Everybody's Dead, Dave

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Tonight, EVERYONE Dies!

Lister: Where is everyone, Hol?
Holly: They're dead, Dave.
Lister: Who is?
Holly: Everybody, Dave. Everybody's dead, Dave.

This is beyond the loss of a Red Shirt, or even a Redshirt Army. Sometimes, to show that a situation is really, really dire, the main character and his friends have to look around and see that everybody except themselves is dead.

The guy who appeared in that one scene to offer advice, dead. Captain Ethnic, dead. The Ace, the Ideal Hero, the Badass Normal? Dead, all of them. Wait, what about that Nigh Invulnerable guy? In the end, even he was mortal. Sure, life might be going on elsewhere. Greece was still populated when Odysseus lost his crew. But for the person who survived, everyone is gone—they are alone. For now, at least. Maybe, though, there really are no people left and you are officially After the End—the last group of survivors. Have fun with a lifetime of isolation!

When used to conclude a story, the idea is a tragic ending, but still allows the main characters to move on to the next adventure and try harder next time. When used as a story setup, expect the sole survivor to cope with Survivors Guilt.

Can be an outcome of necessity to Bring News Back, with the messenger alone surviving. A common subversion is that the whole event is part of some nefarious scheme to get a hero's cooperation, and no one is actually dead. And sometimes this is the prologue to a Ghost Ship story. If the main characters themselves start dying off, it's a Dwindling Party.

See also: Ten Little Murder Victims, Last of His Kind, Last Starfighter, Dwindling Party and Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending. Compare and contrast: Total Party Kill, Kill'Em All, and Everybody Lives. Compare Party Scattering, where the same feeling of abandonment is invoked for each main character separately, but without any of them dying.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

As an Ending Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Everybody's Dead, Dave include:

Anime and Manga

  • X: The Movie The movie literally ends in all the involved characters, except for the protagonist, Kamui, dies in some graphic, brutal way.
  • Hellsing begins with Celes/Ceras/Seras Victoria's entire police unit being slaughtered by vampires. Technically, she gets killed by a vampire too, but...
    • The only members of Hellsing alive after the Valentine brothers attack are Walter, Integra, and whoever was on vacation that day (Victoria and Alucard don't count). The next assault on Hellsing leaves only two alive (not counting Victoria).
  • Berserk: At the end of the anime, almost the entire Band of the Hawk gets brutally slaughtered by demons in a manner that exemplifies numerous primal fears. The only ones to make it out of the Eclipse alive are Guts and Casca, and neither of them make it out whole, if you know what we're talking about. Enjoy knowing the endearing, Badass Normal minor characters while you can.
  • Soukou no Strain
  • Genesis Climber Mospeada
    • And Macross, too.
    • And Robotech - Shadow Chronicles, partially, as What the Invid didn't destroy, the Shadows did.
  • Played as a joke/ShoutOut to Red Dwarf in Clannad. When Sunohara wakes up after falling asleep in class, Okazaki plays a prank and tells him that the world has ended; He is actually a hologram and Sunohara is the only person left on Earth. Naturaly, Sunohara freaks out and asks whether this is true. Okazaki then admits he's lying; he's actually a cyborg. This serves to freak Sunohara out even more.
  • Vexille does this soon after The Squad infiltrates hostile territory, with only the titular Action Girl apparently surviving the slaughter. It is later revealed that her lover The Captain also survives but he doesn't reappear until the end of the movie.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is infamous for frequently killing off protagonists near the end of each arc. It's especially prevalent at the end of the sixth arc where * everyone* on the entire planet, * including* all but one of the protagonists who wasn't even the main focus of the story and the Big Bad, have been killed off. Thankfully most of them get better.
  • In Saikano, the main character is the only one left on the desolated Earth at the end.
    • An early fan sub of the series put a disclaimer on the second to last episode that said "If you want this series to have a happy ending, stop watching here." Never has a better synopsis of a final episode been written.
      • It was the third to last episode: "A friendly warning from the team: This is the end of happiness inSaikano. If you would prefer the anime to have a happy end, consider stopping here and pretending there are no more episodes. Continuing will only bring misery and pain. You have been warned..."
  • This is what happens in the Wham! Episode number 6 of The Daughter of Twenty Faces to the Twenty-Faces' original team, with only Chiko herself surviving the massacre and the subsequent fireworks.
  • Extreme example -- Neon Genesis Evangelion where only two young teenagers are left in the world, with everyone else turned into Tang, along with it's spiritual predecessor Space Runaway Ideon the whole cast and its namesake ship are killed off, but are able to be reborn Technically, the latter case is a Kill'Em All, but this trope is briefly invoked when the hero realizes that he is the last of their group shortly before dying himself.
    • In fact, many of the anime made by director Yoshiyuki Tomino between 1980 and 1997 have this sort of ending, Ideon being Tomino's 1980 work. Similarly, Zeta Gundam may spare some of the cast but kills off the entire cast of villains (save the next show's big bad), well over half of the supporting cast, and then also mindwipes the main character. Victory Gundam does this similarly. Long story short: if they're a part of the 'Shrike Team,' expect a death soon.
  • Happens to Sousuke in Full Metal Panic! in episode 17. The events of that episode also parallel a part of his Backstory.
  • Code Geass seems to start like this: Before the first episode is even finished, it seems that everyone who could have been a supporting character in the story is dead, and only in the subsequent episodes do you find out that C.C. and Suzaku both survived getting shot.
  • This is the situation near the end of Sailor Moon, but (fast) everybody gets better at the end
    • Still, seeing Chibi-Chibi fade out of Usagi's arms was quite a tear-jerker.
  • In Alien of Darkness, there is only one survivor.
  • In the most recent arc of Katekyo Hitman Reborn Tsuna and Co. are transported 10 years into the future where they are told many major supporting characters have been killed by a rival mafia group. Including all the arcobalenos (including Reborn) and Yamamoto's father. Tsuna's parents, Vongola 9th boss, Shamal and Naito Longchamp are still MIA.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Tatarigoroshi-hen and Yakusamashi-hen end like this. In both instances, the point-of-view character (Keiichi in the former and Satoko in the latter) is the sole survivor, and for similar reasons; they both fall off the same bridge into a river that carries them out of Hinamizawa. Although they survive it, they eventually die shortly thereafter.
    • Also occurs at the start of the second series, subverting the happy ending of the first series with Rena being talked down by Keiichi. Turns out everyone was killed in a "gas leak" (yeah right) except for Rena, who happened to be out of town at the time. Unlike the previous example however, Rena really does survive the incident, and presumably leads the rest of her life out.
    • Actually, in the sound novels, it's revealed in one of the TIPS that Keiichi survives, but he's completely mentally broken, thinking that he was the one who had caused the disaster. He spends the rest of his life in a mental asylum, until he died of a heart attack.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar initially believes himself to be the only survivor of the Ishval genocide.
    • In later chapters of the manga it is revealed that Hohenheim was originally a slave in Xerxes, and when Father tricked the king into using the entire population of the country to create a philosopher's stone only the two of them survived.
    • And in an even later chapter Father kills everyone in Amestris besides Ed, Al, Hohenheim, Izumi, Roy, May, Pride and Greedling. Of course, it happens at the end of a chapter in a series known for cliff-hangers, so not all of them stay dead.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas. Nearing the end, with Aries Shion and Libra Dohko supporting each other thinking they are the only surviver after Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
    • They aren't, but they may as well be.
  • This is Sasuke's Backstory in Naruto. Every single member of his clan was killed by his Aloof Big Brother.
    • Kakashi's Backstory is like this too. In relatively rapid succession, his mother, father, best friend, mentor, mentor's wife, and other teammate all die. It's apparently for this reason that he joined ANBU at age fourteen. Much later, when Sasuke half-threatens to kill someone important to Kakashi to make him feel his pain, Kakashi simply replies that everyone he cares about is already dead.
  • People die all the time in Dragon Ball, but it is taken to its most extreme near the end of the Buu Saga. After previously taking out most of the humans on Earth, then soon after a large chunk of the supporting cast, Kid Buu nearly finishes the job by taking out the Earth itself. By the time the final battle begins, Goku and Hercule/Mr. Satan are the only 2 residents of Earth left alive. Everyone gets better, of course (Earth included!)
  • Filicia in So Ra No Wo To is the only survivor of her old unit. She's alright... most of the time.
  • From the ninth Lupin III special, In Memory of the Walther P-38: Everyone who wanted to leave the Tarantula is killed, including Broken Bird and potential Lupin love interest Elen. Only Lupin and his gang survive.
  • The ending of the original Devilman manga. Everybody, and I mean everybody but Satan bites it.
  • Being a Darker and Edgier-subversion-cum-Genre Deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre, Puella Magi Madoka Magica plays with this trope. This happens in pretty much all the other timelines - to the extent where the entire world has been killed off save Homura (and that damned Weasel Mascot, of course).
  • During the battle in the north in Claymore, which was really a purge of the troublesome warriors, out of the twenty-four claymores sent there only seven survived.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh Tenth Anniversary Movie, Yugi experiences this as he is the only survivor after Paradox destroys Domino City.
  • After lots of building up to the moment, in chapter 352 of Mahou Sensei Negima, it is apparent that, while Asuna has been asleep protecting the Magic World, everyone she knew has died - even Negi, who supposedly has an immortal body, and Ayaka, who lived to the age of 115 to try to meet Asuna at the time she was supposed to wake up. However, it's sort of subverted a little bit, since Evangeline and Chao, of all people, appear to still be alive.

