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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.

'''Hey It's That Character''' refers to when the character, without any actual characterization, has appeared previously; '''Sneak Peeks''' is for when the character/object has a small role as themselves (including characterization) before their main role - for example, being a side villain in one film and the big bad of its sequel.

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. Sometimes overlaps with AdaptationalEarlyAppearance. 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 & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** In the first episode, 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 second 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.
** Obito and Rin both appear in a photo behind Kakashi's bed on the cover of chapter 16. They wouldn't make an actual appearance until a flashback after the end of Part I, 223 chapters later.
* ''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 ''Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion'' 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 ''VisualNovel/{{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 ''Manga/{{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 ''Manga/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 ''Anime/KidouTenshiAngelicLayer'' appear on a videotape that Icchan is watching early in the anime.
* In the anime ''Manga/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.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''
** Uryuu can be seen in the background of panels from Chapter 28, but is introduced in chapter 34. The anime introduce him in the background of the classroom, sewing, a couple of episodes before he's due to appear.
** Chapter 7 has a throw-away about Isshin having a personal connection to the Hospital Director. It takes around 200 chapters for Ryuuken to appear in the storyline and several more to confirm he's the character from Chapter 7.
** When the Grand Fisher loses to Ichigo, he has his mask ripped off by two other Hollows. Those two Hollows are Asslinger and Di Roy, who don't appear again for around 200 chapters when Grimmjow invades Karakura Town.
* In the anime of ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', Tsuna passes by Ryohei, Yamamoto, and Hibari when he is running to catch up with Kyoko.
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan''
** The anime's first episode gives Conan's future first-grade friends, the Detective Boys, speaking roles.
** Sonoko was introduced in a filler episode, the sixth episode. Her manga debut was in volume 5, during the Mountain Villa Bandaged Man Murder Case.
** The 2016 TV special, ''Detective Conan ONE'', which is largely a retelling of the first two episodes, contains a lot of cameos of characters who weren't introduced in the original two episodes, including some flashforwards.
* 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. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d 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.
** The novelization of the originally English Pyramid of Light gives the titular pyramid an origin: Akhenaden believed that a knockoff of the Millennium Pendant, combined with the real Millennium Rod, would give Priest Set an edge over the Pharaoh. This was released a couple of years before the dub got to season 5, and so viewers would have never seen Akhenaden before.
* 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 ''Manga/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 ''Manga/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.
* In the anime adaptation of ''VideoGame/GranblueFantasy'', Rosetta appears early in Port Breeze, interrupting the fight between Gran and Drang. And again, in Auguste Isles where she warns Gran of impending danger and helps them to recover Lyria when she falls into a coma. In the game's actual plot, she only appears when the crew visits the Lumacie Forest.
* [[spoiler:Hanyuu and]] Shion from ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' 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 ''Manga/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 ''Manga/{{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.
* ''[[Literature/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/IsTheOrderARabbit'', 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.
* ''Anime/MahoGirlsPrecure'' had a canonical crossover appearance of Ichika Usami/Cure Whip of ''Anime/KiraKiraPrecureALaMode'' the week before her series started, while the last episode of that series contained a cameo by Hana/Cure Yell of ''Anime/HugttoPrettyCure''.
* The ''Manga/FairyTail'' anime has Wendy show up several times in passing before she's actually introduced.
* The ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' anime begins with a scene showing Sankt Kaiser Olivie, Hegemon Klaus Ingvalt, and Wilfried Jeremiah during the time of Ancient Belka. In the original manga, the first two don't appear until after Einhart [[DefeatMeansFriendship gets befriended]] a few chapters in, while the existence of Wilfried isn't shown until more than 40 chapters later near the end of the TournamentArc.
* In the ''Manga/FutsuuNoJoshikouseiGaLocodolYattemita'' anime, Awa Awa Girls appear briefly on TV in episode one, they are only introduced properly ten episodes later.
* In ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato2199'' the White Comet Empire shows up as early as episode 9, when the original series didn't reveal their existance until the second season.
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', Kyoko appears in the intro theme, and starts appearing in the ending theme from episode 3 on, before being revealed some episodes later.
* King appears in the background in a crowd in the ''Webcomic/OnePunchMan'' manga before he is officially introduced.
* In the fourth chapter of ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'' the view pans over the new students and we can see several characters who appear to be later recurring characters such as Yuuki or Ryou. However, these appear to be more prototypes or early draft versions of the characters: "Yuuki" has different hair while "Ryou's" face is drawn differently, including a bandage covering the bridge of his nose. Several of the characters shown were also recycled into other characters instead, notably Elite Ten members Momo and Nene. The anime version of this scene corrects this by showing only first year students who will have a later presence, even those without a real role in the first season.
* In the Franchise/LupinIII movie ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'', sharp-eyed viewers can spot the top of Goemon's head and sword in the back of Lupin's car among the piles of money at the very beginning of the film, and well before he makes his entrance about halfway through the movie.
* In the ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' 'Diamond Is Unbreakable' anime, the BigBad, Yoshikage Kira, can be seen from the back for about half a second during the fight against Chili Pepper, which is five episodes before his first full appearance. Additionally, the anime adds in a brief scene where [[StalkerWithACrush Yukako Yamagishi]] can be seen staring out a window at Koichi one episode before her proper first appearance.
* In ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'', several characters introduced in ''[[{{Sequel}} :Re]]'' turn out to have had unnamed cameos in the original.
** When Touka makes a visit to Kamii University, she accidentally greets a young man because she was reminded of Kaneki. In the sequel, we meet him again as [[HunterOfMonsters Ghoul Investigator]] Nimura Furuta. [[spoiler: He turns out to be Souta, the [[MonsterClown Clown]] responsible for Kaneki's accident......and the current BigBad of the series]].
** During the finale of the series, several hooded figures appear as members of Arima's personal squad. In the sequel, we learn that one of these figures is Hairu Ihei.....and she was [[TykeBomb 16 at the time]].
* ''Manga/MissKobayashisDragonMaid'':
** Kanna shows up near the end of episode 1 recognizing Tohru's WaveMotionGun. Doubles as AdaptationExpansion, since Kanna mentioned during her first appearance in the manga that it's how she tracked Tohru down.
** Saikawa can be seen in the background at four different points during Kanna's first day of school before she's properly introduced. In the manga, she isn't seen until she confronts Kanna after class is over.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* When ''Franchise/{{Tintin}} in the Congo'' was turned into color, 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/New52'', Arthur Light initially 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 ''Comicbook/ForeverEvil''.
* ComicBook/JohnConstantine's first appearance, officially ''Swamp Thing'' #37, unofficially ''Swamp Thing'' #25.
* 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.
* The ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendsForever'' series likes sneaking in characters who haven't appeared on the show yet. For example, Starlight Glimmer, the later BigBad of Season 5, first appeared as a background pony in [[https://twitter.com/AgnesGarbowska/status/574353953116172288 a single panel of issue 14]].

