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Resistance Is Futile

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"Resistance is futile to one who is the destroyer of all that exists!"
Trigon the Terrible, The New Teen Titans

A villain will say some variation of "resistance is futile." Often, it will turn out resistance was anything but, but villains do like to have their moments. Other common variations are "it is useless to resist us" and "resistance is useless."

See also Nothing Can Stop Us Now!, and other forms of Tempting Fate. Compare You Can't Fight Fate, Failure Is the Only Option, But Thou Must!, Morton's Fork, and Xanatos Gambit when resistance really is futile.


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    Trope Namer 
  • Star Trek uses "resistance is futile", as the Catchphrase of the Borg. This phrase is subject to a great deal of Memetic Mutation, such as "Billgatus of Borg."
    • Defied in Star Trek: Voyager episode "Scorpion" which begins with two Borg cubes giving their spiel as they approach an unseen target. Right in the middle of "Resistance is__" a beam of energy lances out and destroys both cubes. Enter Species 8472.
      • Defied by the Federation itself: As much as the Borg may profess it, every attempt to assimilate Earth has failed spectacularly. Even when the Queen personally intervened the Borg simply can't defeat those pesky humans.
    • Also, the Borg are quick to point out that anything else you may have to say is "irrelevant".
      Picard: Our culture is built on freedom and self-determination!
    • Also subverted in the episode "I Borg" when Guinan makes the isolated Borg drone Hugh see that "resistance... is not futile?"
    • Also used as an Ironic Echo in Star Trek: First Contact when Data reveals that he has been unaffected by the Borg Queen's attempts to seduce him to her side, and was on Picard's side the whole time.
      Data: Resistance is futile. (Smashes warp coolant tank.)
  • In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, after mind-melding with V'Ger, Spock tells Kirk "Any show of resistance would be futile, Captain." What's even more interesting is that V'Ger is said to have come from "a planet populated by living machines with unbelievable technology", which many theorize to be the Borg homeworld.

    Anime & Manga 
  • A variation of this was used in Words Worth: "[[You Got Spunk Your resistance only makes my penis harder!]]"
  • Dr Eggman in the third episode of Sonic X gives a quote the comes close to the Borg introduction: "I have decided to take over your world and make it part of the new Eggman Empire! Resistance is futile. You will submit to my rule or be swept away like dust bodies!"
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In "¥$", Kusanagi gives this trope while busting a gang of Yakuza. When one of them disagrees and pulls out a shotgun, Batou puts a bullet through his hand. "Didn't we tell you not to resist?"

    Fan Works 
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Hefty, The Luckiest Smurf", the Psyche Master says this to Empath in the alternate timeline where he is taken back to Psychelia.
  • N says a variation of "resistance is futile" in Natural Liberated when he finds first Cheren, then Ash, then Rourke. He usually asks "What chance have you against me?", but it delivers the same effect.
  • A Voice in the Wilderness uses a somewhat different version of the Borg spiel because they've been co-opted by the original Borg Queen, One of One.
    "Surrender your vessel. Your technological and biological distinctiveness are immaterial. You will be assimilated into the whole and perfected. I am the Borg. Resistance is futile."
  • In the 18th chapter of The Vow, Lord Shen duels with Lady Lianne, his prisoner and "former" love interest, telling her at one point that she's fighting an inevitable loss. She is certain that he's referring to something else than the duel.
  • Subverted in the J/7 Slash Fic The Voyorgy Conspiracy.
    "I am Luscious of Borg," she said huskily. "Your vagina will be double-adapted to service my own. Resistance is exciting."

    Film Live-Action 
  • Darth Vader, while fighting Luke in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
    Vader: You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did.
  • Long before the Borg, the 'Captain' in Cool Hand Luke was giving this exact warning to his inmates.
  • In The Wolverine, this is the reason why Logan did not join the Japanese freed prisoners that were running away from the explosion that was about to happen, and preferred to stay in his pit. They can't escape from the near-ground zero of an atomic explosion.
  • The Matrix Revolutions: During his Villainous Breakdown, Smith spends a good long while ranting about the pointlessness of Neo's resistance and life in general.
    "You must able to see it, Mister Anderson, you must know it by now! You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting!"

