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Aborted Arc
Chris: But mom, what’s Dad gonna do for a job?
Lois: It’ll be okay, Chris. Remember that episode of The Honeymooners when Ralph lost his job but at the end of the show he didn’t get it back?
Peter: Oh yeah! What was up with that? That bugged the crap out of me.
Family Guy, though the arc that prompted the discussion wasn't aborted.

When An Arc disappears off the face of the storyline without warning, never to be heard from again.

For a long while viewers will likely be under the impression that the disappeared major Plot Point will pop up any minute now — an impression which will eventually give way to a dawning comprehension that the story has moved on, none of the factors that made this plot point important matter any more and it would be just ridiculous for someone to suddenly recall the whole thing now, after all this time.

Why did this happen? It's anyone's guess, most of the time. Maybe the fans complained. Maybe a crucial cast member quit the show. Maybe the powers that be didn't like it. Maybe the writers just realized it was a lousy idea. Maybe They Just Didn't Care. This weighs rather heavily on the Willing Suspension of Disbelief, but sometimes the best way to execute an Author's Saving Throw and get rid of an element that isn't doing the story any favors is to just pretend it never happened.

Mainly a series trope; writers will usually avoid this if they can, and you can always go back and edit a stand-alone work before publishing, unless the deadline is really pressing. At best, it's a gross violation of The Law of Conservation of Detail; at worst, this is done for no reason whatsoever and rends the plot asunder to create a fresh new Plot Hole.

Cases where there is a resolution eventually, no matter how trite or sudden, aren't this trope — though really bad cases of Four Lines, All Waiting or Out of Focus usually end up emulating the effects for all intents and purposes; when the plot point does get brought out of cryogenic suspension, fans have long since lost all hope for it or interest in it.

Compare with: What Could Have Been, Kudzu Plot, The Chris Carter Effect, Creator Breakdown, Franchise Killer, What Happened to the Mouse?, and They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot. See also: Dummied Out, Left Hanging, Cut Short and The Resolution Will Not Be Televised.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The manga based on the Galaxy Angel gameverse starts up a Mint storyline... but then drops it to focus on Ranpha and Milfie, not even ending Mint's plot.
  • Happened twice in the Pokémon anime:
    • The GS Ball was a MacGuffin that loosely guided the overall plot for about a season and a half, spanning 60 episodes. A Poké Ball that nobody could open, Ash was supposed to give the GS ball to Kurt, the leading Pokéball expert, in order to discover whatever secrets the ball held. After giving the ball to Kurt, however, neither the GS Ball nor its contents were ever brought up again. The GS Ball was supposed to hold Celebi, a legendary Nature Spirit Pokémon, that would be the focus of the next arc, but the writers later decided to give Celebi a starring role in a movie, hoping that viewers would eventually forget about the GS Ball. They didn't, and haven't.
    • In the Best Wishes iteration of the anime, we have a case of an aborted conclusion to a near-finished arc. The subplot with Team Rocket and the "Meteonite", a space rock with special destructive powers, is built up for several episodes and just as the epic two-part conclusion to this subplot is about to air, an earthquake devastates Japan and the episodes are pulled from rotation and never referenced again. Though even if they did air, the announcement of sequel games as opposed to the usual third version caused such a shakeup that the rest of the Plasma plotline was excised from the main story, completely separating it from the whole Badge quest and Tournament Arc.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! was going to have a brief sub-arc during Mahorafest featuring Zazie and the Nightmare Circus event, but it was cut because Mahorafest was getting really long as it was (at the time, roughly half the manga). It's implied that Negi did go to the circus, but we never actually get to see it, thus making the series' most enigmatic character even more enigmatic.
  • In Ranma ˝, Ranma's attempts to conceal his curse are quietly dropped in the middle of the "Full-body Cat's Tongue" arc and the story goes from no-one at school knowing about his curse to everyone (except Kuno) knowing about it with hardly a ripple or comment from anybody, signaling a general shift from dramatic arcs to episodic comedy.
  • The penultimate chapter of School Rumble throws both major shipping factions a bone by having Harima suddenly get (pretend) engaged to Eri but move in with Yakumo. The final chapter mentions none of this, instead going with a time skip and an infamous "pie end" that resets what little development Harima had managed to obtain.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 had the infamous "His Master's Voice" (aka "Call of Dragomon") episode. A tribute to the works of HP Lovecraft, the episode ended with Dragomon (a horrifying Cthulhu clone) rising up from the sea in silhouette, with the Find Out Next Time narration promising a future appearance from the beast. Dragomon never appeared again. His role was originally going to be expanded, but meddling from Bandai and disputes amongst the show's staff led to the arc being aborted, creating headaches for Digimon fans for years to come. Not even his actual appearance in Xros Wars' final arc has cured it. Time will only tell when the new Sequel Series will get this squid-shaped monkey off everyone's backs.
  • Code Geass lost a couple of important story elements thanks to the time slot shift for the second season and the Retool intended to prevent a Continuity Lockout on new fans. This includes an explanation for Suzaku's superhuman abilities (and any possible connection to the Geass) and the possibility of finally revealing C.C.'s name.
    • There's one in the first season with Shirley after Lelouch erased her memories. Shirley ends up finding a page of her missing diary that she threw away earlier which reminds her about Lelouch being Zero. It never comes into play later probably because of the retooled second season where everyone's memory was erased. Something similar to this does happen in the second season but the diary isn't used this time and isn't even mentioned.
    • Season one heavily hinted on a return, or at least a relevant arc, surrounding Kallen's dead brother. Season two however, dropped this build-up completely.
  • The Yakitate 25 arc in Yakitate Japan suddenly came to an abrupt end partway through when Kirisaki cancelled the competition after he had turned into a half-bread monster, which is rather jarring when two matches ago, Pantasia suddenly found themselves on the verge of defeat and struggling to stay afloat. The fact that the arc had quickly succumbed to becoming Strictly Formula might have something to do with it.

    Comic Books 
  • Cerebus the Aardvark: This occurred at least once in an early story arc where Cerebus and a band of mercenaries capture a commander named Krull as part of an elaborate military campaign. A later story even depicts them having difficulty keeping Krull imprisoned; seeming to foreshadow an upcoming conflict or complication. However, the author suddenly and unceremoniously dumps the story line, ultimately having it resolve itself offscreen. Not only that, it is never mentioned how (or even if) Krull affected the campaign's outcome.
  • A constant problem in DC and Marvel Comics of the last few years, especially in series about second- or third-division characters, as character or plot arcs are constantly derailed by massive crossover events. A lampshade was hung on it in the penultimate issue of Dan Slott's She-Hulk run, in which the characters were forced under threat of death to give the reader a high speed run-through of how all the arcs were intended to have worked out, before being interrupted by the Civil War and World War Hulk crossover events.
  • Green Lantern
    • Hal Jordan met a rogue Lantern named Malvolio, who used a Batman Gambit to get Hal to replace his own ring with Malvolio's and leave. What this was supposed to accomplish was never followed up on, though many fans pointed to it later as a way to press the Reset Button on Hal's badly done Face-Heel Turn. (In the end, the Button was pressed a different way.)
    • Another example is Gerard Jones' characterization of the Guardians of the Universe. Throughout his 45 issues on the book, Jones planted many clues that related to his plans for the Guardians. When Executive Meddling changed the plans, many of the odd behaviors of the Guardians (and characters' observations of same) were left dangling and unresolved.
  • For readers versed in Golden Age superheroes, it is almost obvious that supporting character Mary Kramer from Stars and STRIPE was intended to be the new Merry the Gimmick Girl. She had a similar name (Mary Kramer vs. Merry Creamer), had red hair and was good with technology. She was even seen looking into a box with Merry's costume. This never happened, however, since Stars and STRIPE was canceled and the Star-Spangled Kid moved to Geoff Johns' other book, JSA (where she eventually became Stargirl) and Grant Morrison ended up creating a brand new "Gimmick Girl" homage for the Seven Soldiers of Victory mini-series.
    • In the other direction, Geoff Johns kept implying that Stripesy's biological son (who was screwed over by Courtney stealing the Star Spangled Kid identity from him as well, and his dad openly favored his new step-daughter over his flesh and blood son and was quite neglectful of him in order to play super-hero with Courtney) would become a villain/his half-sister's rival. Sadly, while Stripesy's son would appear in Stares and STRIPES and JSA, ominously looming over Courtney and reminding her how she ruined his relationship with his father, the plot never culminated into anything.
  • ElfQuest
    • Several storylines used to be published in an anthology title from 1996 to '99. Future Quest, taking place some 900 years after most other stories, was put on hold indefinitely to avoid spoilers for other planned stories. Then the anthology was discontinued for financial reasons. Wolfrider wrapped up neatly in the trade paperback. Mender's Tale and Wavedancers had additional chapters been made available online in 2008, partly in script- or unfinished form; Wavedancers still has no conclusion.
    • Similarly, the Summer Special Recognition was meant as a teaser for a new trade paperback, but then DC Comics bought the publishing rights for ElfQuest, and did not want to pick that title up. Additional parts are available online now, but there is no conclusion yet.
  • X-Men has had multiple versions of them: the Baby version of Age of Apocalypse, how Psylocke and Jean Grey switched powers, evil Nurse Annie being sold off into bondage to Elias Bogan by her evil son, Sebastian Shaw being courted by Apocalypse, the mystery mutant that was present outside the Sentinel base in Uncanny X-Men #57-59, etc.
    • One of the most infamous examples was the "Externals" plotline from Rob Liefeld's X-Force. This secretive bloodline of mutants, all possessing immortality in addition to their mutant power, were built up to be the next big thing, with two former Big Bads revealed to be members of the group, as was a member of the team, whom the others seemed to have various vaguely-defined "plans" for. However, Liefeld left the book before he could tie up all the plot threads, and the next creative team was quick to sweep everything about this story under the rug, with one of the three established characters in the group killing all the new ones and the other two revealed to not actually be Externals anyway. This happened so suddenly that many fans pointed out the fact that the story was essentially Highlander with the Serial Numbers Filed Off and suspected Marvel canned the story to avoid litigation, though Word Of God assures us this was not the case.
  • In the 70's, a crossover between Captain America and the X-Men, implied that The Falcon might be a mutant. This was dropped until a decade later, when the solo Falcon series confirmed this theory by having a Sentinel identify the hero as a mutant. This was ignored until 2001, when Kurt Busiek addressed the inconsistency in an issue of The Avengers, where it was established that Falcon was not a mutant, and that the Sentinel had simply been malfunctioning.
  • Dwayne Mc Duffie's Justice League run had several of these, as he was infamously fired for speaking out against the ridiculous amount of Executive Meddling his run received. In addition to developing a friendship between Firestorm and Doctor Light, McDuffie had planned to have Icon join the team, as well as appearances from some of his other Milestone characters.
  • The "Origins & Omens" back-up story in Teen Titans foreshadowed a number of events which were supposed to affect the team, such as Static joining, Kid Flash returning to life and rejoining the team, Kid Devil dying (in a completely different manner than the way he actually ended up dying), Blue Beetle hooking up with Wonder Girl, and Sun Girl becoming pregnant with Inertia's baby. Aside from Static becoming a Titan, all of these were ignored when writer Sean McKeever was fired.
    • McKeever had notably planned to resurrect Kid Devil and restore his powers. After Blackest Night temporarily established that "dead means dead" in The DCU, this plot was dropped as well.
    • The same thing happened to JT Krul during his run. His first issue showed glimpses into the future which revealed that Aqualad from Young Justice would be joining, and that the Teen Titans would end up involved in a crossover with Deathstroke's team of Anti-Hero Titans. Flashpoint rendered all of this moot.
    • Years prior to this, there was the ill-fated Titans L.A. spin-off that was planned. The group was first hinted at in the Beast Boy mini-series, the seeds were planted in a Titans Annual, and the team finally assembled in the Titans Secret Files one-shot only to...never appear again. Cyborg later confirmed that the team had disbanded with a Hand Wave line of dialogue. Then it's revealed that Terra II was apparently the real Terra all along. Terra II fell into obscurity before this could go anywhere, and ended up being killed off the next time she made a significant appearance. The whole reveal was later retconned itself, as it turned out Terra II was indeed an impostor, albeit one with Identity Amnesia. Although, this explanation in turn is similar to Marv Wolfman's original intent for the character, before the later New Titans editor (Pat Garrahy) had mandated a story to imply the two Terras were the same (which Geoff Johns and Ben Raab intended to expand upon with their reveal).
  • In the Doctor Who spin-off comics a lengthy planned character arc for Dark Action Girl turned companion Destrii was dropped when the TV show was revived, and it was decided that the Ninth Doctor comic strips would be tied strictly into the TV continuity. As a result the Eighth Doctor and Destrii got an And the Adventure Continues ending and the comic switched straight into the Ninth Doctor and Rose.
  • In 2010, the Transformers Collector's Club dropped their "Nexus Prime" plotline which had been running for about five years across various continuities, after Hasbro themselves took charge of stories regarding the thirteen original Transformers.
  • As a Long Runner, Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog gets this a lot, but two memorable aborted arcs include the mystery of Tails' destiny as "Chosen One" (a prophecy of him being a bigger hero than Sonic or Knuckles combined that faltered several times, due to arguments over exactly what that was supposed to mean), and the Eggman-backed Dingo invasion of the Echindas' homeland (which petered out when the story shifted to an equally-aborted arc regarding a civil war in the Dark Legion). Both stories were hyped up something fierce, but disappeared so quickly and completely that even the writers have no idea how exactly they were supposed to end.

