Follow TV Tropes


Post-Climax Confrontation

Go To

"There's a couple of things they don't teach you at Harvard Business School. One is how to cope with defeat, the other's how to handle a shotgun. I'm going to do both right now."
Russ Cargill, The Simpsons Movie

As an audience, we expect a story to be played out in a certain order: exposition, Rising Action, climax, falling action, and Dénouement. In many stories, the climax also serves as the Final Battle. The events that occur afterward are normally devoid of action, serving to tie up any loose ends and create a satisfying ending.


But sometimes, writers like to throw in one last confrontation. Perhaps The Dragon assaults the heroes in one last attempt to kill them, or the Big Bad has a final form that took a while to set up. No matter how it occurs, our heroes will have to battle one more time before the day is saved.

A particularly extreme version of Your Princess Is in Another Castle! that occurs just when the plot seems ready to be over. To be a Post-Climax Confrontation, the event must follow some criteria:

  • The major threat of the day MUST be resolved. The Big Bad is defeated (or there's at least no sign that he survived), there's no sign of The Man Behind the Man, no army waiting outside to defeat the heroes. Examples of this trope are rarely the Big Bad (though both of the Alien examples are exceptions) and are typically an independent force.
  • Advertisement:
  • This conflict must be settled within the same installment of the story. If the event results in a new conflict told within a different installment (or just ends as a Cliffhanger), it does not count.
  • This is the crucial part: there must be closure. Plot threads and character arcs are being tied up. In stories that have a traveling party of characters, the party has begun to split off, returning to their homelands. The Post-Climax Confrontation in these kinds of stories generally happen to a select few of those characters, rather than the whole group.
  • As this is a twist trope, the final confrontation must be sudden and unexpected. The antagonist being confronted in question may or may not have had foreshadowing that he/she would be confronted. It is when the conflict occurs that's surprising: as the plot and character threads are being tied up.
  • Advertisement:
  • Finally, this is a final confrontation: there are no more conflicts after this threat has been taken care of.

A subtrope is Dragon Their Feet, when The Dragon from earlier in the Sorting Algorithm of Evil returns unexpectedly for another go. Compare Post-Final Boss, for when video games throw in a Zero-Effort Boss right after the Final Boss battle.