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'': Before Bill the Cat appeared as a regular character, a regular cat was exposed to the corrupting influence of rock and roll, transforming into what would be the character design of Bill the Cat.
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Retail}}'', Josh made an appearance [[http://retailcomic.com/comics/november-14-2006/ in one 2006 strip]], about a year before he was properly introduced as a recurring character.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': Kaworu was supposed to come along after the defeat of the Sixteenth Angel. Here he arrives at NERV shortly after the defeat of the Fourteenth.
* In ''Fanfic/BatmanRevisited'': Harvey Dent appears in the first story ''One Big Joke'', pre-Two Face. His feud with Sal Maroni is also set-up, foreshadowing [[TwoFaced his future]].
* In ''FanFic/TheChosenOnesJourney'', Steven and Cynthia appear as early as Kanto, along with Pokemon from all 5 (later 6) generations.
* In ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/10607424/chapters/23796903 Tales of Beach City]]'' (the 5th "episode" of the ''Connieswap'' series), Holly Blue Agate and the Amethysts from the Human Zoo make a cameo appearance on the painting in ''Critical Connie''.
* In ''FanFic/DairantouSaintZearth'', The [[{{Heirlooms}} Tenda Cousins]] appear on the first episode to sign the contract.
* ''Fanfic/DoingItRightThisTime'': Kaworu shows up for first time in chapter 2, shortly after Sachiel's defeat. In canon he showed up half year later.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': Asuka and Kaworu show up in the first scene of the first chapter. In canon they appeared in chapter 8 and chapter 24, respectively.
* In ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'':
** Asuka travelled to Japan right after the death of [[EldritchAbomination Sachiel]].
** In both the original story and the redux, Kaworu shows up early on.
* ''Fanfic/TheOneILoveIs'': Shinji meets Kaworu shortly after the defeat of the Thirteenth Angel. In canon Kaworu came along after the death of the Sixteenth.
* In ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'', Serena makes a few appearances while Ash is traveling through Kanto, while in canon she wasn't introduced until the Kalos saga.
* 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/GameTheoryFanFic'', 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]].
** The sequel, ''Power Games'' shocked everyone when [[spoiler: the Mariage]] popped up during the Book of Darkness incident. Amazingly the author had subtly foreshadowed it in advance. Shortly afterwards, [[spoiler: Jail and some of the Numbers enter the story]].
* ''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.
* In ''Fanfic/TheElementsOfFriendship'', Shining Armor appears briefly in ''Bonds''. He isn't mentioned by name and has a brief, awkward conversation with Twilight, hinting that they're estranged.
* Kaori Furuya who has a major role in episode 47 of ''FanFic/PrettyCureHeavyMetal'', appears as a member of Oriyama High's dance club with Hanae in episode 50 of ''FanFic/PrettyCurePerfumePreppy''.
* In ''FanFic/ThisBites'': Bartolomeo was present for Luffy's would-be execution in Loguetown in canon. In this [[SelfInsertFic fic]], Cross takes the opportunity to temper his passion to be a pirate like Luffy, and suggest that he actually do it right (in canon, while he and presumably his crew had the necessary power to survive in the New World, they had very poor seafaring skills, making it an outright miracle that they made it as far as they did).
** Characters that would only appear in future locations, like the Whitebeard Pirates, the Marine higher-ups, or the Revolutionaries appear to show [[ADayInTheLimelight current events]], or [[spoiler:as spectators to Cross's SBS Broadcast]], even though the Straw Hats have yet to meet them in person. As of Chapter 30, [[spoiler:Admiral Akainu makes an appearance, and he does not like the SBS.]]
** Chapter 31 has both Doflamingo and Scratchman Apoo calling in to [[spoiler:the SBS Broadcast]].
** By Chapter 36, due to the popularity of [[spoiler:the SBS]], it's almost easier to list the characters who ''haven't'' made an appearance yet.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5189405/1/Dragonball-Divergence Dragonball Divergence]]'', a much younger Videl appears in Chapter 8, during the transition between the Saiyan and Namek Arcs. She's visiting the hospital to bring her father food.
* ''FanFic/ABrighterDark'': Azama shows up just after the events of the game's Chapter 5, Laslow and Peri show up during the game's Chapter 6, and Selena, Beruka, and Gunter fully join the party far earlier than in canon, with Gunter avoiding his original DisneyDeath.
* ''FanFic/TheDifferentverse'': Several characters (and one concept) appear earlier than in canon.
** Cadance gets namedropped in the first chapter, and makes a full appearance in chapter 5. This is in stark contrast to canon, where she wasn't even hinted at until the end of season 2.
** Shining Armor gets namedropped in chapter 2 (again, in stark contrast to canon, where he wasn't even mentioned until the end of season 2).
** Pinkie Promises make their first appearance in chapter 2, as opposed to the last third of season 1 as in canon.
** Cranky Doodle Donkey, who debuted in season 2 of canon, gets namedropped (as "Cranky") during the trip through the Everfree.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11803928/1/Challenger Challenger]]'', besides Pokemon from every region showing up (Ash's third Pokemon is a Sandile), many character appear earlier than canon as well. Giovanni appears in the second chapter, having been at the Viridian City Pokemon Center at the same time as Ash, while Silver and Luna end up traveling with Ash is students/apprentices of his after he takes a break from challenging Gyms to train more.
* ''FanFic/ChildOfTheStorm'' has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to Doctor Essex in chapter 40, who later shows up in the sequel ''Ghosts of the Past,'' established as [[spoiler: the [[IncrediblyLamePun sinister]] presence who kept Harry at Privet Drive]].
* In ''[[Fanfic/LeviathanMyHeroAcademia Leviathan]]'', Mirio Togata, who canonically doesn't appear until ''much'' later in canon, steps in to stop a conflict between Bit and a random stranger after Bit's attempts to test his lightsaber ended up burning the man's hair off. Mirio had watched the Entrance Exam and congratulates Izuku for his performance during it.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', if you're paying attention, you can spot Vanellope Von Schweetz ''long'' before Ralph goes to ''Sugar Rush'' and she is introduced. [[spoiler: The opening pan through the arcade clearly shows her picture on the side of ''Sugar Rush'''s game box. [[TheReveal Hey, wait a second]]... why would a character [[TheMissingno never intended]] [[DummiedOut to be in the game]] be such a large part of the advertising?]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* 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.
* Creator/DylanBaker as the pre-Lizard Curt Connors in the ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' series. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled and [[Film/TheAmazingSpiderManSeries rebooted]] before he ever got a chance to become the Lizard.
* The Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** 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, though this became a [[LeftHanging dropped plot thread]] thanks to the lack of a sequel.
** In the two ''Film/IronMan'' movies, ComicBook/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, [[ComicBook/WarMachine Rhodey]] looks at the MK II armor, and says "Next time, baby!" He wears an upgraded version of that armor in the sequel.
** In ''Film/IronMan2'', there's a very subtle reference to the ComicBook/BlackPanther (or more likely, his father, the previous Black Panther). When ComicBook/NickFury shows Tony the map of superhuman activity across the globe, [[FreezeFrameBonus one of the markers can be seen over Africa]]. Creator/TomHolland and Creator/KevinFeige have also [[http://www.cbr.com/spider-man-iron-man-2-cameo/ said the little boy that Tony saves in the climax]] is in fact a young [[Film/SpiderManHomecoming Peter Parker]].
** ''Film/{{Thor}}'' itself features a cameo by ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}}, who was featured in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', as well as [[spoiler:The Cosmic Cube from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'']] appearing in TheStinger.
** ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' has a brief cameo from ComicBook/{{Thanos}} at the very end of the movie. He later makes a full appearance in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' and is featured as the BigBad in ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar''.
** ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' features [[spoiler: The Collector from Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy]] in the stinger. We also get a menton of at least two [[spoiler: Infinity Stones]].
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' has [[spoiler:ComicBook/{{Quicksilver}} and ComicBook/ScarletWitch]] appear in the first stinger before their featured debut in [[spoiler: ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'']]. There's also a mention of [[spoiler: [[Film/DoctorStrange2016 Stephen Strange]]]], who in this film is one of the targets of Project Insight.
** In ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'', Ulysses Klaue has a small-but-important cameo to set him up for the ''Film/BlackPanther'' movie.
** In ''Film/AntMan'', they make mention of [[spoiler:"[[Franchise/SpiderMan a guy who jumps around, who swings and climbs up walls]]." He would later be seen in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' and ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming''.]] TheStinger also mentions "the accords" - specifically, [[spoiler:The Sokovia Accords that are the catalyst for ''Civil War''. Justified in that the whole stinger is a scene from the latter film plopped at the end of ''Ant-Man''.]]
** ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'' has [[Film/ThorRagnarok the Grandmaster]] show up in the DancePartyEnding CreativeClosingCredits.
** In ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'', Aaron Davis (aka the Prowler) mentions a young nephew whose neighborhood he wants to protect from the Vulture's high-tech weaponry. This nephew is ComicBook/MilesMorales, another Spider-Man. Whether this cameo comes to fruition is yet to be seen.
** Surtur's Fire Dragon (or, at least, one of the same species) from ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' makes an appearance in the Monsters After Dark Halloween overlay for ''Ride/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyMissionBreakout'' in Disney California Adventure, of all places. The ride overlay opened almost two months before the film did.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** The updated version of ''Film/ANewHope'' has Boba Fett showing up in an added scene, though he's not significant until [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack the next movie]].
*** Interestingly, he also made a similar appearance in the manga adaptation of ''A New Hope'', which came out before the Special Editions.
** The Special Edition's Mos Eisley intro has a cameo appearance of Dash Rendar's Outrider ship from ''Literature/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/XMenFilmSeries X-Men]]:
** Colossus can briefly be seen in ''Film/XMen1'' sitting near the basketball court. He gets much more screen time and a few lines in the next two movies, and plays a supporting role in ''Film/{{Deadpool}}''.
** Kitty Pryde also has brief cameos in the [[Film/XMen1 first]] and [[Film/X2XMenUnited second]] films (each time portrayed by a [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0443184/ different]] [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0835758/?ref_=tt_cl_t15 actress]]). The [[Film/XMenTheLastStand third film]] finally gives her much more screen time (and a "big name" [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0680983/ actress]] to boot), and she reappears in a supporting role in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''.
** In ''Film/X2XMenUnited'', Dr. Henry [=McCoy=] a.k.a. Beast appears briefly on TV in the bar.
** A young version of Apocalypse is featured in TheStinger of ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' to set him up as the BigBad of ''Film/XMenApocalypse''.
** Caliban appears in ''Film/XMenApocalypse'' in a minor role before going on to have a supporting role in ''Film/{{Logan}}''. According to the creators of both films, this was ''entirely'' unintentional; both scripts called for Caliban, and rather than resolve the issue, Fox allowed both appearances, conflicting characterization be damned.
* The songs Pink is singing while hiding in the bathroom stall in the movie version of Music/PinkFloyd'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.
* In ''Film/RurouniKenshin'', Hajime Saito was introduced two-three arcs earlier than in the source material. Likewise, Gien and Banjin were part of the final BigBad's FiveBadBand but were introduced in the same arc as Saito in the film.
* In the ''Film/DCExtendedUniverse'':
** In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', [[Comicbook/{{Batman}} Bruce]] sends [[Comicbook/WonderWoman Diana]] footage that Comicbook/LexLuthor has been collecting of metahumans, giving Early Bird Cameos of Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}, Comicbook/TheFlash and Comicbook/{{Cyborg}}, while the Kryptonian ship gives Lex a glimpse of [[Comicbook/NewGods Steppenwolf]], before these characters are fully introduced in ''Film/JusticeLeague''.
** Flash and Aquaman also make Early Bird Cameos in ''Film/SuicideSquad''. Flash appears in flashback, apprehending Captain Boomerang, and both of them appear on files belonging to Amanda Waller.

