, in the process functionally destroying Britannia. Cliffjumper and Dreadwing both commit Heroic Sacrifices, with the former killing Knight of the Round Luciano Bradley via said sacrifice. Finally, Megatron manages to subject Lelouch to his Dark Geass of Absolute Terror, but when C.C. pulls him out with help from the Matrix of Leadership, this gives her a new idea to give Optimus a Geass of his own for the war in the future. Following this, the Decepticons and Autobots send out calls for reinforcements, setting the stage for an escalation in conflict. And meanwhile, Suzaku, Cornelia, Euphemia, Lloyd, Cecile, Monica, Nonette, and the Ashford Student Council join the Black Knights, ensuring they're a truly international army for their future trying to unite the earth.
    • Chapters 31 and 32 of R2 end up leveling the status quo again completely. The Autobots and Black Knights' assault on New Kaon, and the Damocles' subsequent attack, leads to many characters being killed off in a rapid pace, and Optimus critically injured. In the aftermath of the battle, Megatron has Shockwave awaken Predaking, using him and a synthetic Rust Plague to kill Schneizel, Starscream, the Constructicons, and the remaining members of the Britannian aristocracy, firmly cementing him as the Big Bad of the story. Taking command of Damocles, he prepares to attack Horai Island so so he can capture Cera and initiate Neo-Ragnarok. After spending the whole story keeping his identity a secret with only his most trusted friends and family, Lelouch reveals his true identity and backstory to all of the Black Knights, something he never did in canon under favorable circumstances. And Optimus rejects the possibility of being restored by the Forge of Solus Prime so that its remaining power can be used to restore Cybertron's core... and offers the Matrix of Leadership to Lelouch, naming him the next Prime. Though Chapter 33 reels back on things a bit, as Lelouch rejects the Matrix due to feeling unworthy, while Nunnally and Ratchet save Optimus with the Forge anyway in an act of desperation, reviving him in a more powerful form, which he then uses to destroy the Damocles.
  • By the end of the Berk Arc in The Dragon and the Butterfly, Hiccup had lost his leg and Mirabel has permanent burn scars after surviving the battle with the Red Death. Berk's war with the dragons is now over with the Red Death's defeat and everyone returns to the Encanto, unwittingly bringing a sizable number of dragons back with them as new additions to the population.
  • For a Diamond Is a Marveled Thing: The Crystal Gems state as much in A Love Affair, But Exit Left upon realizing that while Steven still loves them, he no longer sees or trusts them as parental figures anymore.
  • The Games We Play: While Conquest was a Knight of Cerebus, it's the appearance of Malkuth that changes things permanently, by killing off Jacques and confirming that the Grimm have a creator and guiding intelligence, one with plans for Jaune that may result in apocalypse if Jaune doesn't thwart them.
  • Hunters of Justice:
    • Remnant's status quo is irrevocably changed when the alien warlord Brainiac invades. Within two days, millions are slaughtered, thousands are kidnapped for Brainiac's experiments, the planet is destroyed and all its major cities bottled up to be studied by Brainiac. Even if the cities are retrieved and resized, they'll have to be placed on an entirely new planet, where the Grimm, the monsters of destruction that all their societies and cultures are shaped around, don't exist. Brainiac has effectively changed everything for them, on every scale possible.
    • This doubles for Teams RWBY and JNPR. While they weren't bottled up or captured, they were transported to an entirely different world in Earth after suffering and/or witnessing all the above events as their personal Trauma Conga Line, with absolutely nothing to their names except for their weapons and the clothes on their backs. Even after they recover from the resulting Heroic BSoD, they're stuck Starting a New Life on Earth because there's nothing left for them to go back to. Their planet is gone, and what's left of it is with Brainiac, who curb-stomped them with ease. All they can do is settle down, get stronger, and hope it will be enough when he inevitably invades Earth.
  • The Little Pony Legend: This idea is referenced in the second book Spirits of Courage, but also played straight in that book. While the introduction of ponies to avatar world is jarring enough, The Great Change causes massive changes in both worlds far beyond what was in the original Korra season. Namely, the pony world gains bending, and all ponies now resemble real horses rather than their more cartoony proportions. They also gain the ability to change into humanoids in avatar world, as well as empowering different aspects of their worlds with each other, such as giving the breezies the power to move on their own, or bringing equestrian plants over the divide. More importantly on the more spiritual side of things, Korra leaves the spirit portal open, but she also gains permanent wings. Furthermore, rather than being absorbed, Raava and Vaatu are instead transmuted into smaller spirit forms (a butterfly and a bat/moth respectively), fully leaving Korra to do her own thing from now on.
  • Miraculous Ladybug vs. the Forces of Evil: The story changes forever in Chapter 10 which features Hawkmoth succeeding at getting the 2 miraculous, and exposing Adrien and Marinette to all their classmates.
  • In Origin Story, Alex Harris effectively tells the US government that she will be watching their every move, and that if she sees them do something that crosses what she considers a Moral Event Horizon, she will come down on them hard. And she will keep coming down on them until they get the message. When Tony Stark points out that this is effectively a "terrorist threat", Alex counters that its actually more akin to a parent telling their children to stop fighting or they'll be sent to their room.
  • Outcry: Taylor grabs the Dark Soul directly and flat-out kills Leviathan in Interlude: Alexandria. An Endbringer is dead with no action from Zion, Brockton Bay is wrecked, and Taylor just harnessed a Lord Soul directly.
    Faultline: "Endbringer’s just dropped a notch on the goddamn food chain. Even if I don’t strictly play the heroes and villains game BS that a lot of other parahumans live by, even I can see that the nice, safe status quo might have just been kicked straight to shit."
  • A Song of Metal and Marvels: Much like with its source material, there's plenty of nothing is the same going on from book to book.
    • A Man of Iron: Iron Man kills Gregor Cleagane and rescues Ned from his execution, not only starting Joffery's bad publicity run sooner, but having a more experienced King in the North to fight the Lannisters, but Sansa dies in the process, her body soon possessed by the Night's Queen. Jon knows his parentage years ahead of schedule, Arya is running with Syrio now for their own agendas, and most obviously, the rise of the Iron Man means that The Council now recognizes that a new age is going to dawn across the planet. An Age of Metal and Marvels.
    • A Crack of Thunder: Theon renounces the Ironborn forever, changing his trajectory and the influence of the Iron Islands on the story. Stannis' attack on King's Landing not only fails, but he DIES, leaving only remnants of loyalty in the Stormlands to hold out against a now fully ascendant Lannister force in the south to try and go after the Starks. Jamie is now presumed dead by his family, and is going North of the Wall alongside the Reed twins and Bran. Arya has gotten Shadowcat's powers, and is falling in with Magneto. Sansa wargs into Lady's revived body to escape the Night's Queen, who has manipulated Tywin into her puppet, and escapes King's Landing to flee back North. Also, Lyanna and Brandon Stark have returned fused with the Children of the Forest to confirm history and haunt House Stark's past more concretely.
    • A Shield of Man: Steve Rogers' presence has forced a truce between the Free Folk and Night's Watch, as he is undeniable proof that the Others are real, and they're coming. The Stark children have all been altered in these adventures so that there's no longer a single normal one left. But they're starting to come back together, as Robb, Rickon and Sansa reunite with their parents, grandfather, uncle and aunt. Thanks to some maneuvering and petty revenge, Joffery, Tywin and Petyr Baelish are all dead. The Tyrells are gaining power and are revealed to be allied with Magneto, but in a show of newfound confidence, Tommen names Jon Stark his regent and Hand of the King. Dany now has defeated all the slave cities, and lacks the same moral fears to stay and fix them afterwards, making her a more ruthless but less distracted leader. But in the last chapter, a mistake in using Maegor's Ultron armor has revived Baelish's spirit in the armor, setting him up as the new big supervillain for the next book.
  • Sudden Contact: The Great War ended with the asari losing Thessia, their status as a galactic power and their Council seat. With no third power player, a cold war begins between the Turian Hierarchy and Salarian Union, as well as the Terran Dominion and Kel-Morian Combine. The Batarian Hegemony allies with the Kel-Morian Combine, with the two becoming a reckoning military and economic powerhouse. Some of the volus begin demanding independence from the Turian Hierarchy. The vorcha were completely assimilated by the zerg, with the infested vorcha actually retaining their own minds due to their "adaptive" cells. The elcor are another Racial Remnant thanks to the zerg. The quarians were forced to abandon their reclamation of Rannoch and resettling on Shakuras at the behest of the protoss. The krogans seems to be the only race that remained virtually untouched by the Great War as they have been deliberately sticking out of it while "laughing as the rest of the galaxy burns." until Okeer made a botched attempt to cure the Genophage with zerg genetics that only created a strain of biotic-enhanced, fast healing infested-krogans to run amok on Tuchanka.
  • Warning Letter: Light's reign as Kira ends prematurely, and he joins the Phantom Thieves... but his dramatic shift in behavior makes L and Soichiro even more suspicious of him, and sets them on the trail of the Phantom Thieves as well.
  • The Weaver Option: Most of the changes brought by Taylor to the Imperium of Man tended to be on a local scale, with the exception of her shielding the Blood Angels from the Black Rage and killing Goge Vandire's ancestor. Then come the Shadowpoint and Extermination arcs, in which Taylor leading a fleet and army to wipeout several pirate fleets led to the razing of the Dark City of Commorragh, the death of 87% of the Dark Eldar in the galaxy, the return of the Chaos God Malal, and the destruction of Slaanesh.
  • The White Wolf of Westeros: By the end of chapter 9 of "book 3", the entire outlook of Planetos has been shaken to its core. 4 Lord Paramounts have been killed in various ways. The Riverlands have been decimated to create The Crone's Army. House Tully has lost their genetic prospects to continue ruling past the war. Gunpowder Weaponry has been introduced to Medieval combat so to change the dynamics of war forever. A connection between a Child of the Forest and a Priest of R'hillor means that religion is about to undergo a major doctrinal shift. And meanwhile, Kai, Grand Warlock of Quarth has taken over the city in a coup for "survival" reasons, meaning the far east is also about to greatly change.
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: "What if Tom was infested by a member of the Yeerk Peace Movement?" flushes canon's status quo down the toilet when Tom and Aftran inadvertently get Vissers One and Three killed in rapid succession, causing them to be promoted to the new Visser One. The rest of the chapter is about them abolishing slavery, and the Animorphs are now working with the Yeerks.
  • Dæmorphing: The Abyss begins with the Guardians of the Galaxy being forced to evacuate Kref Magh after the Yeerks learn about it, which had been their homebase for much of the series. The main conflict is about how to give the Yeerks the quantum virus that will remove their ability to control their hosts without the hosts' consent, and it ends with the implication that the invasion will be exposed to the public soon.
  • Walk Two Lifetimes begins following Hisana's life in Soul Society. After Chapters 35 and 36 and her demise at the hands of Gin and Aizen, the story shifts focus, following a number of perspectives across three worlds while Hisana struggles to piece her shattered mind back together while slowly turning into a soul-devouring monster.
  • The PreDespair Kids has Mukuro Ikusaba decide to pull a Heel–Face Turn after a dare gone wrong sends Taka into a Heroic BSoD. Later on, Junko's true identity as the Ultimate Despair is revealed to many of the students, after which she disappears.
  • The Facing the Future Series follows the Grand Finale where Danny's secret is revealed to his family and Valerie (Word of God is that he finds the premise of the whole world knowing Danny's secret absurd). However, the fanfics take it even farther by having Sam becoming half ghost as well as many other changes that keep occurring to keep the series fresh.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: The Story We Never Told does this with its two major Wham Episodes — first, Chapter 49 establishes that Anyone Can Die, as Ken is killed by Oikawa. And then Chapter 64 upends everything we think we know, as Oikawa reveals he's been manipulating the Digidestined all along; the new kids aren't really chosen, they were randomly picked Unwitting Pawns whose existence have been aiding his plans, and then he seizes control of their partners.
  • Authors of Our Own Fate: While Matthew going back in time would already cause ripples across the story as he begins tweaking the ordering of events, Chapter 29 & 30 are the point of shattering the story to come. World War One has begun, and several regular servants have already moved out or are about to become part of Matthew's new job as a supply master. However, after the august party is dismissed, Robert and Matthew get into an argument about whether this is enough compared to going to fight on the front. In the intense pushback, Robert claims that Cora's pregnancy will give him a son to disinherit Matthew with for his "shame", and that he'll never be a part of their lives. In outrage and solidarity, Matthew, Mary, Sybil, Edith, Thomas, Tom and Isobel are defacto exiled from Downton. They move in with a newly minted military earl, and in determination to ensure their happiness, Matthew and Mary are married without her parents present. This would be the shattered status quo and character arc trajectories for the family for the next 4 years of their lives to try and rebuild the family through the members learning to grow and reconcile.
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Lampshaded by Lieutenant Ford Brody. After the climax, Monster X's Metamorphosis into their final form, just like its previous ones, is one-way.
  • The 1983: Doomsday Stories do this by having a nuclear war break out in 1983. A good deal of the fics in the AU are about the surviving Nations and some dead ones picking up the pieces, though this gradually fades further down the line as life moves on and new countries emerge from the wasteland.
  • In chapter 56 of A Thing of Vikings, Astrid comments to Fishlegs how things have changed since their tribe tamed dragons. They now have dragons as pets, are freeing slaves across half of Eire, and are a regional power.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: By the end of the first season in the last chapter, "End of the Beginning", Zim and Skoodge are rebelling against the Tallest, Tak and Tenn are permanently allied in trying to take over Earth, and Dib is the leader of an effective team, leaving the story in a place totally different from the status quo it started with.
  • Queen of All Oni: This is the general theme of the epilogue, with much having permanently changed. Jade and Viper are stuck physically as Shadowkhan, with the latter going rogue to hunt down a mean of returning to normal; in Jade's Mental World, Father is now the dominant Aspect (with Desire flat out telling Hero things will never be the same as they were); Tohru graduates to full chi wizard status and leaves on a journey of self-discovery, taking Jade with him; Blankman has stolen ten of the talismans; and many sealed evils are starting to break free.
  • Ambience: A Fleet Symphony: After Damon's death in chapter 95, the dynamics of the fleet are completely upended, not least due to Sanford, with his very different attitude and command style, needing to take over as the new admiral. Even if the slim hope that Damon can be resurrected comes to pass, too much has changed in the interim to return to the old days.