Comic Books

  • The first |The Transformers comic book starts its Uncancelled run (pictured above) with the bad guys victorious and the good guys reduced to one pacifistic medic and a bunch of scrap.
    • Note that the above image has endlessly been parodied and imitated both within the official materials and fan-made works since.
  • In Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead, the main character wakes in a hospital after being shot in a firefight—he's a cop—only to find the hospital apparently empty. Then he finds the zombies. The city is in much the same state. He does find survivors though, including his wife and son.
  • Near the end of Maus, Art asks his father Vladek what happened to Art's paternal family after the war. Vladek then explains briefly what happened to each of them as far as he knows. All except one brother who now lives in Israel died in the Holocaust.
  • Thorn, Gran'ma, and the Bones react as if they are in an Everybody's Dead situation after the Locust's volcano erupts about two thirds of the way through Bone, because they can't detect any other survivors. Lucius, the villagers, and the Veni-yan monks did survive, as well as most of the city of Athiea, and most everyone else who died came back when the ghost circles were destroyed at the end.
  • In Punisher: Born, Frank Castle's last Vietnam deployment ends with him as the sole survivor of Firebase Valley Forge, surrounded by the corpses of all his comrades and the hundreds of Vietcong who overran the base. The Vietcong directly around him have all been beaten to death with the butt of his gun. None of the soldiers who show up to "rescue" him are particularly surprised at what he eventually becomes.
  • In The DCU mini-series Kingdom Come, viewpoint character Norman McKay has prophetic visions telling him that this will happen to Superman. In the end it happens exactly like that. Except instead of redshirts, it's an entire battlefield filled with most of the superhuman characters in the DC universe which gets hit with a nuke. There are survivors, thanks to Captain Marvel's Heroic Sacrifice, but most of them are dead, with Superman kneeling in the ashes, more or less unharmed but exceptionally angry. Kingdom Come is worth reading just for this -- it's about the only time we've ever seen Supes in a true, unhindered, out-and-out homicidal rage.

Superman: YOU HURT LANA?!

  • The premise of the original batch of Marvel Zombies stories. The intermittently intelligent zombies don't know what to do since they ate everyone. Then, in the sequel, they have the same problem AGAIN, after eating nearly everyone in the entire KNOWN UNIVERSE. Hank Pym: "I can't believe we ate the whole thing.".
    • In the related Army of Darkness Versus Marvel Zombies, Ash fights through the zombie invasion from first bite to apocalyptic showdown. He's allowed access to Doctor Doom's dimension spanning machine and waits too long to make a choice of what dimensions. He ends up right back in a similar world of everyone's dead, except the super-powered zombies are now also werewolves.
  • In Miracleman the eponymous character discovers that his nemesis has killed virtually every single person in London. During the fight to stop the carnage from spreading they kill everyone else in the city. The issue ends with Miracleman crying over the body of his enemy's innocent alternate personality and sitting on a pile of corpses.
  • All of three or five characters survive in the end of 100 Bullets. Three if you count the ones who get away, five if you count Graves and Dizzy, both of whom are bleeding out, holding a gun to each other, and stuck in a burning building.
  • The end of the Wildstorm series Stormwatch has almost the entire team of superheroes killed by Aliens

Fan Works


  • In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, the boy robot is frozen in stasis while the world wastes away and humanity becomes extinct. Eventually, highly advanced robots come and put the boy in an alternate reality, also giving him back his mother for a day before permanently shutting him down and storing his mind as a historical archive.
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dave Bowman finds out everybody but him is dead because HAL pulled the plug on the hibernation systems. Later HAL kills Frank Poole by cutting his lifeline during an EVA before Dave can shut him down. In the end, Dave gets zapped by the Monolith and turned into the Star Child.
    • As far as Earth is concerned, until they find out otherwise in 2010, literally everybody really is dead.
    • The Red Dwarf premise, which is actually the Trope Namer as opposed to 2001, may be a Shout-Out to 2001.
  • In the end of The Fall Roy kills off all of his characters with the exception of the masked bandit who he spares at the last minute.
  • Similar to the above, the hero of 28 Days Later wakes up in a hospital bed to find that he's apparently the only person remaining in the whole of London. He isn't, but almost everyone else has been transformed by The Virus into enraged superhuman bloodthirsty almost-zombies (so not quite dead, but near-enough).
  • Three Days of the Condor plays this trope straight at the very beginning: the protagonist goes out of the office to get lunch and upon returning minutes later finds all of his co-workers, friends and love interest brutally murdered.
  • The Battle of Yavin in the first Star Wars film ended with all the on-screen rebel pilots except Han, Luke, Wedge and a Y-wing pilot dead, with all of the dead pilots having only been introduced so they could fight in the battle. However, the Expanded Universe continues to write more and more just-off-screen characters into the battle.
  • Only two students out of the forty-two who make up the cast of Battle Royale survive the Program. And that's precisely one student more than was meant to survive and "win the game".
    • In the original book the "winner" was not one of the two survivors.
  • Sunshine : the movie's old website gushed about having each of the principle characters die.
  • In Cold Prey, only Jannicke survives. The ending song was once the alternative Trope Namer ("All My Friends Are Dead").
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin arrives from the crusades only to find his entire home destroyed and his family dead, his blinded servant the only survivor.

Robin Hood: Blinkin, listen to me. They've taken the castle!
Blinkin: I thought it felt a bit drafty. Cor, this never would have happened if your father was alive.
Robin Hood: He's dead?
Blinkin: Yes.
Robin Hood: And my mother?
Blinkin: She died of pneumonia while... oh, you were away...
Robin Hood: My brothers?
Blinkin: They were all killed by the plague.
Robin Hood: My dog, Pogo?
Blinkin: Run over by a carriage.
Robin Hood: My goldfish, Goldie?
Blinkin: Eaten by the cat.
Robin Hood: (on the verge of tears) My cat?
Blinkin: Choked on the goldfish. Oh, it's good to be home, ain't it, Master Robin?

