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Thrown from the Zeppelin

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"So, does anyone else want to drop out?"
Max Zorin, A View to a Kill

A villain has a grand scheme, but not necessarily the resources to pull it off. He calls together a room full of potential allies and outlines the plan.

But these guys are generally businessmen, used to being pitched at, and sometimes one will stand up and announce that it sounds too risky (or that guy's just more squeamish than the rest), and he wants out. Sometimes, so as not to risk scaring the rest, the villain will graciously allow him to leave, and remind him not to talk about it. He will ask his henchman to "show him out." The Henchman will nod, smile, escort him from the room and kill him, thus ensuring total loyalty and secrecy for his evil plot. The rest of the time, he'll throw the man out right there and then, usually followed by a quip to the nature of "anyone else?".

An occasional variant of the trope has the villain making the same pitch to individuals or multiple small groups rather than gathering all of them together at once. One such example is If Looks Could Kill, where the Big Bad kills a finance minister who rejects his pitch after mentioning that multiple other people he's met with agreed to it.

Compare and contrast Board to Death, where all of the businessmen are killed.

Not to be confused with a scene where a someone is literally thrown out of a zeppelin, like in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or K. For that, see Death Flight, Thrown Out the Airlock, and Death in the Clouds.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Mighty Thor: God of Thunder Reborn (an arc from Jason Aaron's Thor run) has Sindr, the queen of Muspelheim, would-be queen of Hel, gathering the chieftans of Hel and tries to persuade them to join with her. Lady Allmour of the Pleasure Lands refuses, so Sindr kills her immediately.
  • Outsiders #6; Supervillain cult leader Brother Blood has just engineered a mass prison break and demands that all the villains he freed join him. Airstryke the Pterodactyl Man is less than thrilled with this:
    Airstryke: Hey, Jim Jones, what if we don't want to help your religious freakshow ass!
  • The Punisher MAX: The second time Ax-Crazy Nicky Cavella tries to take over a leaderless Mafia family, none of the five capos are willing to give him the time of day until he desecrates the remains of the Punisher's family to make himself a target for the vigilante. Following that, two of the capos support making Nicky their boss, one (Joey Picardi) opposes this idea, and two are undecided but are poised to follow Joey. Joey is killed by Nicky's bodyguard during a bathroom break, and the opposition to Nicky disappears.
  • In Dynamite's The Shadow #10, one of the conspirators gets cold feet and asks to be excused. He gets it... in the head.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: To punish the Mon Calamari for resisting his rule, Krayt orders 10% of the species slaughtered, starting with the Mon Calamari members of the planet's ruling council. A few Quarren councilors refuse to condone the genocide and are immediately executed as well.
    Quarren councilor: My Lord! No! The Mon Calamari are not our species, and I am not overly fond of them, but they do not deserve this!"
    Darth Azard: I am not one of you! I am Sith!
    He cuts down the dissenter.
  • One of the final Star Wars: Republic issues has Palpatine gathering the most decorated captains of the recently disbanded Republic Navy (including three recurring characters) to demand their continued service. Captain Jace Dallin voices skepticism when Palpatine repeats his lie about the Jedi being traitors. Dallin is promptly force-choked to death by Vader. A second captain, Sagoro Autem, also voices misgivings but does so more quietly. However, one of his fellow officers reports his statements to Palpatine and Vader, and Autem has to go on the run.
  • The Tomb of Dracula: In the tenth issue, Dracula gets himself invited on a luxury cruise to intimidate the wealthy passengers into supporting his cause. When one man refuses and tries to shoot Dracula, he gets thrown overboard. Unusually for the trope, everyone who doesn't get thrown from the zeppelin later finds the courage to attack and help drive off Dracula.
  • Underworld Unleashed: The demon Neron gives several dozen super villains their greatest desires, then says that he wants their souls and their help in a war against the superheroes as payment. Mongul tries to kill Neron, doubting he's that powerful, and is swiftly killed. Zigzagged, given that Neron does allow some other villains to decline his offer and leave safely, and only kills Mongul for outright defying him.
  • Referenced in Gotham Underground, when Tobias Whale is trying to unite the gangs of Gotham under his leadership, one of the gangleaders stands up and asks "Why you?" Whale replies "Please don't be that guy", saying the whole thing of one man standing up, only to be killed as an example to the others, is such a cliche. The guy sits down again.

