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Sacrificial Planet

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"One needs only to look upon the once-green planet of Mars to understand the full scope of the devastation the Rüstov leave in their wake."

How do you know that the problem the heroes are dealing with are a real threat? Because the threat in question hit another planet first, and they're coming for the plot-relevant planet next. If that next planet is Earth, see Earth Is the Center of the Universe.

Compare Earth That Was and Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs, for when the crisis struck closer to home eons earlier. Usually the result of Planet Looters, a Planet Eater, or Aliens Are Bastards. Can result in an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.

A special dramatic mention should be made for plots that use Mars in the place of the planet that was previously destroyed. Since Mars in Real Life is well-understood to be barren and lifeless, it already gives a very chilling demonstration of what the threat is capable of, as well as additional chills because it happened so close to us.

Yes, a certain former planet qualifies for this trope as well. It's in our solar system, it counts. Compare Doomed Hometown and Throwaway Country.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, the Book of Darkness is said to have destroyed countless planets before finding its way to Earth, and so Team Nanoha embarks on a quest to locate and stop it.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza single-handedly destroyed the planet Vegeta some years prior to the start of the series.
    • Vegeta and Nappa destroy the planet Arlia on their way to Earth. This anime-only scene is just for showcasing the Saiyans' power.
    • Another filler scene had Freeza fire a giant death ball at Goku, who deflected it into space where it hit and destroyed a nearby planet.
    • Broly destroys Shamo to annoy its natives in Broly-The Legendary Super Saiyan before destroying New Vegeta.
    • Inverted in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' where Whis demonstrates his ability to rewind time to save a moon that Beerus destroys during a tantrum. Foreshadowing what he'll do when Frieza destroys Earth later on.
    • Also done multiple times in the first few episodes of Dragon Ball Super to show how dangerous Beerus is.
  • Japan Animator Expo: "Tokio of the Moon's Shadow" starts with the beast killing the guardian of Neptune and its planet, then tearing up every planet after on its way to Earth.
  • The titular Planet Eater in Remina announces its presence by eating all the planets in the Solar System. It then proceeds to do the same to Earth. Successfully.
  • King Nikochan destroys Mars in an attempt to threaten Arale in Dr. Slump. It appears again in a later chapter though.
  • An interesting variation occurs in DieBuster, when the core of Jupiter 2 (a gas giant planet discovered beyond the orbit of Pluto) is weaponized and flung at the Excelio Variable Gravity Well - only for the impact to not harm it at all.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four:
    • The planet-eating Galactus came to Earth a few times to devour it after spending centuries feeding on other planets without much trouble.
    • Galactus's opposite number Abraxas was introduced as having destroyed a number of parallel Earths before heading to the "main" one.
  • Similarly, in the lead-up to Avengers vs. X-Men the Phoenix Force destroys all sentient life on several inhabited worlds while headed towards Earth.
  • The origin story of minor Legion of Super-Heroes villain Mano features him using his disintegrator power to destroy his entire homeworld and everyone on it. Given that he was never even remotely that powerful in any of his actual appearances, it almost reads as an example of Cutscene Power to the Max.
  • The famed Alan Moore and Alan Davis run of Captain Britain introduced the vastly powerful Reality Warper James Jaspers by having a weaker alternate counterpart so damage his home reality that it had to be destroyed to contain the threat. However, the character who makes this claim is an Unreliable Expositor at best and has ulterior motives for ordering the parallel reality's destruction.
  • Superman:
    • The final arc of John Byrne's run involves Kryptonian villains from a "pocket reality" stripping its Earth bare of all life and even destroying its atmosphere as a show of power and then threatening to come to the "real" Earth and do the same.
    • A Pre-Crisis comic had an army of Bizarros heading towards Earth. Superman watching with his telescopic vision, sees them cleave an obstructing asteroid in half and notes that they could do the same to Earth.
  • Subverted in a Doctor Strange Story Arc from the 1970s, wherein the villain Nightmare manages to destroy the Earth at the beginning and the story is about trying to bring it back, or at least get Earth recreated anew.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths:
  • Our Worlds at War had sacrificial galaxies being shown to have been destroyed by Imperiex.
  • The Negation was shown to invade and destroy many planets, including one similar to modern Earth, after defeating and killing its super-powered, cape wearing protector (who was definitely not Superman.

