When a {{Sequel}} or {{Prequel}} to a work isn't actually stated or advertised as a sequel/prequel. At first, it looks like a SpiritualSuccessor, ContinuityReboot, AlternateUniverse, or some other closely related universe tie-in but it turns out to be a direct sequel. This might just be hinted at, or expressed outright near the end. CanonWelding often uses this to tie multiple formerly independent franchises together. The work may have a RecycledTitle. See also BroadStrokes.

As you might guess, there will be '''SPOILERS'''.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/RozenMaiden Tale'' started out as a WhatIf manga that shows what would happen if Jun [[RedPillBluePill decided not to wind]]. Then the story transitioned into where the original continuity left off. [[labelnote:*]]The original continuity was CutShort[[/labelnote]]
* ''DevilmanLady'' at first seems like an AlternateContinuity retelling of ''{{Devilman}}'' with a {{Genderflip}}ped protagonist, but it is revealed late in the story that [[spoiler: the events of the original ''Devilman'' and ''ViolenceJack'' are canon, but nobody remembers this thanks to a CosmicRetcon that rebooted history. Devilman himself even makes an appearance to explain this to Jun]].
* ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' takes this a step further: though in-story it doesn't state that much, it's out-and-out obvious that the Black History is comprised of the events of all previous ''Gundam'' shows. Official material draws the timelines as parallel lines with individual events of all the other Gundam series until finally merging to form the Correct Century (Turn A's universe) circle (FridgeLogic meaning it will never proceed any further) meaning Turn A is the Sequel to all of them because it has the power to merge timelines.
* ''{{Mai-Otome}}'' in the beginning seemed like a spin-off series and [[TransplantedCharacterFic Transplanted Character Series]] to ''Anime/MaiHime'', only with [[MagicalGirl Magical Girls]] instead of {{Mons}}. But as the story progressed, maddeningly vague hints began insinuating that ''Otome'' is in fact set in a far future of ''[=HiME=]'', and that the Otome and SLAVES themselves descendant technology of the [=HiME=] and Orphans.
* For most of its run ''Anime/{{Stitch}}'' seemed like an AlternateUniverse to ''LiloAndStitch'', where Stitch landed in Japan instead of America. However in the fourth season it was revealed that it takes place after a TimeSkip. [[spoiler:Lilo pops up as an adult with her [[StrongFamilyResemblance identical looking]] five year old daughter in tow]].
* While not advertised as such, ''Manga/UQHolder'' makes it obvious in literally the first couple pages that it's a sequel to ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima''. This is likely because ''Negima'' was ended by an especially bad case of ExecutiveMeddling.
* ''Anime/BloodC'' at first appears to be unrelated to ''Anime/BloodTheLastVampire'' but is later revealed to be a sequel.
* ''LightNovel/AccelWorld'' is set in the far future of ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline''. Although this is known to most fans of the author, it's not obvious until a later episode of ''Accel World'', where the main character directly reffers to the main Virtual Reality of SAO.
* Some fan theories think that ''RebuildOfEvangelion'' is this for the original ''NeonGenesisEvangelion'' series. But considering this is [[MindScrew Evangelion]] we're talking about, there's not likely to be any way of knowing for sure until the end.
** A popular theory is that everyone in the original series died eventually and that time is just cyclical.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* {{Creator/Tim Burton}}'s ''[[{{Film/AliceInWonderland}} Alice In Wonderland]]'' isn't too stealthy about it since Alice is older, but she starts off her adventure in nearly the same way as [[{{Literature/AliceInWonderland}} the original book]]. A viewer could assume it's a HotterAndSexier version until a scene where, while Alice is struggling with changing size, the Dodo remarks, "You'd think she'd remember all of this from the first time."
* The 2009 ''Film/StarTrek'' film functions as both this and a [[ContinuityReboot reboot]] with [[spoiler:Spock having arrived from the original timeline to provide continuity]]. The main stealth part comes from the fact that the movie is not a full reboot, but rather an AlternateTimeline, [[spoiler:created by the {{Big Bad}}'s accidental alteration of the past which generated a new, parallel space-time continuum]] that bypasses each of the preceding movies and shows except for [[Series/StarTrekEnterprise one]]. It also offers a conclusion to the Federation's conflict with the Romulan Empire, which had been gradually developing for over 40 years since ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''. [[spoiler:8 years after ''StarTrekNemesis'', just as the Federation is finally on the verge of peace with the Romulans, [[ShootTheShaggyDog their home planet's star goes supernova and almost the entire species is wiped out]]]].
** In some foreign markets, ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' was released as ''The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV'', with "The Voyage Home" written in larger letters than "Star Trek IV". They were downplaying the fact that it was ''Star Trek'' film as ''Trek'' films were considered to perform badly overseas. There was also a prologue added (you can see it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VkCW7Xdpsc here]]) to explain the events of ''Film/{{Star Trek III|The Search for Spock}}'' as it was felt that not enough people outside the U.S. had seen it.