    Fan Works 
  • The Odds Were Never In My Favour: When Ra tries to take over the Day Court during the European Magical Tournament and order them to purge every dark wizard nearby, one Locked Out of the Loop wizard, Lucas Gauthier, says that this has nothing to do for the tournament, that Ra is an Ax-Crazy madman, and that he (Lucas) is leaving to tell the authorities. He is incinerated on the spot by Ra, although his death also turns many others against Ra and makes them desert at the first opportunity.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Bonk complains about his gang's latest heists under their new leader, the Joker, and wants out. Joker responds by pulling a gun on Bonk and firing. Subverted in that the gun merely pops out a "BANG!" flag, and everyone sighs in relief. Then Joker immediately fires the gun a second time, killing Bonk. The method varies according to the version: in the released cut it releases Joker gas, in the unrated original version the 'bang' flag is fired out and impales him.
  • A Bug's Life: Three grasshoppers try to convince Hopper (by using Molt) to not bother going back to collect food from the ants. Hopper makes an example out of them by crushing them under a pile of grain.
    Hopper: Does anybody else wanna stay?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ant-Man: When Darren Cross is giving the pitch for the Yellowjacket to the government, one man objects that given what has already happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the weapon could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Cross shuts him down and promises to talk about it later. In true Bond villain fashion, Cross then follows him into a restroom and uses an unstable shrinking ray to do away with him.
  • Aquaman (2018): Orm approaches the leaders of neighboring kingdoms, wanting to recruit them for a war on the surface world. King Neureus of Xebel is leaning toward supporting him, but only commits due to a False Flag Operation making popular opinion swing that way. King Ricou of the Kingdom of the Fishermen Kingdom is a pacifist who unequivocally refuses to join Orm. Orm kills Ricou on the spot and intimidates his heiress into joining his alliance. Orm's third neighbor, the Brine King, refuses to parlay with Orm at all and only meets him on the battlefield.
  • In a scene from The Avengers (1998), the villain announces his plans for world domination to a room full of scientists then asks if any of them will opt out. Two scientists raise their hands to quit and the villain kills them with poison darts in front of the other scientists, unusual for this trope. The other scientists are eventually killed off anyway.
  • In Batman (1989), the Joker brings in the "mob bosses" of Gotham, and introduces himself as the new big boss. One of the mobsters opts out, and as they shake hands he gets the "joy buzzer" from the Joker, which rather gruesomely kills him, as a lesson to the other bosses. ("I'm glad you're dead!")... then goes on to order the deaths of the other bosses. He decides to kill them all on the "advice" of the boss he just killed note . It's the first sign that Jack, who was "just" a sociopath, is now completely unhinged.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick (2004): After the Lord Marshall tells a meeting hall full of captives to allow themselves to be made into necromonger cultists/soldiers, one man steps forward and insists on remaining true to his current religious beliefs. The Lord Marshal rips his soul out of his body, and everyone else present besides Riddick recognizes the need to Kneel Before Zod.
  • Taken to absurdity in the Italian movie Danger: Diabolik; mob boss Valmont meets with his subordinates about the police's offer to team up to fight the eponymous super-crook. Three of them vote against the plan; Valmont shoots two, but misses the third, who begs for his life. Valmont agrees not to shoot... then presses a button that drops the man through a hole in the floor. When the film was riffed on the final episode of the original run of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike responded to the above moment by shouting "Extreme organized crime!"
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker pretends to have a similar tendency, but is really just planning to kill just about everyone he can, whether or not they want to be his ally.
  • Dick Tracy (1990). When Big Boy Caprice offers to let the other gangsters join his operation, Spaldoni is the first to question why he (Big Boy) should be the leader. Big Boy casts an aside glance at Itchy, who steps outside the room. Five minutes later, he returns in time for Spaldoni to turn down Big Boy's offer. Big Boy had the foresight to realize that at least one of his former rivals would be unwilling to go along with the plan, and had Itchy prepared to take them out.
  • The Firm: Lawyers who've been working at Bendini, Lambert & Locke for a few years find themselves being summoned to a private meeting with the firm's partners, who tell them that the firm engages in tax fraud and money laundering for The Mafia. In fifty years, only two lawyers (three in the book) have ever dared to quit. All of them promptly learned the meaning of the phrase Make It Look Like an Accident the hard way (as did two others who tried to go to the FBI).
  • If Looks Could Kill: Augustus Steranko has this done to the French finance minister at the beginning. The finance minister won't sign France up for Steranko's plan to have all of Europe's gold stored in his chateau, so Steranko has the guy killed by getting bludgeoned to death with a tea tray.
  • In The Pink Panther film Inspector Clouseau, two criminals decline to take part in The Heist due to feeling it's overcomplicated. Their boss acts sympathetic and convinces them to handle a smaller job for him: kidnapping Clouseau. However when they go to kidnap Clouseau, the two are murdered by another criminal and evidence is planted on their bodies to manipulate the detective.
  • James Bond:
    • In Goldfinger, the unfortunate mobster Martin Solo is killed for refusing to finance Auric Goldfinger's Fort Knox scheme, then get crushed with his car. Goldfinger then gasses the rest of the mobster investors anyway, eliminating any potential competition after gaining their confidence.