* 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 novelization of "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS8E1TerrorOfTheAutons Terror of the Autons]]", the bomb that the hypnotized 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 novelization 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". It also has a number of references to other things introduced after the Fourth Doctor's era, such as Carrioinites (first seen in "The Shakespeare Code"), time locks (introduced in "The Stolen Earth") and Visionaries (first seen in "The End of Time").
* There's a phenomenon in the Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse where a new Doctor will cameo in the stories of earlier Doctors before their own series begins. It happened with the Eighth Doctor, who cameoed in the Seventh Doctor's Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures before the Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures began; with the Ninth Doctor, who cameoed in the Eighth Doctor Adventures before the revival series began; and with the Thirteenth Doctor, who cameoed in "The Missy Chronicles" and a non-"Twice Upon A Time" revival series novelisation before her first series. Depending on how big the appearance is, these can be either "hey, it's that character" or "sneak peek".
* Literature/MickeyHaller, introduced in ''Literature/TheLincolnLawyer'' in 2005, might be one of the relatives Literature/HarryBosch met in the flashback featured in ''Literature/TheBlackIce'' in 1993.
* In Clary's dream in ''Literature/CityOfAshes'', [[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.]]
* Sirius Black is mentioned in the first chapter of ''Literatue/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone''. Despite having a pretty important role in the backstory and in Harry's life, he isn't mentioned again until two books later, as the titular character in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban''.
** Mundungus Fletcher is mentioned twice before his first proper appearance in the fifth book: first in the second book [[DirtyCoward trying to hex Arthur Weasley when his back was turned]] [[EstablishingCharacterMoment during a Ministry raid of illegally enchanted goods]], then in the fourth book trying to get compensated for the destruction of a luxury tent he never owned.
** The Lovegood family is also mentioned in the fourth book as one of the families at the Quiddich World Cup.
** Mrs. Figg is mentioned early in the first book, and does not appear (and have her backstory fleshed out) until the fifth.
** Dumbledore briefly mentions that his brother was once accused of performing inappropriate charms on a goat in the fourth book. The owner of the Hog's Head is mentioned in book 5, as is the fact that the Hog's Head itself smells faintly of goats. It is not until the 7th book that Aberforth Dumbledore appears, and is revealed to be the owner of the Hog's Head.
** Several creatures in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix Order of the Phoenix]]'' were mentioned in ''Literature/FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem'' prior to their appearances, and even Thestrals earned a minor, blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference under "Winged Horse".
* Poe Dameron, one of the main characters in ''Film/TheForceAwakens'', is first mentioned in the epilogue of the novel ''Literature/MovingTarget''. An additional reference to him is made in the comic book ''Shattered Empire'', which is billed as an {{Interquel}} between ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' and ''The Force Awakens''.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Hailey Heleti is fully introduced in ''Literature/ManaMutationMenace'' but her first appearance is actually in ''Literature/AMagesPower''. That girl at the head of a girl posse in Roalt castle with the Heleti crest? That's her.
* ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier'' characters [=Mark McHenry=], Soleta, Tania Tobias and Zak Kebron appear in the ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration TNG]]'' prequel series ''Star Trek: The Next Generation - Starfleet Academy''.

[[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/BabylonFive'' 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 character on ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', most notably a proto-''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica''.
* 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.
** Played straight in the pilot. Hodor appears as a face in the crowd when King Robert arrives in Winterfell, but isn't properly introduced until three episodes later.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'':
** Mia Dearden (the 2nd Speedy in the comics) was originally introduced years after Roy Harper (the 1st Speedy). Here, she's [[RelatedInTheAdaptation reinvented as Oliver Queen's sister]] named [[AdaptationNameChange Thea Dearden Queen]] and was introduced in the pilot. The TV version of Roy Harper was instead introduced during the second half of the (first) season.
** Barry Allen first appears in an episode called "The Scientist", and that's his thing; he's a scientist. The Flash isn't properly introduced until [[Series/TheFlash2014 his own series]].
** Two other characters who end up becoming 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.
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'':
** Linda Park, the LoveInterest of Wally West and Barry Allen's successor as The Flash, gets introduced as Barry Allen's LoveInterest.
** Tony Woodward/Girder is part of Wally West's RoguesGallery. Here, he's reinvented as Barry's bully-turned-VillainOfTheWeek.
* 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". Doubles as a "sneak peek" (see below).
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' franchise has a tradition of debuting the newest Rider in the movie starring the previous one after the end of the season, beginning with ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' debuting in ''Film/KamenRiderDecadeAllRidersVsDaiShocker''.
** ''Series/KamenRiderDrive'' was the exception to this, as he didn't have any sort of cameo in the previous series, ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'', though Drive's successor.
** ''Series/KamenRiderGhost'', returned to the tradition with a cameo in ''Film/KamenRiderDriveSurpriseFuture'' as well as featuring in the last two episodes of the series (and being the focus of the last episode). It should be noted that although it's ambigious as to exactly when in the story these cameos take place, they are all considered canon.
** Secondary Riders also have a habit of making a cameo appearance in movies before being properly introduced in the series, often in TheStinger. ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' was the exception to this, as all Riders debuted in the series, though Kamen Rider Ryugen's Kiwi Arms first appeared in ''Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Gaim & Wizard: The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle'', which aired before he got the Lockseed in the actual series.
* Similar to Kamen Rider, ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' has had a tradition of future Sentai teams debuting in previous series' movies, beginning with ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'' debuting in ''[[Film/SamuraiSentaiShinkengerVsGoOngerGinmakuBang Samurai Sentai Shinkenger VS Go-onger GinmakuBang!!]]''. ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'''s cameo in ''[[Film/TensouSentaiGoseigerVsShinkengerEpicOnGinmaku Tensou Sentai Goseiger tai Shinkenger Epic on Ginmaku]]'' is given a CallBack in-series when [[spoiler:they go back to the past and essentially recreate their cameo scene]].
* ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' inverted this on several characters:
** Tyreese, Sasha [[note]] Tyreese's younger sister, possibly his canonical daughter Julie's TV counterpart [[/note]], Allen, Donna and Ben were introduced during the middle of the Prison Arc in Season 3, whereas in the comics they were introduced near the beginning. That's not even counting the fact that Allen and Ben are {{Decomposite Character}}s since they're InNameOnly characters. Their respective "actual" [[note]] as in the ones who received their canonical CharacterDevelopment [[/note]] counterparts, Ryan and [[GenderFlip Lizzie]], were instead introduced in the Season 4 premiere along with Mika, the {{Gender Flip}}ped version of Allen's son and Ben's twin brother Ben who, like the rest, were introduced near the beginning.
** Morgan toyed with this trope after his initial appearance. Canonically, Morgan was PutOnABus earlier and then gets reintroduced after the prison arc. In the show, Rick, Carl and Michonne revisited their old town during the series' Prison Arc and encounters him there. Then during the arc of his supposed reappearance, he didn't showed up until three-four arcs (including one [[FillerArc filler]]) later.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse: The Netflix shows have often had it where one show is the launching ground for the protagonist of a different show.
** Manhattan district attorney Samantha Reyes was introduced in the season 1 finale of ''Series/JessicaJones2015'', before going on to play a recurring role in season 2 of ''Series/Daredevil2015''.
** ''Series/JessicaJones2015'' introduces Luke Cage ahead of the debut of [[Series/LukeCage2016 his own show]].
** Season 2 of ''Series/Daredevil2015'' introduced the Punisher into the Marvel Netflix universe well before [[Series/ThePunisher2017 his solo series]] was greenlit.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'' and ''Series/BetterCallSaul'':
** Mike Ehrmantraut was first introduced in the season 2 finale of ''Series/BreakingBad'' where he was the fixer Saul sent to clean up the scene of Jane's death. He then gets a larger and larger role in the events of seasons 3, 4 and 5A, and finally becomes the secondary lead in ''Series/BetterCallSaul''.
** In Saul Goodman's introductory episode in ''Series/BreakingBad'', he shows up twice before he actually appears in person: an advertisement on the bus stop bench where Badger gets arrested selling drugs to an undercover cop, and an advertisement on Jesse's TV.
** Gus Fring was introduced in the antepenultimate episode of season 2 of ''Breaking Bad''. After appearing in that and the season 2 finale, he becomes a main cast member in seasons 3 and 4. Then a main cast member in season 3 of ''Better Call Saul''.
* ''Series/TheWire'':
** In "Old Cases," one of the cops in the courtroom is played by Gbenga Akinnagbe, two seasons before he was cast as Chris Partlow.
** Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin and Lt. Dennis Mello made one-off appearances in season 2's "Stray Rounds", then become full-time cast members for seasons 3 and 4.

* 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 ''Theatre/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".
* Bianca cameos in "Drive" at the Lotus Hotel in ''The Lightning Thief'', the musical adaptation of the first book in Theatre/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians, when she doesn't show up until ''The Titan's Curse'' in the book series proper.
* In ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}'', a grown-up Philip Hamilton can be seen receiving a pamphlet in "The Reynolds Pamphlet", although he can easily be mistaken for [[ActingForTwo John Laurens]] until he's introduced properly two songs later in "Blow Us All Away".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* 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, after [[DummiedOut going unused]] in ''Yoshi's Cookie'', would later be used for the main sprite for Yoshi in ''VideoGame/YoshisIsland''.
* ''Franchise/MegaMan'':
** 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''.
** Bass' ending in ''VideoGame/MegaManThePowerBattle'' alludes to the creation of [[VideoGame/MegaManX Zero]]; it's made more blatant in his ending in ''VideoGame/MegaMan2ThePowerFighters'', where Dr. Wily actually shows him the blueprints for Zero (which, [[ContinuitySnarl interestingly]], resemble Zero in his form after he was rebuilt in ''X2'').
* In ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'', Knuckles is playable in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' as part of the ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Knuckles in]] 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 ''VideoGame/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.
* The final memory of ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRogue'' shows [[spoiler:Shay in the Palace of Versailles assassinating a man who mentions his son Arno. Said character later became the protagonist of ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedUnity'']].
* When the trailer for ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' was released, it confirmed the return of the beloved character of Hawke from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII,'' who is shown arriving in the company of a Grey Warden. Absolutely ''no one'' in the fandom realized that this Warden was actually meant to be [[spoiler:Alistair, another fan favorite from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'']], until the character's new design was revealed later.
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Zork}}'', one of the characters you encounter (though without graphics) is a thief, whom [[StolenGoodReturnedBetter you have to give the jeweled egg to]] before you kill him. Ironically, [[https://www.thezorklibrary.com/history/kaine_lucien.html the thief you killed is actually]] [[spoiler:Lucien Kaine]], who[[spoiler:se spirit]] later reappears in ''VideoGame/ZorkNemesis'' [[spoiler:as the eponymous Nemesis who is plunging a portion of the Eastlands into darkness while he is finding a way to resurrect his long-lost love, Alexandria Wolfe, and himself, and to destroy the Alchemists and stop their {{evil plan}}s for good. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Nice Job Breaking It,]] FeaturelessProtagonist]].
* If the PlayerCharacter chooses to be asocial on her wedding night in ''VideoGame/{{Guenevere}}'', she'll have [[DreamingOfThingsToCome a dream vision]] of [[spoiler: Mordred]], several years before he is even born.
* The [=PS3=] version of the first ''VideoGame/GalGun'' has Ekoro appear as an important character during Doki Doki Carnival mode. She later becomes MissionControl and a potential LoveInterest for the main character in ''Double Peace''.
* During the character-creation section at the start of ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'', the newspaper clipping on your character's desk has a photo of Aether Foundation president Lusamine.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* 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.