  • Kancolle Alt: The ship girls, having fought the Abyssals on the sea for two decades, have their world flipped upside down as Apocalypse comes into play, the Abyssals having prepared air and ground forces as they nuke Atlanta, New Orleans and Chicago in order to herald the start of World War III and invade every country on Earth.
  • Two-Step departs from the usual four-survivor ensemble when the ship Coach, Rochelle, Ellis and Nick were on sinks. Nick is injured by a Witch and ends up left behind, and most of the story is about him traveling completely alone. The ensemble aspect returns a bit later on, but it doesn't last long — Nick ditches them at a safe place later on. Another mechanic that is discarded is the "kill lots of zombies", as it's implied that the Commons died or mutated more during the course of the story, reinforced by the fact that the only zombies encountered are Special Infected. Even the immediate objective of the survivors changes from 'find someplace safe' to 'find someplace warm and make it safe'. Oh, Nick gets a dog, too.
  • In The Lion King Adventures, this is the case in Series 5, following the destruction of the Pride Lands and the deaths of Simba's parents at the end of Series 4.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, post episode 5, nothing is necessarily safe, as it continues beyond where the show left off. The interlude to Episode 8 exemplifies this, with tons of new plot developments appearing.
    • Episode 11 has major changes in the status quo; even its title is "Things Change." The biggest one is ProtoMan leaving Wily.
  • Alya and the Harem Reality: Alya's desperate effort to waste Hawkmoth's wish ends up replacing the regular status quo with an entirely new one. In the new reality, not only are she and Chloé are permanent heroes alongside Ladybug, but they are in a triade with Ladybug. It's later revealed Master Fu had scattered the Miraculous across Paris before dying against an unknown entity, not only leading to the three girls becoming heroes but also allowing Kagami and Lila to get the Dragon and Monkey Miraculous respectively. Hawkmoth has also become aware of the changes thanks to a downplayed Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, and now vows to make the three heroes pay for interfering with his wish.
  • The Karma of Lies: Adrien tempts fate one time too many by deciding not to join Ladybug when he sees that she's running the gauntlet against a series of akuma attacks, figuring that she'll be fine without him. This turns out to be the Final Battle with Hawkmoth, ending not just with his exposure as Gabriel Agreste and arrest, but with Marinette being revealed as Ladybug alongside Luka and Kagami also being exposed as heroes.
  • The Lament Series (ChaoticNeutral): The premise of each Lament is that somebody makes a Wish that warps reality in the process of granting it, leaving them in a new world fundamentally changed from the one they remember, as well as the only non-kwami with Ripple-Proof Memory. They then have to deal with how dramatically the status quo has changed from what they recall.
    • Gabriel's Lament winds up in a world where Emilie never fell into her coma, but is now on the front lines fighting this reality's version of Hawk Moth, who has permanently akumatized their son into Chat Blanc.
    • Chloé's Lament has her switch places with Marinette, expecting to end up as Paris' beloved heroine while Marinette is Hated by All. Instead, she finds that Marinette is a Spoiled Sweet girl who uses her status to uplift others while Chloé is regarded as a petty bully — one who's no longer protected by her father's connections, since he was never the Mayor in this new reality.
  • The One to Make It Stay: Miracle Queen triggers this in All the Laughs We Had in the Past, as she is responsible for exposing Adrien as Chat Noir and delivering the Black Cat Miraculous to Hawkmoth. This spurs Master Fu to leave Paris, as Adrien knows his identity as the Guardian. He decides to leave several of the Miraculous with Marinette so that they can stay in touch, and names Marianne to act as her guide in his stead.
  • Of Patience and Pettiness has the battle with Hothead. While the akuma himself is mostly Played for Laughs, in the aftermath, Master Fu reclaims the Black Cat Ring from Adrien, who had proven himself an unworthy partner. He then gives the Miraculous Box to Marinette so that she can distribute Miraculi more effectively, without having to swing by his shop to retrieve them first.
  • There's no going back from the ending of Book 2 of Spellbound (Lilafly), when Marinette is kidnapped by the fae and Adrien is unable to wield a Miraculous ever again from the side effects of rescuing her. Life will go on once her legs heal and she takes back her life from the changeling who is filling in, but it won't be the same knowing that her boyfriend is literally half-cat and their class is full of nonhuman or part-human morally ambiguous magic-users.
  • What Goes Around Comes Around:
    • The story opens with Shadow Moth attacking Marinette's home, revealing that he knows her Secret Identity. By the time the dust settles, the Dupain-Cheng bakery has been leveled (before the Miraculous Wave fixes it), and both Marinette and Gabriel have been unmasked to the world, with the latter getting arrested for his crimes. What's more, this leads to all of his co-conspirators getting arrested — Nathalie, Lila, and Chloé, taking the two bullies out of Ms. Bustier's class and forcing the rest to recognize that Marinette was right to warn them about Lila.
    • The sequel, Truth & Journalism, explores the continuing fallout. Hawk Moth and his allies have been arrested, but Marinette remains active as Ladybug, and has to deal with her identity being well known and unwanted celebrity status. Meanwhile, Ms. Bustier and Principal Damocles are being heavily monitored to gauge whether or not they're fit to continue as educators, with Alya lamenting how dramatically this has impacted the way their classes are being run.
  • Apotheosis: Over time, Midoriya shifts from an Invincible Villain Protagonist to a Villain with Good Publicity who has permanently altered the perception of Pro Heroics in Japan, thanks to his exposing much of the corruption involved with the former status quo.
  • Conversations with a Cryptid:
    • Conversations With a Cryptid: All for One broke out of prison and with Eri's unintentional help, has been restored to his pre-All Might glory. All for One reveals his true relation to Izuku. Then he essentially legally kidnaps Izuku under the guise of an estranged father wanting to spend time with his rescued son.
    • Kidnapping of a Cryptid: Katsuki breaks out of the hospital he was forcibly institutionalized in and heads to Yuuei to tell the faculty of Hisashi Midoriya's true identity with the intention of rescuing Izuku. Izuku's article on the two century-long abuses of the Japanese Government, specifically how quirk laws and the pro-hero system never went through proper legislative processes are technically both unconstitutional and illegal, causes their frail society to fall apart. Riots break out in the streets with people attacking pro-hero agencies, government offices and police stations. The government is forced to shut down and review and revise two centuries of law. All heroes schools are shut down as their legality is reviewed. Izuku unintentionally fulfills his father's goal of having the populace turn against heroes.
  • Divided Rainbow follows the events of Xenophila, with Lero struggling to adapt to a Ponyville turned on its ear by a certain spell swapping everyone's roles around.
  • In the Service of the Princess of Friendship is about Applejack's realization that Twilight Sparkle becoming a princess of friendship necessarily means that she will need her friends to help rule alongside her — and that means that Applejack needs to choose between being an apple farmer who happens to be Twilight Sparkle's friend, or being Twilight Sparkle's friend who happens to farm apples in her spare time.
  • The Stars Ascendant is about Celestia realizing that this already happened and she didn't recognize it for what it was. Celestia confers with Luna in an attempt to figure out how to properly apologize to Twilight Sparkle for grossly underestimating Twilight's power.
  • A Growing Affection doesn't have much of a status quo, but there are a few major events that shake things up. Like the end of book one and start of book two, when Naruto gets promoted, the Sound is liberated from Kabuto and becomes an ally of the Leaf, the Leaf teams get shuffled, and Naruto and Hinata become a couple. The end of book two has the fall of the Akatsuki and the Kyubi merging with Naruto.
  • Space to Breathe opens with Sakura becoming Ibiki's apprentice, spurring Hiruzen to remove her from Team Seven and replace her with Kabuto. But Chapters 36 and 37 are where this trope kicks in HARD, as Hinata is fatally wounded by Hidan and passes her eyes on to Masato... only for her father to outright refuse to recognize his daughter's last wishes, forcing Hokage Shikaku to treat him like a bloodline thief. Sakura and the rest of her team responds by defecting from Konoha, going missing-nin in order to protect their Family of Choice.
  • Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime is about the Peanuts gang having to deal with being about to grow up and go their separate ways after Charles Schulz's retirement.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, the AU arc and its aftermath caused some radical changes in the RP both in-universe and in the meta, to the point that it's referred to as the Upheaval Saga.
  • As Fate Would Have It: By the end of the story, Nate and Yancy are not only dating one another but also engaged to one another, the former has finally left his position as the Champion of the Unova Pokemon League for good, and the latter has quit being an Idol Singer and TV host as well in order to stay with him.
  • A Rose and a Lion: After hearing of the assassination attempt on Margaery, Tyrion abandons the capital with loyal men and family. And without the extra support and cleverness he would've provided, Stannis Baratheon WINS the battle of the Blackwater, leading to several major deaths and his temporary time as the defacto king of Westeros. Truly breaking The Stations of the Canon forever.
  • My Father's Son: Funnily enough, the rebellion in this timeline also serves as this for Westeros in both the immediate and long term consequences. While some things remain unchanged from canon with the death of Aerys, Jamie being named a Kingslayer and the ascension of a new king, the details change everything in many regions. With Rhaegar's successful rebellion, some major recognizable characters such as Pycelle and Renly are executed. There's major fallout for the Tyrell line with the head and heir both dying. Dorne keeps its interests with the kingdoms due to Elia and Aegon's survival. Tywin begins a 4 year plan in part convinced by a divine vision. And most important of all, Dragons have returned to the realm.
  • Wearing Robert's Crown does this in Alliser III when the Wall, a hundred league long, seven hundred feet high fortification is lost.
  • Due to the Character Development that Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl had of over the course of the series (as well as the reality that Rose lied to them all this time about who she was), feelings are mixed in Rose Redemption AU when Steven and Bismuth are able to successfully establish contact with Rose.
  • In Chapter 28 of The Mortal Son, Lucian, the son and heir of the Emperor of Mankind, finally unleashes his full power, annihilating an entire Ork WAAAGH! attacking the planet of Balor. The resulting blast of raw power is felt by beings across the galaxy, from Astropaths, Space Marine Librarians and Eldar to Magnus the Red, Abbadon and Lorgar Aurelian, who know it can mean only one thing: the Emperor is back.
  • The divergence between the Paragon and Renegade timelines of With This Ring comes to a head in episodes 16 and 17, Contingency and Reordered, where the protagonist walks away with very different power sets. The Paragon protagonist gains Enlightenment Superpowers, causing the orange light to become not just his tool but his philosophy, and greatly increasing his effectiveness as an Orange Lantern. The Renegade protagonist instead becomes a juvenile Physical God, and furthermore, he starts impersonating — and metaphysically becoming — Prince Grayven of Apokolips, New God of Conquest. This sets the two of them on very different paths.
  • Young Justice: Darkness Falls: The attack on the Watchtower introduced chaos and fear into the league. They were put on the backfoot against the light, and the team was forced to go truly underground to try unconventional tactics to gain their feet back. Further, after the initial strike, Darkseid began getting directly involved against Earth, serving as prelude to his full attack.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ever since The Angry Birds Movie, the birds have waged war against the pigs, especially with pranks of increasing audacity as seen in The Angry Birds Movie 2. However, the latter film has the birds and the pigs call a permanent truce and coexist peacefully after defeating Zeta and saving their islands.
  • In Frozen II, Elsa decides to stay in the forest with the other spirits, meaning she and Anna are once again separated and no longer live together. But no matter what happens, their bond never breaks and they write to each other and Elsa visits often.
  • In Turning Red, Mei decides to keep her panda spirit which is a decision she can't undo for the rest of her life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • As an adaptation of the books the Harry Potter films contain many of the same story altering Wham Episodes, and often highlight them in advertising:
    • Cedric Diggory's death and the physical return of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire marks a distinct dark change in the tone of the story that continues through the following movies. Hermione's line near the end of the film, "Everything's going to change now, isn't it?" lampshades it.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when the ministry falls during Bill and Fleur's wedding it means Great Britan's wizarding community, including Hogwarts, is now being run by Voldemort and the trio have to go on the run even if they weren't planning on returning to school that year anyway. In the meantime, everyone else is dealing with living in the new Death Eater run Police State.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army ends with Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and Johann permanently resigning from the BPRD and Liz announcing that she's pregnant with twins. This sets up a very different status quo for Hellboy 3, but since the third film has been cancelled, it's safe to assume that the team is done fighting monsters for good.
  • The Jurassic Park films do this quite often.
    • The Lost World: Jurassic Park starts off about four years after the incident on Isla Nublar, with InGen having kept it hush-hush to the point of smearing anyone who speaks out (including Ian Malcolm) and keeping the existence of the dinosaurs on nearby Isla Sorna secret. This comes to a brutal end when a bull Tyrannosaurus rex rampages through San Diego, revealing to the entire world that dinosaurs live again.
    • As Jurassic World opens, the franchise's resident MegaCorp InGen has been bought out by their rivals in the Masrani Corporation, who have finally managed to open the world's first successful dinosaur theme park. While the other movies took place in deserted islands and unopened park sites, Jurassic World marks the first entry to feature a thriving, fully functional park filled with vulnerable tourists. There's a new setting, and now way more things that can go wrong.
    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom goes one step further: now dinosaurs have been unleashed on the mainland, including the Tyrannosaurus and Blue, the Velociraptor. They will integrate with and possibly disrupt the Earth's natural ecosystem.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man comes off as a fairly simple action movie for most of its running time, with all of its plot threads tied up perfectly by the end. Then the one-two punch of the ending comes. First, the ultra-persistent Agent Coulson finally catches up with Tony and helpfully provides him with a pre-written statement to explain his odd behavior to the press; when Tony throws that statement away and says "I am Iron Man", we know that Tony's secret identity is out the window for good, and he now has a high-level government agency involved in his life. Then, after the credits, we get to meet Coulson's boss—a certain deep-voiced Black man with an eyepatch, who offers to discuss something called "The Avenger Initiative". For savvy fans of the comics, that scene instantly made it clear that this "simple action movie" was going to be the start of one hell of a Myth Arc.
      • Tony admitting to the press that he is Iron Man was itself a game changer for the MCU: a decade later it was revealed by Kevin Feige to be an ad lib by Robert Downey Jr., replacing the original ending in which Stark follows the comic book storyline with "Iron Man" being passed off as his bodyguard. The success of the film led to them trusting further changes in the source material, such as removing Thor's human persona as Dr. Blake, and encouraging more creative interpretations of canon.
    • By the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier the World Security Council is dead, S.H.I.E.L.D. has become a ghost organization due to massive internal corruption, HYDRA did not die off when the Red Skull vanished and now Nick Fury is using his presumed death to hunt them down, Black Widow's cover has been exposed and she is now seeking a new identity, and Captain America and The Falcon are chasing down The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes to snap him out of his brainwashing.