    • The trope name is taken from A View to a Kill, in which the meeting is taking place on board Max Zorin's blimp, and one of the investors is literally thrown from a zeppelin: as he climbs down the stairs to the lower level of the cabin, a trapdoor opens at the bottom — revealing that the zeppelin is airborne — and Mayday activates a Surprise Slide Staircase.
    • In Licence to Kill, Kwang, one of the Asian drug lords Sanchez wants to become partners with, displays a certain air of skepticism throughout their meeting and refuses to commit to their deal unless Sanchez shows him his drug lab up close. Sanchez acts accommodating but senses Kwang is dangerous and sends a hit team to his house that night. In a twist, Kwang turns out to be an undercover cop rather than a generic Red Shirt skeptic.
  • In Kill Bill, O-Ren declares herself the leader of the various Yakuza families, to which one of the bosses objects. She cuts off his head and then tells the remaining bosses (in English, since this is important) that she's not asking, she's telling.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Downplayed. The various celebrities who reject the Big Bad's pitch (like Princess Tilde), aren't killed but he does imprison them rather than let them remain free to interfere with his plan.
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life has the villain infect his board of potential investors with a strain of "super-ebola," letting one of them die before the others sign up for his plot...and the vaccine.
  • In The Legend of Zorro, after the Ancient Conspiracy members hear Armand's evil plans, one disagrees. As a result, Armand demonstrates his secret weapon - nitroglycerin - by throwing a small bottle of it on him.
  • The Losers: In the movie, Max is introduced talking to three scientists he wants to build his doomsday weapon. One of them angrily refuses on moral grounds and is thrown off the roof as the other two gape. This is played with though as Max actually only wanted Wade to beat the man up to make him change his mind, but noticing the stunned looks on the faces of the other two scientists, he says that it did serve some purpose. He then tells Wade to throw off a second scientist before the third man stops him and says that they'll do it for enough money and/or to save his colleagues life.
  • In the film North Sea Hijack, one of the hijackers gets cold feet and wants to leave with the government representatives who came to investigate (and will be trying to convince the government to pay the ransom). The Big Bad, played by Anthony Perkins (of Psycho fame), pretends to sympathize with him, and tells him he can go, but signals one of his henchmen to shoot him when he's on the lift being carried off.
  • In The Phantom, when the Big Bad presents his plan to steal the magic skulls, one of his associates decides to leave. Oddly enough he objects on the basis that the idea is morally questionable, rather than because it revolves around magical skulls. The big bad impales him with a javelin.
  • Zigzagged in The Punisher (1989): When Lady Tanaka first demands that The Mafia become her junior partners, not one of the five mob bosses agrees to her demands, and she stabs the most belligerent of them through the hand rather than killing them. She then kidnaps their children to use as hostages, only to murder everyone who surrenders to save their kids' lives.
  • Real Genius opens with a table of military and intelligence officials discussing a proposed flying death ray. One of them leaves after the "immoral and unethical" nature of the weapon is explicitly acknowledged. After he's out the door, it's implied that he's about to be silenced, one way or another.
    David Decker: Afraid we're going to have to liberate George.
  • Robin and the 7 Hoods: After the gangsters murder Big Jim (The Don) in the opening scene, they hold a meeting to pick his successor. One man suggests just drawing names from a hat. Gisborne (who organized the murder of Big Jim) makes it clear that the meeting is just a formality to declare that he's the new boss and threatens to kill the man who suggested drawing names (although he ultimately doesn't).
  • The Rocketeer: After one of the Nazis accompanying Neville Sinclair on the Luxembourg questions his plan and insults him by calling him an "Actor," Sinclair pulls a Luger and shoots him, with the impact from the shot knocking his body out of the open doorway of the zepplin's gondola. It'd averted with Sinclair's henchman Lothar, who's knocked from the top of the zepplin after a fight with Cliff, but a rope wraps around his ankle leaving him dangling against the side.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009): This trope is played with when Lord Blackwood takes over the Cult he belongs to. One man, Ambassador Standish, protests, but rather than try merely trying to walk away, he draws his gun and tries to shoot Blackwood. Standish ends up burned alive for his troubles, and Holmes later deduces that Blackwood anticipated having to kill Standish from the start and had prearranged to show off his fake supernatural powers while doing so.
  • Space Mutiny has a scene where some traitorous engineers hold a meeting (at a suspiciously small table), and when one of the wimpier ones threatens to report their treason, boss engineer MacPhearson kills him with his cane.
  • A variant occurs in The Sum of All Fears when one of the Russian scientists decides to opt-out. The villain's butler first helps him put his jacket on, then strangles him with his own scarf right in front of the other scientists before any of them can have second thoughts.
  • The Jackie Chan movie The Tuxedo had the villain call in an underling who'd been publicly criticizing The Plan, and gave said underling a drink of his dehydrating water. He also uses this later on the water company executives who refuse to give their companies to him.
  • xXx: State of the Union: Stone spies on Well-Intentioned Extremist (at least in his own mind) Deckert meeting with a prominent general who he tries to recruit for his mysterious plot (later revealed to be the overthrow of the U.S. government). The general refuses to join him, saying that it goes against the Constitution. Shortly afterward, Stone is tricked into visiting a mansion where he finds the general's body, right as the police show up after having been tricked into thinking Stone is the killer.

