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Throw-Away Country

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"The satellite is at present over... Kansas. Well, if we destroy Kansas, the world may not hear about it for years."
Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Diamonds Are Forever

A somewhat disturbing willingness to use countries only as a one-shot disaster zone that serves to show the protagonists what could happen to their beloved home (unless, of course, it already did). Neither the country, nor the plight of its people, are ever mentioned again. Ever.

Television being as ethnocentric as it is, it is rare for things to happen even outside the City of Adventure, let alone outside of the country. This trope is the negative result of that; other nations and cultures are limited to displays of the general quirkiness of the odd Funny Foreigner and acts of wanton destruction. If a real life place is used, sometimes a joke will be made out of its Acceptable Targets nature. ("Ruritania blew up? Well at least no one will miss it much.")

The smaller a country is, the more likely it is to experience offscreen destruction, or to show up on a disaster-map without any mention at all. And you can just forget about them getting any mention in global disasters.

European countries are very likely to suffer this fate in American film. They're Western enough for the American public to identify with, but distant enough to be "over there". If Australia is remembered, it will generally fall in here as well. (See also Shiny New Australia, a related trope.)

Obviously, very prevalent in globe-spanning disaster movies, and often overlaps with Monumental Damage.

In superhero comics where Status Quo Is God, Reed Richards Is Useless, but so is Doctor Doom. He's never going to make any big permanent changes to the world in a way that makes it too different from the real world. The solution? Give him a made-up country to mess up. Just like their counterparts in disaster movies, these made-up Throw Away Countries are pretty easily forgotten when they're not the focus of a story arc.

See also Red Shirt, Pluto Is Expendable, Sacrificial Planet, Expendable Alternate Universe.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex refers to two more World Wars (one nuclear, the other conventional), and the show's storylines deal extensively with the results, such as restless (cyborg) veterans and large sections of ruined buildings seen all over Japan. Other nations are rarely even mentioned more than once. Even when the main characters partake in a mission in Germany to catch a Dutch terrorist, Germany is never referenced to again, nor does it serve as any more than an interesting backdrop. It's not like other countries are being devastated for shock value, though. The show just happens to be set in Japan, which also suffered its fair share of destruction, albeit not as much as China.
  • Subverted in the manga version of Outlanders, where the Santovasku completely destroy Japan by the end of the first Story Arc.
  • All the sea nations (besides the North and South Pacific; Lucia escaped in time, Coco willingly surrendered) in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
  • Shanghai and Paris appear to be popular; Giant Robo sees both destroyed. No one seems to care too much (even the Frenchman, who is upset for a half dozen scenes before quickly getting over it) The characters by and large seem more upset over the Big Bad killing a couple of their mates than wiping out several cities, which seems a little cold of them.
  • Any planet except Earth in Dragon Ball Z. Namek at least gets a few more mentions after being blown up (though not the extent you would expect, since ''God'' grew up there), but all the other ones we see villains destroying just to prove that they can aren't dwelled on by the marvelous heroes who only care about the safety of Earth. To be fair, the only planets shown to be destroyed in the story itself are Vegeta, Namek, Earth, and in the anime, Arlia. Vegeta can't be restored, since it happened decades before and the Dragonballs can't resurrect someone who's been dead for more than a year, the heroes don't even know that Arlia was destroyed, and Namek and Earth are treated with relatively the same importance. It's implied that Frieza and his ilk destroyed far more, but the heroes have no way of knowing which ones.
  • Gundam:
    • In the Universal Century, Australia is the victim of a Colony Drop bad enough to leave a crater visible from space. So much for Sydney.
    • 4 years later, a big portion of the American midwest gets colony dropped by Zeon remnants to cripple the Federation's grain production.
    • Then Ireland got smashed when Neo Zeon dropped another colony on it, and the Earth Federation consider the loss as fewer mouths to feed.
    • Then Lhasa, Tibet got an asteroid dropped on it because the protagonists were headquartered there.
    • In Gundam SEED Destiny, the Eurasian Federation got the worse out of the war, and they did nothing but sit there and get blasted. By their own alleged allies, as just wiping out the sections of Europe that got conquered was deemed easier than liberating them.
  • In the manga of Gantz, the Katastrophe is kicked off by the sky turning blood-red and the nuclear-scale destruction of America.
  • In Darker than Black, a huge portion of South America was cut off from the rest of reality during a Phlebotinum War.
  • In Inuyasha, nameless villages are frequently destroyed or devastated by either warring human armies or ravaging youkai. The Anti-Villain Koga actually makes his introduction descending on a random village and loosing the quasi-demonic wolves that follow him to eat their fill on human flesh. Nobody ever brings this up afterwards.
  • Code Geass, the Europia United was brushed aside with no named characters (Save people born in the native countries of the EU alliance) as China, Britannia and the Black Knights duked it out. China is eventually dissolved into a multitude of smaller nations. Some of which join the U.F.N. And some of which are quickly conquered by Britannia. Subverted with the release of Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, since the story takes place in Europe.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: The SDF-1 is flying over Ontario as the government has offered to take the refugees that other countries have refused to accept. Then the Zentraedi attack and the entire area appears to be demolished in the battle.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist, The leader of Homunculi enacts this twice. First, 400 years before events of the manga to the country of Xerxes, as he does it to get himself a body and immortality. Second during the "Promised Day", he takes the lives of nearly 50 million residents of Amestrisnote  to gain the body of God. Thankfully, the second time, it doesn't stick.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion the world is covered in flood water that has drowned most major coastal cities and killed more than half of the global population (the first episode does show this, and Fuyutsuki's Back Story scene from the director's cut suggests this) but the series itself never strays outside of Japan or the Pacific (and Antarctica) to show us how bad it really is. In an unrelated situation, Nerv has 108 worldwide satellite organizations and several foreign branches. The 108 companies are all fake, the German branch produces Asuka and Unit 02, but one of the American branches is destroyed and the others are only known to exist because of a background detail in the film.
  • In [C] – Control, Singapore is bankrupted and devoured by an Eldritch Abomination after its Financial District goes bankrupt, in order to show that this could happen to Japan if Mikuni is allowed to continue trashing the economy.

