Created By: justanotherrandomlurker on June 29, 2014 Last Edited By: Patachou on May 5, 2016

Departed Creator [Trivia]

A creator who eventually departs from his/her own show

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Trope
A common occurence in some series is when an actor may leave the show for a number of different reasons, and whenever this happens, that actor's character is usually Put on a Bus, or may even be McLeaned, or switched with The Other Darrin.

But it's not just actors who will leave a show, in some cases, even the creators may eventually decide to leave the show they created behind. Likewise, this too can also be due to a number of different reasons: more often than not, creators may feel they have done all they can do with the show, and - if it's successful enough - turn it over to the rest of the production staff to carry on without them. Other times, a creator may leave as a result of Executive Meddling brought on by Creative Differences.

Of course, with the voice of the show gone, the fate of the show's future is always rocky and uncertain, though a number of shows have managed to maintain a strong continuation after the creator's departure - in some cases, even longer than when under the creator's control.

As noted above, when it's an actor who leaves a show, see Put on a Bus. Supertrope to Creative Differences; subtrope of Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. Also compare Running the Asylum and Author Existence Failure.


Examples

Criss-Cross
  • Clover Studios, Suda 51 and Keiji Inafune were affiliated to Capcom and creators of Devil May Cry, Killer7 and Mega Man among others. They all depart from the company at different times, for similar reasons: too much meddling executives (and as Inafking revealed, Capcom has him overworked).
  • Walt Disney began working on plans for what was to be known as EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow - eventually known as Walt Disney World), which became his most ambitious project, and because he wanted to devote all of his focus on the EPCOT project, he turned over his production company to his creative staff to continue to produce films, television programs, shorts, etc. without him. Mary Poppins was the last film that he was involved with.

Comic Books

Franchise
  • Jim Henson was in the process of selling off his Classic Muppet characters to the Walt Disney company, on the grounds that having the characters and properties within a reputatable company would ensure their stable and solid future, especially from a financial viewpoint. During negotiations with Disney, Henson was to be retained trainer for new performers, and a creative consultant on new Muppet projects for fifteen years. Unfortunately, Henson passed away during the time of negotiations. The Muppets do continue to go on without him, however.

Live-Action TV
  • Combat. Series creator Robert Pirosh left the show after the filming of the pilot episode, citing Creative Differences with ABC; the pilot episode was the only episode he was involved with - writing and producing it.
  • M*A*S*H
    • Creator Larry Gelbart walked away from the series after it's first four seasons, on the grounds that he felt it was time for him to look for other, different projects to work on.
    • Following Gelbart's departure, co-producer Gene Reynolds took over the show completely for one season before he too walked away to focus on different projects; however, Reynolds did continue to serve as a creative consultant for the series.
  • Head writer David Milch left NYPD Blue when his drug addiction became so overwhelming he couldn't work on the show any more.
  • Lorne Michaels left Saturday Night Live after season 5 along with the original cast. After the show was almost cancelled several times he came back and hasn't left since.
  • Seinfeld. Co-creator and showrunner Larry David left the series after seven seasons, on the grounds that he felt he had given the show all he had, and did all he could with it, leaving a large void to fill in the writing department. David did, however, continue to provide the voice of George Steinbrenner for another season.
  • Sesame Street. Jon Stone was the most influential force behind the series from it's creation in 1969 up till its 25th season in 1993. Stone was among many of the show's original production staff who was strongly displeased with the show's shift in tone (due to competition with Barney & Friends) and the infamous Around the Corner era; during a seminar, Stone unwittingly went on record saying the show was being, "Dumbed down," and due to a clause in his contract that stated he could not give the show any negative publicity, he was fired as a result.
  • Eric Kripke left Supernatural after the fifth season, since that was all he had planned for the show. However, the network wanted it to continue.
  • Writer and director Alan Ball departed from True Blood after its fifth season in order to pursue other projects.

Video Games
  • Minecraft creator Marcus "Notch" Persson ceded creative authority over the game to Jeb once it was officially launched in 2011, and recently retired from Mojang.

