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Yoda: Kill you, I cannot! But kill me, YOU cannot!
Emperor Palpatine: Because we are equally-matched opponents on opposite sides of the same almighty Force?
Yoda: No, because already released have the sequels to this movie been! And in them we both appear! Problem this is with prequels - no suspense can there be when already we know which characters live!
MAD Magazine's parody of Revenge of the Sith

In that last movie you watched, or the last game you played, there're maybe some epic and great battles between two or more characters fighting to the death and one of them seems to be on their last leg, or maybe one of them seems to about to die by being poisoned by something, or maybe they're about to fall of a cliff and hit the ground below, or maybe they're about to crash in the middle of a carchase. Whatever the case, you know that they'll survive because if they died, the fictional works that take place chronologically after it wouldn't be able to exist in the first place.

This trope usually exists in Prequels and Interquels, due to them being set earlier in the story's chronology. Fittingly, characters from the original work usually appear as their younger ages, and like the new characters, they usually are forced to fight deadly battles against the enemy; many of those battles are as nasty and brutal as they come, and many of them seem to result with the old characters dying and the villain laughing their ass off in triumph. But you know that however convincing these scenes may be, their ultimate outcome is predestined by the original stories that preceded them — or you may be looking at a Canon Discontinuity.

Compare Doomed by Canon, the grim counterpart in which the fate of a prequel character is death (or at least being Put on a Bus) because the original works established them posthumously (or not at all). Compare Interface Spoiler, and Plot Armor (the supertrope).

Common in Historical Fiction. If something features a historical figure in their youth, you don't have to worry that they'll die (unless it is an Alternate History story where they might be killed off).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Because Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a prequel to Cyberpunk 2077, many of the characters introduced in the series are Doomed by Canon... with the exception of Falco, who survives his encounter against Adam Smasher and, in the game proper, contacts V in order to give them David's shirt as a present. Similarly, since Smasher is the Final Boss of 2077 he is guaranteed to survive the events of the series.
  • The Distant Finale of Digimon Adventure 02 shows the Digidestined living successful lives, still being with their Digimon, and having families of their own 25 years later. This means that they were guaranteed to survive Digimon Adventure tri., Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, and Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning in spite of the danger they faced and any separation they experience with their Digimon partners won't be permanent.
  • Dragon Ball Super takes place during the Time Skip between the defeat of Majin Buu in Dragon Ball Z and the Distant Finale ten years later. As such, any characters that die in Super but appear at the end of Z are guaranteed to be resurrected, including Piccolo and Goku; as well as any sort of world-ending threat being guarenteed to be solved without destroying the Earth or if it does, it gets rebuilt.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Mavis Vermillion, Precht Gaebolg, Zeref Dragneel and Warrod Sequen will survive the events of Fairy Tail ZERØ, since it takes place a century before Fairy Tail.
    • The Fairy Tail: Ice Trail spinoff ensures that Gray Fullbuster, Juvia Lockser, Cana Alberona and Gildarts Clive will end up alive and well in the main series.
  • Subverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion. During the flashback episode, we meet a younger version of Rei... who is then murdered, setting up the reveal that "Rei" is a series of clones.
  • Sakura Wars:
    • The Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms is set before and during the original game, so Ayame Fujieda, Aoi Satan and the Hive of Darkness will survive the events of the OVA.
    • In the first episode of The Radiant Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms, we know that Ayame will also survive the events of the first episode since it also takes place during the first game.
    • The École de Paris OVA, which is set during the first half of Is Paris Burning?, ensures that Salu is going to end up alive and well.

    Comic Books 
  • Any tale of Wolverine's past will have the same prepared answer to the question of whether Wolvie's going to make it.
  • Similar to the Wolverine example, Magneto: Testament ensures us that Magneto will survive the events of World War II.
  • Subverted by the Doctor Who Magazine comic, which killed off the Seventh Doctor's companion Ace, despite the character living to a much older age in the novel range and in several of the magazine's own earlier comics that tied in to the novels.
  • It's a simple matter of fact that the characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) aren't in any real danger, given the supplementary nature of the comic.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender spin-off comicsnote  are Interquels set between the original cartoon and The Legend of Korra. Thus we already know that Katara, Zuko and Toph from the original Team Avatar will survive, and there won't be another major war. And while Aang and Sokka are dead in the Sequel Series, we know the former can't die until shortly before Korra's born (about fifty years from the comics' setting), while Sokka survives at least until she's a toddler.
  • Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos set during World War II became less suspenseful after the Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. series which was published a few years later had shown Fury, Dum Dum Dugan and most of the Howlers had survived the war.
  • Played for Laughs in PS238Tyler experiences a series of Pensieve Flashbacks about Principal Cranston's life back when he was President, and is annoyed when one cuts off right as he was about to get shot.
