In the development of a show, movie, game, TV series, etc., everything from characters, settings, stages, etc., changes rapidly. Characters become other characters, different plots fuse and split or are destroyed. Eventually, you get the finished product, but the developers aren't going to forget the past. Usually, developers (who are known for their senses of humor, except when they aren't...) will put in a little thing or two that alludes back to something that happened in development, so they can all have a good laugh about it.

An inside joke to the greatest measure, unless the viewer/player has been given a beta that includes what the joke is about, they'll probably never going to know what the joke is about, or even if it's supposed to be funny. Can be anything from a previous character design to a joke about one of the developers, but you'll probably never know.

See CallBack for references to things that actually appear in the plot, ProductionThrowback for development on prior works, and MythologyGag for references to things that happen in alternate adaptations. When the backstory behind these gags are explained, that's an example of WhatCouldHaveBeen, given by WordOfGod.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The dub of ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' has the voice Creator/TravisWillingham used for Mustang's "[[ChewingTheScenery I love dogs!]]" line, which is based on the voice he used when trying out as ''[[LargeHam Major Armstrong]]''; he even refers to the voice as "Armstang".
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' a character is introduced named Sabu, who possesses a giant axe and has a giant raccoon dog named Ponta for a pet. Both of these things are references to a character named Kintaro, who also possessed a giant axe and a giant raccoon dog named ''Pochi'', who was replaced by Zabuza and Haku as the main villain of the Land of Waves arc.
* Bonz, the creepy kid from ''Manga/YuGiOh'', has a skull-shaped face that was originally going to used for Yami Yugi.
* In DragonballZ, Android 19 and Android 20 are mistaken as the androids from the future, a reference to the fact that, they were originally meant to be the androids from the future.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''MagicTheGathering'' has loads of these. Amongst the notable ones are Telim'Tor, whose name is an anagram of his playtest/development name, Mr Toilet; and Sol Grail, whose name is an anagram of Gorillas, which were the playtest/development race for every creature in Alliances.
** [[ Maro]] was submitted to the development file for Mirage with its creator's username ([=MaRo=] for Mark Rosewater) for the database instead of a placeholder name. No-one noticed the mistake until the Creative department had already commissioned the art, so it stayed.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Not exactly a joke, but ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'' later introduced a character called Bulletproof who used Invincible's initial name and costume. In-story, the costume was even developed for Invincible but rejected.
* In the final storyline of DCComics ''{{Hourman}}'' title (the one about the "diamond generation intelligent machine colony from the 853rd century, DNA-programmed with Miraclo gene biosoftware") he was confronted with a further-future version of himself, who was much better at both being a hero and being a person than him ([[spoiler:it turned out to be Amazo]]). The design for the future Hourman was identical to an early design seen in the ''Hourman'' sketchbook given away with ''Wizard'' when the title began.
* Creator/MarvelComics has had several references to a character named 'Coal Tiger', which was one of several names that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were bandying back and forth as a possible name for the character who in mainstream continuity in the MarvelUniverse became ComicBook/BlackPanther. These include:
** The Black Panther's son in the MarvelComics2 alternate future.
** An alternate universe version of T'Challa himself, who appeared in ''ComicBook/TheAvengers'' Vol. 1 #355 as a member of the Gatherers, a group of former Avengers from different universes. This version had a costume based on a Jack Kirby design for a new costume for the Black Panther that only ever appeared in a pin-up.
** A Coal Tiger is mentioned in ''CaptainAmerica'' Vol. 1 #389 as an opponent of the Zambian villainess Impala.
** In ''ComicBook/BlackPanther'' Vol. 3 #60, the Coal Tigers are mentioned as being a rank in the Panther Cult.
* The working name for the Dinobot Swoop was Divebomb. ComicBook/TheTransformers Marvel UK comics said that was his name back in Cybertron. Some time later, when Hasbro coincidentally made a Decepticon named Divebomb as part of the Predacons, the comics explained that Swoop lost his name to him after a defeat.
* The title of DC's ''Reign of the Supermen'' event which tied into TheDeathOfSuperman event is a reference to ''ReignOfTheSuperman'' which featured the first Superman character Siegel and Shuster developed.

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* The commentary for ''AtlantisTheLostEmpire'' tells a story about how there used to be a mystic named Zoltan (who used to speak in the [[ThirdPersonPerson third person]], for some reason) along for the ride. At one point everybody sounds off after falling down a hole. For the longest time he was still there shouting "Zoltan is okay!" even after his character had been written out of the script.
* Near the end of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'', while the enchanted furniture are fighting off the villagers, a music box can be seen among said furniture. That music box was originally going to be Belle's sidekick.
* At one point in ''CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs''' development, Flint was trying to get into the Science League, headed by Vance [=LaFleur=]. You can still see a poster for the League in his room and lab.
* In ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'', there is at least one reference to a small, mystical guide to the Emperor, despite the fact that he was written out of the plot: he appears as a candle-holder during the poisoning scene. (Watching DVD commentary is fun.)
* In ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', there is a bumper sticker on Andy Davis' drawer labelled "Newt Xing", a possible reference to [[WhatCouldHaveBeen the cancelled Pixar film]] ''Newt''.
** Many ideas from the first ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' made it into the second. Originally the first movie was going to open on a clip from the TV cartoon the Buzz Lightyear toy was from, which got reworked as the video game opening for the sequel.