    Fan Works 
  • Star Wars vs. Warhammer 40K: Raxus Secundus, the heavily-defended capital world of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, gets attacked and destroyed in the second season by Space Marines from the Crimson Razors chapter. This is done in order to show off the might of the Imperium of Man as well as establish that the Imperium seeks to wage a war of total annihilation upon the unprepared CIS.

  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, after the Surfer inadvertently interrupts Reed and Sue's wedding and nearly causes a helicopter crash, Reed discovers energy signatures in the cosmos matching the Surfer that correlate to planets destroyed by Gah Lak Tus.
  • Star Trek (2009) shows the planet Vulcan being destroyed by the villain, and then heading for Earth to repeat the process. Word of God said that Vulcan was destroyed to demonstrate that anything goes in the new timeline in this film.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope: Alderaan is destroyed to demonstrate how evil the Empire is and the powers granted to them by the Death Star at full power. It's Princess Leia's home planet, but we don't actually see the surface until the very end of Revenge of the Sith.
    • Rogue One shows that the planets Jedha and Scarif were prior victims of the Death Star. While neither one was shattered into an Asteroid Thicket like Alderaan since the Death Star was tested on them at low power, the damage was still extreme. (Think H-bomb on steroids. Lots of steroids.)
    • The Force Awakens, thirty years later, has a bigger, badder superweapon that can destroy entire solar systems. So it gets tested on the Hosnian System, current capital of the New Republic.
    • In The Rise of Skywalker, the resurrected Emperor Palpatine reveals a fleet of Star Destroyers, each armed with a miniature planet-shattering weapon. The first and only world to be destroyed is Kijimi.
  • King Ghidorah from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster made Venus (Mars in the English Dub) the barren wasteland devoid of life that it is today.
  • The opening credits to Men in Black II show an alien spaceship flying through space and destroying every planet it passes. It then lands on Earth and get peed on by a dog that's larger than the ship.
  • Transformers: The Movie starts too with Unicron devouring Lithone as a snack in the way to Cybertron.
  • Likewise in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, where the prologue ends with Unicron tucking into the Maximals' homeworld to demonstrate he really does eat planets.
  • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio travels to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to save it from the elementals that destroyed his Earth. This is all a lie. Mysterio fabricated the whole thing using holograms and robots to set himself up as a superhero.
  • The Showa-era Godzilla villain, King Ghidorah, was said to have wiped out all life on many planets, including Venus.