    Comic Books 
  • Mythical locales in the Marvel and DC Universes have been particularly unsafe regions lately, with Themyscira (DC), Asgard (Marvel), Olympus (both), and Atlantis (both) either being destroyed or depopulated in the last few years, usually in conjunction with a Crisis Crossover. More than once for a few of those places. Quite honestly, Wonder Woman shouldn't have any sisters left.
  • The DCU has in the past 20 years destroyed Coast City (The Death of Superman/Emerald Twilight), Montevideo (DC One Million), Vladivostok (Terror Incognita arc, JLA), and Bludhaven (permanently destroyed in this case, with nuclear fire, in Infinite Crisis).
    • In the Wonder Woman comics, since the name change from Paradise Island to Themyscira and the decreased power levels of the Amazons as a whole outside of Wondy, the island has been destroyed or jettisoned from earth by numerous villain attacks (Circe once tossed the whole place into the limbo like outer reaches of Tartarus). This never sticks, but attacking Themyscira and causing major damage has become a shorthand for making an attack on the Earth's heroes seem serious.
    • Comic books often have Throw-Away Planets. For example, the Tamaraneans, an alien race of which Starfire from Teen Titans is a member, have their planet destroyed; the survivors move to a new planet, which is destroyed by an unrelated disaster; the survivors from that move onto yet another new planet, which is also destroyed in another totally unrelated disaster.
    • Teen Titans supervillain Cheshire nukes the capital of Qurac as part of a global blackmail scheme. (This is always brought up in her appearances, partly because it's so ridiculous. In Manhunter, for instance, when Kate encounters Cheshire, she asks herself, "Didn't she blow up a country?") She even uses this trope as a reason, citing the fact that Qurac is just unpleasant and unimportant enough that nobody will really miss it.
    • Kansas serves this purpose in Kingdom Come, having been completely destroyed by the Parasite tearing open Captain Atom's containment suit.
    • Our Worlds at War goes with this trope. Several planets, like the planet Daxam, where a group of Kryptonian colonists live, are destroyed. A couple of galaxies, like Maxima's home galaxy, are destroyed. When Imperiex reaches Earth, he destroys several cities, like the kingdom of Atlantis, and what is probably the most impressive to the readers, Topeka, Kansas.
    • In 52, the entire population of Bialya is killed in a single issue. It was then retconned in a tie-in series, so we get to have the fun of the entire population of a country being killed again.
    • The Spectre, embodiment of God's Vengeance, slaughters the entire country of Vlatava while the country is in the midst of a bloody civil war between ethnic groups. He claims that no one in the country was free from the hatred that drove the war, and even the children and infants would grow up to repeat the same cycle of violence.
  • Back on the Marvel Universe end of things:
    • Dark Phoenix consumed the star D'Bari and doomed the inhabitants of that entire star system to death by way of illustrating the epic scale of the threat she posed.
    • Not to mention all those eaten by Galactus.
    • Skrulls, Shi'ar, Kree. Alien societies in the Marvel Universe get destroyed all the time. No wonder the Shi'ar killed all of Jean's relatives.
    • The Lost World called the Savage Land is used like this; the inhabitants are understandably pissed off at the world.
    • In the beginning of Secret Wars II, the Beyonder destroys an entire galaxy. Molecule Man later restores the stars, but it seems unlikely that he could have resurrected all the aliens presumably killed when their planets got blown up.
    • During The Infinity Gauntlet, the entire island nation of Japan sinks to the ocean. Of course, like most of the disasters during the story, it gets a Reset Button at the end. (Oh yeah, and Thanos kills literally exactly half of the population of the entire universe in an instant.)
    • In Age of Apocalypse, the entire north of South America (where in our space-time lies the Amazon Forest) is a radioactive sea, marked in the map with several radiation symbols.
    • Japan is destroyed by Moses Magnum and Namorita in one of the Exiles arcs. Apparently, he killed every Japanese person on that Earth just to drive home the point that he was to be taken seriously.
      • That was his second try. Moses Magnum first tried to destroy Japan in Uncanny X-Men back in 1979. Moses, why do you hate Japan so?
    • Japan gets it again in one The Eternals series. It gets reset.
    • In one arc of The Avengers, Ultron kills the entire population of the fictitious Eastern European nation "Slorenia" in just a few hours, then proceeds to align their corpses to resemble his face. Who says 10-foot omnicidal killer robots have no style? Slorenian refugees were Marvel's go-to Western Terrorists for a while afterwards.
    • Genosha, a country focused on various kinds of mutant/human conflict, required Sentinel genocide in New X-Men just because people were tired about writing about Genosha. That said, later plots and character arcs went on to subvert the trope by incorporating the destruction of Genosha as a plot point in various ways (survivor's guilt, monstrosities operating out of the ruins, etc.).
    • Karolina's homeworld Majesdane is bombed to dust off panel in Runaways to give their last survivors a reason to come to earth and attack her.
    • In Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, the power of a secret cabal of industrial multimillionaires called the Kratos Club is showcased when they meddle in a South American conflict only because the result would benefit them. Their intervention causes the detonation of a nuclear bomb in the South American country of Uruguay. Of course, the consequences of this course of action are barely touched.
    • The very first issue of The Avengers (Jonathan Hickman) opens with Ex Nihilo dropping "Origin Bombs" on Perth, Australia and Regina, Canada.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • In G.I. Joe (Devil's Due), Boston gets nuked by COBRA using stolen Russian missiles as the opening salvo in their plan to ignite World War III.