Naturally, all of these examples are major spoilers.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Final Boss of A Certain Magical Index of the New Testament series is Coronzon. However, the final volume instead focuses on an enemy created from the aftermath of the battle, an 'Emanation' of Touma created from his subconscious regrets who wants to steal the real Touma's identity.
  • In Attack on Titan, Both Eren and the Source of All Life attempt to reunite to restart the Rumbling, with Eren taking on a Colossal Titan form and the Source titanizing nearly everyone, including Jean and Connie. Mikasa stops them both by entering Eren’s mouth and severing Eren’s human head from his spine, killing him.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, this is how the Cell Arc ends. Cell has been destroyed and the world has been saved; all that's left to do for Future Trunks is to return to his own time and dispose of Future Androids 17 and 18 and Future Imperfect Cell. Having spent a good year training with his father to the point where they could both dominate Semi-Perfect Cell, Trunks wipes the floor with them all.
    • It initially appears that this trope is in play after Vegeta sacrifices himself to kill Majin Buu. Piccolo observes the wasteland that remains from Vegeta's Heroic Sacrifice and finds Babidi, damaged and lying in the dirt following Piccolo's earlier attack on him. Piccolo belittles Babidi and prepares to finish him off, but it's subverted when Buu begins regenerating and a horrified Piccolo has to make an escape.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, Cooler and his henchmen have been defeated, and the worn-out heroes relax and laugh—when Salza, The Dragon, re-emerges, Not Quite Dead. He tries to finish the weary heroes off but is defeated by Piccolo.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Just after the Big Bad is defeated, Yazoo and Loz show up to harass Cloud, trying to take him with them, either for revenge or because they want their "brother" to go with them (they're kind of childish). It doesn't end up being so much a fight as an explosion.
  • GaoGaiGar seemingly bends with the threat of Zonder Master Program. But then, cue two more episodes where it plays the first version of the opening. It turns out that Pasder had one last trick up his sleeve when he first crashed onto Earth: a parasite living within Mikoto that grew even before the whole conflict started, evolving into the final New Machine Species as a last ditch effort to destroy the GGG and Earth altogether.
  • An '80s (or before) anime version of Jack and the Beanstalk greatly expanded the story, having Jack rescue a princess and fight a Maleficent-like evil witch who had taken over the kingdom in the sky. The good guys prevail and the evil witch is vanquished. All seems well, until her giant son Tulip shows up and chases Jack. Jack is forced to climb down the beanstalk with Tulip in pursuit, and chop it down while Tulip's still climbing after him — thus cutting off access to the kingdom in the sky and the princess.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Phantom Blood ends on this note, with Dio, reduced to a head after Jonathan beat him in their initial battle, coming after him to exact his revenge. Which he unfortunately succeeds in doing by killing Jonathan but not his wife. Even when Jonathan attempts a Taking You with Me, this only delays Dio's plans as he eventually takes Johnathan's body as his own and returns to menace the Joestars' descendants again in Stardust Crusaders.
    • Steel Blood Run, in the many parallels it shares with Part 1, has one of these as well. When the Big Bad is defeated, walking (weakly) regained, and best friend and mentor killed after imparting his final lesson onto him, Johnny still one last leg of the eponymous race to finish, which he fails to, thanks to the final battle of the part being against Diego Brando from another universe, complete with THE WORLD, Valentine summoned to complete his plans should he fail.
  • Kill la Kill: Ragyou and Nui are gone and the heroes get ready for a well-earned graduation... Then Ragyo's assistant, Rei, shows up, reveals some Life Fiber clones of the Elite Four and attacks the heroes with the school's defense system (which the heroes didn't get to use beforehand) in a last-ditch effort to avenge Ragyou. What's more, the heroes have to fight her without their Goku uniforms.
  • In both seasons of Marvel Future Avengers.
    • After the final battle with Kang the Conqueror, the Leader makes one last attempt to kill Makoto and Bruno, but he is subdued by the Winter Soldier.
    • In the second season, after the final battle with Maximus, Maximus, having survived the destruction of his fighter, later resurfaces at a party under the guise of a waiter and makes a last ditch effort to kill both the Avengers and Future Avengers, but he is promptly thwarted by Loki.
  • In the final episode of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Season 1, Sestuna has just defeated the big bad, Alejendro Corner, and the GN-Xs have been defeated as well. It seems the story is coming to a close when Graham Aker suddenly arrives, and the two battle till both of their mobile suits explode, bringing the Season to an end.
  • Naruto naturally has one between the eponymous hero and his longtime rival and best friend, Sasuke Uchiha. After all of the villains have been defeated, the only thing left is to free the remaining cast members from the Lotus-Eater Machine that was inflicted on them by said villains. Since Naruto and Sasuke have some issues they need to work out they decide to have one last fight in the very place where they had their first real fight, to settle things once and for all.