    Tails' "Chosen One" destiny was resolved either when he stopped Mammoth Mogul from destroying The Multiverse or when he was used by A.D.A.M. to gather all the Chaos Emeralds in the galaxy in one place and fuse them together. And the Dingo invasion/Dark Legion civil war stories were interconnected (as the latter allowed the former to gain more ground), and were both brought to an end when Knuckles was tricked into becoming Enerjak.
  • During a crossover between the Avengers Academy and Young Allies, it was hinted that Reptil and Spider-Girl harbored an attraction for one another, and were going to hook up. The problem is, Young Allies got cancelled after just six issues, so their relationship was nixed with a single Hand Wave line.
  • Brian Michael Bendis hinted at a romance between Clint Barton and Echo in New Avengers, even having the two share a passionate kiss. This was completely dropped once Clint's ex-wife Mockingbird returned "from the dead" (it's complicated) at the close of Secret Invasion.
  • In 52 the original Booster Gold/Skeets arc involved the duo fixing the time-stream after it had been damaged during the Infinite Crisis. Several issues into the series, after Skeets had already noticed discrepancies between events as they happened and as they were recorded in the future, the writers decided that this plot was overused and too generic. They switched to a new malevolent threat that intended to manipulate time and reality for its own gain and this leads to the return of Mr. Mind, who had appeared in the early issues.
  • Happened entirely too often with Rob Liefeld's creator-owned work. Most quarter bins will have issues from series that never went past the first couple of issues, set-ups for crossovers that never actually happened, storylines that were abandoned mid-plot... the list goes on. Some of the most prominent examples include:
    • Youngblood: Imperial and Youngblood: Bloodsport minis
    • Supreme Sacrifice crossover, which would have involved the 90s-era Supreme escaping from Supremacy and wrecking havoc.
    • Supreme: the Return storyline.
      • Seeing as Supreme has been relaunched, it did continued from The Return storyline while featuring a 90s-era Supreme.
    • And most of Alan Moore's plans for Awesome Comics line in general.
    • There was even a crossover planned between Youngblood and Power Rangers Zeo. The Zeo comic didn't get past issue one, though.
  • Near the end of Nick Spencer's Secret Avengers run, Daisy Johnson was fired from S.H.I.E.L.D. and replaced by Maria Hill. Johnson was last shown recruiting the Winter Soldier for a plot to bring down Hill's regime and expose her shady dealings to the public. The book quickly veered off course into a tie-in to Infinity involving one of the new Inhumans, and has since abandoned the Daisy subplot entirely.
  • Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four epic, The War of the Four Cities. The four blocs are the Lost City of the High Evolutionary (tied to Silver Age villain the Mole Man), the floating city of the Universal Inhumans (tied to, well, The Inhumans), the hidden lives of the Cult of the Negative Zone (tied to Annihilus), and the Last Kings of Old Atlantis (tied to Namor the Sub-Mariner)... who kind of... died suddenly. Presumably when Hickman realized that with Namor and the surviving Atlanteans living under Utopia meant there was no way to hold the X-Men off until the Grand Finale. Never mind, we were then treated to the addition of the Kree to the storyline.
  • In a guest-writer spot on Justice Society of America, Jerry Ordway, author of Power of Shazam, seemed to be setting up an ongoing storyline about the Shazam characters; it involved Billy and Mary being depowered (undoing the Dork Age where Billy was the wizard and Mary was evil), the wizard acting irrational, and the introduction of the Rock of Eternity's Evil Counterpart, the Rock of Finality. While Ordway never got the chance to continue this, Edgar Wallace's subsequent Shazam one-shots seemed content to keep things in a holding pattern until he did, while adding other elements such as the return of Blaze. Then Flashpoint and the New 52 happened, and Captain Marvel was one of the characters who got completely reset. Not only is the arc aborted; in current continuity none of it happened.
    • An earlier issue of JSA had Sand having a dream with prophetic messages from dead JSA members. Most of these panned out, referring to the two-part Roulette story, the "Stealing Thunder" storyline, and the Our Worlds At War and Joker's Last Laugh crossover issues. But the original Mr Terrific's warning that Michael Holt would need help when he learnt the truth behind his lost love didn't lead to anything. There was some fan speculation that his late wife would turn out to be the new Crimson Avenger, but she was revealed to be someone else entirely, and then Michael had a vision of Paula in the afterlife and got closure, closing that plot thread completely.
  • New X-Men looked to be building up a Big Bad in mind-rapist Sean Garrison, the Psycho Psychologist father of one of the main characters, Wallflower. However, the original writers on the book were abruptly fired following House of M, and not only was this storyline never mentioned again, but Wallflower was killed in the wave of anti-mutant violence that followed said House of M. The new creative team implied in an interview that Garrison was depowered by the Scarlet Witch's reality warp, but nothing definitive has ever been stated on his fate in canon itself.
  • Chuck Dixon's Batman and the Outsiders run set up the deceased Ralph and Sue Dibny as a pair ghost detectives who would act as recurring allies to the team. This was nixed very early on, leading to the Dibnys making only sporadic cameos across the DCU until Flashpoint rebooted everything.
    • There was also the matter of an underground club where teens were granted a chance to receive superpowers from one of the surviving Bloodlines parasites. This too went nowhere.
  • During the Ultimatum crossover, The Wasp was killed after being eaten off-screen by the Blob. Before pulling a Heroic Sacrifice, Yellowjacket was seen telling Iron Man to take the Wasp's body into his lab and activate something known as "The Jocasta Project", hinting that her life might somehow be saved. This was never mentioned again.
    • In the same event, Doctor Strange was slain by Dormammu. Upon Stephen's death, a mysterious figure appeared in front of his corpse and teleported away with it. Like the business with the Wasp/Jocasta, this was never addressed or even mentioned again.
  • A number of these have come out of the Green Lantern books, such as the other six new laws in the Book of Oa and the Lost Star Sapphire. Made even weirder by the fact that the writer who set most of them up, Geoff Johns, is still on the book and yet shows no signs of wanting to resolve them anytime soon. It's possible Executive Meddling and the New 52 may have gotten in the way, though.
  • The "Home Schooling" arc of Runaways featured the Runaways' Malibu home being destroyed by a missile attack that also kills Old Lace, Klara going berserk, and Chase running away and later getting hit by a car while chasing after a girl who looks like Gertrude Yorkes. It also revealed that the Runaways had been under surveillance by Chase's mysterious uncle, Hunter Stein. But the series was cancelled before the arc came anywhere near a conclusion, and when the Runaways finally resurfaced several years later in Avengers Academy, the only part of "Home Schooling" that was acknowledged was Old Lace's apparent death (which was quickly undone - the arc revealed that Nico cast a previously-unmentioned spell that sent Old Lace into another world where she was restored to life.)

    Fan Works 
  • A Boy A Girl And A Dog The Leithian Script:
    • In this The Silmarillion fic the story abruptly stops shortly after Luthien makes her choice, and before she, Beren and Huan go to confront Carcharoth for last time.
    • The author wrote several spin-offs narrating in greater detail and in prose some important bits. In her notes she says that her intention was writing more spin-offs and having all of them published at the same time that the corresponding parts of The Script.
  • Boy Scouts ˝: This series used to have a pretty strong (and The X-Files inspired) arc about a shadowy conspiracy by some of the older adult Scout leaders. This arc, other then the occasional reference, was dropped after Mike Quadrozzi, one of the authors who once worked on the series, stopped doing so.
  • Pokémon fanfic Clouded Sky was originally intended to be the second in a series of four, but the author decided not to make the third and fourth, leading to certain plot elements being set up without ever receiving any payoff. The meaning of these elements and the author's original plans are all explained in a postface after the epilogue.
  • Friendship is Magic: The Adventures of Spike: The "Spike Party Anthem" arc was cut unceremoniously short, and the arc that was meant to come between it and the "Canterlot Wedding" arc was cut out altogether. Both were a result of the author's computer crashing and losing all his notes for those arcs.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers the Warriors sub-arc in Holon lacked a resolution due to the player responsible for managing it losing motivation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In I Am Legend, Robert Neville lays a trap that captures a female dark seeker. Shortly after, a male dark seeker goes to look, even briefly exposing himself to sunlight. Neville theorizes that the dark seekers have started to lose their remaining higher brain functions, and with them some of their basic survival instincts. However, the next day Neville is caught in a trap very similar to the one he set, hinting that the dark seekers may be more intelligent than he thinks. In the original ending, the dark seekers come to rescue the female dark seeker and spare Neville's life; due to bad test audience reactions and Executive Meddling looking for a Sequel Hook, the ending was changed and the implication ignored. As put it, "The original ending is available as a bonus scene on the DVD release, where it is advertised as the "controversial original ending." Yes, coming to a peaceful reconciliation with your enemies is now more controversial than blowing them right the fuck up".
  • The X-Files: I Want to Believe features a controversial paedophilic priest with "psychic" powers around which most of the publicity hinged. However, about halfway through the film goes off at a tangent about a different character, the only reference to Father Joe being his death announcement at the end.
  • Both Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning set the character Tommy Jarvis up to be Jason's replacement as the main villain of the series. These plans were canceled due to the unpopularity of A New Beginning and Jason was brought back to life in the very next film.
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers has Michael's young niece Jamie Lloyd seemingly inherit whatever evil drove him to kill, as at the end of the film she stabs her stepmother with a pair of scissors in a manner almost identical to how Michael killed his sister Judith in the original film. The prospect of Jamie replacing Michael as the main villain of the series was abandoned by producer Moustapha Akkad, much to the disappointment of Danielle Harris (Jamie) and Donald Pleasence (Doctor Loomis). In the fifth film Jamie is back to normal and is retconned into merely wounding her stepmother in the previous film, instead of killing her.
  • The Hellboy film builds up Sammael as an unbeatable enemy due to his ability to duplicate himself every time he is killed. If you don't kill him then he lays eggs all over the place, which hatch into even more clones. By the end of the movie there are at least dozens of Sammael-clones and more hatching — so, how do they deal with him? Well, a whole raft of other plot points had come up, including the Big Bad and his chum, so they just set all the ones they could find on fire and called it a day. We already know from earlier in the film that Kill It with Fire doesn't stop him duplicating, and they only bother looking for clones in one room of a very large underground complex halfway around the world from his last hangout. Once they leave the room, Sammael is never so much as mentioned for the remainder of the film. It does however appear in The Stinger, so it wasn't forgotten.
  • The Room uses this trope at least three times: In one subplot, Denny has a brief run in with a drug dealer (a Voodoo Shark to explain the presence of the gun at the end). In another, Michelle's boyfriend Mike is shamed by Lisa and Claudette walking in on him with Michelle in Johnny and Lisa's living room; and another one - and here's the kicker - has Claudette telling Lisa that she has breast cancer, something that NOBODY ELSE MENTIONS. Not even CLAUDETTE HERSELF. All of these subplots are introduced and immediately forgotten.
    • In an AMA on Reddit, Mark's actor stated that Claudette's actress asked Tommy Wiseau several times whether the breast cancer would come up again, only to be told that "It's a twist". Eventually she dropped the subject and moved on.
  • In the third Halloweentown movie (Halloweentown High), the main point of the plot is Marney trying to get humans and the Halloweentown denizens to integrate, culminating in a scene where the humans discover the true identities of their real friends, and they decide that it doesn't matter that they're different. In the 4th movie (Return to Halloweentown), Marney (now played by a different actress) is off to magical college, with absolutely no reference to the integration of the worlds. Plus, both her and her mother seem to have lost all Character Development they got in the first three movies.
  • At the end of The Ghost of Frankenstein the Monster is given Ygor's (late Dr. Frankenstein's assistant, played by Bela Lugosi) brain, enabling the Monster to speak once again. This portrayal was supposed to be continued in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, but the negative reaction from the test audiences made the executives to cut out all the Monster's dialogue and returning him to the Man Childish brute for the rest of Universal Horror movies featuring the character.
  • In The Final, when the outcasts are setting up their torture chamber, they mention how they are rigging the place with webcams in order to send a message to high school students all across the country. This is never brought up again.
  • The opening scene of Johnny Mnemonic establishes that the protagonist needs to do One Last Job in order to have enough money to afford an expensive "procedure" that he can have done to restore lost childhood memories. This character motivation sets the rest of the plot in motion, but the importance of needing money for the procedure and needing the procedure itself to restore the protagonist's lost memories is abandoned as soon as the scene ends.
  • An odd one in Aliens. Ripley confronts Burke about the fact that he ordered the investigation of the alien derelict ship. This should be a major plot point, as it essentially says that Burke knew that the aliens were out there and deliberately set the colonists to investigate so they could be infected, which should make him the villain of the movie and responsible for all of the evil that's happened. However, Burke offers an excuse for it that makes him come off as careless rather than deliberately villainous, and it's never mentioned again, even though it should be a major bit of information to bring up to the Marines. This is compounded because the investigation scene in question was cut from the theatrical release, so it's never explained when the colonists first encountered the aliens, and it's assumed that the aliens just coincidentally decided to show up not long after Ripley was rescued. As a result, the conversation is a bit confusing in regards to what Ripley is talking about.
  • In the 2004 Zac Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead, after establishing that the zombie infection is spread through contaminated blood, a 'very big deal' is made of one character washing off infected blood in a water feature in the mall. Later, a similar 'very big deal' is made of one character falling into this pool of supposedly infected water, cutting open his arm on the way in. Both shots are done with Snyder's trademark 'this is important' slo-mo, but the incident is never discussed nor followed up, and the character in question does not suffer from zombie infection.
  • In the Syfy original movie Camel Spiders, one of the two major stories involves a group of four college kids, two boys and two girls, trying to survive the spiders, sharing screentime with another group of survivors. A little more than halfway through the movie, though, after the two boys die, the movie completely forgets about the two girls who were still alive.
  • The Incredible Hulk's poor box-office returns created a big one involving Dr. Samuel Sterns and his Start of Darkness. Though the studio was able to continue Bruce Banner's character arc with his appearance in The Avengers, the lack of direct sequels to The Incredible Hulk meant that we never got to see the fallout from Sterns using Banner's gamma-irradiated blood to turn himself into the Leader.
    • This plot thread was eventually continued in the Fury's Big Week comic that was released as a prequel to The Avengers. In it, Sterns uses his new abilities to attack Black Widow, only to end up knocked out and taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D..
    • The even bigger plot thread was The Stinger that showed Thunderbolt Ross partnering with Tony Stark to take down the Hulk. This was never mentioned in any of the subsequent films. This was explained in the short film The Consultant SHIELD sent Stark as a patsy to ruin the relationship with Ross after the World Security Council ordered Fury to add the Abomination to the roster of the Avengers.
  • Green Lantern was meant to be the start of a DC equivalent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Angela Bassett's Amanda Waller acting as a connector between the films ŕ la Nick Fury. The poor performance of the movie killed that idea, and Warner Bros. was forced to instead try the concept again two years later with Man of Steel.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine ended with the reveal that Deadpool had survived being decapitated, setting the character up for future appearances. The Internet Backdraft, coupled with the movie's mediocre earnings, led to the studio completely abandoning any plans for a sequel, and releasing the unrelated The Wolverine instead.
  • In Quantum of Solace, Bond more or less abandons his pursuit of the Quantum organization as a whole to focus on stopping Dominic Greene and his plan to destabilize Bolivia, then apprehending Vesper's duplicitous boyfriend. There were originally plans for Bond to continue investigating Quantum at the end of the film (via an alternate ending where he confronts Mr. White and demands information), but this ending was deleted and nothing more has been said of the organization since (not even in Skyfall, which deals with an entirely different villain).
  • Despite being in the title, the killer barracudas in Barracuda are completely forgotten when the conspiracy behind their behavior is uncovered halfway through the film, and the rest of the film is spend unraveling it.
  • One of the many Sequel Hooks at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man involves Peter attempting to track down the man who shot Uncle Ben. In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, this plot thread is never even mentioned

  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel Queen of Slayers, capped off with Buffy becoming psychically pregnant with an embryo that was the composite daughter of both Spike and Angel — Buffy's most popular love interests over the course of the series. It's ignored by later authors for obvious reasons, though Spike and Angel being told about it would probably be hilarious. It's also one of the many spin-offs and fanfics that were retconned out of existence by the S8 comic's revelations about what was really going on in Italy.
    • A couple of the earlier tie in novels seem to have gotten aborted too. Books like 'The Journal of Rupert Giles' , 'The Cordelia Collection' and Angel's "The Longest Night" clearly had Vol.1 on their covers, but no more were ever made.
  • Wild Cards had some plots abandoned, presumably because some creators left, probably taking their copyrighted characters with them. Tachyon's infection with the Typhoid version of the virus is treated as something that can be cured by another character who disappears from the series. Tachyon is also jumped into a different woman than his girlfriend, a Chris Claremont creation.
  • The Animorphs once encountered a new type of Controller called the Garatron, which was incredibly hard to defeat given that it could run ridiculously fast. After finally managing to defeat one after a book they comment there's a good chance they'll be fighting more of them soon. They never do.
    • Book 41, "The Familiar" centers on a Bad Future where the Yeerks have conquered Earth—Marco is Visser Two's host and is in charge of Earth, Cassie is a jaded terrorist and member of a resistance lead by Tobias, using the morph as Ax and looking like Elfangor, Ax is a Yeerk general that conquered the Andalite homeworld, and Rachel is crippled. The only free member is Jake, who tries to figure out what's going on. Even in-universe the world doesn't make sense though, such as how Cassie at one point uses thought-speak while human and Tobias stating that Jake is supposed to be dead, and it's revealed to be All Just a Dream. As Jake awakens he hears an entity speaking that humans require "more study", implying it was a vision from the entity. Nothing in the book ever comes into play in the rest of the series and the mysterious entity is never mentioned, though it is known that it isn't the Ellimist or Crayak.
    • A few off-hand references are made to the Yeerks having some presence on the Andalite homeworld, but this never developed into anything and by her own admission Applegate just forgot about it.
  • K.A. Applegate's series Remnants suffered major Chris Carter Effect, meaning many arcs were left undone—most egregiously, what the "Ancient Enemy" was and how both the Troika and Billy related to it.
  • A major hazard of the multi-author format of the New Jedi Order series. Perhaps most notable were the arcs dealing with the Insiders, a conspiracy set up by the heroes that was to keep La Résistance going even if the Yuuzhan Vong destroyed the New Republic, and Tahiri's possible destiny as a half-human half-Yuuzhan Vong Dark Messiah, but smaller arcs were dropped as well.
  • Jurassic Park ends with the revelation that some dinosaurs have escaped to the Costa Rican mainland. Once Site B is introduced, no mention is made of them. This is briefly discussed in the second book, where a character mentions that they tried to look for them and found nothing, but the jungles of Costa Rica are dense enough that they could easily remain hidden there.
  • Perry Rhodan, given its nature as an extreme Long Runner written by a team of authors, is quite full of plot lines that simply disappear and/or come to a sudden (and usually bad) end after a lot of buildup. It's actually quite common for a new character to be introduced - or for a formerly random mook to be given an upgrade to Mauve Shirt along with Nominal Importance and a half-chapter backstory - only to be killed off-screen in the next issue. One particularly bad example from the early days of the series includes a hobo-turned-scientist (with the long and poignant backstory this implies; it takes up about half an issue)... who is killed on his first mission. By a falling tree. On Venus. Very slightly after it seemed he might experience happiness for the first time in his life.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Wings of Fire, one plotline involves Sky Masters, Inc. being the victim of a takeover, with the heads of the purchasing company having a Child Prodigy daughter that really impresses Jon. All this is seemingly forgotten by the next book.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch novels switched authors after book four, and there's at least one major Aborted Arc. By the end of the Spirit Walk books, arch-foe the rogue changeling had taken control of the government on the planet Kerovi. No-one knew he was there, and he was clearly up to something dangerous. It seemed as though the arc was being set up to be a big one, but it was swiftly dropped in Full Circle, the first novel from the second author. He was discovered, and arrested by the Kerovi authorities. In fact, the changeling then dies off screen. We don't even visit Kerovi in Full Circle.
  • In A Brother's Price, there's significant friction between Jerin and his older sister Corelle. She wants him to be a proper male, with smooth soft hands and tight showy clothing; she also wants to trade him for the Brindle brother, while he wants to marry into a smaller and less violent family. When their mothers and elder sisters are away, she takes the middle sisters to visit the Brindles, leaving Jerin and the youngest children undefended by anyone above twelve. Eldest Whistler punishes her by confiscating her possessions and distributing them to her sisters. Corelle is defiant and irresponsible throughout. But when Eldest takes Jerin to court, Mother Eldest assigns Corelle to come with them with the idea that she needs to see more of the world, and one mistake shouldn't mean permanent blacklisting. Corelle is then well-behaved and careful for the rest of the book. Sure, she's under Eldest's eye, but it's odd that she doesn't so much as snipe at her brother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • From The Bill: Very near to the end of Paul Marquess' time as executive producer of the series (2005), there is an episode where PC Kapoor and PC Valentine work together to uncover the corruption of a uniformed Sergeant over at Barton Street nick. The episode even ends with a Sequel Hook, with PC Valentine informing her that he'll support her if she chooses to follow-through with her allegation, although it will likely drag both of them through the mud (coppers who grass on other coppers, even ones who are genuinely in the wrong, tend to be looked on very unfavorably by their colleagues). Given the heavily serialized nature of the program at that stage, you might have expected this storyline to be followed up in further episodes, exploring the fallout of this affair. But it wasn't. It was dropped completely. The (off screen) outcome did get a belated mention in PC Kapoor's final episode three years later, though.
  • The fourth season of Charmed where Phoebe becomes impregnated with the Son of the Source of All Evil had such potential for exploring the morality of killing a child (albeit a psychopathic killer baby, which is such an awesome plot point in itself: imagine them attending school) to prevent future evil, or even an Aesop about redemption (or lack thereof). Instead the child is disowned, retconed into a surrogate child, casually dispatched and never mentioned again — all within the last few minutes of the penultimate episode of the season. It could have been such a cool Big Bad.G
  • Highlander's first season made frequent mention of The Gathering as in the films. It was the very reason Christopher Lambert's Connor came to see Duncan in the first episode with that very title. The murder of Darius and the Watcher/Hunter storyline took over from this, and the emergence of new Immortals in later seasons seemed to belie a final battle being close at hand.
  • The disjointed, episodic nature of Sliders made it easy for them to follow up good ideas or drop bad ones with each new reality. They could even tease an interesting idea by giving a glimpse of it in an upcoming world or one our heroes just escaped, but never have to flesh out the details. Many abortive arcs came from the network shooting down creator Tracy Torme's attempts to inject continuity into the show — and being shown out of order, they lost what little continuity they had.

