Killed Off for Real

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"As Coroner, I must aver
I've thoroughly examined her
And she's not only merely dead,
She's really most sincerely dead."

Where a major character is killed, and is not restored by a Reset Button, or the death was not All Just a Dream, or any of the other resurrection plot devices.

This can be used as vengeance against a recalcitrant actor (see Dropped a Bridge on Him) or just a dramatic way of writing off a departing one (see McLeaned), especially on soaps such as Coronation Street or Days of Our Lives. Sometimes Real Life Writes the Plot; when an actor dies, The Character Dies with Him. The death is often reinforced by presenting it in a spectacularly over-the-top way just to drum it into the audience's head that this character is not coming back.

Despite what the trope title may suggest, being Killed Off For Real is still no guarantee that a character won't come Back from the Dead far into the future; the First Law of Resurrection makes sure of that. Creators are gradually replaced over a work's run, and they have different ideas on who should or shouldn't be alive. Even when the same creator sticks around, she can always change her mind later on. And even if such a death occurs in the Grand Finale, they may still be subject to being revived along with the show.

May lead into Personal Effects Reveal, Meaningful Funeral, To Absent Friends, and Dead Guy, Junior. See also: Tonight Someone Dies, Disney Death, Not-So-Small Role, Really Dead Montage. For the Video Game version, see Final Death.