    • Cobra's HQ, Cobra Island, is technically a country and is a site of multiple massacres, in and out of main continuity. The whole mess started when the United States wanted to nuke the Gulf for some reason. Finally, CI just gets nuked flat.
  • The tendency for comic books to do this is painfully averted by Irredeemable, in which the Plutonian, its main hero-turned-villain, goes to the U.N. and is lied to by the representative of Singapore. His response to being lied to is to sink the entire country. The comic doesn't gloss over the details one bit, and it's just as horrific and terrifying an act as you would expect. The Downer Beginning of the series also makes clear that the Plutonian had just recently destroyed his adopted home of Sky City, essentially a New York City stand-in like Metropolis in the Superman comics, and the aftermath of that carnage is shown in a similarly grim and detailed manner even if we don't see the destructive act itself.
  • A few locales have gotten this treatment in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), though the most egregious has to be the Floating Island, which had recently had its entire population quite literally decimated in a semi-off-panel war against Eggman and the Dingoes in an apparent bid to shift the action away from the spotlight stealing Echidnas and back onto the main heroes. It worked; Knuckles' and the Dark Legions' stories were shifted off the island, and the last we heard of its population, it was quietly rebuilding, given little reference in later comics.
  • In one issue, The Authority destroys Italy on an alternate Earth.
  • Transformers:
    • In Transformers: Generation 2, Jhiaxus destroys San Francisco to show Optimus Prime that he can and will.
    • In The Transformers: Regeneration One, Megatron blasts the Earth into a barren wasteland (off-screen!) on a whim to get Optimus Prime's attention.
    • Galvatron threatens to do this in Transformers: Robots in Disguise. Specifically, the Decepticons were working with a group of humans against the Autobots when the humans tried to use an anti-Cybertronian weapon that was designed to disable everyone in the radius. It turned out that it only affected Decepticons. Galvatron went to the scientist who'd developed the weapon and told him that if he ever used it again, Galvatron would travel to his home of New Mexico and kill everyone there. And then he'd kill everyone in Old Mexico, too.
  • In Über, the Nazis launch their "Great Burn" policy under Josef Goebbels by levelling Belgium.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Armageddon (1998), Paris is destroyed by a chunk of asteroid, just to serve as a reminder that these things hurt. Shanghai suffers a similar fate later in the movie, so the heroes have further reason to angst about the danger.
  • The Norwegians at the start of The Thing (1982) only serve to introduce the title creature.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, Alderaan is used as a throw-away planet to showcase the destructive power of the Empire's battle station, the Death Star. It also serves as Leia's Doomed Hometown. The Expanded Universe went into a lot more detail about the impact this act had on the Empire (short version? One hell of a Genocide Backfire).
    • The Force Awakens features the First Order's Starkiller Base blowing up the capital of the New Republic at Hosnian Prime and four other planets in the Hosnian system. None are given any characterization whatsoever before they're fried, and afterward their destruction has little impact outside of the Expanded Universe other than leaving the Resistance without any kind of reinforcements or support against the First Order in The Last Jedi.
  • Independence Day inverts the trope around by almost exclusively focusing on the U.S.A. getting reamed by the invading aliens, while the destruction across the globe is mostly just mentioned in passing. The inversion is hammered home when we see that Australia, usually first on the list of throwaway countries, managed to save Sydney from total destruction.
  • The first village the Spartans come across in 300 appears to be a message to the Spartans, as the whole town has been demolished and all of the dead villagers are pinned up to a massive tree.
  • In Solar Attack, New Zealand is wiped out by a CME-induced firestorm.
  • The film Los Angeles Plays Itself, a documentary looking at Los Angeles as it appears in films, notes that Hollywood disaster movies seem to take a sadistic delight in destroying Los Angeles (see Independence Day, Volcano, &etc.)
  • In Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, the villain destroys Terre Haute, Indiana, "just as it it was about to get a public library!"
  • The Core. The worst destruction is reserved for Rome, which is obliterated by a scientifically improbable thunderstorm... until San Francisco gets hit with a blast that shreds the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • In Star Trek (2009) Vulcan is destroyed by the Big Bad (which appears to be setting up future plotlines involving rebuilding its civilization elsewhere).
  • The colony in Aliens, where everyone in it are devoured by the xenomorphs to set up the plot of the movie.
  • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation London is obliterated and the presumed staggering death toll doesn't get so much as mention for the rest of the film.
  • In The Rookies, New York gets wiped out by a virus that transforms its victims into plants, without a reversible cure. It all happens off-screen by the way, although there are Youtube videos showing the aftermath of the virus.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular robot once again blows up an irrelevant fictional Eastern European country, Sokovia. Maria Hill even says it's "nowhere special, but it's on the way to everywhere special". In Captain America: Civil War, this is slightly downplayed, as the country is listed as the most prominent example of places which have suffered massive collateral damage during Avenger missions and even becomes the reason for a UN resolution to issue the so-called "Sokovia Accords" to disband the Avengers, but this is all treated as a temporary setback and the heroes move on to different conflicts, by the time of Avengers: Endgame more or less assembling again.
  • Buenos Aires is destroyed at the beginning of Starship Troopers, providing a pretext for the war against the bugs and the main character (who is from there) to sign up for the Army.

