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An Early-Bird Cameo is when characters appear earlier than their introduction in the same work. Superficially similar to the ChekhovsGunman, which can happen with or without an introduction to the viewer.

See also ContinuityCameo, ProductionForeshadowing, and HilariousInHindsight. Focusing on these can lead to a PoorlyDisguisedPilot. Compare DestinedBystander, where a minor character eventually ''becomes'' important through CharacterDevelopment. Vaguely antonymous with MarthDebutedInSmashBros. Not to be confused with a CallForward, which is when a prequel references a character or plot device from the original.



!!Hey, It's That Character

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In the first episode of ''Anime/{{Naruto}}'', all the members of the Rookie Nine are seen lined up for the Henge Jutsu evaluation. Sakura and Sasuke are even shown going before Naruto. In the original manga, Sakura and Sasuke don't appear until after the first story while the rest of the Rookie Nine don't appear until the Chunin Exams several story arcs later. Even though all of them were Naruto's classmates, they didn't appear in any of the classroom scenes in the first chapter.
* ''Anime/OnePiece'' anime:
** Akainu appeared in the background of a group shot long before his character arc.
** Jimbei was shown among the Warlords quite a ways before his proper, physical introduction.
** Shiryuu's shadow showed up in Impel Down long before his existence is even hinted at.
** Nami appeared in the first few episodes working independently before her proper introduction during the Buggy arc.
** The [=3D2Y=] special spoiled [[spoiler:Sabo's survival]].
* Kaworu Nagisa, who only appears in episode 24 of the ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' TV series, is seen in the first movie of the new Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy. This may have something to do with him being an EnsembleDarkHorse, though. He also shows up quite a bit earlier in the manga adaptation, and in pretty much every AlternateContinuity. Notably, however, he's much more [[GreyAndGrayMorality morally ambiguous]] in the manga.
* Every major character appears in the first episode of the 2006 version of ''{{Kanon}}'', save for [[spoiler:Amano Mishio. Yes, Makoto is there.]] For those who kept trying to spot the Makoto Sawatari we know, it's not her that we see in the pilot episode, but rather, her [[spoiler:fox form, the fox that Nayuki approaches on the hill]] is what we see.
* In the first episode of ''{{Eyeshield 21}}'', as Sena wonders what club to join, you can see Monta in the background, presumably stumping for the baseball team. Another early episode features Suzuna Taki, who's trying to track down her brother Natsuhiko; she shows up again during the Death March arc, which is where she first appeared in the manga.
* Inverted in ''TokyoMewMew'': Minto, Retasu, Bu-ling and Zakuro appear in the beginning of the manga before passing through the DebutQueue, but are removed from the beginning of the anime.
* Many of the angels that Misaki faces later in ''KidouTenshiAngelicLayer'' appear on a videotape that Icchan is watching early in the anime.
* In the anime ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'', Caren appears several episodes before she becomes significant to a plot, winning a beauty contest that the main characters and villains entered.
** Caren notably made a cameo during the beauty contest story in the manga as well, though she did not take part in it like in the anime.
* In the manga adaptation of Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann, Nia is shown right after Kamina, Yoko, Leeron, and Simon leave Ritoona Village. There's also some Early-Bird ShipTease for Dayakka[=/=]Kiyoh and Rossiu[=/=]Kinon.
** In ''Gurren-Hen'', [[spoiler:Guinble]] makes an appearance just after [[spoiler:the destruction of the Doten-Kaizan. He looks (appropriately enough) younger than he did in the original series.]]
** In ''Lagann-hen'', [[spoiler:the Anti-Spiral's face briefly appears on the moon's surface just as Nia accepted Simon's marriage proposal.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}},'' The opening used during the [[{{Filler}} Bount Arc]] had a CouchGag which would show a picture of a different character each episode. One of these showed Grimjow who wouldn't show up until the next story arc. Other characters shown this way include Ulquiorra and Shinji.
** Chad appears briefly in the second episode, offering to help repair Ichigo's house after the fight against Fish Bone D in the first chapter. In the original manga, he does not appear until Chapter 7 (which is shown in anime episode 4).
** Similarly, Ishida is shown in art class (sewing, of course) a good six episodes before most of the main characters are even aware of his existence, much less that he's a Quincy.
*** In an odd case despite adding this scene his cameo from the manga during the Don Kaionji introduction was removed completely.
** While less noticeable than the other examples, in the anime, Kiyone and Sentarou (Ukitake's bickering third seats) first appear in Ukitake's debut when he hears about Aizen [[spoiler:supposedly having been killed.]] In the manga, a faceless messenger tells him, and Kiyone and Sentarou don't arrive until he calls them out of hiding a few chapters later.
** Directly after Grand Fisher's loss to Ichigo in the early episodes, he's held down and had his mask ripped off by at least two other Hollows. Two of these were Aisslinger and Di Roy, the latter shows up much later as Grimmjow's weakest Fraccion and the former shows up at the beginning of the Hueco Mundo arc, guarding the underground area of Las Noches.
** An early version of Shinji Hirako can seen in the first chapter's cover art page in the manga. He wouldn't make his official appearance in the series for another 182 chapters.
* In the anime of ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', Tsuna passes by Ryohei, Yamamoto, and Hibari when he is running to catch up with Kyoko.
* The anime's first episode of ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' gives Conan's future first-grade friends speaking roles.
* Rex Raptor/Dinosaur Ryuzaki appears in Toei's ''[[Anime/YuGiOhFirstAnimeSeries Yu-Gi-Oh]]'' movie briefly as someone who is defeated by Seto Kaiba. [[AdaptationDyeJob He had pink hair]] and never appeared in Toei's anime otherwise. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in the [[WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries Other Abridged Movie]] based on this one:
-->'''Rex:''' This sucks! I'm gonna go dye my hair.
** Bakura briefly cameos in one episode of the Toei series that centers on the classmates holding a popularity contest and also makes several brief appearances in the Death-T arc watching and rooting for Yugi and his friends to defeat Kaiba, long before the Monster World story arc that introduced him is adapted.
* Deuteragonist Astral from the ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'' series seems to have been inspired by [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Astral_Barrier an unremarkable card]] introduced waaay back as early in GX.
* An episode of ''UruseiYatsura'' featured a story in Feudal Japan with [[AndYouWereThere the cast playing different characters]]. Before the story itself begins, the cast breaks the fourth wall to explain what is happening... when all of a sudden Mendou shows up for the first time. When the others ask who he is, he calmly replies "My name is Shutaro Mendou and I will soon become a regular character on this show". He of course, joins the rest of the cast in the story. Sure enough, Mendou's "actual" introduction occurs a few episodes later without any mention of this. If you're going to do a Genji story, someone has to be To No Chujo (Genji's friend/rival), that's Mendo to a "T", continuity be damned.
* The anime of ''Manga/YawaraAFashionableJudoGirl'' added a date scene with Yawara in the park with Kazamatsuri (who's trying to avoid all the girls he stood up) in episode #6. One of them (the one in the boat) is Yoko Nanda, who won't join the main cast until MUCH later (like, after the part that's come to the USA). Nanda's defining characteristic WAS her bad luck with men, so it works rather well.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
** In the anime, Maes Hughes first appears during the train hijacking incident and helps Ed and Al retake the train, despite not appearing until Chapter 6 of the manga. The first ''Brotherhood'' episode features an entirely new story that features cameos by some of the military characters.
** In ''Brotherhood'', Izumi and her husband make a brief background appearance behind a scene where Winry is at a train station. Even earlier, when Ed is giving a shortened version of their adventures in a flashback, she appears in silhouette when he talks about them getting a teacher. The same scene contains Mei Chang.
** Also in ''Brotherhood'', this is inverted with Yoki. His first appearance is reduced to a brief mention, and it gets properly told (uh...somewhat) in episode 39. The first anime had covered Yoki's story well, so it only receives a brief nod in the second to make sure that the climax gets its full time to shine. Yoki's story isn't the only arc covered in the first anime to receive this treatment.
** Kimblee also appears in the first episode of Brotherhood; Isaac [=MacDougal=] offers to break him out of prison, but he refuses. He doesn't become important until much later.
** Also in Brotherhood: Maria Ross can be seen briefly in episode 5 before making a proper appearance. Then, in episode 6, while Edward explains that alchemists usually encrypt their research notes, Berthold Hawkeye is shown.
** Yet another character receives a blink-and-you'll miss it cameo in the first episode of Brotherhood long before he makes a major appearance: [[spoiler:Father]].
* Another inversion happens in ''Manga/DeathNote'', where L appears at the very end of the first chapter, but doesn't appear until the Interpol conference in the second episode of the anime. An early scene with Near, Mello and Roger (the man in charge of Wammy's Orphanage) is delayed, and they first appear when [[spoiler:receiving word of L's death.]]
** Also Matt appears in episode 32 in the anime with Mello
* In the ''FistOfTheNorthStar'' anime series, Kenshiro's girlfriend Yuria, as well as his nemesis Shin, appear as part of Kenshiro's recurring nightmares/hallucinations prior to their proper introduction in the story.
** In the second anime series, the Governor Jakoh is the first character to appear in the anime, whereas in the manga version of the ''Tentei'' story arc, he doesn't show up until he is revealed to be TheManBehindTheMan.
* [[spoiler:Hanyuu and]] Shion from ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' appear early in the manga. [[spoiler:Hanyuu]] makes a few appearances in omakes ''arcs'' before her first appearance. Shion makes an appearance in an omake from the first arc, when she makes her first appearance in the next arc. Likewise for the anime. Hanyuu is TheVoice throughout the events of ''Yakusamashi-hen'', and she actually [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Hanyuu_outline.jpg appears as a silhouette behind Rena and Keiichi in the third episode of ''Kai'']].
** In the first live-action movie, [[spoiler:Hanyuu]] appears behind Keiichi as a silhoulette just before [[spoiler:he tears his throat out]].
* The ''NurarihyonNoMago'' anime not only has Gyuuki, the first major villain, appear early, but practically has him appear every other minute for no real reason.
* The end of the first volume of ''{{Hellsing}} Ultimate'' has a brief appearance by [[BigBad the Major]], as well as a brief flash of him while [[ThoseTwoGuys Luke and Jan Valentine]] are discussing their role in the coming events. The actual manga has him make brief appearances just after the attack on Hellsing headquarters and during the meeting between Integra and Enrico Maxwell, before he is properly introduced to the story (both of these appearances are also in the OVA).
* In ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'', Kaya Miyoshi is briefly shown calling for Miho to come with her in the first episode of the anime. She doesn't appear until a few chapters into the series in the manga, when she meets the main characters on the roof. Koogy's music turns up a few times before he decides to make his debut as a mangaka.
* In the manga adaption of Rusty's arrival in [=ThunderClan=] during ''Literature/WarriorCats'', Ravenpaw is in the camp. In the book, he didn't appear until later.
* ''[[TheMoomins Moomin]]'' places Little My in storylines that took place before her debut in the original books.
* In the ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'' visual novel, Suginami-san and her {{Jerkass}} friends Katsuzawa and Takamiya don't show up until the beginning of Rin or Kurugaya's routes, but the anime briefly lingers over the three of them in an establishing shot of the classroom in the first episode.
* In the ''Manga/SoulEater'' manga, we first see Sid after he's zombified and fights Maka, Soul, Black Star, and Tsubaki. In the anime we see him an episode earlier, before he became a zombie, in a scene added to the anime where Soul and Black Star try to find out about Kid. Likewise, we see Harvar, Ox, Kilik, Pot of Fire, Pot of Thunder, and Hiro in the fourth episode of the anime instead of some unnamed background characters, as all of them were shown significantly later in the manga.
* While it's only one episode early, In the LightNovel/DateALive anime, when it suddenly starts raining during Tohka and Sido's first date you can see [[MakingASplash Yoshino]] in front of the arcade they take shelter in.
** LightNovel/DateALive's first season OVA ups the ante with Yamai twins playing VideoGame/{{Breakout}} at the arcade in their [[{{Stripperiffic}} Astral]] [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight Dresses]].
* The anime of ''Manga/NoMatterHowILookAtItItsYouGuysFaultImNotPopular'' downplays this by having the NiceGirl StudentCouncilPresident appear a few minutes ahead of schedule, replacing the nameless girl who was originally there.
* Keen-eyed viewers watching ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' will spot cameos added in the second episode. A young Annie appears among the refugees waiting in the bread line, while a young [[ThoseTwoGuys Reiner and Bertolt]] appear in the crowd during the announcement of the operation to [[BlatantLies reclaim]] Wall Maria.
* ''Anime/SailorMoonCrystal'' teases impending Sailor Guardians slightly before the point of their debut in the ''Manga/SailorMoon'' manga.
** Ami[=/=]Sailor Mercury has a brief appearance at the end of the ''first'' episode, running to get out of the rain. In the original ''Manga/SailorMoon'' manga, she doesn't appear until Act 2, while the [[Anime/SailorMoon original anime]] decompresses the plot enough so that she first appears in episode 8.
** Rei[=/=]Sailor Mars shows up briefly at the very end of Act 2, after a quick shot of Hikawa Shrine's exterior and rows of shrine candles. The manga first introduces her in Act 3, TheNineties anime, episode 10.
* In ''Manga/GochuumonWaUsagiDesuKa'', Aoyama first appeared within the first minute of the anime (00:51 to be exact), in an anime-only intro.
* Two instances in the ''Anime/PrettyCureAllStars'' series:
** In ''DX 2'', [[Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure Itsuki and Yuri]] show up in a crowd shot, the movie airing prior to their appearances in the show, though Yuri's something of an exception.
** In ''New Stage 3'', [[Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure Cure Honey]] shows up to lend a hand twice. The movie aired two weeks prior to her official appearance.
* The ''Manga/FairyTail'' anime has Wendy show up several times in passing before she's actually introduced.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* When ''Franchise/{{Tintin}} in the Congo'' was turned into colour, Thomson and Thompson were added into the scene where he is saying goodbye to everyone on the railway platform (they were not present in the original black and white edition). The pair made their first proper appearance in ''Cigars of the Pharaoh''.
* Certain random background Legionaires were changed into Brainiac 5 when early ''ComicBook/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' stories were reprinted, by simply recolouring them to Brainy's colours (purple clothes, green skin, blonde hair).
* The graphic novel adaptation of the first ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' novel features references to Opal Koboi and her company- both of which play major roles in the second book- that were not in the print version.
* In the ''ComicBook/MegaMan'' comic, the ''Short Circuits'' in issue 4 had Proto Man, Rush, Bass, and Treble showing up, demanding their turn in the comic.
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Noob}}'' comic, a minor character named Castörga appeared in the sixth comic. Its story happens during a period equivalent to that of early Season 3 of the original web/TV series, where Castörga has his first appearance in Season 3 finale.
* In the NewFiftyTwo, Arthur Light initally appears as an A.R.G.U.S. scientist in ''Comicbook/JusticeLeague'', and doesn't acquire his Dr Light powers until the Trinity War crossover that kicks off ''Forever Evil''.
* Well, you couldn't known who is that character by the moment, but you would remember seeing [[spoiler:The White Violin, aka Vanya]] near Hargreeves's rushed up funeral in the second issue cover of ''ComicBook/TheUmbrellaAcademy''... [[CoversAlwaysLie but it doesn't really happen in the comic]]. The funeral happens, but [[spoiler:she's]] not present.
* Arthur is properly introduced in ''ComicBook/TheTick'' in issue four, but is visible flying around in background shots before then.