    • By the end of Captain America: Civil War the only remaining active Avengers are Iron Man and Vision, with most of the rest having been arrested and subsequently broken out by Captain America and now fugitives. War Machine is rendered paralyzed and likely won't be able to walk again without assistance. T'Challa, aka Black Panther, is now secretly giving Captain America and Bucky Barnes sanctuary, with Bucky put in cryogenic stasis until Wakanda's scientists can undo HYDRA's brainwashing.
    • By the end of Thor: Ragnarok, Asgard has been completely destroyed, and Odin has been Killed Off for Real — leaving the Asgardians to roam space in search of a new homeworld, while Thor adjusts to a new life as the King of Asgard. Thor himself is nearly unrecognizable by the end of movie, having lost an eye, along with most of his hair and his beloved hammer Mjolnir, while his brother Loki is (for the foreseeable future) on the side of good after the trauma of seeing his home destroyed. And then, in The Stinger, a large, menacing spaceship, believed to be Thanos's, appears on the Asgardians' front door.
    • Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are meant to serve this role for the entire MCU. Infinity War ended with half of the universe being killed off including exactly half of the twenty-two characters on the movie poster. The events of Infinity War will have a direct impact on the next movie which Kevin Feige has stated will be the tipping point for the entire MCU and that afterward, there will be two distinct periods: everything that happened before Avengers 4 and everything that will happen afterwards.
    • Avengers: Endgame definitely lives up to that statement. The MCU has skipped ahead 5 years. Scott Lang's daughter Cassie is now a teenager. Tony dies from using the Infinity Stones to dust Thanos and his army. Black Widow pulls a Heroic Sacrifice so Clint could obtain the Soul Stone. Vision is still dead (although he may or may not have gotten better later on) . Steve goes back in time to return the Infinity Stones, but decides to go stay in the past and marry Peggy, only returning to the present as an old man to give the shield to Sam Wilson. Thor leaves with the Guardians of the Galaxy, leaving Valkyrie as the new leader of the Asgardians. The Guardians have regained Gamora, but she's from a different timeline and has no memories of the Guardians films. Clint got his family back. Bruce has merged forms and no longer has to fear losing control, can resume work as a brilliant scientist, and has earned the love and respect of the world that once feared him. But everyone closest to him is gone. Everyone else is alive and well, but the original Avengers team is over.
    • Spider-Man: No Way Home completely destroys the status quo for Peter Parker, with his unmasking by Mysterio following the last film being the least dramatic shift. By the end, Aunt May has been murdered by the Green Goblin, and Spider-Man's secret identity is restored at the cost of the entire world forgetting who Peter Parker is, costing him his girlfriend, his best friend, and his Avengers and Stark Industries allies. With Peter choosing not to re-enter his friends' lives for their safety, he is now completely alone, has dropped out of high school, and is struggling to support himself in a world where he effectively doesn't exist. Oh, and The Symbiote now exists in his universe.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) initially set this up, with the dormant Titans having been awakened around the world due to Ghidorah's actions, and Godzilla enforcing a human-Titan coexistence after Ghidorah's death, leading to the Dawn of an Era. But unfortunately, subsequent instalments decided to subvert this and mostly retcon the Dawn of an Era into an Aborted Arc by having Godzilla command all the Titans to return to hibernation; reverting to the old status quo of the Titans generally being in hibernation and humans anxiously awaiting the Titans' return from slumber that the current writers in their wisdom will quite probably never allow to actually come to pass.
    • In Godzilla vs. Kong, Skull Island has been engulfed in an ecosystem-destroying Perpetual Storm due to Camazotz's actions in the prequel graphic novel Kingdom Kong, forcing Monarch to remove Kong from the island, whilst all but one of the natives and everything else on the island perishes. Kong ultimately finds a new home reigning in the Hollow Earth.
  • Psycho kills off the apparent main character and completely changes the plot from a thief on the run to a serial killer at a motel.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: This film marks a major turning point for the franchise, depicting the end of the war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, thus bridging the gap between The Original Series, it's movies and The Next Generation, where there are now Klingon Starfleet officers.
    • Star Trek (2009): For the characters, the events of this film are just another event, but for the fans with the benefit of oversight, it heavily alters Star Trek mythology. Most notably the destruction of Vulcan. The devastated look on the older Spock's face cements that until then, the changes could have simply turned this into a Close-Enough Timeline. Now nothing will ever be the same. Word of God said that Vulcan was destroyed for exactly this reason: to show that things are not the same, and that this is deadly serious.
  • The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy is a big game-changer for the series. In The Force Awakens, Han Solo dies. In The Last Jedi, Luke dies. In The Rise of Skywalker, Leia dies, as does Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, ending the Skywalker bloodline. The name lives on, though, through Rey, who takes "Skywalker" as her family name.
  • Terminator Genisys: The events of all the previous films are overwritten by an assassination attempt on Sarah Connor back when she was 9. Or to be more specific, to John Connor being killed\assimilated while Kyle Reese was time travelling, leading to Skynet using this new Terminator to create a whole new timeline. It's also brought up in-universe when Kyle first meets this version of Sarah.
  • Trail of the Pink Panther seems to do this to Inspector Clouseau (the ending reveals he survived), but that's because all of Clouseau's scenes in the first half are actually deleted scenes from The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Peter Sellers having been dead for almost 2 years when this film was made. The film was intended as the gateway for a new protagonist to enter the series with the next film and wasn't even conceived until after Sellers' death.
  • Transformers Film Series: After three movies of featuring the traditional "Autobots vs. Decepticons" formula, Age of Extinction establishes a new Myth Arc. After the end of the Autobot-Decepticon war, the Autobots are declared enemies of humanity and forced to go on the run. At the same time, the Transformers' Creators want the Transformers back and send the bounty hunter Lockdown to kidnap Optimus Prime. After defeating Lockdown, Optimus leaves Earth to confront the Creators.
  • After all the time-travelling takes place in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the course of history has been altered with only Wolverine and Professor X aware of what went on previously, Jean Grey and Cyclops are both Back from the Dead, Rogue apparently has her powers once more, Mystique has apparently undergone a Heel–Face Turn, and the public became aware of the mutant presence two decades earlier than it did in the original timeline. Also, the events of The Last Stand and Origins have been confirmed to never have transpired in the new timeline, and the events of X-Men and X-Men United occurred differently if they occurred at all.

    Literature 
  • Late in the Animorphs series, Marco is forced to reveal what has been going on to his father so that the two can fake their deaths and go into hiding. At the same time, Visser One is killed, giving Visser Three full control of the invasion and allowing him to use his more direct tactics. A little bit later, the Yeerks find out that the Animorphs are human, a fact that they had spent the entire series trying to keep secret, forcing them and their families into hiding. To top it all off, the Yeerks manage to steal the morphing cube, removing the only edge the Animorphs have over them. The seriousness of the kids' new situation is highlighted by the revelation of Jake's last name.
  • The Beginning After the End:
    • Volume 4: This volume is where the Cerebus Syndrome kicks in as a prelude to the War Arc. Arthur is brought into contact with the Asuras for the first time and is informed of the Divine Conflict that has been going on in the setting and his role in it. At the end of the volume, Xyrus Academy is attacked by the Vritra-backed Radicals which leads to the deaths of many of Arthur's classmates and Elijah being kidnapped.
    • Volume 7: The Bad Guy Wins and Dicathen is conquered. Many more of Arthur's loved ones are killed, including his father Reynolds and all of the Council (save Virion). If that was not enough, at the close of the war Elijah returns having seemingly been Reforged into a Minion as one of the Scythes. Except Elijah then reveals that he is in fact Nico Sever, the Evil Former Friend of Arthur's past self King Grey, who wants to exact revenge on him for the apparent murder of their shared Childhood Friend Love Interest Cecilia. In the end, Sylvie is forced to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to save Arthur from Nico and the Alacryan forces, sending him off to parts unknown.
    • Volume 8: In the aftermath of the previous volume, Arthur finds himself marooned in the Relictombs, a dimension completely alien to him. He finally receives the second part of Sylvia's message and learns the Awful Truth about why the Divine Conflict started: Kezess, the ruler of the Asuras, committed genocide on the ancient Djinn (whom he also learns that he and his family are descended from) and exiled Agrona and the Vritra when they threatened to expose him. On top of that, Arthur also learns that his mana core was damaged beyond recovery in the climactic battle of the previous volume. He is forced to travel incognito with a group of Alacryans in order to find a way out of the Relictombs, which begins to showcase how the Alacryans are as much victims of the Divine Conflict as the Dicathians are. At the end of the volume, Arthur can do nothing but watch as Tessia is captured by the Vritra and turned into the vessel for Cecilia. Immediately following that, the Asuras obliterate all of Elenoir in a futile bid to kill off the Legacy.
    • Volume 9: Following the string of reveals in the last volume, this volume marks a serious shake-up in the power scale. Arthur ends up in Alacrya itself, Comes Back Strong to such an unparalleled degree that he is able to give the previously invincible Scythes The Worf Effect, and is finally able to return home to Dicathen. He returns right after Kezess has decided to dispose of the resistance by sending a Tyke Bomb after them, one who has already slaughtered more of his friends and family and defeated all of the Lances by himself, and kills him as well. In terms of other characters, Seris is revealed to be Good All Along and Tessia is revealed to be Fighting from the Inside.
    • Volume 10: Arthur and his allies are able to reconquer their homeland from the Alacryans and Seris launches her own revolt against the Vritra. At the end of the volume, Arthur meets with Mordain and the Hearth and is finally able to resurrect Sylvie. Sylvie's resurrection is accompanied by the revelation that she was the reason why Grey reincarnated outside of Agrona's control, as her temporally-displaced self was able to rescue his soul from Agrona's grasp.
  • The Blood Books, in Blood Pact: Vicki becomes a vampire.
  • Bounders: When Jasper returns from his year in the spacetime rift between The Forgotten Shrine and The Heroes Return, he finds that a lot has changed. The pod has been disbanded. Cole is Earth Force's chief military strategist, Lucy works in PR, and both act almost like different people, showing little interest in rescuing Mira from the Youli or telling the world the truth. Marco and Addy have gone to Gulaga, which has expelled Earth Force, and joined La Résistance. Earth's war with the Youli is no longer secret, and Jasper and Mira have both been made into Earth Force martyrs, their faces on posters all over the planet.
  • The ending of Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword and the Mel'in episodes from the sequels. The Emperor is finally in control, the Rainbow is scattered and in hiding, Seamni is no longer an enemy of humankind but the Emperor's lover, the Dwarves are allies with humans, the empire is in shambles and facing a feudal reaction, and there's no longer anyone to protect Mel'in from the arriving main army of the Goat-legs.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Book 12, Changes. By the end of the book, just about everything in Harry's life has changed. Up to and including the "life" part. As another character put it in the anthology Side Jobs, in a story set shortly afterwards, "The status quo isn't changed, it's gone."
    • Book 17, Battle Ground, arguably goes even further. By the time everything's said and done, Murphy is dead, Harry's been kicked off the White Council and forced into a betrothal with Lara Raith, and while the Masquerade hasn't been outright broken, it has been worn very thin.
  • Harry Potter has several Wham Episodes that effectively change everything.
    • The first, and perhaps the biggest in terms of how the plot of the series changed, was the death of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. His murder marked the point in the series when the books stopped playing around with being "kids' books" and started getting down to the meat of it. This is also the same book where Voldemort goes from being a decrepit spirit trying to regain a body to fully restoring his physical body with all of his former strength and power. In the restoration ritual, Voldemort overcomes the former magical protection placed on Harry as a baby (when Harry's mother Lily died protecting him) which had prevented Voldemort from touching him up until this point. Lampshaded in the film with Hermione's line at the end, "Everything's going to change now, isn't it?" Said line was prominently featured in one of the trailers.
    • The death of Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince meant that the only person Voldemort ever feared is gone and that Hogwarts is no longer the safest place in the Wizarding World.
    • The death of Scrimgeour in Deathly Hallows results in a coup d'etat, with Voldemort running the Ministry of Magic. The Power Trio is forced to go on the run throughout the entire book while everyone else must deal with living in a Police State run by the Death Eaters.
  • T. S. Eliot's 1927 poem "The Journey of the Magi" is a reminiscence, many years after the fact, of one of the three magi ("wise men") who travelled westward across Asia in search of the Christ Child at the first Christmas. After finding and visiting the baby Jesus, he returns home to find that his former pagan beliefs no longer satisfy him, and that he suddenly feels spiritually unfulfilled. He never grasped the significance of what he saw, and has become so depressed that, "I should be glad of another death."
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles: In Fire Ascending, after the universal mess that had been created got repaired, so to speak, the universe took one more change. It plays the entire series off as books written within the series.
  • The Last Full Measure depicts the long, downward slide of the Confederacy / the long but inevitable march towards victory for the Union after the Battle of Gettysburg and Grant's appointment as head of the Army of the Potomac. It's a stark contrast to the start of the war in Gods and Generals, where Lee seemed incapable of losing battles.
  • The end of Shadows from Masks of Aygrima has The Secret City destroyed, the remaining Unmasked Army hating Mara except for Keltan who becomes her boyfriend, Ethelda and several others dead, and The Lady of Pain and Fire saving the army.
  • The Scouring and The Cataclysm in An Outcast in Another World fundamentally changed Elatra’s culture and geography. Everyone agrees that it was for the worse.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire seems to delight in flipping its readers' expectations as to who the main protagonist of the series is, at critical moments of every odd-numbered book:
    • In A Game of Thrones, POV character Eddard Stark is beheaded about 90% of the way through this volume after the entirety of this book — up to this point — had been setting him up to be a hero and the primary protagonist.
    • In A Storm of Swords, it's Robb Stark's turn to go. He is another heroic character in this series, a teenaged king who does his best to do the right thing, and is the eldest son of Eddard Stark. After making some unpopular choices and breaking his vow to marry a Frey daughter, he pisses off some important allies but when it looks like he has successfully made amends with his "allies" (the Freys), Robb is betrayed by the Freys and Boltons. The Freys, Boltons, and some Karstarks kill Robb, his mother Catelyn, and their forces in a massacre known as 'the Red Wedding' near the end of this novel.