  • A variation of this occurs in David Eddings' Belgariad world. Arendia was divided into three duchies, who really liked starting wars with each other. Polgara kept them in line for about six hundred years, but finally, her favorite duchy, Wacune, was betrayed by her almost-champion who was, naturally, madly in love with her and jealous of her crush on her actual champion. Apparently this had to happen because two members of the Hero's team would arise from the sniping between the two remaining duchies, Mimbre and Asturia. To this day, Polgara still has a tremendous grudge against the Asturians, who destroyed Vo Wacune. However, this It's Personal has no real bearing on the plot; only the two guys who "rise from the situation" do.
  • There was a novel called Solar Flare—a Christian-conservative novel in which solar flares KO the electric grid and anything electric running while they hit. All nations are affected by the solar flare, but the omniscient narrator states almost outright that only America would survive through this as a civilized nation—before the book is halfway over. There are brief notes of Japanese people quietly dying in their crowded blacked-out cities in an orderly fashion, and Europeans turning into violent vandals—and not having enough space to support themselves during the longer crises. Americans have violent vandals, too, but a combination of martial law and new communities for the non-vandals to go to keeps it in check. (No mention of Russia or China.)
  • In The Third World War, Birmingham, UK and Minsk get nuked. Both cities are hardly mentioned outside the relevant chapters on their destruction, though there really isn't much time for them to be mentioned as the war the book is supposed to be a historical account of grinds to a halt within a couple of in-universe months at most.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Friday, Acapulco is nuked as a side effect of corporate infighting. The offhand way in which the announcement is made within the story amply illustrates this trope, while possibly poking subtle fun at it.
    • Heinlein loves playing with this trope. In Starship Troopers the war against the Bugs turns serious after they drop a rock on Buenos Aires. It seems like a throwaway victim ... until the protagonist learns his mother was in BA at the time (The film version has Rico be from Buenos Aires instead). In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress the lunar revolutionaries use a magnetic catapult to bombard Earth with moon rocks, and their chosen targets are ripe with subtext. The target singled out for heaviest bombardment is Cheyenne Mountain - partly because in the book's near future it remains a vital military command post, partly because Heinlein was upset that NORAD was established at Cheyenne Mountain while he lived nearby, putting a target for Soviet nukes in his backyard.
  • Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles include Australia as a throwaway continent (nuclear war on Earth begins with its inadvertent destruction).
  • The World War series by Harry Turtledove does this to a lot of major Earth cities after atomic warfare starts really kicking off. It's an aversion at first: the first atomic strikes on Berlin and Washington (and Tokyo, to a lesser extent) are massively disturbing events to humanity, that set the tone of the war. Later strikes on other cities (Miami, Seattle, most every major German city as well as Copenhagen) aren't emphasized as much. Special mention goes to Sydney and Melbourne, which are nuked and almost never mentioned again.
    • In the Colonization follow-up series, Indianapolis is nuked by the Lizards in retaliation for the United States launching a nuclear attack on the colonization fleet. By this point in the story the destruction of a major city is treated as a punch line.
  • The Lensman series is rife with this up to the level of entire civilizations being destroyed to further galactic plots. Primary example: the planet Ploor, struck by an alternate universe planet, followed by blowing up their sun.
  • The authors of the Perry Rhodan series are very fond of blowing things up and killing billions of nameless extras, true to the series' Pulp Sci-Fi roots in the 1960s. The series has featured whole throw-away planets (sometimes complete with civilizations on them), —made easy by the existence of superweapons that can blow up whole planets—, throw-away suns, and on at least one occasion a throw-away galaxy!
    • Cruelly subverted on three occasions during a recent galactic war arc, in that those three planets not only had names, but had been heavily featured in the plot of the series before; one of them was even the home world of one of the several major human races.
    • Early on in the series, however, the destruction of another major home world that brought about the fall of the Old Grand Empire of Arkon was treated as nothing more than a plot device.
  • In H. Beam Piper's future history, we read that Buenos Aires was blown up by "Christian Anarchist Party".
  • Averted in Poul Anderson's After Doomsday, underlining how shocking the destruction of Earth is. "How does this happen to planets?" "It doesn't."
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there are millions of inhabited planets. Not surprisingly, many of them are destroyed in this manner.
  • Star Trek: Destiny destroys Acamar and Barolia - two pre-established but very minor planets - to set up the Borg Invasion arc. However, it does have several more important worlds wiped out in later books, including Pleasure Planet Risa.
    • Played with in the Star Trek: New Frontier novel Dark Allies. Rolisa is indeed a Throw Away Country, but the text informs us the world had a destiny, and if the Black Mass didn't exist it would become the galaxy's leading nation in time.
  • The Dresden Files: It is explicitly stated that various supernatural predators and malevolent entities are more active in less developed parts of the world than they are in America, but are pretty much ignored by the populace and media. While it's undeniable that predations are more likely to avoid discovery by non-magical authorities by less wealthy and more corrupt countries, it strains credulity that, for example, the Red Court's nerve gas attack on a White Council hospital in Africa (which supposedly killed 30,000 ordinary people in the surrounding eight city blocks) doesn't trigger some massive news story, scandal, and investigation that no amount of mind control could possibly cover up. The fact that Harry and co, while mentioning the death toll with outrage, are more furious over the deaths of the hundred or so White Council Wardens (who can in no way be considered civilians) smacks of this trope being played uncomfortably straight.
  • The Discworld has a rafter of them. In the early days of the series, Terry Pratchett created a lot of "joke countries" as throwaway one-liners when things were more fluid and the Discworld had not evolved into the more clearly mapped and realised version that later evolved. Khan-Li, Loko and others are referenced as disaster areas where catastrophes happened. As the world grew and the relationships between them became clearer, with Earth nations and ethnicities being mapped onto their Disc Expys, this original list of one-shot countries from when it was just a generic and hazy fantasy world started to pose continuity problems. Later works like the Complete Discworld Atlas attempt to address these issues and provide further back-story, even when it has to be Retconned.
    • One of the most common examples of a throwaway country is Muntab; the Running Gag is that someone will raise "the Muntab question" in a way that implies some matter of import is going on in Muntab, someone else will ask "Where's Muntab?" and the first person will say "Exactly," meaning that the Muntab question is simply that nobody remembers it exists.
  • Swarm on the Somme: No one seems to particularly care when Luxembourg is overrun by the Grex.
  • Victoria has several examples:
    • The civil wars in California and Texas between Hispanics and their enemies (proto-Azanians and Texan patriots, respectively) are implied to be extremely brutal, yet occur almost entirely offscreen and don't upset the protagonists too much, them having their own wars to fight closer to home.
    • Even more true for countries outside the US. For example, Sweden suffering a gene-modded super plague apocalypse and Israel being annihilated by a Middle Eastern Coalition get exactly one throwaway line each. Again, to be fair, the protagonists had their own hands full at the time.
  • In Worm (set somewhere on the East coast of the USA), the last section of the story is kicked off by the utter and instantaneous destruction of the British Isles. This gets little attention from the plot, although to be fair the entity which did it then proceeds to annihilate the rest of the world too, albeit slightly more slowly.