    Tyler: Aw, come on! I sat through the boring stuff! I know he doesn't get shot or he wouldn't be a principal now! (Beat Panel) Unless...they made a robot that looks like him...note 
  • Despite having literally hundreds of comics telling adventures of his time as a young wanderer, Conan the Barbarian's comics, by virtue of being part of the Conan the Barbarian franchise, need to line up with the rest of the franchise. Namely, no matter what trouble young Conan gets into, he has to survive and live long enough to become King Conan of Aquilona, as established in the very first Conan story, The Phoenix on the Sword.
  • Since John Wick is a prequel to the first film, we know that John and Charon, as well as any other movie characters, will make it out relatively unscathed, anyone else though is fair game.
  • The Transformers: Secrets & Lies miniseries ends with the Dinobots deactivated and the ending narration implies that their leader Grimlock isn't coming back, but the fact that the comic is a prequel to the Marvel Comics continuity makes it clear that the Dinobots are destined to eventually be uncovered and revived by Ratchet.
  • Played for Laughs in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) #141. The Off-Panel strip has Knuckles think he has this due to being in the "Mobius 25 Years Later" storyline until editor Mike points out it could end up being "an imaginary tale from a dream sequence set in a parallel universe of another dimension". Knuckles suddenly finds himself very concerned after that.
    • For a more straight example, Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) cannot kill off any characters that originate from the games, in part due to its supplementary status.
  • Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent had a storyline where Jon Kent went to the Injustice universe during the time frame leading up to Injustice: Gods Among Us. Therefore, Injustice Superman's regime cannot be stopped yet, since it is still in power at the start of the game.
  • Figment: Both the first and second series act as a prequel to the original version of Journey into Imagination so Dreamfinder and Figment have to overcome the antagonists of each series and survive.

    Fan Works 
  • Discussed In-Universe in the Dangerverse. Early in the fourth book (of five) Draco Black receives a vision showing, among other things, his own grave with the date he will die on it. He wonders later on if, since he knows that he will die on that specific date, whether that means he could jump off the Astronomy tower and land safely at the bottom since it's not yet time for him to die.
  • Multiple times in the Loyalty To Luke series, Luke attempts suicide. Since this is a prequel to Blue Mountain Mystery, none of them succeed, or else canon won't be able to happen.
  • Just about the only thing that takes the edge off of the terrifying and heartbreaking ending of The Very Secret Diary is knowing that, as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets shows us, Harry will defeat Tom shortly after the story ends, and Ginny will be just fine.
  • Three of the Ruby and Nora stories; Pyrrha's Past, Kuroyuri, and STRQ happen to be flashbacks involving certain characters, dictating that such characters will survive. For the first, Pyrrha is guaranteed to survive since she's the one telling the story. For the second, we know Nora and Ren will be okay since Nora is still alive at this point in the series, and Ren dies in Field Trip, which is years after the events of Kuroyuri. For the third, Qrow, Raven, and Summer are going to live, although we also know Taiyang won't.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Since Captain Marvel (2019) is a prequel, Fury, Coulson, Ronan, and Korath (who all appear in chronologically later movies) all have to survive the events of it.
  • Since the Fantastic Beasts series is a prequel to Harry Potter, there are several characters who have to survive. From the first film, Porpentina Goldstein and Newt Scamander given that they go on to get married, have at least a baby - and a grandson, Rolf, who will go on to marry none other than Luna Lovegood - and retire in 1979 with three Kneazels (not to mention that the canonical publication date for Newt's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one year after the film takes place). They are both still alive as of 2017. Dumbledore, Grindlewald, and Nagini, who don't play an important role until the second film, all have to survive as well since they all live another seventy-odd years and die in the original book series. The third film also introduces at least one character who will have to survive, Aberforth Dumbledore, who manages to survive the books as well.
  • The Hobbit:
    • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has Bilbo contemplate killing Gollum, though the audience knows he won't due to it already being established in The Lord of the Rings that he spares him.
    • In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, it's hard to worry too much when it looks like Bilbo, Legolas, or Gandalf are going to die, as we know the film is a prequel, and all three survive to the The Lord of The Rings trilogy. In particular, the film's framing device is that it's a story Bilbo is recounting to Frodo before the events of LoTR. Balin also has to survive the Quest for Erebor since The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring established that he died much later attempting to retake Moria, as do Ori and Óin. On the flip side of coin, the trap that the dwarves set for Smaug is doomed to fail because Smaug must live long enough to be killed by Bard.
    • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has Galadriel, Saruman, and Elrond fight Sauron and the Nazgul, all of whom on both sides having to survive in order to be in the Lord of the Rings films.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom takes place in 1935, while the previous film Raiders of the Lost Ark took place in 1936, so it was obvious that Indy would survive the many near death experiences he faces.
  • Inglorious Basterds has an epic aversion of this trope with Adolf Hitler, who ends up being riddled with bullets from the Basterds, thus bringing an end to World War II earlier!