* ''Film/{{Catwoman}}'' is a stealth sequel to the ''Batman'' films, notably, ''Film/BatmanReturns''. Her origin is identical to the one played by Michelle Pfeiffer, the Catwoman persona is said to be a LegacyCharacter, and in the pictures of former "Catwomen", we see Michelle Pfeiffer's original character.
* ''Basement Jack'' is a loose sequel to ''Evilution'', the two film featuring the same old apartment building and creepy manager and his equally creepy display room of murderous artifacts, which he adds more weapons to at the end of both films (a vial of alien virus in ''Evilution'', and the eponymous character's sword in ''Basement Jack'').
* At the end of ''Film/FinalDestination 5'' [[spoiler:two of the remaining survivors die in Flight 180, revealing the film to be a ''prequel'' to the first film.]]
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'' takes place before ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', and it's only indicated by the date at the beginning of the film.
* ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' takes place before the first two movies in the ''Film/DollarsTrilogy''.
* The 1999 Disney [[Film/MyFavoriteMartian film adaptation]] of ''Series/MyFavoriteMartian'' features [[spoiler:Ray Walston, the [[RemakeCameo original]] "Uncle Martin", as a long-lost Martian named Neenert who's been stuck on Earth since before 1966 (''when the show was cancelled'') and may have been involved in a confidential [[FirstContact alien crash-landing]] that occurred in 1964 (''a year after the show first aired''). Add some FridgeBrilliance to this and Neenert could very well be the same "Uncle Martin" from the show.]]
** Although this may really be a MythologyGag since the [[AppliedPhlebotinum shape-shifting gum]] that alters the appearance of the one consuming it wasn't in the original series.
* Likewise with director Richard Donner's 1996 film ''Film/{{Maverick}}''. [[spoiler: James Garner's character, "Zane Cooper," is revealed to be the father of Mel Gibson's Bret Maverick. Garner played "Bret Maverick" in the original TV series.]]
* ''Film/{{Nanny McPhee}} and the Big Bang''. The only connection to the first movie is revealed [[spoiler:at the very end, when a doddering old lady is revealed to be the baby of the first family all grown up.]]
* The ''Film/TwentyOneJumpStreet'' [[TheFilmOfTheSeries film]] is actually a sequel to the [[Series/TwentyOneJumpStreet original TV series]] [[spoiler:inducing SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome on Hanson and Penhall. Also, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) turns out to be the son of the late Capt. Richard Jenko from the show's first season.]]
* ''Film/CharliesAngels'' is implied to be a sequel to the show by having the same person play Charlie and by the sequel showing that these were not the first Angels. It is confirmed in ''Full Throttle'' when Jaclyn Smith reprises her role as Kelly Garrett.
* A number of people really didn't expect ''ParanormalActivity 2'' to be a direct prequel to the first film which only explicitly states that it is in the first 14 minutes. [[spoiler:It later transitions into a sequel at the end which shows what immediately happened after the events of ''Paranormal Activity''.]]
* ''Film/MissionImpossible'' is a sequel to the original series because it features the original protagonist in a senior role.
* The ''[[Film/ScoobyDoo Scooby-Doo]]'' live-action movie takes place after the original series, as most of those villains re-appear in the sequel.
* The version of ''Film/{{Shaft}}'' played by Samuel L. Jackson is the original Shaft's nephew.
** And while we're talkin' 'bout ''{{Shaft}}'', according to WordOfGod, [[Film/DjangoUnchained Django and Broomhilda]] are ancestors of both of them.
* Viewers are lead to believe that the events of ''Film/{{Saw}} IV'' take place after the events of ''Saw III''. It isn't until the final few minutes that it is revealed that the events of both films were actually taking place at the exact same time.
* Inverted by ''Film/{{Prometheus}}'', which fans of the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' films ''wanted'' to be a direct prequel but turned out to be more of a side story.
* Lots of weird behind-the-scenes drama resulted in ''Savage Vengeance'' being this to ''Film/ISpitOnYourGrave''.
* ''Film/TheThing2011'' was advertised like a remake of ''Film/TheThing1982'', but ultimately turned out to be a prequel.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* If you did not pay attention, you may not have noticed that Jonas from ''Literature/TheGiver'' makes an appearance in ''Literature/GatheringBlue'', indicating that he's made it to Elsewhere (and that the latter takes place after the former).
* Although Iain Banks' ''Literature/SurfaceDetail'' is set in the same universe as the other Culture novels, it only becomes apparent that it is a DistantFinale to [[spoiler: Literature/UseOfWeapons]] upon reading the ''very last word in the book.''