  • Army of Darkness originally ended with Ash starting taking his magic potion, which he must take one drop of for each of the four centuries that he wishes to sleep, pauses to glance at a noise, and accidentally overdoses by one drop. When he wakes up, he's the last man on Earth looking over an apocalyptic wasteland screaming "No! I slept too long!". The Hollywood studio demanded a more kickass ending.
  • From Dusk till Dawn ends with only the main character and one girl surviving.
    • The sequels tend to follow this formula, too.
  • Russian film The Ninth Company ends with all characters but two main ones dead.
  • Another Russian film, The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972), takes place during World War Two and follows an army sergeant in command of an Amazon Brigade made up of utterly incompetent volunteers. They try to stop a German diversion group and succeed at the cost of all of girls' lives (while the sergeant survives until twenty years after the war),
  • Cassandra's Crossing.
  • The Alien movies
    • In Alien, Ripley and her cat are the only survivors; the alien kills the other six people on board.
    • In, Aliens, Ripley, Newt, Cpl. Hicks and Bishop survive. The aliens completely demolish the squad of marines. At the beginning of Alien 3, we learn that Newt and Hicks are killed while in hypersleep, leaving only Ripley and Bishop.
    • In Alien 3, Morse is the only survivor. Ripley, impregnated by a facehugger in hypersleep, kills herself.
      • Alien Resurrection broke the trend; there are several survivors.
  • The Quiet Earth: the quote says it all.

Zac Hobson, July 5th. One: there has been a malfunction in Project Flashlight with devastating results. Two: it seems I am the only person left on Earth.

  • The Mexican Standoff in Reservoir Dogs ends up with everyone in the room dead or near dead except for heavily wounded Mr White, mortally wounded Mr Orange, and Mr. Pink who promptly makes off with the diamonds (and gets arrested). Immediately after, Mr. White shoots Mr. Orange through the head and is shot dead by the police. NOW everybody's dead, Mr. Pink.
  • Ethan Hunt after the Prague mission in the first |Mission Impossible film. ("My team! My team is DEAD!")
  • In Inglourious Basterds, Only three members of the original ensemble survive.
  • At the end of The Eye, there is a huge gas tanker explosion, killing almost everyone in sight apart from Mun and Wah.
  • The Last Starfighter features this exchange between protagonist Alex and his alien navigator Grig:

Alex: How many starfighters are left?
Grig: Counting yourself?
Alex: Yes.
Grig: One.

  • Gettysburg has a memorable exchange between General Lee and Pickett after the famous charge by Pickett's division resulted in said division being massacred. (Note that it's also believed to have happened in Real Life).

Lee: General Pickett, sir. You must look to your division.
Pickett: General Lee... I have no division.

    • There is a similar scene in When Trumpets Fade, a movie about the Battle of Hurtgen Forest in late 1944. A commanding officer asks his lieutenant, "What is the status of your platoon?" In reply, the shell-shocked lieutenant mutely hands his superior a pile of bloodied dog tags.
  • In episode III of Star Wars, all of the (appearing onscreen) Jedi are killed except for Yoda and Obi Wan.
  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible hacks into Syndrome's computer to discover that variations of the giant robot have killed off many former superheroes—perhaps all former superheroes except for Frozone, Elastigirl, and Mr. Incredible himself. Genocide makes for a fairly bleak subject in a family-friendly movie.
  • In Disney's Mulan, the protagonists are journeying through a mountain pass to unite with the rest of the Chinese army, only to find that the army and the villagers they were protecting have all been slaughtered, including Lee Shang's father. Later, the same thing happens to the antagonists after a devastating avalanche kills all but six of the Huns.
  • In Serenity, when the crew figures out that "Miranda" is a planet, the crew makes a perilous journey through reaver territory, to try to find out why Miranda is so important. When they finally land planet-side, they discover the long dead corpses of an entire planet's population. Of course there were once survivors, but they all turned into reavers.
  • The Brest Fortress is a Russian film depicting the siege of the titular fortress. In the end, almost every charachter is dead , even Anya is told to be Executed by Germans, along with all other women and children, with the sole exception of the main charachter, who somehow escapes.
  • In adaptations, this is a way of enforcing Minimalist Cast on a production that is normally chock full of Loads and Loads of Characters. For example, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.