  • In The Bourne Legacy, a continuation of the Bourne series written by Eric Van Lustbader, the villains test their bacteriological weapon by releasing it in Nairobi, Kenya. Thousands of Kenyans die a horrible death, but nobody mentions it after that. The villains, the media... nobody.
  • To the Stars. At the start of Starworld, the rebels drop a virus from space on Australia to destroy its food crops. Of course most of Earth is a Police State and the Big Bad specifically warns another official against spreading "defeatist rumors" on the subject.
  • Invoked in Revelation Space: threatening the planetary government of Resurgam with Orbital Bombardment but reluctant to actually kill anyone, Volyova uses the advanced technology of her ship to fabricate the existence of a little nowhere town in Resurgam's databases and then utterly obliterates the spot where it supposedly exists in order to show them she's serious. While a terrifying show of force, some people express a certain amount of relief that she didn't hit anywhere more important or populated.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • There is passing mention to a nuclear bomb wiping out San Diego (in the past). This was going to be a shadowy organization based out of its ruins, but this arc was dropped after the first episode and became irrelevant again. Season 4 had passing mention of planets destroyed/devastated by Vorlons and Shadows.
    • Consciously averted with the Markab, who were wiped out as a species by a plague in Season Two. They were built up as a significant allied species for several episodes, so that their extinction would be more hard-hitting. The Markab homeworld shows up again in Season Three when Sheridan destroys the jumpgate leading to the system, both to destroy a pursuing Shadow vessel and to prevent looters from pillaging the remains.
  • Crusade included a character from one of the planets destroyed by the Shadows, who was introduced planning to assassinate Sheridan for failing to stop them despite knowing full well what they were up to. Eventually Sheridan gets her to understand the impossibility of the situation he was in, having to choose which of many threatened planets would be saved as there weren't anywhere near enough resources to save all of them. This putting a face to the destruction does a good deal to bring the loss home for the viewer.
  • Doctor Who can be pretty merciless about this.
    • In "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", a London-based resistance member casually mentions that the entire populations of Asia, Africa and South America has been completely wiped out by a plague induced by the Daleks.
    • The all-time high would be "Logopolis", in which the Master accidentally destroys approximately one-fourth of the entire universe, including Traken, the home planet of the Doctor's companion Nyssa. Although there's not a Reset Button in sight, the death of countless trillions upon trillions is never mentioned again. Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) admitted that it was a no-win situation to have a disaster like this on the show, since the alternative to just moving on was to deal with the moral implications of the characters' actions, which would have been too much to handle.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", a Dalek invasion bombs entire continents, with all of Australasia being cruelly deformed. This was in the year 200,100 AD and we never really saw anything happen, so it's rather lessened.
    • "The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords" puts present-day Earth through a year-long reign of terror at the hands of the Master (again). It starts with a literal decimation of humanity and includes events like "the burning of Japan". This case is subject to the Reset Button.
    • In the charity special "Time Crash", without the help of a Stable Time Loop the problem would have eventually blown a hole in the space time continuum the size of... Belgium? "That's a bit under-dramatic, isn't it? Belgium?"
      • The choice of Belgium here is almost certainly a reference to the works of the late Douglas Adams.
    • In "Planet of the Dead", the titular planet's population of 100 billion was wiped out by the Monster of the Week.
    • Belgium gets another mention in "Death in Heaven": When Missy orders her Cybermen to destroy the plane that the Doctor's on, she also randomly tells them to destroy Belgium, for no other reason than it appeared to just occur to her.
      Missy: Destroy this plane and, oh I don't know, Belgium! Kill some Belgians! Why not, they're not even French!
  • In Jericho (2006) Iran and North Korea are mentioned as being outright destroyed in the exchange of nuclear weapons. Then again, it's not like America escaped unharmed, as the premise of the show is about scraping together a post-apocalyptic society in a small midwestern town that was far enough from major cities to survive.
  • Zig-zagged with Indonesia in The Last of Us (2023). The first known outbreak was discovered in the capital city of Jakarta, which the Millers hear of as unspecified "disturbances" while listening to the radio in the first episode. The second episode opens with a flashback to Jakarta, in Indonesian and featuring Indonesian characters only, showing local mycologists and military studying one of the first known infected and ending with the mycologist advising the military to bomb the city and everyone in it, including herself. However this flashback is set three days before the scene in episode 1, meaning that the Indonesian military didn't destroy their capital right away or ever at all.
  • The titular Lexx ate Holland. It was hungry, and the Dutch, according to Prince, are used to suffering anyway.
  • One of the Stargate SG-1 crew travels to an Alternate Universe where the Goa'uld are attacking Earth. One of the characters mentions they are systematically destroying population centers around the world, while showing a map with a lot of red on it to show this. The United States, despite being one of the most powerful nations on the planet (as well as the one in the possession of the Stargate), is virtually untouched compared to Europe and Asia. However, they were just working their way round from the longitude of Egypt, which is where they ruled the world from last time.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, to show the urgency of the Xindi Story Arc, a Xindi destructo-sphere cuts a gash through Florida. A personal touch is added when we learn that the attack killed Trip's sister (who was never mentioned before).
  • Similarly, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Dominion ends up taking over a few token Federation planets, including Betazed (notable only because it's the homeworld of Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation). We never see anything that happens there though, it's just supposed to be close enough to home to let us know that the Dominion War really is serious business.
    • The writers even admitted that originally it was Vulcan that was supposed to be conquered by the Dominion, but due to Vulcan's importance in the Star Trek mythos, the idea carried too much weight so Betazed was picked instead.
    • There's also that Founder Homeworld, which we watch a combined Cardassian/Romulan fleet bombard. To emphasize just how disposable it was, the Founders abandoned it and used it as a trap for said fleet. Given that the Founders managed to evacuate so readily, one might get the impression they've done this before.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation used multiple throw-away planets, including Data's home planet. In fact, given the rate at which outlying colonies and/or research outposts are destroyed as a means of setting up the plot, it's amazing The Federation has any infrastructure at all.
  • In the episode "Juggernaut" from the original 1984 series V, Diana has the Particle Beam Triax destroy Io as a warmup exercise prior to taking station over Earth. Fortunately, before it can destroy Los Angeles a Resistance member crashes the captured mothership into it.
  • On The West Wing, story arcs have involved a couple of fictional countries as throwaways, including Qumar as a source of Middle-East terrorists and Equatorial Kundu as an example of African genocide.
  • Yes, Prime Minister has St. George's Island, a small island located in the Indian Ocean. In a satire on the Falklands War, Communist Guerrillas intend to take control. The actual whereabouts of the island and the main characters’ ignorance of its location is a running joke, suggesting that a great deal of fuss is being made over an otherwise geographically insignificant country, whose only relevance is political and ideological. The novelization suggests it lies between Oman and India, to the south of Pakistan, at around 21 degrees north, 64 degrees east.