[[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 ''{{Webcomic/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 Creator/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]]".
* ''Webcomic/{{Narbonic}}'': Caliborn makes an early appearance about six months into the strip during one of the "[[Comicstrip/LittleNemo Dave In Slumberland]]" segments as an unnamed demon.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* 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.
* ''WebVideo/StarWarsUncut'', a FanFilm remake of ''Star Wars: A New Hope'':
** Jar-Jar Binks, who isn't in the original trilogy but appears in the prequels, can be seen in a few scenes.
** There are Ewoks (originally not seen until ''Return of the Jedi'') at the medal ceremony at the end.

[[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.
* ''WesternAnimation/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 [[UsefulNotes/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.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' shows future BigBad but WellIntentionedExtremist Kuvira appearing during a metalbending dance routine during Season 3 Episode 5 (she is the woman to the right standing on the metal lotus) and some speaking roles afterward, though she's not named until the penultimate episode in the same season, with a quiet random ScareChord when she introduces herself foreshadowing her future role.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone'' episode "Snapmobile", Craniac 3 makes a brief cameo before becoming the major villain in "Future Zone". Coincidentally, both episodes ended up in the same half-hour, though "Snapmobile" aired before "Future Zone".
** Michelle Norwegiano makes a cameo in "The Wiggies", watching Penny talk about the titular creatures on a news report (Michelle herself having her hair eaten by them) before she's properly introduced in "The Skrawl" (however, Nickelodeon [[OutOfOrder screwed up the episode order]] and aired the latter before the former). She also has a slightly different design (possibly an earlier model) and she's voiced by Hynden Walch instead of E.G. Daily.
** Non-character example: Rudy was first shown in his season four outfit in a comic in the July 2004 issue of ''Magazine/NickelodeonMagazine'', a year before season four began airing.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman''[='=]s second episode [[Recap/TheBatmanS1E2Traction "Traction"]] features a flashback to the night Bruce's parents died, with a young red-headed and mustachioed police officer informing Bruce that Alfred's there to pick him up. [[http://www.toonzone.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1902711&postcount=58 According to]] [[WordOfGod producer Jeff Matsuda]], this was indeed supposed to be a young Jim Gordon, who would properly debut in the Season 2 finale, [[Recap/TheBatmanS2E13NightAndTheCity "Night and the City"]] with a side of RememberTheNewGuy as dialogue by Alfred and Gordon himself suggested Batman was already in an alliance with the recently-appointed Commissioner despite only appearing in said flashback beforehand. Also, Matsuda denied that the flashback was done as a tie-in to ''Film/BatmanBegins'', which started a trend (including being {{Ret Canon}}ed in the comics, as well as the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries'' and ''Series/{{Gotham}}'') of having the future Batman and future GCPD Commissioner meet the night the Waynes' died.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bonkers}}''[='=]s second partner Miranda Wright makes an extended non-speaking cameo as the Chief's uniformed secretary in "Hear No Bonkers, See No Bonkers", which, though animated later, is the fourth episode chronologically.
* Magnus Hammersmith is seen in a flashback during the Season 3 premiere of ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', long before he takes on a prominent role in Season 4. Also, Ishnifus Meaddle is quoted on the back of the Season 3 DVD. He doesn't appear until the fourth season finale.

!!Sneak Peeks

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* It's common for the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series to debut a new Pokémon species or form in [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} the animé]] or a movie before it's available in the games:
** In the very first episode, Ash catches a glimpse of a large golden bird flying through a rainbow. That bird was only revealed with the arrival of ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' as Ho-Oh, a legendary bird Pokémon; its colors changed a lot since then.
** Togepi, Marill (and its pre-evolution Azurill), Wailmer, Snubbull, Kecleon, Lucario, and Munchlax are only a few examples of non-legendary Pokémon making first appearances in movies and/or episodes.
** 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 ''[[Anime/PokemonGenesectAndTheLegendAwakened Genesect and the Legend Awakened]]'' and its accompanying short ahead of ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'' (though Mega Mewtwo Y wasn't named in the film itself, and promotional materials called it its "Awakened Forme").
** The Best Wishes series featured Pokémon from ''X and Y''. Helioptile, Gogoat, and Noivern debuted shortly after the sixteenth movie in Japan. Also coming along with them was ''X/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/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/Alpha Sapphire]]'' also debuted before the game's release. Mega Diancie was featured in the [[Anime/PokemonDiancieAndTheCocoonOfDestruction 17th movie]], while Mega Rayquaza and Mega Metagross were featured in another ''XY'' special two weeks before the remakes were released.
** The animé featured an entire saga focused on Zygarde and its various new formes. Notably, they didn't debut in an updated version of ''XY'' as the cover legendary, but in the 7th generation games ''[[VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon Sun and Moon]]''.
** ''[[Anime/PokemonVolcanionAndTheMechanicalMarvel Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel]]'' showcases Magearna ahead of its debut in ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon''.
** A third forme for Lycanroc, Lycanroc Dusk Forme, debuted in the 37th episode of the Sun and Moon saga of the anime on August 10, in the (under the care of Ash even), before its official playable debut in ''VideoGame/PokemonUltraSunAndUltraMoon''.
* 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 ''Anime/MaiHime'', Arika, the lead of ''Anime/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 UsefulNotes/{{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/GourmetGirlGraffiti''. They were properly introduced in episodes two and ''ten''.
* The ''Anime/CardfightVanguard'' anime follows the real life card releases most of the time: when a new expansion set is out in real life, is out in the anime too, just in time to [[ProductPlacement make as clear as possible to the audience that new cards are available]]. But sometimes some cards appear earlier than their actual release date:
** The second expansion set was released around episode 14-15's airing, but at the time at least 5 cards from that expansion (Silent Tom, Lady Bomb, Phantom Black, Master Fraud and Winged Dragon, Skyptero) were already shown in the anime.
** Promo cards aren't usually covered in the show, with a few exceptions: Sphere Magus is played in episodes 23 and 40, Turboraizer in episode 29 and Circle Magus in episode 37.
** The Dimension Police clan was introduced briefly in the third expansion set, with the fourth one featuring the proper debut. Because of this, the anime shows less footage as possible of duels featuring Team Caesar (who all use Dimension Police decks), and what is shown usually features mostly the four units from the third expansion (Workerpod, Saturday; Karenroid, Daisy; Masked Police, Grander and Super Dimensional Robo, Daiyusha), in order to not spoil the cards from the not yet released new set... except that in episodes 34-35 not only two cards from the fourth expansion set (Army Penguin and Cobalt Justice) are clearly shown, but keen-eyed viewers can see some more cards (such as Enigman Flow, Diamond Ace, Twin Order and Glory Maker).
** A similar thing is done with the Shadow Paladin clan, but better: before episode 43, the only card we see from that clan is Blaster Dark.
** Episode 43 is also supposedly the first aired after the release of the fourth expasion set, but, along with the aforemented Dimension Police sneak peeks, episodes 36 and 38 basically shown all the new cards the Kagero clan gets.
** Episode 51 features the debut of the Neo Nectar and Bermuda Triangle clans: the first was released in the fifth expansion set, which was released only two weeks after the episode's first airing, while the second was subject of the second Extra Booster set, which was released only ''three months later''.