  • In Ahriman: Sorcerer, Ignis meets with a group of lesser Chaos Lords to persuade them to take part in Sanakht’s scheme to overthrow Ahriman and take control of his warband. One of the Chaos Lords refuses the offer and, realizing that Ignis will kill him to keep word of the plot from getting out, tries to defy this trope by killing Ignis first—only for Ignis’s robot bodyguard Credence to step in and rip his head off.
  • Alex Rider combines this with Resignations Not Accepted on two occasions.
    • In Scorpia, Max Grendel declares that he doesn't want to be involved in a plot to murder thousands of schoolchildren and that he'd like to retire from the eponymous Nebulous Evil Organization. Several of his fellow board members are angry (but not necessarily homicidal) about this. Mrs. Rothman makes a speech about respecting Max’s wishes and then gives him a briefcase as a retirement present. Said briefcase is full of poisonous scorpions.
    • In Scorpia Rising, Levi Kroll angrily resigns from the Scorpia Board due to repeatedly being passed over for major assignments and finding his colleagues' desire to risk ruin by seeking revenge against Alex Rider insane. Mindful of what happened to Grendel, Kroll pulls a gun on the others, holding them at gunpoint while he prepares to flee. He's shot by a sniper posted nearby seconds later.
  • The Android's Dream: When the Big Bad tries to recruit sleazy State Department official Phipps into his conspiracy. Phipps denounces him as a traitor and offers him a chance at redemption. A minute later, Phipps is dead, although the Big Bad suggests that he would have killed him even if he’d said yes, due to being unable to trust a man who took bribes.
    Schroeder: Last chance, pal. Join the club.
    Phipps: Or what? You're going to kill me? Be serious, Jean. If it came to that, I could break your neck while you were still trying to get up off that chair.
    Schroeder: Oh yes, you were Special Forces, and I'm just a soft Ivy Leaguer. I remember that. You're right, of course. I could never kill you. It would be foolish of me to try. I could never get away with it. But I know someone who could.
    Cue Phipps being stabbed In the Back.
  • Angel in the Whirlwind: Speaker Mosul and several other prominent clerics who denounce the inquisition's refusal to Know When to Fold 'Em during the invasion of their home world are immediately denounced as heretics, arrested, and marked for death. The only thing that saves their life is that the government is delusional enough to think they'll win the war and plans to hold a big fancy show trial before sentencing them to death once that happens. Instead, Mosul ends up being liberated from jail and made a member of the provisional government.
  • Artemis Fowl: In The Atlantis Complex, Turnball asks a shuttle full of prisoners (including many members of his old gang) for volunteers to join him in his next venture and depart the shuttle under dangerous circumstances. The first three people who choose to follow him survive. The prisoners who decide to stay behind, ask to join him too slowly for his tastes, or seem too nervous and desperate while asking to join him are all left behind and die when the shuttle is destroyed to cover his escape.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the short story "Absalom Rising", the eponymous villain rallies The Remnant of the Order of Aurelius to resurrect their leader. One vampire respectfully but skeptically wants to know how Absalom knows the information he is basing his plan on (it comes from a spy he doesn’t want to expose) before committing to the plan. At first, Absalom is impressed by the intelligence her curiosity indicates, but he gradually gets impatient and kills her to intimidate any other hesitant vampires.
  • Dirk Pitt Adventures:
    • The Big Bad of Blue Gold has a meeting of businessmen, scientists and politicians she wants to recruit, describing her plans to monopolize the world's water supply.Congressman Jeremy Kinkaid angrily protests this as immoral and vows to fight it in court, while a scientist named Dearborn also questions the ethics of it. They are told that their opinions are respected but after the meeting her wet work specialists (who were watching) are asked who they think they should kill, and name Kinkaid (who is later confirmed to have died in an "accident") and Dearborn.
    • In Kang's first scene of Black Wind, he summons three South Korean Corrupt politicians and requests that they propose legislation to expel the American military from Korea in the name of encouraging reunification. All three men are unhappy with this, but two acknowledge that their careers are too dependent on Kang for them to oppose him. The third man refuses to fall in line, saying that Kang's plan will cause their country to be conquered by North Korea (which is what Kang secretly wants), and he won't be a party to that. Without missing a beat, Kang has the dissenter thrown out the window in front of the other two men.
  • Discworld:
    • Moist von Lipwig is presented with two options at the beginning of Going Postal. He can become Vetinari's postmaster, or he can walk out the door behind Vetinari. Moist is smart enough to open up the door and drop an object down the inevitable pit before trying to walk out. The test is subverted in Making Money, the next Moist von Lipwig book. The door by which Moist can exit is perfectly normal and he is free to walk away and go back to his job at the Post Office. When Moist asks what happened to the pit, Vetinari claims to have no idea what he's talking about.
    • At the end of Going Postal, Moist's Evil Counterpart Reacher Gilt used the door. It's ambiguous whether he stormed through without checking it or indeed committed suicide rather than work for the patrician, though the latter would fit better with the book's theme of every freedom being based on the most basic one: the freedom to take the consequences. On the other hand, Reacher Gilt is more than once portrayed as being arrogant enough to fall for it.
    • The trope was spoofed in Guards! Guards!, when a huge Dragon takes over the city and his human aide explains to the civic leaders that the Dragon demands a monthly Virgin Sacrifice. They're all waiting for someone else to protest, so they can mumble a quiet agreement so that the others know they obviously don't like this deal without having to be so stupid as talk back to the Dragon. When they all keep their mouths shut, they all curse the others for being so cowardly.
    • Interesting Times: When the Silver Horde conquers the corrupt and decadent Agatean Empire, they summon all of the previous emperor's servants, councillors, and concubines, reveal what has happened and encourage them to continue serving the new regime. The lord chamberlain declares that he would rather die than betray the Emperor and gets his wish, keeping anyone else from voicing similar thoughts.
    • The Thieves' Guild Diary, in its tour of the Guild building, points out some of the interesting aspects of the furniture in the main conference room, including chairs that tilt backwards towards mysterious trapdoors. Apparently, this feature was an important part of consolidating the Guild in its early days, and still occasionally features in particularly fraught policy discussions.
  • The Four Legendary Kingdoms (by Matthew Reilly): When the competitors for the Great Games of the Hydra are gathered, one man says he is there against his will and won't participate. He's killed by an Explosive Leash seconds later, before The Hero can decide whether to speak up as well.
  • Honour Among Thieves: The Mafia gathers several people to recruit them for a Caper Crew to steal the Declaration of Independence. A craftsman named Bruno, who they want to recruit to build a carrying case, feels the potential prison sentence is too great and stalks out. The gangsters don’t like the idea of leaving someone who knows the plan but isn’t legally implicated in it alive to potentially spill the beans, so Bruno doesn't stay alive much longer.
