Greatest Random Out-of-Nowhere Deaths in Science Fiction and Fantasy

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The great thing about science fiction and fantasy is that they're full of surprises — you just never know what the universe will have in store. Like, sometimes, a totally random, surprising, shocking death.


Last week, we celebrated the greatest death scenes in science fiction — but here are some of our favorite totally random, didn't-see-that-coming deaths from science fiction and fantasy.

Russell Franklin from Deep Blue Sea
This is really the perfect example of this trope — Samuel L. Jackson is in the middle of a stirring, awesome speech about how we're going to get our shit together and deal with these killer mutant sharks, and we're not going to fight any more and — chomp. Oh well.

Ilana from Lost
It's especially great because she keeps telling everyone that she knows how to handle explosives, and — oops.

Doc Arzt from Lost
Oh, and speaking of surprising deaths involving explosives... poor Doc Arzt. When you look at it, he actually saves Jack, Locke and the rest from blowing themselves up. He sacrifices himself for the good of the others. (And Lost might have been a very different show if Jack and Locke had blown themselves to smithereens and Arzt had survived — just imagine what kind of Candidate Arzt would have made!)


Clemens in Alien 3
Just when Ripley's found someone to lean on... he randomly gets killed by an Alien and dragged into an air vent. Poor bastard.

Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter series.
We all loved Cedric, who was a stalwart friend and a Quiddich captain, and Harry's worthy opponent in the Tri-Wizard Cup. Until he suddenly snuffs it — the movie version manages to make Cedric's death feel really random and out of nowhere. Way more random than Dumbledore, whose death is pretty telegraphed for quite some time.

Nan on True Blood
True Blood always specializes in randomness, including random sudden death — but it was especially shocking in the case of Nan, because she was a character we'd actually grown to care about. And then she was gone!

Illustration for article titled Greatest Random Out-of-Nowhere Deaths in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Carolyn Fry in Pitch Black
She seems like the co-protagonist of the film, along with Riddick, and she makes it right up to the end — and then she gets it. The first time I saw Pitch Black, this really caught me off guard. Thanks to AngusM for suggesting this!

Donald Gennaro, That Lawyer on the Toilet in Jurassic Park
Poor guy. He doesn't even get a chance to try and reason with the dinosaur. See also: the unfortunate sudden death of Robert Muldoon.

The guy jumping off a building in Kick-Ass
Okay, so the trailers gave this surprise away — but it's still pretty funny. Because he goes splat, just when you think he's about to do something awesome.

Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Sigh. Poor Tara. Just when she and Willow were finally finding happiness, it was all snatched away. Buffy had plenty of shocking out-of-nowhere deaths, like Buffy's mom Joyce. And Anya, in the last episode — although at least that was the last episode, so you sort of knew there would be deaths. Why does Joss Whedon do this?

Wash in Serenity
Speaking of Joss and random deaths... At least Wash gets to go out at his moment of maximum greatness, when he's just proved how amazing he really is. With the flying, and the nerves of steel, and the cool catchphrase. And then — zoink. There's also poor Shepherd Book, but we all sorta saw that one coming.

Ballard on Dollhouse
And rounding out the Whedon trifecta, there's poor Paul Ballard, who finally got to be with the woman he loved, even though his love for her had been scooped out of his brain, but he still was going to make it work, we felt reasonably sure. And then — boom. There's also Summer Glau's random headshot in the previous episode. Basically, a surprising death is never really a surprise in a Joss Whedon show or movie.

The Guy Getting Eaten by the Underground Monster in Big Trouble in Little China
Because it's insane, John Carpenter-style.

Derek Reese on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
He's managed to outsmart those metal bastards on many different occasions, but all of a sudden one of them catches up to him when we least expect it. The Terminator blows Uncle Derek away and barely misses a step.

Bill Murray in Zombieland
To be fair, this one is a celebrity cameo, so it's not too shocking that he doesn't stick around. But it's still a bit startling when Bill bites the dust, and his final regret? Garfield.

The Urban Free Flow Gang in Punisher: War Zone
As a way of subverting the "everybody does parkour across the rooftops" trope in modern action movies, director Lexi Alexander decided to have one of the parkour gangsters explode randomly in mid-air. Because parkour is kind of boring without people going splat.

The Warrior Woman in Mad Max II: The Road Warrior
Virginia Hey's Warrior Woman is one of the most awesome characters in Road Warrior, and it's shocking when she suddenly gets shot with multiple arrows by that evil mohawk dude, on top of the tanker. She's actually wearing sensible armor, unlike a lot of post-apocalyptic badass women, and it still doesn't save her. Alas. You may have to click over to Youtube to watch the video.

Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation
It's a terrible episode, but you have to admit the completely casual death of a main character is pretty amazing. Armus, the Skin of Evil, just puts Yar down like he's swatting a bug. And then taunts Deanna Troi about it for half an hour.

Trip Tucker in Star Trek: Enterprise
Speaking of terrible episodes where someone unexpectedly bites it — you really don't think they're actually going to snuff Trip out in the final episode, even when he does the whole "self-sacrificing" bit. And then... he's gone. WTF? Thanks to Sans_FI for this one.

Dan Turpin in Superman: The Animated Series
Darkseid is really a total dickhead... he's already leaving, but the righteous Inspector Turpin dares to give him some guff on his way out the door — so Darkseid randomly slaughters him with an Omega Beam. Argh. Thanks to OMGWTFLOLBBQBYE


A certain person in A Dance With Dragons.
I'm not going to mention who actually has a shocking, out-of-the-blue death in A Dance With Dragons, except to say that it's not the one you're probably thinking of. It's the one that proves that if you dance with dragons, you'd better stay ahead of the tune.

Illustration for article titled Greatest Random Out-of-Nowhere Deaths in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Janet Fraiser on Stargate SG-1
She's in the middle of attending to a wounded crewmember, when she randomly gets shot through the chest by a Jaffa... the fact that it's shot in the "found footage" style and you can't see what's going on too well, and you hear Daniel Jackson screaming for help, only makes it worse.

Thanks to Meredith Woerner, Brian Huberd, Daniel Werneck, Justin Partridge, Joshua M. Neff, D.D. Syrdal, Darth, Darren McKeeman, Adam Lipkin, Chris Woodfield, Jen Heddle, Laurie Kenley, Victoria Mia, Aaron Stewart-Ahn, Joseph F. Clark, Mandy Bu, Greg Pak, Joe Kinkopf, Tara O'Shea, Vince Mancini, Danny Robertson, Kip Manley and everybody else who suggested stuff.


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I'm surprised you didn't mention the big one in Game of Thrones. To me, the one in GoT was the bigger one than at the end of Dance, because you really didn't see it coming and was what set the whole series as a game changer. By Dance, you know what Martin's game is a little and know that no one's safe. (Ok, I admit, he still got me, though).