[[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 {{Creator/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'' (albeit still with Rich's standard-issue golden helmet rather than a black one) before making a proper appearance in ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen''.
* Kate Bishop's new costume from ''ComicBook/YoungAvengers'' Vol. 2 made a surprise appearance in Creator/MattFraction's ''ComicBook/{{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]] ComicBook/{{Ms Marvel|2014}}, 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 ComicBook/{{Thanos}}, made a cameo in his [[ComicBook/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 ComicBook/SpiderWoman costume in the ''Spider-Man Unlimited'' mobile game before officially bringing it into the comics. A few months later, they confirmed that Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099's new costumes from ''ComicBook/AllNewAllDifferentMarvel'' will be showing up there before officially debuting it in the comics.
* A couple examples from ''ComicBook/{{Saga}}'' show that Brian K. Vaughan does his plotting far in advance.
** Yuma is formally introduced after Alana goes to work for the Circuit, but she was first shown as a portrait on the wall in Heist's house (since she's his ex-wife).
** The March first shows up on a video call to freelancer HQ complaining about getting shorted on a job. S/he (it?) appears to attack the heroes in the war for Phang dozens of issues later.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Subverted in ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}''. The strip began making reference to Jon taking an extremely reluctant Garfield to the veterinary clinic a full year before the introduction of Jon's perpetual crush - and future steady girlfriend - Dr. Liz Wilson in 1979. However, when we first see the vet in a Halloween strip, the vet is a man with a mustache. Liz replaces him soon enough and he's never seen or heard from again. It's not clear what happened to him, but one strip implied that Garfield mauled the male vet during a failed declawing operation, resulting in him having to get stitches and perhaps quitting the practice. Liz could have been brought in to replace him in-universe, and to add some diversity to the strip out-of-universe.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'', as Pleakley 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.
* The elephants from Disney's ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' actually all made their first appearances in the 1960 animated short ''Disney/GoliathII''. 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 ''Film/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.
* Creator/{{Pixar}} started doing this in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'' Every Pixar feature since has featured a Sneak Peek.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', we see Boo holding Jessie (''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2''), the ball from ''WesternAnimation/LuxoJr'' and... [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo Nemo]], who only debuted 2 years later. Nemo also appears as a fresco in the sushi restaurant.
** In ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'', a kid can be seen reading a comic book of ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', [[WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} Doc Hudson]] appears as a non-anthropomorphic car during the final fight sequence,
** Dug the dog from ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'' makes an early appearance as a live shadow on a wall in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}''.
** In a [[WesternAnimation/PixarShorts DVD bonus short]] for ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', WesternAnimation/WallE 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/Cars2'' has car-versions of [[WesternAnimation/{{Brave}} Princess Merida]] and her family on a glass window in the British pub.
** ''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.]]
* ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'':
** A statue of a cherub appears in "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.
* "Kid" from ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'' 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 in the first movie; [[WesternAnimation/TheLorax a movie version]] from [[Creator/IlluminationEntertainment the same producers]] premiered two years later. In the third movie, her shirt features [[Literature/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas The Grinch]] on it.
* 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''.)

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' aided in a fairly important battle in ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'''s first movie before his series premiered.
** 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.
** ''Series/KamenRiderExAid'': Emu's level 10 Mighty Brothers Double X gashat makes an appearance in ''Film/KamenRiderGenerationsDrPacmanVsExAidAndGhostWithLegendaryRiders'' prior to its official debut in #13/14.
* In ''Film/TheMatrix'', dozens of monitors are seen. The man who owns the monitors later appears in ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded''.
* In ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions'', some of the Machines are those that appeared in ''Anime/TheAnimatrix''.
* ''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 ''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.
* A variant ends up as a FreezeFrameBonus in ''Film/{{Tron}}''. During the scene where Gibbs and Lora are digitizing the orange, the lower right hand of the computer readout reads "ROM Yori, LOAD Yori," which refers to a character that comes into the film at the 2/3 point.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** ''Film/IronMan'': Rhodey briefly considers suiting up for the final battle, but decides against it. He gets the opportunity to become Comicbook/WarMachine in ''Film/IronMan2'', and is a full-time Avenger by ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''.
** Thunderbolt Ross, first met in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', comes back in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' as secretary of state to convince the Avengers to sign the Sokovia Accords.
** Comicbook/BlackWidow first appears in ''Film/IronMan2'' to spy on Stark's activities for [=SHIELD=]; by ''Film/TheAvengers2012'', she is a full-time Avenger, and is given more screentime and characterization thusly.
** Comicbook/BuckyBarnes appears in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' before returning in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' as the [[AntagonistTitle eponymous soldier]]. By ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'', he is officially promoted to full-time Avenger.
** Senator Stern, the insufferable senator from ''Film/IronMan2'', and Agent Sitwell, a long-running [=SHIELD=] agent appearing in various media, are revealed to be [[spoiler:Hydra moles]] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier]]. [[spoiler:Arnim Zola, the ineffectual assistant to Red Skull]] in ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' also returns, having been immortalized in a bunker of computer banks and been allowed to stew for decades before meeting the Captain again.
** Ulysses Klaue, a minor Comicbook/FantasticFour and Black Panther villain has a short cameo as a vibranium dealer in ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''. He is the [[spoiler:DiscOneFinalBoss]] in ''Film/BlackPanther'' until he is [[spoiler:unceremoniously killed off by Killmonger to gain entry into Wakanda]].
** Comicbook/BlackPanther and Comicbook/SpiderMan both first appear in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar''. They go on to have their own solo films, ''Film/BlackPanther'' and ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'' shortly thereafter.

* 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 Creator/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''.
* Johanna Mason gets a brief mention in ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', then appears in the flesh ([[NakedOnArrival um]]), a book later. Delly Cartwright is mentioned in the first part of the first book in passing, but doesn't appear until the middle of the third.
* In ''Battle of the Labyrinth'', the fourth book of the ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', a crowd of monsters resembling humans with various animal heads makes an appearance as background characters in an arena. In ''Literature/TheKaneChronicles'', demons resembling humans with various animals heads are the favored {{Mooks}} of the primary antagonist.

[[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.
* Several years before he became famous as the host of ''Series/{{Double Dare|1986}}'', Marc Summers was a page at CBS. At age 22 in 1973, he got to fill in as announcer on ''Series/TheJokersWild'' for one week.
* In Series 3 of ''Series/RobotWars'', both of the eventual finalists - Chaos 2 and Hypno-Disc - received one. In Heat A, while Craig Charles is going over the judges' criteria, a brief clip from Heat E is shown with Chaos 2 flipping over The Big Cheese. Then, in Hypno-Disc's introductory heat, after one battle had finished, Philippa interviewed the winning team backstage-- in the background, [[MeaningfulBackGroundEvent Hypno-Disc could be glimpsed on some monitors trashing its first opponent]] while a group of robotoeers [[ThisIsGonnaSuck look on in absolute]] ''[[ThisIsGonnaSuck horror]]''.
** Arguably inverted in the case of Crasha Gnasha, which was visible backstage in Heat A as Philippa showed the viewers around the pits. When it finally entered the warzone in Heat O, it was defeated in five seconds flat.
* [[Creator/PeterCapaldi The Twelfth Doctor]] made a surprise cameo appearance in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' 50th anniversary special, ''[[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor The Day of the Doctor]]'', a month before he was 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 them?]]\\
'''Gallifreyan soldier:''' No sir! [[DeathGlare All]] '''[[http://i2.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article2846504.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Doctor_Who_50th_anniversary-2846504.jpg thirteen!]]'''
** Bernard Cribbins appears as Wilfrid Mott in [[Recap/DoctorWho2007CSVoyageOfTheDamned "Voyage of the Damned"]], the 2007 Christmas special, before being introduced as Donna Noble's grandfather in Series 4. Reportedly, his appearance was originally intended as a one-off cameo (Cribbins having previously co-starred in one of the 1960s movies based on the series), but he was brought back to replace another actor who died and his character was retconned to be the one who appeared in the special.
** Creator/JennaColeman guest-starred as Oswin Oswald in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E1AsylumOfTheDaleks Asylum of the Daleks]]", the Series 7 premiere. This was ''months'' ahead of Coleman's announced first appearance as Clara Oswald at Christmas 2012 and was kept a secret until broadcast. Fans had to wait till the end of Series 7 in the spring of 2013 before they learned the connection between Oswin and Clara.
* 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.
* In both ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' and ''Series/TheFlash2014'', a woman that Oliver impregnated keeps showing up. Assuming this goes with the comics, the woman is Sandra "Moonday" Hawke, the mother of Oliver's illegitimate child Connor Hawke and the second ComicBook/GreenArrow.
* The ''Series/IronFist2017'' Netflix series has two supporting characters who appeared in previous Marvel Netflix programs: Simone Missick as Misty Knight (appearing in ''Series/LukeCage''), and Creator/CarrieAnneMoss as Jeri Hogarth (appeared in ''Series/JessicaJones'').

