A story has an open ending. Did Bob win? Did Alice survive? Did the world find out what really happened? Either we just don't know, or WordOfGod says it's all [[ShrugOfGod open to interpretation]].

Years pass. Then the author decides to return to the story, and a sequel or semi-sequel is released. It turns out Bob did win, Alice did make it out alive, the world found out about the truth, and everyone got their happy ending. This isn't just WordOfGod -- the sequel itself shows us what happened after the end of the first story.

Compare IKnewIt, which is about fan theories being proved right, whereas a BelatedHappyEnding is specifically about the characters (regardless of fan theories). See also MaybeEverAfter, an ending which this trope can resolve. The inversion is HappyEndingOverride where the heroes' victory and happy ending [[ShootTheShaggyDog is turned into dust and ruins.]]

'''Since this is an ending trope, needless to say there will be spoilers ahead.'''
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime/Manga]]
* The ending of Anime/DigimonTamers was fairly ambiguous, but then the sixth movie came out, showing that everyone did, indeed, reunite with their Digimon.
** [[SubvertedTrope And then it might have fallen under]] CanonDiscontinuity after a post-series audio drama was released.
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[[folder:ComicBooks]]
* In ''ElfQuest'', the original authors eventually got back to writing the comics, and saved several characters who were LeftHanging in old plotlines: Ahdri gets rescued from the caves in which she was trapped for centuries, Strongbow and Moonshade are granted another daughter, and The Broken One finally gets healed.
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[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* Back in 2006 [[http://touhouwiki.net/wiki/Asatsuki_Dou Asatsuki Dou]] released a horribly depressing ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' doujin called "Happiness". Not quite two years later they released "Happy End", which exists entirely to give "Happiness" a happy ending.
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[[folder:Film]]
* At the end of ''AdventChildren'' (one of the sequels to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''), [[spoiler: Aerith and Zack]] are finally shown to be reunited in the afterlife.
** And it isn't until the end of the film that Cloud shed the emotional hangups that kept him for being with Tifa and embracing a more proactive role in healing the world.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* A [[TrilogyCreep sequel]] to ''TheDarkswordTrilogy'' was written a few years after the series was completed, in which [[spoiler: Simkin]] turns out to be alive, the war is finally settled, and Joram gets to finish all of his unfinished business.
* In WilliamGoldman's ''Brothers'', [[spoiler:Scylla]] (a character who was thought to have died in ''MarathonMan'') is brought back, and finally gets a chance to reunite with ''Marathon Man'''s main character, Babe. [[spoiler: Then the world ends.]]
* In WilliamGoldman's ''Buttercup's Baby'', the short story sequel to ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'', we find out that the characters did escape from being chased by Humperdinck in the original novel's open ending. Buttercup and Westley have a baby (as the title says). Interestingly, the story also wraps up some plot elements from Goldman's unrelated novel ''Control'', although it's a bit of a GainaxEnding.
* ''Literature/TheClubDumas'' by Arturo Perez-Reverte has a group of bibliophiles competing over the collection of rare manuscripts. One of them is a treatise on sword fighting. Its author is Don Astarloa, the main character from his previous book ''The Fencing Master'', who'd spent most of the story trying to write a treatise on fencing. Apparently he finally finished it.
* The ending of LoisLowry's ''TheGiver'' is extremely ambiguous and heavily implies that [[spoiler:Jonas and Gabriel die]]. In the two other novels set later in the same universe, we learn that [[spoiler:they survived, or at least Jonas did]].
** A child strongly implied to be [[spoiler:a slightly older Gabriel]] appears briefly in the same sequels.
** Lowry apparently thought the original ending was happy enough; in one interview she expressed confusion that so many readers thought [[spoiler:Jonas and Gabe died]], noting that the book ends with them approaching a clearly-inhabited house.
* ''Literature/{{Blindness}}'': One person regained her sight in the end of the novel, but the sequel takes place years after forgetting the whole incident.
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[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* In the ChristmasSpecial of ''Series/TheOfficeUK'' (which was filmed after the main series was completed), Tim and Dawn finally get together.
* Anthony in ''TheRoyleFamily'' spends his teen years being ignored, lightly bullied by his father and unemployed. When he does married and get a good job, his wife cheats on him and leaves him. Then he meets Saskia, a beautiful nurse, falls in love and has another kid.
* After the MaybeEverAfter that closes ''{{Spaced}}'', the "Skip to the End" documentary demonstrates that Tim and Daisy eventually had a little girl together and are still living in the same flat.
* In ''HowIMetYourMother'', Marshall's boss Arthur Hobbs lost his beloved dog Tugboat to his wife when they got a divorce, which he didn't take very well in season 6. We find out that by the time that [[spoiler: Robin and Barney were engaged]], he had gotten back custody of Tugboat.
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[[folder:VideoGames]]
* In the best ending of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'', Tidus and Yuna from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' finally end up together.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'', Gilgamesh was lost to the Void. Three games later, in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', he returned - and has appeared in pretty much every Franchise/FinalFantasy since. Even, retroactively, the ones before V.