    • In A Dance with Dragons, POV character Jon Snow, another heroic character and teenaged leader who does his best to do the right thing (and who is also another son of Eddard Stark and a half-brother to Robb Stark), is seemingly stabbed to death in a mutiny by a faction of his own men after a series of unpopular decisions he makes. This faction of Jon's officers are against many of his decisions, including his efforts to save everyone (including the wildlings, who many in the Watch hate) from threats to the realm; his decision to ally with the wildlings so they can defend against the undead together; his efforts to shelter the many, many extra people at the Wall (as his opposers fear resource shortages); and choices he makes which ultimately compromise the Night Watch's political neutrality (aiding Stannis, intending to march against The Dreaded Ramsay Bolton). Jon is seemingly killed without learning the truth of his origins and despite many readers believing he's the "ice" half of the song alluded to in the series' title.
    • Elsewhere in A Dance With Dragons, the "fire" half — Daenerys Targaryen — another heroic POV character who is a young leader like Robb and Jon and is also trying to do the right thing, loses the power base she had spent the entire series building up after making too many unpopular decisions in the eyes of important factions. She narrowly escapes an assassination attempt on her life while her own nephew Aegon, previously having been assumed dead, is revealed to be alive and leading a campaign to retake Westeros, which is what everybody assumed Daenerys would do. If Aegon is who he says he is, his claim to the throne is actually even stronger than Daenerys' ever was, which leaves her fate questionable at best.
    • In the epilogue of A Dance With Dragons, Varys returns after two whole books of absence to murder Kevan Lannister, with the intention of destroying the shaky Lannister-Tyrell alliance and softening up the realm for the above-mentioned Aegon VI, who has made landfall in the Stormlands and is marching on Storm's End. Additionally, after having been foreshadowed since the beginning of the series, winter has finally come to Westeros.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The New Jedi Order series. They killed: Chewbacca, Anakin Solo, Borsk Fey'lya, Admiral Ackbar, The Hapan Queen Mother Teneniel Djo, and Mon Mothma. Oh, and started Jacen Solo on the road to the Dark Side that would later lead to his death. On top of all that, several side worlds from earlier books are decimated with no hope of recovery, the New Republic has to reorganize into a looser Galactic Alliance, and the aftermath of this invasion would be a part of all books later in this timeline as the Alliance keeps working to clean up the mess of the greatest war since the Galactic Civil War.
    • Galaxy of Fear starts off as fairly episodic with a rather set dynamic between the characters, but after the sixth book one character is Put on a Bus and dynamics between the remaining characters change completely. There's also a fresh sense of urgency and insecurity as now the characters have to flee from The Empire, which is there at every turn. It's not as dramatic a change as some, but it certainly impacts the series.
  • The third book of The Traitor Son Cycle ends with the Men and the Wild, who have been fighting and killing each other on sight for the better part of the last few centuries, finally making peace to confront the Big Bad. The opening of the fourth book showcases some of the changes, with Wild creatures and Outwallers openly trading with humans, an irk and a boglin joining the previously all-human Red Company, and the Wild participating in the tourney.
  • There are several throughout The Wheel of Time, but probably the most climactic and sudden is the cleansing of the Source in Book 9. After three thousand years, male Channelers are no longer doomed to insanity and death. Under the circumstances, most people are doubtful at best about this change.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible has both historical and religious examples.
    • Genesis takes this trope to a literal level. Within a seven day period, God transformed nothingness into everything.
    • The Face–Heel Turn of Lucifer and (presumably) third part of angels, leading them to become devil and demons respectively. And then corruption and Face–Heel Turn of Adam and Eve follows (and through them, humanity). The whole world and nature changes. All people go to Hell now.
    • Historically, Babylon destroys Jerusalem and takes the Israelites into captivity, ending the Davidic dynasty of kings.
    • Religiously, Jesus' life and death, which replaces the Mosaic Law with principles such as not eating pig meat, erase God's favoritism towards the Israelites, and changes God's modus operandi from sponsoring a physical country with borders that need defending inhabited by a single ethnicity to sponsoring a spiritual nation separated from earthly war and politics populated by anyone who wants to serve God.
    • And then, a few decades later, Jerusalem gets destroyed again, this time by the Romans, and the Diaspora happens.
    • The Second Coming of Christ is prophesied to be this again. The Earth will be destroyed by fire, believers will be taken to Heaven, while unbelievers and Satan will be sentenced to Hell.
  • Norse Mythology has the death of Baldur by Loki, Odin has one of Loki's sons killed in return, and when Loki gets mad about this and insults the Aesir, they capture and bind him. It's at this point when Loki turns from Trickster God to Big Bad and Ragnarok turns from being prophecy to inevitable occurrence.

    Podcasts 
  • The Magnus Archives has done this with every season finale after the first.
    • The Season 2 finale acts as a Cosmic Horror Reveal. The statements taken by the Institute aren't disconnected one-off stories — they're all inspired by fourteen Eldritch Abominations based on humanity's primal fears, which manifest physically in our world in the form of supernatural encounters. And the Institute serves one of these entities. Also, Elias is revealed to be a villain, murdering both Gertrude Robinson and Jurgen Leitner and framing Jon for the latter.
    • The Season 3 finale ends with Tim and Daisy dead, Jon in a coma (and also definitively no longer human), Elias in prison, and Peter Lukas as the new Head of the Institute.
    • The Season 4 finale is the greatest change to status quo yet: one of the apocalypse rituals finally succeeds. Jonah Magnus compels Jon to complete a ritual that brings all the Fears into existence, effectively ending the world.
  • The Penumbra Podcast: After two seasons of solving crimes in Hyperion City, Juno and Rita agree to leave Mars for good and join Buddy Aurinko's Caper Crew in the Season 2 finale — transforming the series from a Fantastic Noir into something more akin to Firefly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The territories of the Inner Sphere tend to change frequently in BattleTech, and often permanently, such as through the formation and destruction of new factions. The Fourth Succession War created the Rasalhague Republic, then The Clans invaded and introduced ten new factions in the form of Invader Clans (and destroyed the Rasalhagues as a faction), Clan Wolf split into two factions (Clan Wolf-in-Exile and Crusader Clan Wolf), the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth united through Altar Diplomacy and became the Federated Commonwealth, only to split up in a Civil War two decades later, Clan Smoke Jaguar were Smoked, the Jihad created (and destroyed) the Word of Blake and also destroyed the Free Worlds League and several Invader Clans, while the Clans underwent the War of Reaving which annihilated several Home Clans and permanently separated the Home and Sphere Clans. Clan Snow Raven and Ghost Bear went native, while Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon made their own empires in the Inner Sphere, The Republic of the Sphere arose, then fell again after the Blackout, ComStar was destroyed and subsumed by Clan Sea Fox, Clan Wolf declared itself ilClan of a new Star League... The list goes on.
  • Dungeons & Dragons settings have periodically undergone this to try to restore interest in a flagging game line or make an in-universe justification for changes from one edition to the next:
    • The Spellplague that marked the transition of the Forgotten Realms from Dungeons & Dragons from 3E to 4E was essentially this. Not everyone took this change well.
    • For the Mystara D&D setting, the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set was this trope. Sinking a game-setting's most powerful empire into the ocean sort of has to be an example.
    • Greyhawk had the Greyhawk Wars in the early 90s, which left a major empire fractured, several nations devastated and some eliminated, and several new threats on the rise across the Flanaess. It generated some interest but ultimately failed to restore interest in the setting, and upset a lot of the die-hards.
    • Planescape's City of Adventure Sigil was an intensely political setting focused around fifteen powerful factions which ruled the city and fought a cold war over the hearts and minds of the citizens, because belief is power and each sought to put its guiding philosophy over the others. Then came the Faction War, where the cold war flared hot. At the end of the war, several factions were destroyed, splintered, or merged; some new factions emerged; and all were formally barred from Sigil. Obviously it garnered mixed reactions. Supposedly the game line was to continue into a new post-War period that explored the new setting at length, but the line faltered there as 3rd Edition was shortly visible on the horizon.
    • Die Vecna Die! was the final published adventure of 2nd Edition, which involved the ancient lich Vecna breaking free of his prison on Ravenloft and eventually making his way into Sigil and somehow ascending to godhood. Dire consequences of Vecna's ascension while in Sigil were proposed in the adventure itself, and it's considered an excuse for the changes between 2nd Edition and 3rd. The adventure even ends nearly quoting this trope: "Nothing will ever be the same again."
  • When a Critical Shift goes down in Feng Shui, if the PCs have no way of reversing this, it is essentially this.
  • The Mending in Magic: The Gathering radically altered the story from that of century-long interplanar plots by godlike beings that primarily took place on the plane of Dominaria to more insular, episodic plots centered around each new plane visited. The in-story change was the fabric of reality altered changing Planeswalkers (the aforementioned godlike beings) to mortal spellcasters who happen to have the ability to travel between planes.
  • Warhammer: The setting ended on an unquestionable victory for the bad guys, the hordes of Chaos running free over the rest of the world, the Warpstone moon exploding and sending mutagenic meteors over the whole planet, the Lizardmen finally seeing the Old One's plan (which they'd been following despite not knowing big chunks of it) had failed and lifting off their cities into space, and some factions eliminated entirely. Along comes Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, featuring the reincarnated souls of most of those lost in the original setting.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Back when the God-Emperor of Mankind was still up and about, the galaxy was a far nicer place, the forces of Chaos were still humans and mutants, and technology was freely available. Now Chaos has its own Super Soldiers, technology that was once common are now irreplaceable treasured relics, and the Emperor needs to burn the souls of a thousand psykers every day just to stay alive and keep the Imperial fleets running.
    • It happens again with the release of The Gathering Storm: Abaddon manages to destroy Cadia, the Eldar manage to bring Ynnead into existence, Roboute Guilliman has returned, the Imperium is cut in half by huge warp rifts. The entire setting was bisected by "The Great Rift", basically an enormous realspace warpstorm that cut the entire galaxy almost down the middle. This had massive changes to the status quo, such as countless millions of Imperium-based armies either losing major recruiting worlds or strongholds (Cadia being chief among them) and making the job of defending man's hold in the galaxy considerably harder than it already was. Almost every Eldar craftworld suffered significant losses not only from the devastation of Chaos suddenly having a much stronger foothold in reality, but also due to the sudden emergence of the Ynnari, who's god effectively demolished one of the larger craftworlds in it's entirety. Whole Tyranid hive fleets got cut off from one another and began creating splinter fleet after splinter fleet in a desperate attempt to continue to harvest biomass. All of this was so momentous that not a few millenia later, it spurred the Necron's Silent King, a character who was made explicitly to not show up and not have a model, to make his way back to the Milky Way to try and unify his broken, roboticized kingdoms. The only factions who didn't see any meaningful changes to their fortunes were Chaos, who outside of having a much larger staging ground for realspace conquering they've been carrying on as per usual, and the Orks, who are just happy that the fighting they've been doing suddenly got a lot more fun.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE's story went in a relatively steady pace for the initial three years, but after that, every succeeding year trampled over the previously established status quo until there was almost nothing left of the original plot. In "short":
    • 2001: Six Toa arrive on a besieged tropical island to stop the Makuta and awaken Mata Nui.
    • '02: The heroes go through a Mid-Season Upgrade.
    • '03: A former important supporting character becomes the Seventh Toa, the Makuta is seemingly killed. The islanders rebuild themselves to be stronger.
    • '04: Whole Episode Flashback to the ancient city of Metru Nui. Turns out the entire story up to this point was a lie, and there were more Toa and Makuta with the Turaga having once been Toa themselves. Not only that, there are various other organizations and way more islands.
    • '05: Continuing the Flashback, Metru Nui is in ruins.
    • '06: Metru Nui, in the present, is repopulated and every character adopts a new life,but Mata Nui is dying. Six former side characters become Toa. A secret organization is revealed. Makuta returns.
    • '07: The new Toa change permanently and one of them is Killed Off for Real. The original island from '01 is demolished.
    • '08: The island is fully destroyed as Mata Nui awakens, but Makuta takes over his body and The Bad Guy Wins. Tons of characters are killed off. We find out Mata Nui is actually a huge robot and every character is a malfunctioning mechanoid, and as such, the whole story is the result of an unintended glitch.
    • '09: We're introduced to a brand new world, Bara Magna. Mata Nui makes a new body and wins a war for the locals. Meanwhile, the original universe becomes a vile Crapsack World.
    • '10: Makuta is offed, the entire original universe and every place we've seen is destroyed, Mata Nui goes back to stasis, Bara Magna becomes the beautiful Spherus Magna, every mutation done to characters is reversed, and the leader of the original group of Toa is de-evolved into his original stature. Lots of important characters get killed in side stories. Oh, and the Bionicle franchise ends.
    • '11: The untied plot threads are further complicated in official web-serials, and seemingly every new chapter rewrites the story in some way, some spectacularly so. The biggest kicker of it all is that is that a minor character from '06 is a Great Being in disguise and has not only been orchestrating the deaths of several major beings from the original universe, but had in fact been responsible for giving the inhabitants of the Matoran Universe sapience to being with. The writer must be aiming to set a record...and then he had to stop writing due to other priorities, leaving the whole story unfinished.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In the epilogue, Ann ponders this with Ayane, feeling that a lot has changed in their adventure after learning a Nebulous Evil Organization is seeking to take advantage of an Eldritch Location, and that whatever comes next will be completely different. Ayane reassures her by wanting to go on more adventures together.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations did this to Ezio's trilogy. A completely different setting, the overall tone is much darker and Desmond is in a coma after he killed Lucy Stillman. The main character has also changed a lot.
    • Assassin's Creed III provides the biggest shake-up for the series by killing Desmond, the main character. Most of the subsequent games would instead focus more on the past sections and put the player in the first-person shoes of a rotating cast of nameless minor characters who become involved in the Templar-Assassin war. While the original plans for the series involved Desmond continuing to act as the protagonist and developing the cyberpunk action further with his abilities developing through the Bleeding Effect, Ubisoft noted the much greater popularity of their historic reenactment gameplay and chose to change direction.
    • Assassin's Creed Origins changes things yet again by introducing Layla, an Animus engineer who defects from Abstergo and acts as the new present-day protagonist, and continues in this role in subsequent games.
  • The Batman: Arkham Series ends up taking the usual Batman status quo and turning everything fans have come to expect from it for decades on its head. Batman: Arkham City did the unthinkable when it ended up killing The Joker off for real by the end. Batman: Arkham Knight arguably one-ups this by having Batman unmasked as Bruce Wayne to the entire public by The Scarecrow.
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • The struggling diner becomes profitable after its reopening. The protagonist is more cavalier after this point about giving people jobs or doing things that cost him money.
