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Storyboarding the Apocalypse

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Huey reveals the core problems with the crisis.

"Darkseid goes all out. A lot of villains tell everyone about their plan, but Darkseid filmed an elaborate dramatization of it. Look at those special effects. He didn't just have a computer-rendered picture of what his battle station will look like, he got actors to run around on an airfield while planes were getting vaporized."

Sometimes, it's enough to just say "The World Is In Danger!" and hope the hero (and the audience) may understand the urgency and risk and answer The Call. Sometimes, though, a little more is in order. Storyboarding the Apocalypse is a disturbingly detailed narrated account of the impending Götterdämmerung and rise of the ultimate evil, accompanied by a montage to give plenty of Nightmare Fuel-inducing visions of the end to all parties involved.

Storyboarding the Apocalypse is used on a few different occasions:

Occasionally this is given as a warning by less direct conventional methods; Cassandra Truth can deliver it, or via Psychic Dreams for Everyone, or Time Travel in the hope of driving the point home to the hero and the audience.

Especially detail-oriented villains will have prepared dioramas, movies, a Spreading Disaster Map Graphic, and even commission an Earth-Shattering Poster or two to help hammer it in. Or they might just beam it into the hero's skull with a laser.

Compare Just Between You and Me, Villain World, and Bad Future, which can be the Storyboarded Apocalypse given form. See also Unspoken Plan Guarantee. Contrast Apocalypse Wow, which is also a narrative depiction of the apocalypse, only used for very different dramatic goals. See It's a Wonderful Failure for video games storyboarding the apocalypse when you fail.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Just before making his wish, Emperor Pilaf of Dragon Ball takes a moment to visualize himself as emperor of the world, and we get a sequence showing him as emperor. (He spends the entire fantasy standing on a podium doing nothing but laugh while a crowd hails him.) Oolong uses this time to ruin the whole thing by wishing for panties.
  • X1999 (also known as "The Shoujo Armageddon") not only features a lengthy vision by dreamseer Hinoto-hime on how the apocalypse will proceed, it also flashes forward and flashes back to that dream sequence many times throughout the series.
  • The Anti-Spiral in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann explains exactly how and why the Earth will be destroyed, complete with a helpful 3-D simulation. Simon realizes through instinct that it's the truth, going briefly into a Heroic BSoD.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. When it becomes clear that Metal Sonic intends to destroy the world, Knuckles explains to the skeptical president how exactly a single robot could accomplish this: by puncturing the lava veins that flow through the giant mountain/glacier that holds the various Floating Continents that make up the Land of the Sky together, the planet's own rotation will hurl them off into outer space (though this won't affect the Land of Darkness, which is the actual planet's surface). Unfortunately, Sonic overhears this conversation, and due to the Psychic Link, Metal knows everything that Sonic knows...
  • The major driving force of the Psychic Squad's plot is a prophecy of the devastating war between espers and normal humans, completed with realistic visions that several characters have experienced.
  • Done twice in Naruto by the two masterminds of Akatsuki regarding their individual plans for creating a lasting peace.
    • Pain had developed the design for a massively powerful weapon using the bijuu. His intent was to use it in order to wipe out the current order, reducing humanity to a subsistence level. The weapon would be left intact, used by their descendants whenever hate overcame their fear, repeating the cycle and preventing a full-out war.
    • Madara intended to use the chakra of the bijuu for an incredibly powerful jutsu. By reforming the bijuu into the Jubi and absorbing its chakra, he would gain enough power to cast an eternal genjutsu at the moon, which would then reflect to the earth. Every living being would be ensnared in his genjutsu and made into extensions of Madara.
  • GaoGaiGar used this when the heroes discussed or contemplated what would happen if they failed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, Anubis shows Yugi, Joey, and Tristan visions of the world being destroyed since they won't be around to see it themselves. It mostly consists of Anubis using living Duel Monsters to destroy everything.