    One episode suggested that Professor Arturo had been replaced by his Evil Twin, but this was never followed up on. Arturo's terminal illness from another episode was mentioned once again and then forgotten. Quinn's evil female double in another episode was meant to be a recurring character, but was never seen again. A new member of the group was added in the first-season finale and then written out in a single line at the start of season 2. The Kromaggs were dropped after their initial appearance and not revisited until the show moved to the Sci Fi Channel two seasons later (and they were heavily retooled there from their original form, less monsters and more Nazis). The third Season Finale ended with Quinn and Maggie getting separated from the others, and sliding into a city of big glowy crystal-like buildings and flying cars. "I think we just slid into the future!" exclaims Quinn. The entire "future" concept is never even referenced again.
  • Red Dwarf ended its second season with Lister (a male character) falling pregnant to his female Alternate Universe counterpart. The writers had planned to spend an episode on it, but found their proposed script was not very funny and — more damningly — misogynistic. Season 3 wrapped up the storyline with a Star Wars-style text opening that scrolled so quickly it was unreadable unless viewed in slow motion on tape/DVD. This text also halfheartedly explained the sudden recasting of the characters Holly and Kryten. (Neither case was inconspicuous: the former gave himself a sex change; the latter was an obscure one-off character "rebuilt" into to a permanent cast member, acquiring a new look and personality in the process.) This gave the distinct impression of missing several episodes of major character developments; perhaps even a season.
  • Seinfeld's transgression had Jerry and Elaine get back together at the end of Season Two, then started Season Three with them apart (with no explanation). Creator/executive producer Larry David had always hated the idea of the two of them being together and preferred them to have a purely physical relationship, only attaching them due to editorial mandate, and had only written that episode that way because he thought it was going to be the series finale.
  • In the fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, they introduced a new character named Jackie Ames, played by model Tyra Banks. Jackie was one of Will's childhood friends and ex-girlfriends from his hometown West Philly, who received a basketball scholarship to attend the University of Los Angeles, which is coincidentally Will's choice of college too. Their relationship is at first tense, since Jackie was deeply upset about Will not keeping in contact with her after he left for Bel-Air, but soon enough, they exchange in a little "will they, won't they" type of relationship, where there are obvious signs of attraction and chemistry between both characters, but nothing really coming out of it. They almost come close to going out in the ninth episode, but Will ruins it by choosing the Playboy Mansion over Jackie. The arc goes on to make you wonder what route their relationship will be going, until in 'You've Got to Be a Football Hero', wherein Will and Jackie's boyfriend Hank Farley exchange in a drinking contest over their manliness, and over Jackie. Jackie, fed up with their childish behavior, chooses to leave in the middle of the event and asks Carlton to drive her home. This is the last time we see of her, and is never brought up in conversation again. Some fans feel that Carlton raped and murdered her, then Uncle Phil used his money and connections to cover it up.
  • Babylon 5, the archetypal Arc show, had several of these over the years, usually as the result of actors leaving the show. To their credit, the important parts of those arcs were relocated and reassigned to other characters.
    • One aborted and unaborted arc: Lyta Alexander was in the pilot episode and had mental contact with Kosh; she was supposed to get closer with the Vorlons, rebelling against Psi-Corps, and the other things that happened to her character later. When Pat Tallman didn't return after the pilot, Talia was invented, and a new mechanism (a gift from Ironheart) to give her enhanced telepathic powers was created. When Andrea Thompson left the show and Tallman came back, the substance of that arc was handed back to Lyta. With the way Talia was removed from the show, however, her personal arc hit a brick wall and died, after being kept alive in the viewer's mind for so long.
    • The whole The Mole arc, which was originally intended to revolve around Laurel Takashima (who only appeared in the Pilot) and was shortly revisited on "Spider in the Web", was transferred to Talia, with Ivanova acting as a Red Herring. There were plans to bring back the "real" Talia via Kosh's memory storage device, but when Andrea Thompson left the show, this was dropped. Furthermore if you believe in the Word Of God, Takashima was originally intended to shoot Garibaldi, which was then transferred to his right-hand officer.
    • The original plan for "Sleeping in Light" involved Commander Sinclair returning to Babylon 4 to travel back in time and become Valen as per War Without End. When Captain Sheridan inherited the commander's arc, Sinclair's premature aging in War Without End, and Sheridan's limited lifespan post-Z'ha'dum were the patches allowing Sheridan to take Sinclair's place in Sleeping in Light.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • The episode "Conspiracy" introduces a race of mind-controlling slugs that threaten to infiltrate The Federation. The episode ended with the revelation that the aliens had sent out a homing signal into deep space, presumably as a prelude to a full-scale invasion. They were never seen nor heard from again in any TV series (though they showed up in the non-canon novels as being tied to the Trill). They were intended to be a way of introducing the Borg, who were later introduced by other means. The expanded universe goes back to this one sometimes; in the comics, Geordi stumbles on their second invasion attempt, they're trying to start slower by going after a less-advanced race. In the Shatnerverse, Captain Raddison explains to Kirk that her super-secret division exists to protect The Federation from things that would keep even him up at night. Among her list of incidences, "Parasites of unimaginable power that have three times tried to take over the Federation from within. Ask Picard to tell you about the time he knows about."
    • The Season 1 finale involved outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone being mysteriously destroyed, with each side at first thinking the other was responsible. The Borg were meant to be this new threat, but that doesn't track with their debut appearance the following season. In "Q Who?" it's explicitly suggested, if not outright stated, that the Borg destroyed the Neutral Zone outposts. On the other hand, later Borg retcons also don't track with that debut appearance, and make the Neutral Zone thing more logical.
    • There were also the extradimensional abductors in the episode "Schisms", who released a probe into "our" universe which the Enterprise lost track of in an obvious attempt to establish them as a continuing menace. They were never seen nor mentioned again (although these guys, like the above-mentioned parasites, were followed-up upon in the comics).
    • Also, there was the whole "warp drive damages reality" problem they introduced in the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then only mentioned once the following season. This had the potential to be either really cool or really stupid, but we will never know which. Word Of God says that the "variable geometry pylons" on U.S.S. Voyager were The Federation's stopgap solution to the problem, thus explaining why the Enterprise-E and other ships produced thereafter has fixed pylons. Was later retconned to having to do with a Star Trek TOS episode involving the Federation trying to make an omega molecule and it destroying subspace in the entire sector. And by the time of The Next Generation it's a closely guarded secret in the hands of only a few that the Federation destroyed this entire sector of space's subspace field.
  • Revenge
    • In many ways, the series aborted many promising story arcs introduced in the second season finale, such as Charlotte's pregnancy, Nolan being arrested for terrorism, Conrad being a member of the Initiative and moved on with only brief explanations of what happened.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor drops a heavy hint in one story that he doesn't really look like a human being. This was ignored forever after.
    • The concept behind the relationship between the Fourth Doctor and Leela was that he was going to educate her from being a Nubile Savage into a Proper Lady and his perfect companion, drawing inspiration from Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion (in fact, an early concept for her character was that she would be a Victorian street girl). Unfortunately, a forced change in showrunner, a leap in the Lighter and Softer direction, re-editing the sequence of her next season and the addition of a new companion, K-9, who shared her Super Senses and Minored In Ass Kicking gimmicks meant that this element to their relationship was dropped, and she ended up being more of a generic, quirky-naive friend-type companion. The Expanded Universe does a lot to fill in the gaps, particularly the Big Finish Doctor Who Fourth Doctor Adventures line which deals very heavily with Leela's education and some of the darker subtext of the Doctor doing this to someone.
    • The malevolent unknown force in the middle of the TARDIS, mentioned by the newly regenerated fifth Doctor in the story Castrovalva. This was intended as a reference to another story that would follow it in that season (where the Doctor and crew would indeed discover that there's something evil hidden at the very centre of the Doctor's ship), but the script for this other story was eventually dropped. The reference to it in Castrovalva wasn't, and it remains unanswered to this day (even in the Expanded Universe).
    • Then there is the Cartmel Masterplan that was supposed to introduce more mysteries about the Doctor's origin and nature. The Old Series was cancelled before anything could come from it, but the Expanded Universe saved some plotlines. (It is, however, debatable just how much of a Masterplan there was; some fans say that the Doctor Who New Adventures based on it were exactly what it was going to be like, especially Lungbarrow, but the TV version of "Lungbarrow" had already been abandoned and turned into "Ghost Light". Cartmel himself never said he had a Masterplan and Marc Platt, who was heavily involved in Cartmel's vision of the series called it "more of a mood and direction".)
    • The season-long "Trial of a Time Lord" introduced Mel, a future companion of the Doctor who showed up to rescue him at the end despite them not having actually met from his point of view. The producers had planned to show this first meeting, but were forced to just plow ahead with Mel as the current companion when Colin Baker was fired. Once again, the Expanded Universe takes over and fills in the empty spaces.
    • In "The Doctor Dances", Captain Jack ruminates on years of his life that were presumably deleted from his memory by the Time Agents. These were initially intended to be explored in a hypothetical Season 2, which would have kept Jack on as a companion, but when Christopher Eccleston decided to drop the role it was decided that David Tennant should establish his version of the character without having to compete with another strong male lead more established than him. As a result, Jack's missing years are never explored, not even in Torchwood.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place strongly hinted that the Russos will be responsible for a world where magic is commonplace. But when the moment came, Disney Channel chickened out.
  • In Strange Luck, Chance's brother mentioned that he'd made a friend in the FBI who could help them. His name was Mulder. The series was canceled before this crossover could happen (although a character suspiciously similar to Chance Harper later appeared in the X-Files episode "The Goldberg Variation").
  • Stargate SG-1 is infamous for introducing characters, races, and enemies that are never seen again. Examples: Nem (an advanced alien who befriended Daniel in the first season), Nyan (a man who supposedly became Daniel's assistant), the Re'tu faction (who supposedly wanted to wipe out all humans), and the general idea of the great alliance introduced in the "Fifth Race" (Asgard and Ancients get their share of plot, but Nox are never to be seen after helping free Skaara; the Furlings are more a running gag than anything). All planets whose Stargate has been lost/destroyed have not been mentioned again even after the SGC started building ships (such as Heliopolis, on which the "meaning of life" machine is housed).
    • Forgetting Nem becomes infuriating in the later seasons. Nem's entire motivation was to find out the fate of his wife, Omaroca, who is revealed by Daniel to have been killed and torn apart by Belus. If this sounds familiar, it's because Belus and Omaroca are also known by the slightly less obscure names of Marduk and Tiamat. In show, Marduk is a Goa'uld who has spent the past five thousand years locked in a ziggurat, and the Eye of Tiamat is part of the same set of MacGuffins as the Eye of Ra. Since Marduk is in possession of the Eye when he's released, one could assume that Omaroca tried to use the Eye as a weapon against the Goa'uld occupying Earth, but failed and was killed by Marduk, information that Nem would certainly want to hear. This connection is never made.
    • Strangely, though the Re'tu are never seen again, they are mentioned practically every instance when someone is attacked by something invisible or when there is a threat of unknown origin.
    • Jonas Quinn did get a proper send-off and turned up in a later episode, but it had been hinted, especially in "Prophecy", that his brain was special in some potentially plot-important way, and it was never revealed what this was or what it had to do with anything. His brain was special because he could memorize all Jackson's notes in between seasons. If they ever explained why it was special, but as for how it was special, his super-learning made him a good Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
      • His planet gets a guest appearance on SGU, he doesn't. Blink and you'll miss it — his planet is mentioned as one of those which fell to the Ori in season 9 or 10.
  • Stargate Atlantis was far from better. What effect did Sheppard's "Blending" with an ascended being have? None. What about the last Asgards? Or the travelers after their brief help in fighting the Asgards. Or what about Lt. Ford, whom Sheppard was convinced had survived? Or that Ancient-worshipping cult that hoarded a ZPM? The list goes on...
    • On the subject of the Asgard Outcasts, The heroes have an Omniscient Database containing all of the achievements, both scientific and cultural, of the mainstream Asgard race, something that could be used to negotiate an alliance with those jerkass Asgards who have been reduced to using vastly inferior technology to their extinct mainstream counterparts. There could have been a whole plot on the rebirth of the Asgards. Presumably the series just ran out of time to tell it.
  • So Weird, the Disney Channel's version of The X-Files, took this a step further — it abandoned the entire Myth Arc which had been mapped out for three seasons when the lead actress left the show after season 2. After this, she was replaced by an unrelated character and Executive Meddling ensured everything that had built up was quietly dropped with little explanation in the span of a single episode. Floating around on the Internet is a Word Of God summary of how season 3 was supposed to go, and it was the culmination of the Myth Arc of the first two seasons.
  • The Dead Zone television series started an arc concerning the villain from the book of the same name, Greg Stillson — a racist, sociopathic, corrupt President who ends up starting a nuclear war that causes The End of the World as We Know It. Later, the television writers tried to downplay the arc, as they thought viewers would prefer a Monster of the Week format where they wouldn't have to watch episodes in a certain order or keep track of story arcs at all. The Stillson Arc was increasingly downplayed until he pulls a Heel-Face Turn (which later turns out to be a trick masking his true evil agenda). This was a result of Executive Meddling — they were finally allowed to get back to the arc right at the end of Season 6, and the series was promptly cancelled.
  • Heroes
    • The entire arc about the twelve villains that were supposed to be the worst villains ever, but all the characters stopped caring after Arthur came back to life.
    • Knox said that all he thought about during his time in level five was revenge on Noah, the man that put him there — also dropped after his first appearance.
    • Then the Eclipse mini-arc, which was dropped almost as quickly as it was picked up.
    • Adam was dug up, because Angela said he was the key to everything; turns out that was a lie as well, since nobody even bothered looking for him after Arthur killed him.
    • There's also the issue of Peter's season 2 girlfriend Caitlin, who got lost in an alternate future that no longer exists. They kind of completely forgot about her after that, and Peter doesn't seem too concerned with getting her back. (In an interview, one of the writers jokingly said that no, Peter didn't really care, then backpedaled and said that she was originally meant to be rescued in the second half of season 2. "But sadly that will never happen...")
      • Averted: it was planned for the Shanti Virus to be released in the middle of Season 2. When the WGA strike cut the season short, the show runners decided that they didn't want to leave the virus arc unresolved. The ending of episode 11 was reshot to have Peter destroy the virus, and the cliffhanger ending was changed from Nathan collapsing from the virus during a speech thanking the people of Odessa for having the courage to quarantine themselves to Nathan getting shot during a speech intended to reveal the existence of super powers just before he was going to say that he can fly.
        Aron Coleite: ... So we're going to have to find another way to rescue Caitlin from a future that doesn't even exist anymore.
    • Also, when it was decided that the show would continue following the central characters of season 1 (and not a new group each year, as Tim Kring had planned) numerous possible future arcs were hinted, but ultimately never came to be. Many of them can be seen in Isaac's paintings, such as one of Hiro facing down a T. rex (obviously, the show never had the budget to do that one). That one actually was wrapped up; right after stealing the sword, Hiro runs into a T. rex display in a museum.
  • LOST
    • There's a story arc involving two characters named Nikki and Paulo, who actually had quite a bit of backstory and plot setup to them. They were introduced as background characters who had suddenly acquired more dimension. The problem? The creators didn't use the extras that had long been on the show, any of the recurring minor survivors (e.g., Steve), or any mentioned but unseen characters (Tracy, Neil); the new characters' abrupt appearance caused quite a bit of fan backlash. The intricate plot set up for the two was condensed into a single episode, and the two were summarily killed off.
    • Another aborted arc resolves around Libby, who was revealed to have been in the same mental hospital as Hurley. The next episode, she was killed. The Powers That Be originally said her story will be told, later said her story is over and no longer relevant, then reversed again when they brought her back in season 6 where her time in the mental facility starts to make more sense for the story.
    • The producers have revealed that they had a intricate four season arc planned for Eko, until the actor decided to leave. Parts were given to other characters, but the main thrust of it—the conflict between Eko and Locke for the position of "spiritual leader of the Island"—was lost.
    • The War between Widmore and Ben hinted at during seasons 4 and 5 was replaced with the conflict between Jacob's followers and MIB's followers. Widmore returned to the Island without mentioning Ben once, focusing on MIB, until the penultimate episode.
    • The producers have also said that Walt will only be seen again in a DVD-exclusive. Indeed, many hinted at arcs from earlier seasons have been forgotten in favor of Jacob and MIB.
    • Many people found Ilana's promotion to series regular baffling, given that she had almost no role in the plot outside of "Dr Linus", appeared only once in the flash-sideways and got blown up randomly. According to Zuleikha Robinson (though her account may be wrong), she originally had a longer arc that would have featured her as Jacob's daughter. Sadly, a lack of time made them decide to focus on the original characters more, explaining her quick departure.
  • The 4th season of Sabrina the Teenage Witch introduced the character of Dreama, a naive young witch Sabrina was supposed to be tutoring for her Witches License. The story line never really got off the ground and Dreama mostly spent her fairly limited screen time as Greek chorus for Sabrina and a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Sabrina's former best friend Valerie. In her final two appearances her character arc was not mentioned at all and she vanished without trace in the penultimate episode of the season, without the show ever bothering to mention if she got her License and what happened to her then.
  • The season 2 finale of The Nanny is a cliffhanger where the Sheffield Mansion is robbed, but this is never resolved or mentioned again when season 3 begins.
  • NewsRadio's writers made a point of intentionally abandoning every arc the network forced on them, since they preferred stand-alone episodes to arcs. For example, the storyline about Lisa wanting a baby plodded along for several episodes, never went anywhere, and was quietly dropped.
    • Possibly the most jarring example of this trope was in the "Andrea" arc. Station owner Jimmy James hires an "efficiency expert" named Andrea, who proceeds to fire Matthew, demote Dave from News Director to reporter and fill the vacant Director's office by promoting Lisa. It was also not-so-subtly implied that she was a lesbian with a fairly violent criminal history and a crush on Lisa. After four episodes, Andrea disappeared without so much as an off-camera farewell, Matthew was un-fired by Mr. James and given back his old job, all other changes made by Andrea were undone (except for Dave and Lisa's job-swap, which took a few more episodes to resolve) and not a single explanation was ever given.
  • Parenthood In season 4, Adam and Kristina lie to their daughter Haddie about a major medical issue. They claim Kristina is 100% cancer-free when she isn't. They do this, presumably, to convince her it's 100% fine for her to fly back across the country to the college she's attending instead of take a semester off to help out at home. This is clearly something that should bite them in the butt, especially if something goes drastically wrong. But when something does, and Kristina is in the hospital around Christmas and might die from a severely compromised immune system, Haddie shows up and simply hugs her mom. The lie and potential for Haddie to be either very angry and betrayed, or forgiving and understanding is 100% ignored/forgotten.
  • Farscape: The Nebari are built up to be huge threats - one of their cargo ships took out the Peacekeepers' strongest Command Carrier; their "Establishment" deals with contentious citizens by infecting them with a sexually transmitted virus that will throw worlds into chaos and them sending them into the galaxy at large; they're apparently capable of blowing up planets; and they wear lots of eyeliner. And we never hear of them again after "A Clockwork Nebari".
    • Though it's later implied that the Nebari aren't really interested in anyone who doesn't get in the way of their forced utopia and the ones we see are just out tiding up loose ends.
    • It wasn't a "cargo ship" that took out the Command Carrier, it was according to them one of their "standard host vessels." Presumably since the Nebari place great emphasis on "peace" this is just an unusual euphemism for a warship.
    • During several episodes in the first season, it was clear that Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan had some romantic feelings (or at sexual attraction) for John Chrichton, and Chrichton was actually beginning to respond. And then the entire budding romance went away with no further mention of it at all in favor of the John Chrichton/Aeryn Sun relationship.
    • They had plans from the beginning to get Rygel back home and get his revenge on his traitorous cousin, reclaiming leadership of the Hynerian Empire. Unfortunately, an episode involving just one other Hynerian presented all kinds of logistical issues, making it clear that setting an episode on a whole planet of them would be impossible. Fortunately, they were able to wrap up the story properly in the comics, which have no such restrictions.
  • Lois and Clark
    • Towards the end of an arc, the Corrupt Corporate Executive was defeated and killed, and his (apparently) dumb-blonde trophy wife Mindy was last seen saying that she would be in charge from now on, with an implication that perhaps she had been the prime mover all along. She made one subsequent appearance (again successfully framing someone else for her crimes), and was never mentioned again.
  • This is lampshaded in Friends, where Joey gets a job working at the coffee house, and then simply stops working there. A few episodes later, he and Gunther realize this, and Joey reveals that he quit but forgot to tell him.
  • Power Rangers had quite a few of these after it started regularly using Story Arcs.
    • Scorpina was a major villain in Season 1, who (thanks to Japanese stock footage, mostly) seemed to be a close friend or romantic interest of Goldar's. She appeared in a single Season 2 episode, at the end of which she swore she would return... and then she was never seen or mentioned again, even in "Countdown to Destruction."
    • A few episodes in Season 1 dealt with Rita's discovery and use of "Super-Putty," a new material she used to create near-invincible Putty Patrollers. Tommy and Jason had to go on a quest to find weapons that could destroy them, which they did. However, after that episode, neither the Super-Putty nor the new weapons were ever seen or mentioned again, and the putties reverted to their normal weak selves with no explanation.
    • The multi-part Season 3 premiere served as a Backdoor Pilot for another Saban action show, Masked Rider, and ended with that show's villains and hero heading to Earth. This episode was referenced exactly once later in the season and then forgotten about, with no further crossovers or indications of what happened - and even on Masked Rider, this episode was non-canon.
    • Power Rangers Zeo used Billy as a Red Herring for the Gold Ranger's true identity; he would often be mysteriously absent working on some sort of "project" whenever the Gold Ranger showed up. Once the Gold Ranger's real identity was revealed, his project was never brought up again.
    • Zeo had a huge number of aborted arcs. Here are some other examples:
      • In "The Lore of Auric," Tanya finally discovers and rescues her long-lost parents, archaeologists who had been lost on a tropical island. After that one episode, they're never seen or mentioned again.
      • The same episode introduced Auric the Conqueror, a powerful ally of the Rangers. He appeared in a few more episodes but was conspicuously absent for the finale, and was never seen or mentioned after Zeo ended.
      • Partway through the season, Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone were fired from the Angel Grove Junior Police and opened up a private detective business. In the season finale, Bulk and Skull were offered a case in Paris and quit Lt. Stone's agency to pursue it. As soon as Turbo starts, all three are back on the Junior Police force, with just an off-hand comment about how they're lucky to have their jobs back. The trip to Paris is never mentioned.
      • In the last third of the season, Prince Gasket and Archerina, two new villains, take over the Machine Empire. They're driven away just before the finale by the returned King Mondo. After this, they're never seen or mentioned again and their fate remains unknown.
      • The season ends with not the Rangers, but Mighty Morphin villains Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa destroying the leaders of the Machine Empire. Zedd remarks that they're finally back. However, they never became the main villains again and, excepting a joke cameo in the movie, weren't shown or mentioned at all in Turbo. They did eventually return in In Space, but no mention was made of where they had been or why they hadn't attacked Earth since Zeo.
    • Power Rangers Turbo had Dimitria's missing twin sister. She was implicitly Divatox, judging by the fact that they were both played by Carol Hoyt... then again, she was a replacement while the actress who played Divatox in the Pilot Movie, Hilary Shepard Turner, was on maternity leave. When Divatox is "purified" in "Countdown to Destruction", she's wearing an outfit identical to Dimitria's, which is as good an answer as we're ever going to get about the twin sister thing.
      • Turbo also left the identity of the Phantom Ranger and his apparent budding relationship with Cassie up in the air.
  • In Kamen Rider Faiz we never hear about Mari's hairdressing again and in Kamen Rider Kabuto Hiyori being a Worm is also dealt with rather quickly.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O had to drop Hana's planned arc when the actress quit suddenly. We still got the reveal of who Hana is and why she is significant to the plot; but her replacement, Kohana (a time-switched version of Hana at ten years old) took a back seat and Airi largely took over as the show's female lead.
    • The Movie Wars crossover between Kamen Rider Double and Kamen Rider OOO introduced the concept of homunculi in the OOO universe and hinted that they could reappear in the show, but this didn't happen. Word Of God confirmed that Date was to have died and been resurrected as a homunculus, but this was changed due to the character's popularity.
    • In Double, it seemed that Foundation X was being hyped up as a major antagonist for the Neo-Heisei era Riders. However, they weren't used in OOO and made one last appearance in the Movie Wars crossover with OOO and Kamen Rider Fourze before being forgotten.
  • During one of the later seasons of Cheers Kirstie Alley got pregnant, so a story arc was created in which she and Sam decided to have a child together (while still just being friends). Kirstie Alley had a miscarriage and the arc was abruptly dropped.
  • During Frasier's 10th season, an arc was slowly built up where it was suggested that Roz had feelings for Frasier and was jealous over his relationship with Julia Wilcox. In the first episode of Season 11, the old writers from earlier seasons rejoined the show and quickly ended the arc by saying Roz's father had remarried and thus she was scared of losing Frasier as a friend. The characters made up, and nothing more was ever said.
  • The entire high school element of The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 1, with incomplete arcs involving a mysterious suicide, implications of teacher-student sexual exploitation, and a male student lusting after Cameron, was just dumped with no explanation at all once Season 2 started. Word Of God says that the creators decided that it was unnecessary and that the show worked better if the central characters weren't even trying to pretend to have a normal life. Also there was a writers strike.
  • In the revised Battlestar Galactica:
    • The latter half of Season 3 was going to have a story arc about the Sagitarrons. The story goes that during the New Caprica arc, the rest of the colonials had run low on food, but the Sagitarrons, being close-to-nature, had grown enough. The Colonial government made the decision to seize their food in order to feed everyone, a kind of reverse ant-grasshopper parable. The only remnants of this arc are: the episode The Woman King, and Baltar whispering to Gaeta during Baltar's imprisonment, which was supposed to tie into this arc. The latter was repurposed for the minisodes Face of the Enemy. It might also explain what Tyrol was protesting immediately after the Time Skip — and given a hint to the decision made by Apollo in the finale.
    • Bulldog's mysteriously one-off appearance — originally, the character was intended to recur, but scheduling issues prevented that from playing out.
  • NCIS spent a few seasons setting up a plot in which Director Jenny Shepherd learns that her apparently dead father was, in fact, still alive (despite the fact that he'd shot himself in the head and she was the one who found his body). Just as she's beginning to accept it may be true, she's killed in a gun-battle related to one of her first cases as an agent, and so the whole story is now apparently done, with no resolution either way.
    • This was actually explained in a blink and you'll miss it scene. Midway through the season Abby speculates that this was a plot by someone (most likely from the CIA) to make Director Shephard look mentally unstable. Leon Vance's remark that Abby is smarter than she looks is about the only answer we'll ever get. It is believed that the reason this plotline was swept under the rug was due to Donald Bellasario stepping down as showrunner and his successor deciding to drop the arc quickly.
  • ER had a notorious one involving the return of Anna Del Amico's supposedly reformed junkie ex-boyfriend, and a romantic rivalry developing between him and Carter. Problem is, this was all set up at the end of the season. When Maria Bello didn't return for the following season, the writers had no choice but to drop the whole thing.
  • Fez and Laurie's marriage on That '70s Show. At some point, Red and Kitty wanted the marriage to end, but to no avail, and decided to postpone the divorce when they started receiving wedding gifts. Next season, Fez is acting like a single again, Laurie is said to be in Canada, and the marriage is never mentioned again. The fact that Laurie was recast and given much less screen time didn't help. There's also Grandma Bea who was invited to stay at the Formans', but vanished a couple episodes later.
  • Around episode 300, the original Dark Shadows had a storyline where Victoria and Burke were going to move into a house, Seaview, after they get married. The house was strangely unoccupied and Elizabeth agrees to sell it even though the deed says it shouldn't be sold. The popularity of Barnabas Collins probably led to this arc being canceled; it turned out she wasn't allowed to sell the house after all and what was wrong with it was never followed up on.
    • In fact, Victoria's entire presence on the show is one big Aborted Arc. In the very beginning, the show's main storyline was the mystery around the real family of Victoria, who was an orphan who received financial support from an unknown person. Besides many hints that Victoria was somehow linked to the Collins family, the mystery was never resolved. The original series bible held that Victoria was Paul Stoddard's daughter, conceived in an affair he had while married to Elizabeth Collins, and Elizabeth out of a sense of obligation was the one supporting Victoria. Later it was decided that Victoria was actually Elizabeth's daughter, but this was never revealed...except in a tape that Joan Bennett, the actress playing Elizabeth Collins and while speaking for her character, made for fans.
  • On The Unit, Tiffy, Kim (reluctantly), and whoever Grey or Hector was seeing at the time, got to digging around in Molly's past and found out that she is not who she says she is. Molly found out and confronted the nosy bunch, even telling them that she was going to tell Jonas but before that could happen, the storyline was dropped the very next week, never to be mentioned again.
  • In the first and second series of Robin Hood a huge amount of time and effort is put into two very distinct plotlines: the assassination attempt by Guy of Gisborne to kill King Richard and Robin's attempts to expose him; and the sheriff's conspiracy to help Prince John usurp the throne by mustering the Black Knights and having them sign the Pact of Nottingham to ensure their loyalty (a MacGuffin that one regular character actually dies for). Then in the season finale of S2 Marian is murdered by Guy of Gisborne. By the third season the Pact, the Black Knights, and the assassination attempt have been dropped entirely to deal with the repercussions of Marian's death. But then, even this is aborted in favor of melodramatic family dramas and convoluted love triangles thanks to the introduction of Isabella and Archer and Kate. The political ramifications of the time period and the basic "rob from the rich to give to the poor" mantra are simply afterthoughts.
  • In The 4400, there was a lot of buildup about Diana's relationship with her father: in the first episode, she calls him when she thinks Earth is about to be destroyed, but he doesn't pick up. Later, she tells Tom that she wishes her father was as good to her as he was to Kyle, and at one point she comments "when you lose your trust in a person, especially a parent, you can never get it back." This arc is promptly dropped. In fact, in one episode where the characters all see people from their pasts, she sees an ex-fiance she's never mentioned before, while Tom sees his father, who had also never been talked about.
  • During Season 6-7 of The X-Files, the Syndicate was destroyed at the hands of the Alien Rebels. The writers at the time spoke of their plans for a new Syndicate, headed by Alex Krycek and Marita Covarrubias, which was essentially set up in Season 7 finale "Requiem" (Krycek and Covarrubias deliberately disobey CSM's orders and eventually try to kill him) but never resurfaced. Covarrubias disappeared, and Krycek was killed in Season 8.
    • At the end of the first movie, Scully talks about the vaccine which saved her, saying that it could cure people from the alien virus. It would seriously messed up with the upcoming alien invasion and might help to save mankind. Sigh, rather than trying to retrieve the conspiracy's research on this or trying to develop the vaccine at the FBI labs, the agents decided to pursue other things. Somewhat justified because they were Reassigned to Antarctica.
  • When season 2 of Friday Night Lights was cut short by the writers' strike, the showrunners decided to cut their losses and abandon several storylines, including Smash Williams' decision to play football for a small, academically-minded historically black college after losing his scholarship, Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity's will they or won't they subplot (season 3 began with them together), Lyla Garrity's Christian radio career, and the entire character of juvenile delinquent-turned-star defensive player Santiago Herrera.
  • Lots and lots on Alias, like the idea that Sydney's whole life had been tinkered with as a top secret CIA project set up by her dad. Not only did the final cut of the episode where it was introduced cut out most of the more obvious references (which mistakenly ended up in the recap of the episode for a few hours), but it was dropped completely in the next season opener. Well... sort of. They changed it into something else that contradicted what we DID learn from what we saw of the incriminating file. And they deleted a scene that explained much of what happened that season, only to address it vaguely in the next episode as if we should know what they meant (those who went to during another brief window found out). Oh, and the whole plot of Season 3 was cut in half and resolved with Sydney being an idiot but still destroying centuries-old magical semen. AND the driving plot behind the series was suddenly dropped in the middle of the second season to make the show more accessible.
  • In Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was hinted that Mr. Snyder was conspiring with Mayor Wilkins to eliminate Buffy as a threat by bullying her, and later by expelling her from school on trumped-up murder charges. Season 3 revealed that while he was doing some work with the mayor, Snyder was still as much in the dark about what was going on as the rest of the adults of Sunnydale.
    • Also in Season 2, Willow suddenly becomes a lot stronger in magic and seems possessed while performing the curse to restore Angel's soul. The other characters are notably frightened. Despite this being a good starting explanation for Willow's developing magical powers, the possession is never mentioned again.
    • The Season 3 finale has Anya mention that all of the demons that the gang is familiar with are hybrids, and that "true demons" are much bigger and more powerful. After fighting the mayor, it's also never mentioned again. Although, that concept is revisited in Angel when Illyria is revived.
    • It's explained that the vampires were created when the last demon was kicked off the mortal plane and managed to bite and infect a human before leaving. This would be a good explanation for the "Uber-Vamps" discovered beyond the Hellmouth in Season 7, but it's never addressed.
  • Kate Lockley's storyline was dropped from Angel after Elisabeth Rohm got a better job offer from the folks at Law & Order.
    • Another notable one is the cyborg plot that was in "Lineage". We never saw any more of it or found out where they really came from. The only clue was that the cyborgs bore the symbol of the Circle of the Black Thorn — but that doesn't tell us which member sent them or why.
    • Planned storylines for season 6 were either dropped or expanded in After the Fall. This resulted in some season 5 stuff also being compressed or eliminated altogether.
  • Brothers and Sisters strongly implied in its third season finale that Rebecca was bipolar (even tying in the events of the episode to her otherwise forgotten backstory). They promptly dropped any references to the storyline in the fourth season.
  • The Office (US)
    • During Season 6, there was an arc featuring Dwight trying to hatch a scheme to legitimately get Jim fired, which included forming an alliance with Ryan and planting a bug in Jim's office. It would be one thing if this was Ryan on his own accord (who crossed into Jerkass territory two seasons prior), but the writers apparently forgot that there was a begrudging respect between Dwight and Jim despite their rivalry, from Dwight preventing Roy from attacking Jim to the two actually having a successful traveling sales run, and co-running the Party Planning Committee together for a while.
    • Jim destroyed Dwight's respect when he went over Michael's head to Jo and talked himself into the Regional Manager job that Dwight thinks belongs to him. In Season 8, Andy gets the same job after Dwight screwed up his chance and Dwight immediately turns on him too.
    • Dwight makes very clear that he didn't view the event as special and didn't even understand why Jim was grateful. Roy could have gone after anyone and Dwight would have done the same thing. The real dropped arc is the scheme itself. Despite all the build up mentioned above across several episodes, eventually Jim steps down from his position willingly for unrelated reasons and Dwight and Ryan dissolve the alliance thinking they succeeded in bringing him down.
  • Season 2 of Burn Notice had, in the first half, a mystery as to what the mysterious organization was having Michael do (personal shopper for a sniper), then what that guy was doing (killing someone). Then at the midseason finale, everyone dies and Michael gets half blowed up. And we never hear about this plot again. Kind of justified in that, by the end of the season, the people involved are dead and the organization has abandoned Michael. And Michael's handler might have been acting on her own, without the blessing of Management, for that mission.
  • Dexter has some.
    • Maria LaGuerta has a crush on Dexter in the first episode of the first season, something that is never mentioned again. This is most likely based on the first book where this plot point is fully explored and ended rather badly for her.
    • Also, after Debra kills one of the Fuente brothers, the other Fuente brother is mentioned to still be on the loose, but he is never brought up again.
    • At the Season 4 ending, there is an implication that Debra is about to find out Brian Moser had a brother while at the same time suspecting that Dexter is hiding something. Come Season 5, that plot thread is weakly relegated to Quinn.
    • The end of Season 6 dropped some heavy hints that Louis knew about Dexter being a serial killer and that he was the next big threat on the horizon. In Season 7, Louis is shown to not actually know about Dexter being a serial killer, and he is a best a nuisance to Dexter for a couple of episodes, before he is quite unceremoniously killed by The Mafiya, the actual main villains of the Season. The fact that Louis' actor, Josh Cooke, had landed a gig in a major Broadway production between seasons is the most likely reason for this.
    • Proof that even this trope is not always bad: Deb realizing she has romantic feelings for Dexter in season six was mostly dropped in the next season after intensely negative fan reaction. This one is also justified, since the arc that replaced it — Deb finding out Dex's secret — turned their entire relationship upside down. The person Deb loved essentially never existed, so by the time the season six arc is finally brought up again, it's a moot point.
  • In Dawsons Creek, infamously annoying Eve Whitman was introduced in season 3 as a new Love Interest for Dawson who later finds out she's Jennifer's half-sister. Dawson tells Jenn's mother about his discovery and it's never heard of again. Eve disappears by the end of the season. Lampshaded in one of the series' final episodes, when a character who wasn't around for season three asks about her:
    Audrey: Who the hell is Eve?
    Jack: Long story. Ambiguous ending.
  • Eureka
    • Despite The Artifact being one of the central plot points of the first two seasons, everything concerning it and The Consortium was inexplicably dropped, without any sort of closure or explanation. Fridge Logic makes this even worse, due to one of the characters explicitly saying that "Power of that magnitude doesn't just disappear." Ed Quinn (Nathan Stark's actor) actually left the show due to this, as Nathan Stark's obsession with The Artifact was his defining character trait.
    • The fourth season brought back The Consortium but with new plot line about having to send someone from the future (aka Jack) or Dr. Grant who was from time displaced from the past in order to save the history of the consortium. It was also teased twice that Stark had returned, but he never did.
    • Beverley returned for the end of an episode and then disappeared again, despite being a Big Bad for the series. Allison's son was also all but deleted from the series, also possibly in part because of the dropping of The Artifact arc.
  • On Home and Away, the toxic waste buried in the construction site probably being the cause and justification of all the cancer causes of the series, plot line ended with Belle being hospitalized and then shifted over to her drug-abuse arc. The toxic waste has not been touched upon again, not even when Belle herself was dying of cancer!!
  • The West Wing
    • In a second season episode, the White House is politically out-maneuvered by the Republican Majority Leader's new Chief of Staff, played by Felicity Huffman. The episode ends with White House staffers realizing that the majority leader is running for President, with Huffman's shrewd, capable character set up as a major antagonist. However, Huffman never appeared on the show again, and the majority leader's presidential bid was later dispensed with in a cursory fashion.
    • The West Wing was somewhat notorious for this — the arcs of a number of major characters abruptly ended without resolution and with the characters disappearing without explanation. Fans called the phenomenon "being sent to Mandyville." It happened to characters as major as Mandy, Sam and Amy Gardner.
  • Many times in Glee:
    • When Sam Evans' original planned coming-out arc was dropped in favor of the developing relationship between Kurt and Blaine and the subjective "chemistry" Dianna Agron and Chord Overstreet shared.
    • Allegedly, Chord Overstreet was supposed to be Kurt's love interest, but Darren Criss seemed a better fit. With the Sam character's entrance, Kurt hounds him about his bleached hair (Sam denying that it's bleached). Sam later admits to Quinn that he thought a surfer dude would be cooler and allow him to make a better transition as a transfer student. And then... we never hear of it again, even though Sam's hair stays blond.
    • In the penultimate episode of season 2, Sue's Evil League is completely abandoned, Terri leaves the show and actually manages to help New Directions. To top it off, in the same episode, Quinn gives a vague threat of doing something to sabotage the club in New York only to just get a haircut the next episode.
    • Quinn and Puck's entire relationship (including him confessing his love for her) was completely dropped once they gave their daughter, Beth, up for adoption. The relationship (or, really, Beth in general) would not be brought up again until Season 3, where the show treated their romance as a one-off fling.
    • Quinn and Joe were starting to admit to some attraction and develop a relationship, but after the prom episode all sexual tension and ideas of romance between the two were completely dropped in favor of the Quinn/Puck relationship.
    • Dave Karofsky's character is shown on his hospital bed after having survived a suicide attempt, he gets a rousing speech from Kurt and then he disappeared from the show without a trace. The only clue he wasn't retroactively erased from the show is his appearing as one of Rachel's tormentors in her nightmare in a season 5 episode.
    • While Quinn's car accident was (too-neatly) wrapped up, her play date with Artie wasn't. It was heavily implied that Artie was right that Quinn was only pretending her prognosis included walking again, only she did walk again.
    • In Season 5, Kurt used to have an internship and emerging OCD-like traits, is presumably still enrolled at NYADA, and has started working as a waiter (to say nothing of the impossibly large, safe, and affordable New York loft).
    • In a broad sense, the Dalton Academy Warblers - Season 2 spends its entire time impressing how important the hierarchy is there, with upperclassman getting more opportunities and control. In Season 3, Blaine is revealed to be a junior, making no note of why a sophomore led vocals and was able to fraternize with the upperclassmen at Dalton. Blaine did express his appreciation for the faith they put in him as an underclassmen, though.
  • The first series of Primeval ends with Nick Cutter going through an anomaly into the Permian era, and coming back out to find that his actions have somehow altered the timeline so that his love interest Claudia Brown has become a different person named Jenny Lewis, as well as a few other changes. The second series makes many references to this mystery (as well as wondering why relatively little has changed) but never explains it. In Series 3, the still unexplained arc is apparently abandoned as Cutter is killed off and Jenny leaves the show: apart from a few brief references, it has not been touched upon since.
  • In season 3 of Thirty Rock, Liz Lemon decides to adopt a child after a pregnancy scare at the end of last season. This plan becomes nonexistent after being an integral part of a handful of season 3 episodes, though it was lampshaded in the season 5 episode "Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning".
    Kenneth: I couldn't put the memo in your mailbox because it's full of unread adoption materials.
    Liz: (uninterested) Yeah.
  • Happened often on 24:
    • Season two ended with a massive tease of a plotline that had apparently been building for two seasons. Alexander Trepkos (the man who advised Peter Kingsley, the season's Big Bad) puts in a call to a German arms dealer named Max and tells him that "Plan B" is a go. (In a deleted scene on the boxset, it's revealed that Nina is also with Max, and that the German contact she was in touch with in the first season was Max's associate.) "Plan B" kicks off with the (attempted) assassination of President Palmer...and nothing else. In the third season, Palmer says that the people who tried to kill him were brought to justice. The Max plotline is half-heartedly resolved in 24: The Game (which was released during the fifth season-airing of the show and focuses on events between seasons two and three, long after everyone stopped caring), and never mentions what happened to Trepkos.
    • Famously, Behrooz Araz disappears three-quarters of the way through the fourth season after his mother is executed by Marwan (and after having a majority of the season focused on his survival under ridiculous circumstances). His fate is resolved in a deleted scene - he's rescued by Curtis before Marwan's men execute him (and learns about his mother's fate) - but most viewers likely wondered where he went during the original television airings.
    • The first 8 episodes of season 1 focus on an assassin who gets plastic surgery to obtain a new identity and get close to Senator David Palmer at a morning rally. Jack never meets the guy until their one and only encounter, but successfully throws the assassin off Palmer by implicating himself as an enemy. The assassin runs away when Jack gets arrested...and never shows up again, despite having plenty of chances afterwards to kill his target, in any of the episodes or seasons following this. The producers supposedly forgot about the character.
    • There's a whole arc in the second season where Presidential aide Lynne Kresge tries to get incriminating evidence on Mike Novick to David Palmer. She falls down several flights of stairs while attempting to outwit one of Novick's guards, and has to be wheeled into an ambulance (while still having the knowledge). She never appears in the series again, and fans continually complained about it (pointing to Novick's duplicitous nature) in every season that followed. The producers even yo-yo'd on whether she would be brought back in a later season or if she died as a result of her injuries.
  • Fringe surprisingly only does this once with FBI Agent Amy Jessup, who was brought in during the Season 2 opening and looked to be bringing in some religious interpretations to the Fringe cases. She appeared in two episodes then was dropped without a word of explanation.
    • This is probably because she was invented by the writers as a temporary fill in for Agent Dunham for the whole of season 2 original but test audiences want to see more of Dunham.
  • The first half of the fourth series of Merlin deals with Morgana hearing a prophesy that states a sorcerer called Emrys will be "her destiny and her doom." Naturally she freaks out at this, and puts a lot of time and effort into figuring out just who this mystery man is and how she can destroy him before he destroys her. After episode seven, she abruptly turns her attention to other schemes.
  • JAG: Harm’s Russian half-brother Sergey is not heard from anymore post season seven.
  • Scandal: The whole thing with Cyrus being a secret evil mastermind seems to have been dropped in exchange for Hollis Doyle. Cyrus is still morally ambiguous, but no more so than Olivia at this point.
  • Over the years, Degrassi has had a string of abandoned plot holes that have never been resolved or acknowledged at whatsoever, but the most infamous arc up to date is Clare's internship job at the Toronto Interpreter in Season 12. Several episodes in the first half followed her trying to please her boss, Asher Shostak, by editing a good story for the Toronto newspaper and one episode has her being sexually assaulted by Asher in his car. That became one of the most jaw-dropping moments of Degrassi history. In the first half finale, Clare is confronted by Asher's former intern, who admits that she was also sexually assaulted by him and convinces her that they should both go to the police together about Asher. The whole storyline was completely dropped from the twelfth season and we never really find out if she did went to the police about it or not.
    • Another one often referenced is from the Season 7 episode "Talking in Your Sleep". Paige ends up sleeping with Griffin. Later she finds out he has HIV. She gets tested and is told by doctors that she won't know the results for 6 months. Griffin unceremoniously disappears from the show shortly after this revelation when Paige reveals she is moving out, and there is never any follow-up on Paige's results. Actress Lauren Collins who played Paige has referenced this plothole jokingly a few times on her Twitter.
  • Peyton's return in the end of the sixth season of CSI: NY was hyped as the beginning of a love triangle. The season would have ended with Mac trying to choose between the feelings he still had for Peyton and the early-stage relationship he was beginning with Aubrey. Who he picked would have been revealed in the beginning of season seven. However, Claire Forliani got a part on Camelot and couldn't return for more episodes, plus Melina Kanakaredes decided to leave the series, pushing the writers to put aside that plot to focus on the newly-arrived Jo.
  • The Gormagon arc was originally going to be longer on Bones, but the writer's strike shortened the season forced it to be compressed.
  • The fourth season of Spin City has the Mayor run for senate. The arc is quietly dropped later in the season, even though it had been used to justify bringing Caitlin aboard.
  • During the Sci-Fi Channel era of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Season 9 started a plot where Pearl Forrester sought to become a mad scientist in the same vein as her son Clayton. This is abruptly dropped when it became clear that Season 10 would be the last season.
  • An interesting variation in House of Anubis with the tear of gold. In Season 2, the arc was followed through to the end and played a pretty good role in the over all story- until the cliffhanger at the end of the season, where Victor discovered he had a tear of gold with him. Fans were excited and wondering how it would come into play next season... but it never did. It was completely forgotten in Season 3. Needless to say, the fans were not too happy about that.