  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus's ship sank, and only he survived to spend seven years with Calypso.
  • At the start of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, Earth is destroyed and Arthur Dent is thrown out into the universe. Quite literally.
  • Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi opens with one of these, the two main characters literally the only ones left after a battle. They even wake up to find themselves as such, too.
  • Markus Zusak's The Book Thief ends with the entire street where Liesel lives with her foster family being bombed to rubble by the American planes. Everybody dies, except for Liesel, who happened to be lurking in the basement, reading a book, Alex Steiner, who was working for the German Army as a tailor, and Max, who was in a concentration camp at the time. The only things keeping this from being a Diabolus Ex Machina are that 1. The narrator is Death himself ("I do not wear a cloak with a hood unless it is chilly"), and 2. Since the prologue, the narrator has been informing the audience of how everyone is going to die. ("A fact about Rudy Steiner: he did not deserve to die the way that he did.") and 3. The bombings were plenty foreshadowed themselves. Saves this book from being thrown at the wall of many a reader's corner.
  • In Catch-22- by the end of the book, nearly all of the Loads and Loads of Characters are dead. But because they only died one at a time and each chapter only focused on a few characters, this realization doesn't really hit the reader until the last chapter, where there's hardly any left.
    • In Catch-22's sequel Closing Time, Yossarian and the chaplain are the sole survivors of a nuclear war that killed everybody on Earth. They then decide to commit passive suicide by leaving the bunker.
  • The ending of Sometimes Never: A Fable for Supermen is similar to Closing Time mentioned above, as the world gets nuke-washed and all the humans are dead, the Gremlins Move to the surface but found out when there's no human alive, there is no imagination to keep them existing. They fade out.
  • Happens three times in Terry Pratchett's Nation. A tidal wave kills everyone in Mau's village, leaving him sole survivor. A ship destroyed by the same wave leaves Daphne the one survivor (two, if you like parrots). Meanwhile, a plague has decimated England and wiped out (among others) the 137 people standing between Daphne's father and the crown.
  • The Day of the Triffids is a classic post-apocalyptic novel by John Wyndham in which the narrator wakes up on a hospital bed, and realizes that a freak space phenomenon (later implied to have been a malfunctioning orbital weapon) has caused everyone to go blind. The only people unaffected are those like him who were asleep, sedated, or otherwise unable to look at the sky. The resulting collapse of civilization causes most of mankind to die like flies, and that's when the killer mutant plants show up.
    • To be fair, the mutant killer plants were always there, just kept locked up and their dangerous stingers regularly docked.
    • In the movie, this scene happens as well, and it comes across almost like 28 Days Later... except after that he finds one other person, and then they do find some other survivors. Unfortunately, they happen to be on board a plane, and, due to panic and a blind pilot, they go down in a fiery crash, children included. It's extremely disturbing compared to the rest of the fairly goofy film.
    • John Wyndham books in general start with the end of the world (except Dave), and work their way up to a climax.
  • The book The Road by Cormac McCarthy is about a father and son as they travel south during what is suspected to be a nuclear winter. The father and son are all they have left.
  • Z for Zachariah - the only survivor initially is the young girl in the mysteriously unaffected valley, writing her diary.
  • Dragonlance has this. When Caramon goes forward in time, he find the entire world dead.
  • The Pilo Family Circus ends with almost everyone in the circus being slaughtered by Kurt Pilo during his Villainous Breakdown; the only confirmed survivors are Steve, Shalice the Fortune Teller, Mugabo the Magician, Gonko the Clown, and Jamie.
  • In "The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell'" (the first of the Bab Ballads by W.S. Gilbert), the sole survivor of the Nancy Bell's crew describes what happened to the others.
  • Nevil Shute's On The Beach describes the reactions of the remaining survivors of an all-out nuclear war that has already destroyed most of the population of Earth. The characters are mostly Australians who are waiting for the fallout to reach them, but they know that they're already doomed.
  • At the end of The Chronicles of Narnia, Susan is the only character left alive. This isn't really a happy ending for her though if you think about it, since it ends focusing on the fact that her family and all friends of the family are now in heaven and she is, frankly, not.
  • In Dean Koontz's Phantoms, two of the protagonists arrive to find their entire town wiped out by they don't at first know what.
  • Stephen King's The Stand is about the survivors of a plague.
    • King's Under The Dome. Only a handful survivors out of more than a thousand people trapped.
    • In his novella The Long Walk, only one out of the original one hundred contestants in the titular endurance competition survives. The others were all killed when they couldn't keep up the pace.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Fallen Heroes. Odo and Quark accidentally shoot themselves three days into the future with an alien artefact to find the station in ruins and everyone dead. There are then a series of flashbacks showing just what happened - aliens attacked the station looking for the artefact, which wasn't there as it had been sent into the future...they end up putting everything right by figuring out how to time travel back into the past again.
  • This is part of Willis Corto/ Armitage's backstory in Neuromancer. He was part of Operation Screaming Fist, a special-forces raid on a Russian base during The War. After being shot down, he and a few others managed to steal a helicopter and escape to Finland, only to be shot to pieces by the Finnish defense forces while they were trying to land. Corto was the only one to survive the escape. Automatic Jack, a central character in the short story Burning Chrome, was the only other survivor of the operation as a whole.
  • The Brief History of the Dead starts with this for the entire world, as one last survivor is stranded somewhere in Antarctica. The world of the dead is a bit more crowded—they don't fade until everyone who remembers them is dead, so she's preserving her friends, her family, and even the checkout worker at the grocery store she used to shop at. Then she dies, and away they go.
  • The Commander's Daughter by Y. Jakovlev is set during the siege of Brest Fortress. At the end, every named charachter is dead, except the heroine's mother (imprisoned by enemy) and the heroine herself, who makes an Unexplained Recovery, somehow surviving the whole mess (her prototypes also survived, but in-story this less explainable than in Real Life).
  • Doomsday Book has two of its time travellers arrive after the Black Death has reached Oxfordshire. In some villages there was no-one left to bury the dead.
  • Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men has almost the entire human race being wiped out in a nuclear holocaust with just 35 survivors. Their descendants eventually evolve into a new species of humans, which is promptly wiped out a bit later. This trend carries on, including the extinction of all life on Earth and then Venus (twice) until the 18th species of "men" is completely destroyed, along with the entire solar system, by a supernova a couple of billion years later.
  • Mockingjay: "Katniss...There is no District 12."

Live Action TV

  • Red Dwarf: Three million years after a nuclear reactor leak killed the crew of an interstellar mining ship, the only survivors of the pilot episode's disaster are the main characters. Well, one survivor. The other three protagonists are the ship's AI computer, an evolved, humanoid descendant of the main character's pet cat (and, therefore, not actually born at the time of the disaster) and a holographic simulation of the main character's roommate. Why a hologram? Because he's dead, Dave.
    • Being a comedy, the page quote (where Holly breaks the news and names the trope) quickly spirals into an Overly Long Gag - and the book adaptation's take ends with Holly ranting every possible grammatical combination of the words, "everyone", "is", "dead" and "Dave".

Lister: Rimmer?
Holly: He's dead Dave, everybody is dead, everybody is dead Dave.
Lister: ...Wait. Are you trying to tell me everybody's dead?
Holly: I should have never let him out in the first place.

      • At the start of the second series the crew give a similar speech to Kryten, who hadn't realized his masters had been dead for centuries.
    • Once Dave finally wraps his head around what he's being told, however, the ensuing Freak-Out is not Played for Laughs in the least.
    • In the TV series it is, of course.

"THREE MILLION YEARS?!.... I've still got that library book!"

  • Doctor Who did this several times:
    • "The Horror of Fang Rock": Everybody on the island except the Doctor and his companion, dead.
    • "Warriors of the Deep": Every named character but one is killed (and that one is a fairly minor one). Famous because the Doctor figures out how to destroy the alien invaders quite early in the story, but can't bring himself to kill them until it's too late for all the people he might have saved.
    • "Pyramids of Mars": Once again, everyone dies but the Doctor and Sarah Jane.
    • "The Caves of Androzani": Everybody on the (sparsely populated) planet of Androzani Minor except the Doctor's companion, dead (at least every named character—we are not told explicitly that all of the soldiers were involved in the failed attack in the caves died, but we are not told that anybody survived, either). And yes, that includes the Doctor. He gets better. Bonus points for also killing off all but one of the characters who appear in scenes on Androzani Major, although the off-screen population survives intact.
    • Let us not forget "Revelation of the Daleks."
    • Happened offscreen during the Time War, when the Time Lord and Daleks were wiped out (in a manner of speaking) and only the Doctor seems to have survived. The Ninth Doctor's epic Survivor Guilt over this was arguably his main character trait.
    • Both lampshaded and joyously averted in "The Doctor Dances", in the process naming a contrasting trope:

"Everybody Lives, Rose. Just this once--EVERYBODY LIVES!!!"