  • One Piece:
    • At the end of Thriller Bark arc, the heroes have won a Race Against the Clock, an Arc Villain's One-Winged Angel form has been defeated along with his henchmen, and it's time for quick Hollywood Healing and celebrating with Innocent Bystanders. A new island of adventure is already waiting for our heroes... Oh, wait a sec, there's still the Arc Villain's fellow Psycho for Hire who we forgot about because he has taken a stance of non-intervention. He is now about to attack right now, but this new confrontation is solved by Zoro.
    • This is kind of the case with Admiral Issho's assault on Luffy after Doflamingo is defeated in the Dressrosa Arc. All of the Doflamingo Family is taken care of, and the Dressrosa citizens' foremost grievances are resolved, yet another antagonist is provided within the arc at its last few chapters. Given that Issho is a Marine, soldiers who regularly capture pirates, it normally wouldn't be too surprising. However, Issho had plenty of moments prior to the confrontation where he places faith and even admiration in Luffy, as well as moments where he expressed disagreement with certain pirate-related principles that are core to the Marines at the current time of Fleet Admiral Sakazuki's leadership.
  • In Patlabor The Movie, the main characters succeed in dismantling the Ark (which they are in too) into the ocean before the typhoon hits it, and the crisis seems to be over. However, when they regain consciousness having survived the events, a virus-infected prototype mecha that one of the characters was controlling emerges from the rubble and tries to kill everyone.
  • This has become somewhat common in recent seasons of Pretty Cure where one final Monster of the Week shows up after the Big Bad is taken out and the Cures must defeat it. Usually, this also results in an Early-Bird Cameo from next season’s leading Cure.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin (manga only), Kenshin explains to Saito that, due to one thing and another, his body is rapidly deteriorating and soon he won't be able to fight anymore. Thus he offers Saito a duel to settle things once and for all, to put to rest the ghost of their bitter past. Saito declines, stating that Kenshin is no longer the man he wanted to defeat. It's as much bittersweet as it's heartwarming.
  • Sailor Moon S. After the defeat of the Death Busters and the destruction of Pharaoh 90, the day is seemingly saved. After a tearful farewell, Chibiusa departs to the future, leaving Usagi and co. Unbeknownst to them, one last Daimon pod survived in the burning remains of Mujin Academy, the villains' headquarters. It crawled into the Daimon oven and combined with it into Rangy. The Daimon immediately went into a pure heart collecting rampage. During the battle with the Sailor Senshi, it proved to be too powerful for them.It took the intervention of a returning Chibiusa and a distraction by Tuxedo Mask to tip the scales and allow Sailor Moon to destroy the Daimon for good.
  • In Sakura Wars: The Movie, the Imperial Combat Revue kills Brent Furlong to stop his evil plans and Ikki Yoneda knocks out and arrests Haruyoshi Tanuma. But Patrick Hamilton still remains and when Maria Tachibana encounters him on the rooftops, she runs out of bullets. Unfortunately for Patrick, Maria quickly uses a spirit bullet developed by Kohran Li and finally kills him.
  • Subverted at the end of Samurai Champloo. At the end, everything else has been wrapped up and the bad guys have been defeated, so Mugen and Jin decide to finally have their long-awaited fight to the death that's been promised since the first episode. But the two's weapons have both become worn and dulled and they're both exhausted from the events of the last several episodes, so when they attempt to fight their swords instantly shatter after colliding and the two both collapse from weariness seconds after. They decided they're fine settling things on a draw.
  • The last episode of Scryed takes place after the defeat of the Big Bad, as the heroes tie up some minor side conflicts, then they square off to determine once and for all which of them is the toughest fighter.
  • In the anime adaptation of Trigun, the very final battle with Greater-Scope Villain Knives is this. In contrast to Vash's immediately prior battle with Legato, which is extremely tense and deeply interrogates the series' Central Themes, Vash's fight with Knives takes on a more meditative tone, with little to no music and frequent interruptions by flashbacks to Vash and Knives' history together.
  • The Doma arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! ends this way: The serpent god of the Orichalcos has been defeated, everyone's had their souls restored, and the heroes are about to make their escape. Right before Yami Yugi can follow the others, the possessed spirit of Dartz shows up and there's one final episode where he has to finally cleanse Dartz's soul and put it to rest before everything's over.
  • Zatch Bell! was about a battle between a hundred demon children for the throne of their world. After rivals Zatch and Brago succeed in destroying the ultimate Big Bad who'd reduce their homeland to nothing had he won, they must face each other. It is the about the only battle both combatants actually enjoy and there's nothing at stake as both Zatch and Brago achieved the maturity to become benevolent rulers.