As a Death Trope (quite likely the biggest one, in fact), all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Killed Off for Real include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The mangaka of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is not afraid to kill off his characters. Supporting protagonists usually have a good chance of dying; William Zeppeli from Part 1, Caesar Zeppeli from Part 2, and several of the primary protagonists' True Companions from Parts 3 and 5. Mostly averted in Part 4, which takes place in relatively tame circumstances compared to the other installments.
    • Even main characters can get this treatment when you least expect it. Jonathon Joestar sacrifices himself at the end of Part 1, Jolyne Kujo (along with everyone else on the good guys' side save for their Tagalong Kid) are killed just before the conclusion of Part 6, and Gyro Zeppeli (who shares main character status with Johnny Joestar) dies in Part 7.
  • The final deaths of all the homunculi except Pride in Fullmetal Alchemist. Hughes, Fu, Buccaneer, Kimblee and Hohenheim die as well.
  • Black Cat Detective is almost schizophrenic about this. On the one hand, this show has no problem killing characters for real. The evil mice certainly die when they get killed. His second in command, well, if you watch this show, don't get to attached to him. But the elephant who gets shot in the middle of the head at point blank range is revived by an enormous syringe.
  • Played straight and subverted in Code Geass. One of the elements contributing to its Broken Base status was the fact that sometimes a character would appear to be Killed Off for Real, explicitly or at least implicitly, when in fact it was a case of Only Mostly Dead (Jeremiah, Mao, Guilford, and Cornelia) or Never Found the Body (Nunnally, Suzaku). The characters who DO die for real include, among others, Clovis, Mao (the second time), Euphemia, Shirley, Rolo, Emperor Charles, Marianne, Diethard and, finally, Lelouch.
  • Everyone in Soukou no Strain.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico killed off Akito's friend and enthusiastic mecha pilot Guy Daigoji early on, and teased his return several times. The only time he ever appeared again was in a hallucination, and it wasn't Akito's. The character that did come back was a minor backgrounder. Another example of the show's recurring theme, "life is not like Super Robot anime".
  • Kamina's death in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. And Kittan, Nia, Balinbou... And the Rest. Though those were near the Grand Finale, so their deaths weren't quite as shocking as Kamina's, who died in the eighth episode and was featured as a really important character.
  • Kekkaishi's Gen, much to the surprise of... everyone.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: depending on which ending you choose, either Kaji and Kaworu, or the entire human race except for Shinji and Asuka. Maybe. Depending on how you interpret the original ending, possibly the entire human race period.
  • Misuzu in AIR, in one of the most heart-wrenching anime scenes ever devised (the word "goal" will never hold the same meaning anymore to anyone who has seen it). The fact that she might be reincarnated or freed from her curse does not diminish the fact that Misuzu herself is gone for good and leaves behind her immensely grieving adoptive mother, Haruko.
  • This is an inviolable rule in the CLAMP universe. If a person dies, there is absolutely NO way to bring back him back to life EVER. In some mangas it is also hinted that not even gods have the power to bring the dead back to life. The plot of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle comes from the problems that result from trying to circumvent this rule. The rule only applies to living beings who have a "natural existence". So, Chii is excluded from the rule. Even C!Shaoran and C!Sakura can be "brought back from the dead", because their "birth" is "unnatural".
  • In the Macross/Robotech episode, "Pineapple Salad/Goodbye Big Brother," it should have been made obvious what was going to happen with Hikaru Ichijou/Rick Hunter's senpai/brother, Roy Focker/Fokker, but the usual standard Bowdlerization of 1980s television animation made assuming that the show would choke rather obvious. When the show actually followed through and killed him off, it showed this was no ordinary animated series on North American TV. Moral Guardians raised a fuss and complained that it was bad for children.
    • No such ambiguity in the original Japanese version of the episode. Three ragged holes in his back and everything. And the reactions of the rest of the main characters seals the fact that he wasn't coming back. In fact, just to give Akira Kamiya more stick time as Focker, they had to bring him back in a prequel.
    • After pulling off a couple fakeout deaths and at least one deliberate death joke, Macross Frontier may have gone overboard in making sure viewers understood that Michael Blanc was dead. He gets stabbed in the chest with an alien claw that's almost as big as he is, and is then sucked out into hard vacuum through a self-sealing hull breach. No real way of coming back from that one.
    • You forgot the 'coughs up blood, makes a final 'I love you' speech, does the Really Dead Montage and has a memorial shot at the end with his glasses. You know, because it's the only way to be sure.
  • Non-minor characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha that somehow managed to die instead of simply getting befriended: The first Reinforce, Zest. Non-minor characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha that seem to be dead: Precia.
  • The character Cosmo is killed in the last episode of Sonic X. By a shot fired by Tails, using a cannon for which Sonic and Shadow were the ammo, no less]]. Though this is completely wiped out in the dub.
    • The same is true for the revolutionary, Molly, in the episode Molly's Dream. 4Kids even went so far as to digitally edit out her gravemarker in the final scene.
  • Simoun has the Heroic Sacrifice death of Mamina. And to add insult to injury, the Simile carrying her coffin is shot down. Other characters are much more ambiguous: We have Rimone and Dominura, who Time Travel, then take off to parts unknown; Amuria, for whom they Never Found the Body; Onasia, who, well, who knows; Yun, who now exists in the sort of limbo the previous did; and Neviril and Aer who Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Angulas also manages to die as a suicide bomber, but still show up as a body in the cockpit of an enemy Simoun later. Great series, but very very strange.
  • Fate/stay night has the protagonist, Shirou (potentially) killed off in the finale of Heaven's Feel. The Tear Jerker ending sticks to and expands on this, showing the epilogue through the eyes of Sakura as she ages and watches everything change around her, remaining alone until the end... The most depressing part of the game, hands down.
  • The entire Gundam franchise is absolutely notorious for this. With only a few exceptions, all of the series pull no punches when displaying the brutality of war. This is the series that gave rise to Kill'Em All after all.
    • The Universal Century timeline has this all over the place. Besides the millions upon millions who die in the background, major characters fall in some fantastically brutal ways. The most memorable of these comes during Chars Counterattack, where Amuro Ray and Char Aznable die at each other's hand in the climax.
    • The Cosmic Era is hands down the bloodiest and darkest of the Non-UC timelines. Gundam Seed in particular saw the death of more main characters than the most violent of the Universal Century series, Victory Gundam. Thanks to higher technological capabilities at the time of production, all of the carnage was visible in high definition.
  • The original Lockon Stratos was Killed Off for Real near the end of the first season in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. It's arguably the most tragic moment in the whole series.
    • Just when they're getting developed, Gundam 00 also has the deaths of both Lichty and Christina via point-black gunshot from a mobile suit. It's made all the more tragic considering Lichty used his body to shield Christina, but she got a large piece of debris jabbed into her back anyway. Just in case there was any thoughts they could survive, the cockpit also exploded. This series is obviously fond of deaths by explosions.
      • And then there is the EXTREMELY satisfying death of Ali Al-Sachez near the end of the second season. The original Lockon's brother, Lyle, tried to spare him but when Ali tried to use the opportunity to kill him, Lyle quickdrew his pistol and shot him in the head then casually shot him a few more times in the torso to make sure. Quite fitting since Ali was the one who killed Neil/Original Lockon Stratos. On the other hand, Tieria was shot similarly a while earlier but survived and came back in The Movie to kick some more ass... only to die again when his Gundam went into Trans-Am overload to avoid being assimilated. He didn't stay dead this time either, unlike Graham and Andrei.
    • And Nena. She got her antique mobile suit brutally dismembered into just the cockpit by Lousie who then stabbed the cockpit for good measure. Naturally, the last we see of Nena is cursing the hell out of her opponent with Blood From the Mouth before her cockpit explodes.
  • Death Note is set in the Real World. When somebody dies, they stay dead. It is initially implied that, for Death Note users, when they die, instead of Heaven or Hell, they go to Nothingess (Mu). Ouch. It is later revealed that this is true for EVERYONE.
    • Not that this has stopped the fanfic writers.
    • In the manga, Light uses deductive reasoning to come to the conclusion there is no heaven or hell.
  • Cibo and Sana-Kan from Blame! cop it for real at the end of the series. This comes as quite a shock, as both characters had technically died several times before this. Admittedly, Sana-Kan's death is heavily Lampshaded during a conversation with her apparent superior.
  • In Pokémon, the scientists who created Mewtwo in the first movie, Latios in the fifth movie, Lucario and Sir Aaron in the eighth movie, and J in DP 151.
  • Leomon from Digimon season one and three. Also Oikawa,Black Wargreymon (could not be reborn due to being artificial),Arukenimon,and Mummymon from season two, as well as some family members of various characters that died before the seasons' start.
    • We might not see him again, but Leomon (Season 1 only) was presumably reborn, as Whamon was. Digimon who are destroyed get reborn in Primary Village. Except the evil Digimon, cause they never come back to cause trouble after they are destroyed. Etemon and Myotismon's deaths are retconned, but both are later killed for good. This only applies to Seasons 1 and 2; 3 is a different type of universe and it does not apply. Wizardmon, on the other hand, wasn't reborn, for reasons unknown returned as a ghost to help them defeat the Digimon Emperor, and then disappeared. (Maybe he was reborn after that?)
      • Wizardmon's death was, in fact, permanent. Because he died in the 'real world', there was no way for his data to be reborn.
      • Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon also got Killed Off for Real,that "dungeon" crap was just Dub Text,they clearly got killed in the real world just like Wizardmon courtesy of Myotismon's Bad Boss tendencies
      • In a sense Devimon returns as a ghost, but is destroyed for the second time along with Kimeramon
    • Digimon Savers also works sort of like the first two seasons,until Kurata figured out how to permanently kill off Digimon,which he did to Frigimon,Merukimon, Eldradimon,SaberLeomon,and countless others.
  • While Naruto has several Disney Deaths, it also has several examples of this trope, including The Third Hokage, Asuma, Jiraiya, Itachi, Pain, and Danzo to name a few.
    • Not anymore . . . Asuma, Jiraiya, and Nagato/Pain were brought back to life, though this trope is true for Jiraiya and The Third Hokage, and possibly Danzo.
      • That doesn't count; if they were truly brought back to life, they wouldn't be fighting the good guys like they are. They're walking among the living again thanks to Kabuto's Edo Tensei jutsu, which DOES let them have/keep their memories and bloodline abilities(if applicable) and stuff, but they're still not really alive and Kabuto can strip them of their will for absolute control if he so chooses. TLDR: The Killed Off for Real characters weren't really brought back, they're essentially super-powered zombie ninjas.