* DianaWynneJones' ''TheMerlinConspiracy'' is described on its own jacket blurb as being a stand-alone book, and its plot is not immediately familiar. However, reading further into it reveals that its main protagonist, Nick, is the same Nick from Jones' ''Literature/DeepSecret''. However, while ''The Merlin Conspiracy'' is a young adult book, ''Deep Secret'' was written for a more adult audience.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The last episode of ''{{Series/Newhart}}'' revealed that the entire series was the dream of the protagonist from ''Series/TheBobNewhartShow''.
* The protagonist of the ''Knight Rider'' remake is the son of the protagonist of the original show.
* ''{{Series/Fargo}}'' appears to merely be a SpiritualSuccessor to [[Film/{{Fargo}} the film of the same name]] until we see a flashback wherein a character discovers the money that was hidden in the snow at the end of the film.
* ''Series/TinMan'' intentionally fools viewers into believing that it's a DarkerAndEdgier [[RecycledInSpace science fiction]] [[OffToSeeTheWizard retelling]] of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'', with each of the main characters being a clear stand-in for a character in the original (the Scarecrow is a lobotomized MadScientist, the Tin Man is an ex-cop with a tin badge, Toto is a [[{{animorphism}} shapeshifting magician]], etc.). After TheReveal, though, we learn that the siblings DG and Azkadelia are actually Dorothy Gale's great-grandchildren, and that Azkadelia [[FaceHeelTurn turned to the dark side]] after being [[HijackedByGanon possessed by the spirit of the Wicked Witch of the West]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''{{VideoGame/Planetfall}}'' has a few references to {{Infocom}}'s previous sci-fi work ''Starcross'' that imply that it is set within the same universe several centuries later. And a grue appears, implying it is in the Zork universe as well.
* ''Narcolepsy'' by Creator/AdamCadre isn't advertised as a sequel to Adam Cadre's previous work I-0, but it isn't long before you run across a place mentioned in the prior game. Also, I-0's protagonist Tracy Valencia makes a somewhat in-joky cameo.
* ''Dinner with Andre'' by Liza Daly has a twist ending where the PC turns out to be the same character from Liza's previous IF work ''Bloodline'' several years later and sees someone she knows from that time.
* ''Masquerade'' by Kathleen Fischer has a number of endings, one of them causing the game to become a prequel to her other work, ''The Cove''.
* ''VideoGame/ShadowHearts'' wasn't advertised as a sequel to ''Koudelka'', and indeed some people still claim that they don't have any real story links, despite [[spoiler:the recurring theme of the Emigre Document, the villain impersonating a character from Koudelka, the real version of that character turning up later, Koudelka herself playing a significant role, Koudelka's son being a party member, and the last chapter of Shadow Hearts taking place ''in the monastery Koudelka was set in'']].
* ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'' was a {{prequel}} to ''{{VideoGame/Ico}}'', but you'd never realize until the very end. And even then you might not realize unless you were a big fan of ''Ico''.
* ''VideoGame/CaptainCommando'' is a futuristic sequel to ''VideoGame/FinalFight''. The game is set in Metro City, Ginzu the Ninja is Guy's future successor in the ways of the Bushin school, and a bust of Mike Haggar can be obtained as a power-up.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIII'' looks like a ContinuityReboot, but late in the game [[spoiler:you find yourself on a very familiar world map, and the ending names you as the famed ancestor of the first two games' heroes.]]
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVI'' has thematic links to the other "Zenithian Trilogy" games (''IV'' and ''V''), but there are hints that it's actually a prequel.
* Some things in the game hints that ''VideoGame/{{Hellsinker}}'' is this to ''Radio Zonde''.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Snatcher}}'', being the second game directed by HideoKojima following the original ''VideoGame/MetalGear'', features several references to his previous work. Most notably Gillian Seed's robotic sidekick, who was modeled by his creator after the "Metal Gear menace from the late 20th century." Other references include Junker chief Benson Cunningham being a former FOX-HOUND strategist and the head of the Snatcher project being none other than Dr. Pettrovich Madnar, the creator of the original Metal Gear. However, numerous inconsistencies introduced in later ''Franchise/MetalGear'' sequels has made the series hard to fit into the ''Snatcher'' continuity anymore.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' was revealed to be a prequel to the Tiberium series when [[spoiler:Kane appears at the end of the Soviet campaign, revealing himself as the mastermind of the war.]] This is somewhat complicated by the [[TimeyWimeyBall rather odd nature of the series timeline]], but at least within Red Alert itself, it works.