  • James Bond: In the novel version of Goldfinger, one of the mobsters refuses to go along with Goldfinger's scheme to rob Fort Knox, so Goldfinger has him killed. However, the other mobsters, who agree to the plan, survive. That is, they survive until the robbery plan goes wrong thanks to Bond's actions. At that point Goldfinger kills them all to keep them from talking, then makes his own escape.
  • The Last Days of Krypton: Zod gathers several disgruntled younger sons of Kryptonian noble families to build his dictatorship. Only one protests.
    Vor-On: Commissioner, you're talking about overthrowing the established noble families. I wanted to be one of them, not destroy them. You can't expect us to take part in this .. this mutiny.
    Zod: Very well, Vor-On. I thought I could count on your support, but do what you think is best for Krypton. And I'll do what I think is best.
    Zod throws Vor-On off a cliff.
  • The Lost Fleet: A nonfatal version occurs in Implacable, when Commanders Hasan and Genji are the first commanders of the new ships to question the validity of their orders during a fleet conference, and General Julian has them arrested on the spot. Unusually for the trope, this serves to (quickly and drastically) undermine the cause of the person punishing their defiance rather than strengthening their Bad Boss.
  • In MacCallister: The Eagles Legacy: Kingdom Come by J.A. Johnstone, an outlaw kills the mayor and lawmen of a frontier town and gathers the town council in the saloon. He orders the town council to appoint him the new mayor, and then proposes making the town a haven for outlaws, with higher prices for all of their services, but accompanying higher taxes that go to him. Two city councilmen who protest are shot on the spot. The rest keep their mouths shut and either leave town once the meeting is over or decide to get rich by going along with the operation.
  • The Power of Five: Downplayed early on Oblivion. The Dragon gathers his faction's various wealthy supporters, lays out his plan, and shoots the first man to protest. Of course, his plan involves drafting all of them as soldiers and subjecting them to painful and potentially fatal surgical augmentations before sending them on suicide missions (largely For the Evulz). Also, the people who aren't shot don't so much agree as wail helplessly while they're dragged from the room by force.
  • The William Johnstone novel Prey has several Straw Character liberal senators gather to discuss assassinating a conservative president. The least radical senator present repeatedly expresses contempt for the plan and exasperation with the others for considering it. He's Killed Offscreen shortly after the meeting ends.
  • Professor Moriarty Series: Moriarty outsmarts and humiliates kingpins from Germany, Italy, and France to cow them into helping him form The Syndicate, then confronts The Don of Spain, has the others tell him about how they now see that spurning Moriarty was foolish and they want to join him. The Spanish boss still refuses to submit to Moriarty and bids the others a good day. A few minutes later, he dies in a carriage "accident" while departing from the meeting. Interestingly, all of those same crime lords had voluntarily joined Moriarty's organization in the previous book, but they betrayed and abandoned Moriarty during the Time Skip between books after a police investigation forced Moriarty to flee the continent and made him look weak.
  • The Pushcart War: Teased but subverted during the Three's meeting about their master plan. Walter the Tiger says that he doesn't mind pushcarts and small trucks and feels conflicted about the next step. Louie and Big Moe pointedly tell him that he can get onboard or the Three will become the Two, and he reluctantly backs down.
  • Riley Covington: In the second novel, one leader of the jihadist group The Cause expresses some concern about the scope and methods of a planned campaign of bombings and shootings. The leader angrily delivers an Implied Death Threat toward both his subordinate and his eldest son. The frightened man apologizes and leaves the meeting, but his boss makes good on the threat off-screen.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • As Stannis begins to embrace the R'hllor religion while preparing for war, his bannerman Lord Sunglass withdraws his support of Stannis due to how this conflicts with his own religion. Sunglass is promptly arrested, and is later made into a Human Sacrifice by Stannis's wife while Stannis is away at war.
    • When sinister exile Euron Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands and demands to be recognized as his late brother (a self-appointed king)'s successor in A Feast for Crows, one of the two major lords on Pyke (the capital of the Islands) agrees while the other insists that Euron's imprisoned nephew is king. Three guesses for which one of the two ends up drowned in a barrel of saltwater.
    • Later, the Iron Islands insists on having a kingsmoot to vote on their new leader according to ancient tradition. Euron wins the vote due to making some ambitious promises. Several of the moderates who voted against Euron reluctantly honor the vote while others refuse to recognize Euron as their leader and flee the Islands. One of Euron's most outspoken opponents anchored his ship too far from the meeting though, is caught before he can reach it, and is cut to pieces.
    • Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories: When Aegon II chooses to seize the throne that has been willed to his older half-sister, all of his father's councilors pledge to support Aegon (and his mother and younger brother) except Lyman Beesbury, the Master of Coin. Exactly how he dies is unclear, but Lyman never leaves the Red Keep alive. His last recorded words are, "I am an old man, but not so old that I will sit here meekly whilst the likes of you plot to steal her crown."
  • The Donald Westlake book A Spy In The Ointment has the Big Bad gather the leaders of a dozen or so disparate and largely ineffectual extremist groups whom he hopes to recruit into a plan that involves assassinating a prominent industrialist. Anti-Unionist Lionel Stonewright insults the ideologies of his fellow terrorists (to be fair, all of them insult each other, but he's particularly vocal) and announces his intention to tell the police about them. The narrator promptly closes his eyes as The Brute marches toward Stonewright and (based on the sounds) tears his head off. Then, shortly after the meeting, some of the leaders who did agree to join the Big Bad are killed anyway after he deems that they lack any valuable skills or resources.
  • In a Star Trek novel, a recruiter tells his recruits about a plan to destroy the Federation by pumping a virus through their replicators. When one of the recruits decides not to take part, he's given a pat on the shoulder and allowed to leave. He's dead from the virus 30 seconds later.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch: At the end of "Uncertain Logic", one of V'las's underlings starts objecting to his plan. He shoots her dead, and his remaining loyalists are able to subdue anyone else present who might have objections.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Glove of Darth Vader: Zigzagged. When Trioculus claims Palpatine's throne during a summit of Imperial warlords, a Royal Guard and a Grand Admiral question whether he has the best claim. Trioculus shocks them with (apparent) Force Lightning but stops short of killing them when the two recant their doubts. Shortly afterward, a second Grand Admiral refuses to support Trioculus's decision to build a military base on Hoth until he finds the Glove of Darth Vader and is shot by The Dragon.