  • There's a common rule in One Piece: If you die in a flashback, you're Killed Off for Real. If you don't die in a flashback, chances are, you might pull off a Disney Death. Prime examples of the former are Bellemere, Hiruluk, Tom, Kuina, Usopp's mother, all of Robin's friends and family members, and Brook's pirate crew. However, the latter rule saw itself subverted as hard as you can get, with Portgas D. Ace having fallen straight into this, and Whitebeard following two chapters later.
  • In a subversion of Never Say "Die", in the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Cecelia Pegasus is killed by an illness (prompting Pegasus to begin Duelist Kingdom as an elaborate ruse thrown together at the last minute so that he can get his hands on Yugi's Millennium Puzzle and resurrect her), Gozaburo and the Big Five are all destroyed along with the virtual world they are trapped in as it is destroyed (Noah isn't listed here because he is speculated to have saved his mind on a backup file, whether or not he did, and therefore invokes Never Say "Die"), and also Yami Marik, the Great Leviathan, Yami Bakura, and Zorc are all destroyed near the end of their arcs (although how far these four can be subverted to Never Day Die is debatable. Ahmet is also eaten by a monster in a flashback during Season 5.
  • Bleach: Tite Kubo is quite good at making sure most villains are Killed Off for Real. However, it took 485 chapters before it was confirmed to the readers that Choujirou Sasakibe had received the dubious honour of being the first protagonist Killed Off for Real.
  • In Rainbow Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, Sakuragi dies about midway through the series. This is especially surprising since he was The Hero, Big Good and possibly the protagonist as well.
  • In Soul Eater manga there Mifune, Tezca, Arachne and, Joe.
    • Though one of these deaths was faked to get cover.
      • Not as of chapter 86...
      • Tezca is a bizarre case because he seems to be somehow immortal. After he dies, his soul is still alive, can still appear in mirrors, implies that he can just get a new body, and still counts himself as being one of the Death Scythes.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica killed off Sayaka while the protagonist, Madoka, willingly erases her existence from both the physical world and the memories of (almost) everyone who knew her. Mami and Kyoko were seemingly Killed Off for Real only to be brought back in the final episode.
  • Most of the cast of Rose of Versailles are killed off at the end of the series (save for Rosalie, Bernard and Alain). Since it took place in The French Revolution, this is a given.
  • Everyone who was dear to, or trusted by, the protagonist of Le Chevalier d'Eon is dead by the end of the series -- leaving him completely alone and utterly disconsolate.
  • Inuyasha: Rumiko Takahashi isn't afraid of this trope. Not only do major villains get Killed Off for Real, but so do characters going through redemption arcs such as Kikyou and Kagura.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • "Nobody stays dead except Bucky, Uncle Ben, and Jason Todd." Since that saying was coined, both Bucky and Jason Todd have found themselves resurrected. But Uncle Ben works, since an Alternate Universe version of him appeared and died.
    • For this reason, all the below must come with the caveat "at time of writing."
  • Martha and Thomas Wayne, or Batman's PARENTS. The ones that ARE DEEEAAAAAAAD!!!
  • Many DC characters that have died were thought to come back after Blackest Night. While 12 random people were brought back to life many more stayed dead. Examples are Sue Dibny, Johnny Quick (Johnny Chambers), The Question (Charels Victor Szasz), Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), Eclipso (Jean Loring), Mirror Master (Samuel Joseph Scudder), Doctor Midnight (Charles M. McNider), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Mister Terrific (Terry Sloane), Damage (Grant Emerson), Kal-L (Earth 2), and many more not listed here.
  • If you don't count her clone or her lookalike daughter, Gwen Stacy is, miraculously, still dead.
  • Marvel's Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell), Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly), Banshee (Sean Cassidy), Thunderbird (John Proudstar), Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde), Unus (Angelo Unuscione), Abomination (Emil Blonsky), Baron Heinrich Zemo, George Stacy, Synch (Everett Thomas), Destiny (Irene Adler), Hornet (Eddie McDonough), Goliath (Bill Foster), Iron Monger (Obadiah Stane), Jean DeWolff, Karen Page, Lilandra Neramani, Microbe (Zachary Smith Jr.), Pyro (St. John Allerdyce), Robert Kelly, and Moira MacTaggert are all, at the moment, very much dead, among others.
  • The Other Wiki lists these and other characters but notes it can change at any time.
  • In a move that surprised those who were still reading it, Master Splinter was killed off from old age in Volume 4 of the Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic—perhaps the highest point in that volume of the series. The Shredder and Baxter Stockman—unquestionably the franchise's most prominent antagonists—are also dead.
  • Several of the G.I. Joes have been Killed Off for Real over the years. And not just ones created for the comic book, like Mangler. Those with actual figures. The most notably would probably be Lady Jaye, who was killed by Dela Eden, member of the Red Shadows.
  • Peter David, in his book, Writing for Comics, said that the best way to have a character killed is in a very deliberate, human way. His example: In Fallen Angel, a key character was shot six times in the head and then kicked off a building. He got letters asking if that character was really dead. If he'd been magicked off into a dark dimension, he'd be back to life. No questions asked.
  • The Sentry, Marvel's Superman Expy with more power and psychological problems than is good for him was killed after his human identity begged a supercharged Thor to kill him before the Void regained control. Considering how much crap the guy has gone through over the years, it's hard not to feel sorry for him. Thor dropped him into the Sun, but he can resurrect himself at will, so it's doubtful if it will stick.
  • About one fourth of Fallen Angel's cast has been killed thorought the duration of the series. To wit: Shadow Boxer, Dr, Juris, Slate, Malachi, Wilde, Moloch/ Jubal have all kicked the bucket.
  • Barry Allen had a long and prestigious run on this list (for a popular comic book character), in part because he was given a really good death, reversing that death would have undone the heroes efforts to save the universe, and fans eventually embraced his successor Wally West even if they still wanted Barry back. But 24 years and two mega-crises later, Barry has finally subverted this trope though it looks like he may be skirting the Came Back Wrong trope for a while.
  • Most of the cast of Garth Ennis's Hitman series, including the titular character himself, "Hitman" Tommy Monaghan, die by the end of the 60-issue run, and since that was one of Ennis's babies, it seems doubtful anyone will ever be allowed to resurrect them. In fact, compared with the rest of the DC universe, Hitman's Gotham seems almost like some kind of parallel universe where death actually means something.
  • Sarah Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's wife, has, remarkably, remained dead ever since being murdered by The Joker in Batman No Mans Land. At least so far.
  • Zenith (2000AD series): Apart from Lux and Spook, who faked their own deaths (unintentionally, in the case of Spook), Dr. Beat/Warhead (alive in name only) and the conflict in the final phase (all of which took place inside the cosmos-mimicing entity Chimera) all of the many character and background deaths in the series were for real.
  • Kobra, a longtime Big Bad in The DCU, seems to have been Killed Off For Real (having your heart ripped clean out of your chest by Black Adam will do that). However, since his minions recently resurrected his brother (who was killed off waaaaaaay back in 1978) to become the new head of their Religion of Evil, all bets are off.
  • Wolverine, one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe, got killed off in X-Men Forever. All that remained was a metal skeleton, and to further prove that he's dead, he was connected to Jean Grey at the time.
    • It's worth noting, though, that this whole series is essentially an Elseworlds.
  • Fritz the Cat, one of the most popular characters of the Underground Comics scene, was killed off by his creator, Robert Crumb, via an ice pick to the forehead in "Fritz the Cat, Superstar", in response to the animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi.
  • In Dreamkeepers, Paige is killed off by a nightmare looking for the main character, Mace (who is then blamed for it). The room is completely covered in gore when he finds her. The creators have explicitly said that no character would come back from the dead.
  • Played with in All-new Atom where, searching for Ray Palmer, the heroes find themselves in what appears to be heaven and are greeted by the spirit of former Blue Beetle Ted Kord. Ted lampshades the uneven reversibility of comics death, lamenting that he and Batman's parents are the "only people with a permanent parking spot" in the afterlife. (It turns out not really to be heaven, in fact, and not really to be Ted, but the dude (five years dead now and counting!) has a point.)
  • In Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog the Doctor Robotnik of Sonic's universe was killed off in the 50th issue, and eventually replaced with one from a parallel world.
  • From the Spider-Man continuity, former Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds is definitely dead. The Hobgoblin, who wanted to retire, Brainwashed him into thinking he was the Hobgoblin, and he was killed by assassins who thought so, too. The guy who had him killed, Jason Macendale, is also definitely dead. He took over the Hobgoblin identity, made a complete hash of it, and ended up being reduced to a smoking skeleton in his jail cell by the genuine article.
  • Sin City characters always stay dead but since the series is in Anachronic Order, readers can still expect to see them again. For instance, Marv died in the very first story, but has popped up many times throughout the series.
  • As of the start of the series, The Horror is dead, and will stay dead for the time being. While it hasn't be stated how he died, the only thing that reminds us he's dead is the statue that is (or was, as of the end of Apocalypse Suite) on the garden outside the mansion. The preview story, however, shows him alive and well, fighting alongside his siblings.
  • In the most recent Hellboy miniseries, the Fury, Hellboy meets his end when Nimue pierces his chest and tears his heart out, resulting in his death. Mignola has stated he intended to kill Hellboy off for a long time, and that he has no plans to bring him back to life anytime soon. This does not mean Hellboy is gone - it is said the series will continue, although the difference is we will see Hellboy acting within his new home: Hell.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Sandman the main character, Morpheus, dies. Although a successor is raised/created who looks and acts a lot like Morpheus, it is explicitly stated that while this person is Dream, he is not Morpheus. In fact, though occasionally we see ghosts and spirits, everyone who actually dies in Sandman stays dead, courtesy of Dream's older sister.
  • When Lord Snooty the Third appeared in The Beano in 2008 it was heavily implied that the older Lord Snooty (an older Beano character dating back to the 1930s but last appeared in 2005) had been killed off for real. The older Lord Snooty had previously been dropped from the comic and reappeared a number of times before 2008 when his death was revealed.
  • Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man is definitely dead. The final arc is even called "The Death of Spider-Man". There's even a variant cover that has Uncle Ben's spirit walking with the (spirit) Peter telling him he "did good". The series was rebooted and now focuses on another young man trying to live up to Peter's heroic standard.