    Comic Books 
  • Done in Angel: After The Fall: Wesley gives a dying Angel a vision of how the Shanshu Prophecy plays out for him, which involves a lot of heads on pikes. Angel then promptly wishes for death so he can avoid it!
  • DC: The New Frontier features a particularly creepy example, where the Big Bad's genocidal plans for Earth are communicated via the writings of a children's author — specifically, a Dr. Seuss Expy.
  • This was done to the original Exiles team on their second mission, which was to ensure the death of Phoenix during an alternate Trial of the Phoenix. Once they learnt that the Phoenix actually was Jean Grey, their leader refused the mission and planned to reveal everything in hopes of a better solution only for everyone to be subjected to a graphic mental download by their Mission Control of the horrific destruction that would occur if she wasn't killed at that point in time.
  • During the Sons of Empire arc of Fables, Lumi A.K.A. The Snow Queen details her plans to wipe out life in the mundy world (our world). They consist of using warlocks and witches to spread plagues across the globe, sending dragons and fire imps to burn our cities to the ground, coming in herself and putting the whole planet into perpetual winter, then finally leaving us to wither and die without crops or any means of producing anything. When they're done the Empire will use our devastated, uninhabitable planet as a prison world.
    • Subverted almost immediately afterward, however, by the Adversary's son, who's lived in Fabletown until recently Storyboards the Aversion of the Apocalypse. The big problem with Lumi's plan is that we'll catch on to the fact that we're being attacked by germ warfare fairly quickly, and while that alone wouldn't help much as we have no idea how to leave this world for the Homelands of the Fables, the residents of Fabletown will likely approach the US government and go public with their existence. Once they do, they'll give us all the info we need on the Empire's location, and since the Empire has a ban on all modern technology from our world (The Adversary fears a rebellion if his subjects did carry it) our armies would obliterate theirs, and the Empire would fall.
      • At the end of the arc, the Adversary decides to hold off on the invasion until they have the Fables living among us all killed so they can't intervene.
  • Hellboy did it on a number of occasions, most memorably in "The Right Hand of Doom". Hellboy wonders what might happen if he cuts off his Evil Hand, and we see a splash page of a hooded man standing in a burning ruin, holding up the severed hand and chanting, "Anung un Rama..." (Hellboy's true name at the time).
  • In Saga Of The Swamp Thing, the resurrected Anton Arcane rants about how he's going to bring the worst of the damned back into the world, inciting chaos and a literal Apocalypse. Scenes of havoc wrought by those he's already unleashed provide a literal "storyboard" of the kinds of hell Arcane would've spread around the world, had he not underestimated Holland Swamp Thing.
    • Alan Moore later repeats this, arguably to even more chilling effect, in the series' Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in. The description starts with the following line and just gets bleaker from there.
      "Something was eating the sky".
  • Transformers: Twilight's Last Gleaming: A one-panel case during the original arc shows the Earth and its native plant life being turned into metal while animals flee if Megatron succeeds in Hostile Terraforming the planet into New Cybertron using the Allspark.
  • The Ultimate Galactus Trilogy has a scene where Reed Richards lays out Gah Lak Tus's M.O.: First it broadcasts a signal that drives those who receive it insane, absolutely destroying a civilization's infrastructure. Then, when the first shuttles land, they release a flesh-eating virus so that all organic life is killed. Then, it harvests the molten core of the planet and strip mines the surface before moving on to the next world. Reed ends up using a holographic projector.
  • In Don Rosa's "The Universal Solvent", Huey explains to Uncle Scrooge what will happen to the Earth if they don't find a way to retrieve the universal solvent that Scrooge recklessly spilled before it dissolves its way to the Earth's core.