    • Lampshaded by Amanda on the beach trip. She says she wants to go "back to the way things were", and the protagonist asks whether she means before or after the trip to Whiskeyville. She clarifies that she means after the trip.
  • Destiny 2: Unlike in the first game, major events that affect the story have a tendency to cause noticeable changes even to social spaces. Specifically:
    • Year 1 (The Red War): The Red War sees the original tower destroyed and the Speaker Killed Off for Real. The new tower has a totally different design from the original.
    • Year 2 (Forsaken): Cayde-6 is Killed Off for Real and can no longer be met at the Tower.
    • Year 3 (Shadowkeep): The end of the year sees the arrival of the Black Fleet, resulting in half of the destinations that can be visited disappearing.
    • Year 4 (Beyond Light): During the events of Season of the Splicer, the faction reps either die or flee the city after almost getting it destroyed by accident, with faction rallies no longer happening afterwards. Additionally, an entire new district inhabited by Eliksni becomes accessible within the city.
    • Year 5 (The Witch Queen): The final portion of the seasonal content sees Rasputin Killed Off for Real, and the Eliksni Quarter is vaulted.
    • Year 6 (Lightfall): The Traveler returns to print and becomes unresponsive after the Witness opens a portal inside of it, while Eliksni and Imperial Cabal can now be found openly on the Tower.
  • After the protagonist of Double Homework is expelled from Dr. Mosely’s summer school program, the focus starts to shift to the weirdness in that program, and Dr. Mosely herself starts to seem more dangerous.
  • Dragon Age II ended with mage circles all over the world rising up in rebellion following the Templars heavy and iron-fisted response to the original rebellion in Kirkwall, along with the Templars abandoning the Chantry in order to completely focus on putting down or wiping out the mages, completely obliterating a status quo that had been in place for nearly a thousand years.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Happens after the ending of Oblivion. In the previous games of the series, the player was always sent out to save the Septim Empire. Martin, the last member of the imperial Septim bloodline sacrifices himself to defeat the Big Bad Mehrunes Dagon and banish his demonic army back to the realms of Oblivion. The lack of a legitimate heir and the damages caused by The Legions of Hell left a power vacuum which ultimately caused the Empire to crumble, meaning several of its conquered provinces are already making plans on seceding.
    • Two hundred years later in Skyrim, the Empire really is a shadow of what it once was. The Summerset Isles were taken over by a faction of Altmer nationalists who annexed Valenwood and made Elsweyr a client state, and they started a devastating war with the Empire that saw the first Emperor killed and vast swathes of Cyrodiil ravaged, the armies beaten back at great cost and by signing a contentious truce. Hammerfell was given to the elves as one of the terms, but the Redguards kicked them out and Hammerfell is now independent of both entities. Morrowind was largely destroyed by a gigantic volcanic eruption, the Empire abandoned it and Dunmer refugees are now spread across the continent. Black Marsh also was taken over by nationalists and broke away to invade southern Morrowind as pay back for years of slavery and oppression. That leaves High Rock and Skyrim as the only stable Imperial provinces left, though High Rock is aligned with the Empire only tangentially and Skyrim is plunged into civil war as one of the other terms of the Empire's truce was a ban on Talos worship, something many Nords feel very strongly about. With the player's help, Skyrim's rebels can win the war and secede, all but ensuring the Empire is done and dusted.
  • Fallout has this as a common theme, as there is always a Malignant Plot Tumor and external circumstances working to prevent the protagonist from returning to their old life.
    • Fallout: after returning with the Water Chip, the Vault Dweller is sent back out to defeat the super mutants and told not to return until they do. After doing that, they are permanently banished from the Vault.
    • Fallout 2: after visiting Vault 13, you return to your village to find them captured by the Enclave.
    • Fallout 3: as an intentional Shout-Out to the first Fallout, the Lone Wanderer can return once to Vault 101 for a quest, but is permanently exiled from the Vault afterward with no way to go back.
    • Fallout: New Vegas: Courier 6 must choose a faction at some point in the main quest, through the assassination of either Caesar, President Kimball, and/or Mr. House. Doing so will irreparably destroy their reputation with that faction, and most members will shoot on sight after that. The destruction or upgrading of House's Securitrons in the bunker below the Fort is also a pretty significant demarcation of loyalty to either the Legion, NCR, House, or Yes Man.
    • Fallout 4: after the Sole Survivor is catapulted through time via cryogenic freezing, there is little do to return to their old life. Even so, the arrival of the Brotherhood of Steel on the Prydwen and the discovery that your son is actually the elderly Father running the Institute mark significant shifts within the game's narrative.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI had Kefka cause The End of the World as We Know It halfway through the game.
      On that day, the world was changed forever...
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake had a meta example: Thanks to the machinations of Sephiroth leading to the destruction of the Whispers, the plot of the original game is thrown Off the Rails. Aerith even metaphorically comments upon this trope, at one point in the game discussing how the steel sky of the Midgar slumsnote  are a source of comfort to her; a restricting, safe, and ever-familiar part of life that cuts her off from the frightening, vast freedom promised by the sky above. At the end of the game, as the team leaves the city of Midgar behind, free from the safety and restrictions imposed by the '97 game, she cannot help but wistfully comment that she misses the steel sky.
    • Final Fantasy X: From around halfway through the game, things unravel this way: Yevon is exposed to the people as a Church Of Evil, the Al Bhed reveal the airship — passing a new landmark in a society that fears technology, the Guado declare war on the Al Bhed (and later, the Ronso) after Seymour is 'killed' the first time, the party decide to Screw Destiny and kill Yunalesca — an action that ensures Summoners can't use the Final Summoning ever again. The ending itself is the largest example, with Sin vanquished forever and the Fayth put to rest, bringing about an Eternal Calm — but also leaving all of Spira to deal with some uncomfortable truths about the last 1000 years of their history.
    • Final Fantasy XIII:
      • The game ends with the Cocoon-fal'Cie all dying and Cocoon falling to Pulse as a result, only a Heroic Sacrifice from Vanille and Fang preventing it from colliding with the world below. Now without any kind of protection, and a population partially decimated by the fall, humanity is left to adjust to the wilderness of Pulse.
      • XIII-2 (which takes place three years later) showcases the consequences, including but not limited to humans developing magic powers, humans becoming divided over whether to abandon Cocoon or not, and time itself becoming twisted and riddled with paradoxes.
    • The entire point behind A Realm Reborn (AKA Patch 2.0) for Final Fantasy XIV is to show that the entire region of Eorzea has completely changed after the events of the Calamity, along with everyone's lives forever altered by the same event.
      • The events of Endwalker (AKA Patch 6.0) marks a series of great changes that forever alter the status quo of the entire series, as befitting the Grand Finale of the Myth Arc surrounding Hydaelyn and Zodiark: Zodiark is destroyed, and Hydaelyn, herself, dies shortly before the game's climax. Garlemald is nearly destroyed, and the war between The Empire and Eorzea finally ends after it is saved from the brink of oblivion. Hostilities between the city-states of Eorzea and the Tribes (formerly "Beast Tribes") finally end as all parties come together to confront a mutual threat. By the end of the game, the root cause of the dangers facing the player and their world is finally confronted and dealt with, after which the Scions of the Seventh Dawn formally disband (only to come back together in the post-game MSQ and the next expansion).
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses throws a mean curveball at the player near the end of the game's first half: Edelgard is revealed to be the Flame Emperor, one of the sinister forces conspiring against the Church of Seiros, and goes on to take the throne of the Adrestian Emperor and declare war against the Church in short order. The Player Character falls into a five-year coma shortly afterwards, and the Fodlan they reawaken in is vastly changed due to the ongoing war. The Garreg Mach Monastery is in shambles and a hotspot for thieves and brigands until they are routed by the player and their students. Edelgard is fully committed to the war and determined to wipe out the Church. Dimitri has been driven insane by the revelation that Edelgard is tied to a massacre that killed most of his family, and he has now devoted himself to revenge. Claude tried his best to stop the war, but without help from the player, his efforts are for naught. If the player sided with Edelgard, they can rein in her aggression, but their betrayal of the Church causes the archbishop, Rhea, to practically go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and descend from a dogmatic yet caring religious leader into murderous insanity.
    • Fire Emblem Engage throws a curveball from a story and a gameplay perspective in Chapters 10 and 11, in which all the Emblems you've acquired are stolen and corrupted by the Big Bad. You not only lose access to the game's main mechanic, it's now being used against you until you can get the rings back. For the next couple of chapters, you'll have to make do with a much smaller number of entirely new Emblems, as you slowly work to re-gain the ones you used for the first half. If you were too reliant on the early Emblems, you're in for a significant Difficulty Spike while you re-adjust.
  • During the first season of its Living World content, Guild Wars 2 regularly introduced content that was mostly removed with the next update. This changed when the Battle of Lion's Arch destroyed the game's main Hub City in spectacular fashion. Even after the event's completion, the city remained in shambles for several months until it was rebuilt. Even then it was an entirely new design and aesthetic.
  • Jak and Daxter:
    • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is a typical Naughty Dog platformer with very little plot. Its sequels though that send the characters into the future are much darker GTA-style games, with a much deeper story.
    • Jak 3: Wastelander: the northern part of Haven City has been completely destroyed due to the palace being shot down, the slums have been completely wrecked by the Metal Heads, who have created an organic hive in the northern farm area, and on top of all that, the KG Robots conquered the factories and created a floating base, leaving only the Port and the New Haven City inhabitable.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The end of The Wind Waker permanently seals Ganondorf, the Triforce, the Master Sword and Hyrule itself deep under the ocean in a finale based on letting go of the past and accepting "the winds of change". Of course, the only games set after Wind Waker are the two DS games, with the second taking place in a new Hyrule. All other games set after Ocarina of Time take place in an Alternate Timeline.
  • Mass Effect:
    • This is a major part of Mass Effect 2. After Shepard is brought back from the dead, he/she tries to bring the old crew back together, but most of them have moved on or do not want to rejoin them, including his/her old love interests. Only two of the old squad members rejoin and they have changed during the two years. The new Normandy is not quite the same as the old one. Since Shepard now works for Cerberus and not the Alliance military, people react differently to him/her.
    • Mass Effect 3 is one giant warzone from start to finish. Everything that happens, even the romances and lighthearted side quests, is tempered by the knowledge that tomorrow, everyone you know might die, and the odds are getting worse all the time.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X8 seemed to be setting up for this, with the revelation that Sigma had really, truly, finally been Killed Off for Real at the end of the game (with the only X game that took place chronologically afterwards featuring no appearance from him,) with the implication that Lumine and the New Generation Reploids would be taking his place. Sadly, no X games have been made since then, and any new X games made after all this time may end up bringing him back anyway.
    • Before Mega Man X4, Mavericks could be safely considered Always Chaotic Evil after being irrevocably brainwashed into servitude by Sigma. X4 is the first — and certainly not the last — time the Maverick label is used to brand political dissidents and other undesirables for destruction, and marks the series' Graying Morality.
    • Mega Man Zero 3 & 4 completely shatter the status quo not just in their own series (a series that already didn't have much of one to begin with) but across the entire franchise. By the end of the third game, Dr. Weil has seized control of Neo Arcadia from the Guardians, Zero is revealed to be a mere copy of his former self, with Omega using his true body, and with Omega's death, Zero's body is destroyed as well. X also finally fades away after the destruction of his body in the second game, and the Guardians are killed during Omega's explosive death, leaving none of Neo Arcadia's former rulers left alive. And in the fourth game, Neo Arcadia is destroyed entirely, the peace between humans and reploids that Dr. Light and X had been trying to achieve for centuries is finally realized, and — depending on how you view the nature of Biometals in Mega Man ZX — Zero finally dies for real after realizing what he's been fighting for. Zero 4 is also the first time a Mega Man series actually got a definitive end, a feat that would only be replicated in the Battle Network timeline.
  • The ending of Metal Gear Solid did this for the Metal Gear saga, with an embittered Solid Snake finally cutting ties with the US military after discovering the truth about the cloning project that resulted in his birth. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty elaborated on the fallout from the ending, with Snake and Otacon joining forces to start "Philanthropy", a private military organization devoted to containing the threat of Metal Gear.
  • Metroid Fusion ends with the Metroids going extinct. For a while, every other Metroid game that came out after this had been set before Fusion and fans wondered if there ever was a game set after Fusion, it would either seriously shake up the plot, or somehow Metroids will exist again, keeping the former Status Quo. Metroid Dread answered those questions: Metroids remain extinct, never appearing as enemies. However, the Metroid DNA Samus was injected with in Fusion has awakened within her, meaning Samus is now a Metroid in human form. The series title has now taken on a new meaning.
  • Monkey Island: Coinciding with the departure of the original creator Ron Gilbert, The Curse of Monkey Island would be a pivot point for the franchise. While wacky puzzles and continued conflict with Lechuck would continue, at the end of this game, Guybrush and Elaine are married. Thus, from their attraction and frustration in the original 2 games, all future installments would be shaped by their marriage and both the highs and lows springing from their different tempermants.
  • The Neverhood's Battle of Robot Bil completely changes the tone of the remainder of the game. For a strange story with bizarre settings and lots of bizarre humor, you would hardly expect your only allies abruptly getting killed off, leaving you all alone inside the creepy Big Bad's place where no bizarre humour can even exist, with hint messages from Willie discontinued for obvious reasons.
  • Episode 12 of Ragnarok Online changed Morroc and parts of its surrounding desert. The castle in the middle of Morroc was a sealing place for Satan Morroc, who awoke and broke out in this episode. The map and city of Morroc now has destroyed buildings and the castle is gone, leaving a sunken pit in the middle. Part of the Sograt Desert is now inaccessible through typical travelling because Satan Morroc has twisted parts of it into an alternate dimension, called the Dimensional Rift. Most of the city's NPCs have moved to a refuge camp near the pyramid near the city. Morroc's theme was also altered into a more somber version called Stained Memories.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2:
    • The end of Chapter 4. the bank robbery supposed to raise funds for the gang to escape the law goes horribly wrong: the Pinkertons arrive and kill Hosea and Lenny, thus leaving Dutch without his Only Sane Man to keep things in control. John is captured and Abigail flees the law, beginning Dutch's doubts on the couple. Arthur, Dutch, Javier, Bill and Micah escape the bank and have to flee Lemoyne by the boat, losing most of their take and Dutch, after seeing everything his plan led to happen, begins to go insane.