  • In Il Primo Re, a story based on the legendary founding of Rome, we know that Romulus will survive to found Rome, no matter that he's gravely wounded early on. As a counterpart, we don't know who among the would-be sacrifice victims and the Velientes will survive, and Remus will die at the end.
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One: Due to this being the first part of a two-film plot, Ethan, Luther, Benji and Gabriel all have to survive to Part Two — Luther has left for parts unknown to check his equipment by the beginning of the third act, while Benji is safely away from the action the entire time (providing tech support while acting as Mission Control). Luther even outright tells Ethan not to kill Gabriel on the train as either Ethan killing Gabriel or Ethan dying on the train will result in the Entity winning regardless. Ilsa, on the other hand...
  • Star Trek:
    • Due to McCoy making an appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" it's a bit hard to worry about his safety starting with The Final Frontier.
    • Similarily, with Leonard Nimoy having appeared in The Next Generation episodes "Unification" Parts I and 2 about a month before the release of The Undiscovered Country, audiences went in knowing that whatever happened in the film that at least both McCoy and Spock would survive.
    • Audiences went in to Star Trek: Generations knowing Scotty would survive since he had appeared in The Next Generation episode "Relics" just over two years before the film was released.
    • It was inverted with Kirk in Generations, who is absorbed into the Nexus and is presumed dead, even though in Scotty's TNG appearance he implied Kirk was still alive when Scotty left his own time period.note 
  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Palpatine in the prequels, given they all show up alive in the original trilogy. As exciting as their climactic duels in Revenge of the Sith are, it loses some of the impact when you know neither of them kills their opponent. C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Bib Fortuna, Owen and Beru Lars, Mon Mothma, and Captain Antilles are also guaranteed to survive, as is Bail Organa, who is mentioned as still being alive before Alderaan is destroyed.
    • In an odd aversion, dialogue in Return of the Jedi note  indicated Padmé would survive the movie and die offscreen during the timeskip between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Instead, she dies at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
    • Rogue One was fairly sparse with its cameos from other movies, but you still know that Mon Mothma, Tarkin, Darth Vader, General Dodonna, Dr. Evazan, Ponda Baba, Red Leader, Gold Leader, the droids, Captain Antilles, and Leia are going to survive. Don't worry; they make up for it by killing EVERYONE ELSE.
      • Specifically inverted in the case of the Rebel pilot with the call sign "Red 5". As soon as we hear that sign, we know this pilot *has* to die, because that call sign is available for Luke to use in Star Wars: A New Hope. Also an almost-Subversion: Bail Organa. He survives... but the last thing he says is that he's heading for Alderaan, so we know he's going to live for, you know, a week at most.
      • Interestingly, this movie also "saved" some characters from the then-ongoing Star Wars Rebels, as listed below.
    • Being a prequel focusing on a young Han Solo, it was obvious going into Solo that not only Han but also Lando and Chewbacca would survive the film.
  • In Terminator Salvation, we already knew that Kyle Reese would survive Skynet because without him, no Terminator movies. The original, unused ending would've subverted this trope: John Connor was originally going to die, and his skin would be grafted onto Marcus' frame, who would carry on as leader of the resistance.
  • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it look like Wolverine is about to slam his claws right in Sabretooth's throat. Granted, he just knocks him unconscious, but you already know that he wouldn't kill Sabretooth anyway since he appeared in X-Men, that takes many years after this movie.
    • Then in X-Men: Days of Future Past, when the future is altered for the better, we see that all the X-Men are still alive, meaning Apocalypse has to be defeated somehow in X-Men: Apocalypse (which is set in the past), and the only major characters in danger of dying are Magneto, Mystique, Stryker, Psylocke, and Warren. Of particular note is Storm who is brainwashed as one of Apocalypse's Horsemen yet is seen as a teacher at the X-Mansion in the good future.
  • In The Young Messiah, Jesus is being hunted down by a Roman soldier intent on killing him, but anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Gospel story knows he will live to adulthood.

  • In the prequels of Glen Cook's Dread Empire, much of the suspense is derived from the conflict between Haroun bin Yousif and El Murid, and especially whether one of them will get to kill the other. Given that they both are alive in the original cycle of books, there really is only one answer. Character background and development is still very well executed, however.
  • Subverted in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Interference. It's a multi-Doctor adventure with the Third and Eighth Doctors. We know how the Third Doctor meets his end, so he can't get killed in this book. He still does though.
  • Lindsay Buroker's Fallen Empire sci-fi series has this in its own prequel era: In the short story "Remnants" and the Kindle Worlds novella "Discovery and Flight", both of which take place before the main series, heroine Alisa Marchenko is not in any danger. In "Remnants", neither is her friend Mica Coppervein. "Discovery and Flight" also features Alisa's friend Brad Tomich, who plays a major role in the primary series. Sufficient to say he comes home alive too.