* In ''FanFic/TheChosenOnesJourney'', Steven and Cynthia appear as early as Kanto, along with Pokemon from all 5 (later 6) generations.
* In ''FanFic/DairantouSaintZearth'', The [[{{Heirlooms}} Tenda Cousins]] appear on the first episode to sign the contract.
* In ''FanFic/ProjectTatterdemalion'', a ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' AU in which Hollows are the result of TheVirus and shinigami those of its vaccine, a pre-Hollow Nel gets a brief cameo as a coworker of Ichigo's parents who was infected- well before the introduction of Arrancar, or indeed any version of the events of ''Bleach'' canon.
* In ''Fanfic/GameTheory'', several characters from later seasons, such as Zest, Quint, Megane, and Tiida take part the Jewel Seed incident. Teana also gets a brief cameo, and although the girl in a wheelchair [[TheTropeWithoutATitle is never actually named]], it's pretty clear that she's Hayate.
** Gil Graham is initially mentioned in passing and eventually appears himself along with the Liese twins. (In fact Lotte Liese [[spoiler: is an EleventhHourRanger.]]) Quint also holds a conversation with her husband Genya (another example of this trope) where they talk about the two girls they're trying to adopt - clearly Subaru and Ginga. And finally [[spoiler: Lutecia appears as a baby]].
* ''WebAnimation/TurnaboutStorm's'' [[RecursiveFanfiction fan novelization]] has a cameo from Flash Sentry in chapter 52. Keep in mind that Twilight doesn't even have her wings yet, so this is happening way before [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls he is canonically introduced]]. The author has confirmed Flash is in the story as a nod to the movie. Shining Armour also counts, since he is introduced in the season 2 finale, and the story takes place before that point.
** Chapter 54 has a cameo from Sunset Shimmer in a {{flashback}}. This was actually suggested by the author of the original.
* ''[[FanFic/SonicGenerationsFriendshipIsTimeless Adventures on the Friendship Express]]'' also has a cameo from Flash Sentry in chapter 8. Season 3 of [=FiM=] has not ended here yet, so Twilight does not have her wings either, so this is also before he is canonically introduced.
* ''Fanfic/WelcomeToTheWorldOfPokemon'' has game mechanics that appear earlier than they do in canon. Mega Evolution, a VideoGame/PokemonXAndY mechanic, appears as early as ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue Red With Rage]]''.
* ''Fanfic/WeissReacts'' has [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Homura, Kyoko and Mami]] appear months before ''Fanfic/HomuraReacts'' was written.

* This can be seen in several super-hero movies wherein pre-transformed allies, sidekicks, or villains may make an appearance, whereas in the comics, their first appearance included said transformation. Billy Dee Williams as pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/{{Batman}}'' (though the former was [[TheOtherDarrin replaced]] by Creator/TommyLeeJones by the time he actually became Two-Face).
** The producers of ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'' originally wanted the DA in the first movie to be Dent, but decided they couldn't give him time to properly develop so they came up with another character instead. This, unfortunately, led the filmmakers to stridently avoid this trope.
* Dylan Baker as the pre-Lizard Curt Connors in the ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' series.
* Similarly, Samuel Sterns appears as a supporting character in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk''. His final scene appears to be the start of his mutation into The Leader.
* In the two ''Film/IronMan'' movies, CaptainAmerica's shield can be seen on Tony Stark's worktable along with Thor's hammer. The Captain shows up in a block of ice for the alternate opening of ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' (2008) and got his own movie in 2011.
** In the first film, Rhodey looks at the MK II armor, and says "Next time, baby!" He wears an upgraded version of that armor in the sequel.
** ''Film/{{Thor}}'' itself features a cameo by Comicbook/{{Hawkeye}}, who was featured in ''Film/TheAvengers'', as well as [[spoiler:The Cosmic Cube from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'']] appearing in TheStinger. Also, the Infinity Gauntlet is visible in Odin's trophy room/weapon vault. Considering [[spoiler:Thanos]] appeared at the end of the ''Avengers'' film, the possibility of the Gauntlet becoming more important later on could be a little more likely now.
** The sequel, ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', features [[spoiler: The Collector from Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy]] in the stinger. We also get a menton of at least two [[spoiler: Infinity Gems]].
* The updated version of ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/ANewHope'' has Boba Fett showing up in an added scene, though he's not significant until [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack the next movie]].
*** The Special Edition's Mos Eisley intro has a cameo appearance of Dash Rendar's Outrider ship from ''ShadowsOfTheEmpire''.
** The planet Coruscant from the prequel trilogy is shown during the celebration sequence in the SpecialEdition of ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''. The DVD version also adds buildings seen during the prequels.
* In the film version of ''Film/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'' at the end we hear Aunt Alberta call up "Jill Pole's stopped by for a visit". Jill becomes an important character in the next story ''The Silver Chair''.
* Most adaptations of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'' introduce Tiny Tim and often the rest of the Cratchits near the beginning of the story, while in the book they didn't appear until the Ghost of Christmas Present stave.
* ''Film/XMen'':
** Colossus can briefly be seen in ''[[Film/XMen1 X-Men]]'' sitting near the basketball court. He gets much more screen time and a few lines in the next two movies.
** In ''Film/X2XMenUnited'', Dr. Henry [=McCoy=] A.K.A Beast appears briefly on TV in the bar.
* The songs Pink is singing while hiding in the bathroom stall in the movie version of [[PinkFloyd Pink Floyd's]] 1982 film adaptation of ''Film/TheWall'', besides the album track, "Stop", are lyrics to "Your Possible Pasts", a track left off the album but finally released on the 1983 follow-up ''The Final Cut'', and "5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity)", a track from former bandleader RogerWaters' 1984 solo album, ''The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking''. Both songs were written at around the same time as the finished ''Wall'' album.

* The ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' novels ''Literature/TidesOfDarkness'' and ''Literature/BeyondTheDarkPortal'', novelizations of the RealTimeStrategy ''Warcraft II'' and its expansion respectively, have this in spades, not only featuring characters from that time period that were only introduced in ''Warcraft III'' and beyond, but also updating the story itself in the light of retcons and heavy additions to the canon in later games. They're almost "the Second War as seen through the prism of ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''". Let's just say that the flashback in ''The Frozen Throne'' in which Gul'dan wanders into the Tomb of Sargeras is recited almost verbatim in the first book, and Auchindoun plays a much more extended role in the second, along with the introduction of the "new" draenei.
* Those Literature/DoctorWhoNovelisations that were published some years after the TV story was broadcast sometimes added in references to later stories. For instance, in the novelisation of ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS8E1TerrorOfTheAutons Terror of the Autons]]'', the bomb that the hypnotised Professor Philips uses to try to kill the Doctor and Jo was retconned into a [[Recap/DoctorWhoS11E1TheTimeWarrior Sontaran]] hand grenade. And there's the notorious line in the novelisation of ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E9TheTimeMeddler The Time Meddler]]'' where the Doctor refers to the Monk as a Gallifreyan, leading fans who relied on the novelisations to believe that the Doctor's home planet had been named eight years earlier than it was on TV.
** The novelisation of "Shada" contains a short scene where the Fourth Doctor and Romana gossip about the Corsair, a Time Lord created for the Eleventh Doctor episode "The Doctor's Wife".
* ''Creator/MichaelConnelly'': Mickey Haller a.k.a. ''Literature/TheLincolnLawyer'' might be one of the relatives Harry Bosch met in the flashback featured in ''The Black Ice''.
* In Clary's dream in ''[[Literature/TheMortalInstruments City of Ashes]]'', [[spoiler: she sees Jace standing with white wings (a reference to his angel blood) and, behind her, a dark-haired boy with blood-tipped wings - Sebastian.]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/IClaudius'' did this in combining the novels ''I, Claudius'' and ''Claudius the God'' -- a large part of the latter discusses Claudius' childhood friend and ally Herod Agrippa, despite the fact he is absent for much of the former, even though it is about this period of Claudius' life. For this reason, the television series introduces Herod as a character long before Claudius becomes emperor.
* ''Series/{{Babylon 5}}'' did this with its TV movie ''In The Beginning''. This prequel covers the apocalyptic events of the Earth-Minbari War ten years before the series. John Sheridan, the star of the series by this point, meets and interacts with many pivotal members of the cast. He goes on a peace mission with Dr. Franklin and G'Kar, and is interrogated by Delenn when the Minbari take them all prisoner. However, when Sheridan was introduced in Season 2, only Ivanova mentions having met him before-- ironically, ''after'' the war was over and therefore not on camera for this movie. Bruce Boxleiter was the show's star, and it was unthinkable that a TV movie would place him in a supporting role. Showrunner JMS argued to fans that any reminiscences about the events in the movie must have happened off camera on the series.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'' has done this with a number of characters and concepts, most notably Sophie-Anne, the vampire queen of Louisiana, who has a cameo in season two of the series but isn't introduced until the sixth book. The last episode of season two also raises the question of "what" Sookie is, something that isn't asked, much less answered, until the later books.
* Almost every DC Comics characters on ''{{Smallville}}'', most notably a proto-''JusticeLeague''.
* Inverted in ''Series/GameOfThrones'', in which many characters (notably Edmund and Blackfish Tully) first appear later than in the ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' novels, to prevent the producers of the television show from having to cast someone for one scene in the current season and then hope and pray that they're still available for a much bigger part in a later season.
* Barry Allen in ''Series/{{Arrow}}''. He first appears in an episode called "The Scientist", and that's his thing; he's a scientist. The Flash isn't going to be properly introduced until his own series. Two other characters who are going to be regulars in ''The Flash'', Caitlin and Cisco (Killer Frost and Vibe in the comics), make cameos in the episode "The Man Under the Hood".
** Another blink-and-you'll-miss-it in "Suicide Squad" where Harley Quinn (who probably won't get much introduction until/unless the show is allowed to cross over with the Batman sub-universe) shouts something from her cell.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' fiftieth anniversary special, "The Day of The Doctor", as all known incarnations of the Doctor gather to save his home planet of Gallifrey, Peter Capaldi makes an early debut as the then-upcoming Twelfth Doctor, albeit only as shots of his hands manipulating the TARDIS controls and his eyes in extreme close-up; he would not debut in full until the following Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor".

