Pluto Is Expendable
"What is this, a model of Pluto? That planet doesn't even exist anymore, you moron!"
—Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb
Pluto has become the Butt Monkey of the solar system. Want to get someone's attention? Show that things are serious? That a villain can put his money where his mouth is? Screw the status quo! This time, change is happening, and it's something big! Something cosmic! Something on a large-scale level that would shock the world if it happened in Real Life! A change that will alter the universe! ... Er, well, at least the galaxy... The solar system?
Wait! What about one of those planets floating around the edge of the solar system? That insignificant, dark, icy one with one giant and four minuscule satellites — no one will miss that. It wasn't even important enough to be called a real planet. What was its name again?
Never mind. Let's blow it up!
The reason Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet is based on the 2006 formalization of the definition. To qualify, an astronomical body has to have four characteristics: (1) It's in orbit around a star or stellar remnant; (2) be big enough to be spherical from its own gravity; (3) it's not too big that thermonuclear fusion has begun (in other words, it's not a star); and (4) has cleared its orbit of all similar-sized objects. Pluto fails the fourth criterion as it is very similar in size, composition, and orbit to hundreds of other objects in a region of space called the Kuiper Belt.
See also Throwaway Country.
Anime and Manga
- Sailor Moon: Pluto hasn't exactly had the most comfortable career as a Sailor; it gets lonely guarding the Gates of Time after a few centuries. Fanfic also shows she didn't take Pluto's demotion very well...
- Suburban Senshi is an excellent example—the corollary chatroom even has "Pluto" filtered to its numerical designation.
- In another fanfic, Pluto finds out about her planet getting demoted and has a near royal fit only to be calmed down when Sailor Moon promises to promote her planet back to its original status in a thousand years when Crystal Tokyo is formed.
- In Getter Robo Armageddon, when a Negative Space Wedgie gets formed in the final moments of the series, Pluto naturally gets sucked in.
- Of course, this is right after the Getters had just destroyed Jupiter and three of its moons with THE Getter Tomahawk.
- Averted in Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato. When the crew discovers an enemy base on Pluto, they consider using the Wave Motion Gun on it, but the captain vetoes use of the superweapon because Pluto harbors primitive native organisms which the heroes have no right to destroy. Of course, later in the series, the evil Comet Empire shows off its muscle by destroying the Moon.
- Horrifyingly subverted in Hellstar Remina, as the titular Planet Eater Cosmic Horror may eat it first, but then proceeds in a few weeks to eat every other planet in turn (including Jupiter, despite it being much larger than Remina), from outermost to innermost... And then it gets to Earth...
- In Dragonaut the Resonance Pluto is destroyed when the Eldritch Abomination Thanotos plows right through it on it's way to Earth.
- In the Our Worlds At War DC Comics miniseries, Brainiac manages to take over Pluto, hollow it out, and turn it into a brand new Warworld. All without being noticed by the many and various interstellar agencies on Earth, Darkseid and his lieutenants on Apokolips (somehow relocated to the same solar system by Darkseid's badassery), or Imperiex and his many many miniaturized forms.
- In DC 1,000,000, the future counterpart of Batman converted Pluto into a cosmic asylum for the solar system's worst criminals.
- In the 2008 Virgin Comics revival of the classic 1950's British space hero Dan Dare, written by Garth Ennis, Pluto is destroyed by a "tamed" black hole controlled by Dare's nemesis, the Mekon. Since the series takes place in the "present" of Dan Dare's retroactive alternate history timeline, the destruction may have been a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet status in 2006.
- During the climatic caper of Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the team uses planets in the solar system as their callsigns. Benji, the local Butt Monkey, ends up as Pluto.
- In Chicken Little, if you look very closely at the aliens' map of the Solar System, Pluto appears to be the first to be crossed out. The movie was released just one year before Pluto's demotion.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Before Dishonor: The Borg eat it. This "settles the debate," which had gone back and forth three or four times in the last four hundred years.
- And, from Peter David's earlier novel Imzadi, discussing a high powered ground-to-air weapon:
"Model I blew up during field testing and destroyed half of Pluto. No one cared--it was a boring planet anyway...I'm kidding, Lieutenant."
- Averted in the novelization of Red Dwarf. Humanity decides to turn one of the nine planets into a gigantic rubbish dump, with a Eurovision Song Contest style contest deciding the loser. It comes down to a fight between Earth and Pluto. Earth loses, and becomes a literal Crapsack World.
- In Larry Niven's book World Of Ptaavs, Pluto is set on fire by a spaceship's exhaust flame.
- In Roger MacBride Allen's The Ring of Charon Pluto is used to create a wormhole to a multisystem to which the Earth was abducted.
- The sixth Harry Potter book has Luna Lovegood fighting Death Eaters in a room containing models of several planets. She then uses a Reductor Curse on the model of Pluto to defend herself.
- Turns out there's an alien prison inside Pluto in Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit—Will Travel.
- In Perry Rhodan universe Pluto got destroyed in 3438 as collateral damage in the final showdown of the series' The Cappins story arc. (One of the more classic examples—when that issue was printed and sold, nobody had the slightest clue yet that Pluto's status as a planet would be called into question over thirty years later.)
- Averted in H.P. Lovecraft's works, as Pluto -also known as Yuggoth- is an outpost of the powerful and devious Mi-Go.
Live Action TV
- When Jessie is carrying Emma's model of the solar system (her science fair project), she trips and Pluto falls off. During the judging of the science fair Emma wins, because the judges like that she remembered that Pluto is no longer a planet.
- In the final season of Lexx, Stanley has the Lexx blow up Pluto, largely because it has been over a season since they've blown up any planets, and Lexx is getting antsy. They make a game out of it with Stanley having the Lexx 'snipe' Pluto while near Earth; it doesn't require a full-power shot.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson actually appeared as himself in an episode of Stargate Atlantis, where Rodney McKay proceeded to make fun of him.
McKay: Hey at least I didn't de-classify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil, that make you feel like a big man?
- Likewise, Dr. Tyson appears in Big Bang Theory.
Sheldon: I like Pluto, therefore, I don't like you.
- Nellie McKay sings "As far as I'm concerned, Pluto's still a planet" in "Identity Theft", an ode to nonconformity, from the Obligatory Villagers CD.
- Aesop Rock's "Bring Back Pluto" uses this as its central inspiration.
- The song "I'm Your Moon" by Jonathan Coulton is about this trope in general (and the declassification specifically), from the viewpoint of Pluto's moon Charon. The idea is if Pluto can't be a planet, then Charon and Pluto can just be moons of each other forever... turning the whole thing into a sweet (if bizarre) Love Song.
- The astronomers' decision not to consider Pluto a planet is one more reason to disregard Colin Matthews's irreverent appendix to Gustav Holst's The Planets.
- Reference by Scion when talking about old Hades/Pluto. Hades isn't a happy camper at the downsize of the planet that uses his name.
- In Super Robot Wars W, Pluto has become all but forgotten (foreshadowed in a scene in which Boss can't even remember it's name), until it's revealed that the Big Bad's base is there. To make matters worse, one of the penultimate boss' attacks features it skewering the victim so hard they go through the planet and out the other side.
- Though you can find our solar system in Spore, Pluto isn't part of it.
- In the final battle of Final Fantasy VII, among the many planets destroyed in Sephiroth's ridiculously long attack, Supernova, Pluto is the first.
- If it was destroying planets in order from outer to inner, it might not count as Pluto Is Expendable, but that's not the case. It goes Pluto -> Saturn's rings -> Jupiter -> Crashes into the Sun creating the actual supernova -> Mercury -> Venus -> Earth.
- Averted in Mass Effect. It turns out Pluto's moon was really a Mass Relay making Pluto the Sol's system's main space port and first line of defense. Also, as a side effect of defrosting Charon, Pluto's orbit was circularized - that wasn't enough to give Pluto back "planet" status, though.
- Guess what goes kaboom at the end of Starsiege
- In Super Scribblenauts, you get the "Astronomer" merit if you "decorate the sky with every planet in the solar system". Pluto does not count toward this.
- In My Sims Agents, some of the planets are represented by decorative objects. Part of the description for Pluto says something like "(Well, some of us still believe it's a planet...)"
- Ben 10 Alien Force: An alien Evil Overlord blows it up in a demonstration of what he'll do to Earth if he doesn't get his daughter back.
- And then the Voices of Alien X argue about its status as a (dwarf) planet.
- And more importantly it's never rebuilt.
- Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz enters the science fair and ridicules a boy who is entering a model of Pluto (see the quote at the top of the page). The boy's older brother then gives Doofenshmirtz a shiner.
- The Fairly OddParents: The president has a button that blows up "the planet" in case he became inexplicably evil. By the end of the episode, Cosmo pushes the button just because he can. Cue Pluto's destruction.
Cosmo: "He said THE planet, he didn't say which one."
- Keep in mind that this episode was aired before Pluto was declared a dwarf planet.
- Futurama: Dark matter spill in a penguin sanctuary in Pluto.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003: Michelangelo eats Pluto. Or the doughnut representing Pluto in Donatello's diagram, at least.
Mikey (munching): What? It's Pluto. Who cares about Pluto?
- In Mission Hill, Gus and Wally make a B-grade sci-fi movie about a man from Pluto coming to Earth to get revenge for his planet being blown up.
- In an episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold, Blue Beetle fights the Planet Master, who uses various powers thematically linked to the planets of our Solar System, including the "cold of Pluto". Blue Beetle protests that Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore. Planet Master's response?
- An episode of The Replacements has the family playing a mini golf course, where they must hit the ball past some obstacles, among them a rotating windmill of planets that block a hole. Mr. Daring puts his ball which gets deflected by one of the planets. Riley then tells him it was deflected by Pluto, to which he retorts that it is not even a real planet anymore.
- An episode of Quack Pack was actually about Donald Duck becoming planet-sized and smashing Pluto to pieces because that's where his nephews (all pretending to be superheroes) are hiding. Also, a brief cameo of the other Pluto for extra bonus points.
- Chester A. Bum blows up Pluto with nukes in an installment of Atop the Fourth Wall, just to get the Nostalgia Critic to take him seriously. The Critic is unimpressed. (He got more reaction from blowing up Hollywood, Rome and France.)
- Note that this happened during a "Previously on Atop the Fourth Wall" segment, meaning that the above didn't really happen in the TGWTG universe.
- In a crossover video between Freddie Wong and EPICMEALTIME, one of the things they add to the shot is some planets in the sky. When Pluto pops up, Freddie says "Pluto ain't a planet! Get that outta there!"
- As noted in the intro, Pluto was delisted in 2006 by new standards (new in that before, there were no standards).
- However, if we had known about the Kuiper Belt in 1930, Pluto would never have been called a planet in the first place.
- Inverted with Ceres however. It too was made a dwarf planet because it is the only spherical object in the Asteroid Belt, as with Haumea, Makemake, and Eris since they were all discovered after Pluto was recognized.
- Pluto's reclassification has been averted in Illinois and New Mexico (The home state of the man who discovered Pluto), where the state legislatures have passed laws reclassifying Pluto as a planet. However, this has yet to occur in Arizona, where the discovery was made.
- The arguments on the proper criteria of planethood continue to push back and forth, however.
- Many people and groups had delisted Pluto before the 2005 decision, most prominently the Hayden Planetarium when it reopened in a new building in 2000. Its director, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, has since become a public spokesman in favor of Pluto's non-planethood due to that initial controversy- somewhat ironically and unwillingly since he's an astrophysicist, more concerned with the universe at large.