Western Animation
  • In October of 2014, Pendelton Ward revealed that he had stepped down as the showrunner of Adventure Time. He cited that while the show will always remain a labor of love, the pressure of having to oversee every little detail of the show finally got to him, and he needed to step down. He claims that he is quite relieved to no longer have to oversee the production of the show, but he gladly stays on as a script writer, storyboard artist, and the voice of Lumpy Space Princess.
  • Arthur.
    • Original head writer, Joe Fallon, departed from the series after the first five season, due to creative differences with the book series' original author and franchise creator, Marc Brown. note 
    • Around the same time of Fallon's departure, series story editor, Ken Scarborough had also left, for unknown reasons. However, as of Season 18, he has been writing for the show again.
  • Clarence creator Skyler Page was fired from Cartoon Network Studios after sexual harassing a member of the show's crew, combined with his erratic behavior as part of his bipolar disorder.
  • When Dexter's Laboratory got Un-Cancelled, Genndy Tartakovsky passed duties over to Chris Savino so he could focus on Samurai Jack.
  • Creator Mike Jupp ended his work as consultant and storyboard artist during the final episodes of The Dreamstone due to working on Martin Gates Productions follow up project Bimble's Bucket.
  • Lauren Faust had to quit working on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic shortly after the first season was done, for unspecified reasons. Her influence was decreased to being a Creative Consultant during the show's second season, and starting with season 3, her influence is gone entirely.
  • Similar to the above, Craig McCracken gave Savino's team control over The Powerpuff Girls so he could focus on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • John Kricfalusi was infamously fired from The Ren & Stimpy Show midway through Season Two over a number of alleged reasons, including failing to meet deadlines and constant censorship issues (the violent scenes in "Man's Best Friend" supposedly being the final nail in the coffin). Kricfalusi was offered a job as consultant, but severed ties with the show and network.
  • Rocko's Modern Life. Averted in with creator Joe Murray. Already limiting his involvement with the series during its final season, there were talks of possibly renewing it for another season, of which Murray said he would turn the show over to his creative staff to carry on without him; the show ultimately was not renewed for another season.
  • Done increasingly with Thomas And Friends. Rev W. Awdry (who wrote the original The Railway Series novels and acted as a partial consultant) severed ties with the show after taking too many liberties with his material. Britt Alcroft was fired as producer after the box office failure of Thomas And The Magic Railroad, with David Mitton and several remaining original staff leaving after Season Seven, leaving Hit Entertainment in full control of the show.
Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • June 29, 2014
    Paradisesnake
  • That didn't come up when I asked if this existed, but it sounds like this could be the supertrope to that.
  • June 29, 2014
    DAN004
    Compare Running The Asylum.

    Subtrope of Screw This Im Outta Here

  • June 29, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 29, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • Head writer David Milch left NYPD Blue when his drug addiction became so overwhelming he couldn't work on the show any more.
    • Lorne Michaels left Saturday Night Live after season 5 along with the original cast. After the show was almost cancelled several times he came back and hasn't left since.
    • Eric Kripke left Supernatural after the fifth season, since that was all he had planned for the show. However, the network wanted it to continue.
  • June 29, 2014
    DAN004
    If the creator left the work because they think they're done with the work and yet said work still continues, it becomes Franchise Zombie
  • Isn't Franchise Zombie a little more subjective of work that's gone on for so long that people actually want it to end already because it's obviously hit rock bottom in quality and storytelling that it shows signs of being out of ideas(ala Family Guy, The Simpsons, Arthur)?
  • June 29, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ The fact that it ain't a ymmv page disproves it.

    That trope mentions "Sometimes this happens when the creator really doesn't want to keep going, and would rather try out different things." Which is one reason for a creator to depart.

    See also Creator Backlash (one reason for departing), Postscript Season (which this might lead the work into) and Only The Creator Does It Right (a belief related to this).

  • June 30, 2014
    Psi001
    • John Kricfalusi was infamously fired from The Ren And Stimpy Show midway through Season Two over a number of alleged reasons, including failing to meet deadlines and constant censorship issues (the violent scenes in "Man's Best Friend" supposedly being the final nail in the coffin). Kricfalusi was offered a job as consultant, but severed ties with the show and network.
    • Done increasingly with Thomas And Friends. Rev W. Awdry (who wrote the original The Railway Series novels and acted as a partial consultant) severed ties with the show after taking too many liberties with his material. Britt Alcroft was fired as producer after the box office failure of Thomas And The Magic Railroad, with David Mitton and several remaining original staff leaving after Season Seven, leaving Hit Entertainment in full control of the show.
    • Creator Mike Jupp ended his work as consultant and storyboard artist during the final episodes of The Dreamstone due to working on Martin Gates Productions follow up project Bimble's Bucket.
  • June 30, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books

    Live Action TV
    • Writer and director Alan Ball departed from True Blood after its fifth season in order to pursue other projects.
  • July 1, 2014
    DAN004
    Add my example plz...
  • I just recently added an example of yours; did I miss something?
  • July 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ it is supposed to be Video Game.
  • July 2, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Once again, Capcom mentioned in DAN's example is supposed to be one word. DAN just writes it as two because he's too lazy to use curly brackets to create Wiki Words.