** The idea for [[spoiler:having a villainous teddy bear]], as seen in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', actually predates the ''Toy Story'' franchise itself, to a proposed Christmas special based on ''[[PixarShorts Tin Toy]]''
* Near the very beginning of ''Disney/TheRescuers'', [[BigBad Madame Medusa]] can actually be seen driving a large red sports car to New York City Airport, not unlike the one driven by [[Disney/OneHundredandOneDalmatians Cruella DeVil.]] Originally, the villain of ''The Rescuers'' was actually indeed going to be Cruella [=DeVil=]! And that car not only looks like Cruella's, but as a matter of fact, that car ''is'' Cruella's.
* One of the drawings during the end credits of ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'' shows Rapunzel and Flynn consulting a fortune-telling monkey, in reference to a deleted scene in which Rapunzel and Flynn escape some guards with the help of a gypsy and her pet monkey.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Robots}}'' has several. The robot with the jet pack seen waiting in line on Big Weld's TV show is an early design for Rodney, and Jack Hammer, the owner of the hardware store Rodney and his friends visit was originally a director from an early treatment. Scenes from early test footage with the director character appear as photos on Aunt Fanny's home.

[[folder:Film -- Live Action]]
* ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'':
** The second film has a couple of playful jabs at Tobey Maguire's back problems, which nearly forced him to drop out. This includes the "I'm back, I'm back! ...My back, my back!" scene, and a FreezeFrameBonus Bugle headline claiming link between back pain and brain shrinkage.
** That headline is actually a lot more mean-spirited than it seems. Maguire's back problems were a point of contention on set, and it was generally assumed by most of the production staff that he was using his condition to avoid showing up on the set or working on days that he didn't feel like it (regardless of whether or not that was true). At one point, they even threatened to fire and replace him.
* A lot of names from the early, unused drafts of ''Franchise/StarWars'' continue to pop up in newer works. "Starkiller", Luke's original surname, [[ shows up a lot,]] and Mace Windu's name can be traced back to "Mace Windy" from the first treatment.
** Similarly, the planet "Utapau", which was originally a blue planet with many moons mentioned in the first draft of "The Star Wars", then became the preliminary name for Tatooine, then the preliminary name for Naboo, and finally appeared in Episode III as a green planet with many moons and dotted with sinkholes.
** Other names that can be traced back to previous drafts, where they were used in different contexts, include "Valorum", "Sith", "Clieg" (Cliegg), "Whitsun" (Whitesun), "Bail", "Antilles", "Ogana" (Organa), "Dai Noga" (Dianoga), "Grande Mouff Tarkin" (Grand Moff Tarkin)... even "Annikin" (Anakin).
** One draft of the script for ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' featured the ''Millennium Falcon'' being lost with all hands at Endor. Han alludes to this in the final version:
---> '''Leia:''' Hey, you awake?\\
'''Han:''' ''(gazing at the ''Falcon'')'' Yeah, I just got a funny feeling. Like I'm not going to see her again.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' had Batman undergo a costume change in order to be able to fight faster and turn his head. This was done because Christian Bale had his fill of the Batsuit in [[Film/BatmanBegins the first installment]], and wanted a more comfortable design.
* In ''Film/{{Aliens}}'', Hudson teases Vasquez by saying "When they said 'Alien', she thought they said 'Illegal Alien' and signed up." Vasquez' actress actually did make that mistake, and showed up to the auditions dressed as a migrant worker.
** In a cross-continuity example, the decision to Creator/LanceHenriksen as [[RidiculouslyHumanRobot Bishop]] may have been [[CastingGag intended as a nod to him being]] Creator/JamesCameron's first choice for the role of the T-800 in ''Film/TheTerminator''.
* In the [[Film/TheFlintstones film adaptation]] of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Fred is accidentally referred to as Mr. Flagstone. The original name for the show was The Flagstones.
* This example might actually be an urban legend: The [[ Enterprise XCV-330]], first seen in the recreation room in ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'', is often claimed to be based upon a rejected design by Matt Jefferies for the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries NCC-1701]]. But [[ there is evidence]] that Jefferies actually might have designed it at some time after the end of TOS, for another Roddenberry-project which never did come into fruition.
** Possibly related: the "Jefferies tubes" that Star Trek characters crawl around in to whenever they need to get into the real guts of their ships may be a nod to his last name and role in ship design for the series.
* The ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' films have famously gone through a lot of work before getting to what we saw in theatres. For example, an early version of ''Film/TheLastCrusade'' was set predominantly in a haunted castle, which is reference with Brunwald castle (in which Henry Jones Sr is held captive) and an early title for ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'' was ''Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars'' - Indy dismisses the crystal skulls as belonging to "Saucermen from Mars" when he is interrogated by Irina in the tent.
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part II'', Biff is listening to Perry Como's "Papa Loves Mambo" on the radio while driving to the dance. WordOfGod explained in the DVD commentary that they almost used "Papa Loves Mambo" in Part I for the MisterSandmanSequence, but ended up using "[[TropeNamer Mr. Sandman]]" instead. They stuck the Perry Como song into Part II as their way of referencing this little inside joke.
* The 2005 version of ''PrideAndPrejudice'' has an unusual one. It's not a ''movie development gag'' but a ''book development gag''. Early in the movie, Elizabeth is seen reading a book titled "First Impressions." "First Impressions" was the original title Jane Austen gave "Pride and Prejudice." Also, when the pages of the book are shown, it's revealed that Elizabeth is reading the last chapter of "Pride and Prejudice" with the characters' names changed.