    • "The Parting of the Ways": Everybody not evacuated from the Game Station except companion Rose Tyler, dead. (Including the Doctor again. And his other companion, Jack Harkness, although he gets brought back by Applied Phlebotinum (permanently, it turns out.) Plus a considerable percentage of Earth's population.)
    • The episode "Turn Left"' is one long conversation between Donna and Rose. Donna turns right instead of left, and the whole world changes. Every other character that's ever had billing in all three series and is not already dead, dies in this episode through one Heroic Sacrifice after another. That is, the Doctor (who does not get better), Martha, Sarah Jane, Maria, Clyde, Luke, Gwen and Ianto. Jack is still alive (obviously), but a prisoner of the Sontarans and is in no position to help.
    • In "The Waters of Mars", it is flat-out stated by the Doctor himself near the beginning of the episode that every single character except himself dies. When he tries to saves them, the leader, Adelaide, commits suicide anyway, knowing that she was meant to die, although two of her subordinates do remain alive.
    • "The Pandorica Opens" takes this to the absolute extreme. Auton Rory kills Amy, River Song gets trapped in the TARDIS as it explodes, and every single person on every single planet is wiped out of existence as the entire universe collapses.
    • In "The Time of the Angels" and "Flesh and Stone" everybody but the Doctor, Amy, and River Song are dead by the end of it. Several of the clerics are even erased from time, remembered only by the TARDIS veterans.
  • Supernatural has a few of these, most notably in the episode "Croatoan" where an entire town's population except the brothers and one doctor (not counting one kid who turns out to be working for the Big Bad) are wiped out.
    • Another memorial episode is "Jus In Bello" where the brothers could easily have stopped any more deaths just by allowing Ruby to sacrifice one virgin girl, who was prepared to be the sacrifice. Even for Supernatural, this episode has a Downer Ending...
      • Season 5 has the episode "The End". 5 years into the future, Dean witnesses a zombie apocalypse where Bobby is dead, Lucifer possesses Sam's body, and possibly every other hunter he's ever known dead as well. All that's left is him, Castiel (who is self-destructing fast), and Chuck. At the end of the ep, future-Dean leads a suicide run at Lucifer wherein he sacrifices Castiel and everybody else he brought along with him except past-Dean. Lucifer kills him without effort and so, in the future, the only main character left is Chuck. This episode was put-a-gun-in-your-mouth-and-pull-the-trigger depressing.
  • Babylon 5 gets one in Gropos. Note, however, that this may be more of a Redshirt Army.
    • Babylon 5 gets two, actually. In the episode Confessions and Lamentations, members of one of the minor species on the station ( the Markab start coming down with an unknown illness, which eventually begins to kill them off. Rather than looking at it scientifically, they get whipped into a religious fervor and decide that it's the judgment of God killing the immoral, and all they need to do to be saved is to come together to pray and perform sacred rituals. As they lock themselves away, Delenn and Lennier (two regular cast members, immune to the plague because of the species difference) go in with them to offer help. At the end of the episode, the doctor on the station figures out a cure and races down with it to save everyone . . . and they're all dead. The two regular cast members are the only ones left alive, to the point where Delenn is holding the corpse of the obligatory cute child that had been dancing around earlier in the episode. In fact, news reports at the end of the episode state that the plague was severe enough that it effectively killed off the entire species, and they never appeared on the show again. It was shocking and utterly depressing, but amazingly well done.
  • The end of the Farscape episode "Different Destinations". What's worse, it's the heroes' fault due to changing history, and just to twist the knife, the "everybody" in question was a monastery-full of NUNS. Nurse-nuns. With children.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Siege of AR-558 ends with the main characters in addition to 10 or so soldiers alive - out of a 150-strong unit.
    • In earlier episode "Valiant", the titular ship, sister ship of "Defiant", is destroyed and the only survivors are Nog, Jake, and one girl - the rest of Red Squad dies.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager episode Dragon's Teeth, The Vaadwaur, once 6 billion strong and a major power, are reduced to less then 600 - but are no less dangerous...
  • Both the new and old Battlestar Galactica series begins with a devastating Cylon attack on the Colonies, leaving only the Galactica and a number of civilian ships. There Is Another.
  • In the ending of the Japanese toku Prety Guardian Sailor Moon, Princess Sailor Moon, in a fit of angsty rage, literally ended all life on Earth, turning the whole into a desert. This was, naturally, complete with shots of her friends and family disappearing in a white light. Just for the emotional kick. Things got better.
  • 24: Jack's backstory involves a mission by a Special Forces team to take out Victor Drazen, a genocidal Milosevic lieutenant. An emotionally scarred Jack is presumed to be the only one who makes it out alive...until team member Stephen Saunders surfaces as the Big Bad in Season 3.
    • They failed to kill Victor Drazen and his sons as well
    • In the 1-2 P.M. episode, Pillar hears this from a wounded Russian bodyguard who answers a manipulative Russian diplomat's cell phone right after Jack slaughtered the entire detail.
  • Appears in Power Rangers RPM's basic premise. Save for Corinth, the Domed Hometown City of Adventure, the entire planet is a dead empty wasteland, all inhabitants dead (a few refugees get to Corinth, of course, but obviously most don't). Included among the dead, implicitly, are most, if not all of the protagonists, antagonists, and supporting characters of the past sixteen seasons, and eighteenth season on, and any descendants the above groups may have produced in the interim (if it is descendants who were primarily killed, then everyone we knew is still deceased, just of old age rather than killer robots- the timeframe is unclear). Heroic immortal characters from past seasons are implicitly dead, as they would be helping fight the enemy if they weren't. Except the aliens and people from the year 3000, everyone from Power Rangers you could care to name is now dead in an unmarked grave. If the grave was marked, the marker has since been destroyed.
    • Later subverted (somewhat) when the Samurai team-up reveals that RPM takes place in an Alternate Universe. So, all our favorite Rangers are still alive and well, but that doesn't change the fact that Corinth's citizens are all that's left in their 'verse.
  • The AU movie for Kamen Rider Faiz, Paradise Lost. The number of humans alive doesn't even get close to the five-digit mark. At the start.
  • In the miniseries The Stand, the CDC office where Stu was imprisoned while The Plague was decimating the general population was adorned with the uplifting grafitti "All Dead Here"
  • In Lost, only a handful of Flight 815 survivors and Others make it to the end of the series following the fire arrow attack in season 5 and the Monster's purge of the Temple in season 6, and the only known survivors of the Kahana are Miles and Lapidus.
    • And Ben, acting on behalf of the Others, kills nearly all of the Dharma Initiative folks in "the Purge," using poisonous gas to wipe them out. It's a pretty chilling image.
  • In Andromeda, the titular ship ends up fully crewed in Season 4. However, during the Magog attack at the end of the season, everyone aboard the ship is slaughtered other than Dylan and Trance (the other main characters being conveniently off-ship). Dylan even uses this as a tactical advantage, as with no crew left there's nothing to stop him removing all the oxygen (except in the section he and Trance are in) to kill all the Magog still aboard.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode 2010 we find ourselves in a future where Earth has been manipulated by a seemingly friendly alien race who have shared their technology to improve human life. In reality, they have secretly plotted to take over the Earth by reducing the human population. Finding this out, SG-1 try to escape into the past through the stargate to warn the SGC...none survives the attempt, although Sam Carter does manage to toss a note through just before she dies and the warning makes it.
  • Similar to the SG-1 example above, another Alternate Universe gives us this. In the well-received Star Trek: Enterprise "Twilight" we see an alternate timeline in which the Xindi have succeeded in destroying the Earth and nearly every other Earth colony or human outpost. When the episode proper takes place, the retired Captain Archer is a resident of a small human colony of barely 20,000 and the Enterprise herself is the last true capital ship humanity has. They do manage to undo this bleak turn of events, but they narrowly succeed as the Xindi lay siege to the last of humanity's ships, including nearly completely destroying the Enterprise.


  • "Come Away Melinda" (various versions). Probably the closest thing to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming you can get in a song about the last two survivors of nuclear Armageddon.
  • Happens to the main character of the French song "La tribu de Dana". He's a Celtic warrior fighting alongside his brothers against an invader. When the enemy troops retreat, he can't figure out why until he looks down and sees that he's the only one of his tribe left standing.
  • Galloglass's song Burden of Grief is told from the point of view of a knight who is awakening from a state of battle-enduced rage/insanity and realising that he's now alone on the battlefield.
  • "Nautical Disaster" by The Tragically Hip recounts the disastrous Dieppe Raid of World War II where almost 4500 men, mostly Canadian infantry, die and only 10 survive.
  • This is how the punk band The Exploding Hearts came to an end. Three out of the four band members were killed in an auto accident.
  • The Dutch novelty song Dodenrit (roughly, "Sleigh ride of death") by Drs. P, about a Russian family (two adults, four children) in a troika on their way to Omsk, singing to pass the time as a pack of wolves begins to close in on them. One by one, the children are sacrificed to the wolves, then the wife, all of which is Played for Laughs ("How about Natasha?" "But she's doing so well in school!"). The final lines of the song have the narrator himself, while celebrating that he can see Omsk, slip and be devoured, observing that "Omsk is a lovely town, but just a little too remote."