    Fan Works 

  • Child of the Storm: arguably the entire series is Doctor Strange storyboarding this, or rather, doing his best to storyboard the aversion of this. In the final chapter of the first book when called on to explain himself for his schemes and manipulations, he proceeds to detail exactly how things would have turned out if he had not acted, or if he had acted earlier, quoting the original For Want of a Nail poem.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Flight of Dragons, Ommadon the Red Wizard outlines his plan to use Black Magic to win The Magic Versus Technology War, and attempts to convince his brother wizards to join him, complete with images:
    Ommadon: Fear rules man, and I will summon the dark forces to infest the spirit of man so he uses his science and logic to destroy himself. What havoc I will raise! I will turn brother against brothernote . Greed and avarice will prevail, and those who do not hear my words will pay the price. note  I will teach man to use his machines; I will show him what twisted science can give birth to. note  I will teach man to fly like a fairy, and will provide the ultimate answer to all his science can ask! note  And the world will be free for my magic again. Man will never inherit my domain, for I will make man mine.
  • In a Just Between You and Me moment, Boingo in Hoodwinked! uses a literal slideshow to demonstrate to Red how he intends to monopolize the goodie market, complete with a diagram and wand to demonstrate what he plans to do. His proposal, when placed on the diagram, looks just like a new city plan. Meaning that it may harm the goody market, but it will boost the construction industry significantly.
  • In the Rankin Bass production of The Return of the King, Samwise becomes the bearer of the One Ring, which tries to corrupt him with a vision of a world in which he has become all powerful. Of course, it being Samwise, this vision involves innocuous things like turning all of the orcs into cute animals and the entire world into a flower garden. Samwise realizes how silly the idea of him being an Evil Overlord would be and is able to resist the allure of the Ring.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, King Candy describes what might happen if Vanellope plays: her glitchiness might cause the game to crash, forcing the game to be unplugged. Not only do we see the population fleeing in terror trying to get out, but worse, Vanellope, as a glitch, can't leave the game. She'll be stuck as the game goes offline, and go with it into oblivion. But that's not the worst part. It's a lie. King Candy is a lying bastard who is doing this to keep himself in power because if Vanellope did win, the game would reset and Vanellope would be restored to her rightful position.
  • In Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: after Spot absorbs the power of Mumbattan's super-collider and becomes "Black Spot", he shows Miles that he plans to get revenge by killing Jefferson the same way other Captain Stacy figures have died in other dimensions and coerce him into making a Heroic Sacrifice to save a child.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Armageddon (1998) contains two examples of this. One is at the beginning of the film, as Charlton Heston's voiceover about what happened to the dinosaurs threatens the same consequence for Earth later on. Truman later makes it explicit:
    Truman: Damage? Ah, total, sir. If this asteroid hits, nothing would survive. Not even bacteria.
    Truman: So when the rogue comet hit the asteroid belt it sent all these pieces spinning off. Next fourteen days, the Earth's in a shooting gallery. Now, if it's a Pacific Basin impact, which we think it will be, it'll flash-boil millions of liters and set off earthquakes when it hits the ocean bedrock. Half the Earth's population will be incinerated by the heat blast and the other half will freeze to death in nuclear winter ... this is as real as it gets. It's coming. Right now, at about eighteen thousand miles an hour. Not a soul on Earth can hide from it.
  • In the Austin Powers movies, Dr. Evil goes to elaborate lengths to explain his latest world-threatening scheme to his henchmen. It usually ends with the show going awkwardly wrong and him being embarrassed.
  • The Core has the lead character explaining the Earth's ultimate fate with a peach and an aerosol can flamethrower.
    Keyes: As the electromagnetic field becomes more and more unstable, we'll start seeing isolated incidents - one plane will fall from the sky, then two. Then, in a few months, anything, everything electronic will be fried.