* ''Film/IAmLegend'' includes a development gag to another movie - a giant poster in Times Square has a ''ComicBook/SupermanBatman'' logo. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman was hired to write a Batman vs Superman film before it fell through.
* Creator/StevenSpielberg had hired [[StopMotion go-motion]] expert Phil Tippett to do the ''Film/JurassicPark'' dinosaurs. Then [[IndustrialLightAndMagic ILM]] did an awesome demo of computer-generated dinos. The exchange when Spielberg showed Tippett said demo ("You're out of a job", "Don't you mean extinct?") became a dialogue in the movie.
* "[[ComicBookAdaptation Tales From Year Zero]]" is FULL of references to earlier versions of the script for ''Film/PacificRim'' before Guillermo Del Toro became involved with the project; for example, the comic's main character Naomi Sokolov was the film's deuteragonist, traveling the world to find out the reasons behind the {{Kaiju}}, and the simulated death of Yancy Beckett by Kaiju tongue was how he actually died.
* ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' has one scene where Las Vegas gets attacked by a Muto. Las Vegas was going to be the primary setting of ''Godzilla 3D to the Max'', the IMAX 3D short film project that was gradually repurposed into this feature-length film.
* In ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2014'', someone asks if the turtles are actually aliens, but the idea is brushed off as being dumb. A leaked earlier script of the movie actually had that be the case, but the InternetBackdraft caused it to be changed.

* The ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' character Jenny Elf is based on a real life reader, who was given the choice of being an elf or an ogre in the books. The ogre she ''could'' have been later showed up, jealous at having missed her shot at becoming a main character.
* A sort of sequel-by-other-hands/{{fanon}} development gag: In his biography of Literature/SherlockHolmes, William S. Baring-Gould speculated that if, as stated by Creator/ArthurConanDoyle, the Holmes family were county squires, Sherlock and Mycroft must have an older brother, or else Mycroft would be the squire and would therefore be maintaining the estate up in Yorkshire. The development gag is that Baring-Gould named this brother "Sherrinford"; Doyle originally called Holmes "Sherrinford Hope".
* In ''Discworld/TheTruth'', there's a brief mention of the dwarfs mixing up ink for the printing engine from an old well beneath the building. It's a little detail that doesn't mean anything ... unless you know that the earliest plotline Creator/TerryPratchett came up with for a "newspapers on the Literature/{{Discworld}}" novel was "what if it's printed with ink that has accidentally been mixed with water from the Well of Truth?"

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* When Joel Surnow first got the idea for ''Series/TwentyFour'', all he really knew was that he wanted it to take place within a 24-hour timespan. His first idea was to do a show about planning for a wedding, and all of the crazy hijinks that happen in the 24 hours before it. Fittingly, the first part of Day 2 is about a family getting ready for a wedding.
* In ''Series/CriminalMinds'', Jason Gideon's name was originally Jason Donovan. This is the name of the author of a book Gideon finds in an [=UnSub's=] apartment in one episode.
* ''{{Friends}}'': On the normal show, Monica and Chandler fall in love and are HappilyMarried for years. All sounds normal,, though Monica mentions she once had crush on [[{{TheCasanova}} Joey]] and Chandler is sometimes MistakenForGay. In the orignal plan, Monica and ''Joey'' were the shows OfficialCouple and Chandler was gay. It's a sign of how much can change that the shows most constant couple would never have been imagined in early drafts.
* Very obscure but... the Gallifreyan writing (inside hexagons) seen in the new series of ''Series/DoctorWho'' resembles the strange abstract hexagonal design made by Susan, the Doctor's grand-daughter, in an un-aired pilot for ''Series/DoctorWho''.
** This is how AliensInCardiff came to be, starting in "The Unquiet Dead". Since BBC Wales films there, it's treated as a borderline PlaceWorseThanDeath in-universe, with everyone astonished that anything interesting happens there. "I saw the fall of Troy! World War Five! Now I'm gonna die in a dungeon... in ''Cardiff''."
** In the new series, the season 4 premier "Partners in Crime" featured a character named Penny Carter. Penny Carter was the name of the original companion for Season 4. However, Catherine Tate, who had previously appeared as Donna Noble in "The Runaway Bride," had such a great time, she asked if she could come back. So, Penny was written out and Donna was written in.
** The Doctor's scoffing "You watch too much TV" when Martha asks if the Master is his brother in "The Sound of Drums" may be an insult directed at controversial early plans for what became ''Doctor Who: The Movie'' to be a full ContinuityReboot, which would have included that as a plot element.
** Lady Christina, the single-story companion-substitute in "Planet of the Dead", is very similar to what has been publicly stated as the concept of the companion who would have replaced Ace had the original show had a twenty-seventh season.
** [[Recap/DoctorWho2012CSTheSnowmen Clara's]] headstone in 1892 states that she was born on 23 November 1866 and that she died on 24 December 1892, meaning she not only shares the same birthday (though not the year) as ''Doctor Who'' itself but that she was also 26 years old when she died -- the exact same age as ''Doctor Who'' was when it was cancelled in 1989.
** Continuing this, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E7TheRingsOfAkhaten Clara's mother died]] march 5, 2005 -- the same day that the new series premiered.
* The ship wrecks featured in the ''Series/{{Star Trek| The Next Generation}} TNG'' episodes "Best of Both Worlds" and "Unification" [[ have been well documented by fans]]. It turns out that some of them are actually study models for the ''Excelsior'' from [[Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock Star Trek III]].