Mythology and Religion

  • In Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus survives a shipwreck while the entire crew dies, courtesy of divine retribution.
  • The Indian epic Mahabharata has its final showdown in a massive battle involving almost 4 million warriors. At the end of the eighteenth day, the battle ends with only the five Pandava brothers and three of their warriors surviving, as well as the three last members of the opposing Kaurava army.
    • In Peter Brook's theatrical (and later, television) adaptation; the sole survivor is Arjuna's son Abhimanyu's pregnant wife, Uttarā.
  • The Bible, Genesis, Chapters 6 - 9: God kills all but Noah's family in a world-wide deluge:
    • Genesis, Chapter 19: God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah; only Lot and his daughters are spared.
      • Technically Lot's wife was spared for about five minutes, but when God says "don't look" and you look anyway, no one's going to have a lot of sympathy for you.
        • I do. That was a quite obvious case of entrapment just for the hell of it.
          • One could interpret the passage as meaning "she regretted leaving the place", which meant she had been corrupted by it. God never actually told them not to look back.
  • Ragnarök, the Norse equivalent of Armageddon, ends with all but six (or fewer) of the Norse pantheon dead, and with upwards of half the human population of the world massacred to boot. Everyone's dead, Baldr, indeed.
    • In some versions all but two humans are killed.
  • Older Than Dirt: In the Old Kingdom Egyptian Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, the protagonist was the only survivor of his ship after a storm on the Red Sea. This is the oldest story about getting shipwrecked alone on an island.

Newspaper Comics

  • Spoofed in a Peanuts strip where Peppermint Patty, after napping in class, wakes up to find the room empty except for Marcy, who tells her the world came to an end and they are the only survivors. Patty looks out the window and asks "So why is the playground full of kids?" Marcy replies "Sorry, sir. When I saw you got an A on that quiz, I thought the world had come to an end." (Schulz said he intended the strip to make fun of preachers predicting the end of the world, and was surprised when no one wrote him to complain about it.)
  • Used in the print comic Garfield, in a Halloween storyline starting on October 23, 1989 where Garfield wakes up to find that Jon and Odie are gone. And his home has been abandoned for some time. Which can only mean...


Tabletop Games

  • Used to bleak effect in a couple of scenarios from a Champions supplement dealing with alternate dimensions. In particular, in one the player characters arrive in their home city's counterpart in a world where Germany won WW 2, developed nuclear weapons before anybody else did, and conquered the US. They run into and fight power armored patrols, get in touch with the local resistance, get sent to another city to speak with the real leaders there...then the Nazis, alarmed that there are still superpowered individuals despite all their heretofore effective-seeming efforts to exterminate them, drop a nuke on the city they just left. And then threaten to repeat that performance as necessary until the resistance surrenders for keeps...


  • In Shakespeare's Hamlet, all of the main characters die in the end except Horatio, who maybe contemplates suicide (peer pressure is powerful, you know), and Fortinbras, who arrives to pay his respects after returning from fighting the Poles.
    • There's no "maybe" about it, it's clear from the text that Horatio picks up the cup that recently contained the poisoned wine, and Hamlet forces him to put it down.

Horatio: I am more an antique Roman than a Dane: Here's yet some liquor left.
Hamlet: Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't! ... if thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity a while

    • Calling Fortinbras a "main" character is stretching the term till it squeals. He lives; that's about as "main" as he gets.
      • Maybe he's not main in terms of lines, but in terms of plot significance, well, this whole mess started when Hamlet's father killed Fortinbras' father, yet despite that, due to the rapid succession of deaths of Hamlet's father, uncle, and Hamlet himself, Fortinbras inherits the throne at the end.
  • In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the character Macduff, the only man who can oppose the titular Macbeth Because Destiny Says So, has just had his entire family and everyone else in his castle killed, unbeknownst to him. While in England to raise a rebel army, a Thane (Noble) by the name of Ross is telling him of these merciless killings. Macduff asks Ross for confirmation about his wife, children, and servants at least twice.

"Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?"

  • Then there's Titus Andronicus, by the end of which 14 of the 17 named characters are dead. The only characters left standing at the end are Lucius, Marcus and Aaron, and the latter is about to be executed.
    • What about Young Lucius? I seem to recall him being called Young Lucius and being alive.
  • In the one-act play At The Bottom Of Lake Missoula, the protagonist Pam is told by the dean of her school that a tornado has stuck her family's home.

Pam: Who is it? Who's dead?!
Dean: All of them. [beat] All of them.