    Film - Animated 
  • In The Boxtrolls, Eggs and the boxtrolls have defeated Archibald Snatcher's Spider Tank and exposed his lies about the boxtrolls being baby-eating monsters... when Snatcher emerges from the remains of a giant cheese wheel, drunk on one of his "cheese fits", and holds Winnie hostage, blackmailing Lord Portley-Rind into handing over his Nice Hat and escorting Snatcher to his exclusive "tasting room". Fortunately, Snatcher's cheese obsession proves to be his own undoing.
  • In Futurama: Bender's Big Score, after the climactic space battle against the scammer aliens (which ended with their ship being destroyed by a doomsday device), their leader Nudar comes back, having survived thanks to a doom-proof platinum vest to make a last attempt to gain the time code. Lars sacrifices himself to kill Nudar.
  • In The Incredibles, the family stops Syndrome's rampaging robot and exposes his plot to the government (who freeze his assets). However, when they arrive home they find Syndrome abducting their youngest son Jack-Jack, so they must rescue him and stop Syndrome for good.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, when Springfield has been saved and everything seems to be fine again, Russ Cargill comes out of nowhere with a shotgun and attempts to kill Homer and Bart. Maggie knocks out Russ with a large boulder, luckily.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Die Hard: Karl manages to survive being strangled(!), and attempts to kill John McClane one last time after Hans Gruber is killed, but is quickly shot before he can do anything.
  • The botched execution of Jack Sparrow (and his subsequent escape) in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl occur after Barbossa is killed.
  • In Air Force One, after killing lead terrorist Ivan Korshunov, retaking the plane, and fending off MiGs on an intercept course towards them, The Mole attempts to kill President Marshall as he's about to evacuate the plane before it crashes.
  • The final confrontation between Ripley and the Xenomorph in Alien, the Xenomorph Queen in Aliens and the Newborn in Alien: Resurrection definitely qualify. All occur after the protagonists appear to have escaped.
    • Alien³ also ends with this. After killing the Alien, Ripley is confronted by a man who resembles Bishop, as well as Weyland-Yutani soldiers. Rather than hand the Alien inside her over to the Company, she instead opts to throw herself into the furnace.
  • The last scene of Disney's The Three Musketeers (1993). After the heroes defeat Cardinal Richelieu and Rochefort and save the King and Queen, they're confronted by a group of thugs who started pursuing D'Artagnan at the beginning of the movie. It's been so long since the audience saw them that their appearance is a surprise.
  • Used regularly in James Bond movies:
  • Ash Williams in Army of Darkness, after coming back from the medieval age, must blow away a random deadite who attacks his workplace.
    Ash: Hail to the king, baby.
  • In Hot Fuzz, after the final, massive shootout against the NWA and the defeat of Devil in Plain Sight Simon Skinner and the Big Bad Police Chief, everything seems like it's all wrapped up and the cops are all finishing up their paperwork, when suddenly the one NWA member they forgot about bursts into the police station and starts shooting.
  • The penultimate scene in Serenity is a variation in which nothing actually comes of the confrontation. Having been spared by Mal in their earlier confrontation and subsequently ordered his men to provide medical attention for Mal and his crew, The Operative concedes defeat and walks away; he only kills for his cause, which is now lost. Mal tells him that if he ever sees him again, he might kill him. The Operative replies "you won't".
  • In Red Dawn (2012), after the Wolverines defeat Captain Cho and the North Koreans as well as recover the suitcase, the North Koreans suddenly attack the Wolverines and kill Jed Eckert, but the remaining Wolverines manage to escape.
  • In O Brother, Where Art Thou? the main characters have already secured their fortune and Everett has defeated The Rival when his wife forces them to return to her old house to get a wedding ring, where they run afoul of the Sheriff (and possible Devil) who has been hunting them throughout the film.
  • In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin and Vanessa are celebrating their honeymoon three months after stopping Dr. Evil's plan, when Random Task, the shoe-throwing assassin reappears to kill them. They stop him using the penis enlargement pump.
  • In the Kingdom of Heaven director's cut, Balian has a final confrontation with his rival after the siege has been resolved.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The climactic battle against Electro is over, the villain is gone, the city is saved from certain doom and it seems everything is just fine — then suddenly Green Goblin appears, as one final challenge before the day is done.
  • The baseball game in 3 Ninjas Kick Back, which is, of course, followed by a Post-Game Retaliation.
  • In the Liam Neeson movie Run All Night, after Jimmy Conlon invaded the pub and killed Shawn Maguire and his men in a shootout, he returns to his son Mike and his family, only to be fatally wounded by Mr. Price, a professional assassin hired by Maguire earlier and whom Jimmy spared in a Battle Amongst the Flames. Jimmy eventually kills Mr. Price via Boom, Headshot! before succumbing to his wounds.
  • In Jurassic Park III, after Alan and Paul successfully scare off the Spinosaurus for good by lighting their boat's fuel on fire, the next day as the group is about to escape, they are confronted by a few raptors, until Alan confuses them and Amanda surrenders the stolen eggs to them.
  • In an inverted example, in the first Mad Max, after Max successfully kills Toecutter and Bubba Zanetti, the movie ends with Max looking after and blowing up Johnny the Boy, the last remaining member of Toecutter's gang.
  • At the end of Rush Hour 2, Lee and Carter are catching their breath after defeating Ricky Tan, only for The Dragon Hu Li to come in with a bomb that's about to blow.
  • Avatar: After the humans' assault on the Home Tree fails, Colonel Quaritch suits up in an AMP mech to battle Jake Sully personally.
  • After Will, Elizabeth, Jack, Norrington, and the Royal Navy defeat the cursed crew of the Black Pearl in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the next scene is the Port Royal gallows, where Jack Sparrow is to be hanged for piracy (and a whole bunch of other crimes). Will shows up to interrupt the hanging, and he and Jack end up fighting the Royal Navy one last time.