* Creator/BallyMidway's ''[[Pinball/MrAndMrsPacManPinball Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball]]'' includes a depiction of a baby Pac-Man, prior to the release of the ''Pinball/BabyPacMan'' or ''[[VideoGame/PacMan Jr. Pac-Man]]'' games.

* The Creator/RoyalShakespeareCompany is fond of doing this to Launcelot Gobbo, the [[TheFool "fool"]] from ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice''. The 1999-1994 run (with Christopher Luscombe in the role) combined the two "Prince of Morocco" scenes, so that Launcelot's first appearance came directly after the scene in which the bond is agreed to. He was depicted doing odd jobs around Shylock's office (preparing coffee and rearranging files) until the others exited, at which point he suddenly stepped out and gave his monologue--probably quite a surprise to audience members who thought he was just an extra! The current run gives him an even earlier cameo--the show's setting has been transposed to Las Vegas, and there's an Elvis impersonator walking around singing appropriate music. Guess who he turns out to be...
* ''[[http://angevin2.livejournal.com/148520.html The Things I Will Not Do When I Direct A Shakespeare Production, On Stage Or Film]]'', #225: "I will not incorporate an ominous witch-doctor woman into ''RomeoAndJuliet'', having her stalk the streets of Verona until she's finally revealed as the apothecary."
* In Theatre/ShrekTheMusical, Puss in Boots makes a quick cameo during "Travel Song".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney'' case "Rise from the Ashes" (inserted at the end of the first game when it was updated from the Gameboy to the DS), Gumshoe gives Edgeworth a menu from a French restaurant that's just opened. You have to squint a little, since the picture is tiny, but the man on the menu is Jean Armstrong. Armstrong and his French restaurant don't show up until the third game.
** Then again, in Japan, they've got the first four cases of the first game, and the two other games as the ''Gyakuten Saiban'' trilogy for the GBA. The fifth case was added in the DS remake, which came later, hence his apparition.
** It introduced a DubInducedPlothole in the French version, which tried to make Jean Armstrong sound less French, for [[KeepItForeign obvious reasons]]. He was made Libanese in this cameo, but Italian in the third game, when translated there.
* Yoshi made retroactive cameos in the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros.'' trilogy by way of {{video game remake}}s. In ''Super Mario Bros. DX'' (a remake of the first ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros.''), there's a block hidden in each level in Challenge Mode, each holding a Yoshi egg. Collect it, and Yoshi will hatch out during the point tally. When ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' was remade as ''Super Mario Advance'', you can unlock an extra mode where you can find two Yoshi eggs in each level. Find all the eggs in each world, and Yoshis would hatch out of them. Finally, ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' was remade for ''[[CompilationRerelease Super Mario All-Stars]]'' and as ''Super Mario Advance 4'', and in both versions, the King of World 7 had been transformed into a Yoshi rather than a Piranha Plant.
** A more straight example from that game would be the fact that the sprite used for the last example mentioned would later be used for the main sprite for Yoshi in ''YoshisIsland''.
*** Which actually previously appeared in the SNES version in [[YoshisIsland Yoshi's Cookie]], albeit unused.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManPoweredUp'', a remake of ''VideoGame/MegaMan1'', there is an option to play as Proto Man, who did not appear in the series' original run until ''VideoGame/MegaMan3''.
* In ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'', Knuckles is playable in ''Sonic 2'' as part of the ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Knuckles in]] [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2 Sonic 2]]'' setup. The iOS version of Sonic 2 also adds in a good ending where the Death Egg crashes on Angel Island and Knuckles is seen peeking through the bushes when Eggman stomps his feet in anger.
** Cream the Rabbit can be seen as concept art in ''Sonic Mega Collection''.
** Miles "Tails" Prower is arguably this, if one considers ''Sonic CD'' to take place before ''Sonic 2''.
* In the ''Anniversary'' [[UpdatedRerelease remaster]] of ''HaloCombatEvolved'', 343 Guilty Spark is introduced in a terminal message where he warns you that your ship is getting too close to the ring. The rest of the terminals delve into his backstory.
* ''VideoGame/DoubleOhSevenFromRussiaWithLove'', the adaptation of the Creator/SeanConnery Bond film of same name, featured a number of Bond gadgets that didn't show up until later films in the franchise. For example, Bond uses the jetpack from ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'' in the prologue/JustifiedTutorial, and he gets the Aston Martin DB-5 from ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'' on the third level.
* ''VideoGame/TheHouseOfTheDeadOverkill''[='=]s [=PS3/PC=] rerelease, ''Extended Cut'', adds two extra chapters played as ActionGirl Varla Gunns and her brother's DumbBlonde girlfriend. In the second extra chapter, the player can catch a quick glimpse of the Crawler, the boss of the fourth regular chapter (not that this makes his appearance [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere any less out-of-nowhere]]).
* Other than their captains, the crews of two of the three faction flagships in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' made partial or full appearances in missions before they were fully introduced and fleshed out in the annual event mission "First Contact Day"/"Day of Honor"/"Republic Day". Some of the USS ''Enterprise''-F command staff appeared during cutscenes in the feature episode "The 2800", while the RRW ''Lleiset'' command staff turned up as background {{NPC}}s during "A Step Between Stars".
* ''VideoGame/TheBizarreAdventuresOfWoodruffAndTheSchnibble'': The Beast (the BigBad of the game) is on a poster at the very start of the game.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SailorMoonCS'', Minako can be seen briefly in issue 4.
** A Miss Meioh appears in issue 2.
** [[spoiler: The rainbow crystals and associated youma appear earlier than they did in the anime]].
* Early in ''{{Homestuck}}'', John reads a dubiously educational programming textbook called "Data Structures [[TropesForDummies For Assholes]]", written in an extremely abusive style by someone called [[UnfortunateNames Buckminster Funnyuncle]]. Later in the comic, Karkat Vantas, a popular character with an interest in programming and a "virtually identical" writing style was introduced - Funnyuncle even talks about 'wriggling about in viscous secretions', which fits Karkat's BizarreAlienBiology theme perfectly. When Karkat first appeared, a few fans theorised he was Funnyuncle. In the ''Homestuck'' [[WebcomicPrintCollection Books]], while the story was not edited directly in keeping with AndrewHussie's WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants policy, the commentary asks the reader to "[[AscendedFanon Just imagine all the text in the book]] [[RetCon is capitalized]], [[WhyDidntIThinkOfThat and that it was written by Karkat]]".