Film[edit | hide]

Catwoman:Two lives left. I think I'll save one for next Christmas. But in the meantime, how about a kiss Santi-Claus?

  • Book and Wash in Serenity
    • Joss Whedon does this a lot. See Buffy in Live-Action Television, among others. Although the fans have decided that it's not canon, just because they all have such huge crushes on Wash.
  • Jafar from Disney's Aladdin is killed off for real in The Return of Jafar. The Aladdin canon continued with three seasons of a cartoon series as well as a final movie, all without bringing Jafar back, even though Jafar is a relatively popular Disney villain. He does return in a Hercules crossover episode, in which he's still technically dead.
  • Harvey Dent/Two Face in The Dark Knight is, according to Word of God, dead.
    • Ra's Al Ghul. Dead.
  • Mufasa really was killed by Scar in The Lion King. And at the end, Scar is eaten alive by his former hench-hyenas. Given Scar's occasional cameos in the questionably-canon Timon and Pumbaa series, some fans think that he survived and is in hiding.
    • Also, most (if not all) Disney villains in general.
  • The 1990s version of Godzilla dies at the end of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. He is not revived for another film, he's not faking it, he does NOT get better. It's one of the few films in the Godzilla franchise in which Godzilla dies and stays dead. Although his son (who was THOUGHT to be dead) takes his place at the end of the film.
    • Likewise, in GMK Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah are all killed-off by Godzilla and stay dead throughout the rest of the film.
    • Also, the original 1954 film? Yes, folks, Godzilla dies. Even though the original film is considered canon across all continuities of the franchise, the Godzilla that shows up in any of the sequels; he's just another Godzilla. The first one really did die. Going by Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, this also means Godzilla died for good twice.
  • Guido in Life Is Beautiful. Due to the comical nature of the film, it usually comes as an unexpected shock.
  • Greedo hasn't come back yet.
  • Scream. The Genre Savvy heroine makes sure the villain stays dead.

Randy Meeks: Careful. This is the moment when the supposedly-dead killer comes back to life for one last scare.
[Billy starts to rise, only to receive a headshot from Sidney.]
Sidney Prescott: Not in my movie.

  • Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek Generations. Let's just say they... Dropped a Bridge on Him.
    • And then revived in a Star Trek novel written by...William Shatner!
  • Also Data in Star Trek: Nemesis
  • In The Black Hole, Reinhardt's robot Maximilian drives a spinning blade attachment through Alex Durant's stomach.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Your life and your mission end here.
  • Some Harry Potter fans hoped for Sirius Black to come back after his death in the fifth novel, as evidenced by many fan fictions. He didn't.
    • The same could also be said for Albus Dumbledore, despite much fan speculation to the contrary. Although he did contact Harry from beyond the grave.
    • The final book also killed off Severus Snape and several other characters.
    • Voldemort ain't coming back either.
  • Commander Root in Artemis Fowl.
    • Though he gets a Time Travel cameo in The Time Paradox.
    • Commander Raine Vinyaya also gets it in The Atlantis Complex. Clearly, this is not a good rank for the LEP.
  • Kisten Felps dies in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. Also: Matalina, Piscary.
  • The first Visser One, Jara Hamee, Tom (and his Yeerk), all of the auxiliary Animorphs and Rachel from Animorphs. That last one is the impetus of many a Fix Fic. As is the very possible death of all the main group except Cassie.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe killed off Chewbacca in the first book of the New Jedi Order series. It took a falling moon to take him out.
  • Everyone that dies in Percy Jackson and The Olympians. Luke not dying even though Percy thought he did in Titan's Curse doesn't really count because Annabeth told him about thirty seconds later that Luke wasn't dead. The only aversion to this is Tyson. Everyone else thinks that Percy dies, too, but since the story is from his perspective so we know otherwise, it doesn't count.
  • EVERY human from our world that had ever had the fortune to enter Narnia over the course of The Chronicles of Narnia books died in a train accident at the end of The Last Battle, save for Susan, who had grown up to the point of regarding Narnia as a fairy tale. The good news is that those who died were welcomed into the remade Aslan's Country.
  • Sisters Grimm, which uses every fairy tale trope possible... Briar Rose, despite True Love's Kiss.
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan builds up the hope that when Ammar ibn Khairan and Roderigo Belmonte duel, they will both survive. That is not what happens, and one of them dies (with the other receiving a permanent wound, but otherwise getting a pretty happy ending). Quite a few other characters are permanently killed as well.
  • In Pretty Little Liars, anyone who is important to the plot is gonna die soon. Toby committed suicide, Mona was pushed off a cliff, Ian, Jenna, and Courtney were all murdered by Ali. Played with with Ali (Oooh, is she really dead??)
  • In "The Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles," during the end of the first book, a boy named Robert gets killed, without any chance of coming back, after his spirit's host, a large war robot, is disassembled.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire loves this trope: notable characters who died include, but are not limited to, Viserys Targaryen, Eddard Stark, Robb Stark, Robert Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Balon Greyjoy, Khal Drogo, Oberyn Martell, Sir Rodrik Cassell, Maester Aemon, Maester Luwin, Lysa Tully, Beric Dondarrion (finally), and others, with several characters Not Quite Dead and a few cases of Back from the Dead.
  • In Warrior Cats, most of the cats who die either end up in StarClan or the Dark Forest, but they're dead all the same and are unable to come back to life, even though some of the dead cats can interact with the living.
    • Subverted with the leaders, who have nine lives. If they die once, they lose a life, and so on. However, when they lose their last life, they still are killed off for real.
    • Also subverted with Cinderpelt who gets reincarnated.
  • In The Kingdoms of Evil a whole bunch of characters die.
    • Bloodbyrn's dad.
    • Pon.
    • The Paladin.
  • Cilla in "I Miss You I Miss You".
  • Most Americans are unaware that Geralt was Killed Off for Real at the end of The Witcher novel series (mainly because only the first book has been translated from Polish). The game retconned this to an Unexplained Recovery.
  • Balefire in the Wheel of Time combines this trope with short-term Ret-Gone (the extent of its effects determined by how much power is used). Even the Dark One can't resurrect someone killed by Balefire. However, it can be destabilizing - too much retconning will literally unravel the "threads" of reality.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • When the actor playing the part dies in real life, it usually means the character dies as well.
  • Blakes Seven took this to its logical extreme in the finale.
  • Teri Bauer in 24 is the first in a very long line, which includes George Mason, President David Palmer, Sherry Palmer, Michelle Dessler, Bill Buchanan, Milo Pressman (introduced in season 1, killed when he returned in season 6) and Renee Walker. By the end of the series, Jack and Kim Bauer, Mike Novick, Tony Almeida and Agent Aaron Pierce are the only notable season 1 characters to have survived all eight seasons.
  • Prue Halliwell in Charmed. Also a case of being McLeaned, since she was fired and an in-story reason was manufactured why her spirit couldn't come back to advise her sisters the same way their grandmother and mother did.
  • Jenny Calendar, Joyce Summers, Tara Maclay, Anya Jenkins and to a lesser extent most of the Slayers in training, as well as Xander's friend Jesse on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • And because Joss Whedon hates us, Buffy Season 8 gives us Giles.
  • Doyle, Wesley, and Cordelia on Angel. The personality of Fred was also permanently destroyed by an elder god taking over her body, in spite of the entire cast utilizing the resources of an interdimensional law firm to bring her back. Had the show been renewed, however, Fred and said elder god would have somehow been split apart. this may already be happening the canonical comic follow up.
  • Friends: Joey angers the writers of the soap opera he is working on, and they kill off his character by throwing him down an elevator shaft. The gang is watching the show when Phoebe says "Well, maybe they can find a way to bring you back" only to be told by Joey "They said that when they found my body, my brain was so smashed in that the only doctor that could have saved me was me. Supposed to be some kind of irony or somethin'." He did eventually come back in the end, with a different—female—brain in his body. Though the female brain thing only lasted one episode and then Drake was actually back.
  • A similar plot was used decades earlier by the British show Hancock's Half Hour. In an episode where the Hancock character is a BBC radio soap star (in a parody of The Archers) the other actors are so fed up with his erratic acting style that the producer finally decides to kill him off. Unfortunately it turns out that the character was more popular than the producer thought and the BBC receives a barrage of hate mail. Eventually Hancock agrees to come back as the original character's twin brother - but only if he is given full creative control, which he then uses to kill off the rest of the cast.
  • One of the interesting aspects of HBO's Oz is their frequent killing of main characters, even ones who had been well-established over multiple seasons. See Anyone Can Die.
  • Babylon 5 had a particularly daring example: At the end of the fourth season, the ranger Marcus Cole gave his life to save his (unrequited) love, Commander Susan Ivanova, from certain death. J. Michael Straczynski, the writer, has commented that he would have resolved that differently, had he known he was going to get a fifth season after all, and that Claudia Christian (Ivanova's actor) was going to refuse to come back for another year.
  • British series Spooks (known in the US as MI-5) subverted Contractual Immortality in their first series. Helen, played by Lisa Faulkner, was introduced as a major regular character and was then killed off at the end of the second episode. Quite rare for British TV, and an early example of Dead Star Walking. Tom appeared to have been killed for real at the end of the second series, but the start of the third series revealed that he was Not Quite Dead. At the end of that series, Danny was killed off for real (after a series where three out of the four regulars were written out).
    • Anyone Can Die on Spooks, and they managed to rack up quite the roster of dead cast members (thirteen dead in ten seasons).
  • Also getting bumped off fairly quickly was Wild Bill Hickock in HBO's Deadwood, after just four episodes.
    • Since the show was based on reality, Hickok in real life never made a comeback either.
  • Several title characters were killed off permanently on St. Elsewhere, including Drs. Kiem Armstrong (suicide) and Caldwell (AIDS). In an interesting subversion the terminally ill Dr. Aushlander, whom the residents had a pool for when he would drop, lasted until the last episode.
    • Disgraced doctor Peter White was shot dead by Nurse Shirley Daniels after being found innocent of rape charges (he was guilty, and she knew it).
    • Dr. Elliot Axelrod was unexpectedly killed off by a heart attack in the penultimate episode.
  • Some killings don't provoke the best of reactions from viewers. Television Without Pity writes of a killing on Charmed in its summaries for the latest eps: "In other news, Big Gay Chris remains dead. Bastards!"
  • Any number of doctor deaths on ER, including Lucy Knight (victim of a mental patient), Mark Greene (brain tumor), Robert Romano (helicopter fell on him, twice), and Michael Gallant (roadside bomb while serving in Iraq).
  • Den Watts was Killed Off for Real in Eastenders, but as proof of just how hard it is to kill a soap star, he was resurrected many years later with the Retcon that he was hiding in Spain. But after this miraculous recovery from the choir invisible, he was finally really, really killed, and just to hammer it home to future writers not to bring him back, there was a whole arc around the disposal, discovery and then burial of his body. So he can't be brought back this time... we hope.
    • Parodied in the Doctor Who episode "Army of Ghosts"; when the Doctor is flipping through TV channels, he lands on EastEnders, where Den Watts's ghost appears in the Queen Vic. Peggy, exasperated, yells, "GET OUT OF ME PUB!" at him.
  • Doctor Who occasionally kills off a character for real, one example including Adric.
    • This was originally intended for the Daleks in The Evil of the Daleks, but their immense popularity eventually made a comeback inevitable. They've developed a very bad case of Joker Immunity since then.
  • Cigarette-Smoking Man and Alex Krycek of The X-Files are examples of characters who had cheated death (usually because they Never Found the Body) so many times that their real deaths (by being at ground zero of a missile blast and shot right between the eyes, respectively) had to be made very explicit, so as to make it clear that, yes, this time they were well and truly dead. And Krycek managed to kind-of return for the Finale anyway.
    • William Mulder (Mulder's father) and the informants Deep Throat and X both died for real (even though Mulder sees Deep Throat in a dream and X as a ghost in "The Truth"). Mulder also cheated death by dying and then coming back to life after being abducted in season 8.
  • Scrubs - Nurse Laverne is killed off in season six, as the show's creator thought it was the final year of the show. When Scrubs was renewed for a seventh season, the actress that played her returns as "Nurse Shirley."
  • Class clown and school mascot J.T. was killed off for real in an episode of Degrassi. The strange part is that it occurred in an episode that revolved around a drunken house party, with no buildup whatsoever.
    • It was because the actor himself had planned on leaving the show and they had to write his death in somehow.
  • The Wire would often kill off major and supporting characters in pretty vicious and unheroic ways. Thanks to the show's strict real world nature and no flashback policy if a character was killed you knew you'd never see that character again onscreen in any capacity whatsoever. Victims of this tropes include: Wallace, Frank Sobotka, Stringer Bell, Brody and Omar. And that's just the main characters that bite it, the list gets a lot longer if you add important supporting and recurring characters.
  • Supernatural - Even if some of them do appear afterwards (through flashbacks, time travel, and the sort), the Winchesters' mother Mary, their father John, Sam's girlfriend Jess, Ash, all the psychic children in the Second Season Finale, Azazel, Bela (Word of God that she's never coming back), Pamela, Lilith, Ruby, Ellen and Jo Harvelle, Zachariah, Gabriel, Rufus, Balthazar, Raphael, and Bobby Singer all die for real.
  • Most deaths on Lost are of this variety. The exceptions are Charlie's Disney Death and Shannon's All Just a Dream death in season 1, plus a few Not Quite Dead villains since, but all of these have later ended up Killed Off for Real. Due to flashbacks and apparitions, most characters have appeared at least once after their deaths, which gives the writers the luxury of writing "real" deaths but still using the characters and actors when they'd like to.
    • Ethan Rom is notable for appearing in more episodes after his death than before it, thanks to flashbacks.
    • Season 5 played heavily with this trope. Upon returning to the island, John Locke came back to life after being strangled to death by Ben. But in the season finale, it was revealed that Locke actually was dead- Jacob's unnamed nemesis had somehow taken on his appearance and used it to manipulate the Others.
    • Mikhail Bakunin was a minor villain who had proven to be so death-resistant that, even after he died by intentionally detonating a grenade while holding it, some fans were sure that he'd come back. He didn't, although an alternate version of him appeared in the flash-sideways universe. That one was killed too.
    • ...Dead is dead. You don't get to come back from that.