* Some of the ideas from the original pilot for ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' that were scrapped made it into the show. The most notable example is the character Ted Sprague, who was based off of an Islamic terrorist featured in the original pilot.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': An important character in Eko's flashback episode is named Emeka. Emeka was originally Eko's name during casting of the role, and numerous magazines reported it as his name when the actor was cast. It was changed to Eko shortly before filming began.
* In the ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' episode "The Betrayal", we get a flashback to Jerry and Kramer's first meeting, where the former calls the latter "Kessler" before being corrected. Kessler was the character's original name in the pilot episode.
* The two-part episode "The Menagerie" of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' features extensive footage of the (at that time yet) unaired first pilot "The Cage". Apart from Leonard Nimoy as Spock, the cast was completely different, and also the design of the sets and the uniforms differed somewhat. "The Cage"-footage cleverly was used as {{Flashback}} to an earlier point in Spock's career. The episode also established that Christopher Pike, the Captain of the ''Enterprise'' in said unaired pilot, was actually Kirk's predecessor; this detail would even go on to influence ''Film/StarTrek2009'', which portrayed Pike as Kirk's mentor.

* ''Pinball/ElviraAndThePartyMonsters'' has a set of broken bones decorating the slingshot bumpers and inlane rails; this is in reference to a motorcycle accident designer Creator/DennisNordman had during the game's development.
* Similarly, one of Skull's lines in ''Pinball/NoFearDangerousSports'' references a motorbike accident designer Creator/SteveRitchie had, where he lost part of his finger. Ouch.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Sometimes a pro wrestler will do subtle references back to previous gimmicks and characters they've had in the past, including all the way back to before they began with a company. For one example, TNA wrestler Gunner wrestles in tights that have a [[ broken glass theme.]] This seems a little out of place, unless you know that he wrestled on the indy circuit for years as Phill ''Shatter.''
* Similar to the TNA example above, WWE wrestler {{Ryback}}'s name likely won't make a lot of sense to those who don't know about him wrestling in the independents as Ryan "The Silverback" Reeves.
* Probably the biggest example of this is Stone Cold Steve Austin's finishing move being called the "Stone Cold Stunner". He was known for years as "Stunning" Steve Austin in WCW.

* Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Henry V Parts 1 and 2'' and ''The Merry Wives of Windsor'' all have gags playing off the fact that Falstaff was originally called Sir John Oldcastle, until the descendents of the real Oldcastle objected. In ''Part 1'' Prince Hal calls him "My old lad of the castle"; in ''Part 2'' he's given a detail of Oldcastle's career (he was page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk) and the Epilogue has the SuspiciouslySpecificDenial "Falstaff may die of a sweat ... for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man"; and in ''Merry Wives'', when disguised as Herne, he seems to give his identity away by crying "Oh! Oh! Oh!" when burned (the joke being that he's crying "O!" for Oldcastle).
* The original set of ''SpringAwakening'' includes a chalk board showing a list of songs in the show, and includes a couple references to places where songs were cut (for example, the name of the former act two opener "There Once Was a Pirate", can be seen written faintly above the name of its replacement.)

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* When ExecutiveMeddling caused the deletion of an ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'' sequence in the [[Ride/DisneyThemeParks California Adventure]] nighttime show ''Ride/WorldOfColor'', a brief appearance by the Cheshire Cat and Alice was placed into the finale.

* ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'':
** A very early rejected mask design for Toa Pohatu was later used for another Toa of the Stone element, Toa Onewa.
** The mask of Makuta Mutran was originally to be called Artidax, the Mask of Mutation, until the writer realized that the Mutran set came with a Mask of Silence. The Mask of Mutation was later given to another Makuta, Miserix, and Artidax became the name of the island he had been imprisoned on.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This was the original EasterEgg in computer games, as is recounted very neatly in that page.
* ''CityOfHeroes'' has a few jokes along this line, including the infamous Egg Hunter badge.
* ''VideoGame/JazzJackrabbit 2'' is full of these. Many of the secret areas have signs that have jokes and messages to the development/design team on them, which completely fly over the head of the average player.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'': "I'm Atton. I actually wasn't supposed to make it into the final game, but I was created at the last minute. Blame my agent. I was actually slated for a spin-off to ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Knight]]'', but I don't want to talk about what happened ''there''."
* Coach from ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' wants armor. This was a reference to Coach's early designs that had him wear football gear as makeshift armor.
** Hilariously, some mods can dress up Coach in said armor.
* Blizzard games are loaded with these. One of the most memorable is a bit of audio attached to a character in ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}''; when ''Starcraft'''s alpha was first shown to the public people accused it of just being "''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' [[RecycledInSpace in space]]". Clicking on the character Artanis [[StopPokingMe repeatedly]] will eventually produce a series of exasperated [[BreakingTheFourthWall defences of the game's design]]:
--> "This is not ''Warcraft'' In Space!" "It's much more sophisticated." "I know it's not 3-D!"
** ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has:
*** The [[ Nova Shrine]]: A memorial to the [[{{Vaporware}} not-yet-officially-canceled]] ''Starcraft: Ghost'' spinoff game.
*** In ''Mists of Pandaria'' there's a ghost NPC in the Valley of the Four Winds who gives the player a low-quality woodcutting axe. The description mentions that it has "+15 Woodcrafting" etched into the handle, referencing a planned profession that was scrapped because its uses were too limited.
* ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' has a few in every game that involves a Konquest mode (more examples to be added upon redoing the story), and all appearances of characters like Rain who owe their existence to jokes between developers are essentially Development Gags.
** Way back in the early stages of the first ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'', Sub-Zero's {{code name}} was originally "Tundra." Come ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'', it's revealed that the title of the younger Sub-Zero [[LegacyCharacter that took his fallen brother's place]] starting in ''[=MK2=]'' was Tundra before he took up the mantle of Sub-Zero to honor his brother.
** And of course, Ermac, after the oft-misunderstood abbreviation that the first game's debug menu used for "'''Er'''ror '''Mac'''ro."
** And of course [=MoKap=], the guy in the motion capture suit that some of the fighters were drawn over, and Meat, the bloody musculature under many of the polygons.
* In ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha 3'', one of Guile's winquotes is "No handcuffs? Fighting isn't what it used to be!" which is a reference to a glitch Guile had in the original ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' that "handcuffed" (froze/attached) him to the opponent. This also counts as a MythologyGag, as the glitch was rather famous and widely known about among fans, and is considered a part of one of the older games despite its glitchy status.
** In the same game, Cody has several winquotes that refer back to his being a CanonImmigrant from another Capcom series, ''VideoGame/FinalFight'', including saying how good it is to have more than two moves and saying he'll take on "man, beast, or car", a nod to the first ''FF'''s infamous bonus stage.
* In the Rusty Bucket Bay level of ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'', there is a picture of the original pink-furred brunette version of Berri from the aborted ''Twelve Tales: Conker 64'' (who did appear as a damsel in distress in ''Conker's Pocket Tales''). This EasterEgg only appears in the original N64 version; it's a picture of Conker in the [[UpdatedRerelease XBLA version.]]
** In ''Banjo-Tooie'', Captain Blackeye, a character who was supposed to be the main antagonist in the early development of ''Banjo-Kazooie'' appears in a bar, drunkenly ranting about how a bear stole all his glory and how he "Had a dream", a reference to what the game was originally called.
** Portraits of Blackeye also appeared in ''Banjo-Kazooie's'' Mad Monster Mansion.
* In the library level of ''{{Metro 2033}}'' one of your squad mates pulls a book off the shelf and exclaims something along the lines of "Ahh, something familiar; ''Literature/RoadsidePicnic''." ''Roadside Picnic'' is the novel that inspired the ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' series, which many of the ''Metro'' devs also worked on. It doubles as well in that anyone who's played ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' is likely the find ''Metro'''s atmosphere very familiar, though the gameplay of the two games is quite different.
* When the developers of ''VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland'' created the sprite for the main character, he wasn't yet named so they saved the file with the name "guy.brush", ".brush" being the file extension for the graphics program and "guy" being, well. They eventually decided they liked the name, and so Guybrush Threepwood was born.
** The game also references its game engine, ''Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion'', with the in-game SCUMM Bar (which after the engine technology changed for the fourth game to Lua, was renamed after a hostile takeover by the game's antagonist to the "Lua Bar").
** The entire script of the first game could be considered a development gag; Ron Gilbert's original concept called for a more serious tone, but what with the way production works, Creator/TimSchafer and Dave Grossman found themselves with empty dialog slots in a game that needed testing, so they added their own silly placeholders. Gilbert thought these were so hilarious that he decided to completely overhaul the tone of the game and make it a comedy instead.
* The main character of the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' games was referred to behind the scenes as "Bluehair," a reference to the [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair distinctive (apparent) color of his hair]]. When the series moved to full-motion video, making an official name necessary, he was given the last name "Blair."
* Jade's name in ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil'' is a reference to more than just her obvious favorite color; in fact, she had it before she wore green ''anything'' (besides lipstick). It's a reference to the JADE Engine, the engine the game (and later, the 3-D ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia'' games) was built in.
* During the ending of ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'', the original playable character of the game can be briefly seen in the background.
* Likewise, the original playable character for ''{{Scribblenauts}}'' is available for viewing, if only you ask for it.
* Lewton in ''DiscworldNoir'' mentions that he was going to be an assassin, but it didn't work out. The early idea for the game was the further adventures of Teppic from ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'', an assassin.
* The ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' developers had created a much simplified early model for Sonic. This was revived and turned into the character Mighty the Armadillo for the arcade game and ''VideoGame/KnucklesChaotix''.
** The first game also has glowing letters reading "COPE" in the Spring Yard Zone, which is the acronym for one of the graphics processing routines used by the developers. If you go up high in Act 1 you can also see "UP ON CPU", whose meaning is less clear but may just be praise for the Mega Drive's capabilities.
** Before settling on a name for the blue hedgehog, the developers referred to him as "Mr. Needlemouse." The name was brought back for the publicity of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog4: Episode 1'': Prior to the reveal of the game's real name, it was referred to by its code name ''Project Needlemouse''. And the Sega blog, poking fun at the prior games' LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, jokingly suggested that "Sonic's new friend Mr. Needlemouse" might be a playable character in the game.
** One of the proposed designs for a Creator/{{Sega}} mascot was apparently supposed to be a caricature of UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt. [[ Look]] [[ familiar?]]
* In the beta version of ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'', shooting a particular object in HubLevel opened the path to an EasterEgg ([[spoiler:[[VideoGame/CommanderKeen the DopeFish]]]]) located in the same level selection room. In the released version, the easter egg was moved to an actual level, and shooting the object in the start level displays an optional hint about its location.