    • The Star Wars: Knight Errant tie-in novel features Lord Daiman gathering several mercenary commanders for an ambush. No one likes Daiman's plan (and one commander deserts during the battle), but most of them stay silent. Kr'saang the Togorian mocks Daiman's Armchair Military tendencies, states that he'll only deploy his soldiers in a straight-up fight, and prepares to leave. Daiman challenges Kr'saang to a duel and easily wins.
    • The Approaching Storm: A group of politicians and industrialists plotting to secede from the Republic meet to discuss the plans of their Mysterious Benefactor, Corrupt Corporate Executive Shu Mai. One Senator, Nemrileo, questions whether Mai is manipulating them for her own ends. A couple of chapters later, Nemrileo is Killed Offscreen in a staged aircar accident. Later, during a second meeting of the same conspirators, industrialist Tam Uliss is dissatisfied by the amount of patience demanded by Shu Mai after the plan to take advantage of the crisis on Ansion fails, and announces his intent to launch a Renegade Splinter Faction. He suffers a Disney Villain Death in short order.
  • A heroic version happens in Stone of Tears where Kahlan, before leading the remnants of a small army on midnight raids to destroy the larger, more experienced army that destroyed their home, lets a dissenter and a group leave. She then sends another group of soldiers to kill the lot of them, deducing correctly based on...something that they planned to rat them out to the larger army.
  • The Three Investigators: In the Back Story of The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints, the founder of Lapathia gathered all of the local chieftains and nobles to propose his plan for a new kingdom. Only one man, who was dubbed Ivan the Bold, refused. His severed head was put on a pike outside by the end of the day.
  • In The Witches by Roald Dahl, one witch expresses doubt that the Grand High Witch's scheme to kill all the children in England will work. The Grand High Witch promptly uses her Eye Beams to incinerate the dissenter, then proceeds with her speech. Later, the narrator's grandmother mentions that the Grand High Witch does this to at least one witch during every meeting, to keep the others in line.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One early Bonanza episode has sleazy sheep rancher Jeb Drummond tell his associates that he plans to trespass on the Ponderosa and pick a fight with the Cartwrights due to the excellent grazing on their property. One man declares that the Cartwrights have a formidable reputation, and he wants no part of that fight. He goes to pack his things and leave, and Jeb shoots him In the Back.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: Suggested but averted in the pilot. New crime boss Boba Fest demands tribute and pledges of loyalty from the local bigwigs. One man refuses to give any and tries to shake him down for a bribe. Fennec suggests killing his Mouth of Sauron guy, but Boba settles for threatening the messenger.
  • In an episode of Criminal Minds, a cult leader gives his flock juice, then tells them they'll all die from the poison that was in it. It turned out there was no poison, it was just a test to see who his most die-hard worshippers, the ones who would follow him to the end, were (those who appeared distraught or terrified at the thought of dying were kicked out of the compound).
  • Daredevil: In season 3, Kingpin summons five other mob bosses and offers to use his newfound connections to protect them from the authorities in exchange for 20% of their profits. Three of the bosses mock Kingpin's offer and accuse him of being an FBI informant. When one man tries to leave, Kingpin immediately kills him and informs the others that now he wants 25% of their profits. They nervously comply.
  • Doctor Who: In the final part of "Genesis of the Daleks", Davros does this to his staff to sort out the dissenters from his loyal supporters. After the ones who are with him come over to stand beside him, he has the Daleks do what they do best to the ones still on the other side of the imaginary line. Subverted when they then kill off the others too, then Davros.
  • FBI: Most Wanted: In "Hairtrigger", Earl Hansen is one of a trio of Right Wing Militia Fanatics planning an attack on a government building. However, he starts getting cold feet after one of their number, Doug, kills a cop. He says that the manhunt for Doug is drawing too much heat and they should postpone their plan. The leader Mike refuses and tells Earl that he is either in or he's out. When Earl announces that he's out, Mike orders Dog to shoot him and Doug promptly does so.
  • Game of Thrones: The heroes pull off a variant of the trope in Hardhome when Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane try to convince the Wildling leaders to ally with the guardians of the Wall against the undead White Walkers. The Lord of Bones sneers at the idea of an alliance, accuses Tormund of being a traitor, and is promptly beaten to death. The Lord of Bones is actually killed before the meeting where Jon lays out his entire proposal, and the other chieftains contemplate it (with one who rejects it being allowed to leave peacefully). Still, his death is fairly similar to an ordinary use of the trope.
  • A (somewhat) heroic version happens in Last Resort when several businesspeople, politicians, Secret Service agents, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff join a coup against the President Evil Big Bad. One general tries to back out and is immediately shot by a Secret Service agent. Unusually for the trope, his killer isn't acting under the orders of the group's leader, and several of those present are horrified.
  • In the MacGyver episode "Legend of the Holy Rose", the bad guy has his advisor with a niggling conscience thrown from a helicopter when he is of no further use.
  • Played very straight in the Monty Python's Flying Circus episode titled "The Golden Age of Ballooning." During the inaugural flight of his new airship, Ferdinand von Zeppelin becomes frustrated because the dignitaries on board keep referring to it as a balloon. He begins throwing out anyone who uses the B-word, and keeps it up until most of the German government is dead.
  • Supernatural:
    • When Abaddon tries to take over Hell in season 9, one demon repeatedly speaks in favor of Abaddon's rival Crowley and openly questions Abaddon's plan. A frustrated Abaddon exorcises that demon from her earthly vessel and sends her back to Hell.
    • Zigzagged in season 11 when Lucifer tries to take over Heaven while God is absent and his angels are unable to stop the Darkness from threatening all of existence. Two angels repeatedly (albeit nervously) display reluctance to accept his leadership. There's a brief musical buildup implying that Lucifer's about to kill one of them after one such remark. However, Lucifer settles for threatening him with a reminder of how he killed another angel who opposed him just before the meeting started.
      Lucifer: You know what they say: he who hesitates, disintegrates!
    • A variant: Rowena gathers three witches to propose her plans for a "Mega Coven," but all three scornfully refuse and are killed. Rowena then seeks out a pair of more susceptible lower-ranking witches to repeat her proposal to.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look saw this action denied by a lack of No OSHA Compliance. After several minutes of flashing lights, a safety rail being placed around him, and a voice announcing "Trap door number four is about to open, please vacate the area" he got up and left.
  • True Blood: In season 5, the bloodthirsty Sanguistas overthrow the Vegetarian Vampire governing body and demand that its founders swear allegiance to them. Dieter Braun bravely calls their request blasphemous and is promptly decapitated.