  • The release of the album "Fangs!" seemed to be something of a new beginning for the experimental rock band Falling Up. It was both a New Sound Album and a Concept Album that was the beginning of a story arc... then the band broke up. The band reunited in 2011, but their album doesn't really continue the story line of Fangs.
  • David Bowie's 1995 concept album 1. Outside was supposed to be the first of a series leading up to the millennium. However, further albums continuing the "non-linear gothic drama hyper cycle" never appeared. Almost 15 years on it's probably safe to classify this as an aborted arc.
  • Sufjan Stevens has discontinued his "50 states project", which started with Michigan and Illinois. Looks like there won't be any more.
  • John Linnell intended his 1999 album "State Songs" to be the first part of a trilogy... which has never been continued, and probably never will be. This album was recorded during They Might Be Giants' 1996-1999 downtime (their only studio album of this period - "Long Tall Weekend" - consisting largely of old, unreleased material), and since then, the group have been much, much busier.
  • The Beatles had planned to record an theme album about their childhoods with "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" being the first two songs written for this endeavor. "When I'm Sixty-Four" was the next song recorded for the album, though it had been written years earlier, and eventually the concept shifted to a fictitious band putting on a performance, yet with every song being impossible to do live (for them at the time) and thus Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was born. While the title song and its "reprise" relate to this theme, none of the other songs do.
    • It also might be a stretch, but Let It Be (or Get Back as it was originally to be called) was originally going to be an album of new material recorded live. They ended up recording it as their next studio album (while filming a documentary about the experience), but shelved it and almost broke up, getting back together just long enough to produce Abbey Road and go their separate ways. Let It Be was released in 1970, but with an orchestral makeover by Phil Spector.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In as much as there is continuity, one Dilbert comic involved Dogbert raising an army of cloned vegetables. It was supposed to be longer, but Scott Adams found it wasn't as funny as he thought it would be, so he actually stated in comic he was ending the arc by "skipping ahead to the big finish." Another arc, featuring the death of Dilbert, was also resolved quicker than planned when Adams ran out of ideas.
    • The vegetable army arc probably should receive an award for most obscure comedic reference in popular syndicated media. The last panel shows Dogbert lamenting how Wally and his Salad Shooters defeated his cucumber army. This is a reference to 'Pickle Wars', an obscure 1993 shareware game.
  • A two-week 1995 FoxTrot storyline had Paige getting the role of Cleopatra in the school's Antony and Cleopatra play, (with Morton playing Antony). The story ended before the play started, with Roger noticing Paige's name in the play program. After that strip, the story suddenly ended, with no actual strips of the play being performed, and the story was never mentioned again.
  • In the newspaper comic Luann, creator Greg Evans had planned a storyline which revealed the reason Satellite Love Interest Aaron Hill was so uninterested in Luann's (or anyone else's) advances: he simply wasn't interested... in girls. Evans got cold feet, fearing he didn't have enough of a subscriber base to absorb the potential loss of paper slots, like Lynn Johnston did when she pulled a similar storyline. So he altered the story so that Aaron was hiding a relationship with the much older Dianne. Both characters were soon Put on a Bus after this story was done.
  • Doonesbury decided to celebrate its 20th anniversary year (1990) with a big epic storyline in which all the strips' various plotlines and characters converged together, with practically the entire cast all ending up at Mike's apartment. Creator Garry Trudeau ended up writing himself into a corner with the arc, which had everyone together but didn't give them anything to do. The arc got weirder when Mike's house was mistaken for a crack den and raided by federal agents. Trudeau decided the whole thing had gotten out of hand, and undid the entire arc by revealing that the last several months worth of strips had been All Just a Dream.
  • Heart of the City story arcs often end suddenly with no further explanation. An example is an arc where Heart's mom agrees to go on a date, which Heart dreads until she learns that the man is a talent agent. After that, the arc ended.
  • Lampshaded in a Peanuts strip in which Snoopy is writing a novel. One part of the plot involves a king living in luxury while his people starved. In tying up the plot threads, Snoopy left him out.