* 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?"''.
* Music/MyChemicalRomance's debut album, ''I Brought You My Bullets, Your Brought Me Your Love'', has 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''.
* Music/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.
* Before he made it big as an actor on Series/FullHouse, John Stamos was a drummer for Music/TheBeachBoys. He appears in their video for their 1988 hit "Kokomo", subbing in for the late Dennis Wilson.
* 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; also had a hit of her own with "Me and Emily" in 2004) 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 [[Music/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 Music/{{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.
** Radiohead has a number of songs which they played live but did not wind up on an album until years (or even decades) later. For instance, "Nude" was performed on the band's 1997-98 ''O.K. Computer'' tour (it appears in their ''Meeting People is Easy'' film, introduced under the title "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)"), but didn't wind up on album until 2007's ''In Rainbows''. The song "True Love Waits" was one of the band's most acclaimed songs and they frequently performed it in concert from 1995 onwards. They tried recording versions of it for several albums, but were never happy with any of them. A live recording of the song appears on their 2001 EP ''I Might Be Wrong'', but they took until 2016's ''A Moon Shaped Pool'' to finally release a studio version.
* One of Music/JennetteMcCurdy's first credits was appearing in the music video for Music/FaithHill's "The Way You Love Me". Before that, she was a recurring actress on ''Series/MadTV''.
* Music/FaithHill 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 Music/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).
* 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, singer of the hits "Lover, Lover" and "Drink to That All Night", 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 producer, a role he has held to this day.
** The former album also had a track written by a then-unknown Big Kenny, later of Music/BigAndRich (he also wrote a song on The Mavericks' ''Trampoline'' the same year).
* Before Music/BigAndRich released their debut single "Wild West Show" in December 2003, they wrote "Amarillo Sky" for [=McBride & the Ride=] in 2002 (later CoveredUp by Music/JasonAldean). They also co-wrote and sang backing vocals on the album track "She's a Butterfly" on Music/MartinaMcBride's (no relation) 2003 album ''Martina''.
* Josh Abbott Band has done this twice: their 2011 single "Oh, Tonight" featured a credited vocal from Music/KaceyMusgraves that predated any of her solo releases, and the same thing happened again five years later with Carly Pearce, the featured vocalist on "Wasn't That Drunk".
* 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 Music/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 Music/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 ''WesternAnimation/GnomeoAndJuliet''.
* CountryMusic songwriter/producer Shane [=McAnally=] was originally a singer, and charted at #31 in 1999 with "Are Your Eyes Still Blue". He went away for several years, then after having a few songs in the LGBT film ''Shelter'', had a hit in the form of Lee Ann Womack's "Last Call", which he co-wrote. From that point onward, songwriting and production became his bread and butter.
* Music/SamHunt: Before having any hits of his own, he wrote "Come Over" for Kenny Chesney, "Cop Car" for Keith Urban, and "We Are Tonight" for Billy Currington.
* After leaving S-K-O (Schuyler, Knoblock & Overstreet), Paul Overstreet was one of two featured vocalists (the other being Paul Davis of "I Go Crazy" fame) on Tanya Tucker's 1988 hit "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love" before his solo career officially began.
* Before releasing any material of her own, Music/MirandaLambert appeared as a guest vocalist on Buddy Jewell's debut album. This is because the two were contestants on the first season of ''Series/NashvilleStar'' together (he placed first and she placed third).
* Before releasing her debut singles or writing any songs for other artists, Sarah Buxton was the featured vocalist on Cowboy Troy's 2005 single "If You Don't Wanna Love Me".
* Before she placed fifth on the fifth season of ''Series/NashvilleStar'', Whitney Duncan appeared on Music/KennyRogers' 2004 single "My World Is Over".
* Stephanie Bentley was the duet vocalist on Ty Herndon's late 1995 single "Heart Half Empty" before releasing any singles of her own. Before even this, however, she could be heard singing on Pam Tillis' 1992 hit "Shake the Sugar Tree" (she sang the song's demo, which Tillis's producer liked so much that he [[ThrowItIn mixed it into the final version]]).
* Curtis Wright co-wrote two of Shenandoah's singles: "Next to You, Next to Me" in 1990, and "Rock My Baby" two years later. Shenandoah disbanded in 1997, and when they reunited in 2000, Wright became their new lead singer ([[RevolvingDoorBand for a time]]).
* David Lee Murphy sang "Just Once" on the soundtrack of the 1994 rodeo movie ''8 Seconds'' before releasing his debut album.
* Two years before "I Kissed A Girl", Music/KatyPerry appeared in the video for Gym Class Heroes' "Cupid's Chokehold"; At the time, she was dating their lead singer [=Travie McCoy=]. A few years before that, Perry was a backing vocalist for the rock band Music/{{POD}}, and appears on their 2005 rock radio hit "Goodbye For Now" and its video.
** Likewise, Perry's friend Music/{{Kesha}} appears in the "I Kissed a Girl" video, about a year before the release of her debut hit "Tik Tok".
* Before she was famous, Music/LindseyStirling played violin on Music/TayZonday's "Mama Economy".
* Before the band Old Dominion was formed, three of its members (Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, and Brad Tursi) wrote songs for other country music singers.
* Nearly a decade before he broke through, Music/ChrisStapleton had a large list of songs that he had written for other artists. He also recorded in the bluegrass band The Steeldrivers and the Southern rock band The Jompson Brothers.

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

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/HiromitsuKanehara was in a blink and miss it role as a "young boy" for Wrestling/NewJapanProWrestling, and even got to train with Wrestling/HiroyoshiTenzan and Osamu Nishimura, but he left for the Wrestling/UniversalWrestlingFederation and wouldn't be seen in New Japan again until UWF-i invaded during 1995.
* Chris Dolman accompanied Willem Ruska during his match against Wrestling/AntonioInoki in New Japan Pro Wrestling but when he became a pro wrestler he opted to go to the Universal Wrestling Federation, then become a shoot fighter/mixed martial artists before appearing for New Japan again in 1995 for a RINGS offer match where he lost to Wrestling/AkiraMaeda.
* 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.
** In one jobber appearance, Foley ''almost'' used his real name, being credited as "Nick Faley."
** 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.
* Foley's fellow Dominic [=DeNucci=] protege Wrestling/ShaneDouglas also did jobs around the same time, using his real name, Troy Martin.
* Several luchadors 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''.
* Speaking of Cena, he made a brief appearance in 2000...in a ''Wrestling/{{WCW}}'' production. A blond-haired, 22-year-old Cena was one of several wrestlers working out in a gym scene in the movie Film/ReadyToRumble. Yes, ''that'' David Arquette film WCW was promoting when they made him their World Champion.
* Caprice Coleman first showed up working against Wrestling/{{ROH}} in 2004, representing Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA Wildside with [[Wrestling/HunterJohnston Delirious]] and Rainman while Wrestling/MattSydal was representing IWA Mid-South (Wrestling/JimmyJacobs won for ROH). Matt Sydal and Delirious were somewhat regular to ROH at that point but Coleman would not get into a long term ROH deal for years.
* Wrestling/NigelMcGuinness's first appearance in Wrestling/{{TNA}} was one off as part of a battle royal in 2004 on the 106th pay per view. The next year he would be defeated by Shark Boy on the ''Genesis'' pre show, still four years before he found a regular role as Desmond Wolfe.
* 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.
* Tommaso Ciampa first appeared at ''ROH Reclaims Boston'' in a multiman dark match going by "Thomas" in 2006 and wouldn't be seen again until five years later with a very different (if familiar) attitude(basically as a CaptainErsatz of Erik Stevens).
* 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.
* Both [[Wrestling/LisaMarieVaron Victoria]] and Wrestling/{{Lita}} were already established wrestlers but first appeared as Godfather's Hos in the WWF before actively wrestling for it.
* Both of the [[Wrestling/MattHardy Hardy]] [[Wrestling/JeffHardy Boyz]] wrestled regularly on WWE TV during the 90s as short-haired teenage {{jobber}}s before getting properly called up in 1999.
* Another high-school aged teen, Louis Mucciolo, did jobs for WWF in the late '80s under his more familiar ring name Louie Spicolli. He would make his formal main roster debut in the mid-'90s as Bodydonnas protege Rad Radford, a lower-carder with a "grunge rocker" gimmick.
* Wrestling/StephanieMcMahon 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 to 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 ECW and WWE star Wrestling/RobVanDam.