  • In Animorphs #6, a Yeerk taunts Jake:
    "Forget resistance. It is futile. No host has ever overpowered a Yeerk. It is impossible."
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Fall of Damnos we get this nice message from your usual friendly neighborhood apocalyptic robots next door, "We are the Necrontyr. We are Legion. We Claim Dominion of this World... Surrender and Die. (Note this message was translated by the local Tech Priests, and they insist the last three words were properly translated)
  • In the British Star Wars parody "Star Bores", the Big Bad is a Dark Lord of the Hith, a group of evil beings with a distinctive lisp. At some point, said Big Bad delivers this gem: "Rethithtanth ith uthelethth!"
  • This Gem from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where a Vogon guard keeps shouting "Resistance is Useless", apparently as his job.

    Live-Action TV 
  • From Dad's Army:
    Mainwaring: Further resistance is useless. In the name of the King I demand that you surrender.
  • Doctor Who:
    • For the very first time in the series in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", a Dalek (who had invaded Earth) to a captive Doctor and Ian: "RESISTANCE IS USELESS."
    • A Cyberman, in "The Tomb of the Cybermen": "TO STRUGGLE IS FUTILE."
      • "Resistance is Useless" was a favourite phrase of the Cybermen in their first two stories, "The Tenth Planet" and "The Moonbase". Which actually makes them an Ur-Example (1965), however the phrase is now more commonly associated with the Borg.
      • The Borg themselves actually derive some of their characteristics from the Cybermen. The original episode featuring the Borg was "Q Who?"
    • Noah, the human-turned-Wirrn in "The Ark in Space": "Your resistance is useless."
    • The Master, in "The Deadly Assassin": "Resistance is futile".
    • An Eternal in "Enlightenment": "Resistance is futile". He was very friendly about it, though.
    • A Dalek, in "Revelation of the Daleks": "IT IS FUTILE TO RE-SIST". These happen to be its last words.
    • A Dalek, in "The Stolen Earth": "RESISTANCE IS USELESS."
    • Played with in "The God Complex": One of the mottos of Tivoli, the Most Conquered Planet in the Galaxy, is "Resistance is exhausting."
    • Subverted with a Dalek, in "Into the Dalek": "RESISTANCE IS FUTILE." The Doctor makes it repeat itself, just to be sure, because it's not saying that resisting the Daleks is futile. It's saying that the Daleks resisting life is futile.
  • Zeltrax in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, to an actress Mesogog was planning to experiment on. Her response: "Hey, I was up for that part."
  • The Space: 1999 finale "The Dorcons":
    Varda: Commander, the Psychon will tell you how futile it is to resist us.
    Maya: Resistance... (sigh) futile.
  • As noted in the page quote, this is a favourite Catchphrase of the Borg from Star Trek.
    • The Borg's 'standard hail' replaced a different, less informative greeting from their initial appearance in the episode "Q Who?":
      Borg Collective: We have analyzed your defensive capabilities as being unable to withstand us. If you defend yourselves, you will be punished (transmission abruptly cuts out).
      Picard: Hmm.

  • From Scars of Yesterday by DragonForce:
    Trapped within my fierce desire
    Resistance is futile
  • Comfort Eagle by Cake:
    "To resist it is useless
  • Protect The Law by Iron Savior:
    My directives are simple peace and justice for all
    Your resistance is futile if you fight me you'll fall
  • "Time Bomb" by All Time Low
    resistance is useless, just two kids stupid and fearless.


  • Starting with the original radio series, all the various iterations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy franchise feature this as a Catchphrase for the Vogons. (Though they go with "useless" rather than "futile".) In particular there's the spaceship guard early in the story who is assigned airlock-stuffing duty in regards to hitchhikers Arthur and Ford. He really loves to shout it and considers it a major job perk.