    • Near the end of the story, several things happen to drive this point home; after the gang moves to Beaver Hollow, someone (heavily implied to be Micah) smashes the donation box and the ledger disappears, meaning you can't donate money or restock the camp's supplies anymore. And after Arthur and Sadie bust John out of prison, you will have permanent dead or alive bounties in Roanoke Ridge and half of Lemoyne. While you can still roam around those areas freely, lawmen no longer give you a chance to surrender if you commit any crimes. Finally, once Arthur and John blow up a bridge on Dutch's orders, trains stop running until after the Time Skip. Also, Arthur is hit with the late-stages of tuberculosis, making gameplay significantly difficult till the end of Chapter 6, where Arthur dies and the Van der Linde gang is fractured for good.
  • Dragon players are hit hard with this in Issue #11 of The Secret World. Upon returning home from Tokyo, it's discovered that the Child has grown into a teenager, Bong Cha has been mindwiped and expelled from the faction, and Daimon Kiyota has replaced her as Voice of the Dragon; with this change in leadership, the Dragon is no longer content to sit by and create mathematical models to predict the future, but are now taking charge of changing the future. Plus, the after-mission reports are now being written by Daimon, quirky style and all.
  • The first third or so of the original Shin Megami Tensei was Urban Fantasy Just Before the End. That probably tells you what the rest of the game is set in.
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent and Conviction change the series from being about Sam Fisher, badass SIGINT Ninja battling terrorists for a secret BlackOps branch of the US government, to being about Sam Fisher, badass fugitive on the run from the US government for a crime he didn't commit (although in Double Agent he's still actually working with them, just as a deep-cover agent infiltrating a domestic terrorist organization, so the gameplay at least is largely unchanged).
  • On a meta level, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is this for the Super Smash Bros. series; any pretenses of Nintendo-only characters being used are shattered with the introduction of Snake and Sonic as guest fighters, and it's the first game to have a plot with actual stakes beyond opposing Master Hand. The plot itself has R.O.B. become the last of his kind after the Isle of the Ancients is completely vaporized, which is acknowledged by his Boxing Ring title in succeeding installments.
  • Team Fortress 2 centers on a petty rivalry between two brothers, Redmond and Blutarch Mann, played out through an endless net-stalemate war between their mercenary armies. The Mann vs. Machine Update, however, is based on the premise of the Mann brothers both being assassinated by their long-lost third brother, effectively putting all of the mercs out of a job. He then proceeded to try to take over Mann Co — which had been willed to a third party over half a century ago — with an army of robots, which led to the mercs being re-hired by Saxton Hale to defend it. In the real world, though, not only are all of the original RED-vs-BLU maps still playable, more are still being developed and the short Expiration Date seems to be set when their rivalry was still going on.
  • Tekken:
    • Tekken 6 throws a major curveball in its narrative with Jin taking control of the Mishima Zaibatsu and transforming it into an N.G.O. Superpower dead-set on bringing the other nations of the world to heel. The ensuing global war between the Zaibatsu and G Corp would go on to become a major facet of the games going forward, overshadowing the King of Iron Fist Tournament until it was woven into the events of Tekken 8 in a radically different, far deadlier form.
    • Tekken 7 does this in regard to the Mishima family curse and the Devil Gene, with the introduction of Kazumi Mishima, the earliest known person to possess the Devil Gene. Namely, it implies that the Devil Gene isn't endemic to the Mishimas, and their personal issues are a different can of worms altogether.
  • Undertale does this in a meta way if you decide to go through with a full No Mercy route. Upon killing everyone and everything there is to kill in the Underground, Chara/the Fallen Child, with or without your consent, goes on to kill everything outside of the Underground as well, and upon restarting the game, you are left with nothing except a black screen and howling wind. Eventually, Chara will return and strike a deal: they will restore the game world if you give them your SOUL. This seems to be upheld at first — the game intro starts to play again and everything works as it should — but if you shoot for a True Pacifist ending after doing this, things take a morbid turn as it is revealed that the Fallen Child still has your SOUL, is now fully in control of it, and is implicitly about to murder all of your friends. Once this is done, no amount of resetting or even True Resetting can undo it.
  • Warframe:
    • Following the Second Dream, we finally learn what the Tenno really are, the Sentients have returned, and the moon has been moved back into normal space. Heck, just to hammer in how different things have gotten, WE GET TO SEE WHAT LOTUS REALLY LOOKS LIKE. Warframe can basically be divided into two halves, the game before The Second Dream, and the game after it. That's when you actually create your character, after all.
    • The War Within changes things even further: Depending on your choices, one of the Grineer Queens is now dead, the Tenno can now begin attacking the heart of the Grineer forces, and you no longer need to use your warframe to fight the enemy. Furthermore,the devs have confirmed that your actions here will have an effect on future parts of the storyline, meaning that no two players will have the same storyline.
    • As of December 2017, out of nowhere and without any kind of explanation or foreshadowing, we really get to see what Lotus looks like. Rumors of her being either a fusion or a symbiosis between the Orokin Margulis and the Sentient Natah, both traitors to their own kin, are confirmed true. This is Played for Drama however, because this reveal wasn't meant for the player, but for the figure right behind you: Executioner Ballas, largely hinted to be the single person responsible not only for the slaughter of the Orokin, but for the creation of both the Warframes and the Sentients, appearing in the flesh, after being rumored for dead since centuries ago... Oh yeah, remember to add "vanishing with your faction's leader" to his list, because that just happened, right in front of you!
    • The Sacrifice takes the changes Up to Eleven: we find out that the Warframes, as opposed to being just created from infested flesh, are actually Orokin Soldiers tainted by the infestation, which the Tenno control via empathy to their suffering. We also learn that Ballas betrayed the Orokin for murdering Margulis and sided with the Sentients, and that he created Excalibur Umbra out of a Dax solider who discovered his betrayal, before forcing said Dax to murder his own son against his will. After Umbra is finally calmed, the player's Tenno and him go up against a Sentient horde, where we learn that Umbra can function without the Operator. Finally, the player's Tenno goes to Earth to deal with Ballas, and after a short fight with some sentient drones, manages to kill him, only for the Lotus, now Natah once more, to pick up his corpse and disappear to the Tau system.
    • And as if things couldn’t get any worse, Natah’s long-lost brother, Erra, has awoken to aid her in the Sentients’ campaign of expansion, with a shocking reveal that Ballas actually (barely) survived Umbra’s final blow, but at a very significant cost to both his pride and his physical wellbeing, now serving as Erra’s ‘pet’ and informant. However, Ballas manages to notice the Tenno spying on them, and, despising his Sentient masters, relinquishes to the Tenno the one of the only weapons specifically designed to destroy them outright…
    • This fully sets in during and after the events of The New War. The Sentients outright win the titular conflict and create the puppet state of Narmer with Ballas (whose apparent switch over to the Tenno's corner was a deception) as ruler, before finally being defeated when the Operator allies with an Alternate Universe version of themselves. The Lotus is restored, Ballas is finally killed off, Erra maybe dies for good, Teshin dies, and the Man in the Wall finally makes an appearance in what might be his true form. Fortuna and Cetus both receive massive makeovers after being occupied by Narmer, Sentient wrecks now dot the system, and the Plains of Eidolon and Orb Valis not only have remnants of Narmer occupation, but now are host to Narmer enemies that can be fought on a sixth tier of bounties.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Cataclysm is dedicated to this trope. While the first two expansions each opened a new continent without touching the old world bar minor details, this expansion retooled the old content to match with the new status quo, both in terms of gameplay and story. Azeroth is hit by the eponymous Cataclysm, some zones are left completely wrecked while others change hands, and virtually every zone has its questing experience significantly revamped.
    • Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor both featured a zone-specific version of this. In Mists the entire Alliance city of Theramore was destroyed, killing nearly every inhabitant. Warlords saw the Blasted Lands zone completely overrun by the Iron Horde, who killed every friendly NPC.
    • At the climax of Legion Sargeras is imprisoned, but not before driving his planet-sized sword into Azeroth, obliterating the entire zone of Silithus.
    • Battle for Azeroth has the most extreme version since Cataclysm as the Night Elf and Forsaken capital cities are destroyed and conquered, respectively. There's even a rather gut-punching Fission Mailed quest in the Burning of Darnassus to go with it. As a result, the Alliance is pushed out of mainland Kalimdor and the Horde is driven back into the Blood Elf lands.
  • Started in Yakuza: Like a Dragon and fully elaborated on in Like a Dragon Gaiden, both those games see the end of two of the series' longest-standing pillars and main source of conflict - the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance - disband by the end. An event that is also felt in Lost Judgment (as a Continuity Nod has Yagami mention that the Tojo Clan disbanded two years prior) and set to reach its definitive end in Infinite Wealth.

    Web Animation 
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, the story first shifts gears from wacky one-room-two-people-talking format into something slightly more serious with the introduction of Inquisition and season Big Bad Karamazov, and then changes again in episode thirteen as Magnus returns and him and the Emperor forgive each other, adding a now-ex-Daemon Primarch to the cast roster and enabling Kitten to vocalise his opinion of the Emperor more clearly.
  • The beginning of Red vs. Blue Season 6 has the Reds and Blues scattered from their familiar Blood Gulch to a half-dozen different places. While they do regroup, things are never the same — it takes them five seasons to get back to some semblance of Blood Gulch, and in that time, two major characters die permanently, they find out the war is a lie, and kill the Director. There's no way for them to go back to just shooting at one another now, as they jointly recognize toward the end of Season 10.
  • RWBY:
    • Volume 3 climaxes with an all-out assault on the City of Vale and Beacon Academy by the villains, the White Fang and the Grimm all at the same time. Although the city is saved, Beacon Academy is destroyed, leaving the students without a functional school. Volume 4 therefore kicks off with Team RWBY scattered to the winds, as a result of Weiss being taken home to Atlas by her father, Blake going on the run due to the emotional trauma of what she's experienced and Yang being left at home to recover from trauma inflicted upon her during the battle. Only Ruby is curious enough about the villains to push the plot forward in Volume 4. From this point on, childhood has ended for the students, forcing them to confront a world full of dangerous secrets even most adults don't know about. The battle results in the deaths of Pyrrha and Ozpin, the destruction of Penny, the crippling of Cinder, and the introduction of the true Big Bad Salem; meanwhile, Adam promises Blake he will destroy everything she cares about before proving it by deliberately hacking off Yang's arm to punish Blake for abandoning him in the Black Trailer. Ruby joins forces with Jaune, Nora and Ren to spend Volume 4 travelling across the continent of Anima to Haven Academy in search of information about who the villains are, what they're up to and how they can be stopped.
    • Volume 8 covers Salem's all-out assault on Atlas in a war of attrition that she will inevitably win due to her ability to spawn replacement Grimm faster than the kingdom can reinforce its army, even after recruiting child soldiers from the academy. The volume's climax shows shows just how far the heroes are forced to go in order to save people's lives. With Ironwood transformed into an Arc Villain who threatens to bomb Mantle in his attempt to save Altas, the heroes steal the Relic of Creation in order to save Penny's life from a viral hack by Watts and to magically evacuate the kingdom's people to Vacuo, the last kingdom left with enough Huntsmen to protect the incoming refugees. As Staff can only do one thing at a time, this means ending its job of floating the city of Atlas. While Ironwood thinks he has to sacrifice Mantle to save Atlas, the heroes decide to sacrifice both cities to save the people of both. Due to Cinder and Neo pursuing the heroes into the Void Between the Worlds, Volume 8 ends with the complete destruction of the Kingdom of Atlas, the loss of Team RWBY and Jaune to the Void, the death of Penny, and Salem obtaining both the Relics of Knowledge and Creation. Although the surviving refugees have the Winter Maiden's protection in Vacuo, they have no home left to return to and are now at the mercy of Remnant's most resource-scarce kingdom, which everyone knows will be Salem's next target.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers:
    • The late 2010s era sees a new change such as an introduction to arcs as well as making a brand new main cast.
    • Happens to Meggy, who had the most character development, whereas at the end of the Anime Arc where she goes from an Inkling to a full-on human, though she still had her Inkling voice, until the Youtube Arc, where she was given a real voice.
    • Come the end of the Lawsuit Arc, and four characters end up undergoing permanent design changes in one episode: SMG4, SMG3, Bob and Fishy Boopkins are all transformed by Shigeru Miyamoto himself into original and more copyright-friendly designs, as opposed to Palette Swaps of Mario, a Garo and a Spike respectively. A few days prior to the release of the fourth Big Damn Movie however, Boopkins, SMG3 and SMG4 had their models updated yet again due to fan complaints about them as well as Meggy getting an updated version of her current design.
    • After more than ten years of the videos taking place in and around Peach's Castle, which would always come back no matter how many times it was destroyed, during the fourth Big Damn Movie, "It's Gotta Be Perfect", the castle is finally destroyed in a way that renders it unable to simply come back at the start of the next video (the gaping maw of an Eldritch Abomination now sitting where it stood before). SMG4, Mario, and the others accept that the castle will not be coming back this time and set out to build a newer, better castle. Afterwards, they realize that they also accidentally left Princess Peach in the castle which causes her to initially try to find a way to escape. When the group are forced to go back to the old castle ruins for the power star to finish the new castle, they learn that Princess Peach has mutated into a horrific monster with no sentient thought due to overexposure to the substance that engulfed the castle and are forced to leave her behind in the ruins as a result.

    Web Comics 
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl: Chapter 75 Lucy leaves Roseville High.
  • Clockwork: For Cog, a lot changes after Alexander forces him into becoming his assistant. Not only is he forced to move away from the home he's always known, the driving force behind the "deal" is Alexander's threat to reveal the magic powers that Cog unknowingly inherited from his father — a detail that would have him sentenced to death if revealed.
  • The Dragon Doctors: At the end of Chapter 19, all four main character doctors are separated and apparently assassinated; Kili stabbed by her own brainwashed patient with a silver knife, Goro and Aki trapped in a house under a time-acceleration bubble that will turn them to ash in seconds, Sarin shot by a giant disintegrator cannon, and the leader Mori is trapped in a black zone beyond the fourth wall where a demon that preys on ideas starts destroying her past and her viability as a character. Mori's solution is to write a whole new life story for herself, but her skin is still blank, leaving her Albino. She continues to write the other characters out of their predicaments before escaping, but their house is destroyed, Aki and Goro are now twenty years older with a grown daughter, Sarin changes her own appearance permanently, and Aki and Goro are later revealed to have a lot of underlying magical damage causing them to mutate into chimeras.