  • Much of the plot of the fourth Johannes Cabal the Necromancer book features Horst Cabal telling his brother a story. Cabal interrupts the story frequently and at one point mentions that the danger Horst faced in the past loses any sort of drama because Horst lived to tell the story. Horst simply replies that he can't help that.
  • The Noob novels cause this for several characters of its Spin-Off Neogicia, that is set earlier but focuses on a set of characters that were briefly shown in the former.
  • The Licanius Trilogy: Due to a combination of prophecies and time-travel, Davian knows several things that are going to happen to him, including the exact nature and circumstances of his death. When captured by the villains, he points out that he knows they aren't going to kill him, because he already knows how he is going to die and it doesn't involve these particular villains killing him.
  • Magical Girl Raising Project has a Spin-Off arc named Breakdown, which takes place between JOKERS (4th arc) and ACES (5th arc), and started being published after QUEENS (6th arc). The thing here is, since some characters who appear in Breakdown ( Mana and Clantail) appear in ACES and QUEENS, is clear they are going to survive.
  • In an interesting example of a character being Saved By Canon for the moment, but Doomed by Canon in the long run, T'Prynn in the Star Trek: Vanguard novels can't die, even when she's in a coma due to Mind Rape ... because she's going to die in a transporter accident eighty years later, as shown in a Flash Back in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Many works are set between the films, so any characters appearing in chronologically later films are largely safe.
  • Star Wars Legends: As the original Star Wars EU, the same rules as above apply for works set between and before the original six films. No, Xizor will not kill Darth Vader, and no, Mace Windu will not fall to the dark side. Much of the books from New Jedi Order onward, however, show why this trope is sometimes a good idea, as the writers used the freedom of no later canonicity to kill off lots of beloved characters.
  • Defied in The Stormlight Archive. The series consists of ten books, each of which has a specific character who is the "focal character" for that book and gets a flashback sequence outlining their backstory. However, Sanderson has repeatedly stated that just because a character is the focus of a particular book, that doesn't mean they'll make it to that book, as it's entirely possible to give the flashback sequence posthumously and focus on that character's impact on the plot after their death.
    • This is demonstrated in the fourth book, Rhythm of War. The focal character for that book, Eshonai, actually dies at the end of book 2.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Iron Warriors characters in Angel Exterminatus had already appeared in the Iron Warriors series, so any reader familiar with those books would know they had to survive. Similarly, Lucius survives a fatal wound because his whole schtick is that he doesn't stay dead.
    • The Ciaphas Cain note  is framed by Inquisitor Amberley Vail reading his post-retirement memoirs, so he obviously lived to write them. Other characters guaranteed to live include Jurgen (who retires alongside Cain in Cain's Last Stand), and Sulla (eventually becomes Lady General, the highest rank in the Imperial Guard).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agent Carter, a prequel to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, guarantees that Peggy Carter will live to her 90s, Howard Stark won't die until 1991, Edwin Jarvis will live long enough to inspire the JARVIS AI, and in a villainous example HYDRA will rebuild itself inside S.H.I.E.L.D. to the modern day.
  • In Better Call Saul, Jimmy aka Saul, Mike, Gus, Tuco, Hector, The Cousins, Hank, Gomez, Lydia, Gale, Walt and Jesse, Victor, Tyrus, Krazy-8, Huell Babineaux, Ira (later of Vamonos Pest), and Francesca are safe at least until the series reaches the events of Breaking Bad.
    • In addition, Jimmy will never suffer any permanent consequence for his illegal actions because he's still a lawyer during Breaking Bad.
  • Played with in Caprica. The young William Adama is a main character, and it's obvious to the audience that he will survive the entire series to become a main character in Battlestar Galactica (2003), except he doesn't. He's shot and killed near the end of the series, and a montage reveals that his parents had a second son whom they named after his deceased brother, and he is the William Adama that the audience knows from Battlestar.
  • In Dad's Army the executive-mandated cold open to the first episode managed to save one of the characters from being killed off. The scene was set in the sixties during the I'm Backing Britain campaign and had Alderman Mainwaring making a speech about how he and his Home Guard platoon (who were also present at the speech) had backed Britan during the war. This included Joe Walker, who seemed to have become a well-off businessman post-war. We last see him in the series leaving a letter to the platoon saying he was going to 'The Smoke' (London) to do a deal, which was the show's way of writing him off as his actor had died. Clearly, he survived.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Subverted by Gotham, as while the majority of the cast do survive the series, Solomon Grundy does not.
  • Subverted by Smallville with Jimmy Olsen. They're presumably destined to live until such time as Clark "really" becomes Superman...but they don't, at which point we find out that they have a little sibling who's the real canon character! You just have to deal with the Fridge Logic of two siblings with very similar names, using the same nickname.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Due to the series taking place in the prime reality before James T. Kirk took command of the USS Enterprise, viewers already know Pike, Spock, Kirk, Uhura, M'Benga, Chapel, Scott, Kyle, and the Enterprise herself will survive the series. In fact, in-series, Pike tries to weaponize this throughout the first season since he knows his fate is to be horribly scarred once he leaves the Enterprise.