  • A throwaway line in the first Jack Blank book shows that the planet of Mars once was as green as Earth, and that the reason it's as barren as it we know it is because the planet-consuming Rüstov already finished with it, and they are presently attempting to invade the Earth.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land has a brief passage from the perspective of the Martians who adopted Valentine Michael Smith. From their perspective he's evaluating humanity, and if they don't measure up, well ... Jupiter used to be the sixth planet and Mars was always fourth.
  • In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, the Vermicious Knids are said to have eaten the former inhabitants of Venus, Mars, and the Moon. The only reason why they haven't devoured Earth yet is because they can't survive the friction heat from plummeting through the atmosphere.
  • At the start of the Star Carrier series the Sh'daar Empire's vassal races have already destroyed several of Earth's extrasolar colonies. By the middle of the first book their latest victims are most of the inhabitants of Eta Boötis IV, killed by a multi-AU kinetic strike from a Turusch warfleet. This foreshadows the Turusch attack against Sol late in the novel, which is only barely driven off at the cost of tens of millions of lives.
  • In Wrath of a Mad God, one of the late The Riftwar Cycle novels, the heroes help this along. The emergence of a Dreadlord on the planet of Kelewan is such a Godzilla Threshold that the heroes drop the planet's moon on it themselves in order to stop it, since it had already wrecked several planes of existence on its way to theirs, and this was a preferable alternative. They evacuate as much as possible, but the threat was so great as to only allow a minimal amount of time to do so.
  • In the Star Trek novel Before Dishonor, a gigantic Borg Cube consumes Pluto.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek
  • Late in the Shadow War on Babylon 5, the Vorlons began destroying every planet on which a Shadow presence or influence was detected, with their planet-killer vessels closing in on Centauri Prime.
  • In Doctor Who, the Daleks stole 27 planets to use in order to power their Reality Bomb. Subverted in that at the end of the story, all of the planets were returned safely to their original locations.
    • In the classic series, the Pirate Planet Zanak had consumed several planets before the Doctor stopped it.
  • Super Sentai has it frequently be the backdrop for a show's villain, with them having destroyed multiple worlds before trying their luck with Earth. Ocasionally we get survivors of these genocides show up and help the heroes in some way:
    • Choushinsei Flashman: Various worlds were ravaged by the Reconstructive Empire Mess, with the genetics of their inhabitants taken for the sake of helping Emperor Ra Deus evolve.
    • Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman: The Galactic Imperial Army Zone have the most overt example of this trope as their ultimate goal is to destroy 1000 planets (or, at least make them unhabitable) and Earth is that last one they need; across the series various survivors and refugees show up helping the Fiveman and other plot points part from a planet's destruction of a previous Zone conquest.

  • Transformers: One ad for a Unicron model goes, "He devours entire worlds. His name is Unicron. And he's heading ... for Earth."

    Video Games 
  • In The ClueFinders Reading Adventures Ages 9–12: Mystery of the Missing Amulet, the game's eponymous MacGuffin, the Amulet of Life, was responsible for completely reducing the planet Millenia into a dying wasteland. At the end of the game, the evil sorceress Malicia says that once she finishes off Millenia with the Amulet, she's going to drain life from the Cluefinders' home planet, Earth, next.
  • Metroid Prime:
    • Inverted in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The planet Norion is doomed from the start from a looming Phazon leviathan impact, but Samus manages to save it at the last minute. Later on it's revealed that the other planets in the system suffered a Phazon leviathan impact while she was in a coma and are already showing signs of corruption, so Samus goes to those planets to stem it.
    • Played straight if the planets in the earlier titles, Tallon IV in Prime and Aether in Echoes would be any indication regarding the fate of the Phazon-corrupted planets in Corruption. The difference being that Samus already saved those planets and they're on their way to recovering so she knows she could save the others.
  • In Crash Team Racing, it's revealed that Nitros Oxide is the cause of the barren wasteland on Mars: the inhabitants on the planet failed to defeat him at racing and thus get decimated. He threatens to do the same on Earth (by making the planet a parking lot and slaving all its inhabitants) if they failed to defeat him at racing, too - setting up the story.
  • In the original Halo trilogy, most of the story takes place in late 2552, after the Covenant destroyed the planet Reach during their war against humanity. The Covenant had already burned hundreds of human colonies in the twenty-seven years of war before, but Reach, being humanity's second most important military stronghold after Earth, is viewed to be the point-of-no-return, the point where humanity has been dealt a crippling blow and now needs to pull a miracle out of their asses if they want to prevent the Covenant from wiping them out by the end of the year. The Fall of Reach itself is described in Halo: The Fall of Reach and playable in the prequel Halo: Reach, where you are Doomed by Canon.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • Episode "Klingon War", mission "The Doomsday Device", which is for all intents and purposes an expanded repeat of the TOS episode set 150 years later. Another planet killer half-destroys a small moon ahead of it before the player attacks to prevent Ambassador B'vat from siccing it on the Federation.
    • The various inconsistencies in the story of the Hobus supernova from Star Trek (2009) were explained as this in the "Romulan Mystery" episode. At the behest of the Iconians, a Tal Shiar faction under Hakeev was experimenting with treaty-banned subspace weapons and accidentally blew up Hobus. Thanks to the subspace weapons, the shockwave traveled through subspace at FTL speeds and obliterated several star systems, including the Romulus System.
  • In Riven, it's stated that most other Ages for which Gehn produced linking books have already collapsed or expired, with Riven only the latest one endangered. The fact that the recently-written Age where Gehn lives is number 233 suggests there have been a lot of these failed Ages.
  • In Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, the planet of Telamon is used as a testing ground for Tolwyn's Gen-Select bioweapon. Tolwyn plans to use it on other worlds after achieving satisfactory results.
  • Radiant Historia has a unique take on this on that the planet showing the threat is the main game world in an alternate future, having fallen to desertification.
  • From Battleborn:
    • Due to the Varelsi consuming stars in the universe, countless planets were rendered completely uninhabitable from the loss of their stars which provided heat and gravitational stability for them. This of course is counting only the majority of planets. There are a few rare cases wherein the Varelsi not only drag stars back into their dark dimension but also whole planets as well. With Solus being the last remaining star left in the universe, the number of habitable planets and places is terrifyingly scarce.
    • The prologue web motion comic depicts the event wherein the planet of Penarch was destroyed. It's loss was one of the reasons that prompted Ghalt to form the Battleborn in order to protect what's left.

