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A strange mixture of Saved by Canon and Doomed by Canon, and a subtrope of Foregone Conclusion.

A character in a prequel has the ultimate, most durable Plot Armor of all:

he/she can't die...

...because he/she dies in the original movie/game/comic/show/book/episode.

Thus, the character is destined to survive everything the prequel throws at him/her, simply because we saw/read with our own eyes how that character dies.

This trope usually generates the Eight Deadly Words, since it's hard to get invested in a character that is unable to die before his destined death.

Examples of Can't Die Before Getting Killed include:

Anime and Manga

  • Frieza can't die in The Father of Goku because he is killed by Goku during the events of Dragon Ball. Dragon Ball Super: Broly renders this OVA non-canon, but the end result is the same: Frieza can't die during the flashback scenes of Broly because Frieza is eventually killed by Goku during the Namek Saga.
  • One Piece: Ace can't die in the flashback Gray Terminal arc since we have seen him die in the present day in the Marineford War arc.


  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi can't die in the Prequel Trilogy because they all die in the Original Trilogy
    • Han Solo can't die in Solo because he dies in the Sequel Trilogy.
    • Remember the hallway scene in Rogue One? Darth Vader wasn't in any danger, since he dies in Return of the Jedi.
  • Gollum and Saruman can't die in the Hobbit trilogy, because they both die in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • Gellert Grindewald can't die in the Fantastic Beasts movies because he is killed by Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Same thing for Albus Dumbledore, who appears in the second Fantastic Beasts movie and dies in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Likewise, Nagini, who also appears in the second Fantastic Beasts movie, can't die because she is killed by Neville Longbottom in Deathly Hallows. Furthermore, Nicolas Flamel cannot die because he ultimately chooses death at the end of Philosopher's Stone.
  • As we have already seen Father Merrin die in The Exorcist, we know he can't die in the prequels Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.
  • Ronan the Accuser, Korath the Pursuer and Nick Fury are all destined to survive Captain Marvel. Ronan and Korath both die in Guardians of the Galaxy, while Nick Fury falls victim to Thanos' infamous fingersnap in Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Black Widow can't die in Black Widow because she dies in Avengers: Endgame.


  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, Queen Jadis the White Witch can't die in The Magician's Nephew because she dies in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • In Russian Roulette, Yassen Gregorovitch cannot die because he dies as an adult in Eagle Strike.

Live-Action Television

  • Any character who dies in the "present day" of Once Upon a Time is unable to die during the flashback scenes set in the Enchanted Forest and places other than Storybrooke or Hyperion Heights.
  • Similarly, any character who dies in the 'present day' of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or some time between the post-WWII 1940's time period when Agent Carter is set and the present day, cannot die in the Agent Carter series.
  • In its later seasons, Highlander The Series had a number of episodes featuring flashbacks (some of them Whole-Episode Flashback such as 'The Stone of Scone') where Duncan MacLeod teams with his friend Hugh 'Fitz' Fitzcairn. We know that Fitz is safe in all of them, since we'd already seen Fitz die in the present day during season 2.
  • In season 2 of Better Call Saul during the fourth episode ("Gloves Off"), Nacho Varga offers Mike Ehrmantraut money in exchange for assassinating his former criminal associate, the drug distributor and user Tuco Salamanca. Those familiar with Breaking Bad (to which this series is a prequel) already know Mike won't succeed, since they'd already seen Tuco meet his end after a confrontation with Hank Schrader early on in Breaking Bad's second season (in the episode entitled "Grilled"). And of course, any other character we've seen die in Breaking Bad will similarly survive any dangerous situations they may find themselves in in Better Call Saul.

Video Games

  • Any characters who die in the Harry Potter book series cannot die in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, set roughly a decade earlier. This includes Nymphadora Tonks, Fred Weasley, Cedric Diggory, Dobby, Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Alastor Moody, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew/Scabbers.
  • One of the "defeat" conditions for a later chapter in Part I of Fire Emblem: Three Houses is if Jeralt falls in battle, because he's killed by Monica von Ochs (really Kronya of those who slither in the dark in disguise) just after the chapter ends.

Western Animation

  • The upcoming show Gremlins: Secret of the Mogwai is about Wing as a little kid and his first adventures with Gizmo. Since Wing dies of old age in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, he is destined to survive all the events of the cartoon show.
  • The Joker can't die in Justice League because he dies during the non-future scenes of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (which take place after the events of Justice League).
  • Clu can't die in Tron: Uprising because he dies in Tron: Legacy
  • Related to the instance mentioned in the Film folder, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi can't die in Star Wars: The Clone Wars because the four of them die in the Original Trilogy, and Count Dooku, General Grievous and Padmé Amidala cannot die in The Clone Wars because they die in Revenge of the Sith. Likewise, Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin and Saw Gerrera can't die in Star Wars: Rebels (Vader and Tarkin die in the Original Trilogy, and Saw Gerrera dies in Rogue One).
  • Ursula can't die in The Little Mermaid: The Series because she dies in the original movie.
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