  • In Jacques Brel's song "Mon Père Disait" he sings how his father told him that London is just a piece of the town Bruges, Belgium that long ago floated away over sea and then got attached to England.

    Standup Comedy 
  • In Daniel Tosh's routine, this is Nebraska.
    "Bring the troops home tomorrow, and continue the war here. Because we owe it to our troops to let them sleep in their own beds with their families, wake up in the morning, have delicious breakfast, and drive to war. They can do it in Nebraska. We don't need that horrible state. That can be our field. Some of you are like, 'Oh, that's not nice! Then, we wouldn't have any corn!' My SUV doesn't run on corn. Ethanol's a dream, and a dumb one."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Taken to its logical extreme in the BattleTech universe; at least 350 worlds have been rendered uninhabitable or otherwise depopulated. Most of those have simply vanished without even fluff text to explain what happened; they just simply are on one map and not on the next. Of those that have explanations of what happened, only the most recent such as Galedon V, Galax or Alarion have more then a footnote.
    • Said mention of Galedon V received a shrug and an "oops" from the writers on the forum when it was discovered, some time later, that one of the "face" units in Battletech that had two novels written about them - Jeremiah Thorn's "Black Thorns" mercenary force - was last known to be on that world when it was poisoned by a bioweapon. They didn't even get a published footnote, just one more merc unit among dozens destroyed during the Jihad.
    • And then there's Jardine...
    • Zig-zagged with the multiple Clans that have been annihilated or absorbed by other Clans at various times. Aside from the Smoke Jaguars and Nova Cats, most have received less time in the limelight than just about any other major faction. But all have at least had some details about their history, culture, etc published, along with the circumstances of their downfall.
  • Warhammer 40,000 which has throwaway galaxies that the Tyranids are said to have entirely consumed, merely to emphasize how big of a threat they are.
    • Also, the Imperium's standard policy for dealing with worlds they deem too corrupted to be reclaimed is to nuke the whole planet from the orbit. Their strategy for dealing with the last Tyranid hive fleet literally featured throwaway planets as they sterilized several worlds in the hive fleet's path to prevent the Tyranids from increasing their numbers by consuming more biomass. It sort of worked - the Hive Fleet's advance was slowed to a crawl, and one tendril was successfully diverted into Ork space, thus freeing up Imperial resources to fight the other, stalled, tendril. However, the Inquisitor whose idea it was was declared Excommunicate Traitoris, despite this Pyrrhic Victory.
    • Exterminatus was supposed to be an absolute last resort after every effort had been made to prevent the planet falling to Chaos or Orks by conventional means, but Flanderization and Serial Escalation have resulted in it being used far more often and for pettier reasons. (Though not as much as Memetic Mutation might lead you to believe.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Disturbingly-large parts of the Forgotten Realms in the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons have been wiped out in the production of a Darker and Edgier product. The Time of Troubles event also involved this to a certain extent, as did the Tuigan Invasion.
    • Grey Hawk (From the Ashes) and Dragon Lance (War of the Lance, War of Souls) trashed large chunks of their respective game-settings as well.
    • Ditto Wrath of the Immortals, for Mystara.
    • The very first Ravenloft adventure, Feast of Goblyns, introduced a populated domain called Dagland that, upon completion of the scenario, quite literally goes "poof" and dissipates into mist.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem loves this trope. A lot of its games have started out with one (if not many) of the main character's nations being invaded, usually with at least some of the game spent fighting a war to regain said home nation. Or whatever's left, at least.
    • 4's Miletos plays this extremely straight. No playable character comes from there and it was given only one passing mention in the first generation's backstory, and it practically only exists as a springboard to invade Granvale.
  • Nasrad, Skies of Arcadia.
  • The Greatfish Isle in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
  • Rhome of Galaxy Angel is another Throw Away Planet, as well as its space station Fargo. Somewhat subverted in Eternal Lovers, as when the Angels are invited to the EDEN ball in Juno, they seem to recall the destruction of Fargo and Rhome as it happened shortly after they attended the ball they attended there.
  • Shadow Hearts has its cake and eats it when Shanghai is destroyed in a huge explosion halfway through the first game. Despite this, every single named character in the city survives, even the ones standing at ground zero at the time; oddly enough, one of them reappears only to die near instantly afterwards. Later on, several cut scenes actually reuse the Shanghai sets without any sign of damage, giving rise to the feeling that the huge nuclear explosion knocked over a couple of trees and mussed up the main character's hair.