    Pro Wrestling 
Years ago, before the advent of live cable television on Monday nights and the Internet, feuds were planned out months in advance rather than week-by-week, meaning that even if an angle were not living up to expectations (e.g., apathetic fan response), it would continue until the earliest opportunity to quietly end the feud. But even in the pre-Attitude/pre-Monday Night Raw era, unplanned events – a wrestler's unexpected death or departure, or a major legit injury, for instance – would often force major changes to a carefully planned storyline, and often force promoters to hastily edit explanations into the already-completed films that were to be distributed to local TV stations.
  • In the WWE, 2007's "Who Killed Vince McMahon?" was abruptly halted when two to three weeks after the storyline began, Chris Benoit killed his family, and then himself. It was later explained that "Vince" had faked his death. It would've eventually been revealed that Mr. Kennedy was involved.
    • A year later, the Raw set was sabotaged, with equipment falling on Vince McMahon. The perpetrator was never revealed, and it wasn't mentioned again after a week or so.
  • The 1988 "blackmail" angle involving Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll was dropped after only two weeks. We never found out what was in the envelope Doll gave him, leading to quite possibly the only time Dusty was ever rendered speechless.
  • In WCW, 2000's "Stacy Keibler is pregnant" arc was halted following Vince Russo's departure from WCW. This is Vince Russo we're talking about. She gave birth to a stack of Shawn Stasiak photos. Sadly, it's only the second strangest thing a woman has given birth to in a wrestling storyline.
  • In 1999, WWE ran a reoccurring vignette featuring short Caught in the Act videos of Superstars doing rather embarrassing things under the title of "GTV." The plan was originally for Goldust to be revealed as the culprit (as per writer Vince Russo, the very first vignette actually called it "GDTV"), but his sudden departure from the company meant it never came to be. The WWE continued to run the vignettes afterwards, though with much less regularity, before quietly retiring them. The arc actually did get something of a send-off on Sunday Night Heat, when Glen Ruth (formerly Headbanger Thrasher) displayed GTV footage to acquit Chaz (formerly Headbanger Mosh) in his own domestic violence angle.
  • Anyone remember the Fake Kane? Started out as Kane being confronted by someone dressed as his old masked persona, but the whole thing was dropped after about a month of build-up and never mentioned again. This one actually ended; had a kayfabe page on this and similar arcs. Smarks know the man was Drew Hankinson.
  • Not a big aborted arc, but when John Heidenreich debuted on RAW in 2003, he always told people his actions were all done for someone named "Little Johnny". Heidenreich was taken off TV before the identity of Little Johnny could be revealed, but said later in an interview that it would've turned out to be a doll that represented his younger self when he was overweight. He also claimed he could have made the angle work (as people know what it is like to be picked on) but the writers messed it up by making every discussion about "Little Johnny" seem like a Double Entendre.
  • In February of 2001, The Kat entered an angle where Jerry Lawler lost a match on her behalf and she was forced to join the Right to Censor group. The next episode of Raw had them forcing her to wear a burlap sack to the ring and it was implied the storyline would continue. However The Kat was released the very next day and the excuse was apparently that Val Venis had slept with her and she escaped out the window. Apparently she ran out into the night and got lost, never to be seen again.
  • The Katie Vick angle of 2002, involving Triple H and Kane, was more-or-less hastily ended after near-universally negative reviews. The angle was innocuous enough: the heel Triple H – hoping to play mind games with Kane (in the midst of his tortured soul/sympathetic face persona) – claimed that he had evidence that Kane had killed a young woman named Katie Vick, with whom he had an unrequited crush; said accident happened as Kane was driving Katie home. The angle began going south after Triple H showed video footage of "Kane" having sex with Katie's corpse. Actually, Triple H was dressed as Kane, and making out with a mannequin.
  • One 2007 episode of Smackdown featured Krissy Vaine debuting after a match with Torrie Wilson and Victoria and beating the crap out of Torrie. She had one backstage segment next week and was never seen again. Behind the scenes she decided wrestling wasn't the right career for her and promptly left. She also injured Torrie's back while training and that resulted in Torrie having to retire from wrestling completely.
  • WWE's ECW On SyFy had a storyline where Balls Mahoney began a relationship with Kelly Kelly, who's contract was owned by The Miz. The story was generating quite a buzz before it was quietly dropped. Word Of God says that management didn't like how popular the plot was making Mahoney, so they quietly aborted the arc.
  • TNA examples would be Samoa Joe's abduction ( ninjas) and the mystery Ace of Spades assailant. Both seem to have been dropped in favor of another mystery angle. Again, Vince Russo.
  • Before a Pay-Per-View match, Booker T and John Heidenreich were in a locker room when a manila folder was slipped under the door which was addressed to Booker. Inside it was just a piece of paper that said "I still remember". It was never mentioned again. Allegedly, this was going to be a note from Goldust that would facilitate his return, but it ended up never happening.
  • David Otunga threatened Wade Barrett that he was going to reveal the reason The Nexus attacked The Undertaker and cost him his "Buried Alive" match with Kane. That was never followed up on; it was allegedly supposed to push Barrett vs Taker at Wrestlemania 27 but it was aborted when Triple H came back.
  • We can add the Anonymous Raw General Manager storyline to the list. For months on end, an anonymous General Manager was making matches on Raw through a laptop at the side of the ring, next to the commentary tables. The storyline has apparently been ditched without the audience ever discovering the GM's identity. John Cena did make reference to this mystery person (whom he called "The Computer") the night after 2012's Over the Limit, declaring that whoever it was, it would be preferable to John Laurinaitis.The Anonymous Raw GM was finally revealed to be Hornswoggle.
    • A similar but far worse case would be the "GM-less" era. Back in December 05, Eric Bischoff was leaving the company (being fired in kayfabe) leaving the position of Raw GM vacant. For the first few weeks, this was treated as a huge deal; Raw was in a state of anarchy with no one to keep things under control. Various people were teased as the next GM, such as Shane'o'Mac and Dusty Rhodes, and various wrestlers schemed to convince Vince to give them the job. Eventually the storyline was dropped with Vince more or less running the show but with the GM's office remaining vacant. The issue wasn't addressed for a year and a half, when Vince decided it was time for him to get off tv.
  • WCW never did reveal who Diamond Dallas Page's mystery benefactor in the white gloves was.
  • WCW had a notorious angle involving the unknown driver of a White Hummer that deliberately drove into a limousine that Kevin Nash was in. The unknown driver of the White Hummer would be brought up and speculated about, and the incident kept getting callbacks for months, all without going anywhere. They actually did finally reveal the driver, a few months after they'd quit constantly bringing it up, but so anticlimactically that a lot of fans weren't aware. The driver was Eric Bischoff.
  • The driver of the White Hummer was allegedly supposed to be Rena "Sable" Mero, but that plan fell through when Mero wasn't able to get the no-compete clause of her WWF contract annulled. The stretching out of the angle was caused by WCW not knowing where to go with it after the Sable plan fell through.
  • A couple of things got killed as a direct result of Jerry "The King" Lawler's (real) heart attack in Sep. 2012.
    • The CM Punk/Lawler feud ended after that, but not without a final sendoff of Paul Heyman mocking the actual event. After that, the feud was never eluded to again.
    • Michael Cole's heel persona seemed to have been dropped completely due to the heart attack. His ability to hold things together on commentary while the heart attack happened was the difference maker for many fans who had hated him for various reasons. His heel persona had been calmed somewhat before then, but Cole seems to be a full time face. Many feel he's better off by doing so, as his commentary seems to have improved greatly as a result of the abortion of the arc.
  • Bo Dallas was scheduled to feud with Wade Barrett, even eliminating him from the 2013 Royal Rumble and causing Barrett to return the favor later in the match. After a match on Raw and a few backstage confrontations, Dallas was sent back to NXT.
  • At one point, Jackie Gayda arrived in TNA, promising that she had a juicy secret about Jeff Jarrett that TNA executives would "love to hear". This went on for a few weeks, with Gayda dropping vague hints about this "something", but it was never revealed, and Jackie was eventually forced to join Jarrett when he revealed blackmail information of his own. It was an...odd angle.
  • WCW used to invoke this trope all the time. While much of this was due to the various 'creative control' clauses in contracts held by big names such as Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, who would refuse to do anything they didn't feel like doing or just rewrite it on the spot, just as much blame has to go to the various bookers and writers themselves. One infamous example were the ridiculous 'Search for Cactus Jack' vignettes, where Paul Heyman scoured North America, searching for Mick Foley, who had "sustained amnesia" after being injured. As the skits got worse and worse, WCW decided to drop the whole thing and have Foley just reappear on television with his memory intact, after which the entire thing was swept under the rug.
    • However, the worst case in WCW history may have been Halloween Havoc 1995, in which The Giant challenged Hulk Hogan to a Monster Truck Showdown atop the Cobo Hall Arena. It ended in a scuffle, during which Hogan accidently threw The Giant off the roofof the building, ostensibly to his death. Hogan sold the incident as if he was horrified and apologised profusely...And then The Giant showed up at the end of the Event for his scheduled title match with Hogan and no mention was made of the incident at all. That's right, WCW managed to begin and then abort a storyline within the space of a single Pay-Per-View.
  • Around July 2014, after Big E & Kofi Kingston lose a match on RAW to Rybaxel, Xavier Woods, wearing a suit, comes out and tells them they need to start taking what's theirs. This seems to set them up as a tag team to oppose The Usos, with Woods as their manager, even scouting the Usos at one point, but it lasted maybe two weeks, with Kingston & Big E both going back to job duty, with no mention of them being a team or having Woods manage them.
  • One of the first major feuds planned in SHIMMER was Sara Del Rey vs Mercedes Martinez. They had already wrestled to a stalemate and unsuccessfully tag together against the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew then Del Rey beat Martinez. After Mercedes finally defeated Del Rey she was to turn on the promotion and its fan base but got injured, so Del Rey did it instead. Mercedes would become WSU's problem, biding her recovery time by attacking its wrestlers while under a mask.
  • Pro Wrestling Zero 1 had planned out a feud between two debuting wrestlers, famous kick boxer Yuichihiro and Daichi Hashimoto, son of Shinya Hashimoto and nephew to the already legendary Masahiro Chono and The Great Muta. In a twist, the rivalry may still be played out for pro wrestling the Inoki Genome Federation, which both neophytes jumped over to...ouch.