--Benjamin Linus

  • The majority of the cast of The Sopranos, including the vast majority of the mafia characters of any prominence. Of the mob-level characters who make the main cast, you can more or less count the number who are still alive by the series' end on two hands.
  • In the final episode of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Jennifer dies when the Power Base self-destructs. Even though there was a fairly blatant angle for her to come Back from the Dead (The very last thing we see of her is Blastarr aiming his digitizer—a device which can save humans to disc for archival—at her), the Word of God is that not only did she die, but she already had massive internal injuries from the preceding scene that would have killed her even if she hadn't been blown up. Had the series been renewed, much of the following season would have dealt with Captain Power's failure to cope with her death.
  • In the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs, Lady Marjorie Bellamy sails to visit family in America and Canada in April 1912. She's on the Titanic.
  • Yes, noone but Marian in Robin Hood.
    • And as of the end of season 3 Guy of Gisborne, Allan a Dale and Robin Hood himself
  • Farscape set up a brilliant loophole for themselves by having main character Crichton doubled. NOT cloned; the resulting two people were one person made two, with both having an equal claim to being the "real" Crichton. Thus, when one was killed off the writers were able to fully play off the emotions surrounding that death while still keeping the character around. And D'argo is definitively Killed Off for Real in a You Shall Not Pass Heroic Sacrifice in The Peacekeeper Wars.
  • Henry Blake in Mash. He "survived" the next night on The Carol Burnett Show.
  • Valerie Hogan in Valerie, when Valerie Harper had a contractual dispute with the producers. Well, they kicked her off the show, her character was killed off, and eventually the show was renamed The Hogan Family.
  • Law and Order has had a few over the years: Max Greevey, Claire Kincaid and Alexandra Borgia. In a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, Lennie Briscoe was written to have died offscreen after Jerry Orbach himself passed away from cancer.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica Reimagined has the resurrection-capable Cylons finally start Dying Off For Real towards the end of the series after their resurrection equipment gets Blown Up For Real. It wasn't afraid to kill off characters from the very beginning, either. Fortunately, it had Loads and Loads of Characters, so the deaths of Socinus, Crashdown, Elosha, Cain, Fisk, Gina, Billy, Maya, Kat, Cally, D'Anna, Dualla, Laird, Zarek, Gaeta, Natalie, and in the finale, all the Fours, all the Fives, Racetrack, Skulls, Roslin, Cavil, Boomer, Tory and Anders still left enough cast members to put on a show. Technically speaking, EVERYONE dies seeing as how the last scene takes place 150,000 years in the future.
  • On NCIS, Kate Todd is sniped in the head while talking to Gibbs and Tony. Combines with Wham! Episode and Dropped a Bridge on Him, since the fight was over, she had already dodged one bullet, and prior advertisements did not employ Tonight Someone Dies. Just in case anyone had any doubts, the following episode has her body shown in autopsy and the director recommending a posthumous military award.
    • Yes, the same director who was killed off herself in the fifth season.
    • And Mike Franks, too.
  • In Reno 911! Deputies Garcia, Johnson, and Kimball were killed in the parade float crash.
  • Heroes: Eden McCain, Simon Deveaux, Isaac Mendez, Daniel Linderman, D.L. Hawkins, Kaito Nakamura, Niki Sanders, Bob Bishop, Adam Monroe, Elle Bishop, Arthur Petrelli, Benjamin "Knox" Washington, Daphne Millbrook and Nathan Petrelli. All major or significant recurring characters, and all Killed Off for Real.
  • Two cases in House, Kutner committing suicide in the middle of Season 5, and Amber's death being the focus of the 4th Season Finale.
  • Torchwood: In just five episodes, we lost Tosh, Owen and Ianto.
  • The original Stig from Top Gear, even though they Never Found the Body. Only a single black glove was recovered.
  • On Fringe the second season opener killed off Charlie. Just to hammer the point home the thing that stole his face ends the episode by tossing the body into an incinerator.
  • Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
  • On Smallville: Main/recurring characters who are now dead include Whitney Fordman, Dr. Virgil Swann, Jason and Genevieve Teague, Sheriff Nancy Adams, Jonathan Kent, Lionel Luthor, Henry James "Jimmy" Olsen, and Davis Bloome. Lex is most likely a case of Not Quite Dead or Never Found the Body.
  • Edith Bunker from All in The Family dies (offscreen) in the Retool Archie Bunker's Place.
  • CSI: Warrick Brown and Holly Gibbs and Det. Vega on the original version. Aiden Burn on CSI New York. Tim Speedle, Marisol and Jesse Cardoza on CSI: Miami.
  • Highlander had quite a few over the years: Tessa Noel, Hugh Fitzcairn, Richie Ryan, and in the first film, Ramirez, who recovered only to die off for real in the sequel. Connor MacCleod and Joe Dawson joined the list in later films.
  • Dr. Fraiser on Stargate SG-1.
    • She does come back - sort of - as a member of an SG-1 team (which also includes Martouf) from an alternate universe. It's actually does bring a certain degree of satisfactory closure.
    • Lt. Ford, Carson Beckett, and Elizabeth Weir on Stargate Atlantis. Beckett was resurrected via cloning. Ford's fate was left up in the air. Weir was turned into a replicator and left floating in space.
    • And now Sgt. Hunter Riley on Stargate Universe.
    • SG-1 has a (somewhat distracting) habit of giving recurring villains with a bad habit of coming back from the dead ambiguous death scenes in which you never see the body. ...in at least two cases, Apophis and Hathor, said villains were actually never seen again.
      • After Apophis is finally killed off, Jack O'Neill even lampshades this tendency, revising his 100% certainty that their four-season opponent was dead down to "99% sure". Then the guy returns in hallucinations and Alternate Timelines.
  • In Dexter Rita, Dexter's wife is killed off for real at the end of season 4. Ironically, in a show about a killer, where minor and major characters are killed off constantly as part of the show's concept, this death is especially poignant and heartbreaking.
    • Also, Doakes in season 2 and Lundy in season 4 were also major characters who met their ends.
  • Sesame Street, of all shows, used this--to deal with the fact that Will Lee, who played Mr. Hooper, had also died.
  • It's to be expected in a soap opera, but if a character leaves Neighbours they either get Put on a Bus or are Killed Off for Real. There are very few inbetweens. A few examples of characters Killed Off for Real are: Daphne, Kerry, Todd, Jim, Julie, Cody, Cheryl, Helen, Madge, Drew, David, Stingray, Marco, Bridget, Ringo, etc.
  • In Tinsel Monica Ade-Williams and Reginald Okoh.
  • In Chuck, Bryce Larkin is killed at the end of Season 2, and Emmett Millbarge at the beginning of Season 3. Stephen Bartowski at the end of season 4 as well.
    • In Season 5, CIA representative Clyde Decker gets killed off, too.
  • As of Castle's third season finale, Commissioner Montgomery.
  • Game of Thrones: Episode 9 left many viewers (save those who read the novel) in complete and utter disbelief. You know exactly who.
  • Primeval is fond of this. To date, the show has killed Captain Ryan, Stephen Hart, main character Nick Cutter, Sarah Page, Helen Cutter, Christine Johnson, Oliver Leek, loads and loads of minor and Victim of the Week characters, and, technically, Claudia Brown.
  • In Boy Meets World, Shawn Hunter's father Chet dies in season 6.
  • So far Damages has really enjoyed using this on both its guest stars and main characters with only three of the major characters from the first season still alive at the end of season 3 (and one of them in prison for murder). So far David Connor, Ray Fiske, Gregory Molina, George Moore, Uncle Pete, Rick Messer, Agent Harrison, Marylin and Louis Tobin, Danielle and Tessa Marchetti and Patty's unnamed main body guard have all had major roles in the seasons they've been in, bit the bullet and not come back save for an occasional flashback.
  • The Vampire Diaries has seen the deaths of Tanner, Zach, Logan, Vicki, Bree, Grams, Ben, Harper, Pearl, Anna, Mayor Lockwood, Mason Lockwood, Rose, Luka, Jonah, Isobel's suicide, Jenna, John, Jules and Greta.
  • King Uther on Merlin
  • Vincent Nigel-Murry on Bones.
    • Also the Gravedigger.
  • Both Boris and Will in Young Dracula
  • In Being Human (UK), not only does Mitchell get staked at the end of series 3, but by the opening of the fourth series Nina is pronounced dead off screen after being killed by vampires and George later dies from kidney and heart failure from forcing himself to transform and is seen going through the door to the other side to be reunited with Nina, but not before naming his newborn daughter "Eve."
  • Over the course of two seasons, The Walking Dead has built up to the deaths of two main characters: Dale, whose demise symbolized the moral corruption of the group as a whole, and the main antagonist of the second season, Shane.
  • In Death in Paradise, with Ben Miller leaving the show, the writers killed off DI Poole. It being a cozy mystery series, the remaining cast (and The New Guy) naturally are left with the task of solving his murder.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

Theatre[edit | hide]


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Loads of Bionicle characters, including Lhikan, Matoro, Botar, "Ancient", Carapar, Zaktan, Icarax, Mutran, Gorast, Panrahk, Guurahk, Bitil, Chirox, Antroz, Krika, Vamprah, "Guardian", Kodan, Sidorak, Nidhiki, Krekka, Reysa, Jovan, Nikila, Nocturn, Gadunka, Ihu, Kojol and Teridax.


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • After coming Back from the Dead some 20 times over the course of the Castlevania series, Dracula is destroyed for good in the beginning of the game Aria of Sorrow. He tries to reincarnate, but Soma Cruz (the would-be reincarnation) wants nothing to do with it, and thus Dracula stays dead. People argue about to what level Soma is Dracula, but it's kind of a meaningless argument, as the games following it are all set before Aria.
    • And the event in question hasn't been put into a game yet!
  • Final Fantasy VII is popular for the sad, emotional death of one of your main party members Aerith, where she is suddenly stabbed right through her back by the main villain Sephiroth. Although there are many rumours about resurrecting Aerith in some way created by fans, the only way to do so is through some cheating device (which invariably messes up your game anyway). May be spoilers but... surely you've heard of this by now.
    • Aerith is able to communicate beyond the grave, however, in her spirit form. She can even use Limit Breaks beyond the grave. And cure cancer.
    • Zack and Angeal similarly are dead for good, though only the former can communicate beyond the grave.
    • Despite Aerith's death being the most popular permanent death of a party member in Final Fantasy games, the very first such death in the series dates back to Final Fantasy II, in which Minwu makes a Heroic Sacrifice. In fact, for a large part of Final Fantasy II the 4th party slot existed solely to accommodate a character whose job was to die in some heroic fashion for the sake of the 3 main characters at some point. There were so many that a party could have been formed from the dead which, in the Final Fantasy II GBA and PSP remakes, actually happens.
    • In Final Fantasy IV, Tellah dies after casting the ultimate magic Meteo to defeat Golbez. In a title positively dripping with Unexplained Recoveries, this is a little jarring.
    • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, a number of characters can be Killed Off for Real if you screw up. In Rydia's Tale, Calca and Brina will, after glitching due to magic, be scrapped in order to repair the airship, unless you get the Mythril parts. In Edge's tale, All fo the ninja under Edge will die for real if you die during their mission before meeting back up with Edge. Time for some Save Scumming! And in the final chapter, It's possible to lose Golbez forever.
    • In Final Fantasy VI Shadow can die for real if you don't wait for him on the floating continent.
      • Also, General Leo is killed off for real in a cut scene after the first and only time you get to use him as a party member.
    • Final Fantasy V features Galuf, killed by the villain Exdeath. However levelling him up all this time is not in vain, as he imparts all his knowledge into another character who takes his place.
    • Final Fantasy X sets you up to think this is going to happen to Yuna. In the end, Yuna lives (obviously, since she's the star of the sequel), but both Tidus and Auron really do die for real. Well, Auron was already dead, but he still sorta counts. Although, the perfect ending of both FFX and FFX 2 shows Tidus apparently alive and well. The FFX 2 one even shows Yuna reuniting with him.
      • Tidus is an animated dream of several dozen dead people, so technically, he was never really "alive" to begin with. Though this depends on What Measure Is a Non-Human?.
  • This is built into the gameplay of Fire Emblem. If one of your units reaches zero hitpoints, they die and are unusable for the remainder of the game, unless they happen to be important to the plot in which case they are merely "wounded" but still are unusable.
    • A few have subverted it, though. Fire Emblem Gaiden had resurrection springs (though reaching one was a sidequest in itself); more recent ones have had resurrection staves... though they have limited irreplaceable charges, so if you run out, anyone else who dies is still dead forever.
    • Similarly, Final Fantasy Tactics has party members die for real if they are not revived after 3 turns when their HP hits zero. This also counts as an instant game over if Ramza is killed. Guest units are simply knocked out instead of dying unless the mission conditions state otherwise.
      • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance eases up on the concept of party members dying for real, restricting true death to Jagds where party members can die if they are not revived before the battle ends. This is explained in the story where judges and the laws prevent death and the Jagds are places where laws cannot exist, thus people can truly die and only the most hardened clans are willing to have battles in those areas.
  • The Phantasy Star series also exhibits this with respect to main characters:
    • In Phantasy Star II, Nei is either killed by NeiFirst completely overpowering her or dies after killing NeiFirst due to them being part of the same original being - even the Clone Shop says that nothing can be done. Subverted in the Sega Ages remake - after completing a process that can only be described as Guide Dang It on a MASSIVE scale, Nei is resurrected without fanfare at the Clone Shop as if it was a normal combat death.
    • In Phantasy Star IV, Alys Brangwin is hit by, declines from, and permanently dies due to saving the main protagonist Chaz Ashley from the Dark Energy Wave. It is specifically mentioned that healing techniques do nothing to help as her health declines.
  • Tekken has several cases of this, especially after the time skip and Ogre attacked and absorbed several characters' abilities, with suspicions that he killed them for good. But most characters later were brought back in the latter installments, thereby setting up that the only one Killed Off for Real were Jun Kazama and the original King. Not to worry, they got their successors all right (Asuka and the second King).
    • Armor King was another case where at first, he's thought to be Killed Off for Real outside the Ogre interference (Marduk killed him), but he reappeared in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. However, his personality is rather different, raising predictions whether Armor King really came Back from the Dead, or it's Armor King's successor and the first Armor King was really Killed Off for Real.
      • Tekken 6 reveals that the Armor King who attacked Craig is the brother of the original Armor King; he even used the same outfit and stage name alongside his brother at the same time.
    • Kunimitsu was supposedly killed off for real by Yoshimitsu in Tekken 2, although there's no official Word of God.
    • The official statement (see here) is that only King I (killed by Ogre) and Armor King I (dying from some disease he picked up around the time of Tekken 2, later killed in a bar brawl by Marduk pre-Tekken 4) kicked the bucket. Jun is apparently just hiding (she's set to return in the non-canon Tekken Tag Tournament 2), as is Kunimitsu (maybe).
  • Zato-1 from Guilty Gear. His voice actor died, and they didn't want to use anyone else for the character, so they killed him off. Doesn't stop people from saying he should return. Conveniently, his character story involved being menaced by a psychic parasite he gained as part of a bargain to trade his eyesight for power, so they had said parasite kill him and take over his body, writing him out of the story but keeping his moveset and sprite in the game.
    • The death of this same voice actor (Kaneto Shiozawa) also necessitated the killing off of another his characters, Rival Schools' Hyo Imawano at the end of Project Justice.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has a character named Vamp who, no matter how many times he'd seemingly "die," he always comes back to life. Metal Gear Solid 4 explained this as a result of nanomachines enhancing his already powerful healing factor, and once Snake disables them with a syringe, Raiden is able to kill him off for good.
  • In Persona 3, Shinjiro Aragaki bites it a mere month after he joins your party. And so does Junpei's love interest, Chidori (though in the FES version of the game, it is possible to resurrect her). And in the very end, the Main Character sacrifices his life to save the world.
    • It's also possible to save Shinjiro in the PSP version.
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, a game in which the main characters make up an army-based squad of people with supernatural powers, two of whom who have the ability to bring recently-deceased squadmates back from the dead provided that they maintain visual contact, has both Simone Cole and Xavier Jones being killed off (extremely horribly) towards the end of the game, when the Firstborn decides to blow them into bloody pieces, with no chance of revival even remotely possible.
  • Steel Battalion does this WITH THE PLAYER. The game is so determined to present the most realistic mecha combat simulation possible, that there is no way to resume a game after you die; when your mech is close to blowing up, you are given ample chances to eject. If you don't, and your character dies, it ERASES YOUR SAVE.
  • Zero, throughout the entire Mega Man X series, has been killed and resurrected several times already. However, at the end of the Zero series, he is never coming back, with a Heroic Sacrifice that will last.
  • Tassadar, in the original StarCraft, dies to save the galaxy from the original Zerg Overmind. It is completely real, as far as video games go: he gives a stirring speech to those who will live on after him, to remember what was done there that day, which is then followed by the cinematic of him effectively blowing himself up via his awesome psionic abilities, and taking the Overmind with him. In sequel games, the death is so complete that the Protoss change their usual greeting of "An'taro Adun," which effectively means "May Adun protect you," to "An'taro Tassadar." If he were brought back, it would destroy half the Starcraft canon.
    • In the sequel, it seems that Blizzard has managed to do just this without ruining the canon. Tassadar comes back just long enough to warn Zeratul of the impending apocalypse in the capacity that Obi-wan does in Star Wars, as a sort of Force ghost, or Khala ghost, as it may be.
    • Many other characters are also killed, most of them in the Brood Wars expansion and some in official (or authorized) side campaigns. Other than obviously the Overmind (and the new Overmind formed to replace it); these include Raszagal, Gerard DuGalle(suicide), Edmund Duke, Fenix (died, came back, then Killed Off for Real), Aldaris, Alan Schezar, probably Ulrezaj, Atticus Carpenter, Edullon, Jack Frost and EVERY ZERG CEREBRATE. Most of these are unlikely to come back, however it is not impossible as Fenix came back once before dying again, and it turns out Alexei Stukov is definitely Back from the Dead. Even so, the only ones likely to come back are the cerebrates...and probably not the same ones. Other characters also die in other media, such as the novels.
  • While a few characters in the Warcraft series have cheated death such as Medivh, many others have been Killed Off for Real. King Llane, Blackhand, Gul'dan, Anduin Lothar, Ogrim Doomhammer, King Terenas, Uther the Lightbringer, Grom Hellscream, Tichondrius, Mannoroth, and Archimonde from the RTS games have all died in ways to show that they likely won't be coming back, even with all the resurrection and necromancy present in the series. Llane had his heart ripped out, Blackhand had his head cut off, Gul'dan was torn apart by demons, Lothar and Doomhammer both died on the battlefield (not the same battle), Terenas and Uther were both slain by Arthas with Frostmourne, Hellscream died in a Heroic Sacrifice, Tichondrius was permanently killed by Illidan after Illidan absorbed the Skull of Gul'dan's power, Mannoroth was killed by Hellscream's aforementioned Heroic Sacrifice (and his skeleton has been made into a memorial dedicated to Hellscream), and Archimonde was disintegrated by the released power of the World Tree. And that's not even covering the characters permanently killed by the players in World of Warcraft. Although Gul'dan's soul "lived on" within his skull.
    • In the Wrathgate event of World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon and Dranosh Saurfang are killed off for real. With Wrath's new "phasing" technology it's now possible to kill NPCs off for real for any individual player by changing the way they interact with the game world. This happens to a number of NPCs in several quest lines, after which they are never encountered again by that player and other NPCs will refer to them in the past tense. (Although they can still be not-yet-killed from another player's perspective.)
      • As of the most recent patch, neither were actually Killed Off for Real. Saurfang returns as a Tragic Monster boss, Deathbringer Saurfang, in the Lich King's dungeon, and while we have yet to see Bolvar, he appears to be suffering a Fate Worse Than Death at the hands of the Lich King.
        • Technically Saurfang the younger was killed off for real, but was raised as an undead abomination. With his destruction, he is very much killed off for real. As for Bolvar, the final cinematic reveals his burnt, tortured body is trapped between life and death due to a mix of the plague and the life-bringing flames of the red dragonflight. Oh, and he becomes the new Lich King, doomed to pull back on the leash of the scourge for all eternity. Maybe dying wouldn't have been so bad?
      • As of Cataclysm, still more NPCs have been killed off for real. The one most likely to hit home? The Grimtotem clan took advantage of a duel to assassinate Cairne Bloodhoof and try to pin it on Garrosh Hellscream
  • The MMORPG Shaiya does this to players playing on Ultimate Mode. While you have access to the most powerful weapons and equipment on that difficulty level, if you don't get revived by an ally within three minutes of your character's death, that character's data is erased, and you have to start all over.
    • There is actually an AP item (premium item that you have to pay REAL money for) called "Character Revival". It costs 7500 AP. The exchange rate of AP to USD is approximately 100:1 (i.e., it'll cost you $75). However, seeing as how you have to reach level 40 on both Normal and Hard mode (no mean feat, if you don't use AP items and have a life outside of playing the game) to be able to create an Ultimate mode character in the first place AND it takes 4x the normal XP to level such a character, it may be worth it.
  • In Mass Effect, on Virmire, Shepard has to leave either Kaidan or Ashley behind as a nuke goes off. Wrex can be killed earlier in the mission if you fail to secure his loyalty. BioWare has explicitly said that the dead party member(s) will not return in the sequels, potentially solidifying the series' listing under this trope.
    • In Mass Effect 2, one ending kills off Commander Shepard permanently. Save files with this ending will not be able to be used in Mass Effect 3.
    • Mass Effect 2's final dungeon requires a coordinated attack using your entire squad, in which you must assign characters to perform certain tasks (hacking a door, leading a squad, etc). Picking the wrong characters for certain roles will get them permanently killed off.
    • Obviously, characters who died in the first two games don't appear in Mass Effect 3. Of the squadmates who can survive through to the third game, two (Thane and Legion) are guaranteed to die no matter what choices you pick, one (Mordin) can only survive if another squadmate (Wrex) is dead or killed, and several others (Jack, Miranda, Tali, Grunt, Samara) can die depending on the choices you make. Additionally, Shepard dies in all of the endings except for one variant of the "Destroy" ending.
  • The Flash-based platformer You Only Live Once is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. If you die once, it's game over. Try to continue, and you'll just get several cutscenes showing your girlfriend finding your body, calling an ambulance, a news report of your death, etc. Keep reloading the game and it'll just end up showing your grave. You can't play again. (unless you delete two save files from your computer).
  • The game Evil Genius. If one of your henchmen is defeated 3 times, they're gone for good.
  • Most every Roguelike game has this in effect for the player; dying deletes the save for the character, meaning any player death is permanent. Often times in these there are randomized dungeons involved that can very easily lead to player death for something small or impossible to see coming, like a very powerful creature showing up well before the player is ready, or a trap destroying critical pieces of the player's equipment. Slightly subverted in those that have an item (Amulet of Life-Saving in ADOM) that will resurrect the player immediately after death (usually breaking to avoid invulnerability).
  • The upcoming Play Station 3 exclusive Heavy Rain will feature permanent death, even making it possible to have a standard ending with all of the playable characters dying.
    • Funnily enough, two of the characters have Plot Armour that doesn't come off until endgame. Those two are Ethan - who can be killed by the police or commit suicide - and Shelby - who dies either by getting shoved into a grinder by Jayden, shot by Jayden/Ethan/Lauren or impaled by Madison.
  • After being an immortal villain for almost the entire series up until Resident Evil 5, Albert Wesker turned into a monster and was finally -according to Word of God- killed for good. Word of God also said Resident Evil would definitely never come back to the Playstation, so make of that what you will.
  • In The World Ends With You, all the Players are already dead and are playing the Reaper's Game to win another chance at life. However, Players erased by the Noise are killed off permanently and their entry fee is lost forever. Notable victims of Erasure include Rhyme in the first week (she recovers though), Sota and Nao in the second (as well as that Reaper)) and all three Game Masters (Sho also gets recovers) as well as Megumi.
  • In the Suikoden series, your characters may randomly die for real if defeated in a large-scale war battle.
  • In the PC/SNES Japanese feudal age RPG Inindo, characters on your party will be "injured" if they fall in battle. If you continue to fight with them, falling in battle again will likely result in permanent death.
    • Likewise, potentially playable characters will randomly attack the main character while he rests. Defeating them either results in their surrender, or permanent death.
  • In Tales of Destiny, Leon Magnus spills half the game's plot, just before drowning himself by filling the cave the party is in with floodwaters for no apparent reason. Way to go.
  • In Tales of Legendia, Stella after performing a Heroic Sacrifice and later Fenimore dies too.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Iemon, Tamara, Hencken and, Cathy are killed and later on Frings is killed by replicas. As well as the Six God Generals minus Asch and Dist
  • E-102 Gamma in Sonic Adventure. After the battle with E-101 Beta, he self-terminates himself to free the last trapped bird.
    • This also applies to all Big Bads who are not Robotnik or Metal Sonic.
  • Ratchet and Clank Future A Crack In Time features an impressive deathcount of important characters: Clank's father Orvus, Alister Azimuth, Lord Vorselon, Cassiopeia, Carina and Libra, Pollyx, and Ratchet, though he gets better.
  • In Donkey Kong Country and related games, Wrinkly Kong dies between Donkey Kong Country 3 and Donkey Kong 64. She does remain in the series as a ghost, however.
  • Both Left 4 Dead games treat dying as Death Is a Slap on The Wrist since dead players can come back later on in a closet, the next map, or be revived with a Magical Defibrillator. Dying in a finale makes you dead for good since there's no closets for you to come back in. Realism and VS mode also enforce the trope.
    • Also, Bill sacrificing himself to raise a drawbridge so the others could escape at the end of the first game. You find his corpse in the second game, and there is no way to bring him back.
  • In Sam and Max, Max himself dies in The Devil's Playhouse due to the events of the final episode. Specifically, he was transformed into a giant Cthulhu-rabbit hybrid in the fourth episode, and at the end of the fifth episode, before Max can be turned back to normal, he gets impaled by a nuclear bomb and teleports off the planet before it can go off. Despite being the perfect set-up for a Grand Finale, Max's time-travel paradox duplicate from season 2 re-appears soon after Maxthulhu's death, implying more adventure.
    • The current body count for that episode also includes everyone caught in said nuclear explosion, which would be Sal, Sammun-Mak, General Skunka'pe, and Girl Stinky.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Isara dies on the Marberry shore, after her latest invention, the smoke shells, save her squad. Stupidly, Isara and many other characters who were in fact killed off for real, such as Selvaria, are secret unlockables in Valkyria Chronicles
  • Any non main spirits that fall in battle in Eien no Aselia are killed off. Main spirits result in a game over. On the first playthrough, Kouin and Kyouko are killed off and can be in later playthroughs as well if you don't do the third chapter exactly right.
  • Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity had Shadow Man escape from every battle until his last battle. He falls off the kite and dies with an offscreen explosion.
  • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, this is highly implied to be the case with Ganondorf, as he hasn't appeared in any of the Wind Waker timeline sequels, only being a mere mention.
  • Dummied Out in Star Wars: The Old Republic, at least in regards to companion characters, for game balance reasons.
  • Wingmen who get killed in Tachyon the Fringe stay dead. The exception is the JASPER robots, who are mass-produced and replaceable.
  • The Escape Velocity and X-Universe series feature play modes whereby the player gets Killed Off For Real if he dies (you can't reload your save because the game deletes it), called "Strict Play" and "Dead-Is-Dead" in their respective series.
  • Shandra Jerro in Neverwinter Nights 2.
  • Turned into a core game mechanic in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume. Activating the titular item maxes out a character's stats, at the cost of having them die permanently at the end of the battle.
  • Several characters die in BlazBlue, but due to the Groundhog Day Loop the game takes place in, no-one stays dead. There are, however, two exceptions to this: Nu-13, who dies at the end of Calamity Trigger, and Lambda-11, who performs a Heroic Sacrifice in Continuum Shift's True Ending. As of the True Ending of Continuum Shift, the Groundhog Day Loop is broken, so anyone who dies from here on out dies for good. Given the tone established so far, expect more entries to be added here soon.
  • Arkham City concludes with the death of The Joker. Yes, even despite having Joker Immunity. Even Comissioner Gordon is stunned by the news. Mark Hamill has since tweeted that he had a great time playing the Joker, but he won't be doing so anymore.