* ''VideoGame/GhostbustersTheVideoGame'' mentions that one of the names for Slimer is "Onionhead" in his Tobin's Spirit Guide entry, and he's actually referred to by this name once in dialogue. This was his production name, and it had been dropped from {{Canon}} media until now, because it was tied to a similarly dropped character trait of his smelling terrible -- it was found to be too hard to convey in film.
* [[NoDeathRun Acing]] ''LittleBigPlanet'''s final level, [[spoiler: [[CollectorOfTheStrange The Collector]]]], unlocks a costume based on [[ Yellowhead]], the game's protagonist in its beta ''Craftworld'' form.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'', the concept art for main characters [[ Roland, Mordecai, and Lilith]] make their way into the game as [[ Dr. Zed,]] [[ Reaver,]] and [[ Commandant Steele,]] respectively.
* In ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', you can see a rather [[ strange object in a jar]] at Black Mesa East, which Eli states that they "still don't know what it does". It's actually the head of a [[ Cremator]], a janitor-like enemy that was cut.
* In the Beta version of ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', the protagonist had red eyes and a blue outfit. When the finished game was ported to Wiiware, an Easter Egg was added where [[HolidayMode if you play the game on Halloween]], the character's sprite is replaced with a zombified version--with red eyes and a blue outfit.
* During the ''GuildWars'' War in Kryta arc, Confessor Isaiah, the leader of the White Mantle (named after Isaiah Cartrwight, the former leader of the skill balance team) has a skill called "Isaiah's Balance," which causes the next skill used by its target(s) to cost 25 energy and recharge in 90 seconds, reflecting an infamous skill nerf.
* Creator/{{Telltale|Games}}'s ''[[VideoGame/BackToTheFuture Back to the Future: The Game]]'' includes a development gag relating to the third movie. Marty is told by a descendant of Marshall Strickland (whom he met in 1885) that the Marshall had been shot in the back by Buford Tannen. Marty states that he doesn't remember that occurrence; the scene was filmed for the third movie, but ultimately deleted.
* The ''VideoGame/{{BioShock 2}}'' ARG "Something In The Sea" featured a character that visited Rapture then managed to return to the United States. The man then wrote a story about his experiences and submitted it to a science fiction magazine only for the editor to completely mangle the story into unrecognizability. One of the changes was turning the Little Sisters into chipmunk-like creatures, a reference to early concept art which rendered them as such.
** At the end of ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' [[spoiler:Booker meets several alternate versions of Elizabeth. One of them uses the model first shown to players before she was redisgned.]]
* ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'': Angeal's design is based on an old concept idea for Cloud.
* While designing ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'', Capcom created a big white block as a simple polygon to test the game's hit detection. By the time had come for the game to go gold, the block was further defined into the protagonist of the minigame "The Tofu Survivor". ''Resident Evil 3'', built in the same engine, also has Tofu DummiedOut, while ''The Darkside Chronicles'' contains another minigame where the player runs around blasting hulks of tofu as a ShoutOut.
* In ''VideoGame/TimeShift'', the "Alpha Suit" worn by the main antagonist (established as the prototype of the "Beta Suit" worn by the protagonist) is based on the design of the protagonit's suit in the early steampunk inspired version of the game (which was then massively overhauled).
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', talking to Shale reveals she used to be 10 ft tall (like other golems) until her owner took a ''chisel'' to her and carved her down to her current size because she couldn't fit through doors. This is the exact same reason why the developers had to shrink down her original model.
* There are a couple in Franchise/{{Pokemon}}. An old artwork for Poliwhirl/Poliwrath shows it wearing a crown; in Generation II, the crown-like King's Rock gives Poliwhirl access to the alternate evolution Politoed. In addition, Gastrodon's Platinum PokÚdex entry mentioning it previously having a rocky, sturdy shell comes from it's beta sprite.
* [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Sheik's]] redesign in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'' is based on a design made during the development of''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', which is why it matches the art style of said game.
* In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', two mooks will discuss a rumor that Harley Quinn used to be a man. Rocksteady motion-captured Quinn with a male actor, and even posted a fake reveal of this to tease fans.
* Some of the many voiceovers introduced by the Perpetual Training Initiative DLC in ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'' are from an AlternateUniverse Cave Johnson who got his consciousness transferred to a computer, only to later start musing about the metaphysical implications of this and asking "What if injecting my consciousness into a computer robbed me of an eternal reward?". This is a reference to a [[ very early version of the script]] where Johnson was going to be the BigBad.
* In the final version of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', at the end of the ''Wasteland Survival Guide'' questline, your character can sarcastically ask Moira Brown if, with you having done virtually all the legwork and research for the ''Guide'', Moira wants you to find a publisher, too. She cheerfully replies that won't be necessary. Guess what you had to do in one prerelease version of the questline.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'', one of the most iconic enemies, the Creeper, was originally meant to be a model for a pig. However, the model was botched but to date, it is kept in the game as aforementioned Creeper.
* In ''VideoGame/{{KillingFloor}}'', one of the pinned-up newspapers reads "SUSPECTED CULT" and shows a picture of the clots from the original mod.
* When you enter the modern or the future era in ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization 4]]'', you get an image of a digital clock with a brand "Soren" showing the time 5:23. This refers to Soren Johnson, one of the game's main developers, whose birthday is on May 23rd.