* Daichi Hashimoto's "debut" for Wrestling/ProWrestlingZero1 wasn't actually a wrestling match but a kickboxing exhibition in 2011 with Satoshi Kobayashi.
* Uhaa Nation's first run in Wrestling/DragonGate with the Blood Warriors PowerStable was CutShort due to an injury and is pretty much forgotten in comparison to his later roles in The Monster Express, Mad Blankey and one of the top attractions for DG USA.
* Wrestling/DamienSandow was a paper bag distributor for future tag partner Wrestling/CodyRhodes.
** Also the masked Easter Bunny at the APA's Barroom Brawl on 2003 PPV ''Vengeance''.
* 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, Wrestling/TeddyLong 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, starting off as a referee and then becoming a manager.
* Ares was in Wrestling/{{Chikara}}'s 2003 Tag World Grand Prix, had a match in 2005 against Quackenbush, and then wasn't seen again, going back to Europe until the BDK made its presence known by basically beating down every Chikara wrestler they could find, excepting those who turned out to be members, as the {{brainwashed}} [[Wrestling/HunterJohnston Delirious]] and willing servants Wrestling/SaraDelRey and Wrestling/DaizeeHaze. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Wrestling/UltraMantisBlack who admitted he didn't even know who Ares was.
* 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.
* Hayato Fujita had a short run in Wrestling/MichinokuProWrestling during 2005 as a {{face}} and feuded with Los Salseros Japoneses for one night before being sent to [[Wrestling/DragonGate Toryumon Mexico]] to gain experience. Fujita became better known as a HeroKiller who destroyed [[Wrestling/TakuyaSugi Yoshitsune]] and Wrestling/TheGreatSasuke, as well as an important member of Bad Boy.
* Yujiro Takahashi and Wrestling/TetsuyaNaito, the TagTeam better known as No Limit, defeated Genba Hirayanagi and Kotaro Suzuki of [[Wrestling/ProWrestlingNOAH NOAH]]'s DISOBEY stable in a dark match at ''Wrestling/{{ROH}} The Tokyo Summit''. Naito wouldn't become ''relevant'' to ROH until the second ''War Of The Worlds'' seven years later, while Takahashi would have to wait ''eight'' years at ''Honor Rising Japan" for a non dark match.
* 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. Wrestling/{{Edge}} was also in attendance at the same event.
* 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 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!
* Drew Gulak made infrequent appearances for Wrestling/{{Chikara}} in the mid-'00s before a semi notable apperance in 2008 for King Of Trios. But would not amount to much until returning for King of Trios 2014 with "The Gentlemen's Club", but still wouldn't regularly appear until 2015.
* The druids who accompanied Wrestling/UltraMantisBlack for his match against Wrestling/{{Hallowicked}} at ''Through Savage Progress Cuts the Jungle Line'' later gained individual, and largely unrelated to Black identities as Obariyon and Kodama.
* Wrestling/CelticChampionshipWrestling
** Kazza G first appeared as a backstage interviewer before getting integrated onto the roster.
** Ricky Combat can be glimpsed as a runner at several early shows, and features as a bodyguard in front of Lee Cahalane's office at one point.
** Bedlam Billy was first a commentator and then a ring announcer.
* In Wrestling/{{Progress Wrestling}}, a lot of ENDVR talent appear as company security on the chapter shows before having matches. Some examples are Ali Armstrong, Damon Moser and Shen Woo.
* Flex Rumblecrunch was first spotted at the December 2012 Chikara event ''Under The Hood'' accompanying The Devastation Corporation during their entrance, then leaving. He wouldn't be seen or heard from again until May 18th, 2013, during the Tag World Grand Prix, when he turned up and to attack The Colony with Max Smashmaster and Blaster [=McMassive=].
* An unmasked Missile Assault Ant was among the Condor Security horde who brought Never Compromise to an end before he became a member of Colony Xtreme Force.
* Before being formally introduced as the Wrestling/WyattFamily's "black sheep," Braun Strowman was one of Wrestling/AdamRose's unnamed Rosebuds.
* D'Lo Brown wrestled as jobber AC Conner, a slightly modified version of his real name, shortly before debuting as part of the Nation of Domination.
* Before breaking out as one-third of Wrestling/TheShield, Wrestling/DeanAmbrose was an indie darling who wrestled under the name Jon Moxley. He made a few jobber appearances on WWE's C-show ''Velocity'' in 2006 using that ring name, including one where his long hair is dyed hot pink.
* Dalton Castle made several one off appearances in the various "Wrestling Is" promotions related to Chikara before finding an extended role in Chikara itself as the ship captain Ashley Remington.
* 2004's $1,000,000 Wrestling/WWEToughEnough produced Mike "Wrestling/TheMiz" Mizanin, future Spirit Squad member Nick "Mitch" Mitchell, and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Puder some guy who nearly injured Kurt Angle for real]] and got cut shortly after winning the competition. One of the eight finalists was a guy named Ryan Reeves, who did well, but was quickly forgotten as he drifted around in OVW and FCW after Tough Enough was done. Little more than five years later, he was back as a [[Wrestling/{{WWENXT}} NXT]] Season 1 finalist named Skip Sheffield. After an injury took him off TV, he dropped the cowboy gimmick and fake Texan accent and was repackaged as [[Wrestling/{{Ryback}} the guy who wants people to feed him more.]]
* Despite being the first eliminated from Tough Enough's fifth season in 2010, as well as the girl who said Wrestling/{{Melina}} vs Wrestling/AliciaFox was her favorite wrestling match of all time, Ariane Andrew was the only member of that season's class to make it to the main roster, debuting in 2012 as Funkadactyls member Wrestling/{{Cameron}}.
* Wrestling/{{Charlotte}} made her first appearance in the wrestling world accompanying [[Wrestling/RicFlair her father]] in a 1999 ''Wrestling/WCWMondayNitro'' (the same night where Wrestling/MickFoley won his very first WWE Title reign). She also made two one-off appearances on ''Wrestling/WWERaw'' before officially joining WWE years later.
* Wrestling/ZackRyder was in the audience at ''Wrestling/WrestleMania X'' and was one of the kids [[Wrestling/ScottHall Razor Ramon]] posed with after winning the Intercontinental Title.
* Rory Gulak first wrestled for Wrestling/{{Chikara}} at National Pro Wrestling Day '13, then did not show up again until the Johnny Kidd Invitational in 2017. More than that, he had been appearing as a fan at Wrestling/{{CZW}} events since he was a child, dressing as "Sick" Nick Mondo, which caused him to wrestle as "Rory Mondo" in CZW, hoping to emulate Mondo's career(apparently forgetting [[RooftopConfrontation how]] that [[CareerEndingInjury ended]]).
* Young Lion sent into exile, Wrestling/HiromuTakahashi, would make a brief return to New Japan during the 2016 ''Fantasticamania'', still using La Ola Amarilla Kamaitachi gimmick even though he lost his mask, defeating the man who unmasked him, Dragon Lee, for the Wrestling/{{CMLL}} World Lightweight Title belt. His official return to New Japan wouldn't be until next year, with his more familiar name, as "The Ticking Time Bomb" of Wrestling/LosIngobernablesDeJapon.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/SesameStreet'':
** The titular character of ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' actually first appeared in a stop-motion skit featured in ''Sesame Street''.
** 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.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh 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'' 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 didn't get a card until the Commander 2014 decks [[spoiler: and didn't appear in the plot until Shadow Over Innistrad]].
* In the third edition rulebook of ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'', pictures of generic Kroot and Necron warriors appear several years before their armies were officially introduced.
** In ''Gathering Storm: Fall of Cadia'', a piece of artwork featuring an army of marching Black Templars, also shows what looks like a Dark Eldar Incubus in bright red armor with a blue-furred cape, looking in the opposite direction of the marching Space Marines and generally sticking out like a sore thumb. One month later, he was revealed as the Visarch, a new Eldar special character properly introduced in the second ''Gathering Storm'' book, ''Fracture of Biel-Tan''.
** ''Beginning with Warhammer 40,000'', a brief magazine released along the eighth edition rulebook as a brief introduction to the franchise for newcomers, featured pictures of the Space Marines Repulsor and the Death Guard Plagueburst Crawler respectively one and four months before their proper releases.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} Fantasy Battles'':
** The Warriors of Chaos 7th Edition rulebook (released in November 2008) had pictures of the Daemon Prince plastic kit, which was released only in August 2010. [[WordOfGod An article on that month's]] ''Magazine/WhiteDwarf'' explained that they postponed the model's release in order to have him as part of a wave of new Chaos Daemons models.
** Talking about the Chaos Daemons wave released in August 2010, one month before the 8th edition of the main rulebook already had pictures of the other models in that wave (Pink Horrors, The Changeling, Kairos Fateweaver, Seekers of Slaanesh and Khorne Bloodcrushers)