    • Star Trek: Discovery: with the later seasons taking place in the late 32nd century, it means that regardless of what happens in other active series the Federation and Starfleet will survive as they were both confirmed to still exist in the 32nd century, although by then the Federation is a Vestigial Empire. Its earlier seasons being a prequel to the original series also meant a few characters, such as Sarek, Harry Mudd, Christopher Pike, and Spock, were also guaranteed to survive whatever situations they encountered.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett both feature Luke Skywalker and R2-D2, who, regardless of anything that might happen in those series, will survive since they're still alive at the time of The Force Awakens.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi: Regardless of what happens, Obi-Wan, Owen, Beru, Bail Organa, Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2, Palpatine, Luke, and Leia will all survive the events of the series since they all appear or are mentioned in A New Hope (though in Bail's case, he instead survives to Rogue One and is confirmed to have been destroyed with Alderaan in A New Hope). Also, the Grand Inquisitor and Fifth Brother will survive due to their appearances in Star Wars Rebels, which takes place four years after this series. The Grand Inquisitor was stabbed in the gut by the Third Sister at the end of Part II, though he returned alive at the end of Part V.
    • Andor: Cassian Andor, Ruescott Melshi, Mon Mothma, and Saw Gerrera undoubtedly survive the events of this prequel show, due to appearing in the chronologically-later Rogue One, as does Wullf Yularen, who appears in A New Hope.
    • Ahsoka: C-3PO also makes an appearance in this show, which he will survive due to his appearance in later films.
  • In the prequel season of Spartacus, the suspense of whether a downed gladiator will receive the Thumbs Down is removed when they are a recognizable main character from the first season.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dino Attack RPG:
    • Canon LEGO characters could not be killed for this reason.
    • After November 2005, the Dino Attack had a Foregone Conclusion that the Dino Attack Team would ultimately defeat the Mutant Dinos.
  • The fourth round of Airlocked is a prequel (out-of-universe; in-universe, it's just the first season of the eponymous Immoral Reality Show gone into reruns). Thus, while it wasn't this way for the in-universe viewers, for those of us in the real world reading along, we knew Bolton and Jamie would be the only Champions left alive and Rox would escape as a Karma Houdini, but everyone else would die.


    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear takes place in between Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II, therefore whatever recurring character we meet both here and in the sequel is destined to live. It is particularly anti-climatic for Imoen, who is poisoned at the beginning but must necessarily survive in order to play a pivotal role after the events of the campaign. This led the developers to exclude her from the recruitable companions, as she will spend the whole time practicing magic in order to complete the dual class transition she is expected to have for the sequel, only showing up in the finale to set up the premises for a new story.
    • A certain mysterious figure is blatantly an important character in the original sequel, so even if you want to do something you can be assured that nothing will touch this character.
  • Darksiders II takes place at the same time of the first game, while Darksiders III is a prequel. Therefore both the main characters necessarily need to be in condition of being summoned at the end of Darksiders. Lampshaded in the epilogue of the second game which directly refers to this connectioon:
    Crowfather: On the shattered Earth, War had broken the Seventh Seal, summoning the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And the number of the riders shall ever be... four.
  • Since Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep takes place ten years before the first game, you know that most of the bosses will survive after you defeated them, especially Maleficent and Xehanort.
  • Game of Thrones (Telltale) has a number of characters from the show appear, such as Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Margaery Tyrell and Jon Snow. This, of course, means that you cannot affect their actions in a way that would contradict the show's canon. This is especially infuriating in the case of Ramsay Snow, who threatens to rape Talia, murders Lord Ethan, kidnaps Ryon, flays Arthur Glenmore and generally causes the Forresters no end of grief. There's even a moment where Ramsay holds a knife to his own throat and dares Rodrik to kill him; if you try to do so, he dodges back and applaudes your gall, but remains unharmed.
  • In The Force Unleashed, you already knew that neither Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine would die in their duels with Galen Marek, or that none of the rebel leaders would be executed by the Imperials since the game takes place two-six years before the original trilogy.
    • Unleashed also saves Shaak Ti (at least until Galen kills her), who was originally intended to die in Revenge of the Sith but whose death scenes were deleted.
  • Final Fantasy VII:
    • In Crisis Core, Sephiroth, Aerith and Cloud are going to survive no matter what, since if they died, then it means that the series' most successful game well might not have existed in the first place. Zack, however, is Doomed by Canon.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake has a strange unusual example. The mysterious ghosts plaguing Cloud throughout the game are revealed to be "arbiters of fate" meant to ensure the destiny plays out as intended (a.k.a,. the plot of the original game stays the same). This is shown when they revive Barrett from a stab wound. However, the ghosts are destroyed by the end of the game, casting doubts about certain characters' fates in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Furthermore, Doomed by Canon characters Biggs and Zack are shown to have survived, with the latter implied to be alive in an alternate timeline.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, being a prequel set decades before the events of the other Metal Gear games, punishes the player if he kills Ocelot (a key character from the chronologically later games) by proclaiming that the player has caused a time paradox. Killing Ocelot will also net a time paradox in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain where this time, he's your ally.