  • A pretty monumental one happens in Girl Genius Klaus traps Mechanicsburg in a frozen time field right when Agatha Krosp Violetta and Tweedle pass through a portal. The four emerge two and a half years later with Gil as the Baron trying to rebuild the empire Tarvek poisoned and stuck in the time field, Clock Roaches closing in on Klaus and dozens of characters Put on a Bus.
  • Homestuck shakes up the status quo pretty regularly, starting off with four kids dicking around in their apartment, to suddenly turning into an alternating Just Before the End/epic RPG-esque story with the kids entering a video game-esque world. Then Jack kills the Black Queen and takes her prototype ring and runs the game's story completely Off the Rails. Then the internet trolls pestering the kids are revealed to be actual alien trolls from a previous session of the game who created the kids' universe, and it just keeps building from there.
  • In Housepets!, the "Heckraiser" storyline seriously shakes things up, changing the whole setting from a Sapient Pet world where animals were bipedal and intelligent, but were still mostly treated as animals, to a Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My! world where they can apply for citizenship and the president is a donkey.
  • While Lackadaisy's plot is anything but cheery, things start taking a darker turn around "Haymaker," where Rocky is hit by a runaway hearse and severely injured. The injury marks a noticeable shift in the mood, with a mildly delirious Rocky revealing that he's not as happy-go-lucky as he seems Beneath the Mask, but several other events occur across the plot, such as Ivy realizing that the bootlegging industry isn't as romantic as she thought, Viktor suffering from the effects of being shot in the chest, and Serafine trying to induct Mordecai into a cult while the Marigold Gang appears to be working towards an as-yet-undetermined goal by cleaning house.
  • The Last Halloween takes place during an Apocalypse event. Monsters invade the human world, likely killing billions in a single night. The apocalypse class could end up as low as 1 or as high as 3b, depending on the actions of a ten-year-old girl, but the story makes it clear that the world can never go back to the way it was before.
  • Nebula: After Ceres attacks the solar system, the planets are left badly wounded (with wounds that don't heal), Mars is convinced that there's no point trying to rely on Sun any longer and that he can't be trusted, and Pluto is disillusioned from everyone but Black Hole, who succeeds in manipulating him to going out into the void and allowing her to possess him and turn him into a Humanoid Abomination like Ceres.
  • The Order of the Stick has had its fair share of world-changing events, but two in particular stand out as having dramatically changed the plot of the series:
    • One at the end of "War and XP", where Roy is dead, Azure City and the rift destroyed and in the hands of Xykon, and the party has been split up: V, Durkon, and Elan are with the citizens of Azure City sailing away, while Belkar, Haley, and Roy's corpse are left in the city.
    • "Blood Runs in the Family" also has Durkon vampirized, and while that in and of itself is shocking, he seems to be fine until the final page of the volume reveals that he's a vampire thrall acting on behalf of Hel to herald the end of the world.
  • Sarilho: obviously the case in chapter four, as many soldiers have been lost in the previous conflict and the survivors are left mentally and physically scarred, with a war on the horizon.
  • Around late 2011 to early 2012, a succession of unrelated events radically altered several of the major characters of Sinfest, changing the tone of the entire comic as a result. The previously seductive 'Nique gets an Important Haircut and a pair of pants as she turned ultra-feminist to fight 'The Patriarchy'. Li'l E takes a dive in the River Lethe and forgets all the bitterness that made him turn evil (while we simultaneously discover that he's not just a Devil Fanboy — he's the bonafide Antichrist, son of the Devil! The Fundamentalist Strawman Seymor gets shot by the Arrows of Amor, and turns into a Love Freak sort of christian instead (when he isn't busy reading erotic Jesus-fanfiction). Fuschia escapes from Satan's service and gets together with Criminy, with the two of them turning Sickeningly Sweethearts. And the previously one-shot-joke characters known as The Sisterhood of Spooky Shit (a group of tricycle-riding girls fighting misogyny) takes a level in badass and now seem to be directly facing off against Satan himself, and his support of the Patriarchy and sex-industry. Slick — who doesn't get nearly the screentime he used to — attempts to forgo his Casanova Wannabe, pretend-pimp ways in order to win over the changed 'Nique — resulting in the creation of his very own Enemy Within 'Devil Slick'.
  • Sluggy Freelance does this occasionally, but the "bROKEN" arc hit this hard. Hereti Corp finally manages to capture Oasis, Riff and Zoe are trapped in an apparently dystopian world, and Torg is slowly going insane from all of this. Oh, and Torg, Bun Bun, Sam, and Sasha are now working for the Minion Master to lay low, but that's pretty minor compared to everything else that happened.
  • Starslip Crisis when it became Starslip: The main characters starslipped into a universe where starslip drive was outlawed and almost immediately afterward crushed Katarakis' evil plans before they came to fruition (since the "present time" in this universe is two years earlier than the one in the previous universe), causing Vanderbeam to keep/regain his position as captain. The loss of the starslip drive then caused the Terran Consortium to collapse and be repurposed as the "United Star Configuration". The Fuseli is then decommissioned and turned into an orbiting space museum while Vanderbeam and his crew are reassigned to the starship Paradigm, thus making the strip a bit closer to traditional Space Opera. Jovia is still dead, though.
  • John Kossler, author of The Word Weary, states in About section that he tries to avoid Status Quo Is God and make any changes he makes to his characters stick.

    Web Original 
  • Entirely Presenting You: Happens a few times throughout as a consequence of Alexis' actions.
    • Alexis tries her hand at being a superhero, exposing the existence of superhumans to the world.
    • Thomas' death marks a low point for Alexis and her psyche. Benny's attack on the school, exposing even more of Blank Face's identity in all but name, serving to push her even further down.
    • When V decides to leave her old life behind to be the gang leader Wendy.
  • The end of the first book of Magik Online utterly destroys the status quo: Mathias' father is killed by Candlemaker Jack, outing his identity leading to his capture by Concordia. Maggie, Mur, and Sol are empowered by Magik Online, Perse breaks up with Mathias, and Mathias kills Smokefang giving up on living a double life and becoming Shroud full time. He and the newly formed Dragonslayers then have to flee Evermarsh, relocating to the alien world, Midnight Market.
  • In Worm, with its constantly-moving Godzilla Threshold and abundance of Wham Whatevers, this happens at least four different times:
    • First, Leviathan attacks the city, leaving it a wasteland filled with refugees and easy prey to supervillains.
    • Second, when Tattletale jury-rigs an interdimensional portal out of two Cloud Cuckoolander's powers, opening up the possibility of escaping the Crapsack World where humanity is steadily being destroyed.
    • Thirdly, the sequence of events that begins when the supervillain Skitter is attacked by Defiant and Dragon in the middle of a public school, and ends with Alexandria and Director Tagg dead and Skitter becoming a superhero.
    • Fourth, the aftermath of the last Big Bad's rampage. Too many people dead to count, and The Multiverse has to rebuild, with the added challenge of interdimensional relations.
  • Fortnite The Movie: Heavily implied during Reign of The Oni. Norm is dead. Mime is dead. Samboy is dead. Three major players have all been killed and The Oni remains in power.

    Web Video 
  • Discussed in Terrible Writing Advice where J.P. suggests to use a mid-series shakeup so you could feel like you've pulled one over on the audience.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: At the end of the season two finale, "True Colors", Anne and the Plantars are teleported to Earth. The third and final season focuses on Anne and the Plantars stuck in Los Angeles, fighting off threats from King Andrias, learning how to control her powers, dodging the U.S. government, and figuring out a way back to Amphibia so that they can assist Sasha in rescuing Marcy and stopping the king's quest to become an interdimensional conqueror.
  • Archer invoked this from the start of the fifth season; the spy agency ISIS was closed down by the FBI leaving all the main characters working there out of a job but with a ton of cocaine on hand starting off the "Archer Vice" arc based in Miami. Reason for throwing out one of the series' main conceits? Word of God is simply that it was getting boring and simply wanted to do a Miami Vice thing with the characters. However, it's also possible that the well-publicized real life terrorist group ISIS led them to wish to dissociate the show from that name.
  • Daria: The final episode of Season 3, "Jane's Addition", marked a major change in the series. For instance, it introduced Tom Sloan, who would become a major love interest of Jane and then Daria while Daria finally gets over her infatuation with Trent when he lets her down on a school project. Furthermore, it marked the discarding of the series' Reset Button to begin a Story Arc in which all the characters begin to mature while facing situations that would change them forever.
  • The first episode of the Disney version of Doug has the title character find the world he knows has changed — the bully got rich on a real estate deal, his favorite movie character has been Retooled to become Denser and Wackier, his favorite band has broken up, his favorite restaurant has gone up-scale, and his usual barber shop is under new management. Doug decides to change a bit himself (specifically, his haircut).
  • Frisky Dingo tried to do this in almost every episode. Friends and enemies switch sides with blinding speed, Season-spanning quests get cut off anticlimactically, and maybe three-fourths of the main cast get Killed Off for Real.
  • The Avalon and Gathering storylines in Gargoyles completely rewrote the Gargoyles' situation. Xanatos pulled a Heel–Face Turn, and the Gargoyles returned to their castle. Owen and Puck were revealed to be the same person and Puck was (mostly) depowered. The Phoenix Gate has been banished into the time stream. And there are gargoyle clans everywhere in the world. So many conflicts were resolved that, just to provide more season fodder, the Masquerade had to break.
  • Gravity Falls has a major shake-up in the middle of the second season; with countless hints and questions brought up about Grunkle Stan's true motives throughout the series, and a handful of episodes alluding to the apocalypse, "Not What He Seems" reveals that Stan has led multiple lives everywhere he's gone, and has at one point been assumed dead. Also, it turns out the countdown didn't trigger the apocalypse, but released Stan's brother, the author of the journals, from wherever Stan's portal leads to.
  • This was the running theme of the Post-Script Season of Kim Possible. Picking up from So the Drama with Kim and Ron's Relationship Upgrade, it started with things like Ron joining the school football team, Kim getting a car, and both of them getting jobs, followed by the Tweebs being skipped ahead to high school, Ron getting a baby sister, Kim's mission outfit from the past three seasons being replaced, and Monkey Fist being the first official recurring character to be Killed Off for Real. It all culminates in the Grand Finale "Graduation", where Drakken undergoes a mutation that permanently turns him into a Plant Person, the Possible household, Middleton High, and Bueno Nacho are destroyed, Ron gets full control of his Mystical Monkey Powers, and of course, Kim and Ron graduate from high school.
  • The Legend of Korra's second season ends with Korra now completely cut off from her past lives due to Unalaq temporarily destroying Raava after extracting her from her body. Not only that, after Unalaq is killed and Vaatu is purified, Korra decides to leave the spirit portals open to begin a new spiritual age which hopefully will lead to true peace between humans and spirits.
  • The Lion Guard: In Season 2:
    • Makuu has a Heel–Face Turn in the episode "The Savannah Summit" and then crosses the Heroes' Frontier Step in "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie", in which a new crocodile Kiburi takes his place as the crocodilian villain.
    • Ushari turns evil and allies with Janja to bring back Scar, who becomes the show's new Big Bad as he forms a Legion of Doom to get revenge on the Pride Lands.
  • In Littlest Pet Shop (2012), one of the biggest premises was that Blythe could communicate with animals. Afraid of being considered a freak, or even insane, she kept it as her "Biggest secret". However, a little into the third season, she confessed to her best friend, who in turn recalled odd moments (in her point of view) throughout the series's history which gave her solid proof that Blythe could in speak to and understand animals. And she totally accepts it.
  • The Loud House: As of "Schooled", Lori's off at college, Lily starts preschool and is potty trained, and the rest of the kids are now a grade higher than they were in the first four seasons. Their parents, especially their father, get hit with this pretty hard.
  • The Love, Death & Robots episode Good Hunting deals with China's transition from a world shrouded in myth and magic to an industrial setting and later a steampunk civilization. The industrializing of China severely affects the magical creatures as they slowly lose their powers and must adapt to the new setting.
  • At the end of Season 2 of Max Steel, the Big Bad John Dread is dead, but his death also destroys the machine providing energy for Max's nanoprobes and breaks N-Tek's cover as a spy organization. When Season 3 begins, N-Tek's spy division is dissolved, so Max and his friends become vigilantes acting outside of N-Tek or the government's authority. In addition, without the machine to power his nanoprobes, Max is forced to use an emergency recharging device to keep the nanoprobes from killing him; but this is only a stopgap measure, and as such, even if he didn't use his powers again, His Days Are Numbered.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Season 3 finale: Master Fu relinquishes guardianship of the miracle box, naming Ladybug the new guardian.
    • Season 4 finale: Ladybug loses all the miraculouses to Hawkmoth, leaving only her and Cat Noir to fight against him. Oh, and Felix gets the Peacock miraculous.
    • Season 5 finale: In addition to Marinette and Adrien becoming an Official Couple and Chloe and her mother leaving for New York earlier in the season, Gabriel uses the ladybug and cat miraculouses to make a wish, sacrificing himself so Nathalie can be healed; Lila (now in disguise) is in posession of the butterfly miraculous; Ms. Bustier is now mayor of Paris; Mr. Damocles has opened a new school; and the previous temporary miraculous holders now have their miraculouses permanently.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • At the third season, Twilight Sparkle has been coronated a princess and made an alicorn to match that status. This bleeds into the Season 4 premiere, where the Mane 6 sacrifice the Elements of Harmony to revive the Tree of Harmony and save Equestria from the newest threat. Also, they begin writing in a group diary kept by Twilight, as opposed to sending letters to Celestia.
    • At the end of Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, the library is destroyed, with Twilight now residing in a castle and getting officially dubbed as the "Princess of Friendship". In addition, Discord has crossed the Heroes' Frontier Step and is now accepted as a true ally and friend of the Mane 6.
    • In the show's five-year anniversary episode, "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", the Cutie Mark Crusaders' long-time antagonist Diamond Tiara gets a Heel–Face Turn and, after five seasons of fruitlessly trying for them, the Crusaders themselves finally obtain their cutie marks.
    • In the Season 5 finale Starlight Glimmer is not only redeemed, but becomes Twilight's pupil in the study of Friendship and effectively joins the mane cast.
    • Newbie Dash sees Rainbow Dash finally become an official Wonderbolt.
    • To Where and Back Again Part 2 sees the changelings transform and adopt new base forms after discovering they can share love instead of absorbing it. Thorax also takes Queen Chrysalis' place as leader of the changelings.