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Three examples from Ride/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 Ride/PiratesOfTheCaribbean ride first opened in 1967, 3 1/2 decades before [[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean the film series]]. Recent renovations to the ride have incorporated characters from the films.
* ''[[Ride/JurassicParkRiverAdventure Jurassic Park: The Ride]]'', which opened at [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal Studios Hollywood]] in 1996, features ''Stegosaurus'' and ''Compsognathus'' among the many dinosaurs in the ride; a full year before both species made their first film appearance in ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'' in 1997.

* The ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' did not have any toys until after the ''[[Film/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 ''VideoGame/LegoMarvelSuperHeroes'' 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 ComicBook/{{Storm}} and ComicBook/TheFalcon, whose figures weren't released until ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' and ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' were out in theaters.
* ''VideoGame/LegoMarvelsAvengers'' does the same thing with the DLC for ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'', showing off the figures for characters like Comicbook/BlackPanther and Crossbones before they were even in toy stores.
* ''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 and onwards only contains the characters of that series.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* [[Creator/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 Nippon Ichi, it's probably no coincidence that ''VideoGame/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).
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' got two of these. ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid: [[MissionPackSequel VR Missions]]'', if the player completed every single one of the VR missions, gave a sneak preview of Metal Gear RAY. ''VideoGame/MetalGearGhostBabel'', which was released a year before ''[=MGS2=]'', 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=]''.
** Cyborg Ninja Raiden played a cameo role in ''Metal Gear Solid 2: 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 ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul Calibur IV]]'' three months prior to the release of his game. He goes simply as "The Apprentice" in SCIV.
* [[GirlNextDoor Merrill]] and [[PirateGirl Isabela]] both appear in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' - Merrill is part of the Dalish Elf origin, while Isabela can be encountered at the Pearl in Denerim. They are retroactively turned into this trope by their appearance as party members in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''.
* In ''VideoGame/SpaceInvaders Extreme'' (available on both UsefulNotes/PlayStationPortable and UsefulNotes/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 ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters 2002'' as an alternate moveset for Kyo, but did not receive a role in the story proper until the next game, ''2003''.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** 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 ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIIRemake'' version of Cloud showed up in the Japanese ''VideoGame/MobiusFinalFantasy'' in 2015, along with the Guard Scorpion and Shinra soldiers to fight, and cards representing him, Barret, Jessie, Biggs and Wedge.
* 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 ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha3''. 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 [[VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile Lezard Valeth and Lenneth Valkyrie]] in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory''. ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' would not be completed for another two years after Star Ocean 2 was released.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** ''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.
** Even a few months before the release of the original ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'' in North America, the sprites of the three starters, Pikachu, Meowth, and Mew appeared as stickers in the ''VideoGame/GameboyCamera''. However, the camera came out in Japan three years after the original Red & Green Versions, so this is only an early-bird cameo for North America.
* ''VideoGame/RockBand 2'' had the album release of ''Shackler's Revenge'' a few weeks before the album it was on (''Chinese Democracy'') was released.
* ''VideoGame/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 arcade racing game ''Rad Mobile'' two months before the first Sonic game.
** As an unofficial, copyright-breaking version of the trope, Sonic showed up as a generic level enemy in ''The Adventures of Quik & Silva'', released on the Amiga two weeks before the first Sonic game.
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'' was first previewed in pre-alpha form on Nickelodeon's ''Series/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 story in ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes''. Even though they were a minimal but pivotal plot point, they didn't appear as actual enemies until ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog''.
* [[VideoGame/BanjoKazooie Banjo, Tiptup]], and VideoGame/{{Conker|sBadFurDay}} in ''VideoGame/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.
* ''Star Wars: VideoGame/RogueSquadron''
** The Naboo Starfighter appeared as a secret ship six months before the release of ''Film/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 ''VideoGame/{{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]]''.
* ''VideoGame/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 {{virtual|Ghost}} DamselInDistress of ''VideoGame/ChildOfEden'', previously appeared in ''VideoGame/{{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".
* [[VideoGame/{{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 [[VideoGame/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 {{Hero|Unit}} in was added to ''Videogame/EndlessSpace'', albeit as an "Unknown race".
* ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'': ''VideoGame/UltimaVIII'' appears as a "pirated" game in ''VideoGame/UltimaVIIPartII''. ''VideoGame/UltimaIX'' has ''Ultima Online 2'' appear before the game was ultimately cancelled.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2'' introduced the ability to change the radio station in your car, as well as having different ones for each district. This could be considered in a way foreshadowing to Radio/GTARadio. As another added touch, a gang radio station's reception degrades the further you are from its source in a district, which eventually came back for ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' (crossing between Los Santos and Blaine County causes you to lose the signal for some stations).
* ''VideoGame/FalloutShelter'' featured ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'' companions Preston Garvey and Piper Wright as [[HeroUnit Legendary Vault Dwellers]] prior to the release of the latter.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'', one of your potential companions, the Railroad agent Deacon, will be present in major settlements before you first meet him face-to-face when joining the Railroad. Being a MasterOfDisguise, he'll be labeled as a generic NPC before you become acquainted with him.
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Zork}} Zork III: The Dungeon Master]]'', if you touch the table marked with "IV" in the Scenic Area, you'll get transported to a temple of some courtyard, where some {{Black Cloak}}ed figure, who is later revealed to be [[spoiler:the BigBad Krill]] from ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'', performs a HumanSacrifice ritual on you. Strangely enough, ''Zork III'' was released in 1982, and ''Enchanter'' would be released a year later.
* In addition to the Zero cameo above, ''VideoGame/MegaMan2ThePowerFighters'' was also technically the debut of Duo, the game coming out four months before ''VideoGame/MegaMan8''.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** An in-game book in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', ''On Oblivion'', mentions a [[OurGodsAreDifferent Daedric Prince]] named Jyggalag. It wouldn't be until ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'''s ''Shivering Isles'' expansion that Jyggalag would actually appear.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'':
** The book ''Children of the Sky'' was the first in-game mention of the idea of "[[MakeMeWannaShout the Voice]]" in the series and its use by the Nords[[note]]the first mention in the series as a whole was in the First Edition Pocket Guide to the Empire, a paper booklet included with the ''Redguard'' GaidenGame[[/note]]. Two games later in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the Voice shows up in-game and the PlayerCharacter can use it.
** There are no Trolls in ''Morrowind'', but there is Trollbone Armor. The helmets (which are hollowed out Troll skulls,) have three eye-sockets, just as trolls had from ''Oblivion'' onward.
** Each of the expansions gives a taste of what is coming up in the next two games in the series.
*** The ''Tribunal'' expansion can be seen as a sneak peek of what ''Oblivion'' would be like, since the city of Mournhold bears many similarities to the Imperial City: Multiple districts in closed-off cells as opposed to being in the same cell as the surrounding wilderness, an AbsurdlySpaciousSewer down below (that is actually part of the ruins of former city upon which the current city is built), the presence of Goblins, Liches, and the Dark Brotherhood in full-force, no Levitation, and even Royal Guards in plate armor, which was how the Imperial Legion would be portrayed throughout the next game. There's even {{Foreshadowing}} of the Oblivion Crisis at one point in the questline.
*** Solstheim in the ''Bloodmoon'' expansion is essentially a cameo for ''Skyrim'' two games in the future. It's snowy, full of Nords, werewolves, spriggans, draugrs, and mead, all things that show up in ''Skyrim'' prominently. (Solstheim itself then shows up again as the setting for the ''Dragonborn'' expansion to ''Skyrim''.)
** [[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]:
*** The in-game book ''Immortal Blood'' mentions Movarth Piquine, a vampire hunter who was turned into a vampire and also the Clan Volkihar, a nordic clan of vampires. Later in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', Movarth Piquine is a vampire lord and the BigBad of the quest ''Laid to Rest'', while the Clan Volkihar is a faction that can be either joined or fought against in the ''Dawnguard'' expansion to ''Skyrim''.
* Faye, a new character added to the remake ''VideoGame/FireEmblemEchoesShadowsOfValentia'', actually debuted in the crossover mobile game ''VideoGame/FireEmblemHeroes'' about a week before her home game's release. ''Heroes'' was also the first game to feature the ''Echoes'' designs for Alm, Clair, and Lukas.
* During the production of the ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' remake, the game's development team [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnJWbBY5mWc released a video]] on [[AprilFoolsDay April 1st, 2010]]. The video showcases a mix of genuine changes to the game and gags created specifically for the video. One of said gags was a cameo appearance by Lumisa Kosugi from the game's sequel, which wasn't announced until 2014.
* The ''Videogame/{{X}}-Universe'' series has a ''retroactive'' early bird cameo. The Albion Skunk CoolSpaceship was first debuted in the promotional art for their upcoming ''Videogame/XRebirth''. 8 months later, they release ''X3: Albion Prelude'' out of nowhere, where the Albion Skunk is piloted by an NPC in the plot ([[{{Interquel}} set in between]] ''X3: Terran Conflict'' and ''X Rebirth''). The Skunk wouldn't be seen again until the release of Rebirth [[ScheduleSlip two years later]], where is the player's ship.
* ''VideoGame/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'' features references to the [[WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy television series]]' movie ''Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure'' even though the movie wasn't released until less than a year after the game came out. Billy and Mandy's android duplicates Billybot and Mandroid appear as alternate costumes, the Boogey Man's alternate costumes include his pirate getup and himself as a lawyer, the Boogey Bay level takes place at Boogey's pirate ship, and Horror's Hand is mentioned and shown in Boogey's Mojo Meltdown.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* The BigBad of ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth 2'' appeared very briefly in the intro to "Farewell, My Turnabout" as Global Hero Onyankopon.

[[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.
* ''Webcomic/TheSanityCircus'': During one of the {{Fourth Wall Mail Slot}}s, as Luther the violin answers a question about his fellow Instrumen Steven the flute can be seen silhouetted in the background.
* ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'': When showing Trond getting recruited at his retirement party in a flashback, one of the party's guests, of whom only the lower part of the face and upper body is shown, is shown wishing Trond a happy retirement. Once main character Sigrun Eide is introduced, it becomes quite obvious that the guest in question was actually her.
* In ''Webcomic/KillSixBillionDemons'', 000001 has a brief appearance at the [[https://killsixbilliondemons.com/comic/concordance-of-the-demiurges/ Concordance of the Demiurges]], where Mottom dismisses her as a "paper-pusher" for her GodEmperor Mammon. In her next appearance, she turns out to be Mammon's DragonInChief, capable of [[spoiler:facing Mottom in battle]] with a gigantic [[AnAxeToGrind axe made of fire]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/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 ''Trinton Chronicles'' two years later.
* In the very first story in the ''Roleplay/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 Literature/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.
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'':
** In the Critic'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.
* On the ''Website/RejectedPrincesses'' site, several Princesses appear in each other's stories before their own entry was put online, such as [[http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/princesses/zenobia Christine de Pizan]] appearing in Zenobia's entry before debuting in the book version and Zenobia herself being mentioned in [[http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/princesses/hester-stanhope Hester Stanhope's]] entry.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''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, WesternAnimation/{{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 ''WesternAnimation/RudolphAndFrostysChristmasInJuly''. 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.]]
* Laserbeak from ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' actually first appeared in the form of a toy that is packaged in the same blister pack as Animated Soundwave. Laserbeak himself didn't appear in the cartoon until season 3. (This was due to the show's creators not being informed that Soundwave came with a Laserbeak toy.)
* ''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).
* 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 ''WesternAnimation/YogiBear'' show, Snagglepuss was an antagonist in selected episodes of ''WesternAnimation/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 ''WesternAnimation/HongKongPhooey'' before getting their own segment three years later on ''WesternAnimation/CBBears''. In 1959, lugubrious hyena [[WesternAnimation/LippyTheLionAndHardyHarHar Hardy Har Har]] appeared in a [[WesternAnimation/QuickDrawMcGraw Snooper and Blabber]] cartoon before being paired up with Lippy the Lion three years later. And WesternAnimation/YakkyDoodle appeared in one of the earliest WesternAnimation/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''.
* 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.
* Sort of inverse to the above example — part of Major Lazer's song "Powerful" played in the background of the ''WesternAnimation/MajorLazer'' episode "Vampire Weekend" nearly 8 months before the full track was officially released on an album.
* Yellow Diamond, [[BiggerBad a high-ranking Homeworld Gem]] in ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' [[TheDreaded who had only been mentioned in passing in the actual show]], is presumed to have appeared for a few seconds (and that mostly as a silhouette) in a preview video for the full updated theme song shown at SDCC 2015.
** Earlier, the characters Ruby and Sapphire appear [[FreezeFrameBonus briefly]] in silhouette during ''Fusion Cuisine'' [[spoiler: when their fusion Garnet is being ejected from the larger fusion Alexandrite (Ruby+Sapphire+Amethyst+Pearl). Garnet briefly separates into Ruby and Sapphire, reforming into herself before they stop being silhouttes of light.]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' episode "[[Recap/GravityFallsS1E9TheTimeTravelersPig The Time Traveler's Pig]]", while Dipper and Mable jump through time, we get a glance of [[spoiler:Ford Pines]], who wouldn't be introduced until halfway through Season 2.
* The Yogman Twins Lenny and Denny appear in the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/WhateverHappenedToRobotJones'' as background characters before being properly introduced in the episode "Electric Boogaloo".
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'': The Lich first appears in a quick cameo in the episode "His Hero" in season 2, well before his official introduction as the BigBad of season 4.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure]]'' featured the ''WesternAnimation/DorasExplorerGirls'' version of Dora four months before it was officially announced that she would have her own toy line.