    Roleplaying Games 
  • In Dino Attack RPG, this is the fate of any character's story when their player leaves the RPG. Probably the most infamous example of an Aborted Arc would be Databoard's quest to rescue Stealth, which was left unresolved after Chronicler of Ko-Koro left Dino Attack RPG.
    • Players do not even need to leave Dino Attack RPG for their story arcs to be aborted. For example, TakunuvaC01 had some plans for the Dino Aliens that were ultimately aborted with the introduction of Dino Attack RPG's Story Arc formula.
    • The alternate ending L.E.G.O. was aborted after only two chapters.
  • The Scourge VS Sonic arc in Campus Life. Though the Anarchy Berly he brought to the world is still around, Scourge has long since disappeared and Sonic is now rampaging around as Dark Super Sonic.
    • There's also the original B-Plot to the RP where the characters had to deal with the Slenderman.
  • In Greatest Hit a war with Algeria never materializes, nor does The Moon's Band Toon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Masquerade had innumerable half-finished non-runners, especially when it came to details like the end of the world. Most notable was the pathetic Rasputin plotline, wherein Rasputin The Mad Monk was actually a Tremere who had somehow found a way to essentially become Caine, so that God/Karma could kill him instead, thus averting complete obliteration of the vampire species.
    • In truth, many Old World of Darkness splats laid claim to Rasputin, not just the vampires. The one that stuck? He's a wraithly Puppeteer who enjoys bodyhopping various supernaturals.
    • Vampire: The Requiem has a lot of potential aborted arcs. The possibility that Anoushka (Vlad Dracula's childe) is The Unholy (superpowered urban legend force of nature) is toyed with again and again, and finally thrown away in the Immortal Sinners supplement. Thankfully, the in-character artifact clanbooks allowed the various freelance writers to wrap up their pet storylines, with the unfortunate side effect of so many of those favorite storylines being given pat Word Of God bullshit tie-ups to shut the fans up.
    • The "Glass Armonium" MacGuffin shut down many plot hooks.
  • The prerevision Magic The Gathering comics were leading up to the Planeswalker War, but the comic line was cancelled before it could be published. Some of the characters involved, like Freyalise, Taysir and Tevesh Szat have turned up later in modern storylines, but details on what actually went down are extraordinarily vague.