[[folder: Web Video]]
* As ''WebVideo/VaguelyRecallingJoJo'' is an adaptation of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', there are comedic scenes where characters from the other parts will show up
** Vanilla Ice is seen playing card games with the D'Arby Brothers when Joseph is using Hermit Purple. He and Telence also appear in a photo of Dio created by Hermit Purple.
** Giorno Giovanna is seen in background events with his dad, DIO.
** Yoshikage Kira is the owner of the dog devoured by Yellow Temperance.
** Illuso shows up Polnareff and Kakyoin talk about the non-existance of a world inside the mirror.
** Josuke Higashikata, Yuriko Yamagishi, and Keicho Nijimura show up during Steel Dan's underclassman rant.
** Rohan Kishibe is the mangaka who interacts with Boingo.
** Page looks like Pesci, which doubles as a {{pun}} and then Straizo spares him, so he's alive during part 5 somehow.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' cartoon, before he joined the Legion and coined his superhero name in The Substitutes, Matter-Eater Lad was a competitor in the Space Olympics episode "Champions." The other, rejected [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway lame-power applicants]] also showed up in Lightning Storm for comic relief. Ultra Boy makes his first appearance as a competitor in Champions, as well.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' established Harvey Dent as Gotham's DA and a friend of Bruce Wayne in two episodes before he has the accident that melts his face off.
* ''TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' not only gives Eddie Brock an extensive role (influenced by his role in ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan''), but also has Norman and Harry Osborn, The Sandman, The Rhino, The Shocker, Doctor Octopus, Curt Connors, and, possibly, [[spoiler: Frederick Foswell]], as supporting characters or minor villains before their inevitable darker turns, as well as, as said before, every named schoolmate Peter had in the comics, as well as (again, as noted above) Gwen Stacy, [[KilledOffForReal whose fate is well known.]] Felicia Hardy also cameos ''in costume'' in a HalloweenEpisode before her official introduction.
** Cletus Kasady (Carnage's host) makes a cameo in the Christmas episode, had the series continued he probably would've become a recurring villain.
** Morris Bench (Hydro-Man in the comics) and Roderick Kingsley (Hobgoblin in the comics) also made appearances, and Mac Gargin (Scorpion in the comics) was mentioned at one point. Had the series continued, all three villains would have likely been used.
*** Miles Warren also makes recurring appearances as an amoral and cold-hearted scientist who gradually takes over Curt Connors' lab, during which time he makes it clear he's interested in gene-splicing by transforming Kraven the Hunter. Had the series gone on he would have become the supervillain The Jackal (who splices his [=DNA=] with a jackal late in the comics) and probably done their version of ComicBook/TheCloneSaga. They also point out that he is the brother of Peter's high school science teacher.
** Also, a girl seen at the school dance in the seventh episode later becomes a recurring character in the second season: Sha Shan, Flash Thompson's would-be-girlfriend.
* Both animated versions of ''Literature/HortonHearsAWho'' could actually be this to the Grinch, since the book both animations were based on predated the book version of ''Literature/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas''.
* In ''Piglet's Big Movie'', the episode from the original ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh'' dealing with Kanga and Roo's arrival and subsequent integration into the forest is adapted in flashback form; however, Tigger is in on Rabbit's initial plot to get rid of Kanga. This creates an inconsistency, not only with the book canon, but with the original Disney canon; in both versions Kanga and Roo were well settled long before Tigger showed up.
* In ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'', Curt Conners has a recurring role in the first season as a SHIELD scientist. He doesn't become the Lizard until the second season.
* James the Red Engine makes cameos in all six episodes of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' prior to "[[Recap/ThomasTheTankEngineS1E7ThomasAndTheBreakdownTrain Thomas And The Breakdown Train/Thomas Saves The Day]]". This causes a continuity error since the following episode keeps the novels' statement of the events of said episode occurring on his first day. Henry similarly makes cameos prior to "[[Recap/ThomasTheTankEngineS1E3TheSadStoryOfHenry The Sad Story of Henry/Come Out Henry]]", while Thomas himself appears before the events of the ''[[Recap/TheRailwaySeriesB1TheThreeRailwayEngines Three Railway Engines]]'' stories as a result of "[[Recap/ThomasTheTankEngineS1E1ThomasAndGordon Thomas And Gordon]]" being adapted as the first episode to fit his [[BreakoutCharacter leading status]].
** This seems to be a recurring tendency for characters newly introduced in feature length specials. Most seasons produced at the same time will feature said character. The majority of the time the specials are released some time after the season (are a fair number of episodes) have already aired, meaning the character first appears in the TV episodes.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Snips and Snails showed up as thieves in the [[AdobeFlash Flash]] game ''[[http://www.hubworld.com/my-little-pony/shows/friendship-is-magic/games/mlp-adventures-in-ponyville Adventures in Ponyville]]'' on the Hub's website before their first appearance on the show.
** The Cutie Mark Crusaders -- Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle -- appear huddled together for a short moment at the end of the first episode (Apple Bloom had already been introduced earlier, but the other two wouldn't officially meet her until episode 12).
*** Sweetie Belle also appears briefly at the beginning of Call of the Cutie due to an animation error, where an anonymous pony based on her model should've been shown.
** In the [[http://i.imgur.com/gZhjI.jpg Comic-Con 2011 poster]]/[[http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.262953797055398.84804.118429394841173 desktop background]], [[http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=82897&view=findpost&p=1936410 the rightmost pony in the Twinkling Balloon is Pipsqueak]], who wasn't introduced until "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E4LunaEclipsed Luna Eclipsed]]".
** The background pony Blossomforth was released as a toy six months before her first appearance in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E22HurricaneFluttershy Hurricane Fluttershy]].
*** Also prior to Hurricane Fluttershy, Flitter and Cloudchaser had cameos in Hasbro's ''Friendship Express Train Puzzle Adventure''.
** Displays seen during a party at Hasbro's world headquarters, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM78zuCRcdE during the Hong Kong Licensing Show]] and [[http://mlparena.com/mlp/index.php?topic=290623.msg110717#msg110717 at a British Toys "R" Us store]] featured Princess Cadance and Shining Armor before their debut in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E25ACanterlotWeddingPart1 "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1"]].
** [[CanonForeigner Diamond Rose]] [[http://csr.hasbro.com/pla01-our-employees.php appeared]] on Hasbro's Corporate Social Responsibility site before the first toy of her was [[http://www.hasbro.com/mylittlepony/en_US/shop/details.cfm?R=C976877E-5056-900B-1077-F1350B3FDC1A:en_US listed]] on their ''My Little Pony'' site.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E12PinkiePride Pinkie Pride]], Pinkie Pie's [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E18MaudPie then-unnamed third sister]] appeared in the Pie family photos.
** The Mane Six's Rainbow Power forms from [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E26TwilightskingdomPart2 Twilight's Kingdom Part 2]] were present in the toyline up to a full year beforehand.
* The 90s ''Series/XMen'' cartoon had background appearances from Mystique, Pyro, Earthquake, Blob, Omega Red, and Captain America at least an episode (or in Cap's case, a couple of ''seasons'') before they actually played some sort of role.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'': Butters appears several times as another background kid with no lines, most prominently during the ice-skating scene at Stark's Pond. He makes a named and fully voiced appearance in Season 3, produced after the movie.
* Long before viewers even knew who [[TheDragon Princess Azula]] was in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' she made one brief appearance in the audience during Zuko and Ozai's Agni Kai where the former recieves his signature facial scar. Since she was the only one in the crowd ''smiling'' as Zuko screamed in pain, the viewers got a clear warning she was ''a serious threat'', [[HeroKiller a warning that she very much lived up to]].
** She also appeared in the opening theme as the firebender.

!!Sneak Peeks

[[folder: Anime/Manga]]
* In the first ever episode of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', Ash catches a glimpse of a large golden bird flying through a rainbow. That bird was only revealed with the arrival of the second generation as Ho-Oh, a legendary bird Pokémon; his colors changed a lot since then. It is actually a habit within the franchise to show a new Pokémon specimen in the anime or in movies before it's actually available in the current games. Togepi, Marill (and its pre-evolution Azurill), Wailmer, Snubbull, Kecleon, Lucario, and Munchlax are only few examples of this phenomenon.
** For non-character examples: the [[Anime/PokemonTheFirstMovie first movie]]'s BigBad, Mewtwo, uses Shadow Ball, a generation before it's introduced in the games. Likewise, Green from ''Manga/PokemonSpecial'' also had Pokémon who know second generation moves and used them in the [=RGB=] saga, again before the second generation introduced them.
** Also from the first movie - Ash fights the then-not introduced Donphan during the opening credits and it uses another move from the next generation, Rollout. Neither Donphan nor Rollout were even named in the movie.
** [[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver Elekid, Ledyba, Lugia, and Slowking]] appeared in the [[Anime/{{Pokemon 2000}} second movie]] (set during the Orange Island saga and before ''Gold & Silver'' and the Johto saga came out).
** Zorua and its evolution, Zoroark, appeared in the thirteenth movie before the Gen V games were released.
** Latios and Latias appeared in ''Anime/PokemonHeroes'' before the release of ''Ruby and Sapphire'', and Wynaut, Duskull, and Volbeat were all in the short film that was shown before the movie.
** Chatot, Manaphy, Mantyke, and Buizel all made their anime debut in the [[Anime/PokemonRangerAndTheTempleOfTheSea ninth movie]], just months before they first appeared in the games. Another Chatot appeared in a regular episode before ''Diamond and Pearl'' came out.
** The last few episodes of the original series primarily featured Blaziken (a large chicken-like Pokémon). Blaziken is actually the final evolved form of the Generation III Fire-type starter, Torchic.
** ''Anime/PokemonGiratinaAndTheSkyWarrior'' debuted the alternate forms for Giratina and Shaymin before the release of ''[[UpdatedRerelease Platinum]]''
** When Ash and co visited Virbank City, he checked out Pokéstar Studios and fought Gym Leader Roxie for his eighth badge afterwards. This was all done before ''Videogame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'' came out, which was when Virbank City and everything in it was introduced, at least when it was first broadcast in Japan.
** [[SuperMode Mega Mewtwo Y]] and Sylveon, one of the new Fairy-Type Pokémon, were featured in the [[Anime/PokemonGenesectAndTheLegendAwakened 16th movie]] and the accompanying short ahead of ''Videogame/PokemonXAndY''.
** The Best Wishes anime also featured Pokémon from ''X and Y''. Helioptile, Gogoat, and Noivern debuted shortly after the 16th movie in Japan. Also coming along with them was ''X and Y'' character Alexa, who happens to be sister of the first Gym Leader in Kalos, and is there to introduce the Kalos region to Ash. Not so much outside Japan, where the first episode with them debuted on X and Y's launch.
** The ''Anime/PokemonOrigins'' special was the official debut for Mega Charizard X, before any press material was released for the new Mega Evolution.
** Some of the new Mega Evolutions introduced in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyandSapphire Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire]]'' also debuted before the game's release. Mega Diancie was featured in the [[Anime/PokemonDiancieAndTheCocoonOfDestruction 17th movie]], while Mega Sceptile, Swampert, and Metagross will be featured in another ''XY'' special two weeks before the remakes are released.
* In the ''VisualNovel/LimeIroSenkitan'' OVA, characters from the series' direct sequel, ''VisualNovel/LimeIroRyukitanX'', appear. Major Gamou, lead heroine Tsumugi Shima (and her Raimu), as well as one of the villainesses, Linen (though she's unvoiced), all appear for the first time, not only before their anime series, but before their game was released as well.
* At the end of the final episode of ''MaiHime'', Arika, the lead of ''MaiOtome'', runs across the screen in the background.
** Also in the second episode you can see a girl who looks almost exactly like Nina sitting in the seat next to Mai and in front of Yuuichi. (She also is in the lineup of girls in the opening credits)
** Arika is shown in slightly more detail in the last chapter of the Mai-Hime manga, apparently meeting with some school officials to discuss enrolling.
* The final battle of ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' includes cameos of Gundams from other series (as well as ''Anime/{{Daitarn 3}}'' and ''Anime/{{Zambot 3}})''...including [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Wing Gundam and Talgeese]] whose show had yet to air! Similarly, ''[[VideoGame/GundamVsSeries Gundam vs. Gundam NEXT]]'' introduced the hero and eponymous Gundam from the novel ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamUnicorn'' before the anime adaptation had ever aired.
* The first or second English ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' opening had adult/future Trunks in the title slide at the very end, despite him not being introduced until several arcs, and a Big Bad or two, later. Showing up at other points in the intro are Super Saiyan Vegeta and Mecha Frieza (who is getting sliced apart by Super Saiyan adult/future Trunks.) long before their English debuts.
* ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'''': IDOLO'' was created as a prequel [=OVA=] to the {{Playstation 2}} game ''Zone of the Enders''. In it, scientist Rachel Links looks at a FatalFamilyPhoto of her estranged husband and children, reflecting that she wished she could seem them again. It is a small scene in the [=OVA=], but the full-length series that came after centered on her husband James trying to reconcile with their children and seek her out.
* The ''Anime/PrettyCureAllStars'' movies have done this a few times: [[Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure Itsuki and Yuri]] shows up briefly in ''DX 2'', the [[Anime/SuitePrettyCure Belliter]] weapons show up in ''DX 3'', and [[Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure Cure Honey]] drops in to help twice in ''New Stage 3''.
* Both Shiina and Yuki have appeared and given BossSubtitles in the first episode of ''Manga/KoufukuGraffiti''. They were properly introduced in episodes two and ''ten''.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In the ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' graphic novels, Sparrow Redhouse makes a brief cameo in a season one issue, about two years before her proper debut in the "Rebellion" story arc (which also [[RetCon retconned]] an unnamed, masked extra from the TV series as being her).
* The Protectobots, Aerialbots, Stunticons, and Combaticons in the {{Marvel}} ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformers Transformers Generation 1]]'' comic first appeared in Buster Witwiky's dream in a UK {{filler}} story before their proper debut in the US comic.
* This happened to the new Aqualad in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' - the version for the animated series was created first, but his comic-book counterpart first appeared in June 2010. The series premiered January 2011.
** [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Barbara Gordon Batgirl]] had a similar story.
** The Sam Alexander version of Comicbook/{{Nova}} and the Ava Ayala version of ComicBook/WhiteTiger made their debuts this way as well. They were both created for ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'', but Ava debuted much earlier in ''Comicbook/AvengersAcademy'', while Sam showed up first as an [[WholeCostumeReference alternate skin]] in ''Ultimate VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'' before making a proper appearance in ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen''.
* Kate Bishop's new costume from ''YoungAvengers'' Vol. 2 made a surprise appearance in Creator/MattFraction's ''{{Hawkeye}}'' before its proper debut. This is only notable since ''Hawkeye'' generally runs on the NotWearingTights and CivvieSpandex tropes, with Kate and Clint rarely, if ever, actually wearing any costumes.
* Kamala Khan, the [[AffirmativeActionLegacy newest]] MsMarvel, made a brief cameo in the final issue of ''[[ComicBook/MsMarvel Captain Marvel]]'' before making her proper debut a few months later.
* Thane, the son of {{Thanos}}, made a cameo in his [[TheInhumans Inhuman]] form in the ''VideoGame/MarvelAvengersAlliance'' game before making a proper debut in ''Comicbook/{{Infinity}}''.
* Marvel really seems to love doing this with video games. They debuted the new SpiderWoman costume in the ''Spider-Man Unlimited'' mobile game before officially bringing it into the comics.