    Zimsky: Static discharges in the atmosphere will create superstorms with hundreds of lightning strikes per square mile.
    Keyes: After that, it gets bad.
  • The Day After Tomorrow condenses the beginning of a new ice age into a couple of months — the apocalypse is story-boarded like a very fast flip-book, in climactic terms. We get a more regular example by the midpoint of the film when the storms start and Professor Hall puts it simple for his superior, drawing a line that bisects the United States length-wise and saying that everybody beneath that line must Run for the Border as fast as they can right now — and everybody over that line must be written off as soon to freeze to death.
  • In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Gellert Grindelwald has had a vision of the future, which he shares with a large audience via a smoke illusion. To fairly recent veterans of World War I, seeing another war, long lines of refugees and starving prisoners, bomber airplanes, and finally a nuclear explosion is pretty much an Apocalypse.
  • Hellboy: "I will give you a brief, brief glimpse into the future..."
  • The 2006 remake of Nihon Chimbotsu (Japan Sinks) had a scene where the geologist trying to warn the Japanese government about the disaster uses a computer simulation showing the dramatic dissolution of the Japanese archipelago. Dramatic, as in he starts with "Hokkaido will be the first to go" as the camera cuts to Hokkaido splitting in half.
  • Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring shows Frodo a vision of The Shire as an industrial work camp. In the book it turns out she was bang on; in the following movies Saruman gets shanked early and that side of the conflict ends.
  • In the James Bond movie Moonraker, The Diabolical Mastermind Hugo Drax had such an exposition.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home features an example of the "it already happened somewhere else" type, when Quentin Back shows Peter a holographic simulation of what the elementals did to his home Earth. (Of course, we later find out that he made the whole thing up.)
  • In Superman Returns Lex Luthor shows Lois Lane a series of maps detailing exactly how his plan will destroy pretty much the entire Western Hemisphere.
  • Terminator:
  • In Thirteen Days, President Kennedy uses this to give an example of how the Cuban Missile Crisis can easily turn into nuclear war. After bringing up a historical example in The Guns of August (a recently-published book about the events of August 1914 leading up to World War I), he plays out something similar if the US decides to implement a blockade of Cuba:
    "If one of their ships resists the inspection, and we shoot out its rudder and board it. They shoot down one of our planes, in response. So we bomb their anti-aircraft sites - in response to that...they attack Berlin. So we invade Cuba.... and they fire their missiles... and we fire ours..."
  • V for Vendetta:
    • Finch describes the upcoming revolution with shots spliced in of an overeager enforcer killing a kid with a Fawkes mask and then getting lynched by the angry neighbors:
    Dominic: So do you know what's gonna happen?
    Finch: No. It was a feeling. But I can guess. With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty. And then, Sutler will be forced to do the only thing he knows how to do. At which point, all V needs to do is keep his word. And then...
    • He finishes his guess a bit later. Fortunately, he was wrong.
      Dominic: I went by Parliament. Never seen anything like it - tanks, antiaircraft, infantry - it makes you wish that no one would show up tonight. But if they do, what do you think will happen?
      Finch: What usually happens when people without guns stand up to people with guns.
  • When WOPR in WarGames is given a Logic Bomb, it begins to run thousands of simulations of global thermonuclear war all of which are accurately labeled - US First Strike, Turkey Heavy, USSR First Strike, et cetera. Each ends with WINNER: NONE and the total destruction of all population and military centers on the planet.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: A parody of this occurs near the end of the movie, referring to the interstate bypass, and eerily foreshadowing the modern strip mall.
    Judge Doom: I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night! Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations; inexpensive motels; restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food; tire salons; automobile dealerships; and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful.