* The sci-fi FPS series ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' takes place in the far future of the horror-adventure-FPS ''VideoGame/PathwaysIntoDarkness''; the [[{{Precursors}} Jjaro]] and [[EldritchAbomination W'rkncacnter]] play a key role in both, and some even theorize that the protagonist of ''Marathon'' is literally [[spoiler:''Pathways'''s hero rebuilt as a cyborg.]] There's also a theory that, given the ThemeNaming in place, ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' is also part of the same universe[[note]]the Master Chief given MJOLNIR Mk. V/VI armor, while the player of ''Marathon'' is a Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg; Bungie [[ShoutOut making the Security Chief's helmet playable]] as the Security Armor in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' could be proof of this being the case[[/note]], though this seems to have become far less likely since the franchise's change in ownership.
* The ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' series is implied to take place after ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIf...'', due to the appearance of ''If'''s female protagonist in the first two (well, [[OneGameForThePriceOfTwo technically three]]) ''Persona'' games.
* ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' has story-wise no connection with the earlier games whatsoever for most of the game, until at the very end it's revealed to be a prequel/sequel/taking place on an alternate timeline when the player character is teleported to Rapture, the setting of the first two games.
** The Burial At Sea DLC affirms this trope further, alternating between timelines of both the main campaign but also of the first Bioshock.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'' are implied to be a prequel to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', taking place centuries, or maybe even millenia, before ''VII'', with the suggestion that Shinra from ''X-2'' is a far off ancestor of President Shinra and Rufus.
* The Bally/Williams game ''Blaster'' is suggested to be a sequel to ''VideoGame/{{Robotron 2084}}''. The arcade games attract mode mentions something about the Robotrons having destroyed humanity. Given this much, it indicates that the player ultimately failed in their mission (or just ran out of quarters, the game got too fast, or the player got tired of playing. It would have to be one of these since games of this era had no ending except for you losing all of your lives). Incidentally, according to Electronic Games magazine, ''Robotron 2084'' was a sequel to ''VideoGame/{{Defender}}'' and ''Defender II''.
* The hero of ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D'', BJ Blazkowicz, is revealed to be the grandfather of ''VideoGame/CommanderKeen'' in the [[AllThereInTheManual hint book for the former]]. There's also a persistent theory that the protagonist of ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' is also a descendant of BJ; the mobile [=RPGs=] go with this, where the final boss of ''Wolfenstein RPG'' is the Cyberdemon minus cybernetic parts (complete with those parts being destroyed when you defeat it) and the protagonist of ''Doom RPG'' is given the name "Stan Blazkowicz".
* ''VideoGame/ProjectXZone'' is this to ''VideoGame/NamcoXCapcom'', especially (and pragmatically) in areas that [[NoExportForYou never got]] ''Namco X Capcom''. It's no secret in-game, though, just outside of it.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' turns out to be set in the same world as ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia''. [[spoiler:Just... back when it was [[SaveBothWorlds two worlds]] instead of one.]]
* When ''VideoGame/CielNosurge'', the first game in the ''Surge Concerto'' series, came out, it was believed to be a SpiritualSuccessor to ''[[ArTonelico Ar tonelico]]''. Then ''Ar nosurge'' came and confirmed ''Surge Concerto'' to be a prequel series.
* ''{{VideoGame/Nier}}'' is a unusual example: It is hinted to be a sequel to [[MultipleEndings Ending E]] of ''{{VideoGame/Drakengard}}'', which in turn already had an official sequel based on Ending A. Thus, ''Nier'' is an alternate timeline to ''Drakengard 2''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* For quite a long time, Black Ops Civil Service webcomic ''Webcomic/SkinHorse'' by Jeff Wells and Shaenon Garrity looked to be the spiritual successor to Garrity's earlier Mad Science comic ''{{Webcomic/Narbonic}}'', but readers suspected it was actually a sequel. It was three and a half years before the connection was officially made. The actual degree of continued story is pretty marginal, but {{Word of God}} confirms the connection was planned from the beginning and not just AscendedFanon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* After the events of ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic series ended with the titular character AscendingToAHigherPlaneOfExistence and Creator/DougWalker decided to go on to film new content, including a show called ''WebVideo/DemoReel''. When the latter proved to be mostly unsuccessful, and Doug decided that he wasn't done with the critic just yet, he made an episode where it was revealed that something went wrong with the Critic's ascent and he ended up being trapped in purgatory as Donnie [=DuPre=], the main character of Demo Reel.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' mostly seems to be an AlternateContinuity to any other ''Scooby-Doo'' cartoon with some BroadStrokes indicating similar events had happened. Then the series finale has the ancient evil beneath Cystral Cove being RetGone, leaving the gang in an alternate timeline where the only other one who remembers the difference is Creator/HarlanEllison, because he remembers ''every'' alternate timeline. He then explains [[ArcWords "This has all happened before"]], it's just unusual for them remember it, and they end up going on [[WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooWhereAreYou a cross-country mystery-solving roadtrip]]--complete with LaughTrack. The implication is that every work in the ''[[CanonWelding entire franchise]]'' has been the result of multiple {{Cosmic Retcon}}s of the same sort of they had just caused.
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