* ''VideoGame/KirbyMassAttack'' takes place on the Popopo islands. The original concept for ''VideoGame/{{Kirby}}'s Dream Land'' was a game called ''Twinkle Popopo''.
* For ''[[VideoGame/BitTrip BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien]]'', protagonist [=CommanderVideo=] (who was a {{minimalis|im}}t {{retraux}} [[ figure]] in the main ''BIT.TRIP'' series) was originally going to be [[ redesigned]] by [[ Ty Dunitz]]. When problems came up trying to get the character model to work, the planned redesign was changed to [[ this]]. Dunitz's design still managed to make it into the game as the unlockable character [=CaptainVideo=].
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' has Paris, the final [=SpotPass=] character who proclaims himself to be [[spoiler:[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Ike's]] descendant and wields his trademark Ragnell.]] His name is [[spoiler:what Ike had for a code name during early development of ''Path of Radiance'']]. The English language localizations lose this by renaming him Priam, though this sets up a different case of ShoutOutThemeNaming, as [[TheTrojanWar Priam, King of Troy, had a son named Paris]].
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', among the character Jack's many tattoos are images of several punk-ish looking women. While the official art book claims they're former members of gangs she was in that were murdered, behind the scenes they're [[ concept art sketches]] [[ from when Jack was being designed]].
* ''VideoGame/BrokenAge'' has Curtis the lumberjack as a character who is afraid of trees (they keep screaming at him). He was originally nothing more than a test of the art-style of the game and later a place-holder to see how the game was to be controlled and played. He was dubbed the "hipster lumberjack" by the devs and became so popular with the community that they demanded he be in the game when it was revealed he wasn't.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Pom Pom's dog, Trivia Time, and Homeschool Winner were both characters that were created for ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' but never quite materialized; this didn't keep subtle references to Homeschool Winner from cropping up in a few toons, and Trivia Time is officially Pom Pom's pet cookie jar.
* ''DSBTInsaniT'' '''thrives''' on this trope! Watching the Special Info Episode will make many of these gags easier to understand.

* The first ''[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Order of the Stick]]'' published book, ''Dungeon Crawlin' Fools'', has an author's commentary in which it is noted that the party's leader, Roy Greenhilt, was originally supposed to be a SquishyWizard and occupy TheSmartGuy role. The author decided that it wouldn't work out to have him be both that and the OnlySaneMan, so Roy became a fighter and the [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness sesquipedalian]] Vaarsuvius was introduced. This makes the strips in which we learn that Roy's father is bitterly disappointed in him for not becoming a wizard doubly funny.
** Another commentary reveals that Roy's misadventure with the Belt of Gender Changing was originally going to be him intentionally donning it to secretly engage in "girl talk" with Miko and learn more about her, only to discover later that he couldn't remove the belt. In the comic he only puts it on as an emergency disguise to help save Elan's life. When Haley finds out, she mocks him and one of her jokes is that this was him trying to impress Miko.

[[folder:Web Games]]
* Franchise/{{LEGO}} ''Backlot'' has a {{cameo}} of [[Franchise/{{Bionicle}} Takua]] drinking coffee and [[AnimatedActors reading the script for]] a ''BIONICLE'' movie. The script reveals his name is George, which was the early working name used for Takua in the ''Mata Nui Online Game''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* NewMedia web shows like ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' often have the characters, who are played by guys who are usually all friends, make jokes about the actors playing them and, occasionally, about events that happened during the making of the show. Most times, these references are either explained or funny enough that it doesn't matter.
* In the comments to [[ an Arc 13 Interlude chapter]] of ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', a chapter in which Imp (a teammate of the protagonist) uses her PerceptionFilter superpower to spy upon the Slaughterhouse Nine (a band of supervillain {{Serial Killer}}s), the author mentions Imp's inspiration: [[spoiler:a member of the earliest draft of the Slaughterhouse Nine called "Nice Guy"]] whose power was to be [[TheNondescript the guy you would never suspect]], fading into the background until he could cut your throat without your even considering him a suspect. Which makes it hilarious in [[ the first chapter of Arc 26]] when [[spoiler:a [[CloningBlues resurrected]] ex-member of the Slaughterhouse Nine called "Nice Guy"]] starts using his power on the heroes (and {{Anti Villain}}s) to divert suspicion from himself in preparation to killing them, and Imp takes him out with the BondOneLiner "My schtick."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** Avatar Roku takes Aang on a spiritual journey, in which Aang learns about Roku's life, and about how strong friendships can transcend spirit and time, but anyone is capable of evil or good. After the revelation, Toph makes a point of asking Aang whether he thinks that friendships can truly transcend lifetimes. It's a thought-provoking philosophical question, but it's mostly also a reference to the fact that some of Toph's development designs (originally a ''large man'') were used to create ''Roku'''s Earthbending teacher.
** Katara and Sokka's mother's name is revealed to be Kya, which was Katara's name in the pilot. Taking it one step further, after the creators found out they couldn't use the name Kya but before they named her Katara, they called her Kanna: currently the name of their grandmother.
** The poster for "[[WhoWouldWantToWatchUs The Ember Island Players]]" is based on the cover for the Book 1 DVD, and the play itself had another joke about Toph's original design as she is portrayed as a large man. And how the poster (and the Book 1 DVD cover!) put Zuko's scar on the wrong side of his face.