  • The Lord of the Rings may be the most well-known example. The One Ring has been cast into the fires of Mordor, our heroes have gone their separate ways, and the hobbits are ready to return to their peaceful Shire... only to find that it has been taken over by Saruman, and they must take back their home from the evil Men that have enslaved their people. It was omitted from the Peter Jackson films, though the omission didn't stop many filmgoers from experiencing Ending Fatigue anyway.
  • Both the book and movie Coraline have a perfect example, after freeing her parents, the souls of the ghost children, and escaping from the Other Mother's monstrous form and custom dimension, Coraline is attacked by the Other Mother's hand and has a comparatively easy fight against it.
  • In Dragon Flight, after the big bad is dead, the dragons are freed, the war is over, our heroes return home.. only to learn that Dragons have been banished from the kingdom. this leads to quite a bit of shouting, and the interruption of a royal wedding.
    • And again in Dragon Spear, after Darrym is defeated, Velika is rescued and all seems well..... the baby dragon princess is snatched...
  • Several Discworld books end this way, in particular when the villain deserves to be dealt with specially after his scheme has been foiled, or who is fixated on getting revenge against the protagonist.
    • In Hogfather, Mr. Teatime survives the dissolution of his plan in the Tooth Fairy's realm and comes to the house where Susan is governess, implicitly threatening the children while aiming to take down Death.
    • In The Fifth Elephant Wolf survives a tumble over a waterfall and comes back to the embassy after Vimes. Vimes, being Genre Savvy, expects this and is extremely jumpy until it happens.
    • In Night Watch, after the battle of the Glorious Republic of Treacle Mine Road, Carcer brings his cronies along to confront Vimes one last time.
  • James Bond
    • Icebreaker has an inversion; Bond learns that the Big Bad is still alive, and goes after him before he leaves the country.
    • After defeating the Big Bad in Death Is Forever, Bond is forced into a Knife Fight with his lover Monika Haardt in London as he tries to spend time with his girlfriend.
    • In The Man with the Red Tattoo, the main villain and his right-hand-man attack Bond in his hotel room after he foils their Evil Plan.
    • The Young Bond novel Blood Fever has two instances of it: a masked rider attacks Bond and Amy when they are moving away from the ruins of Count Carnifex's palace, and when they arrive at their destination, they find the Count's sister waiting for them, with a gun in her hand.
  • In The Jennifer Morgue, the hero and his girlfriend get caught up in a magical geas that makes their life resemble a series of James Bond tropes. After defeating the Diabolical Mastermind, they go on a holiday to recover, and realize the geas isn't done with them yet when one of the mastermind's underlings shows up for a post-climax confrontation.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel A Taste for Death, the climax is the duel to the death and then the break-out of the prisoners being held by Delicata's gang. There follows a quieter chapter of Modesty recuperating from the injury she got in the duel, which is suddenly interrupted by Delicata showing up again and forcing a final showdown.
  • The Outsiders has Dally's Suicide by Cop, which occurs after the big rumble between the Greasers and the Socs.
  • After the climactic battle in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch Junior, the Death Eater who organized the entire plot, reveals he's been impersonating Mad-Eye Moody and tries to kill Harry. This Death Eater's critical mistake is that he wastes time with a Just Between You and Me speech, giving Dumbledore and company a chance to come to the rescue.
  • The Mental State ends with Zachary State finally being released from prison and struggling to adapt to life in the real world. All his enemies have been thrashed, ass his friends have their futures assured and he no longer needs to cheat, scheme or lie. Then Rose gets attacked by another street thug (just her luck), this time with the intention of killing her. To save her, Zachary has to pull off one final feat of manipulation, using an Obfuscating Insanity tactic to convince the mugger that he is an insane criminal pimp and crime-lord and chase him away.
  • At the climax of The Three Hostages, the heroes rescue the hostages and the gang is rounded up, but their leader escapes justice. In the final chapter, he shows up while Hannay is on holiday and tries to get his revenge.
  • The last chapter of Worm has Taylor escape the scene of the Big Bad's defeat, having made an enemy of the entire world and driven herself insane in the process. She's found by Contessa, The Dragon of Cauldron, and they have a short discussion about doing the wrong things for the right reasons before Contessa shoots Taylor in the head depowering her and saving her life.
  • In The Witcher, Vilgefortz is killed in a fight with Geralt, Stefan Skellen's forces have been easily defeated by Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri, and Emperor Emhyr vas Emreis shows up to kill Geralt and Yen and abduct Ciri, only to let all of them go after rediscovering his humanity. Yet there's a hundred pages left and the final confrontation of the series takes place in Rivia, where Geralt ends up defending non-humans in a pogrom completely unrelated to anything that's happened in the series, and ends up mortally wounded by a random peasant with a pitchfork. Ciri seemingly saves him with her powers by taking his body to heal on an unknown island with Yennefer, and Ciri herself departs to travel The Multiverse.
  • The first two Alex Rider books both have a final chapter where the Big Bad (or, in the case of the second book, the Big Bad's clone) makes a final attempt to kill Alex after their plan has been foiled.
  • The Law of Innocence: The main plot is tied up when Mickey Haller proves himself innocent of first-degree murder charges, and walks out of court a free man, having established that the murder victim was actually killed by the mob. Then in the postcript final chapter, the Mafia hitman who did the murder pops up out of nowhere, and tries to kill Mickey too.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Doctor Who in The Angels Take Manhattan. Amy and Rory get sent back 50+ years in the past just as it seems that everything's fine...
  • Used in the finale of Power Rangers S.P.D.: the villains' plans are in ruins, the damsel saved, the major threat is destroyed and The Dragon arrested... when Emperor Gruum (who had suffered a Disney Villain Death earlier) crawls out of the rubble to challenge Commander Cruger to one last fight.
  • After the Big Bad DaiMaOh Grenghost is defeated in Madan Senki Ryukendo, the next episode reveals that Noble Demon and rival Jackmoon is still alive. Since his master is destroyed, Jackmoon thinks his only purpose is to resolve his rivalry with The Hero.
  • Kamen Rider does this with the Neo-Heisei shows save for OOO and Fourze. Double has the Energy Dopant, Wizard has Amadum, and Gaim has Kougane.
  • Shaw has one with Blackwell in the Grand Finale of Person of Interest sometime after the Final Battle with Samaritan.
  • The Season 5 finale of Arrow features an epic showdown between Team Arrow and their allies and Prometheus' army of villains. It ends with Prometheus' defeat, but he manages to slip away to an escape boat, causing Oliver to chase him down for one last fight.
  • Super Sentai:
  • The Ultra Series sometimes does this.
    • Return of Ultraman
      • After reducing Yametaranese to a harmless pint-sized creature and lifting the laziness diesease unintentionally caused by the kaiju, Jack had to contend with Alien Sasahiller, the Man Behind the Man of Yametaranese's invasion.
      • One episode has Ultraman Jack fighting, and eventually defeating the giant robot Builgamo. Cue Builgamo's controller, Alien Baltan II, coming out to confront Jack.
    • Ultraman Ace
      • In one episode Ultraman Ace had to fight the Flaming Sword-wielding monster Firemons, and then Firemons' master, Alien Fire.