    Video Games 
  • Nine-Ball from Armored Core says this when he, actually, they, ambush you in the end.
    Nine-Ball: "Resistance is futile, your fate is sealed."
  • The ork legions in RuneScape sometimes say "Resistance is futile!". This combined with the fact they are summoned to defend their leader Bork should make it clear what's being referenced.
  • The Aparoids in Star Fox: Assault, apparently inspired by the Borg, spout lines like this. Well, the Queen and Aparoid Pigma do, the rest aren't much for talking. Pigma even outright quotes the Vogons in saying, "Resistance is useless."
  • Actually accurate in the Ashbringer tie-in comic for World of Warcraft.
    Kel'Thuzad: Further resistance is pointless. Your will is no longer your own.
  • Kunzite says the exact line in Tales of Hearts (orig. teikou wa muimi da).
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • Big Bad Harbinger tends to s— ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL. YOU CANNOT RESIST.
    • Seems to be common among Reapers, since first episode Big Bad Sovereign drops it too on Virmire.
      Sovereign: "You exist, because we allow it. And you will end, because we demand it."
    • The Reapers generally see any kind of resistance against them as utterly useless and only delaying the inevitable (not without some justification, admittedly). The one exception is Shepard: they're the one thing in history the Reapers consider an actual threat.
      Harbinger: Shepard. You have become an annoyance.
  • The far too numerous doppelgangers in Baldur's Gate shout this incessantly as you hack them to bits "It is useless to resist!" Since they only have some two battle lines and the latter 3rd of the game consists almost entirely of fighting great wads of them at once you'll be hearing it. A lot.
  • Master of Orion:
    • If you meet a particularly hostile alien race in the original game, they will say "Resistance is futile. The fate of the <your race> is inevitable. Prepare to submit to the <our race> Empire."
    • This is one of the messages from the Antarans in the second game, when they're specifically attacking one of your colonies.
  • Overwatch has a rare benevolent version from Orisa. She repeatedly instructs her enemies to surrender, and her Ultimate call out is 'CEASE YOUR RESISTANCE!' Badass Adorable that she is, she has a number of ways to make you.
  • The Nod Redeemer epic unit from Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars: Kane's Wrath has this as one of its in-game quotes.
  • In Xenogears:
    Citan: Resistance is futile. It only makes things painful.
  • In Final Fantasy Type-0, Imperial Marshall Cid Aulstyne says as he demands Rubrum surrender their Vermillion Bird Crystal:
    Cid Aulstyne: Your Crystal cannot protect you. Resistance is no longer an option. You have six hours. You must comply with our demands, or face the full might of our forces - in which case, I promise you, the roads of Rubrum will run red with the blood of her people.


    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars: Rampage gives a variation of this in his debut episode "Bad Spark", but Silverbolt has a snappy comeback.
    Rampage: Your persistence is futile! I rise again!
    Silverbolt: In that case, let us give you further to fall!
  • Ben 10: Omniverse has Emperor Milleus delivering the line when he invades Earth:
    "Resistance is futile; but encouraged, for it amuses me."
  • Bounty Hamster. Cassie and Marion are being chased by a couple of psychotic space slugs with this as their Catchphrase. Or maybe not both of them — at one point one slug turns to the other and asks, "What is my line?"
  • Said by the boss bad guy in Challenge of the GoBots after his invasion force had landed on an alien world: "Resistance isn't only futile, it's stupid!"
  • Brainiac in the DC Animated Universe was fond of "You are only delaying the inevitable." It was practically his catchphrase.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, the three eat a pizza gone bad; Billy and Grim have bad dreams, and Grim's consist of replicating Mandies that go "Resistance is useless. Obey...".
  • In the ReBoot episode 'Between A Raccoon and a Hard Place', Megabyte says "Resistance is futile" - the intention of the writers was to reference the Borg from Star Trek.
  • Regular Show: "Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is DUMB!"
  • Of course, The Simpsons has parodied this at least once. In "Lisa The Vegetarian", Lisa's class is forced to watch a film called Meat and You: Partners in Freedom (number 3F03 in the Resistance is Useless Series).
  • Allura the witch says "resistance is useless" to the Smurfs she has held captive with her Fantastic Drug in her fortress in The Smurfs (1981) episode "The Lure of the Orb".
  • Peridot of Steven Universe paraphrases this when fighting the Crystal Gems, though in a much more frustrated manner than the usual indifference it's delivered with.
    "I'm doing this one way or another! You're just making it really difficult!"
  • Transformers: Animated: "I am Soundwave. Resistance is futile."
  • The Phalanx in the X-Men: The Animated Series cartoon, being expies of the Borg, even used both parts of the Borg catchphrase ("Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated." Though contrary to popular belief, the Borg say "resistance is futile" last.)

    Real Life 
  • According to The Other Wiki, this was part of a telegram that Nazi Germany sent to the Netherlands at the start of World War II. Source
    • During the very short invasion of Denmark, Germany dropped leaflets, calling on the Danish people not to resist. The government surrendered in six hours after formations of bombers dropped them over the king's palace where they were debating their options.
  • When the United States was preparing to invade Afghanistan in 2001, they broadcast warning messages to the Taliban including You will be attacked by land, sea and air. Resistance is futile.


Video Example(s):


A determined man

Karen will tell you that resistance is futile in his quest to obtain the power of the Red Strings in order to save Alice.

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Main / ResistanceIsFutile

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