    ^ Seriously, how many times do I need to say this before you stop doing that? You're just causing needless confusion because of your own laziness.
  • July 2, 2014
    Paycheckgurl
    • Stephen Hillenburg wanted Spongebob Square Pants to end after The Movie because and he didn't want the show to Jump The Shark. Nickelodeon disagreed and wanted to make more episodes, so Hillenburg left and team member Paul Tibbitt took over as show runner.
    • Greg Weisman got Screwed By The Network when working on the third season of Gargoyles. Disney went ahead and wrote most of the season without him, causing a drastic change in tone. Years later he wrote his own version of the third season as a comic, effectively making the televised version Canon Discontinuity.
  • July 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ Again, What Could Possibly Go Wrong

    And Video Game can be either one word or two words.
  • July 2, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced and italicized a bunch of examples, moved the Thomas And Friends example from Live-Action TV to Western Animation.

    ^ I don't see how repeating that is helping others to fix the mess you're causing with your selfish behaviour. Seriously, I've seen you hanging in the YKTTW so long, I figured you'd know better.
  • July 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Let me guess: It ruins the wick check?
  • February 7, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
  • February 7, 2015
    DAN004
    This is indeed related to Creative Differences, but I don't think this is a subtrope to it. More like CD is one thing that may cause this trope. Another thing would be Creator Backlash.
  • February 7, 2015
    dalek955
    • Minecraft creator Marcus "Notch" Persson ceded creative authority over the game to Jeb once it was officially launched in 2011, and recently retired from Mojang.
  • February 8, 2015
    ZuTheSkunk
    Someone else will have to write this example better, but:

    • Lauren Faust had to quit working on My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic shortly after the first season was done, for unspecified reasons. Her influence was decreased to being a Creative Consultant during the show's second season, and starting with season 3, her influence is gone entirely.
  • February 8, 2015
    arivor
    I find the title rather unfortunate as it sounds as if it meant "deceased creator". How about something like Orphaned Franchise, Going On Without The Creator, Creator Franchise Breakup, Franchise Sedition or Creator Divorce?
  • February 8, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Those are all pretty good suggestions...

    Does anybody else feel the same way about the current title? Maybe we could put the ones arivor suggested to a vote and see which one works best.
  • February 8, 2015
    DRCEQ
    • In October of 2014, Pendelton Ward revealed that he had stepped down as the showrunner of Adventure Time. He cited that while the show will always remain a labor of love, the pressure of having to oversee every little detail of the show finally got to him, and he needed to step down. He claims that he is quite relieved to no longer have to oversee the production of the show, but he gladly stays on as a script writer, storyboard artist, and the voice of Lumpy Space Princess.
  • February 8, 2015
    Snicka
    Just For Fun you can finish the description with this sentence:

    Not To Be Confused With Martin Scorsese, the creator of The Departed.
  • February 8, 2015
    DAN004
    Just use Departed Creator cuz we already have Author Existence Failure when the creator dies.
  • February 9, 2015
    arivor
    ^ How does the existence of some other trope prevent the current title from being ambiguous? Please remember Clear Concise Witty.
  • February 9, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Like I said, we'll put it to a vote. If we have to sandbox this and/or open up a crowner, we'll do that.
  • February 9, 2015
    DAN004
  • February 11, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • William Hanna and Joseph Barbera had created Tom And Jerry for MGM Studios in 1940, which had anchored their animation division for years. In 1957, producer Fred Quimby retired, leaving Hanna and Barbera as producer-directors of the series. Then, MGM honchos decided to dissolve the animation division, leaving the animators to finish their current projects ASAP then be laid off. However, film distributors demanded fresh Tom And Jerry cartoons from MGM. Rather than rehire Hanna and Barbera, though, they contracted these characters out to Communist Rembrandt Studios in Czeckoslovakia; these are the Deitch-Snyder cartoons from 1961 and 1962. Hanna and Barbera had already opened their own animation studio, and hired many of the former MGM artists; they would go on to become an animation juggernaut, producing nearly eight thousand cartoons.
  • May 5, 2016
    ZuTheSkunk
    Bump?
  • May 5, 2016
    DAN004
  • May 5, 2016
    StarSword
    Webcomics:
    • Exiern creator Eric "Drowemos" Kimball got tired of working on the comic after the end of the first arc and sold it to Dan Standing. Standing has since handed off writing duties to Scott T. Hicken.
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