  • A heroic version of this occurs in the ending of the Wicked musical; After Elphaba has faked her death, Glinda, believing that her best friend really has been killed, returns to the Emerald City, kicks out the Wizard of Oz, and has Madam Morrible thrown in prison. Unfortunately, she promised Elphie she wouldn't clear her name afterwards, so Glinda has to take responsibility for Oz alone while Elphie goes into self-imposed exile with Fieyro.
  • In Matilda, after Miss Trunchbull has been driven from Crunchem Hall, Matilda is promoted to the upper classes although still stuck in an unhappy home and no longer able to use telekinesis, and Miss Honey has regained her father's estate and become the school's new headmistress, the Wormwoods attempt to flee to Spain with Matilda, but are stopped by Miss Honey and The Mafiya. When Matilda speaks to the mob boss Sergei in Russian, showing her extraordinary intelligence, he agrees to let the Wormwoods leave, and Matilda is Happily Adopted by Miss Honey.

    Video Games 
  • Baten Kaitos has perhaps the most bizarre example. Xelha and Kalas go off into the Moonguile Forest in order for Xelha to "release the ocean inside of her" when suddenly the head of Emperor Geldoblame (thought to have been killed way back at the beginning of the second disk) pops out of the earth in an attempt to kill them. He is quickly defeated, and nothing more is spoken of it.
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission pulls a rather sudden one. The Rebellion and its leader Epsilon have been defeated, X and the others are lauded as heroes, and X, Zero, & Axl are prepared to take an airlift back to their home. Story's over, right? Nope. When the airlift arrives, it fires at the Resistance base, killing R, as it turns out that the Maverick Hunter's own Commander Redips had been manipulating both the Rebellion and the Resistance in order to get his hands on the Supra-Force Metal.
  • Depending on your interpretation of events, the last sequence of Killer7, after Garcian assumes his true identity of Emir Parkreiner, can easily fit this trope.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear 2, the final battle against the Metal Gear D is followed by a fistfight against its pilot Gray Fox, then by a final final showdown against Big Boss himself, punctuated with an escape sequence.
    • In Metal Gear Solid it's much of the same, only this time it's a Metal Gear REX and you're only fighting the pilot — twice, the second time during the escape sequence.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake completes his mission, and is now on his way back to America with EVA; suddenly, they are assaulted by Ocelot. Cue a one-on-one close-quarters fight aboard the WIG, and finally an old school pistol duel between Snake and Ocelot.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4, the final battle with Liquid Ocelot happens after Snake stops him from destroying JD and, in the process, ends up wiping out the entire Patriot Network instead, destroying the true Big Bads of the series. Though of course, that was Ocelot's plan the entire time.
  • In Myth: The Fallen Lords, you fight and defeat the Big Bad in the epic and bloody 24th level, which is titled "The Last Battle". Then the survivors are magically teleported for the 25th level into another place where you have to throw the Big Bad's severed head inside a bottomless hole to definitely remove his evil taint from the world. Except his lieutenant Soulblighter is there with a small army, waiting for what remains of the forces of light and seeking to retrieve his boss' head. He fails, only to flee and come back for the sequel as a Dragon Ascendant.
  • In Pokémon X and Y after you beat the Elite Four and the Champion of the region, you receive a big parade for saving it from Lysandre and Team Flare. In the middle of it the former king AZ challenges you to a Pokémon fight.
    • This seems to have started somewhat of a tradition, as in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, after defeating Steven and becoming Champion of Hoenn, the player must fight either May or Brendan, who will Mega Evolve their now fully-evolved starter, and in Sun and Moon, after defeating the Elite Four and Kukui and becoming Alola's first Champion, during the festival to commemorate the event, the player character and Lillie sneak off to the Ruins of Conflict and the player finally engages Tapu Koko, who must be either defeated or caught.
  • At the end of Wild ARMs, Zeikfried and Motherfried have been defeated, the efforts to drain Filgaia's life have been thwarted, and there's a good chance that its decay will even be reversed. The party takes the teleporter back to the earth and Zeikfried suddenly attacks them on the way down, having separated himself from Mother and becoming Zeik Tuvai.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time ends with the Shroob leader and her older sister defeated, and their invasion thwarted for good. Not really. As the Toadsworths take the Mario brothers to see a KO'd Bowser, the remains of the Elder Princess Shroob (which had been taken from the final battle) are consumed by him. The result is Shrowser, who the brothers must defeat using only counter-attacks.
  • Suikoden IV has the final duel with Troy. Leads to an Alas, Poor Villain moment afterwards, as it's noted that they had no real reason to sacrifice their life.
  • Sometimes employed in Metroid games. Specifically, the "real" final boss of Metroid Prime 2 is Emperor Ing. During the Escape Sequence, you get ambushed by Dark Samus one last time, whom you must quickly defeat within the time limit. In Metroid Fusion, you fight an Omega Metroid under nearly identical circumstances. Both fights are short and mainly just to avert What Happened to the Mouse? and showcase Samus regaining her normal power, respectively.
  • In the Game Gear game Legend of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, Mickey defeats the Big Bad, restores everything, plays a Bonus Stage, and returns to his home kingdom... but then King Pete (who wasn't heard from since the game's first level was completed) shows up and a boss battle commences.
  • In the Japan-exclusive RPG Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu, if the player makes Goku go Super Saiyan during the final battle against Frieza and keeps him and Vegeta alive throughout the end of the game, then after the credits roll, Goku will encounter the Bonus Boss: Super Saiyan Vegeta.
  • In Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, Ranmaru sneaks up on Leon and his family after everything seems to be resolved.
  • In No More Heroes, the "Real Ending" leads to the long-awaited confrontation between Travis and Henry, despite the original conflict of the assassin rankings having been resolved in the previous fight.
  • In Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, the game itself takes place on an island you crashed on trying to get to a tournament. Once you beat the boss of the island/final boss of the game, you leave and go to the tournament, which is so incredibly easy and postscript-ish that it's mostly done offscreen save for the (still easy) final battle of it.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, after defeating Legate Lanius in the final battle in one way or another, the game is pretty much over. However, if the player takes the Mr. House or the Wild Card path they will then have to deal with General Oliver and the NCR, who will not accept Vegas as an independent city-state. You'll then have to convince them in some way, or just kill them all.
  • Even better, in Fallout 4, after you complete the game by siding with the Minutemen and destroying the Institute, you can work on an entirely optional mission where the Minutemen go to war with the Brotherhood of Steel and generally teach them a well-deserved lesson. Namely, by shelling their Cool Airship out of the sky and then holding the Castle against the remnants of the Brotherhood's army. And it is awesome.