    Video Games 
  • Pay attention to the negotiation with the mobsters at the beginning of the campaign in Evil Genius, and you'll see how one of them, after trying to back off, is the victim of your hidden shrinking beam. Incidentally, it's the same one who gave you trouble by being too ballsy and had to be "convinced" to attend by force.
  • Downplayed non-villainous example in Horizon Zero Dawn: The titular project was an attempt to Fling a Light into the Future against an undefeatable self-replicating Robot Army by resurrecting life years after the planet was destroyed. In order to buy as much time as possible for the project to reach fruition, the already doomed public was given false rumors that the project was a superweapon that could wipe out the robots if completed in time, to rally as many people as possible to fight a losing battle. Those told about the real purpose of Zero Dawn, and not interested in joining, were given the choice between prison until its completion, or suicide, to prevent the truth from getting out. Aloy sees recordings that indicate the project was completed without a day to spare.
  • One of the opportunities in the penultimate mission of the Hitman: World of Assassination Trilogy can go down this way. The mission's primary target, Don Archibald Yates, convenes a meeting of high-ranking Providence operatives in a bid to gain their support in becoming Providence's next Constant ahead of the current Constant's preferred successor, Diana Burnwood. Out of loyalty to the former and some personal affection for the latter, the secondary target Tamara Vidal (if she's still alive by this point) will object to the mutinous proposal and cast the lone dissenting vote, so Yates simply has his guards shoot her to make the vote "unanimous" (and deal with a potential tattletale) before moving to get rid of Diana as well.

  • This happens in Girl Genius during the Corbetitte arc. When Martellus' zeppelin fleet arrives at the Corbettite stronghold in order to capture Agatha, his appointed advisor orders one of the ships to fire at the fortress as a show of force, causing the Corbetittes to return fire with a lightning gun that destroys a good part of the fleet. When Martellus reaches the bridge and the advisor continues to patronize him, he promply grabs the latter by the collar and throws him through the nearest window before ordering the rest of his fleet to land so he can try to fix things with the order.

    Western Animation 
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Eminence" plays with this, given that Darth Maul and Savage Oppress make an outright Join or Die offer to the representatives of three criminal factions. Two resist them and take casualties, at which point the surviving leaders fall in line, while the third recognizes their power and agrees outright.
    • In "Revival", Darth Maul and Savage Opress try to recruit three pirate captains to join them and betray their leader, Hondo Ohnaka. Two of them greedily agree, while the third remains loyal to Hondo and is killed.
  • Played for Laughs in Frosty Returns when Mr. Twitchell sends a board member down a trapdoor for objecting to his Summer Wheeze on environmental grounds.
  • Justice League: A non-fatal version occurs at the beginning of the two-part finale when Lex Luthor tells the Legion of Doom about his plan to resurrect Brainiac and conquer the universe. Several members, such as Goldface, are clearly unhappy with this plan.
    Luthor: Of course, if you don't like those terms, you'd better stop me now while you still have a chance. But you'd also better remember what happened to poor Goldface.
    (Luthor presses a button and subjects Goldface to some Facial Horror.)
  • In the The Simpsons episode "Natural Born Kissers", when Bart talks with Lisa about pirates' buried treasure, there's a Imagine Spot in which a pirate suggests to the captain: "I know we usually bury the treasure, but what if this time, we use it to buy things? You know, uh, things we like." The captain shoots him before he can say anything more. As he turns to face the rest of the crew, they start digging as fast as they can.
  • Static Shock: In "The Big Leagues", Joker forms a gang of meta-humans and rescues Ferret from Static to offer him a spot. Ferret apologetically declines due to how creepy he finds Joker and ends up doused with Joker Venom in front of the other recruits and dumped on the street with a taunting message for Batman. He's given an antidote and survives, though.
  • An odd heroic version occurs in The Venture Brothers episode "Tag Sale You're It". The security guards for Dr. Venture's yard sale are lined up and informed that due to the serious risk involved in working the event, any one of them who doesn't feel up to it has the option to opt out. One does. The leader quietly tells another guard to make sure he doesn't make it to the gate alive. He doesn't.
    • Also in the episode "ORB" this gets inverted when Aleister Crowley puts forth a plan that is a little too daring for some people's tastes and promptly finds himself ejected from a zeppelin.


Video Example(s):


A View to a Kill

[Trope Namer] When one of Max Zorin's investors refuses to take part in his Evil Plan to destroy Silicon Valley, Zorin orders May Day to have him thrown out of his zeppelin.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThrownFromTheZeppelin

Media sources: