Unspoken Plan

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Common setup to set A Simple Plan or Zany Scheme in motion while keeping the audience in suspense as to how exactly it will play out.

A character will announce, "I know exactly what to do! Now listen...", then will turn away from the camera to whisper the details into the ears of his co-conspirators, even if nobody outside that group has the slightest hope of hearing it. Alternatively, if the necessary co-conspirator is not already in the scene, we will cut to the planner and conspirator together just as the planner says, "And that's my plan," implying that we've just missed a detailed explanation.

The success of such a plan is assured by the Unspoken Plan Guarantee.

Examples of Unspoken Plan include:

Anime and Manga

  • This occurs in Gakuen Alice, when Mikan discusses a plan with her robot double, Amanatsu.
  • Happens in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! during an episode where Bun decides to go on a crime-spree to prevent the only cop in town from being fired.
    • Dedede and Escargon do this to each other quite often as well.


  • Done in most novels of The Dresden Files, usually by Harry saying something like "I explained the plan to Murphy." Plans like this usually involve someone asking him if he's lost his mind. Justified, however, since reading about all the crazy plotting and action before it all happens wouldn't be very exciting.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet novel Invincible, Geary and Desjanis discuss her plan, the danger inherent in it, and how it's the best plan without giving any details of what it calls for. When Rione asks what they are trying to do, Geary says trying to get the aliens to do what they want them to.

Live Action Television

  • A favorite on Saved by the Bell and Recess. Seems to be more common on shows aimed at younger audiences.
  • Also subverted on The Young Ones, where a character announces his plan, and then the characters huddle to make whispering noises about it. After the huddle, the planner asks, "Got it?", to which someone replies, "Yeah, we go 'Psst, psst, psst' - great plan!"
  • The Voyager cliffhanger "Unimatrix Zero" involves an unspoken plan which several characters think is nuts, and indeed, it seems to go spectacularly wrong. But then Chakotay says "So far, so good", letting us know the plan isn't actually over yet. We get to see the rest in part two.


  • In Utopia Limited, an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, the wisemen plot to overthrow the king's company, but do all their plotting by whisper, concluding, "At last a capital plan we've got/ We won't say how and we won't say what:/ It's safe in my noddle —/ Now off we will toddle,/ And slyly develop this capital plot!"

Video Games

Red Mage: And now that I've explain my plan in full, nothing can possibly go wrong.

    • We have yet to see whether this plan will crash and burn.
      • Given that following through with the plan gave Sarda the powers of the four elemental orbs, the four Fiends, and Black Mage's doppelganger, and turned him into a fearsome looking demon, it failed miserably. Like usual.
      • Technically, they did manage to get rid of Sarda. The only problems are, a) this was entirely by accident, and b) now Chaos has entered the world and wants to hurt them...in short, everything went wrong, but the plan succeeded. Slightly. For a given value of "succeeds".

Web Original

  • Subverted in Red vs. Blue by Caboose's plan while he and Sarge are stuck in Battle Creek

Caboose: I have a plan Sargeant, but we will have to move quick. Listen: whisper whisper whisper do you think that will work.
Sarge: That's your plan? All you said was "whisper whisper whisper."

Western Animation

  • Subverted on Family Guy: Peter announces his plan, then we cut to Peter saying "And that's my plan," in the principal's office of the local high school. The principal's response is, "What plan? You just came in here, sat down, and said, 'And that's my plan.'"
    • And then double subverted when we get a similar cut, and the principal now knows the plan.
  • Done on every episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. If you listen closely, you can hear what Velma's saying: "So here's what we're gonna do, okay?..."
  • Subverted, again, on Futurama in the episode "Mars University."

Leela: What we should do is... (Leela, Fry, and Farnsworth all lean in while she covers her mouth and whispers.)
Farnsworth: (puts his hand to his ear) What?
Leela: I said, we'll go to the jungle and let Gunter decide once and for all.
Farnsworth: (puts his hand to his ear) What?

Boris: Here's what we'll do. (mumbles to Natasha) *pogarogapogarogapogaroga*
Natasha: I'm sorry Boris, I can't understand a word you're saying.
Boris: (sigh) I said Poga-Roga Poga-Roga Poga-Roga!
Natasha: That's what I thought you said.
Boris: You think I'm going to let every Tom, Dick and Gordon in on the plot?

Dale: (On cell phone)Help! I'm being held hostage! I need you to *whispers into phone*
Hank: (On other end of the line) Dale, you're just going "pst, pst, pst" into the phone.
Dale: (Panicked) Well, I can't think of anything!