Video Games

  • Quite possible in several ending combinations in Heavy Rain Not saving Shaun alone kills Ethan AND Norman in their epilogues if they hadn't died already.
  • This is one of the worst endings you can get in the third game of Splatterhouse.
  • The "Submarine" ending of Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors ends with all of the other players apparently stabbed and dead. Then you get knifed...
  • In Sakura Taisen (Sakura Wars) at the end of the game as your party marches through the Seimajou they are killed off one by one, until only the main character and your chosen love interest remain. The player then either has to kill the traitor or watch her sacrifice herself to save you, then after you beat the big bad he reveals himself to be the devil... the hero dispairs that he can't go on without the rest of the party, then an angel shows up and they get better
  • Twice in Halo: Before the game even starts, the human military capitol of of Reach is bombed into molten glass with only the hero's ship escaping. By the end of the game, then, the Halo, all humans and all enemies have been utterly obliterated with the exception of the hero, his trusty Exposition Fairy and a handful of stragglers including 343 Guilty Spark, Sergeant-Major Johnson and the soon-to-be Arbiter.
    • The same thing also happens in the earlier Marathon series (which is not in continuity with Halo): after a seemingly happy ending in the first game, the sequel reveals that during intervening years, the entire colony was kidnapped into slavery by aliens or nuked to the bedrock, and the good-girl AI dismantled for scrap—however, said AI is revealed to have survived this in a largely irrelevant Twist Ending to the second game. The final game ends with only a few dozen humans from the colony still alive.
    • The even earlier Pathways into Darkness starts with you Late to the Party, everyone other than you having been killed already.
    • By the end of the Halo trilogy, humanity's population is reduced to a few hundred million, and the only surviving main characters are Lord Hood, Half-Jaw, the Arbiter, Chief, and Cortana, although the latter two are marooned in space thousands of light years from civilization, and a few of the "expendable" supporting characters are present in the 21-gun salute cutscene.
  • Both System Shock and System Shock 2 kill almost every single NPC aboard the station/ship besides the nameless player. There's a group of survivors in the first game, but they are wiped out before the player can reach them. In the sequel, the ending cutscene shows SHODAN taking control of Rebecca Siddons and menacing Tommy Suarez (presumably killing him).
    • It's particularly annoying in the second game: you actually see quite a number of survivors, only they die before you can meet them, sometimes while you watch haplessly through the window. Tommy and Rebecca example is even worse. You run to escape pods bay only to find they're just boarding a pod as the glass door you are behind opens slowly enough, so you can't reach them before they leave.
    • In System Shock's Spiritual Successor BioShock, the main character is the only survivor of a plane wreck that he caused in the opening sequence. Rapture itself may qualify, as nearly everyone there is either dead, homicidally insane (and killed by the main character during the game), or no longer truly human.
  • Dead Space follows the tradition with a massive ship drifting in space and its crew turned into monsters. The few survivors you see either kill themselves, or murder each other in truly disturbing ways.
    • Plus the ones who bleed to death in from of you or the one who is actually killed by accident.
  • This is the fate of the "God of Destruction" Alex in one of the Multiple Endings of Nippon Ichi's Makai Kingdom. He wants to destroy everything; he succeeds. And is left alone in an empty universe, too powerful to kill himself.
    • A very similar thing happens in the Demon Path of Soul Nomad and The World Eaters. Except you're the one who destroys everything, and when the fabric of the world is undone, you go along with it.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare does this twice; first, when the nuclear warhead in Al-Asad's capital detonates, killing Lieutenant Vasquez, most of his squad, the Cobra pilot they were rescuing seconds earlier, and, a few minutes later, Sergeant Paul Jackson, the player character. Later on, "Soap" MacTavish is disabled by a gas tanker explosion, and forced to watch helplessly as Griggs is shot in the throat, Gaz is executed in the forehead by the Big Bad, and the rest of his surviving SAS/Marine unit is gunned down in cold blood by the Ultranationalists, right before Price slides him his Colt M1911 and lets Soap rip the badguys a new one. Talk about your Downer Ending. Soap and Price manage to survive, though their status in the first Modern Warfare was left up in the air prior to the sequel.
    • In Modern Warfare 2, everyone in Task Force 141 except for Soap and Price are dead by the end.
  • This is your character's Backstory if you select the "Sole Survivor" and "Colonist" backgrounds in Mass Effect. For bonus points, your character can have BOTH. And then BioWare had a lot of fun with this trope in the sequel:
    • Inverted: In the beginning of the game, everyone but Shepard (well, Pressley and twenty unnamed crew members, too, but they don't count) survives the attack on the original Normandy, but Shepard dies.
    • Subverted: In the worst ending of the game, Shepard's entire team and crew dies but it looks like Shepard him/herself will survive... and then s/he falls to his death.
    • Played straight: ...thus, leaving Joker the sole (organic) survivor of the Suicide Mission.
    • According to Zaeed Massani's stories, this trope happens to him every Tuesday.
  • Sets the stage for the first Doom, when the hero is the only surviving member of a squad of marines sent to two survivorless moons (overrun by demons go figure) and then Hell.
    • And then again in Doom II where the hero is the last man on earth (sans a lone escaping spaceship).
    • At the conclusion of Doom 3, the nameless protagonist is the only survivor. Every single NPC he has met over the course of the game has met their end through one way or another.
    • Quake, the game's Spiritual Successor, has a similar premise.
  • In Max Payne 2 The Fall of Max Payne, the only non-Max character of any import to live through to the end of the game is Jim Bravura, who happened to take a few bullets to the torso first. Though, if the player completes the game on the hardest difficulty setting, Mona survives too.
  • In Dead to Rights, Jack is the sole survivor at the end.
  • The white chamber, regardless of the three main endings, drives the point home that Sarah murdered the entire crew, and she is the only one still alive, everything that seemed to be alive that she had encountered was a complete illusion.
  • On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Two, near the end of the game, The Big Bad comes in and kills everybody at the robotics convention off... even the beloved characters from the first game... even the characters you had JUST finished side-questing for. As Gabe and Tycho would probably say, "Shit just got real."
  • In Episode 4 of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, everyone except Battler is killed within the first day.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II opens with the player character awakening in a mining facility with everybody else dead except for an old woman who had been in a hibernation trance and a man who was forgotten in the detention area.
    • You were supposed to be responsible for the deaths of nearly everyone in your party, but it was cut due to time restraints. If you go evil, you almost kill everyone in the galaxy.
  • In Left 4 Dead, the four survivors are some of the only people not turned into zombies. The only other people that appear in-game are a man locked up in a church (who quickly turns into a zombie himself), and the people that come to rescue the survivors at the end of each campaign.
    • And even their rescuers often come to bad ends in the first game. The survivors are truly fortunate to be immune to both infection and helicopter crashes.
  • Used in Super Paper Mario when a rather cute samurai-Japan gets sucked into The Void. You survive, but upon going back to the world you find this blank white space, with the occasional piece of broken building or debris.
  • Red Faction: Only Parker and Eos survive.
    • Red Faction II: Only survivors are Alias, Shrike, and Tangier (if you get a good enough karma rating).
  • Most of the first Resident Evil has Jill or Chris wandering a zombie-infested mansion with only one person to aid them depending on which one, finding out that everyone they went in to look for in the first place is dead or dying except Rebecca.
    • HUNK is notorious in-universe for being the only person to survive his missions. One of the bonus ending screens in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis has a chopper pilot getting sarcastic about it: "Once again, only you survive, Mr. Death." Chronicles shows that he prefers it that way.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, after The End of the World as We Know It (which is roughly the midway point of the game; yeah, it's that kind of story), Celes wakes a year later to find herself and Cid on a tiny godforsaken spit of land. There are no other humans, all the animals are dead or slowly dying, and there is nothing visible to suggest that any other land survived the apocalypse. Truly the end of the world. Cid explains that all of the other survivors committed suicide in despair before too long. If Cid dies, Celes, seemingly the last human alive, jumps from the cliff like all the others. However, she survives, and a dove with a familiar bandanna tied to it gives her enough hope to try and find other survivors and other continents. Turns out that not everyone was dead after all. It's still close to that level of despair, though. If the player manages to save Cid, this doesn't happen, and instead he convinces Celes that she ought to take the raft he's made and check if there are any survivors on the mainland.
  • In Mortal Kombat 3, Stryker is the lone survivor of the destruction of an unspecified major city.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, you start out as the only surviving passenger of a zeppelin after it's untimely crash. And depending on how you play and which options you pick during the endgame, you will end up the only living being in the entirety of Arcanum and the Void.
  • In Dead Rising, if you follow the plot missions, just before the finale the Special Forces will have killed every single survivor and zombie in the mall except you and Isabella. You make your final run to the helipad alone with the mall completely lifeless.
    • Otis left a note in the safehouse saying that he stole a helicopter and the survivors you rescued are on it.
  • Theresia is, in essence, a Beautiful Void without the beauty. There are an a lot of rotting corpses, but if anyone else is still living (and setting those traps that keep targetting you), they're awfully good at keeping out of sight.
  • In 7 Days A Skeptic, near the end, all of the characters are dead except for the player, and the homicidal Frankenstein monster that killed the rest.
  • Sunset Over Imdahl begins with one of these—the main character's mother has just died of The Plague, and he leaves his house to find the rest of the city has followed suit. Then a strange man with a time portal gives him a chance to make it all right...
  • When the Collectors kidnap the crew in Mass Effect 2, this is definitely the feeling when you walk around the empty Normandy. Yeoman Kelly telling you about the messages at your private terminal, the officers in the crew quarters concerned about their families, the cook, the doctor, Those Two Guys down in Engineering... All part of the ship's atmosphere and suddenly gone. And depending on how fast you head through the Omega 4 relay, they could really become dead.
  • Something like this happens in Dragon Age in the beginning with the Grey Wardens. They all go to fight at war and your character and Alastair are given a mission outside the battle field, after the war they wake at Flemeth's place to hear Logain and his men pulled out leaving the rest of the Wardens to die and you and Alastair are the last remaining (loyal) Grey Wardens.
    • Also happens even earlier if you play as a human noble, where your parents, along with their whole castle full of guards and servants, are murdered.
  • Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. The End of the World as We Know It takes place within the first ten to fifteen minutes (depending on how fast you read.) In the entire planet, only the five humans at the Shinjuku Hospital (and one Intrepid Reporter) escape the horror of the Conception, an apocalyptic event which destroyed the world outside Tokyo and turned the city into the Vortex World. All other humans, everywhere have died, and they have either become helpless ghosts who can only hope demons don't eat them, or their souls have been reduced to raw emotional energy called "Magatsuhi"... which demons crave to enhance their own powers. By the end of the game, not one true human exists anymore.
  • The Orion Conspiracy starts off with 20 characters on a space station. By the end of the game, Devlin, Meyer, and LaPaz are the only characters still alive.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics every character in the game who had a name and was ever slightly important winds up dead, with maybe a half a dozen exceptions. Considering the population in this game, that's an impressive genocide. Notable exceptions are the main character and his sister, who are shown surviving the final battle.
  • World of Warcraft: On your arrival on the Alliance Gunship in Deepholm.
  • When you arrive aboard the station in Metroid Fusion, every member of the station's crew is already dead or is infested with X parasites.
  • Battlezone 1998 II ends this way if you side with General Braddock. You murder your former commanding officer, wipe out a rebellion opposing Braddock's plans for dictatorship - killing Braddocks' former right-hand man, then you go on to commit genocide on an entire species. By the end, Braddock and you are the only named characters left alive.
  • Warriors Orochi 3 opens with every single Dynasty and Samurai character except for Ma Chao, Sima Zhao, and Hanbei Takenaka dead after the appearance of a monstrous multi-headed Hydra. The thrust of the game is to travel back in time and save those characters from their deaths in order to amass a large enough army to defeat the Hydra once and for all.