  • In The Lord of the Rings, Galadriel memorably storyboards what would happen if she were to take the Ring for herself when Frodo offers it to her before ultimately refusing it.
  • The Knights of the Word in Terry Brooks's overarching meta series have these occur to them every time they fall asleep.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation giant novel 'Metamorphosis', Data learns the fate of the galaxy should he choose to stay a human.
  • Although the hero of the Pendragon books is always trying to prevent whatever world he's in from falling apart, Bobby gets a good, long, disturbing look at what will happen if he fails in the third book and the Nazis win World War II.
  • Subversions abound in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, where such visions often lead to the very events they depict. Jacen Solo's are the most specifically apocalyptic; his visions of what the future will be like turn him to the Dark Side in order to prevent the galaxy from lapsing into unending war. Ironically they all involve him killing Luke Skywalker, but it never occurs to him to kill himself.
  • An early Animorphs book has the Ellimist showing the heroes a supposedly inevitable Yeerk-dominated world, and then actually giving them the opportunity to Refuse The Call. However, this wasn't a message of doom, an easy out, or even a possible future, but a Batman Gambit on the Ellimist's part to show the heroes where the location of a generator (which no longer needs to be hidden in the Bad Future) that will cripple the alien invasion for a short time is.
    • Later on, an entire book is devoted to this, when Jake wakes up in a future where the Yeerks have won.
    • There's also a Megamorphs based on the idea that they never walked through the construction site and got their powers (a deal that Jake agreed to in a moment of weakness). Suffice to say it doesn't end well.
  • Discworld:
    • Parodied in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, in which Ponder Stibbons has set up an elaborate presentation to show the danger to the Roundworld Project, only for Rincewind to sum things up in one sentence when he still has "a dozen slides and a flowchart" to go.
    • A straighter example from The Last Hero: Ponder Stibbons has said that unless an explosion at the Hub is prevented, the magical field will collapse for up to two years, with a hypothetical illustration showing the Discworld After the End, with the turtle and elephants reduced to skeletons and the disc itself turned reddish and dead.
      Lord Downey: Well, we can get along without magic for two years, can't we?
      Ponder: No. The sun will crash and burn. The seas will dry up and vanish. The turtles and the elephant might cease to exist altogether.
      Downey: All that'll happen in two years?
      Ponder:, No, all of that'll happen in the first ten minutes. Magic isn't just coloured lights and balls; magic holds the world together.
    • In Making Money, the local economics expert (who doesn't get out much) explains to Moist what will happen if there's a run on the bank, getting progressively worse until he mentions trolls rampaging from the mountains. Moist interrupts him, explaining that the trolls are already there (and have been for quite some time now, and are quite civilized too). Hubert then amends his scenario to say that if things get as bad as he predicts, the trolls will probably rampage back to the mountains.
  • During Ragnarok, how many steps backward will Thor take after slaying Jormungand before keeling over from the poison? The Poetic Edda can tell you. It's nine.
  • In The General Series, the computer secretly advising Raj Whitehall can show him detailed audiovisual scenarios of the most likely results of various courses of action. Sometimes, just to rub in for us what a Crapsack World they're in, it'll show him situations he can't do anything about.
  • The journal from The House on the Borderland recounts a vision (?) of the end of the solar system.
  • Stoically averted in Good Omens: while a good bulk of the book revolves around the prophecies of Agnes Nutter, who predicted the apocalypse down to the slightest detail, and one of the protagonists knows all of them by heart, nothing is ever revealed in the text before it actually happens.
  • Over the course of The Dresden Files, more and more bad shit keeps happening, and The Masquerade gets thinner and thinner. (Word of God has already revealed that he'll end the series with an apocalypse scenario.) Cold Days reveals that this is not a coincidence; various supernatural foes have had their Evil Plans crash into one another, and Nemesis, The Man Behind the Man, (er, so to speak) is specifically trying to manipulate everyone else into causing the end of the world. Retroactively speaking, the entire series has been Storyboarding the Apocalypse.
  • In Greg Egan's The Clockwork Rocket, once Yalda predicts that a Hurtler (re: an Antimatter asteroid traveling at literally infinite velocity) will destroy the planet, her student Eusebio explicitly asks her for a storyboard. What he really wants is a timeframe for the apocalypse, so that he can judge whether the idea of a Generation Ship is worth pursuing, or if they're all going to die too soon for it to matter.
    Eusebio: I want you to imagine the worst, and then tell me how we can survive it.
    Yalda: The worst? The Hurtlers will keep coming, ever larger and in ever-greater numbers, until the odds that we're struck approach a certainty. If we survive that, we'll probably collide with an orthogonal clump of gas — turning the world itself into something like a giant Hurtler. Somewhere along the way, there will be gravitational disruption, maybe ripping us free from the sun completely — or maybe tossing us into it. And if none of these things sound sufficiently fearsome, the encounter might scramble our arrow of time completely, leaving us with no past and no future. The world will end as a lifeless mass of thermal fluctuations in a state of maximum entropy.
    Eusebio: So how can we survive that?
    Yalda: We can't.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 will often feature a Presidential adviser or a CTU analyst using a PowerPoint presentation to literally storyboard what will occur if the terrorists' plot succeeds. The second season premiere shows President David Palmer staring in shocked silence at a computer projection of the "worst case scenario" death toll if the nuclear bomb goes off in LA.
  • Heroes does this once a season, usually via Time Travel or precognitive paintings.
  • In the season opener for Galactica 1980, Doctor Zee shows a simulation of what a Cylon invasion of Earth would look like. The destruction was recognizable to viewers as Cylon fighters superimposed over stock footage of the movie Earthquake — but that makes sense in-universe, as Doctor Zee could have easily captured the footage from TV airings of the movie!
    • For some reason promotional material for the movie that was made from that opener seemed to draw almost exclusively from this attack.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Doomed", after Giles reveals that the Monster of the Week wants to open the Hellmouth and end the world, everyone groans "Again?" and Xander comments that it's lost its impact. At which point Giles proceeds to remind them exactly what that means. In detail.
    Xander: "Hmm. Feeling the impact again."
    • In the seventh season the First Slayer gives Buffy a vision of the inside of the Hellmouth. An entire army of the Ubervamps that are nearly impossible to kill. Only they're strangely not, anymore.
  • In the finale of Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Power Rangers Mystic Force, the Rangers are zapped by the Big Bad to a barren world where he has taken control. Its precise nature wasn't exactly clear - we never saw much of it beyond a small cave - but it seemed to be less of an outright Alternate Dimension than a mere taste of what was coming.
    • In Magiranger, N. Ma claimed to be "devouring time", aging the entire planet except himself and the Rangers.
  • A few 1970s Doctor Who examples:
    • "Inferno" sends the Doctor into a Dystopic Mirror Universe where Project Inferno (ongoing in his reality) has progressed a few days faster and proceeds to destroy the world, thus giving him extra motivation to shut down his world's Project Inferno.
    • "Day of the Daleks" has a future Alternate History where a nuclear holocaust happens and the Daleks take over. Hearing about the averted timeline gives additional incentives for various diplomats to get it right.
    • In "Pyramids Of Mars", the Doctor takes the TARDIS to 1980 to show Sarah Jane the lifeless Earth that will result if Sutekh isn't stopped in 1911.
  • Seven Days operate similarly to the Doctor Who examples above: show what happened, then use Time Travel to go back and fix things.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles begins with a scene of a terminator killing John Connor, triggering The End of the World as We Know It. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • The last story arc of the first season of Stargate SG-1 began with this. Even though it had been less than a season, the Goa'uld might have already been looking a bit harmless. Their foot soldiers had apparently attended the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy and wore Useless Armor. The SG-1 team was threatened inadvertently by Human Aliens, Starfish Aliens and Negative Space Wedgies as often as by the Goa'uld intentionally. But in the episode "There But For the Grace of God", Daniel visits an Alternate Universe and learns that if the Goa'uld ever made it to Earth in ships (at least, ships without saboteurs inside) Earth would be screwed. Apparently, the Goa'uld don't need good aim when they are bombarding Earth's cities from orbit.
    • Another episode was later devoted to this, showing a future where Daniel received the knowledge of the Goa'uld, and also their evil.
  • Although the deadliness of the Xindi threat was stated often in Star Trek: Enterprise; the episode "Twilight" demonstrates EXACTLY what would happen if they made it to Earth.
  • In the aptly named Supernatural episode "The End", the angel Zachariah shows Dean a Bad Future where Sam is possessed by Lucifer, the angels are all either fallen or missing, and Dean himself has become harder and more cynical because of the ongoing Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Sometimes happens on The X-Files when the Arc Words "the timetable has been set" come up. Particularly memorable are Dr. Kurtzweil's ramblings in The Movie, where he reveals the first steps in the impending eradication of humanity and the subsequent alien colonization of Earth.
  • Burt on Tremors: The Series did this a few times, describing how failure to eliminate a Graboid or shrieker quickly will snowball into mass destruction if they breed and/or metamorphose.
  • The series Life After People examines what would happen to our cities (and everything else) if all humans were to suddenly and simultaneously vanish.
  • In The Umbrella Academy (2019), Number Five time travels to a Bad Future where everyone is dead, then explains what he saw to his siblings.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible's Book of Revelation is the Trope Codifier, meaning it's Older Than Feudalism. The Book of Daniel is a less well-known but older example. Both are examples of apocalyptic literature, an entire genre of turn-of-the-common-era artwork in which this trope was the whole point. Unfortunately, as no one can agree on which parts are symbolic and which parts are literal given the obtusely poetic language, there's a myriad of interpretations as to what each part of the storyboarding means (most fundamentally, are they talking about the literal end of the world or the fall of specific empires that were powerful at the times of writing?).
    • And these - plus scattered allusions by Jesus himself in the gospels - are only the two books that made the final edit. There was quite a fashion for writing Apocalypses in the early centuries AD: at least eight others have survived, whole or in fragments.