  • Played with and subverted by City of Heroes. The Dilemma Diabolique incarnate trial was released during the "Who Will Die?" storyline. As Statesman had already be killed, and the remainder of the Freedom Phalanx was present during the trial, many people thought everyone present would survive through the end of the arc. Sister Psyche was killed in the next episode, and replaced by Penelope Yin in the current version of the trial.
  • Originally in Super Robot Wars EX, it's possible for Zashford Zan Valfarbia to get Killed Off for Real when he's forced to fight his father. Since he's alive and participating in Part 2 of the remade Masou Kishin: The Lord of Elemental, which occurs post-EX, any events prior to Part 2, such as the EX scenarios of the Second Super Robot Wars Original Generation, guarantees his survival.
  • The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian: Since it takes place before The Scorpion King, you know that Jesup, Rama and Mathayus survive their encounter with Magus.
  • Call of Duty:
    • In Modern Warfare Remastered, Vladimir Makarov makes an Early-Bird Cameo in a flashback to 1996 and must survive to become the Big Bad of Modern Warfare 2 and 3. You can actually defy this trope and blow his head off with a sniper shot; doing so awards you the "Time Paradox" achievement, and unlike Metal Gear Solid 3 doesn't even penalize you with a game over. Playing this straight in the same scene is Yuri, Makarov's present-day good former friend, who actually does give you a friendly fire game over if you kill him. Yuri remains a 'friendly fire game over' during the airport massacre in Modern Warfare 2 Remastered.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II:
      • Raul Menendez. The campaign is split between two sections, one with Alex Mason prior to 1990, and one with David Mason in 2025. In the final mission of the past arc, you are explicitly told to snipe-headshot a prisoner said to be Menendez. Except it isn't him - quite obvious when you consider that the entire "future" arc is about stopping Menendez...
      • Also, Frank Woods, considering he's the one telling David about these past events in the first place in the in-universe present-day of 2025 and appears in every "past" mission—the very first level even has it that Mason and Hudson are trying to find him after learning he survived the previous game and fear that he may be dead but, obviously, he isn't since he's the one narrating the level.
  • 24: The Game ends with Jack Bauer heavily wounded after managing to kill Max and being rushed to a hospital. Considering the game took place in between the show's second and third seasons, it's safe to say that he eventually recovered.
  • The Wolf Among Us is a prequel to Fables, so since Snow White is alive in the latter, said character must survive even though her severed head is left on Bigby's doorstep. Additionally, many other characters are still around in the books, so that rules them out for being the Serial Killer.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Marcus, Merlinus, Bartre, and Karel must live to become playable characters once again in The Binding Blade; Eliwood, Hector, Bartre, Karla, Rath, Nino, Pent, and Louise must live to become the parents of playable characters in the same game; Eliwood, Hector, and Guinivere must live to become supporting characters; and Zephiel, Murdock, and Erik must live to become enemy bosses. (Hawkeye, Canas, and Rebecca, despite being the parents of playable characters, can still die — Hawkeye and Canas due to their children already being born, and Rebecca due to an oversight.)
  • At the beginning Ninja Gaiden 3: the Ancient Ship of Doom, Irene is apparently killed by a doppelganger of Ryu, but since the game is chronologically an interquel between the first two, and she was alive and well in the latter, canonicity dictated that her death was faked.
  • In Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, you fight Boba Fett as a boss, but he canonically survives, as the game takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 ends with the Bite of '87 happening to the child protagonist. However, as Phone Guy said back in the first game, "it's amazing that the human body can live without the frontal lobe"... Or perhaps not, for as the child fades away at the end of Night 6, a distinctive flatlining can be heard and it is further implied that the actual 1987 bite victim is 2's protagonist Jeremy Fitzgerald. There's also an easter egg in 4 that heavily implies the game actually takes place in 1982.
  • In Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, Layton and Luke sacrifice themselves to stop the golems from destroying all of humanity and get killed in the process (along with Emmy, Descole and Bronev). However, you know for a fact that at least Layton and Luke won't die, because Azran Legacy, like the previous two games, takes place before the events of the first three games.
  • Zoey, Francis, and Louis are saved by canonicity in Left 4 Dead during The Sacrifice campaign because they appear later on in the sequel. Bill, however, is Doomed by Canon no matter who gets sacrificed in The Sacrifice campaign.