* In ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'', as Pleakly and The Grand Councilwoman are using the lift to go to Jumba's cell, you can see Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel in a cell to the right. Hamsterviel would go onto becoming a major villain in the TV series.
* ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' aided in a fairly important battle in ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'''s first movie before his series premiered.
** What's more, he came out of nowhere, single-handedly defeated the BigBad (who was whomping two Riders who could ''singlehandedly destroy a single universe''), and then left. The other riders compacted on that with their own CrowningMomentOfAwesome, but still, ain't that application of TheWorfEffect taking promotions too far? (As further evidence, when Double joins up for Decade's final battle in the ''Decade'' GrandFinale movie, he's been brought down to saner power levels.)
** Double's movie, ''Double Forever: A to Z: The Gaia Memories of Fate'', featured the debut of his successor, ''Series/KamenRiderOOO''.
** ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' does the same in OOO's summer movie, crash-landing in the middle of a fight.
*** Kengo and Yuki also make a cameo in OOO's final episode.
** ''Series/KamenRiderWizard'' appears in ''Fourze'''s summer movie, and his human identity Haruto Soma appears at the end of Fourze's finale.
** Instead of appearing in the summer movie, ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' appears in the [[PostScriptSeason Post-Script Episodes]] of ''Kamen Rider Wizard''...along with [[{{Crossover}} all the other Heisei-era riders.]]
** The Movie Wars series features the [[SixthRanger Second Riders]] in various degrees of importance before debuting in their respective series. Both [[Series/KamenRiderDouble Accel]] and [[Series/KamenRiderFourze Meteor]] appear in TheStinger (Accel does nothing - in fact, we don't even see his Rider Form; we only learn that he's a Rider because he said that "Double isn't the only Rider in Futo anymore" while holding a [[TransformationTrinket Gaia Memory]]- but at least Meteor was dealing with a bunch of escaping Foundation X goons). On the other hand, [[Series/KamenRiderOOO Birth]] takes part in the final battle.
*** [[Series/KamenRiderWizard Beast]] appears in TheStinger of ''Wizard'''s Movie Wars installment...and just jumps off a building while giving his CatchPhrase.
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' has been doing the same thing as ''Kamen Rider'' in recent years as well. Both ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'' and ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' showed up for a quick battle cameo in the [[ReunionShow teamup movies]] of the two teams before them (both of which involve ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' as one of the teams), a month or so before each of their shows started.
** The next team, ''Series/TokumeiSentaiGobusters'', make their early-bird cameo in the [[Film/KaizokuSentaiGokaigerVsSpaceSheriffGavanTheMovie crossover]] between Gokaiger and ''Series/SpaceSheriffGavan''.
** And now, Gavan Type-G, the new Gavan from the [[Film/SpaceSheriffGavanTheMovie revival movie]], will make his first appearance in ''Go-Busters''.
* The obscure made-for-TV film ''CucumberCastle'', based on the Bee Gees' song of the same title and starring Barry and Maurice Gibb, features an appearance by a familiar-faced child -- Andy Gibb, then ten years old.
* When Agent Coulson first appeared in ''Film/IronMan'', he was nothing more than a random ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} agent. He kept popping up in the Marvel films in minor roles, but it wasn't until ''Film/TheAvengers'' that he became a major character.

[[folder: Literature]]
* In ''Literature/RangersApprentice'', there are mentions of a new sail design by a half-Araluan, half-Skandian boy that can sail into the wind, named after the ''Heron'', the boat in which the plan was first included. The ''Heron'' and it's half-Araluan skirl Hal is the main focus of spin-off series ''Literature/{{Brotherband}}''.
* In DianaWynneJones ''[[Literature/TheMagids Deep Secret]]'' the characters mention a demon designed by Nick's father, who is blue, has three legs, smells of ozone and feels acidic. This is a character from ''Literature/DarkLordOfDerkholm'' which was published a year later.
* In the ''Literature/JamesBond'' novel ''Literature/NeverDreamOfDying'', a minion for the NebulousEvilOrganization The Union visits the client who hired them for their latest EvilPlan for a business transaction. Said Client is one Goro Yoshida, the BigBad of the next ''Bond'' novel ''Literature/TheManWithTheRedTattoo''.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* Played with in ''Series/{{Witchblade}}'': Gabriel Bowman is first introduced in the third episode of season one (not counting the pilot movie); then, in the second season premiere, which is a same-but-different retread of the events of the pilot, he's shown to have been present at the shootout in the museum, and ends up meeting Sara a lot earlier than he did the first time. Which would make him a kind of DestinedBystander as well.
* The titular character of ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' actually first appeared in a stop-motion skit featured in ''Series/SesameStreet''.
** Cookie Monster actually made his first appearance in a skit featured in ''Series/TheEdSullivanShow'' (which itself was based on an old instructional film by IBM), where he is shown taking a machine apart piece-by-piece and eating it, only to realize that doing so will cause the machine to self-destruct within his body, causing him to explode. And for some reason, this version of Cookie Monster has fangs, while the one in ''Sesame Street'' does not.
* Several years before he became famous as the host of ''[[DoubleDare1986 Double Dare]]'', Marc Summers was a page at CBS. At age 22 in 1973, he got to fill in as announcer on ''TheJokersWild'' for one week.
* [[Creator/PeterCapaldi The Twelfth Doctor]] makes a surprise cameo appearance in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' 50th anniversary special, ''[[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor The Day of the Doctor]]'', a month before he is set to take over as the main character of the show.
** Also doubles as a BigDamnHeroes moment, as well as a WhamLine.
-->'''Gallifreyan General''':''I didn't know when I was well off. [[TheNthDoctor All twelve of him?]]''
-->'''Gallifreyan soldier''':''No sir! [[DeathGlare All]] '''[[http://i2.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article2846504.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Doctor_Who_50th_anniversary-2846504.jpg thirteen!]]''' ''
* In the season one episode of ''Series/TheDrewCareyShow'' "Drewstock" we see Grant Shaud (most famous at the time as Miles from ''Murphy Brown'') as an extra. A season later Shaud shows up as Kate's latest boyfriend Jack, who claims he's the devil.

* The liner notes for Music/GunsNRoses' ''Appetite for Destruction'' include the lyric "With your bitch slap rapping and your cocaine tongue you get nothing done", a lyric for "You Could Be Mine" (which was recorded in their next album). Also, the notes for ''Use Your Illusion I'' have "Ain't It Fun?", the title of a song they covered in ''The Spaghetti Incident?''.
* MyChemicalRomance's debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, Your Brought Me Your Love, have the french phrase [[GratuitousFrench "Merci pour le venin"]] written on the liner notes. It is the french title of "Thank You For The Venom", a song appearing on their second album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
* TheyMightBeGiants' "On Earth My Nina", released on 1999's ''Long Tall Weekend'', was a reversed acapella version of "Thunderbird", which wasn't released until ''The Spine'' five years later.
* Red Hot Chili Peppers played Fortune Faded live in August 2001, as part of a batch of new songs. A studio version of it didn't appear until November 2003, when it became the new single for their Greatest Hits compilation.
** The By The Way sessions demo has since leaked out. The band did not release the song at the time because they felt the chorus melody resembled one by another band. They rewrote the chorus for the Greatest Hits version.
* Several years before Jeremy Dawson and Chad Petree founded Shiny Toy Guns, the chorus lyrics of "You are The One" appeared in a trance song called "Neo(The One)" that they produced under the name Slyder, and which appeared in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' on the Rise FM station.
* A year before Music/PearlJam's debut album, Eddie Vedder could be heard singing backup on Temple Of The Dog's self-titled album, as well as getting a full on duet with Chris Cornell on the song "Hunger Strike". Temple Of The Dog and Pearl Jam shared most of the same lineup (and the drummer, who played with Cornell in Music/{{Soundgarden}}, would later join the band), and Vedder ended up on the Temple Of The Dog album after auditioning for Pearl Jam.
* Music/DaYoopers had "Cowboy" Dan Collins sing backing vocals on two albums several years before he became an official member.
* Music/ShaniaTwain's first credits were singing backing vocals on albums by labelmates Sammy Kershaw and Jeff Chance in the early 90s.
* The first credit for Rachel Proctor (co-writer of songs by Music/MartinaMcBride, Music/JessicaSimpson, and Music/JennetteMcCurdy) was singing backing vocals on Music/BlakeShelton's "Ol' Red" in 2002.
* The live film produced from Michael Jackson's 1988 Japanese performance features Michael performing "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" with one of his back-up singers from the tour - Sheryl Crow, whose fame was still several years away.
** The ending theme to ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3]]'' (1994), whose soundtrack was at least partly composed by Jackson, sounds very similar to his single "Stranger in Moscow", which was composed in 1993 but not released until 1997.
* The 1971 album ''Ram'' by [[PaulMcCartney Paul and Linda McCartney]] had a ukelele-driven segueway song called "Ram On (Reprise)" on side two. On the fadeout, you can hear Paul launch into a few lines of "Big Barn Bed", which would be the first song on Wings' second album, ''Red Rose Speedway'' (1973).
* Early copies of {{Radiohead}}'s ''Kid A'' included an extra booklet behind the CD tray as an EasterEgg. Some of the cryptic text included in said booklet turned out to be lyrics to songs that would appear on ''Amnesiac'', which was recorded during the same sessions.
* One of JennetteMcCurdy's first credits was appearing in the music video for FaithHill's "The Way You Love Me". Before that, she was a recurring actress on ''Series/MadTV''.
* And speaking of Faith, she also qualifies, as she sang backing vocals on Gary Morris' 1989 album ''Stones'' four years before releasing her debut single.
* Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Steele's first credit was on the late 80s tribute album ''A Town South of Bakersfield''. He also wrote an album cut for Steve Wariner in 1990 before doing two albums and an EP as LeadBassist of the band Boy Howdy (who had two Top 10 hits with "She'd Give Anything" and "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore"). After they split up, Steele enjoyed a BreakupBreakout as a highly successful songwriter for other artists, most notably RascalFlatts.
* Before Music/KeithUrban charted his first single in 1999, he had a ton of bit parts. Among them were a backing vocal credit on INXS' ''Live Baby Live'' (1991); a cameo in the video for Music/AlanJackson's cover of "Summertime Blues"; co-writing credits for Music/TobyKeith, 4 Runner, and the Raybon Brothers; and a few scattered electric guitar credits (most notably Music/GarthBrooks' ''Double Live''). He also formed a short-lived band called The Ranch which had two low-charting singles and one album for Capitol in 1997.
* R.E.M. often played songs live, got tired of them, then returned to them a few years later when they were short of material for albums. There are numerous examples across their IRS catalogue. It happened occasionally at Warner Bros as well.
** A significant example of this is Bad Day which was recorded for Lifes Rich Pageant in 1986, left off, and eventually rerecorded in 2003 as a 'new' track for their In Time compilation. It proved a big commercial success, and amusingly, a lot of commentators said this was R.E.M.'s return to form (without realising it was an old song). Unfortunately, [[DethroningMomentOfSuck|Around The Sun]] happened.
* Stevie B. sang the backup vocals on Jaya's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCIz-dRNYGo "If You Leave Me Now"]] a decade before [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNJvh9ko-mI covering the song himself]].
* Music/{{Kesha}}'s mother, Pebe Sebert, has written many of her songs. But many, many years before that (1978 to be exact), Sebert wrote "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You", originally recorded by Joe Sun and later made famous by Music/DollyParton.
* About a year-and-a-half before his debut, Music/EricChurch wrote Terri Clark's late 2004-early 2005 single "The World Needs a Drink".
* Before his 1999 debut single, Music/BradPaisley wrote "Another You", a top 5 single for David Kersh in 1996.
* In 2004, Music/TobyKeith released a duet with his daughter Krystal on a cover of Inez and Charlie Foxx's "Mockingbird". Nine years later, she began her official singing career on Show Dog-Universal, the label of which her father is president.
* Before their debut single came out, Music/LadyAntebellum sang on Jim Brickman's "Never Alone".
* Jerrod Niemann, who had a big hit in 2010 with "Lover, Lover", made his first appearance as part of the gang of backing vocalists on Music/GarthBrooks' 2005 single "Good Ride Cowboy" (which he also co-wrote).
* RecordProducer Michael Knox produced two obscure country albums in the late 1990s (''29 Nights'' by Danni Leigh and ''Like a Train'' by J.D. Myers). He had no other credits until 2005, when he became Music/JasonAldean's produer, a role he has held to this day.
** The former album also had a track written by a then-unknown Big Kenny, later of Big & Rich (he also wrote a song on The Mavericks' ''Trampoline'' the same year).
* Speaking of Big & Rich… before they released their debut single "Wild West Show" in December 2003, they wrote "Amarillo Sky" for [=McBride & the Ride=] in 2002 (later CoveredUp by the aforementioned Jason Aldean). They also co-wrote and sang backing vocals on the album track "She's a Butterfly" on Martina [=McBride's=] (no relation) 2003 album ''Martina''.
* Before releasing her debut single, Music/KaceyMusgraves sang on Josh Abbott Band's 2011 single "Oh, Tonight".
* Before having any hits of his own, Music/LukeBryan co-wrote the title track of Travis Tritt's 2004 album ''My Honky Tonk History'' and Billy Currington's 2006 single "Good Directions".
* Before releasing their first single, CountryMusic duo Thompson Square sang backing vocals on Ty Herndon's 2007 album ''Right About Now''.
* The Frozen Autumn's female member, Arianna, first appeared as a guest vocalist on the title track of ''Fragments of Memories'', followed by collaborating with Diego Merletto on the short-lived side project Static Movement, before becoming a permanent fixture of the band.
* A pre-fame JeanMichelJarre covered Gershon Kingsley/Hot Butter's "Popcorn" under the alias [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP7aNuqp_YU Popcorn Orchestra]] in 1972. (The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kpNtBfPdvg 80's cover version]] often [[MisattributedSong misattributed to him or Kraftwerk]] is by the M & H Band).
* Before she had any singles of her own, Janie Fricke sang guest vocals on Johnny Duncan's "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous".
* Before becoming an acclaimed arranger and film score writer, James Newton Howard worked as keyboardist/orchestral arranger for EltonJohn, beginning with Elton's 1975 ''Rock Of The Westies'' album and continuing until the early 1980's. He also arranged strings on the 1982 Music/{{Toto}} ballad, "I Won't Hold You Back". Elton and James would reunite several times since, most notably for Elton's ''Live In Australia'' album and their collaboration in ''GnomeoAndJuliet''.