  • The podcast It Could Happen Here is a downplayed example: Each episode opens with a short narrative describing the life of a U.S. citizen living through the (fictional) Second American Civil War of 2024, as things grow increasingly dire and the focus of the narration loses their luxuries, their safety, their friends, their home, and eventually their country to the growing division, chaos, and violence. While not apocalyptic in scale, things end up pretty bad at the end, with the U.S. divided into a series of bickering successor states, genocide of minorities living in the 'wrong' areas, a massive refugee crisis, wide-range ecological collapse with uncontrollable forest fires and mudslides and mass release of greenhouse gasses, mass starvation as the Midwestern bread basket falls apart, and the destruction of the U.S. as global hegemon that ruins the post-WW2 international consensus.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • A scene in Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness has the main character experiencing a hallucination and seeing the Dark One's rise to power. (Near the end, if the player loses the game, the Dark One does rise, mirroring the sequence exactly.)
  • A convoluted example appears in Sin and Punishment. In an effort to motivate the Action Girl to shoot her transformed-by-The Virus partner, the Mysterious Waif shows her a vision of a future in which he has become evil. This vision becomes a stage, complete with the chance to get a Game Over. Yet, despite her mowing down hundreds of enemies during the dream sequence without any noticeable effect, the final shot she makes against the corrupted hero somehow causes her to shoot him in the present as well.
  • Chrono Trigger has a more literal example, when the party finds a computer in a post-apocalyptic world that shows a visual record of the "Day of Lavos" from 300 years prior. The footage, combined with the fact that the event is due to happen a thousand years in their future, nearly gives the party a breakdown but galvanizes them to try and change history.
  • Leder's incredibly long Infodump in Mother 3, which storyboards both the previous apocalypse and the forthcoming extra bad apocalypse.
  • The story of EarthBound involves aliens invading the future as we see it in the title of the game. This sends Buzz-Buzz to the present day to find the 4 heroes who can stop Big Bad before that happens. The team never go to the future for an observation of the Bad Future, as Big Bad is actually in the past, controlling the world's destiny from there.
  • Alexandra Roivas receives a vision of the potential apocalypse in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem caused by the Ancient she has unleashed to defeat Pious's Ancient.
  • Noticeably missing in Drakengard. Everyone loves to talk about it, but no one seems to know precisely what will happen. The hierarch Verdelet flip-flops from thinking the Seeds of Resurrection will cause untold catastrophe to thinking it involves ascending to a higher reality. And the Big Bad has more important things to worry about, like dancing. Then in the later endings, it's Double Subverted: the end actually comes, and it's every bit as horrible as you'd think.
  • Done in Mass Effect, where you're treated to a detailed lecture on how the last Apocalypse occurred, and then reminded in no uncertain terms that the next one is just around the corner.
  • The Big Bad in Under a Killing Moon storyboards his planned apocalypse for the Earth, which is to be cleansed of all mutant contamination and prepared for the return of his "pure" people from his space station (under his leadership, of course).
  • In Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty, an embittered Jim Raynor is dead-set on killing the zerg-infested Kerrigan. Then Zeratul appears and shows him a (playable) vision of what will happen if Kerrigan dies. It isn't pretty.
  • In a trailer for the World of Warcraft content patch: Rage of The Firelands, Thrall is begging the elemental spirits for guidance... when one answers. Ragnaros rises from the Maelstrom and brings Thrall on a ride to the end of the world, culminating in Ogrimmar being destroyed by a sea of fire, which is about to engulf Thrall himself. Thrall screams as loud as he can before being interrupted by Aggra, realizing that the events he witnessed were a vision of what is to come if Ragnaros is not stopped.
  • The ending of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, true to its title, reveals the full scope of the plot of Those Who Came Before to save the Earth from the second coming of the same catastrophe that destroyed their First Civilization. The scene where this is communicated has an FMV sequence showing in lavish detail just exactly how that first catastrophe happened.
  • The intro (and possibly some endings, depending on the player's karma) sequences of Fallout games.
  • Averted in Golden Sun. If Isaac Refused the Call, the screen simply fades to sepia with the caption, "And so, the world drifted toward its fated destruction..." and then offers to let you restart. The vagueness of this explanation is both arguably creepier than this trope, and neatly hiding the true reason for the world's destruction.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, the first vision received from the Millennium Items is from the future-telling Millennium Necklace. It shows Reshef burning the world, and Yami Yugi, to the ground.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, if you opt to recruit the Templars in the quest Champions of the Just, the Envy Demon torments the Herald of Andraste with visions of what it will do once it has assumed their identity: imprisoning people for "heresy" (disobeying/questioning the will of the Herald), executing the families of those who don't confess to their "crimes", crushing the nations of Thedas with the Inquisition's troops, and, eventually, leading a demon army on behalf of the Elder One.
  • Early into Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, a presentation by Orvus shows what happens when time is messed with enough that it causes a Time Rip, which the Great Clock was created to reverse. It serves as an example of what would happen if Nefarious' or Azimuth's intentions come to fruition. This technique is used in other titles as well to give a sampling of the villains' plans, such as the Protopet and Cragmite invasions, or Nefarious turning all of Metropolis into robots.
  • Deltarune: At the end of Chapter 2, Berdly and the other Lightners realise how much better the Dark World is than the Light World, and begin to create another Dark Fountain. However, Ralsei interrupts them and goes into detail on what happens if there are too many Fountains: Titans will emerge from the fountains and destroy the land, and Darkners will be crushed by the darkness, turning into stone. This explanation not only dissuades the Lightners from making another Fountain, but also makes Queen pull a Heel–Face Turn, realising that her goal of covering the world in darkness would result in The End of the World as We Know It.