Web Comics

  • In the first arc of Order of the Stick, when Celia is turned back to normal (having been turned to stone by the villains), Nale (the leader of said villains, now captured by the heroes) informs her that she's been stone for a thousand years, and everyone she's known and loved are long dead! She blasts him when she finds out he's lying, but he still thinks it was "Worth It".
  • Something similar happens to the unfortunate Rina in The Dragon Doctors. The young lady is turned to stone for two thousand years and is devastated to learn everyone she's ever known is dead. Kili the shaman also went through a similar experience; as a kid, everyone but Kili in Kili's town was killed by a tsunami, leaving Kili to wander the beach looking for survivors and screaming at the sky when none were found.
  • Pretty much every supporting character in the Sluggy Freelance story arcs "KITTEN" and "KITTEN II" is killed off or rendered catatonic. There's also the "GOFOTRON Champion of the Cosmos" arc, which ends with the entire Punyverse being blown up.
  • This is the likely ending of Homestuck - since four kids and their guardians are the only (presumed) living humans left.
    • Also during the Bad Future, where John and Jade have been killed. Considering that the only two people left are Rose and Dave, it is likely that this particular line was actually uttered, off-screen.
    • And what happens to the Troll race, leaving only their Empress (plus the players) alive.
  • In Ow, My Sanity, Dave's whole dorm is killed in the summoning ritual, from spree killings to sacrifices.

Web Original

  • In each season of Survival of the Fittest, only one character is left standing when everything is finished.
  • In the flash series Bunny Kill, main character Snowball is always the only one left alive at the end of each installment. No exceptions.
  • The season 2 finale of We're Alive. As the Tower collapses:

Kelly: Who was still in there?
Michael: Everyone!

  • In Off White, Gebo and Kaya both go though this.

Western Animation

  • Parodied on The Simpsons when Homer and Bart watch a movie entitled The Thing that Ate Everybody, which contains the following exchange;

Woman: "You mean, it ate Patrick?"
Man: "It ate everybody."
Woman: "What about Erika?"
Man, Homer and Bart: "It ate everybody!"
Homer: "Stupid!"

  • In Transformers: Beast Machines, it seems like everyone's dead, but as the series progresses the planet's fate is revealed to be far more surreal: the entire populace of the planet has had their sparks (robot souls, essentialy) forcibly extracted and placed in containers.
  • In the pilot episode of Futurama, Fry awakens in the future and realizes that his family, his co-workers and his girlfriend are all long since gone. After a moment of reflection... he lets out a jubilant "Yahoo!"
    • And in the last movie, "Into the Wild Green Yonder", after yet another mass-death on Zapp Brannigan's ship, which only he and Kif survive.

Zapp: "How many men did we lose?"
Kif: "...All of them."
"Well, at least they won't have to mourn each other!"

    • "Everybody's dead, ho ho ho! Stay tuned for more holiday hilarity!"
    • "The Late Philip J. Fry", when Fry, Bender and Farnsworth travel to a future where everyone is dead. They pass a couple of less total apocalypses on their way to the end of the world, and eventually go onward past the recreation of the Universe and the birth and death of everyone in it. Twice.

Prof. Farnsworth: Everyone we ever knew died hundreds of years ago.
Bender: Everyone we ever knew? Eh, I never liked those guys.

Gary Gygax: Anyone want to play Dungeons & Dragons for the next quadrillion years?

  • In Gargoyles, by the end of the episode "Future Tense" there are only two main characters left living. Though it was all a dream.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Same As It Never Was" a Bad Future tale set thirty years in the future, features the final battle between the turtles (and their surviving allies) and the Shredder, who has conquered the world. In the end, the only surviving cast members are resistance leader April O' Neil and present-day Donatello, who soon after is whisked away to another era.
  • This is the situation Aang finds himself in when he wakes up from his 100-year sleep. All of his people, the Air Nomads, have been completely wiped out by the Fire Nation.
  • Jake teases Finn with this at the end of an Adventure Time episode.

Jake: Finn! Oh, my Glob, man, everyone's dead, man! They're all burned! There's barbecue'd bods EVERYWHERE!
Finn: WHAT??!!!
Jake: I was just kidding. I saved them. Everyone's fine, see? *points to group of alive and well Goblins*


  • Similar to the Men in Tights parody, one story (framed as a country song setting in The Big Book of Urban Legends) starts with a sheriff telling his friend who just returned from a trip that his dog had died... because of eating too much horse flesh... due to the barn burning... because of the house fire... because of the candles at his mother-in-law's funeral... who died due to seeing his wife run off with another man...

Farmer: So I'm going to have to raise three children without their mother?!
Sheriff: Heck no, your kids all died in the fire!

Real Life

  • Around 550 BC, Sparta got into a conflict with Argos which they decided to settle in the so-called Battle of the 300 Champions. Each side sent only its 300 finest soldiers to the fight, and the outcome was meant to decide the whole war. Only one Spartan and two Argive soldiers survived. The requirements of the fight called for one side to be entirely destroyed, and the fact that the one spartan lived came from one of the biggest Failed a Spot Check in Greek history. The Spartans loopholed their way out of that embarrassment and won the war anyways
  • The Battle of Little Bighorn. The five companies of the 7th Cavalry led by Custer were so severely wiped out that the only American survivor of the battle was a horse.
  • Pickett's Charge from Gettysburg, (as under films, above). The Confederates moved in on the Union position assuming the Union had stopped firing their cannons because they were overheated. They weren't. It was such a slaughter that the creek ran red with blood. For some units only a small handful of people showed up for roll call the next morning.
  • The Battle of Stalingrad: 230,000 soldiers of the German 6th Army were trapped in the pocket of Stalingrad. Only 6,000 survived the battle and the labour camps to return to Germany after the war.
  • The retreat from Kabul in 1842 is a strong contender for the worst military disaster in the history of the British Army. 4,500 troops and 12,000 civilians left the city on the 6th of January, intending to regroup with the garrison at Jalalabad. A week later, surgeon William Brydon rode into Jalalabad alone, suffering from a severe head wound. When asked about the rest of the army, Brydon replied, "I am the army." A few dozen captives and stragglers trickled in over the next days, but the vast majority of the column was annihilated by the Afghans.
  • Archaeology seems to suggest that there was a period around the last Ice Age where the entire human population got whittled down to only a few thousand people. You can just imagine the number of deaths involved.

"Wait a minute... are you trying to tell me everybody's dead?!"

I never should have let him on this page in the first place.