[[folder: Pinball]]
* The playfield for Creator/WilliamsElectronics' ''Pinball/SpaceShuttle'' shows two astronauts installing an orbital telescope, six years before the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed.

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Long before officially joining WWF as Mankind, Wrestling/MickFoley appeared in a few jobber matches as Jack Foley (his father's name) as WWF wouldn't let him use Cactus Jack.
** Mick's first appearance on WWF TV was as a member of the audience watching the Wrestling/DonMuraco vs. Wrestling/JimmySnuka cage match from Madison Square Garden in 1983.
* Several luchas appeared on WWF TV in 1997 as part of a cross promotion with Wrestling/{{AAA}}. One of whom which was Mascarita Sagrada, who later appeared as part of WWE's short lived midget wrestling division in 2005.
* Wrestling/CMPunk appears as one of the gangsters in Wrestling/JohnCena's entrance at ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} 22''.
* Before he got his "Irish" gimmick in 2006, Dave Finlay was the Divas' trainer and made occasional appearances at WWE events as a nameless official. Watch the part of the 2005 ''Royal Rumble'' in which Wrestling/ShawnMichaels eliminates Wrestling/KurtAngle in less than a minute. Angle retaliates by [[DisproportionateRetribution reentering the ring, eliminating Michaels in turn, and then violently whaling on him]]. Several referees and other enforcer characters run out to subdue Angle, and one of them is Finlay. Of course back in Wrestling/{{WCW}}, he was always known as fighting-Irishman Fit Finlay and was given the backstage role when WCW was acquired by WWF/WWE.
* In an interview with Wrestling/BethPhoenix for IGN, a few FCW divas can be seen wrestling in the background. One of them was Wrestling/AliciaFox.
* [[Wrestling/LisaMarieVaron Victoria]] appeared as a Godfather's Ho before actively wrestling on the roster.
* Both of the [[Wrestling/MattHardy Hardy]] [[Wrestling/JeffHardy Boyz]] wrestled regularly on WWE TV during the 90s as random jobbers before getting properly called up in 1999.
* Stephanie [=McMahon=] made her first appearance on WWF TV when she was only a child. She was one of the kids in the "Wrestling/RoddyPiper's Trick Or Treat" sketch on Saturday Night's Main Event in 1985. She also made appearances in the late 80s and early 90s modelling t-shirts and baseball caps in the [=WWF=] merchandise catalogues.
* Wrestling/TedDiBiase wrestled in the WWF for two years in the 1970's, before returning as "The Million Dollar Man".
** Some of his promos featured future stars as well. In one, he offered Linda [=McMahon=] $100 get down on all fours and bark like a dog, then decided she didn't deserve the money.
** He also paid a teenager to kiss his foot after a match. That teenager grew up to become WWF star Wrestling/RobVanDam.
* Wrestling/DamienSandow was a paper bag distributer for future tag partner Wrestling/CodyRhodes
* Wrestling/{{Jacqueline}} wrestled a couple of matches on Heat against indie wrestler Starla Saxton in 1998. Two years later, Saxton would join the WWE roster officially as Wrestling/MollyHolly. She also wrestled Malia Hosaka in WCW as Starla Saxton, before joining the company as Miss Madness.
* In 1985-86, a 25-year-old Wrestling/DeanMalenko worked for the WWF [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jlyn2Iw7DJ8 as a referee]]. This was 15 years before he would officially debut as part of the Radicalz, possibly the longest time between cameo and appearance on this list.
** He also showed up in WCW before he officially debuted, as he and his brother Joe took part in the Wrestling/{{N|ational Wrestling Alliance}}WA tag team Tournament [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWr7UHP5U0I against]] Wrestling/RickySteamboat and Nikita Koloff at Clash of the Champions XIX in 1992.
* In a similar example to the Dean Malenko one above, Teddy Long was a referee for years in WWE before becoming a proper onscreen personality, going from manager to Smackdown General Manager. He did the same thing in WCW. He started off as a referee, then became a manager.
* Wrestling/{{Melina}} Perez in her pre-MNM days made two appearances on Raw in late 2004, first in a lingerie strip tease segment and then a limbo segment, about four months before she properly debuted on television. She was also one of the few who didn't make the cut in season 3 of Tough Enough.
* Wrestling/DiamondDallasPage was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P1rGRk9xag&feature=related driving Rhythm and Blues' pink Cadillac at Wrestlemania VI]] in 1990, 11 years before he signed with the company.
* Before debuting his ForeignWrestlingHeel gimmick in 2003, French-Canadian wrestler Sylvan Grenier was supposedly a WWE referee tasked with mediating the rematch between Wrestling/HulkHogan and [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]] at that year's ''No Way Out'' (which, appropriately enough, was being held in Grenier's hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada). This is an unusual example in that Grenier was here referred to by name by the commentary team, and his behavior in the course of the match was actually his StartOfDarkness and even carried over to ''[=WrestleMania=] XIX'' the following month!

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''[[TableTopGame/YuGiOh Yu-Gi-Oh!]] Trading Card Game'', Wattaildragon first appeared as a picture on a scroll in the artwork of Ancient Rules way back in Strike of Neos, over ''five years'' before its own release in Galactic Overlord. Its flavor text even makes a reference to "ancient rules" which forbid its capture.
* [[TableTopGame/MagicTheGathering Magic: The Gathering]] has a few:
** ''Future Sight'' is built around these. Most of them preview elements from ''Lorwyn/Shadowmoor'' block, from individual cards to the tribal and planeswalker card types.
** Spike Drone appeared one set before any other Spikes.
** Shield of Kaldra mentions Helm of Kaldra, a card released one set later.
** ''Ravnica'' block has guilds appearing in flavor text before they actually showed up with cards of their own.
** Many planeswalkers will appear in a set before they're plot relevant. Ashiok appeared in Theros even though they didn't begin being part of the plot until Born of the Gods. One of the three planeswalkers who sealed the Eldrazi prior to the Zendikar block alongside Sorin and Ugin known as the Lithomancer hasn't appeared in the present timeline/plot yet except [[spoiler:as the creature card Stoneforge Mystic]].
* In the third edition rulebook of ''{{Warhammer 40000}}'', pictures of generic Kroot and Necron warriors appear several years before their armies were officially introduced.

[[folder: Theme Parks]]
* Three examples from DisneyThemeParks. ''Disney/SleepingBeauty's Castle'' was opened in Disneyland several years before the movie. ''It's Tough To Be A Bug'', starring Flik and featuring Hopper, was introduced at the Animal Kingdom several months before ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'' opened. Finally, ''Countdown to Extinction'' featured Aladar and a Carnotaurus about two years before ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}'' premiered, at which point the attraction was renamed after the movie.
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_%28attraction%29 Pirates of the Caribbean ride]] first opened in 1967, 3 1/2 decades before [[PiratesOfTheCaribbean the film series]]. Recent renovations to the ride have incorporated characters from the films.