** However, Gilgamesh's appearances before VideoGame/FinalFantasyV in TheRemake by Squire Enix act more like BonusBoss to [[ShoutOut keep the fans reminding of him.]] In other word, he appear in them for no reason related to plot, simillar to the archfiends from the first game, Doomtrain, and Ultros in VideoGame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI Dawn Of Soul.]]
*** Then ''[[VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy Dissidia 012 Duodecim]]'' came out, and revealed, once and for all, that Gilgamesh ''is'' alive. Wandering dimensions at the mercy of the Rift, but alive, and determined to get back home.
**** Barring the possibility that his sacrifice against Necrophobe occurs AFTER his travels. The Rift is a weird place like that.
***** He tells Bartz that he wants a rematch just before self-destructing against Necrophobe and references that in Duodecim, meaning he took part in the battle before Duodecim. Or the Rift is ''really'' that wierd a place.
* The ending of VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII was vague as to the outcome of the cast and human beings in general. A post-credits scene which showed exactly ONE of the party members still alive 500 years later (A slow aging lion-type creature) did little to answer questions as to the fate of the cast either. Cue the eventual Compilation EIGHT years later, which finally set the record straight.
* In ''VagrantStory'' (which takes place centuries after ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics''), various item descriptions mention the Zodiac Brave Story from the first game, naming Agrias, Orlandu and several others as well-known heroes. That means the Durai report from ''Tactics'', containing a true account of what happened during the war, was eventually accepted as historical canon.
* Related to the above, we only found out Ramza and Alma survived the events of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' '''15 years''' after the game's initial release, courtesy of a [[WordOfGod Twitter post Yasumi Matsuno made on Valentine's Day 2012.]]
* In ''BaldursGate II: Throne of Bhaal'' (the expansion pack to the second game), Sarevok, the villain from the first game, can finally find redemption.
* Akiha's True Ending in VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}} is rather bittersweet at best and very ambiguous on whether or not [[spoiler:Shiki is even alive.]] The sequel/sidestory Kagetsu Tohya then had the short story "A Story for the Evening" which follows said ending. It reveals that [[spoiler:he is alive.]]
* Any fighting game character who attains their goal will be this. They may spend four games trying to raise that money/defeat that evil bastard/find that lost relative. Of course, the sequel normally reverses this.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is an unusual case due to having an ambiguous ending at the time of shipping, but receiving DLC that expands it. A short turnaround time later and all endings are clarified to being some form of [[spoiler:everything is eventually rebuilt and life goes on in peace]].
* ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' ends with Sonic erasing the events of the game from history... Except for Silver, who remains living in the CrapSackWorld [[BadFuture of his time]], and with his best friend Blaze now living in another dimension. Come ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' in 2011, Silver is reunited with Sonic & Blaze, and instead of returning to his own time at the end of the game, winds up living in the present with the BadFuture he comes from no longer a possibility. Oh, and he was also RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap, too.
** Actually, the ending of Sonic 2006 has Elise erasing Solaris, the entity that caused TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt meaning that while we don't know what Silver's future was like, odds are it turned out a lot better than in game. Though Blaze apparently never meets him in the new version.
*** Sonic needs to go through the events of the game to erase Solaris from existance, so the post-apocalyptic wasteland still exists in an alternate timeline in order to avoid a TimeParadox. On top of this, Silver & Blaze in ''Generations'' clearly remember the events of the game.
* Happens a lot in ''Franchise/SilentHill'' games. They all have MultipleEndings, but occassionally a sequel to an older game will confirm one of those endings directly or indirectly - usually for the better.
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' confirmed the Good (or Good+) ending of ''VideoGame/SilentHill1'' by showing [[spoiler: Harry and Alessa/Cheryl/Heather had survived]] four years after the original game was released. Similarly, ''VideoGame/SilentHillHomecoming'' confirmed the Normal endings for both ''Silent Hill 3'' ([[spoiler:mentioning Douglas' work had brought The Order's downfall, indicating his - and therefore Heather's - survival]]) and ''VideoGame/SilentHillOrigins'' ([[spoiler:protagonist Travis Grady shows up visibly aged, though alive and well, for a cameo]]).
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] with ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'', though, which further confirms the worst possible ending available for ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'' - that [[spoiler:James is missing, having probably committed suicide]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'': While TheReveal in [[FullyAbsorbedFinale "Epilogue"]] caused a bit of a BrokenBase, the episode finally gave resolution to [[OfficialCouple Terry and Dana]]'s relationship, which made them and their shippers very happy.
[[/folder]]
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