Batman: "You know what's funny? Even after everything you did, I still would have saved you." ]]
Joker: "Heh heh heh! You know! That actually is...kind of...funny..."

    • Then Mark Hamill did more work as the Joker and said that he never detailed his retirement from the Joker character even though he widely pronounced it
  • This is Nanako's fate in the worst ending of Persona 4. However, that's only if you really screw up. In every other scenario, she suffers a mere Disney Death.
  • Dark Souls does this a lot of NPCs. Oddly enough, when they die or are killed by you, they die for real despite the Darksign supposedly bringing people back from the dead repeatedly.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Black Belt from Eight Bit Theater. Mostly done out of spite by Clevinger after fans inundated the message boards with theories on how and/or why BB could be revived. The comic solving the issue was titled Now Shut Up.
  • The character Bush was killed near the end of Exploitation Now! She started off as a minor character but after Cerebus Syndrome set became one of the two protagonists.
  • Erfworld example: After Wanda gets the Arkenpliers and reveals its powers of 'decryption', Parson hopes that she can decrypt Bogroll, since he died in a Heroic Sacrifice. This hope is quickly squashed when Wanda points out that his remains "were rather thoroughly obliterated."
  • Angels and demons are told to not have any afterlife in Slightly Damned. Word of God says that the character in question was created completely from the dreamer's imagination, no Back from the Dead involved.
  • Fred Gallagher confirmed the death of Tohya Miho in #1244, a DPD strip:

Yes, yes, Miho is no more, I know.

  • Freddy from Horndog, although he later came back as a zombie.
  • Kairi was killed off in the first season of Ansem Retort. Word of God says if she ever comes back to life, he's officially run out of ideas.
  • Dave Kelly was very fond of this trope in his comics. In Purple Pussy he killed off Shelly Squirrel, and all the characters expected she'd come back since this was just a comic. She didn't. And in his other comic, Living In Grey Town, he had so many important characters killed off willy-nilly that he added in a counter for every time a character died. By the end there were only a handful left.
  • Homestuck appears to be fond of this lately, though because of how many ways there are to come back wrong, it remains to be seen just who all is gone for good. At least Bro has been confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt for now.
    • It Got Worse: The trolls are dying with alarming frequency(Though at least one got better.) and both the kid's and troll's guardians are all officially dead. On the other hand, the fairly generous afterlife offered by the dream bubbles means that death is little more than a minor inconvenience. Though it still equates to putting them on a bus for all narrative purposes.
  • In The Order of the Stick, where as a general rule Death Is Cheap, Lord Shojo was attempted to be resurrected, but apparently he refused to come back (in Dungeons & Dragons, resurrection spell only works if the subject is willing to come back). Similarly, Therkla said she wouldn't come back just before she died. Other characters were killed Deader Than Dead, such as Kubota. Miko is a special case: while there is no in-story proof, the author specifically said she won't come back.
    • We can now add Tsukiko to the list as well—Redcloak just had her own wights kill her and eat her body, and no body means no resurrection.
      • And this came within strips of Redcloak having completely wiped out the Resistance (with the exception of Niu, who escapes).
  • Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton is killed off for real in The Dreamer.
  • Faye Mac Intire from Something Positive, dies quietly in her sleep after skipping a day off work to spend with her loving husband, Fred.
  • Juu from Inhuman. Word of God even stated in the comments for the page "JUU IS DEAD. DEAD. HE IS DEAD. CORPSE. AND HE IS NOT COMING BACK SO DON'T THREATEN TO BEAT ME UP OVER IT."


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Survival of the Fittest: Everybody except the winners of the game and Burton Harris, due to some Body Double antics in Burton's case. He ends up dying anyway. Also. some handlers are fond of putting fake 'Student deceased' messages in their posts when it seems as if the characters have died but are actually alive. (very uncommon though, and it's invariably revealed to not be the case). Also: Maxie Dasai To escape in V3
  • Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog: Penny. Probably Definitely.
    • Subverted or not? Too soon to tell; the clearest Word of God actually states that Joss and the cast and crew want Felicia Day back for the sequel in any capacity; her revival as Penny is neither guaranteed nor ruled out.
  • Donut is shot in the end of Red vs. Blue Recreation (Season 7) and is pronounced dead by Doc in the beginning of Revelation (Season 8).
    • Still no confirmation on whether Tex, Sister, and Lopez are really gone for good, though.
    • Tex in fact fell victim to this twice: the first Tex died along with Alpha-Church when the EMP surged, and the Tex that returned in Revelation was "forgotten" by Epsilon-Church at the end of Season 9 and erased from existence.
  • In Suburban Knights, there's actually a funeral pyre and Really Dead Montage to let the viewer know that Ma-Ti definitely will NOT be coming back.