  • In It Lives Beneath, this happens in the final chapter of the story. After finally dealing with zombie animals, the Society, and the Lake Ghost, everything is peaceful and the Main Character can have their happily ever after, right? Wrong. One last remaining member, Richard Sutcliffe, kidnaps them and ferries them to the middle of the lake locked in a coffin as revenge, leaving the Main Character to die a watery grave. Depending on the choices made, your character will indeed die, or they will break through, swim back to surface and confront Richard once and for all.
  • The entire Awakening Expansion Pack for Dragon Age: Origins: the Archdemon has been defeated, the Blight is quelled, the Darkspawn are slowly retreating back underground... well, the latter not quite. Turns out, there is one loose end to the Fifth Blight, which needs to be cleaned up before the Thaw and rebuilding can settle in. Namely, the sentient Darkspawn Architect, who awakened the Archdemon in the first place, as well as his insane creation, the Mother.
  • In the ending of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, after defeating Saesenthessis/Saskia and resolving the political conflicts of the game, Geralt gets a message from Letho to have a meeting. At this point, Letho explains his role in the story, after which Geralt has two choices: A duel to the death or just letting the man go on his way.
  • After the events of volume 1 of Legacy Of Heroes, you have to fight a minor villain, Sunder, who gathers henchmen and storms the city while the most experienced heroes are still recovering from the fight with the Big Bad.
  • In the PSP remake of Star Ocean, if Cyuss joined the party then after the final boss is defeated and right before he returns home to his timeline he'll challenge Roddick to a private match so the two can personally see which one of them is stronger. It doesn't matter whether you win the fight or not, but it does affect the dialogue between the two of them at the end.
  • At the end of Kingdom Hearts II after Xemnas is apparently beaten he traps Sora and Riku into a final, 3-part fight with him before they can return home.
  • In Persona 4, the killer has been caught, the fog has been lifted from Inaba, and the protagonist is bids all his friends a fond farewell before leaving. However, if the player visits the Junes food court instead of returning home after saying his goodbyes, he'll meet up with the rest of the Investigation Team, who all realize that there are still loose plot threads left (such as how the Protagonist and the killer got their Personas) and that there might be someone else behind the entire incident. This sets the player on the path towards the True Final Boss and the Golden Ending.
  • Having defeated the Antispiral and stopped the completion of the Time Prison, Third Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku-hen ends much like the other games in the series, with the heroes talking about what they plan to do after splitting up, and all seems right with the world, until the player realizes that they haven't fought an original final boss yet. Cue alarms as Shikuu (who'd showed up throughout the game but hadn't had a formal introduction yet) appears, challenging the heroes.
  • At the end of Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM's first series, Marik attacks you one last time as you're relaxing with Yugi.
  • Overlapping with Bonus Boss, The Bouncer has Sion or Kou face a Duel Boss after resolving the plot, depending on how you used them throughout the game; If it's Sion, then you fight Wong Leung in a flashback, and if it's Kou, then he faces Leann Cadwell to prove to LUKIS that he can continue keeping tabs on Dominique. Rather annoyingly, you only have one shot at defeating them, so Try Not to Die if you want to unlock them.
  • Played for Laughs in Banjo-Kazooie. Banjo and Kazooie rescue Tooty as Grunty escapes, and their friends throw a party to celebrate. The credits roll, and it seems like the game's finished... only for the gang to realize that Grunty still needs to be defeated! Banjo and Kazooie run right back to where they rescued Tooty for the final showdown against Grunty.
  • Science Girls! pulls this one after our heroines have seemingly prevented the invasion, escaped the alien homeworld via wormhole and destroyed the transporter to Earth. Too bad the alien hivemind got through earlier in the game, had time to start setting up and showed up to kidnap one of your party members.
  • After Arkham's plan to bring Hell to Earth is brought crashing down by Dante and Vergil in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, the final battle of the game is between the two sons of Sparda, with Sparda's sword Force Edge as the prize. Dante gets the sword, but Vergil gets the locket belonging to their mother required to activate it, setting up the events of the first game.
  • Hwoarang's story in Tekken 4 has him beat Heihachi and win the King of Iron Fist Tournament in the match before the last one, where he goes to the Parking Garage stage and fights Jin Kazama. However, this is only semi-canon (Hwoarang didn't win the tournament and he never fought Jin but according to 5 he did go to the garage and get ambushed by the Korean military for his desertion that kicks off 4).
  • Blazblue has two, in the third and fourth games respectively.
    • Blazblue Chronophantasma: After the Final Boss has been dealt with the giant superweapon, Takemikazuchi, Ragna still has to remove its core to shut it down completely, said core being Nu-13. But by this point, the plot has more or less been resolved and serves more as a denouement.
    • Blazblue Central Fiction: After defeating his Arch-Enemy Yuuki Terumi/Susanoo for good, Ragna has two final fights with Noel and Jin respectively. Because in order to restore the world back to normal, Ragna has to erase the memory of himself from everyone. This one is especially poignant since this serves as the Grand Finale for the series` current story arc.
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica ends with a brief but no-holds-barred fight between Chris and Wesker as the base self-destructs after Alexia is dead.
  • Subverted in Undertale. After the credits of the True Pacifist ending, the screen shows static and Asriel Dreemurr reappears in his God of Hyperdeath form, saying "Did you really think it was over?!"... only for him to revert back to his child self again and sheepishly state that they haven't done the Kickstarter credits yet.
  • Terraria: In a sense, ridding the world of all the Corruption/Crimson and Hallow after defeating the Moon Lord, being the last practical goal of the entire playthrough now that it really has nothing left for you or the current world to benefit from, and with endgame armor, none of the enemies will pose much of a threat as you cleanse the world of them for good.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword pulls this in epic fashion. Link claims the Triforce from The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and uses it to destroy Demise, then finally reunites with Zelda...only for Ghirahim to reappear after being MIA for the entire third act. Ghirahim promptly kidnaps Zelda and uses a portal Link previously opened to travel into the past and free Demise there instead. Link goes after him, naturally, and faces off with him one last time before going straight into the Final Boss battle against Demise himself.
  • Inscryption has the main threat of the third part of the game, P03, dealt with by his former colleagues after the player beats the last of his bosses. One of said colleagues then decides that deleting the game world is the best course of action after everything that's happened, and the player is challenged to no-stakes duels by each of them as their world ends. This is especially poignant with Leshy, who antagonized you throughout the entire first act; he will deliberately remove any stakes just so you can play a little longer before everything ends.