    Web Comics 
  • Done hilariously in Penny Arcade, here.
  • Done (in crayon format) by Redcloak in The Order of the Stick's prequel, Start of Darkness. Rather than destruction, however, he expects his plan to use a god-killing abomination to blackmail the deities of his world to result in a modern-style utopia for his people.

    Web Originals 
  • This Chairman Nuke video.
  • This thing on deviantart. With giant suicidal sea serpents. Also, the author apparently reads TV Tropes.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police: A tongue-in-cheek Storyboarding appears in the first episode, "The Thing That Wouldn't Stop It", showing the fate of the world's frozen-food industry at stake due to a monstrous mutated TV dinner.
    Max: Tell me, Sam, why the heck are we doing this, again?!
    Sam: It's simple, Max. If this so-called "Thing" could somehow find its way into our world, devouring unsuspecting citizens who have no natural fear of frozen entrees, they would surely cause a nationwide mistrust of pre-manufactured foods of all kinds, forcing producers of salty, overcooked, man-sized portions to go bankrupt! To safeguard American businesses, Max! That's why the heck we're doing this!
    Max: And because we get to wave these around! (fires off his flamethrower)
  • The American Dad! episode "Rapture's Delight" includes Stan and Francine being shown a videotape intended to explain the Rapture to children, which includes graphic, Warhammer 40,000-esque depictions of demons and angels doing battle on earth. Later, the episode shows those very things actually happening.
  • When Batman archvillain Ra's Al Ghul lays out his plan to destroy humanity in Batman: The Animated Series, it is accompanied by a series of detailed stills showing the world being saturated by the Lazarus Pits, in chaos, and finally at "a blessed peace."
    Batman: But that will cost countless lives!
    Ra's al Ghul: Actually, Detective, we have counted: Two billion, fifty-six million, nine hundred and eighty-six thousand! A most impressive plan, would you not agree?
    Batman: Yes... I can see it clearly now for the first time. You are completely out of your mind.
  • In a fifth-season episode of The Batman, Lex Luthor uses one of these (in sepia tone) to describe his vision for the world.
  • Beast Wars: When trying to talk Tigatron out of his 10-Minute Retirement, Dinobot describes to him what will happen if Megatron wins the Beast Wars and takes the planet's energon. While Dinobot narrates, displayed onscreen is a vision of Cybertron getting torn apart by war while Megatron watches with an Evil Laugh.
  • Ben 10:
    • Original Series: The tick's worshippers in "The Big Tick" do this using a holographic display of the tick's feeding cycle, and a brief vision of the hell that the tick will turn the Earth into is provided to the audience.
    • Alien Force: When the kids on first meet Paradox (from their P.O.V. anyway), he shows them what the future will be like if a time-distorting entity isn't stopped. He does this by taking them to the Moon of the future and letting them look at the long-dead Earth from there ... and then warning them that it's their best possible future. Brief, but an effective demo.
  • At the end of the first episode of Fantastic Four: The Animated Series, Puppet Master takes one last stab at ultimate power and imagines ruling the world, complete with montage.
  • In an episode of Galactic Guardians, Darkseid - in a plot to hijack the space station of Star City and outfit it with weapons - almost literally Storyboards The Apocalypse in a scene made relatively well-known by Seanbaby's website:
    Seanbaby: Darkseid goes all out. A lot of villains tell everyone about their plan, but Darkseid filmed an elaborate dramatization of it. Look at those special effects. He didn't just have a computer-rendered picture of what his battle station will look like, he got actors to run around on an airfield while planes were getting vaporized.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls" Bill Cipher explains his plan to turn the Earth, and eventually the rest of the universe, into his personal World of Chaos if Stanford helps him escape the confines of Gravity Falls. He caps it off by combining it with We Can Rule Together, offering to let Ford join Bill and his henchmaniacs in becoming the all-powerful rulers of the cosmos.
  • Invader ZIM: In the episode "Door to Door", ZIM slapped alien VR goggles onto everyone to show them the horrors that would befall the earth if they didn't buy candy bars from him. The scene was only aired in full once, shortly before 9/11, and was subsequently edited to no longer show New York City in ruins.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Done when Drago is describing his plan to create Hell on Earth, showing swarms of demonic dragons running amuck, the moon broken in half in a red sky, and mankind's cities reduced to ruins and the humans cowering at a supreme-ruling Drago's feet.
  • A similar, but longer and considerably more elaborate speech is delivered to Superman by Darkseid in the final episode of Justice League Unlimited.
    I hope you appreciate, Kal-El, everything that happens from this point is on your head. The skies will rain fire, the oceans will boil, the streets run red with the blood of billions. Only then, when your last pitiful hope has been vanquished, will I end your life. Let's go.
    • In the second season finale, The Question has images of the end of the world projected directly into his mind as a form of interrogation.
    • And in the Justice League Grand Finale, there's a brief image of what'll happen to Earth when the Thanagarians activate the hyperspace bypass - basically, the planet implodes. Worryingly, Batman's response is "Ingenious!"
  • Heinz Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb has made this into his hobby. Often literally making a storyboard or slides to show to Perry, but also using flashbacks and future visions, a well-prepared speech, plays with actors, movies, commercials, musicals, maquettes, songs, costumes, custom made props. Ultimately, he just wrote a book about it that you can actually buy in Real Life.
  • During the series finale of Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends, the Shadoen fleet plans to blow up earth's moon. Before actually carrying through with their plan they show a simulation where large chunks of said moon rain down all across the planet.
  • After the Time Police capture the Warden, the Judge of Time Court shows him the consequences of his plans to make Superjail! a franchise. The phrase "property of me" is used by Overlord!Warden. Present!Warden thinks the nightmare scenario he's presented with is a movie.
  • Teen Titans used this at least twice. In "Revolution", Mad Mod - who has control of the city and most of the Titans on the run - gives a captured Robin a look at what he calls "coming attractions" (possibly a subtle reference to a scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which the episode takes much of its inspiration from). On a more serious note, in "Birthmark", Slade transports Raven into a devastated world that she is destined to bring about, a vision that actually comes true in the season finale.
    Slade: Skies will burn. Flesh will turn to stone. The sun will set on your world, never to rise again!
  • Transformers: Prime: At the end of Season 1, Unicron's awakening causes a Dark Energon-infused Megatron to experience visions of Unicron destroying the Earth from the inside-out via Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Young Justice: In "Endgame", Blue Beetle's Scarab projects a hologram storyboarding the end result if they don't disable all the Magnetic Field Disruptors: they'll generate an energy chrysalis that'll envelop the entire Earth, followed by an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.

    Real Life 
  • Any time scientists mention either the death of the Sun and Solar System and/or the universe.


Video Example(s):


Knuckles' Explanation

Knuckles gives us a short summary of how Metal Sonic is capable of destroying not just The Land Of The Sky, but also the entirety of Planet Freedom.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / StoryboardingTheApocalypse

Media sources: