Follow TV Tropes

Discussion Main / ChekhovsGun

Go To

Apr 11th 2015 at 9:24:27 AM •••

Ideas for Sub-tropes

Checkhov's Taboo if a taboo is mentioned that must never EVER be broken, someone will break it (FMA's Human Transmutation, Harry Potter's Forbidden Forest and 3rd Floor Corridor)

Checkhov's Festival that festival/event someone mentioned in passing near the start of the film? It's going to be important later (for example Monster's University has the Scare Games)

Checkhov's Condition a condition is made, possibly in passing, in a contract by the contract-maker. If it is mentioned out loud, it is going to be important (this one and the first one could be called Checkhov's rule, but that might sound too general)

Checkhov's Country a country is mentioned in a fictional world, seemingly in passing, but then later becomes pivotal to the plot (e.g. all of the countries in FMA:B that become important are first mentioned a few episodes beforehand)

Checkhov's Side-effect a side effect of an established power/ability/medicine is mentioned in passing, but then later evolves to become pivotal to the plot (for example, in Code Geass, Mao's inability to control his power is shown to be unusual, but mostly ignored, but later becomes very important as Lelouch loses control also)

Hide/Show Replies
Apr 11th 2015 at 1:34:49 PM •••

With the exception of the first, all of these look like The Same, but More Specific to me.

Apr 12th 2015 at 12:44:20 AM •••

In that case, which of the variations would each of these fall under? It's made clear that Gun is for objects (not places, rules or people), Gunman is for people, Classroom is for knowledge of a skill, Hobby is for knowledge of a craft, etc. so which of them would all of these fall under?

I get that each of these would have few examples, but they are all each quite distinct and easy to identify in comparison to eachother. Seeing as its such a commonly used narrative device, surely this trope can afford the luxury of having 20 subtropes? For example, the Side-effect one is a useful story-telling device that I will look out for from now on, but as of right now there would be no place on this website to write about an example of it. I understand that these are all rare, but they definitely aren't Too Rare To Trope

Edited by 11twiggins
Apr 12th 2015 at 2:51:47 AM •••

They all fall under Chekhov's Gun. The fact that they aren't a "gun" but some other kind of object does not justify a separate trope. The Taboo thing may be an exception, since it's about the taboo being broken, not just merely being important.

Apr 12th 2015 at 5:00:40 AM •••

Wait, so, to clarify, if a character at the start of a film/book/tv show mentions a festival that is coming up, and it later becomes the crux of the climax of the story, is that Checkhov's Gun? Because an event is not an object. Does Checkhov's Gun cover metaphysical concepts as well? If that is the case, then why have Checkhov's Classroom, Checkhov's Hobby, The Legend of Checkhov etc? If skills and stories get special consideration as tropes, why not events, nations, symptoms etc?

Apr 12th 2015 at 5:07:36 AM •••

Object can cover a lot of stuff. It's a bit a case-by-case thing about whether something is a subtrope or a The Same But More Specific.

Sep 23rd 2013 at 11:29:06 AM •••

The trope is wrong. Chekhov's Gun is about not putting anything that's irrelevant into the story. It is NOT about putting a minor detail that later turns out to be important.

Hide/Show Replies
Jan 15th 2014 at 11:48:09 AM •••

The intro text discusses this misunderstanding. Though isn't the word "sadly" a bit loaded? Yes, it's a misunderstanding. But it's given us a useful phrase, allowing us to talk about a concept that previously didn't have a name.

Jan 16th 2014 at 12:45:15 AM •••

I've always heard "Chekhov's Gun" refer to "putting a minor detail that later turns out to be important. ". The other thing is what The Law of Conservation of Detail is about.

Dec 3rd 2012 at 12:13:40 PM •••

An article said that Vladimir Putin quoted 'a famous Russian playwright who said "if a gun is hanging on the wall in the beginning of the show, closer to the end it will surely fire".' Might have Beam Me Up, Scotty!.

Feb 7th 2012 at 1:51:41 PM •••

Re cut: This has more than 6000 inbounds. The upper limit is 10. Please don't cut

Hide/Show Replies
Aug 18th 2018 at 6:20:47 AM •••

This comment was about Main.Ptitlexn9xzsjd5fif and was posted on the talk page there before being moved here.

Mar 19th 2012 at 8:44:40 AM •••

chekhov's guns v foreshadowing: in Lonesome Dove, Woodrow Call comments in the first episode that he likes to kick a pig once in awhile and he takes his two pigs with him on the drive to Montana. Of course, in the penultimate episode, Woodrow loses his ability to kick a pig (spoiler) and dies. Would this be called a chekhov's gun?

Regarding foreshadowing, in a later episode, Woodrow decides to get his spit read by the Mexican cook to see if he'll marry again. He spits in the wagon, the Mexican looks at it, and wipes it away, declines to read it, will only say that there are more wives for Woodrow. For a moment, Woodrow looks perplexed and the jovialty has suddenly evaporated from the occasion. Foreshadowing. Right?

Apr 1st 2012 at 10:00:01 PM •••

I have a suggestion for a new Chekhov trope. Chekhov's pregnancy. It's basically when a character mentions at some point that they had sex ends up pregnant.

Edited by Riana
Jun 9th 2011 at 12:53:46 PM •••

I've been noticing a few things in the various Gundamverses, and I'm wondering if it's enough to qualify for a new sub trope. What does everybody think?

Chekov's Customization: If a newly-introduced item has distinctive charcteristics that seem to better fit someone other than the original recipient, it will somehow migrate to that person.

In Gundam Seed Destiny, Durandal originally offers Athrun the Gundam Legend, which bears a strong resemblence to Rau Le Creuset's Gundam Providence. After Athrun runs off, Legend ends up getting piloted by La Creuset's clone.

In Gundam Wing, Treize gives Heero the red Epyon, and a blue & white astrosuit. Meanwhile, Zechs, who's running around in a red astrosuit, gains custody of Wing Zero, which has a dominantly blue on white color scheme. Three guesses who the mecha end up with.

Nov 4th 2010 at 5:35:49 PM •••

Okay, I get that 'what happened to the mouse' and 'aborted arc' are cases of the gun not being used, but I don't think either one applies to the following, and I'm kind of itching to mention it.. in DBZ, Goku realizes that Freezer can't sense ki. The others noticed it earlier, what with scouters and all, but Goku brings it up mentally during their fight.. then.. never utilizes it. No hiding in water or smoke, moving too quickly to be seen, or anything that might give him an advantage.

Hide/Show Replies
Nov 10th 2010 at 5:17:39 PM •••

Neeevermind, he did use a distraction. How I forgot that, I have no idea. BUT STILL the question of what that trope WOULD be called is.. uh.. valid..

Nov 11th 2010 at 9:43:49 AM •••

You know, I was just watching it last night, and I remembered I saw this question asked somewhere, but couldn't find it again.

As to what it would be called...Hm, I've no idea.

Oct 31st 2010 at 4:58:07 PM •••

The Bond gadgets fit this to a T, but I always took Q's asking him to try and bring some of the stuff back as stemming from 007's consistently losing and/ or destroying it all. Thoughts?

Oct 29th 2010 at 3:42:44 PM •••

This all sounds like setup and payoff to me. What's the difference?

Sep 24th 2010 at 12:47:12 PM •••

Category: Literature In Anthony Bourdain's "Bone in the Throat," the hero mentions his distaste for fried calamari on page 9. By page 231, he is forced to make it, and decided he'd rather "...[spoiler]rat my uncle out [/spoiler] over a plate of f***in' squid." Does this count? He mentions it again in "Kitchen Confidential" (the book) when he describes his brief stint as executive chef at an upscale Italian restaurant.

Aug 24th 2010 at 3:47:32 AM •••

Something I've been curious about regarding this article: I had learned about Chekhov's Gun in a (stage) theater class, which is exactly as the quote says at the top. However, I took some film classes later on and saw the pair of terms "plant" and "payoff." The word "plant" is used to refer to the object or detail to be used, with "payoff" being the plot point where said plant is used.

The most notable case of these terms is in Robert McKee's "Story," which I believe is a Bible of sorts for storytellers.

And as an example—in WALL•E, a plant would be a literal plant that WALL•E finds in the boot. The payoff is EVE scanning the sapling and taking it back to the Axiom.

Is there a difference between a Chekhov's Gun and a plant? Is a plant and its payoff two separate parts of a Chekhov's Gun? Or is this what you guys at TV Tropes refer to all instances of an object or detail introduced at one point in a story and used later?

(I know this is the opposite of a reliable scholarly source. I'm just wondering how this particular site uses the terms.)

Edited by loracarol Hide/Show Replies
Sep 24th 2010 at 4:44:47 PM •••

Chekhov's Gun is more like both the plant and the pay-off localized in the same term. It's the plant in that the object is initially identified and it's the pay-off in that eventually it becomes the central important object in the drama.

In theater terms it doesn't surprise me that "plant" and "pay-off" are used, because those are distinct dramatic devices each warranting different concern from dramatis personae. Chekhov's Gun is more of an analytical term because, from the audience's perspective, they represent the same metaphorical device.

Oct 19th 2010 at 1:36:35 AM •••

Thank you for answering. (For the record, the stage theater class was the one that taught about Chekhov's Gun, and the film classes talked about plants and payoffs.)

I get it now; plants and payoffs are terms for people who write stories, and Chekhov's Gun is a term used by the audience for that story.

May 8th 2010 at 10:57:30 PM •••

What about the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings? When it first appears, in The Hobbit, it's just an enchanted ring of invisibility (although - correct me if I'm mistaken- I think Gandalf expressed some concerns about it). Then, in The Lord of the Rings, it is revealed that the One Ring is key to the battle for the Middle-Earth, capable of destroying or giving ultimate power to the Big Bad Sauron.

=====EDIT: My mistake. I was looking for it under "Literature", instead of "Film".

Edited by
Mar 10th 2010 at 11:24:20 AM •••

On the Bleach manga/anime example: wonderweiss was the only modified hollow, not the only shinigamified one. Nnoitra talks with Nell about how he is grateful to aizen for granting him more power.

Edited by
Mar 8th 2010 at 8:56:31 PM •••

I can't seem to get the hang of adding entries... but if someone agrees that knows what they're doing:

Chekov's gun becomes a Chekhov's Gun in the Star Trek novel "The Eugenics Wars" by Greg Cox. In Star Trek IV, the crew goes back to 1986 and in one scene, Chekov tosses a nonfunctioning phaser to a US Navy officer while making an escape. In Cox's book, the phaser is studied carefully and they are perplexed at how Ferengi technology seems to have entered a decline. (link to Roswell That Ends Well for a hint). Roberta Lincoln later confiscates the phaser and brings it to Gary Seven's office for safekeeping.

Hide/Show Replies
Mar 8th 2010 at 8:57:36 PM •••

—possible link to Continuity Porn for the Roberta Lincoln part. Or perhaps "Whatever Happened To...".

Edited by
Type the word in the image. This goes away if you get known.
If you can't read this one, hit reload for the page.
The next one might be easier to see.

Example of: