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Years ago, I caught just the last couple of minutes of a movie on TV. I may have the plot totally wrong, but what I think had happened is that this starship pilot had gone through a wormhole and fought through overwhelming odds to drop a bomb on an alien planet, ending a war and saving Earth. But it turned out that the aliens had somehow turned him around going through the wormhole, so that he'd actually been fighting his way to Earth, and destroyed it.

Again, much of this is speculation based on seeing a very tiny part at the end, so I may be wildly off-base. But any help identifying a possible match would be appreciated.

This was decades ago - perhaps between 30 and 40 years. I'm familiar with Ender's Game (short story, novel and movie), and don't think that was it - though I'd have to admit it's a remote possibility. However, I'm fairly certain the guy had just bombed the Earth by mistake. As for the age of the main character, I don't recall - but I'm fairly certain I'd remember if it had been a kid. And yes, it may have been simply an assumption on my part that it was a film. I'd concede that it could have been a TV episode.

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    Welcome to the site. In roughly which year did you see this film? May 18, 2021 at 13:20
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    How old was the hero....echoes of Ender's Game here.
    – Paulie_D
    May 18, 2021 at 13:24
  • Yes, as @Paulie_D says, this echoes Ender's Game. I've only seen the film once (and it didn't really stick in my memory so I don't recall how close the final battle scene is to the end of the film) but in the book it is very clear that Ender has been tricked (by the human military) into orchestrating the destruction of the alien home world for real when he thinks it is a simulation and part of his testing/training.
    – AdamT
    May 18, 2021 at 13:42
  • Very Outer Limits type of twist, there's enough production on some of those episodes that it would be mistaken for a movie.
    – Radhil
    May 18, 2021 at 13:48
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    This was decades ago - perhaps between 30 and 40 years. I'm familiar with Ender's Game (short story, novel and movie), and don't think that was it - though I'd have to admit it's a remote possibility. However, I'm fairly certain the guy had just bombed Earth by mistake. As for age, I don't recall - but I'm fairly certain I'd remember if it had been a kid. And yes, it may have been simply an assumption on my part that it was a film. I'd concede that it could have been a TV episode.
    – ThatGuy42
    May 18, 2021 at 13:53

1 Answer 1

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This could be the Outer Limits episode "The Light Brigade".

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

In this sequel to episode "Quality of Mercy" (Season 1, Episode 14), the ship The Light Brigade is the last hope of humanity in a war against an alien race. In an attempt to turn the tide of the war, humanity is resorting to a Hiroshima-type strike. The Light Brigade carries a new bomb to be delivered to the enemy homeworld. This bomb works by breaking down the forces which hold subatomic particles together to form an atom. As with the original atomic bomb, a very limited number was made. The first was tested on one of the Martian moons, and created an explosion of such power that it was daylight on Earth for several days. The Light Brigade's purpose is to deliver this powerful weapon to destroy the enemy homeworld. The aliens ambush the ship, and use their unique methods to trick the survivors of the Light Brigade into failing their mission. This feat is achieved by Robert Patrick's character, John Skokes, whose physical likeness has been assumed by an alien spy, leading one to believe the real Skokes died in captivity (following the events depicted in "Quality of Mercy"). In the closing scene, at huge personal cost, a young cadet (Wil Wheaton) releases the bomb over what he believes to be the alien homeworld. It is in fact Earth, and the mission is not only a failure, but the unleashing of the doomsday weapon on an already crippled humanity.

I have found an online posting of the episode if that might help.

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    Wow, thanks. That would have to be the one. It was really hard to tell after so long how much was remembered, and how much filled in by my imagination.
    – ThatGuy42
    May 18, 2021 at 14:22
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    Point of clarification. "Quality of Mercy" is listed as season 1 episode 13, not 14. Looks as though the Wikipedia article needs an edit. And for anyone interested, "The Light Brigade" is listed as season 2, episode 18.
    – ThatGuy42
    May 18, 2021 at 14:31

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