  • The American version of Kristina frĺn Duvemĺla cuts out the significant plot point of the majority of the immigrants being killed in a Sioux attack after Kristina's miscarriage. (Presumably for the sake of political correctness, since the songs are left in their full length but with different lyrics, thus saving no time.) However, the event is still foreshadowed in "Queen of the Prairie"/"Wild Grass" through the fur trader's warnings, leaving it as a unresolved thread to audiences unfamiliar with the original story.
  • The Taming of the Shrew begins with the premise that the play is a play within a play being presented to a drunkard named Christopher Sly, who is being fooled into thinking he is actually a rich and prestigious man as a prank. After the initial set-up, this is never brought up again. Some adaptations bring back Sly in an epilogue.
  • Rosmersholm, written by Creator/Henrik Ibsen in 1886, has an interesting set-up. It begins with a rather political premise, setting up the strife of the times, with the main character positioning himself in the middle. Then, the play turns around, and gets more and more introvert, putting politics firmly in the background, to focus mainly on the inner struggles of the main character. This can be seen from the beginning of the second act.

    Theme Parks 
  • Sometimes, at Disney Theme Parks, Imagineers will add something to an attraction while it's being built for some purpose, only to eventually go in a different direction, leaving an element in the attraction that leads nowhere. Some examples:
    • The nods to dragons and unicorns in Animal Kingdom were hinting towards a land that they ended up never building, Beastly Kingdom, focusing on fantasy creatures. The only things left of that (so far) are a dragon shaped rock formation near Camp Minnie Mickey, a bridge that looks like the entrance to a castle, and the big dragon who appears on the park's logo to the confusion of many a guest. The concept of including mythological creatures into the park was eventually picked up by Expedition Everest's Yeti, but has yet to be paid off in full.
    • The animatronic raven in The Haunted Mansion was originally going to be the "narrator" of the ride, which ended up being much better implemented with the "Ghost Host" being piped in through the Doom Buggy's individual speakers. The ravens, however, are still situated throughout the ride, flapping and beaking as if they were saying something.
    • In the super-secret-invite-only Club 33 restaurant, several disused animatronic animal heads hang from the wall. Walt had planned to be able to speak through them to his guests. The idea was abandoned because it was deemed too silly for a high-class restaurant, and because of privacy concerns. The idea sort of came to fruition at the shut-down Adventurers' Club in Disney World's Pleasure Island.
    • These are also a form of Dummied Out.
    • The original vision for EPCOT was an aborted arc. Disney's plan was for an actual city (Experimental Community Of Tomorrow) where people lived and worked. The Monorails and the People Movers were to be part of the infrastructure.

    Video Games 
  • In Primal, Scree grills Jen about her Power Tattoo, saying the symbol is very important, and asking where the designer saw it. While the same symbol is seen all throughout the game, we're never told why it's so important, or what it means.
  • In the early days of Toontown Online, there was a video played during the download that featured a giant robot who was brought to life by Scrooge McDuck that creates the first Cogs, who would then go on to endlessly manufacture more. This video was taken down on some countries' versions of the site, particularly the American one. Since then, the releases of the Cog HQ's have made it seem like the four types of Cogs are separately ruled by four different bosses. However, defeating the CEO results in hearing a bit of his dialogue about the "Chairman," who some fans thought would turn out to be the robot from the download video. It's moot, since the game was discontinued before anything could come of it.
  • All Mega Man X games up through Mega Man X5 shed some light into the backstory of Zero, hinting time and again that he's originally a Robot created by Dr. Wily of the previous series, and that he (Zero) is the true cause of the Maverick uprisings. X5 is supposed to be the Grand Finale of the X series, so this was naturally a given that the plot be somehow resolved in that game. And then, Postscript Season kicked in, and aside from a few nods here and there this plot twist was never adhered to again, and the X series moved on to a different story direction. Ironically, even if fans disregard the post-script series, Mega Man Zero just made everything more confusing — dark secrets were explored all right, but they were brand new ones, and Zero didn't even remember the old.
  • Happens occasionally in City of Heroes.
    • A few epic archetypes, the Avilians and Blood of the Black Stream are referenced in the game but never seen while Incarnates were promised early on but never appeared until it was revealed that a certain few NPCs are of this type but the archetype is still not available to players. Also there is The Coming Storm, which has been coming for well over a year now and has not had any updates in just as long.
    • Each contact (Quest giver) has at least one group of missions that tells a story between them. Since you're not obligated to accept future missions from a contact if you don't want to, you can abandon arcs all on your own.
  • The "runner assassins" in Mirrors Edge are dropped without a trace. They appear in one mission and are made a big deal of, show up in one more mission as enemies, and then just disappear. Word Of God has it that great swathes of her storyline were hacked out of the final product due to time constraints.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force leaves our beloved Shephard in a state that suggests (read: "practically begs for") his eventual return, but his narrative has yet to be picked back up, and the chances of Valve ever doing so are looking pretty dim, even if they do ever release more Half-Life games.
  • There are so many of these in World of Warcraft that they could form a folder all to themselves, although it's worth noting that Blizzard Entertainment has been revisiting some of them. A very concise summary:
    • The Chained Essence of Eranikus quest line from Sunken Temple ended with the Plot Coupon being handed to an NPC in Winterspring, with a promised followup that never occurred. Later, Eranikus was summoned and redeemed by players as part of the Ahn'Qiraj opening quest line, but the quests themselves are completely unconnected in gameplay terms.
    • The Discs of Norgannon quest line, available to players after defeating Uldaman, was left hanging after the discovery of Uldum in Tanaris. This lasted for close to three years before Brann Bronzebeard began investigating Ulduar in Storm Peaks, using a similar set of discs as the Plot Coupon. That, too, was left hanging until the opening of Ulduar as a raid dungeon in patch 3.1. Uldum itself was opened as part of the Cataclysm expansion, revealed to be a zone which was previously hidden. However, the disks found in Uldaman (and the second set of disks that you were told that you needed to enter Uldum), turned out to be unnecessary and were forgotten about.
    • The Missing Diplomat quest line started in Stormwind and took players up to the reveal of King Varian Wrynn's abduction by the Defias Brotherhood. It was never followed up in-game, but did receive extensive treatment in the tie-in comics and novels. Come Wrath of the Lich King, Varian suddenly reappeared in charge of Stormwind with a Darker and Edgier look and a microscopically thin in-game explanation.
      • And then, if you started playing after Wrath of the Lich King came out (but before Cataclysm), then you find out the King has been kidnapped...and wonder what the heck they're talking about since the King is right there in Stormwind.
    • The human kingdom of Kul Tiras, a key player in Warcraft II and Warcraft III, is not even shown on the map, despite the fact that a large number of NPCs are stated to have come from there (including the entire human population of Theramore). Blizzard has openly admitted that there are presently no plans to formally add the island nation to the game, despite it being previously discussed at a BlizzCon panel. Gilneas was in a similar situation until Cataclysm was announced.
    • The Shady Rest Inn quest line remained unfinished, until a patch during The Burning Crusade expansion.
    • The supposed alliance between the Blue Dragonflight and the Ethereum during the Nexus War in WotLK.
    • The "Purification of The Ashbringer" subplot. The Ashbringer is a powerful holy sword, owned by the paladin Alexandros Mograine and lost when he fell to darkness. The corrupted version could be acquired in old Naxxramas, kicking off a quest chain that ended with the promise of purifying the Ashbringer in a future expansion. Come Wrath of the Lich King, Darion Mograine, the son of the original bearer, gives it to uber-Paladin and general messianic badass Tirion Fordring in the midst of a Heel-Face Turn. Tirion's faith in turn purifies the Ashbringer. Players who owned the original sword were left disappointed.
    • Related to the above, rumors were spread during the Burning Crusade expansion that the aforementioned purification of Ashbringer would involve Turalyon and possibly Alleria Windrunner, and a mysterious smith in Outland hinted to be another son of Mograine. Nothing ever came of this, and Turalyon and Alleria have yet to be seen in game, despite promises that all the members of the Sons of Lothar would be featured in The Burning Crusade.
      • One loading screen tip highlights this plot thread by noting nobody has seen Turalyon or Alleria in years.
    • The Vashj'ir storyline, and the war between the naga and Neptulon's forces. Toward the end of the storyline, Neptulon is forced to retreat to the Throne of the Tides, and at the end of the Ozumat encounter, he is abducted by Ozumat again after players reduce Ozumat to around 10% HP. There was going to be a five-man dungeon in the Abyssal Maw, in which players would go inside the third ancient of Vashj'ir, and among other enemies, fight the Battlemaiden they had been controlling in the past visions quests. Blizzard scrapped the Abyssal Maw zones, deciding that Throne of the Tides was the conclusion to the storyline.
  • No less than two separate examples of this in Breath of Fire IV:
    • Thanks to Capcom's Bowdlerisation of non-Japanese, non-Playstation versions of the game, there is an Aborted Arc where Fou-lu is stabbed by Soniel...and then after Fou-lu looks astonished, the game fades to black. In the Japanese versions, this goes to Fou-lu dementedly laughing about foolish mortals, then the screen goes to black-on-red silhouette as Fou-lu goes Ax-Crazy and decapitates Soniel with the very sword he pulled out of his own back. This would normally fall under What Happened to the Mouse?, but as this is actually a major plot-point in the game, it's better treated here.
    • Game designers were intending to kill Yuna off in the original script. In fact (according to Word Of God) they had not one but two proposed methods: Mauling By Fou-Lu's Foo Dogs, or General Rhun killing him — neither of these got implemented, though, because the game ended up on a very tight schedule due to (at the time) a very real fear of Game Publisher Existence Failure and they didn't have time to code that part of the script. Yuna's death ended up just not happening.
    • The manga adaptation of IV gave some satisfaction on one end, and Much Cursing Ensued on the other. The manga adaptation of the scene between Fou-lu and Soniel features Fou-lu backstabbed and run completely through—with Fou-lu manifesting an energy sword and decapitating him whilst still having the Dragonslayer sticking through him; Fou-lu then shoves this out by hand. Truly a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Yuna, on the other hand, survives — and this is especially maddening, seeing as other material in the artbook that didn't get the chance to be included in the game was included in the manga. This also pretty makes Yuna a complete Karma Houdini.
  • Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier gave Daxter a Dark Eco-powered Evil Side just like his buddy Jak. It had interesting story potential since the Always Chaotic Evil Dark Makers were Precursors corrupted by Dark Eco, and Daxter was revealed to be a Precursor in the third game. This went nowhere.
  • Capcom left the original Dino Crisis story hanging, in favor of Dinosaurs In SPACE In the Future for the third (and final) installment.
  • It has been speculated that Chrono Cross was originally intended to contain a subplot going into greater detail about Serge's role as the Arbiter of the Frozen Flame. More generally, there are suspicions that Chrono Cross was intended to be significantly longer than it was, as many of its plot threads are concluded only in the form of a massive Info Dump right before the final battle that was added to the North American version of the game.
  • In chapter one of Valkyrie Profile, Lenneth decides to commit a vampire's name to memory after hearing about it after performing soul transfer on Belenus. However, we don't actually meet this vampire.
  • In the second Black Mirror game, there is talk early in the game of a woman named Kerry who committed suicide in the small Maine town. You never hear of her again once you leave the town.
  • In Gears of War 2, Delta Squad visits New Hope, an abandoned COG research facility filled with horrible humanoid mutants called "Sires." They are never explained in the game canon, the only evidence about them came from an Epic developer's post on the official forums where he claimed their story had been cut from 3. Essentially, they were performing horrible research on humans and Myrrah was one of the subjects. With her Human/Locust hybrid DNA, she was able escape and become leader of the Locust horde.
  • In Super Princess Peach, there are a series of cutscenes that talk about Perry (Peach's talking umbrella), and how he was once human. However, this never expanded upon and we never learn who was responsible.
  • Freya in Final Fantasy IX appears this way as she and her relationship with Fratley was never explored. We'll never know what's his deal.
  • The first Marvel Ultimate Alliance ended with a Sequel Hook where Galactus was revealed to be planning a strike against Earth. This was completely ignored in the sequel in favor of an adaptation of the Civil War storyline, with Galactus' planned attack only mentioned in passing.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Tali's recruitment and loyalty missions feature a subplot about dark energy reducing the mass of a star's interior, causing it to age unnaturally fast. Data on this phenomenon is considered important enough for the quarians to sacrifice whole teams of elite commandos in order to obtain it. Come the third game, this is never mentioned again. This was originally going to be the motive behind the Reaper cycle. Use of the Mass Relays causes dark energy (which is what was prematurely aging the star) to spiral dangerously out of control, threatening the whole galaxy. The Reapers cull advanced civilizations to stop this from happening. However, the departure of several key dev members caused Bioware to change it to the more controversial motivation that we actually got. There is the question of how this would have made sense, however, as civilizations finding and using the Mass Relays (which the Reapers built in the first place) was crucial to the Reapers' plans since the first game.
    • In June 2013, Drew Karpyshyn, the former lead writer for Mass Effect 1 & 2, confirmed this theory and elaborated a little bit on how the original Dark Energy ending for the trilogy would have played out.
  • The localization team of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, possibly assuming Ike/Elincia would happen in the sequel, ramped up the Ship Tease for the two. There was indeed some basis for it in the original script, but Ike says that he's going to go back to being a simple mercenary at the end- which would effectively kill his chance at a marriage with a ruling queen. Yet many players were surprised when the sequel not only sank the ship, but treated them as if there was no possibly romantic subtext between the two in the first place.
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars indicated that the Scrin force you fight off in the GDI and Nod campaigns is only a mining colony, and there's a whole invasion fleet waiting in the wings. C&C4: Tiberian Twilight completely ignores this plot arc.
    • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun imply Kane is an alien - as the Scrin recognize him during their invasion (and he's not human), and he shows awareness and affinity to Alien technology like the Tacitus. However the fourth game abandons most of it. Turns out Kane is the biblical Cain and he really was doomed to walk the earth - the alien tech is just a means to an end to resolving that.
  • In Metroid: Other M, a subplot arises concerning a traitor among the Federation soldiers, killing the others to preserve the Bottle Ship's secrets. However, the subplot just sort of drops off, and by the end of the game all the likely suspects are dead with no confirmation as to who the traitor was. The potential clues the game drops our way make it fairly easy to deduce it was James Pierce. Still, this is never addressed at any point, and there is no indication that Samus herself ever makes the connection.
  • In Heavy Rain, the recurring blackouts Ethan suffers after Jason's car accident that lead him to think he's the Origami Killer are no longer mentioned starting around the last quarter of the game. It was originally intended that the Killer's being present at Jason's accident formed a psychic link between him and Ethan that caused him to black out when the Killer committed his initial kidnapping, but this was dropped due to realism concerns.
  • Two Worlds II Seems to suffer heavily from this. The story goes on nicely until you finally make it out of the Goddamn Swamp, then you have to head out for the Big Bad's fortress only to end up being handed a Twist Ending the size of the castle you're infiltrating. It seems the game was originally planned to be significantly larger but the developers had to shorten it due to time and money constraints, so you get the feeling of having "skipped" a certain portion of the story when getting an ending which doesn't make much sense and feels extremely rushed.
  • Silent Hill 2, which arguably codified the series and ever game in the franchise thereon, dropped certain important plot points from Silent Hill 1, such as the presence of an addictive drug that the cult was using to control key members of the town.
  • The preview for the final episode of the Ambition series states that you'll advise Rolf Klink as he negotiates with "pure evil". This is not what happens in the episode at all, which instead focuses on the trial for Angie's murder.
    • From the same creator, Sir Basil Pike Public School mentions subplots based around a Big Game and a school dance, which are never brought up again.
  • What happens when you take about 30 arcs that never get resolved and stitch them together with a storyline that goes nowhere? Treasure Hunter G on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Awesome music and a unique battle system thankfully keep you from realizing it.
  • A minor series-wide one started in Assassins Creed II involves the Armor of Altair, which was forged from knowledge obtained from a Piece of Eden. You'd think, possessing defensive abilities that quite possibly outperform modern body armor, that this would become a convenient Hand Wave for why Ezio and possibly later assassins can shrug off gunfire as firearms become more and more advanced, but it's lost early on in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, never to be seen again.
  • In Star Trek Online, your Federation player is asked by an admiral to invade a Romulan outpost in search of illegal weapons. Instead, you find out that the weapons were actually equipment to find the Undine and the admiral is an Undine, who replaces the Romulan commander you just murdered and escapes. However, this isn't followed up on afterwards, with Cryptic Studios mentioning that, yes, they were, but they never could and they hate that they couldn't.
    • This is hardly the only aborted arc (the most prominent one is probably the Klingon Fek'Ihri arc, which ends with a blatant sequel hook in the form of evidence the Fek'Ihri may have been bioengineered creatures, possibly using Hur'q (the Hur'q being an alien race that once enslaved the Klingons) technology. Nothing ever comes of this), though sometimes it's complicated by picking up the arc again but after enough time in-universe that there were changes and events during the skip never entirely explained, and in at least one case an arc was 'unaborted' by Word Of God exposition not actually mentioned in-game.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, you can find a positive pregnancy test in the Joker's office, indicating that Harley Quinn is pregnant. In the Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC, you find several negative birth control tests and the test's box has been changed to read "may give false positive".
    • In Batman: Arkham Origins, it is revealed that the Joker has taken over Black Mask's gang and taken Black Mask hostage. When you rescue Black Mask, he threatens Batman to stay away from the Joker, claims that the Joker is his kill, and runs off when Batman is ambushed by Copperhead. He never follows through on this threat and is never seen again outside of his "most wanted" mission, which involves destroying drug caches and has nothing to do with the Joker.
  • The Secret Of Monkey Island has one point like this early in the game. where Fester Shinetop (LeChuck in disguise) lures you to a back alley and threatens you. In this alleyway, there is a door which Guybrush comments is locked. The original plan for the game was to use this scene to show you this alleyway, then later on have LeChuck bring Elaine through this door and into some underground tunnels, where you would rescue her, but space and time reasons meant they aborted this arc. They instead replaced it with the scene in the church. However they left the alley scene in for the sake of establishing Shinetop's character. The next time you see him, he is about to kidnap Elaine but doesn't because you are there.
    • They would return to the idea of LeChuck hiding in underground tunnels for the second game, and the elevator in those tunnels even opened at that door and alleyway (using the same artwork, slightly modified with barricades preventing you from exiting). This doesn't stop it from qualifying though as LeChuck doesn't actually capture Elaine at all in the second game.
  • In Shockwave: Operation Jumpgate, the Omaha discovers alien prison transports carrying non-human prisoners, establishing that the invaders are not the only aliens in existence. While Shockwave 2 explores other alien races further, the prisoners from Operation Jumpgate are forgotten. From the dynamic between the races in Shockwave 2, they are likely Sensci.
  • A secret message from the original God of War had Kratos revealing he discovered a secret chamber where is hidden the soul of the god Ares he just defeated. Then he considers using it against Zeus. This is never addressed in the sequels and as of the third game, it will never be again since Zeus and most of the gods are dead.
  • As many have noticed, every central character in Xeno Gears besides Fei, Citan, Elly, and Bart is kind of shunted to the side story-wise after the arc they make their first appearance in. One of the more notable instances being Emeralda, who gets a whole sidequest devoted to her growing up so she can be more useful to her 'father,' Fei, only to fall out of the story for the remainder of the game- and that's if you did that sidequest to begin with.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive
    • The comic was going to have Ellen become an alcoholic, but Dan felt that would be too dark. The way Dan gets out of this is beautiful in its Lampshade Hanging. A Foreshadowing sequence has Ellen out all night, Fairy-Doll-Nanase crying, and a six-pack of beer missing from the Dunkels' fridge. One How We Got Here sequence later, all this has been resolved without the beer even being opened, and Eliot puts it back behind the Red Herring in the fridge.
    • Sensei Greg, Lord Tedd, and several other characters have disappeared or show up almost never. Sensei Greg has now returned, but whether or not Lord Tedd's arc will actually be concluded is still up for grabs. Dan has admitted that he introduced the Lord Tedd thing a LOT sooner than he really should have, but he still intends to get back to it and wrap it up eventually. Just don't hold your breath on it.
    • The Susan school uniform storyline was given a very abrupt, almost asspull-level resolution, thanks to the Ellen and Nanase storyline running way, way too long (though the characters don't think it was any less abrupt than the readers did).
  • MegaTokyo
    • As of this writing, the webcomic has abandoned the "conscience" arc, supposedly because Fred Gallagher took offense at some fans calling them "insects" (particularly because the arc's protagonist is based off his own wife). Seraphim, Asmodeus, and Boo only have the occasional appearance nowadays, while Seraphim's sister has more or less disappeared entirely. The last two chapters also did not have a CEA "check-in" at the end, as had been the norm; however, a new aspect was introduced in chapter 8 ("big mode"), so there's hope yet.
    • Specifically it was the "Seraphim's sisters" arc that was pulled to a quick close and never revisited. It's likely the original three consciences have fewer appearances these days because there's little time for them given everything else that's going on. It also can be argued that Piro and Largo need their help less and less as the story progresses.
    • The complete abandonment very early on of what was essentially the founding premise of the series: trying to get back to America.
  • Occurs in an arc of Pv P, where the characters had travelled back in time, but quickly wrapped up halfway through due to fan complaints. The writer later said he regretted buckling under the pressure.
  • Melonpool abandoned three arcs back to back in favor of continuity reboots.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the older Dr. Crabtree arc was concluded rather abruptly with her death by an EMP (long story...) with Torg, unaware of this event, saying he sensed a million plot threads crying out at once and suddenly stopping.
  • Steve, a secondary character in Questionable Content, fell off the map for a while after getting a new girlfriend, Meena, who was living with her ex-boyfriend, Dave, who she broke up with because he was "too perfect" for her. He reappeared, revealing in a series of flashbacks that Meena had married Dave, and then we see a series of almost nonsequitur flashback images that have nothing to do with this point.
  • X-Entertainment's photo comic Cobra's Chia Plot, in which some Cobra soldiers grow a Chia Pet. The fourth installment ended on a cliffhanger where one of the Joes asks the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for help, but the fifth installment was never posted.
    • The 2008 Advent Calendar was put in a similar limbo. The 2009 calendar dedicated much of its time with making up for it.
  • Furry webcomic Fuzzy Things had an ongoing subplot about spoiled sparrow Shiva trying to find the whereabouts of her old teacher. Eventually, kid genius Rex was able to get her access to a restricted database that contained the answer she was looking for. This subplot is then never brought up again.
  • In order to keep the self-imposed PG rating, Housepets! decided to drop the catnip arc early. Considering the one comic that he put up in the extras section was especially squicky...
  • Lampshaded, then subverted in Monster of the Week. When Scully notes that season arc seems to have disappeared, it pops up again.
  • Nedroid often has story arcs that quickly dissolve and quietly buried.
  • Scary Go Round had a time travel segment that dropped suddenly. Two girls travel to the 1800's and are getting caught up in a cult and prophesy. Then their comrade from the present alters time at the moment they steal a time-pot
  • At the beginning of Looking for Group, the main plot revolved around the group searching for a mysterious "Sword of Truth" that would ostensibly be used to settle a debt owed by one of the group members to a powerful Commander from the Legaran military. But once the group went to war with Legara, the Sword seemingly dropped off the map, with the closest thing to a mention being the "Fork of Truth" that shows up from time to time as a joke. While some foreshadowing hints that the Sword will have a major part to play in the end of the story, the search for the Sword has seemingly disappeared.
  • The Japanese Beetle started a storyline where America was meant to be the villain...just before 9/11, at which point author Dave White openly admitted to dropping the idea, saying that it felt inappropriate. This also happens in-story, as the original plot is interrupted by the World Trade Center attack, and both the plot and the new character introduced specifically for it simply disappear.
  • Tweetics spent a considerable amount of time building up to a plot to take over the Vatican before the entire plot (and characters) were dropped entirely with no resolution.
  • A yearly tradition at Platypus Comix involved the addition of a new chapter to Keiki's Huge Christmas Epic," which detailed the consequences of Santa Claus giving Andrea an infinite number of wishes for December. The comic began in 2002, but Peter Paltridge hasn't added any chapters since 2007. Word Of God says there was never a definite plan for a story, and the previous chapters didn't get many hits.
  • The love letter arc from Original Life. Maybe. It has the tendency to pop up whenever people least expect it and then get dropped again right away.
  • This conversation from Homestuck explains the abortion of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff's nacho party arc.
    DAVE: making a ten part story about nachos was always a bullshit idea
  • Duane from Penny and Aggie, in the era when the authors still hoped to make it a print comic, uses the phrase "that's just gay," and Aggie, while she doesn't comment, is startled at his homophobia. Over the coming years, the relationship between the eponymous pair becomes a Slap-Slap-Kiss lesbian romance, and the Coming-Out Story of Sara and, to a lesser degree, Stan, becomes a major subplot... and T (Gisčle having left) would rather write it off, despite his earlier assurance that it would be a plot point.
    • The filler story "Min-Jung", which took place in South Korea and featured none of the regular cast, was initially explained to have great impact on the latter stages of the comic. When years passed and "Min-Jung" never got a reference again, T eventually admitted he hadn't found a place for it. The rather hostile reaction to the arc probably aided this. In the strip's epilog, Yun-Sung, the main character, finally puts in a small appearance as Duane's girlfriend at a five-year high school reunion. She was really just used as an exposition device for the a few dangling plot threads related to Duane and Charlotte.
  • The Bandit Ringtail guest comic from Nip and Tuck ended with one of these. Bandit meets Sierra and she calls him out on getting into a fight that he couldn't hope to win, and then she kisses him on the cheek. The guy that Bandit fought mocks him for losing, then gets challenged to a fight by a very large, very muscular female boxer. And then it cuts out. There's no scene of the guy getting his butt kicked, no scene of Bandit leaving Malarky County, nothing.
  • Good Luck Eyepatch-tan! has the Pokémon/Kamen Rider Divurtle arc, which ended abruptly on strip 48 due to technical difficulties. While Nocchifire, the author, initially promised that it would return, he eventually abandoned that idea and decided to scrap that arc altogether.
  • What's referred to as the Black and White Era of Voodoo Walrus aborted what looked to be a story arc involving the duo being forced into a making a movie. Word Of God suggests that this occurred to artistic burnout which quickly led to a year long hiatus for the comic.
  • The original run Commander Kitty ended on a cliffhanger before experiencing a Continuity Reboot.
  • Thanks to creator Christian Weston Chandler's ever-changing fleets of fancy, Sonichu had many of these. One of these involved a plot which Chris-Chan Sonichu, Wes-li Sonichu and Saramah Rosechu were supposed to be instrumental in defeating Ancient Evil Count Graduon, but Chris turned around and Saramah was Put on a Bus for another Love Interest.