* The ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' did not have any toys until after the ''[[TransformersFilmSeries Dark of the Moon]]'' line has been out for a while. But a few of the major players (Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, & Soundwave) got each got a toy in the [[Franchise/TransformersGeneration1 Generations]] line.
** Sunstorm and Acid Storm originally appeared as unnamed Seeker jets in ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'', and didn't get toys and names until the ''Universe'' toyline two decades later. There was also a green PaletteSwap of Grapple later named Hauler.
* A number of the characters in ''[[LegoAdaptationGame Lego Marvel Super Heroes]]'' debuted in the game before they even had Lego figures on the market. The game offered up first looks at the Lego counterparts for characters like {{Storm}} and TheFalcon, whose figures weren't released until ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' and ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' were out in theaters.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Mixels}}'' didn't even ''try'' to hide the Series 2 and 3 tribes when Series 1 was released. The future six tribes appeared in the back of the construction books and decorating the store boxes of the Series 1 tribes as a checklist, Balk, Slumbo, and Glurt (the first two being from Series 2, the latter Series 3), topped the logo, and the ''entire'' bunch of Series 2 Mixels filled up the screen with the Series 1 members in the show's intro. Eventually, the companies both seemed to wise up about spoiling, and Series 4 only contains the characters of that series.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EvilPlan'' featured a [[http://evilplan.thewebcomic.com/comics/1590620/chapter-9-page-8-drinking-without-you/ sneak peak of Amical and Billy]] from ''[[Webcomic/{{Morphe}} morphE]]'' 6 months before [=morphE=] was launched. Evil Plan's creator is sprite artist for the [=morphE=] webcomic and it was in design phase when this page of EP was published.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[NipponIchi Asagi]] might be the ultimate example of this. Of course, we don't know if she's ever actually going to GET her own game or if Nippon Ichi [[RunningGag is just screwing around.]]
* While we're on the topic of NipponIchi, it's probably no coincidence that ''MakaiKingdom'' will be getting a [=PSP=] [[UpdatedRerelease remake]] after Overlord Zetta's cameo in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4|A Promise Unforgotten}}'', which is the first time since ''Makai Kingdom'' that he has actually appeared in humanoid form. The new character from the remake, Petta, will appear in ''Disgaea 4'' as DownloadableContent.
* [[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Roy's our boy!]] [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Before his own game comes out, even!]]
** On the topic of ''Super Smash Bros.'', the Wii U version of the fourth game features a stage based on the unreleased-at-the-time ''VideoGame/YoshisWoollyWorld''.
* The Gekko from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' and a remix of the game's "Theme of Love" both appeared in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros. Brawl'', which in some regions was out months before the former game was even released. For that matter, the entire Shadow Moses Island stage is a reference to an entire chapter in the game. Interestingly enough, ''MGS 4'' is a [=PS3=]-exclusive game, meaning a first-party Nintendo game is promoting a game not available on a Nintendo system.
** Old Snake also made a cameo before his official debut, as the most statistically-powerful bonus character in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps [[UpdatedRerelease +]]''.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearAcid2'' beat both games by featuring ''Metal Gear Solid 4'' trading cards two years before the game was even released (granted, they were based on the very first trailer that was released).
** ''Metal Gear: Ghost Babel'', which was released a year before ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'', featured an extra game mode where the player controls a newly recruited soldier who undergoes VR training by having to complete harder versions of Solid Snake's missions in the main game. The name of this agent is revealed at the end to be "Jack", the same name of the protagonist in ''[=MGS2=]''.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid: [[MissionPackSequel VR Missions]]'' featured a hidden concept art of Metal Gear Ray from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2''.
** Cyborg Ninja Raiden played a cameo role in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2: Substance''. However, it's not the same Cyborg Ninja suit Raiden wears in ''Guns of the Patriots'', but more of a cosplay of him in Gray Fox's exoskeleton suit from the first ''MGS''.
* Galen Marek, aka Starkiller, Darth Vader's secret apprentice and protagonist of ''StarWars: VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed'', made a playable appearance in ''[[SoulSeries Soul Calibur IV]]'' three months prior to the release of his game. He goes simply as "The Apprentice" in SCIV.
* The BigBad of ''AceAttorneyInvestigations 2'' appeared very briefly in the intro to "Farewell, My Turnabout" as Global Hero Onyankopon.
* [[GirlNextDoor Merrill]] and [[PirateGirl Isabela]] are both retroactively being turned into this by their appearance as party members in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''.
* In ''VideoGame/SpaceInvaders Extreme'' (available on both PlayStationPortable and NintendoDS), Mr. ESC from ''VideoGame/{{Exit}}'' makes a cameo appearance when you select the Exit option. While ''Exit'' was already released on the PSP at the time, and the DS version of the game was already available in Japan at the time, the DS ''Space Invaders Extreme'' appearance is a legitimate Early-Bird Cameo in North America.
* The Kyo clone Kusanagi initially showed up in ''TheKingOfFighters 2002'' as an alternate moveset for Kyo, but did not receive a role in the story proper until the next game, ''2003''.
* Nearly half a year before he became the protagonist of [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2 his own game]] Luso Clemens showed up as a minor playable character in the remake of the original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', ''War of the Lions'', even though the games are on competing systems. In what is either this or an AscendedExtra, Hurdy, a main character from ''A2'', first appeared as an operator of the teleporting services in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII''.
* The rock power-up from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'' actually first appeared as one of [[BigBad Bowser's]] attacks during the final boss battle in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy''.
* ''Dengeki Gakuen RPG: Cross of Venus'' has an actor variant of this trope: being a MassiveMultiplayerCrossover video game based on several LightNovels, it manages to get the voice actors of the featured series' anime adaptations to reprise their roles. This includes the voice cast of ''LightNovel/AsuraCryin''', which adaptation premiered a few days after the game's release.
* On the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' side of things, ''VideoGame/XMenVsStreetFighter'' snuck in Shadaloo-era Cammy as a playable character before the ''Alpha'' series got to introduce her proper in ''Alpha 2 Gold''.
** Along those same lines, Karin's RichBitch [[TheRival Rival]] Karin Kanzuki was originally going to make her debut in ''VideoGame/MarvelSuperheroesVsStreetFighter'' in order to set up her "official" appearance in ''StreetFighterAlpha 3''. For whatever reason, this plan fell through, but her prototype sprite can be viewed in the game's ROM data.
** [[JokeCharacter Dan Hibiki]] also appears as a random design that was expected to go unused in some old artwork poking fun at SNK's ''VideoGame/ArtOfFighting'' series. He later became an official, secret character in ''Street Fighter Alpha''.
** Balrog and Vega made cameos in Sagat's endings in the first two ''Alpha'' games, while E. Honda appeared in Sodom's ending in ''Alpha 2''. All three of them would appear as playable characters in ''Alpha 3''. Fei-Long also made a cameo as a spectator at Dan's stage in ''Alpha 2'', but he wasn't included in ''Alpha 3'' until the console version.
** Rolento and Cody made cameos in the first and second ''Alpha'' games respectively before they became playable in ''Alpha 2'' and ''Alpha 3'' respectively.
** Chronologically, ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' is set before ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' Yun and Yang appear in Chun Li's opening story sequence in the console version. They later appeared as playable characters in the arcade version of ''Super Street Fighter IV''.
* In ''VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople'', [[http://files.telltalegames.com/wallaceandgromit/screenshots/wg_screen_squirrel.jpg a squirrel]] from ''VideoGame/WallaceAndGromitsGrandAdventures'' appears on [[http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=52&pictureid=800 one of Strong Bad's unlockable shirts]].
* ''Disney/ChickenLittle'' hadn't come out yet in Japan when ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' was released, but was a summon in the game.
* The appearance of Alfred the Pilot in ''[[VideoGame/FatalFury Real Bout Fatal Fury 2]]'' was meant to be a tie-in for his own game, a PlayStation-exclusive port ''Real Bout Fatal Fury Special'' subtitled ''Dominated Minds'', but since that game was [[NoExportForYou only released in Japan]], many people think he was simply a character made up for ''Real Bout 2''. In Hon-Fu's and Yamazaki's endings, the antagonist from ''Dominated Minds'', White, can be seen.
** Rock Howard, the protagonist of ''Garou: Mark of the Wolves'', appears in Terry's ending in ''Fatal Fury 3''.
* The Oukaou and Nanajin from ''Wings Of Rean'' both appear in ''Another Century's Episode 2'', which came out a few months before ''Wings Of Rean'' premiered.
* There are references to [[ValkyrieProfile Lezard Valeth and Lenneth Valkyrie]] in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory''. ''ValkyrieProfile'' would not be completed for another two years after Star Ocean 2 was released.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonXDGaleOfDarkness'' is a third-generation game. It features a non-playable Munchlax and a sorta-playable Bonsly, both fourth-generation Pokémon.
** Munchlax appears in the town square as a random event in the original ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonRescueTeam'', and can be (kind of) made playable via cheat codes. The player can also get statues of Lucario, Weavile, Bonsly and Mime Jr. placed outside their house.
** A year before ''Gale of Darkness'' was released, Munchlax appeared in the game ''VideoGame/PokemonDash'' as an AI-controlled opponent.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonPinball'''s Blue Field theme music is a remix for that of Ecruteak City in ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' before ''Gold and Silver'' were released. It is possible that it's really the other way around though.
* ''RockBand 2'' had the album release of ''Shackler's Revenge'' a few weeks before the album it was on (''Chinese Democracy'') was released.
* ''GuitarHero'' had two of Music/{{Foreigner}}'s re-recordings of "Jukebox Hero" and "Feels Like the First Time" release before the release of the album "Feels Like the First Time".
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' appeared as an air freshener in the racing game ''Rad Mobile'' two months before the first Sonic game.
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' was first previewed in pre-alpha form on Nickelodeon's ''NickArcade'', several months before its release.
** The tune for "Sonic - You Can Do Anything", the Japanese/European opening of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'', was first used as the BGM to Green Hills Zone in the Master System/Game Gear version of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2''.
** The [[spoiler: Shadow Androids, artificial clones of Shadow]] are first shown in Team Dark's ending in ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes''. They later appear as actual enemies in ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog''.
* [[BanjoKazooie Banjo, Tiptup]], and [[VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay Conker]] in ''DiddyKongRacing''. Timber was also supposed to have his own game with Bumper and Pipsy as his sidekicks, but it was canceled.
** Also, from the same game, there's Krunch, a [[GoKartingWithBowser neutral member]] of the Kremling Krew from VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry. Although he never appeared in another game, nor did he ever seem destined to, his design and attire were based on the Kremlings in the then-unreleased ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'' as opposed to the original SNES trilogy.
** Although she did not appear in person in that game, Kazooie was actually first mentioned in the game instructions manual for ''DKR''.
* In the ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' series, [[DaddysLittleVillain Nina Cortex's]] official debut was in ''VideoGame/CrashTwinsanity''. However, the ''Fusion'' crossovers with the ''Franchise/SpyroTheDragon'' series were released before it and introduced her as a radically different character.
** Also, Fake Crash, a joke expy of the main character, first appears after 100% completion in various locations of ''VideoGame/CrashBandicoot3Warped'' before his first playable appearance in ''VideoGame/CrashTeamRacing''. It goes back further than that: Fake Crash's appearance in Crash 3 stemmed from a Japanese ''Crash Bandicoot'' commercial.
* The Naboo Starfighter appeared as a secret ship in ''StarWars: RogueSquadron'' six months before the release of ''ThePhantomMenace''.
** Amazingly, this code managed to remain hidden until after the movie came out. Whether or not this subverts the trope is debatable.
** The first mission of ''Rebel Strike'' is basically the ''Rogue Leader'' [[SecretLevel bonus mission]] "Revenge on Yavin" from the Rebels' point of view.
* Geese Howard of ''VideoGame/FatalFury'' fame makes a cameo in the extended ending of the SNES version of ''VideoGame/ArtOfFighting'', which was released months before Geese's actual appearance as the TrueFinalBoss in the arcade version of ''Art of Fighting 2''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} Portable'' features a man drinking at the nightclub in Paulownia Mall. He appears to be Vincent from ''{{Catherine}}''. He tells you a bit of a story about how much of a JerkAss he is, then points out that it has "nothing to do with your problems" at the end.
* Trixie from the ''VideoGame/BackToTheFuture'' game appears in ''VideoGame/PokerNightAtTheInventory'', facing away from the camera.
* Eoleo, one of the playable characters in ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', briefly appears as a toddler in ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSun Golden Sun: The Lost Age]]''.
* ''DigimonWorld3'' featured Agunimon, [=KendoGarurumon=], and [=AncientGreymon=] in cameo appearances as [[FusionDance DNA Digivolutions]]; all three Digimon would go on to play large roles in ''Anime/DigimonFrontier''. However, it's slightly complicated; ''Frontier'' wasn't released in some regions, while in Japan, ''World 3'' was released three months into ''Frontier'''s run.
* Kite (Sora), an unlockable extra character in ''[[Franchise/DotHack .hack//Link]]'', is the main character in ''[[TheMovie .hack//TheMovie]]''.
* The PC version of the ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' game ''[[VideoGame/TheFairlyOddparentsBreakinDaRules Breakin' Da Rules!]]'' features a level where Timmy has to avoid a younger-aged version of Vicky and Tootie's mom, named Nicky here. The character eventually appeared on the show in her adult form, alongside her unnamed husband, in the "Channel Chasers" movie.
* The PC port of ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' includes a silenced version of its SMG in a test map. This silenced SMG later went on to be the primary weapon of the player character in ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST''.