  • An odd example from Zero Time Dilemma. Out of the nine characters who appear in the game, Akane, Junpei, Sigma and Phi should be guaranteed survival of the Deadly Game because ZTD takes place before Virtue's Last Reward where those characters appear. This seems odd, because VLR also confirmed that Diana survived and saw six of the nine characters die, making it seem impossible. However, Akane, Sigma and Phi have already changed the past by signing onto the Mars Test Mission in order to Set Right What Once Was Wrong and avert the Apocalypse Wow caused by the Decision Game so anyone who was previously guaranteed survival has their fate up in the air. In the ending leading to VLR, Sigma, Phi, and Diana are the three survivors, with Akane and Junpei dying, but using Time Travel to make it to the end anyway, unbeknownst to Diana.
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls: Byakuya Togami is captured during the game's prologue and held as Nagito Komaeda's hostage. However, since this is an Interquel between Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, we know he (and his captor) will make it out alive. The same applies to the alternate player character, Toko Fukawa. She is mentioned as being still alive in the epilogue of DR2, so any perilous situation that the player may find themselves in is mitigated by the knowledge that she survives.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III takes place at the same time as the first game and has a number of characters from both the first and second game appear note . Since these characters are alive by the time of the second game, we already know they'll all survive.
  • In Yakuza 0, one chapter ends with Masaru Sera being introduced, shown as being important and a potential ally for one of the player characters, and then shot and assumed dead. But since this is a prequel and Sera's death kicks off part of the plot of the first game, he's pretty safe, though he is incapacitated until the near the ending of Yakuza 0 as the Big Good.
    • Similarly, while Sohei Dojima is the main antagonist of the game, he ultimately has to survive so that he gets killed in the first game.
  • Red Dead Redemption II:
    • John Marston is arrested and seemingly killed at different points in the story, but as he's the protagonist of the first game, set 12 years afterwards, any misfortune that befalls him is guaranteed not to stick.
    • Similarly, Abigail is captured by the Pinkertons, with Milton promising to eradicate the gang. She also survives the gang's dissolution unscathed.
  • While the Resident Evil 3 (Remake) never outright confirms whether Nicholai escapes in the end or goes up in radioactive smoke, several titles that take place after Raccoon City's destruction explicitly confirm that he did survive the events of that game. To accommodate this, a second helicopter is visible in the background during the last scene he appears in where he is Left for Dead.
  • Amanda Ripley in Alien: Isolation is guaranteed to survive the events of the game, as anyone who watched Aliens knows, she died a married woman at age 66 from cancer rather than on a doomed Space Station 15 years after the events of Alien. Granted this will not save you from a lot of non-canon deaths at the claws and fangs of the ornery unstoppable Xenomorph stalking you on Sevastapol Station...

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Seasons 9 and 10 are partially made up of flashbacks to Project Freelancer's heyday. Since pretty much all of the characters have been at least mentioned before, we know most of them will survive the flashbacks at least. Characters known to survive include Agent Texas (main character in The Blood Gulch Chronicles), Agent Washington (joins the main cast in season 6), Agent Carolina (joins at the end of season 9), Four-Seven-Niner (becomes Recovery Command), the Director (he talks to Wash in season 6), the Counselor (de-briefs Donut in the present).
    • Several of the stories in season 14 (an anthology) are prequels featuring characters who've appeared earlier, so this is a given. In the trilogy of episodes showing the Blood Gulch Reds' backstories, it's obvious that Grif and Simmons won't die on their mission and Sarge will end up as Red Team's sergeant. The FH57 Reds try to team up with the Blood Gulch Reds around the time of Season 1, so of course they're not going to make any headway. The Mercs Trilogy can't kill off Felix and Lopez, because they're major players in the Chorus Trilogy.

  • My Impossible Soulmate: As this comic is a prequel to Rain, we know Chiaki will eventually return to her world and write "Black Wings: Kaminari". So it's not really a question of if she gets back home, it's a question of how and why.
  • Unsounded: Lampshaded when Duane is telling stories of his time in the military, Sette keeps cutting in to say Duane didn't die in this story (he's a zombie), and neither did Lemuel. Ruffles and Siya ask and then yell at her to stop spoiling the story.

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien is set before the first Madagascar movie, and thus, King Julien is guaranteed to survive the many near death experiences he is involved in.
  • Because Arcane is a prequel to League of Legends, any character who appears as a champion in that game is destined to survive the events of the series. As a result, anyone familiar with the game will know that characters like Jinx, Vi, Caitlyn, Jayce, Viktor, Ekko, Singed, and Heimerdinger will ultimately make it out of the series alive.
  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Lewis Dodgson and Dr. Henry Wu both barely survive the events of the series, since one of them appeared in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom while both of them appeared in Jurassic World Dominion (which were released before their appearance in the series).
  • Despite numerous threats of the eponymous team of Justice League disbanding, the League appearing in the earlier-aired Batman Beyond established that it would continue. Likewise, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent were both guaranteed to survive, while the Joker's fate was already shown to be later in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (despite having his brain fried in his last Justice League appearance).