** The first season finale has the Water Tribe using an ancient and [[SpikesOfVillainy super-pointy]] Fire Navy uniform for infiltration purposes that is based on the Fire Nation designs from the pilot.
** Also from the original pilot, Zuko was going to have a pet messenger hawk who would be something of an EvilCounterpart to Momo. Then Sokka got one in season three.
* WaltDisney had an obscure character named [[ Mortimer Mouse]]. Disney had first considered calling Mickey "Mortimer". He actually resurfaced in the House of Mouse series as Mickey's romantic rival--and he reminds one quite a bit of a Mickey parody by the same name that appeared in BloomCounty.
* An episode of ''TheSimpsons'' features Bart and Lisa being beaten to the punch at solving the problem of the week by a brother and sister named Lester and Eliza, who are modeled after Bart and Lisa's far cruder designs in the ''Tracy Ullman Show'' shorts.
* ''FriskyDingo'': the title itself is one of these, referring to an insult Killface would have taunted the Xtacles with as they were originally called Whiskey Tango Six in early incarnations.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' has the titular character riding a motorcycle, a vehicle Hartman wanted him to ride during early developments of the show (back when Danny was a normal teen hunting ghosts).
* In ''TransformersAnimated'', Rodimus Prime's briefly appearing team of Autobots consist of ''Animated'' versions of Transformers characters that the members of the main cast were originally supposed to be based off of (Hot Shot who became Bumblebee, Red Alert who was replaced by Ratchet, and Rodimus himself who was renamed Sentinel Prime at the request of Hasbro).
* Quite a few examples from the ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland Total Drama]]'' series:
** Several of the interns are based on the concept designs for DJ, Cody, Katie, Sadie and Tyler.
** In Season 4, one member of the second generation cast, B, is also based on DJ's concept design.
** [=LeShawna=]'s original design was recycled and used for her cousin, Leshaniqua, who showed up in "One Flu Over The Cuckoos".
* ''CodenameKidsNextDoor'': In Operations "Pool" and "Caramel", we see Numbuh 5 wearing glasses (in the "Pool" case, an alternate universe version thereof), in contrast to her regular apperance. This is a reference to her wearing glasses in the pilot (at one point, the CN website for the show even mentioned that she wears glasses).
* In ''{{Jimmy Two-Shoes}}'', there are several pictures around the Heinous Manor of [[{{Satan}} Lucius]] in his concept art's outfit as opposed to his ordinary one. In another episode, Jimmy wears a bowtie, which was part of [[BowtiesAreCool his concept suit]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** In a flashback we get to see Twilight Sparkle's parents. Her mother bears a more than passing resemblance to Lauren Faust's original design for Twilight herself, back when she was meant to be the same character as Twilight (no last name) from the first-gen series.
** One of the photos of Fluttershy pinned to the wall of Photo Finish's studio in "Green Isn't Your Color" is essentially Lauren Faust's concept art of earlier-generation pony Posey, except with wings and an altered cutie mark.
** In "Family Appreciation Day" we get a flashback featuring a young Granny Smith, who looks just like an alternate version of Applejack that LaurenFaust drew for the series' pitch bible.
** In "The Last Roundup", one of the pictures the other characters use while trying to find Applejack is based off a different concept sketch of her.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' shows Leela's maternal grandmother, a mutant with a normal arm and a tentacle - which the developers originally planned to give to Leela's ''mother'', who instead has two tentacle arms.
* ''ThePowerpuffGirls'' had one episode where the Professor's dreams he hadn't [[FreakLabAccident accidentally added Chemical X]] when creating the girls, resulting in the "Run of the Mill Girls", who had no superpowers nor the Girls' [[TheNoseless unusual]] [[PowerpuffGirlHands features.]] The designs used were heavily based on redesigns--from when the show was still several years away from even starting--that were considered in response to negative reactions from test groups.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'', there was a rather gross one. [[spoiler: evidently, Beetlejuice's fingers are red because of some...{{Rule 34}} one of the animators drew.]]
* The protagonist of ''WesternAnimation/CaptainNTheGameMaster'' was originally pitched as a newspaper delivery boy named Buddy. Once the Season Two ''VideoGame/{{Paperboy}}'' episode came around, the design was re-used for the character Julio.
* The Justice League's public liaison, Catherine Cobert, was originally slated to appear in the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''. She got as far as having a character design and a voice actress record her dialogue before she was axed for time considerations, but she survived in two small ways: first, hers is the voice of the Justice League's computer-- it's her voice announcing "Recognized: Robin B-Zero-One," etc. Second, her character design was given blonde hair and repurposed as reporter Cat Grant. She eventually made an appearance in the first episode of ''season two,'' with a new character design, the same voice actress, and... talking to Cat Grant.
* ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' TV series featured a turtle named Clarence, who was first deviced for the movie as King Triton's advisor before being replaced by Sebastian.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', Inferno was originally conceived as a new body for Megatron. The show made him a distinct character, but the scrapped idea was referenced in one of the early Season 2 episode, where Megatron in his actual new body collides with Inferno mid-air, and they briefly end up switching heads. Inferno is amused, Megatron not so much.
* A ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' episode features Robert April, the first captain of the ''Enterprise''. The name was indeed one of the options GeneRoddenberry considered for the TOS captain, before he settled for Pike (and eventually Kirk). Canonically, he was the captain of the Enterprise before Pike and he is represented in the Star Trek Encyclopedia with an image of Roddenberry himself wearing a uniform.