  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, a Planet Eater eats a system's outer planet, moons first and then the main world a week later. Then it ate the life-bearing planet's moon, and that was a week ago...

    Western Animation 
  • In the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Fool's Gold", mischievous but harmless aliens come to a village every 17 years where they eat massive quantities of popcorn and defecate solid gold. When the town's mayor gets greedy and kidnaps one, he gives the alien a steak, causing the alien to grow into massive size and defecate unstable uranium. The alien's friend tells Ben that Mars "used to be called The Popcorn Planet" before his kind came there.
  • When the Brains go on a rampage in Futurama, Hermes points to each destroyed planet on a flat star map and notes that each planet forms a straight line that points directly toward the Earth; precisely the planet that the Brains attack next.
  • The first episode of the Justice League cartoon displays an invasion of aliens coming to Earth. These aliens previously had taken Mars, leaving the Martian Manhunter as the sole survivor, who comes to Earth to warn the planet and help form the Justice League to fight them off.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory "Dial M for Monkey" shorts Rasslor, the universe's greatest wrestler goes searching for worthy opponents on inhabited planets. If no one can beat him he destroys the planet. The short is a spoof of Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7, where the Champion of the Universe makes the very same threat to Earth's heroes.
    "And so my quest has brought me to this timid little planet you call Earth, so, terrestrial heroes, can one of you quench my thirst for the divine conflict, the supreme struggle? Or will your planet be doomed to the same fate, that has befallen so many."
  • Invader Zim One episode has the titular Villain Protagonist go up against a duo of Planet Jackers who capture other planets as well as moons in giant transportation spheres and throw them into the dying sun that orbits their homeworld. Literally using these planets and moons as firewood in order to stave off their own destruction, even though they could've easily just moved to a different planet orbiting a more stable sun instead.
  • Played for Laughs in Fairly OddParents. Mark, the Yugopotamian, is wished to Earth, and his parents take a ship to go look for him. Along the way, Mark's dad blows up every planet he sees in hopes that each one is Earth. Mark's mom objects.
    You know, you wouldn't have to blow up all these planets if you just stopped and asked for directions.
  • Shadow Raiders starts out with the Beast Planet devouring Planet Tek. Whose princess escapes just in time to attempt to warn the next star system in its path.
  • In the episode "The Humanoids" of Il était une fois... Space, a ship able to destroy planets is tested on an unfortunate (seemingly) Moon-like, barren, world.
  • In the Rugrats episode, Visitors from Outer Space, Stuvon demonstrates his planet atomiser by blowing up an asteroid outside.
  • In the first scene of The Transformers: The Movie, we see the planet Lithone devoured by Unicron.