  • The Fairly Oddparents: Although its canonicity is debated, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! shows that Timmy still has Cosmo and Wanda at age 23, indicating that in the main series, any threat of Timmy losing them is mitigated.
  • Hotel Transylvania: The Series: Although its canonicity is also debated, given that the series is a prequel to the Hotel Transylvania films, we know that Mavis is going to survive many dangers and near-death experiences that happen throughout the series.
  • The Lion Guard takes place during the Time Skip in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, so all the characters who appear in the latter half of that film, like Simba, Nala, Kiara, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, Kovu, Nuka, Vitani, and Zira, are guaranteed to survive.
  • For SpongeBob SquarePants, Word of God has stated that the first movie is chronologically the end of the series, which means for the series proper, any attempt at Plankton getting the Krabby Patty formula will fall flat, as he doesn't succeed in getting the formula until the events of the movie.
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
      • The series is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and there is a huge list of characters who show up in the latternote  that cannot have anything significant happen to them as a result. The Clone Wars compensates by being brutal towards any other characters, throwing out Family Unfriendly Deaths left and right, and still manages to create tension with Ahsoka, who doesn't show up in the films and therefore doesn't have the protection the rest of the cast has.
      • Played with some of the b-list characters, who only got characterization in the expanded universe comics. Due to The Clone Wars having a higher "canon" level than other expanded universe works, along with Disney's eventual sacking of the expanded universe into the non-canon "Legends" continuity (although they have included the six theatrical Star Wars films and The Clone Wars to be part of their new canon), this actually resulted in some of the characters who people thought would be spared or killed instead having a completely different fate. The biggest surprise is Barriss Offee, who was originally slated to have been seen in Revenge of the Sith to have died alongside her master only to have it be cut and later depicted in a comic, turn out to be a traitor to the Jedi cause and locked away. This means that she at least dies under completely different circumstances, and far more likely might return somewhere down the line. The Seventh Sister was long believed to be her due to the two being from the same race and the Inquisitors being fallen Jedi (which Barris definitely was).
      • The long-delayed seventh and final season, thanks to coming out after Stealth Sequel Series Rebels had completed its run, gave canonical protection to three characters (Rex, Ahsoka and Maul) who appeared in the later show but had lacked this kind of protection in the series' initial run.
    • Star Wars Rebels:
      • The novel Aftermath contains an indirect reference to Sabine, more specifically a recent piece of artwork she made, guaranteeing her survival past Return of the Jedi.
      • As a result of Rogue One (which takes place two years after the series' then-present third season), now applies to Hera (due to a Shout-Out), Chopper (due to a cameo), and the Ghost itself (due to a couple Freeze Frame Bonuses).
      • Months later, Forces of Destiny was announced just before Celebration 2017, and one of the shorts features Hera teaming up with Leia and Han on the Forest Moon of Endor, making her this even more.
      • At Celebration 2017, it was announced that a popular fan theory that Captain Rex appeared as a member of the Rebel strike team in Return of the Jedi would be canonized, making him this.
      • When Darth Vader would face off against Ahsoka, there is a brief moment where Ahsoka managed to physically crack Vader's shell and get through to Anakin again. You can even see the regret in Vader's eyes as he realizes who Ahsoka is. But we know he cannot be redeemed here, nor even defeated. This trope is actually used by the show to maximum effect to sell how Vader is just as tragic as he is a monster, showing Anakin as being trapped within Vader and the misery he lives in.
      • In addition to Vader, all the other characters who appeared or are mentioned in the original trilogy will likewise survive, including Grand Moff Tarkin, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Lando Calrissian, Mon Mothma, Jan Dodonna, Wedge Antilles, Bail Organa, Derek "Hobbie" Klivian, Jon "Dutch" Vander, Wullf Yularen, Palpatine, Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Luke.
    • Star Wars: The Bad Batch features Order 66 being issued while Caleb Dume, aka Kanan Jarrus from Rebels above, was still with his Jedi Master Depa Billaba. Since he has to survive Order 66 to appear in the chronologically later series, the Bad Batch disobey Order 66 and spare him while other clones kill Billaba. Hera Syndulla, also from Rebels, is likewise going to survive the danger she faces. Saw Gerrera, a Clone Wars character who survives up to the events of Rogue One, also returns, since he cannot be killed either to preserve his role in that film. Other characters who appear like Palpatine, Tarkin, Krennic, Bail Organa, Bib Fortuna, and Hurst Romodi are guaranteed to survive due to their appearances in the original trilogy and Rogue One. In addition, one of the squad's first major antagonists is Fennec Shand, who was first introduced in The Mandalorian, taking place a good twenty-eight years after this series, meaning the squad will likely not find a permanent solution to her. Ditto for Cad Bane, who makes his live-action debut in The Book of Boba Fett, which is a spinoff of The Mandalorian.