Critic: I bet you thought he'd come in here and do something funny, but nope! I shot him! He's still lying there on my living room floor...I really should do something about that.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • WITCH killed off quite a few of the lesser villains, such as Tridart and Ember being disposed of by Nerissa when they were no longer needed. In the finale, Tracker is also subsequently impaled and killed.
  • Thanks to Media Watchdogs and the cultural osmosis of a certain comic book trope, being Killed Off for Real in American children's programming is so rare, it's hard for some to grasp. Jet's fate on Avatar: The Last Airbender, despite being tragically obvious, was surrounded by speculation that he somehow survived. They just don't do that in kids' shows! A SciFi.com interview with the program's creators, however, has confirmed this character was indeed Killed Off for Real.
    • In the third season, Combustion Man is also Killed Off For Real.
    • Yue in the first season finale. An odd one, as the excuse for Jet's death not being shown was that the network wouldn't let them show a kid die onscreen - but Yue's death was onscreen, and she was the same age. It might be because Jet's was a violent death, while Yue's looked more like she fell asleep, and she was shown becoming the Moon Spirit immediately after, while Jet was just dead.
    • Also, Zhao and Hahn from the first season.
    • Jet's ambiguous fate is actually lampshaded by Sokka in one of the last episodes, where the gang was watching a play about themselves and saw Jet die. Zuko asks if he really died, and Sokka casually remarks "You know, that was really unclear.".
  • Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons. Moe gets a facelift and becomes handsome, and is awarded a role on a Soap Opera. After reading a new script that says he dies, he retaliates by revealing all of the major plot twists in the show for the next year on air (the show was filmed live, apparently). The director than angrily informs him that his character wasn't being killed off and that that page of the script was a dream sequence.
    • And not parodied with the very "real" (at least in animation terms) deaths of Bleeding Gums Murphy and Maude Flanders. Dr. Marvin Monroe was also apparently dead enough to have a hospital named in his memory (but he got better...) and Hans Moleman has technically died several times due to explosion, motor accident, fire, and pack of hungry wolves, but has yet to have been killed off for real.
      • Dr. Nick Riviera was killed off in The Movie, but he got better and resurfaced later on the TV show.
    • When the hated Poochie is killed off, Krusty signs a legal document swearing that he will never, ever come back. And then he came back in a later Itchy and Scratchy episode as a cameo guest to one of Scratchy's funerals.
    • This trope finally caught up with Mona Simpson, Homer's mother. What makes this death particularly impacting is her successive Not Quite Dead track record in previous episodes.
    • Mob boss Fat Tony dies of a heart attack, but in a Subverted Trope, he was replaced by his identical cousin who also got fat.
    • Frank "Grimey" Grimes is dead and his son confirmed it.
    • Also possibly averted with Lionel Hutz's habit of repeatedly running over Judge Snyder's son. Being repeatedly run over might be enough to kill the Judge's son, but like Mr. Burns in "Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2", his conditions must have been upgraded to alive at the "better" Springfield General Hospital everytime. Because Lionel Hutz, like Troy McClure, was retired when voice actor Phil Hartman was killed off for real by his wife in a murder-suicide, it is not known of Hutz's habit has continued and the Judge's son is always killed, then revived.
  • In The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, while the show's other main villains tended to get the No One Could Survive That treatment in their last episodes—and since the show didn't get a third season, it's probably safe to say that they're gone for real—Ezekiel Rage had an established tendency to cheat death. Therefore, just to be sure, he got sent back to prehistoric times and blown up by a nuclear bomb, leaving a skull behind for good measure. Deader Than Dead? Deader than dead.
  • The Venture Brothers has quite a few, most heartbreakingly 24's death by exploding muscle car.
  • In King of the Hill, quite a few recurring or main characters have been killed off over the years including Luann's first boyfriend Buckley, Buck Strickland's mistress Debbie, Pops Poppaseto, Cotton's war buddy Topsy, and most recently Hank Hill's father Cotton Hill.
  • Transformers as a whole has never shyed away from this.
    • Beast Wars continually killed its cast, despite the fact that Beast Wars characters are a bit hard to kill, as robots they have survived deadly attacks and being blown to bits (in which case they can easily be repaired). Some simply died, in one case to make room for new characters. A surprising number died, were brought back, and died again. Two of them died, were brought back as a fused form of the two, and then died. And two of them died with the possibility that they might return, but didn't.
      • Major characters to permanently die are (in order of death) Terrorsaur, Scorponok, Dinobot, Tarantulas, Rampage, Depthcharge, Tigatron, Airazor (both as Tigerhawk), Inferno, Quickstrike, and Dinobot II. Major characters to survive to the end of the final episode are Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Cheetor, Rhinox, Blackarachnia, Silverbolt, Megatron, and Waspinator.
      • If you count the comics, the list of permanently dead characters is reduced to both Dinobots, Rampage, Tigerhawk, Inferno and Quickstrike.
    • In Transformers Animated Blurr is killed, pretty graphically, for a machine. It's 'possible' he'll come back, but given that his remains were handed over to another character, in convenient crushed-box form, and were immediately dumped down a trash chute...it may be that we have seen the last of him, although his 'spark', or soul, can be partially seen in some shots, so it's might be a Not Quite Dead.
      • Word of God says he won't be back in this season, anyway. And since there are no plans for a fourth one, the Not Quite Dead will have to be left to fanfiction.
      • The finale also killed off Prowl and Starscream. Prowl sacrificed his Spark to save the city, and Starscream's Allspark fragment, the only thing keeping him alive after he was killed by Megatron in "Megatron Rising", was pulled out of his head. To hammer the point home, their bodies turned completely grey, the telltale sign in this series that a Transformer is really dead barring interference from the Allspark itself.
    • Jazz was killed by Megatron in the final battle of the first live-action movie. The Fallen was killed by Optimus at the end of the sequel and every Decepticon (who isn't Megatron) that has been killed has stayed dead so far.
    • The Movie killed off a good chunk of the G1 roster. This didn't stop some of them (Prowl and Wheeljack, most notably) from reappearing in the later Japanese-exclusive Transformers Headmasters and Transformers Victory seasons.
    • Transformers Prime killed off Cliffjumper in the first episode, brought him back as a zombie in the second episode only to die again. Skyquake and Makeshift were also killed in their debut episodes, the former became another zombie while the later is staying dead, because he was too powerful to stay alive. Word of God is that "when we kill a character, we kill a character."
      • Crossfire has added Breakdown to the scrap heap.
  • In Family Guy a few recurring characters such as Mr. Weed, Paddy Tanniger, Vern and Johnny, and Francis Griffin have been killed off. Despite Negative Continuity, any returns are made by their ghosts.
    • Joan Quagmire died on a technicality, having tried to grab Death's hand. As she was married to the "deceased" Glenn Quagmire and having taken his last name, he agreed to take her instead. Being a bit off didn't hurt, either....
    • It was revealed in a Season 6 episode that Joe's son Kevin had died in Iraq. This was done because the writers thought he was boring. However, he came back in the recent Thanksgiving episode (it turned out he had faked his death).
    • Stewie killed his half-brother Bertram in 15th-century Italy, which creates a very odd temporal paradox.
    • In fact, Meg and Peter are the only characters to die and come back to life.
    • In the ninth season premiere, the trailers advertised that someone would die. As it turns out, Muriel Goldman, Derek, Diane Simmons, and one time characters Stephanie and Priscilla were killed off.
    • Jeff in "Screams Of Sielence".
  • In a subversion of the very trope named after him, the Joker eventually got this treatment in the DCAU. Yes, having proven himself as much of a survivor as his counterpart in the comics, every bit the "no one" in No One Could Survive That, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker took the big leap and put him down once and for all - killing him twice in the same movie just to make sure. (In just a bit of a cheat, the event occurs at the far end of the universe-at-large's history, allowing him to show up in stories taking place earlier; Justice League took advantage of this.)
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood quite a few of the main characters were killed off like the Hedgehogs, Badger, Mole, Bold, The Great White Stag, Sinuous and quite a few others.
  • South Park
    • Unless Isaac Hayes is somehow reanimated in real life, Chef is likely gone for good, despite his "Darth Chef" remaking.
    • Inverted with Kenny. He was killed off for real but they decided to randomly bring him back in "Red Sleigh Down", one season after his deaths.
    • Other recurring characters to have died over the years include Ms. Choksondik, Ms. Crabtree, the mayor's aide named Ted, and most recently Pip.
  • B'wana Beast, Ted Kord, the original Black Canary, and the entire Doom Patrol are all killed off during the three season run of Batman the Brave And The Bold. The deceased heroes do appear in the show's Grand Finale, but only as part of a Fourth Wall-breaking wrap party that shows the entire cast together one last time before everything fades to black.
  • In Winx Club they have killed off the main villains of season 2, 3 and 4 at the end of those seasons. In addition to this, we lost Nabu in season 4.
  • At the end of the Superman: The Animated Series two-parter "Apokolips Now", after Darkseid's invasion of Earth is thwarted and just before he leaves he murders Superman's friend Metropolis Police Inspector Dan Turpin with his Omega Beams in front of Superman and a crowd of onlookers. Some fans hoped Turpin was just teleported to Apokolips like Kalibak had been after he got apparently zapped, but it seems he's gone for good.
  • The Boondocks Season 1: "Granddad's Fight." The karmic fate of life-long, Five-Star Magnificent Bastard Colonel H. Stinkmeaner, who effectively gets his ass handed to him by Robert Freeman in an ironic Curb Stomp Battle: Stinkmeaner had beaten up Freeman in an argument over a parking spot, and the entire episode revolves around Huey making him out to be a version of a blind assassin, and Robert training for a rematch. It turns out Stinkmeaner was just a crotchety old man who got lucky. Unfortunately, he's such a temporal Jerkass, absolutely nobody realizes this until Robert pulverizes him. The beating is so bad, Stinkmeaner ends up stone-cold dead with a solid punch to the face. Feeling remorseful at his grave, Robert prays to God for forgiveness the end of the episode.
    • Although dead, Stinkmeaner makes one hell of a return in Season 2: "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back"- literally. Stinkmeaner has been sent to hell after death, but now proves he can seriously fight back- by pummeling his way through every demon who steps up to challenge him. Satan himself is so marveled at Stinkmeaner's badass exposition, he sends him back to Earth to spread ignorance and chaos among the black community, also giving him the opportunity to seek revenge against the Freeman family. As a ghost, he posesses Tom Dubois and trashes most of his house. After Uncle Rucks and Riley fail miserably at exorcising Stinkmeaner, Ghostface Killah's spirit shows up and clues Huey in to the solution: put Stinkmeaner at peace by having Ruckus spout off about how he hates black people, a hate Stinkmeaner firmly shares with him. Moments later, he's exorcised and sent right back to hell.
    • In yet another Stinkmeaner-related episode, death strikes again, this time nailing Bushido Brown, via on-screen decapitation during his fight in Season 3: Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy". The Colonel apparently palled around with a group of disgruntled elderly, nigh-crazy jerkasses who formed the Hateocracy, a gang that wreaked havoc within the walls of a nursing home. The members of the gang show up to curbstomp the Freeman family in what looks like a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, so the Freemans hire Bushido as their equally jerkass bodyguard, who actually holds off the Hateocracy- until he catches a spinning disk of doom to the neck. The Freeman family's reaction? A group "OH, SHIIIIT!".
      • It gets more bizarre when Stinkmeaner's name comes up. Robert tries to reason with the Hateocracy to leave them alone and forget revenge, and they reveal they couldn't care less about the deceased Colonel- they're just ruining lives for the hell of it. Luckily, an army of cops shows up in the nick of time to cart off the unruly trio. Taking a jab of his own at his ungrateful cohorts, Stinkmeaner's ghost, who has been narrating on and off throughout the episode, hangs a cynical lampshade on his fate over his old pals: He thinks death and hell are better than being in jail!
  • Warhok and Warmonga from Kim Possible were confirmed by Word of God to be dead for real after Ron used his Mystical Monkey Powers to throw them into their own ship after they threatened to kill Kim, after which the ship exploded exploded. They're about the only villains in the series to be killed for real... Except perhaps for Monkey Fist.
  • In Powerpuff Girls this possibility arises with Dick Hardly, a one-episode villain of "Knock It Off", who, within the episode, cemented himself as probably one of the most evil villains on the show, may actually have been the only human villain to die, considering that, after his episode, him and his various PPG knockoffs (which were the ones that did him in) were never seen again.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Eventually, all of us.