  • The Owl House: The end of Season 1; "Young Blood, Old Souls", day-to-day life in the Owl House has changed rather drastically for the tenants, both old and new. Luz is now the main provider of magic and is teaching Eda and Lilith how to use glyphs like her. Eda is forced to rely on potions to defend herself. Luz and Eda have to resort to bounty hunting as, without the portal, Eda can no longer scavenge for her curios store, or even "borrow" human food for Luz. Lilith has lost her authority due to being a public traitor and has to live in the Owl House with barely any magic like her sister due to sharing the curse.
  • Primal (2019): The Season 1 finale, Slave of the Scorpion, reveals that there's a more advanced, Bronze Age-type civilization somewhere across the sea which seems to mostly be unaware of the main setting of Primal, and is populated by anatomically modern humans in contrast to the Neanderthal-like cavemen which have featured up to this point. They have metal tools and weapons, religion, ships, a genuine language rather than whoops and grunts, and hints at a proper Big Bad. The series then ditches the threat-of-the-week formula in favor of a more serialized story.
  • Ready Jet Go! outright destroyed the Status Quo Is God trope. In the Season 2 episode Mindy Turns Five, where, you guessed it, Mindy turns five years old and is now allowed to go past Jet's yard by herself. In other words, Mindy is now allowed to go to space with the older kids, changing the show's dynamic forever.
  • ReBoot did it very well. After an episodic first season in which Status Quo Is God, a Wham Episode kicked in, changed everything, gave the new premise some time to settle in, and then did the same thing again.
    • For those interested, the first Wham Episode had Bob expelled from Mainframe and into the Web. Enzo was now left as the new guardian. After a few episodes, Enzo was defeated in one of the games, and in order to avoid being Nullified he had to change his Icon so that the game took him with it instead. And to hammer the point home, a Time Skip came right after.
    • Basically after that episode, there is no Status Quo anymore. Wandering the net only lasts a few episodes before switching to searching the web and then switching to reclaiming Mainframe from Megabyte. Season 4 deceptively tries to reestablish the old Status Quo, but then throws it out the window with Megabyte taking over in the Cliffhanger.
  • In The Replacements, Todd and Riley are enrolled in George Washington Middle School. In "Insecurity Guard", when questioned about the first president of the United States, Todd, abusing his power over his Bully Hunter robot, forces his History teacher to accept his blatantly incorrect answer "George Stapler". It gets to the point the school is renamed "George Stapler Middle School". From then on, even after the plot of the episode is resolved, the school remains called "George Stapler".
  • Rick and Morty:
    • The episode "Rick Potion No. 9", where after a love-potion experiment gets so horribly wrong, Rick and Morty have to ditch their universe.
    • "The Wedding Squanchers" where long-time recurring character Tammy turns out to be a Galactic Federation deep-cover agent, as she kills Birdperson and almost seizes Rick and his family.
    • "The Ricklantis Mixup" which reveals that the Citadel is not only back to full operation, but also Evil Morty has seized control of it as the President.
    • "Rickmurai Jack" is a doozy regarding this trope. Not only Evil Morty finally reveals himself to our heroes, but he also manages to reveal Morty about the true origins of Mortys, and how Ricks managed to wall off a part of infinity to be the smartest men in the part. To counter this, Rick reveals his backstory (which makes the supposedly-fake backstory in Season 3 premiere to be completely real), as Evil Morty uses his machine to destroy the Citadel and the Central Finite Curve for good, opening the series up to the greater Multiverse.
  • Rugrats:
    • The series has Chuckie experience this after getting a new stepmom in the episode, "Changes For Chuckie".
    • "Acorn Nuts & Diapey Butts" has Angelica telling the babies that the Fall season will bring changes to their lives. This is followed by Chuckie's dad to start dating strange women, Phil and Lil to get new uncomfortable diapers, and Tommy's grandpa to move to a retirement community. The only change that really stays by the end of the episode is that while Grandpa Lou still moves out, he is now engaged (giving Tommy and Dil a new grandmother) and Tommy admits that he is happy with that change.
  • Season 4 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power disrupted the status quo of the show in massive ways.
    • The Horde destroys the kingdom of Salinas, leaving Mermista devastated.
    • King Micah is alive and back in Bright Moon.
    • The Horde is in shambles after a major Rebellion victory, several major Horde characters have defected, and swaths of the Fright Zone have been destroyed in the fight between Hordak and Catra. Both Hordak and Catra have lost everything.
    • Adora learns that her ancestors, the First Ones, were genocidal conquerors who wanted to use Etheria as a weapon. She breaks her sword.
    • Light Hope is destroyed.
    • Scorpia connects with the Black Garnet and gains lightning powers.
    • By helping Scorpia to connect with the Black Garnet, Glimmer unwittingly activates the Heart of Etheria, pulling Etheria out of Despondos and drawing the attention of Horde Prime.
    • Horde Prime, the sociopathic leader of a massive space empire, has appeared on the scene and is determined to use Etheria as a weapon for his conquests. Glimmer, Catra, and Hordak have been taken captive on board his ship.
    • The climactic scene in "Destiny, Part 2" strongly implies that Hordak is a rogue drone, and that the "flaw" that offended Horde Prime was actually his free will. Horde Prime mind-wipes him as punishment for exercising autonomy. His body is alive, but "Hordak" has left the building.
    • The game has now changed; the Rebellion has gone from liberating Etheria to saving the universe from Horde Prime.
  • South Park:
    • Invoked in the episodes "You're Getting Old" and "Ass Burgers", in which Stan starts seeing and hearing everything as shit, and from there it spirals out — Randy starts a career as "Steamy Ray Vaughn", Sharon divorces him and moves downtown with her kids, Stan no longer has any friends, Cartman and Kyle become friends, Cartman creates a food franchise, and the President of the United States is a duck. All of which were undone in the end... just as Stan was starting to look forward to what the new status quo had to offer.
    • Season 4 plays with this with the much-touted "4th Grade", with the kids looking forward to big changes... only for the second episode (the Trapper Keeper one) to plunk them into the same kind of adventures no different from when they are in the 3rd grade.
      Stan: ...What the hell just happened?
      Kyle: Damn, I thought 4th grade was gonna be different!
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 episodes "Twovix" and "I Have No Bones Yet I Must Flee" have Mariner, Boimler, Tendi, Rutherford and new arrival T'Lyn all Rank Up to Lieutenant Jr. Grade. Even more, Commander Ransom refuses to play Mariner's games and makes her stay that rank, which in turn leads to focusing on her past.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • The Season 2 finale, "Starcrushed", has Toffee make his move on Mewni after a season of hiding behind the scenes, forcing Star to leave Earth. Even after the problem is dealt with in the "Battle for Mewni" series of episodes, Mewni becomes the primary setting of the show, with Earth and its supporting cast rarely making an appearance afterwards.
    • Season 3 further upends the status quo by revealing that Star's family are illegitimate and stole the throne from Eclipsa, making her a false princess. By the end of the season and the start of the next, Star gives the throne and her wand back to Eclipsa, while the Butterfly kingdom has been completely destroyed by Meteora, displacing numerous Mewmans.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Season 5 finale, "The Wrong Jedi", ends with Ahsoka Tano leaving the Jedi Order. Of course, given that this takes place before Revenge of the Sith, something had to have happened to her.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • At the end of "Twilight of the Apprentice", Kanan is blind, Ahsoka is gone, all of the Inquisitors are dead, Maul is on the loose and Ezra has opened the Sith holocron, meaning he's at risk of falling to The Dark Side.
    • "Zero Hour": The rebels have lost Atollon as a base, and have suffered other heavy losses, Commander Sato and Admiral Konstantine are dead because Sato rammed Phoenix Home into Konstantine's Interdictor, Kallus' cover was blown and he's officially joined the rebels, the Bendu unleashed his wrath upon rebels and Imperials alike, and the surviving rebels are on their way to Yavin IV.
  • Steven Universe: "A Single Pale Rose" was a Wham Episode that revealed that Rose Quartz didn't shatter Pink Diamond, but rather is and has always been Pink Diamond, who faked her death in the hopes that it would get the other Diamonds to leave the Earth alone and end the war. Steven isn't half-Quartz, but instead half-Diamond as a result.
  • Superjail!: The third season ends with the Warden burning down Superjail and Alice and Lord Stingray escaping to Ultraprison.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) kept altering its status quo in Season 2, but many of these things were cosmetic changes. However, for the Season Finale, everything changed with The Invasion. After Shredder decides to do a Villain Team-Up with the Kraang again, they make their move, beginning the Kraang's second invasion of New York, only this time, more effectively. April's other friend Irma turned out to be a Kraang spy, and with his help, the Kraang trash the lair and destroy the shellraiser. Scattering and disorganized, the turtles and their allies try to fight the invasion as best they can, but disaster slowly creeps in on them. Leonardo fights the entire foot clan on his own, but is critically injured by Shredder. In turn, Kraang Prime turns Mr. O'Neil into an even more hideous Kraang mutant, and the turtles are forced to abandon April's apartment. Then in combat, Shredder manages to disable both Splinter and Leatherhead, with the turtles horrifyingly watching the latter get thrown deeper into the sewers. The turtles try a heroic Last Stand against Kraang Prime, but even with their new Humongous Mecha, they're no match, and are forced to flee New York after easily their worst defeat up to this point this incarnation. The status quo in Season 3 lasts a while at April's farm, however, after the turtles go off on a spirit quest, they all find the internal strength to return to New York to defeat Shredder and Kraang once again. Though significantly, they're forced to move into an abandoned pizza shop as a new home base since the lair is still occupied by the Kraang. They eventually move back home, but things only get worse when the Triceratons show up...
    • Over the course of the last few episodes of Season 4, Shredder gets mutated into Super Shredder and kills Splinter, the Turtles de-mutate Stockman and kill Rahzer, and finally Leo kills Shredder once and for all. The opening arc of Season 5 makes it clear that all of this is going to stick, and follows it up by having Tiger Claw, now leading the Foot Clan, declare a truce with the Turtles. As well, Don Vizioso, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Fishface all decide Screw This, I'm Out of Here!.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In the crossover film with the original Titans, Raven's forehead gem that contains her demon cracks. After both universes' Trigons absorb its power with the goal of dominating the multiverse, she absorbs the power of dozens of alternate universe Ravens to reclaim it from them. Once reabsorbing it, she speaks with it in her mind, apologizing for how she's spent her entire life fearing it and keeping it imprisoned. They agree to share her powers equally, permanently merging, and from then on the gem is absent from her head.
  • Total Drama:
    • Season 3 of the series shakes up the basic formula a bit by having the contestants sing musical numbers in each episode and ends with an Evil Versus Evil finale. Season 4 goes a step further by replacing the entire cast with new characters. All of these twists have been surprisingly well-received.
    • Season 4 has also become notorious for breaking the tradition of the Final 2 being different genders. This, combined with the third season finale has led fans to the conclusion that literally anyone can win now.
    • In the first episode of the 2023 reboot, Priya claims her parents were fans of Total Drama before she was even born, meaning that the show's Floating Timeline is no longer in effect and we'll likely never see the first three generation contestants ever again.
  • Transformers:
    • Proving that barriers were meant to be broken, Beast Wars did this on weekdays afternoons while advertising toys. At the start of each season, natch. Season 2 shook things up a little by introducing the Transmetals, altering the planet, etc.; Season 3 shook things up a lot by destroying the Axalon and forcing the Maximals to move into the Ark, putting them on the defensive until the series finale.
    • The third series of Transformers: Animated is seen as being very different than its predecessors, starting with Sari being revealed to be a robot and going from there. Its tone is also much darker than the earlier seasons — onscreen death starts up, for example.
    • The Transformers: The Movie divides The Transformers into what could be easily mistaken for two entirely different series (and indeed was released as such in Japan, with Season 3 branded "Transformers: 2010").
    • Transformers: Prime:
      • The show goes for broke in the second season finale in ways that haven't been done since the movie. Megatron has declared war not only on the Autobots but also Earth, parking a giant fortress on the ground, the team has been scattered and shot down and the base has been destroyed with Optimus inside.
      • The third season continues to ramp this up. First, Bumblebee gets a new paint job, Ultra Magnus joins Team Prime, Shockwave returns and brings with him the wrath of the Predacons, and oh yeah, Optimus gets revived into a new body with a frickin jet pack! The only thing that returns to status quo is that the Decepticons' new base is destroyed.
  • The Venture Brothers:
    • The third season ended with Brock quitting the OSI and leaving the Ventures, all the Hank and Dean clones dead (rendering the main characters killable) and 24 dying.
    • The end of the first season was a pretty big change, too: The boys died. They came back in the second season, of course, but it confirmed that the boys were clones, which was only hinted at before.
    • All This and Gargantua-2 ends with a huge chunk of the Council of Thirteen dead, the Sovereign and Jonas Jr. dead, and the Venture Compound, the home of the Ventures for the past five seasons, being burned to a crisp.
  • The first two seasons of X-Men: Evolution had a sort of Masquerade thing going on where the mutants are hiding their existence from the world. At the end of Season 2, a Sentinel is let loose on the city and the mutants have no choice but to fight it, revealing themselves to the world. The characters try to continue their normal lives and remain in high school, but things have changed. As with the comic book source material, they have to deal with discrimination and they lose many of their non-mutant companions.
  • Young Justice (2010): The first episode of the second season does this thanks to a Time Skip. The changes that occurred over the previous five years are only gradually revealed over the course of the entire season. The final episode, with Darkseid revealing himself, appears to set up another case of this... but Season 3 never happens. Then this happened.
    • Season 3 takes place 2 years after the second season finale, and the first episode reveals that Metahuman teenagers are being trafficked not just on Earth but in space through Apokolips, with one, a 14-year-old girl mutated into Plasmus, accidentally killed by Black Lightning when he tried to stun her. Wonder Woman leads a faction of the Justice League to fight off Apokolips forces and clear the League's reputation from when Savage made them attack Rimbor during the Season 1 finale, while Kaldur, now Aquaman, leads the Earth faction. The restrictions on the League caused by the United Nations under Secretary-General Lex Luthor has caused Batman and like-minded members of the League and the Team to leave and form their own vigilante organization.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Kang's New Timeline

Season 1 ends with the Sacred Timeline being completely undone following the death of He Who Remains, allowing his evil Variants to once again terrorize the Multiverse. Then Loki discovers that the Time Variance Authority itself has been taken over by Kang the Conqueror.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / NothingIsTheSameAnymore

Media sources:

Report