* Lumi, the [[VirtualGhost virtual]] DistressedDamsel of ''ChildOfEden'', previously appeared in ''{{Lumines}} II'' in late 2006, which also featured "Heavenly Star", the debut song of Genki Rockets, the semi-fictional band that Lumi is the "singer" of.
* ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'''s prologue "Crew Expendable" and endgame "All In" featured two RedShirt SAS members, Wallcroft and Griffen, who were promoted to squad leaders in the ''[=MW3=]'' mission "Mind the Gap".
* [[{{Tekken}} Jin Kazama]]'s Devil form, which became a playable boss character in ''Tekken 5'', first appeared in his ending cinematic from the PSX port of ''Tekken 3''.
* ''VideoGame/PlaystationAllStarsBattleRoyale'': The game was released November 2012, and has elements from ''VideoGame/DmCDevilMayCry'' (released January 2013), ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'', ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime'' (Both February 2013), and ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' (March 2013). It also had [[Franchise/BioShock Big Daddy]], possibly ProductionForeshadowing to the Burial At Sea DLC (March 2014), considering almost everything else was in reference to Infinite.
* Three years before ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'' came out, the Aesir Corporation's headquarters appeared during the cityscape flythrough in Remedy Entertainment's ''Final Reality'' benchmark/tech demo.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' has a habit of making faceless {{Bonus Boss}}es that hint to later games:
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix]]'' has a hooded figure called Unknown, who is actually [[BigBad Xemnas]] from the sequel.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII KHII: Final Mix]]'', in turn, has the Lingering Will, [[AnimatedArmor a living suit of armor]] that's actually [[spoiler:the spirit of [[FallenHero Terra]]]] from ''Birth By Sleep''.
** [[RuleOfThree And finally]], ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth By Sleep]]'' has the Mysterious Figure, a man who looks exactly like Unknown and even fights with similar weapons. [[spoiler:The reason being he's [[TimeTravel Young Xehanort]] from ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance Dream Drop Distance]]''.]]
* Two years before the Broken Lords debuted in ''Videogame/EndlessLegend'', a Broken Lord [[HeroUnit Hero]] in was added to ''Videogame/EndlessSpace'', albeit as an "Unknown race".
* Before Ruby Heart became a playable character in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom2'', she was previously seen on the right side of the background of Morrigan's stage from ''Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In TrintonChronicles the villains known as ''Trinity'' make a minor appearance at the end of Fantasia before becoming the villains of the next story. By that same token, a character from another furry-based game called Arcadia makes her pre-Trinton appearance here before plopping into TrintonChronicles two years later.
* In the very first story in the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', [[FlyingBrick Stone]] has a short encounter with a tall, athletic-looking older woman in a bar, where the cynical hero is spending time downing whiskey shots. At one point, the woman tells Stone, "I bet you're a disappointment to your mother." Three years and nearly sixty stories later, and Stone encounters the woman again: it was his mother, who abandoned him at an orphanage shortly after his birth.
* In his review of ''Caligula'' to celebrate 100 episodes, WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob had appearances from all of Brad Jones's other characters, including 80s Dan... at least, until Brad pointed out he didn't ''have'' an 80s Dan character, at which point Dan faded away into nothingness. A few weeks later, WebVideo/EightiesDan became an official spin-off.
* 'The lame girl with the spirit of the ''squirrel'' ' was a throwaway line in some early WhateleyUniverse stories. Then she was a weak character in some of the Phase stories, where she was in Phase's aikido class and gained the name Aquerna. Now she's had a vignette, a novel, a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, a CrowningMomentOfFunny, and a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming.
* In WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic's crossover with WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows, one can briefly see the [[spoiler: rebuilt version of]] [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Pollo]].
** Tamara Chambers was one of the "Catwomen" in the ''[[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Catwoman Catwoman]]'' review. She is now a regular in every NC review.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Creator/{{Pixar}} started doing this in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', where we see Boo holding [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory2 Jessie]], the ball from ''[[PixarShorts Luxo Jr.]]'' and... [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo Nemo]], who only debuted 2 years later. Every Pixar feature since has featured a Sneak Peek.
** Nemo also appears in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'' as a fresco in the sushi restaurant.
** In ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'', a kid can be seen reading a comic book of ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''.
** Dug the dog from ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'' makes an early appearance as a live shadow on a wall in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}''.
** In a [[PixarShorts DVD bonus short]] for ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', WesternAnimation/{{WALL-E}} makes a brief cameo as a Mars rover operator. Parodied on WALL-E's website, which shows him hiding in ''every single past Pixar movie''.
*** There's a similar gag documentary on the ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'' DVD - apparently Stitch has been attempting to get a Disney movie since ''[[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs 1937]]''. The documentary shows screenshots from films with Stitch drawn in them.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'': When Carl's balloon-house goes past a little girl's bedroom, a teddy bear is in the far left corner of the screen. This is Lotso(-Huggin' Bear), who is an important character in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3''.
** In ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', one of the posters in Andy's room shows Finn McMissile from ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} 2''. Additionally, he has a "Newt Crossing" sticker next to his computer; ''Newt'' was a Pixar film that was cancelled in development.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} 2'' has car-versions of [[WesternAnimation/{{Brave}} Princess Merida]] and her family on a glass window in the British pub.
** Okuni, Shigeko, Tamiko, and Shu Todoroki in ''Tokyo Mater''.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'': There is a bas-relief of Sully in the Witch's hut, for ''Monsters University''. [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120703140123/pixar/images/thumb/f/fc/B175_33cs.sel16.121.jpg/1000px-B175_33cs.sel16.121.jpg View it here.]]
* A statue of a cherub appears in ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' 's "A Whole New World" that later shows up in ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' 's "I Won't Say I'm In Love".
** During the same number, the magic carpet is seen flying past [[Disney/{{Hercules}} the Temple of Zeus]], and the scene immediately afterwards has Aladdin and Jasmine at [[Disney/{{Mulan}} the Palace of the Emperor of China]].
* At the very beginning of ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'', you can actually see two books in the background entitled ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'' and ''Disney/PeterPan'', respectively.
* ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse'' for some reason portrayed [[Disney/{{Bambi}} Ronno]] as a fawn instead of an adult deer since Bambi is always portrayed here as a fawn as well. Young Ronno won't make his official appearance in any animated Disney work at all until the release of the DirectToVideo film ''Bambi II''.
* Ralph the Guard, a regular on ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', made his debut as an unnamed, [[CharacterizationMarchesOn surprisingly]] competent security guard in several episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures''. Likewise, World's Oldest Woman and Lucky Bob, two characters on ''WesternAnimation/{{Histeria}}'', made cameo appearances in ''Animaniacs'' segments years before their own show premiered. ''Histeria'''s version of Joan of Arc (which was actually just a caricature of Shirley [=MacClaine=]) also first appeared on ''Tiny Toons''.
* WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck and Gosalyn could be seen in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD5Si_AT25Y the opening sequence]] for the first season of WesternAnimation/TheDisneyAfternoon, about a year before their own show started airing.
* In its second season, Franchise/{{Marsupilami}} frequently appeared in The Disney Afternoon's commercial bumpers a year before Disney released his cartoons as part of the ''WesternAnimation/RawToonage'' series.
* Jack Frost has a small appearance in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_and_Frosty%27s_Christmas_in_July Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July]]. That special premiered in November 1979, one month before [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Frost_(TV_special) his own special]] premiered in December.
* Five years before the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' aired, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone made a short film called ''The Spirit of Christmas'', which was made using construction paper and had prototypical and mostly unnamed versions of the show's main characters. Three years later they made another ''Spirit of Christmas'', this time with the show's main characters properly named, characterised and recognizable, and also added Wendy Testaburger as an unnamed, non-speaking cameo.
* The ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'' episode '1-900-Beavis' has an early version of [[WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill Dale Gribble]] appear as the husband/boyfriend of a phone sex worker. [[FanDisservice Wearing nothing but a pair of briefs.]]
* The elephants from Disney's ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' actually all made their first appearances in [[MiscellaneousDisneyShorts the 1960 animated short]] ''Goliath II''. The designs for the short's titular character and his father Goliath I were even recycled for those of Hathi Jr. and his father Colonel Hathi, as well as the scene where the elephants actually all [[HumanTrafficJam pile up on top of one another.]]
* The circus locomotive from ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'' actually first appeared in the Disney animated short ''Disney/TheReluctantDragon'', where he is portrayed as pulling a passenger train (as opposed to a circus train) only to end up in a railway accident while attempting to jump a broken bridge during a thunderstorm. His ''Reluctant Dragon'' incarnation looked slightly different than the one in ''Dumbo'': his drive rods are connected to the forward drive wheels, he was longer in appearance, and there was a bell on his roof. However in ''Dumbo'', his drive rods are now connected to his hind drive wheels, he is now shorter and stockier in appearance, and his bell is nowhere to be seen, implying that he was actually overhauled during his repair between the two films.
** Disney/{{Bambi}} also made his debut there, even though his ''official'' debut didn't even happen until the year after.
* Laserbeak from ''TransformersAnimated'' actually first appeared in the form of a toy that is packaged in the same blister pack as Animated Soundwave. Laserbeak himself won't appear in the cartoon until season 3.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** ''[[http://www.hubworld.com/my-little-pony/shows/friendship-is-magic/games/game-mylittlepony-discover Discover the Difference]]'', another flash game on the Hub's website, provides glimpses at the beginning of the instrumental version of a ThemeTuneExtended, as well as revealing scenes from "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E24OwlsWellThatEndsWell Owl's Well That Ends Well]]", "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E25PartyOfOne Party of One]]", and "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E26TheBestNightEver The Best Night Ever]]".
** ''[[http://www.hubworld.com/my-little-pony/shows/friendship-is-magic/games/mlp-adventures-in-ponyville Adventures in Ponyville]]'' showed Twilight as able to grant functional wings with magic, though they were a very different kind of wing (proper pegasus wings) than the ones she gave Rarity (butterfly wings made of gossamer and dew).
* "Kid" from ''The Animatrix'' is a cross-medium example. He plays a significant role in the last two movies of The Matrix Trilogy but makes his first appearance in one of the shorts from the animated direct-to-DVD film.
* Margo, the oldest of the three orphan girls from ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe'', wears a [[Literature/TheLorax Lorax]] T-shirt; [[WesternAnimation/TheLorax a movie version]] from the same producers premiered two years later.
* The MTV show ''WesternAnimation/TheBrothersGrunt'' stemmed from a station ident where one of the characters craps out the MTV logo.
* Before getting his own segment on the ''YogiBear'' show, Snagglepuss was an antagonist in selected episodes of ''QuickDrawMcGraw''.
** Four more Hanna-Barbera instances: Before being a heroic sheriff on the ''Magilla Gorilla'' show, Ricochet Rabbit was an antagonist on an episode of ''Touché Turtle'' two years earlier. Later in the 70s, Posse Impossible appeared in the series finale of ''HongKongPhooey'' before getting their own segment three years later on ''CBBears''. In 1959, lugubrious hyena [[WesternAnimation/LippyTheLionAndHardyHarHar Hardy Har Har]] appeared in a [[QuickDrawMcGraw Snooper and Blabber]] cartoon before being paired up with Lippy the Lion three years later. And Yakky Doodle appeared in one of the earliest YogiBear cartoons.
* Creator/{{Terrytoons}} had three characters in their ''Deputy Dawg'' show that spun off into their own series. A little blue space alien became Astronut, a Russian mouse named Mischa became Macon Mouse, and the Long Island Duckling became Duckwood. Astronut was paired with a human named Oscar Mild, Duckwood was paired with a con-artist mule named Donkey Otie, and Macon Mouse was among the gang in ''Possible Possum''.
* An early bird cameo for a movie line: Music/GeorgeHarrison's line in ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine'' "It's all in the mind" was first said by Music/JohnLennon on Music/TheBeatles' [[WesternAnimation/TheBeatles cartoon show]] episode "Strawberry Fields Forever." (John delivered it as "It's all in the mind, y'know" which was said by George fully in a restored scene in ''Submarine''.)
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "I Second That Emotion" Leela's parents can be seen in the background among the mutants in a few scenes, they would be properly introduced two seasons later.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' uses this form of the trope regularly. Many easily-missed background characters gain major plot relevance down the line. Sometimes it's only a few episodes later (such as the Investors appearing in the background of an episode before their official introduction,) while other times it's many ''seasons'' later (such as August St. Cloud, who was a frequent background character dating all the way back to season 1, but wasn't officially introduced until season 5.)
* A few songs in ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicAdventuresOfMumfie'' came out on CD and casette before they appeared in the show, with "Home" and "Real Eel Electricity" being released the earliest. All songs from the show's CD after "Ocean of Sleep" are also this trope, as when the CD was released, the episode featuring the Pirate Song would air a week later.