Some characters have such memorable powers, weapons, clothes, or even personality, that it's impossible to imagine them without them. But if you go to their earlier work, the item is nowhere in sight.
Either intentionally or just by luck, often a character will be given new powers and it is a smash hit, until it reaches the point where fans would cry out if it were removed.
Often a result of Power Creep, Power Seep
, Characterization Marches On
, or New Powers as the Plot Demands
. See Retcon, when the character is retroactively stated to always have this. Often results in Newer Than They Think
. Also compare Early-Installment Weirdness
Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball: Goku didn't learn the Kamehameha until the middle of the first season of Dragoball, and even then he used it sparingly. It was more Master Roshi's thing. Of course by the time Z rolls around Roshi is retired and it becomes Goku's signature move.
- The title character of Naruto didn't start learning Rasengan until the beginning of Season 4 of the original series, and couldn't make it work properly until the finale of said season. Rasengan and its variants are now his signature most iconic moves, typically thought of as his answer to Goku's Kamehameha.
- Superman has several
- Initially, Superman could not fly, and instead had to "leap tall buildings in a single bound.
- Kryptonite did not originally exist in the comics, and was actually introduced in the radio serials.
- A twofer. Everybody knows that Superman considers Clark to be his true identity and uses his super hearing to find crimes. However initially, Superman was his true self, and he hid as Clark solely to get access to breaking news.
- The eponymous Batman doesn't kill and hates guns. But initially, he was willing to kill and has killed with a gun. Don't tell the fans.
- Mention Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, and the first thing that comes to mind is With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. However in the original comics, he never said it. The narrator did.
- In the X-Men comics, Wolverine's trademark line is: "I'm the best there is at what I do. But what I do best isn't very nice." However, the first time Wolverine said those words was in Uncanny X-Men #162, 7 years after his first appearance, and 6 years after he was added to the cast of X-Men.
- Jean Grey is usually described as one of the most powerful telepaths on Earth. But originally she had only telekinetic powers, and she didn't gain telepathic powers until X-Men #43, published five years after her debut in X-Men #1. Years later,a retcon revealed she had always been a telepath, but Charles Xavier had suppressed those powers until she was ready to use them.
- The title character of The Incredible Hulk was a crafty guy for the first several years of publication; not until 1966 did he become a dummy, in the middle of a story, for no apparent reason. At the end of one book he was smart (not "genius" level but y'know, street smarts), then at the beginning of the next book he's suddenly talking in Hulk Speak.
- The FN P90 personal defense weapon is heavily identified with the Stargate Verse, to the point that less-informed viewers were known to think it was a fictional weapon the showrunners made up. However the P90 didn't come into use until three seasons into Stargate SG-1, where it was used in "The First Ones" in place of the H&K MP5 because it ejects spent cartridges downwards rather than to the side.[[note]]The episode's script called for O'Neill and Carter to be firing their guns simultaneously, right next to each other. Spent cartridges are hot. Fill in the blank.[[/note]]
- In the early episodes of Happy Days, Fonzie has no leather jacket.
- Father Ted:
- Father Jack is known for having a four-word vocabulary ("Feck! Arse! Drink! Girls!"). This only really set in in the second season - in the early episodes he's relatively eloquent.
- Also, Mrs Doyle's first name (Joan) is given in the first episode. It later becomes a Running Gag that the audience is never told what it is.
- Mario is famous for the Super Mushroom, the Fire Flower and jumping on enemies. None of these existed in Donkey Kong or Mario Bros..
- Many fans were confused that the new Mega Man games take away Mega Man's trademark Charge Shots and slide move. He didn't pick them up until his fourth and third games.
- Kirby games are completely built around his ability to steal powers by eating his enemies. However, in his first game, eating enemies did nothing but free up Kirby's inhale ability.
- In Touhou, Marisa didn't get her signature move Master Spark until the sixth installment (she debuted in the second). Heck, she didn't even invent it, Yuuka did. Marisa just copied it.
- The Legend of Zelda: The plots are obsessed with the full Triforce, but in the original game there were only the Triforce of Wisdom and Power; the tri referred to their sides. Adventure of Link introduced the Triforce of Courage, and Link to the Past introduced their wish granting unity.
- Link did not pick up his trademark Master Sword until Link To The Past, his third game. To a lesser extent, the Hylian Shield counts.