    Western Animation 
  • At the end of the Adventure Time "Islands" mini-series, Finn and the gang still need to get past the Colossus, even though Minerva has long since abandoned their "villainous" plans.
  • In the Season 2 finale of Wakfu, Remington holds Eva at gunpoint after the climactic battle has ended, requiring intervention from her sister Cleo and Dally to settle.

    Real Life 
  • The assassination of President Lincoln and subsequent pursuit of John Wilkes Booth at the end of the American Civil War was an example of this.
  • For the Soviets, the battle against Japan in World War II in 1945 was somewhat this for them, as their main adversary had been the Nazis for the war. They only had a few border conflicts with Japan prior to 1939.
  • The Gulf War was this for the Americans in the Cold War and the Middle East regarding the Iran–Iraq War. Communism had basically collapsed, but their ally that was Baathist Iraq was still unaccounted for.
  • The Siege of Masada during the Jewish Revolts. The Romans had already conquered Jerusalem, and the remaining dissenters had camped themselves in the nearby fortress of Masada. The rest of the conflict amounted to the Roman army finding a means of surmounting the literal Stone Wall to reach these rebels.
  • The Battle of New Orleans was the Final Battle of the War of 1812. However, it actually occurred after the war was officially over — the peace treaty had been signed in Belgium, and word didn't reach American and British forces in Louisiana in time to prevent the battle from taking place.