  • By and large, the only one that seems to care about Doma's poisoning in Final Fantasy VI is Cyan, who had family there. The act is only mentioned a few other times in the game, such as when Kefka is imprisoned by the Empire for a short time to get the protagonists' trust. Admittedly, Kefka had a rather long list of heinous crimes, but it seemed like genocide-by-poisoning would have been a little closer to the top of people's reasons to hate him, at least before he ruined the rest of the world too.
  • A recurring theme in the Halo series: the Covenant glasses human colony worlds, which seems to provide the motivation for a lot of human protagonists to fight. Frequently mentioned in-game ("Covenant bastards! It's just like Reach all over again!" - Buck, Halo 3: ODST), but glassings were only directly shown in the Expanded Universe and not actually seen in the games themselves until Halo: Reach, set during a battle frequently mentioned in other material as having ended with the planet being glassed. That said, Halo 5: Guardians does partly take place on a glassed world that is trying to get back on its feet.
  • In the Command & Conquer: Tiberium series, most of the world is ravaged by the spread of Tiberium, to a point where 30% of the planet's surface is rendered uninhabitable, and another 50% is difficult to survive in. Though background material and some dialogue mentions the difficulties and destruction Tiberium has inflicted on these regions, not a whole lot of time is spent on the life in these areas.
    • The Tiberium Wars Novelization does describes the life of people living in the Yellow zones from the perspective of the reporter.
  • StarCraft: Several Terran worlds are literally sterilized by the Protoss to prevent the Zerg from spreading further. A futile effort. Mar Sara was an exception to the trope, as you started there and and needed to escape it before it was sterilized.
  • Snatcher razes half of the planet's population, most prominently Russia, before the game even begins.
  • In a curious inversion, the kingdom of Ordallia in Final Fantasy Tactics is mentioned only in background information, and the heroes never actually set foot in it. This, even though the War of the Lions (the Ivalician civil war which concerns the plot of the game) is set in the aftermath of the Fifty Years' War between Ordallia and Ivalice, which the former won. The strange part is that Ordallia would find it strategically advantageous to invade Ivalice during the Lions' conflict, which weakened Ivalice to the point of bankruptcy, demolished the ruling class, and saw most (if not all) of its heroes die.
  • The backstory of Star Control II includes swathes massive destruction on Earth, most of it with adequate warning so the areas could be evacuated. That was for practical reasons. They also leveled Buenos Aires. That was an object lesson. And, of course, there's only one significant character who's actually from Earth. The player character was born off-planet.
  • Heavily downplayed in Kingdom Hearts, but The Heartless are said to have eradicated entire planets full of sentient life before they went after the Destiny Islands and begin the game proper. However, they recover.
  • In Earth 2150 Earth is sent hurling into the sun after massive nuclear explosion of thousands of nukes knock it of its orbit, forcing the UCS, Eurasian Dynasty, and Lunar Corporation to build their own spaceships to escape Earth.
  • In Resistance all of Eurasia have been overrun by the Chimera.
  • At the beginning of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, an unspecified Arab country falls to a coup by Khaled al-Assad, and you get to watch the former president's execution from first person. Then at the end of the first act, Assad nukes the capital city.
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts has "No Man's Land": A large span of barren wastes between San Diego and Los Angeles that has been completely obliterated and has little to no life.
  • Many, many games set in World War II will have a whole bunch of countries that exist solely to be conquered by the Germans and are never mentioned again. Poland is the most prominent example of this - the Germans often get to show off their sleek new gear against the hapless, expendable Poles, who serve as a sort of tutorial for the aspiring German commander (historically it didn't go that smoothly).
  • The town of Morroc in Ragnarok Online was destroyed in Episode 12. There has so far been no focus on, say, rebuilding it, and after the relevant quests Morroc has been left to itself.
  • Mass Effect 3 started off with the reaper attack on Vancouver. Tension is heightened by telling us that Adelaide, Hamburg, Al Jubail, and Fort Worth were quickly destroyed. They're serious.
  • Evil Genius sees your scientists in need of a target for their latest experimental weapon. They ultimately settle on Nashville, though not without begrudingly admitting that they're really doing the world a favour by wiping the home of CountryMusic off the map.
  • Stellaris has Xenophobic Isolationist empires, lacking both aggression and willingness to make alliances unless truly desperate, and so usually the first and easiest targets for the ambitions of more ruthless empires and end-game Crises.
  • Terra Invicta: North Korea is a tiny one-CP nation with bugger-all for an economy. Functionally, the country is useless to everyone... except for the fact it has one working nuclear weapon. So if the Servants or Humanity First are attacking your core territories or perhaps the aliens themselves have begun landing armies and you need a quickie "panic button nuke" from a country you don't mind seeing glassed in a retaliatory strike...

  • In Funny Farm, the rogue AI (simply called "PC") conquers Denmark effortlessly and sets up a robotic country called Siliconopolis. The story suggested that all the humans were removed somehow without anybody seeming to care about them.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Torg, Riff and Bun Bun accidentally destroy an entire dimension (the anime dimension) and all of its inhabitants. It is later discovered that the dimension was part of an experiment by really big aliens, but neither the plot nor the poor suckers that lived in it are ever mentioned again.

    Web Original 
  • The machinima series Red vs. Blue appears to parody this when it's mentioned that each member of a special unit was named after one of the remaining 49 states, at which point Tucker mentions "Poor Florida" and they have a moment of silence. The fate of the state is never discussed again.
    • Season 10 reveals that there was an Agent Florida. When he was reassigned to Blood Gulch undercover, Project Freelancer simply destroyed the state.

    Western Animation 
  • In Drawn Together, nobody ever seems to mention the destruction of Captain Hero's home planet after the episode "Orphan Hero" (although given the nature of the show, this is to be expected).
  • Used to hilarious extremity in one episode of Superfriends. Black Manta has just caused a fire on an island. Aquaman summons sea creatures to create a giant tidal wave to put the fire out. Only it backfires and he ends up accidentally flooding not only the island, but every coastline in the Western Hemisphere. Aquaman and the rest of the Superfriends are rather unalarmed at the massive death toll. (Earlier in the episode, several major U.S. cities were completely frozen, but this too goes without comment.)
  • In South Park, San Francisco gets hit with a Smug storm and disappears completely up its own anus. Of course, this is less neglect and more writer wish-fulfillment.
    • In the "Pinewood Derby" episode, Randy and the rest of the world nuke the entire country of Finland because its president was going to tattle to the intergalactic cops about the stolen space cash the Earth was hiding, which, of course, turned out to be fake anyway — Finland was wiped off the map for nothing.
  • G.I. Joe: Resolute begins with Cobra blowing up Moscow to demonstrate their Kill Sat. Warren Ellis originally planned for it to be Beijing, and summarized what happened thusly:
    HASBRO: No, Warren, you cannot wipe Beijing from the face of the earth.
    Me: Shit. (pause) What about Moscow?
    HASBRO: Wiping Moscow from the face of the earth would be fine.
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Rebel Rabbit", Bugs Bunny is trying to cause as much trouble as possible. This leads to him sawing off Florida and kicking it off into the ocean.
    "South America! Take her away!"
  • In Men in Black: The Series an alien race called the Frmeks plan on destroying the planet of the Arquillians(simply because its slightly bigger than theirs) by firing a planet destroying laser at Earth and reflect it towards Arquillia. The MIB were able to thwart their plan by redirecting the blast back to their homeworld forcing them to flee from it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Homer Simpson starts working for Affably Evil supervillain Hank Scorpio, they demonstrate this trope along with Acceptable Targets:
      Hank Scorpio: (as he warms up giant doom laser) By the way, Homer, what's your least favorite country? Italy or France?
      Homer: France.
      Hank Scorpio: He he he, nobody ever says Italy.
    • When Bart and Milhouse run Comic Book Guy's store for a week, they discover his stash of secret video tapes. One of them contains nuclear war orders from the 50s where an army high commander declares Springfield a "nuclear whipping boy". If nuclear war breaks out, all allied countries will target ALL their nukes on Springfield to "calibrate targeting."
    • In a 24 parody episode Jack Bauer came to Springfield school to arrest Bart for making a prank call, while abandoning what ever he was doing before. Then a nuclear explosion happens in the distance, Bauer states that it was just Shelbyville, and everyone sighs in relief.
  • In the new Thundercats, Mumm-Ra is guilty of extinguishing a sun and killing off an entire solar system with three life-teeming planets... just to satisfy the Ancient Spirits' wish for a wicked powerful sword.
    • In the very first episode the Kingdom of the Cats gets decimated by the Lizards in a single night. It helps that the Lizards are armed with high tech weapons, while the Cats are armed by medieval spears and shields.
  • In Ben 10, Vilgax tested out a superweapon on Tetrax's homeworld, right after Tetrax gave him the crystal for his weapon to work.
    • In the Season 1 finale of Ben 10: Alien Force, the villain blows up Pluto to show what he'll do to Earth if his daughter isn't returned to him in time.
  • In the What If…? (2021) episode "What If... Thor Were an Only Child?", Captain Marvel explains that she held back on using her full power because it wasn't worth the collateral damage to get rid of an overgrown frat boy throwing a Wild Teen Party. Darcy suggests taking the battle to South Dakota, or maybe North Dakota.

Alternative Title(s): What Measure Is A Non Plot Relevant Place