    Web Original 
  • Given that the basis of Survival of the Fittest is for characters to be killed off, this tends to happen a good deal. Many a character has died before fulfilling every goal their handler wanted to achieve with them. Outside circumstances — such as other characters in the planned arc being unavailable, also contribute to this occurring.
    • For example, Madelaine Shirohara (of the first game) was originally supposed to be killed by Psychopathic Manchild Cillian Crowe, then his handler abruptly disappeared. The arc that replaced this one, though, was arguably one of the best in SOTF history, so it isn't all bad.
  • Tech Infantry was full of aborted arcs, thanks to its multiple-author nature and Creator Breakdown.
    • A planned subplot with the Von Shrakenberg family getting involved with a Corrupt Corporate Executive was quietly dropped when Erich got too busy trying to fight a losing war.
    • Icarus Hicks' planned Batman Gambit using mind control to fix EVERYTHING wrong with the universe died when his character was killed off due to Creator Breakdown.
    • Andrea Treschi's capture by the crew of the EFS Schaumburg was originally supposed to lead to both groups being forced to become anti-Federation rebels and go on the run together. The plan was aborted when the authors involved couldn't agree on a coherent plan for how to go about it. The various Author Avatar characters among the crew quietly drifted off to other assignments and other plot threads.
    • The mysterious Mr. Agli as supposed to tempt Erich Von Shrakenberg into rebelling against the Federation with warnings of an even worse plot to topple the Grand Council. The author involved couldn't make the plot work, so it was quietly dropped shortly thereafter in favor of trying to stop another character's planned overthrow of the government through different means.
      • Which led to another Aborted Arc when Andrea Treschi's Batman Gambit involving bringing disgraced politician Samuel Wall back from retirement and exile was brought to an abrupt end when Erich Von Shrakenberg turned down Wall's tempting offer and beat Wall's skull in with his own fireplace poker.
    • The entire Tech Infantry: Exodus spin-off project was aborted when the authors involved got too interested in world-building and map-creation and suddenly realized they'd forgotten to come up with a plot or characters to place in this 'verse.
    • And many, many more.
  • An early scene in Awkward. has Lester remarking that Ernie's name rings a bell, which Kevin brushes off. This was originally supposed to lead to a confrontation between Lester and Ernie, complete with backstory, but had to be scrapped when Ernie's actor bailed on the project; Jermaine was brought in as a substitute jerkass for Lester to butt heads with and overcome.
  • An early plot in Valenth involved mysterious interdimensional entities known only as "the Presences" appearing and causing havoc, bringing hordes of imps with them. Things get worse very quickly, with the near-extinction of several major species and a prominent NPC turning into a giant nightmare monster and going on a rampage. After one of the Presences was captured by Mad Scientists the others summoned their "master", Xilas the Cold— and the entire plotline was abruptly dropped. Almost a whole year later, after much Wild Mass Guessing by the userbase that every subsequent plot event had something to do with the Presences, the creator announced that the entire arc had been retconned away. It was never intended to be more that a small silly story for Halloween, but it had gotten completely out of hand and didn't work in canon.
  • MSF High Forum: Any time a GM quits, or a character with significant plot lines leaves.
  • The plotline about Willie's other allegiances was dropped midway through in the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society. Now subverted, as it's being reposted, albeit very slowly.
  • The Irate Gamer started an arc involving robots and said the next episode will be a finale. However, the next episode was about He-Man, with no mention of the robots.
    • Even earlier than that, the end of the Aladdin episode had the Genie take refuge in IG's Game Genie. Three years later and this plot thread still remains hanging.
  • Behind The Veil has several, mostly due to players leaving and never returning. Key mention would be the long-running feud between Kathleen Allan and May Lawrence which ended when the latter's player disappeared and never returned.
  • BIONICLE web-serial examples:
    • The arc: Four of the Barraki reuniting and leading a humongous army against the city of Metru Nui. What became of it: They just turned back, kinda. Reason: Writer's Schedule Slip.
    • The arc: The Shadowed One finding a cache of long-lost viruses, killing Ancient (his crime partner and a double agent for the good guys in secret), with the intention of using the viruses to take over the universe. What became of it: Nothing, just the needless killing-off of a potentially interesting character (and plot). Reason: Schedule Slip.
  • The Onion ran an article about the Mysterious Congressman running for president. Some time later, this was followed up with the Mysterious Congressman challenging the other candidates to a debate at dawn. He was never mentioned again. Since both articles mentioned him carving things into Sam Brownback's backside, it seems that he was intended to be used more.
  • The Game Grumps had planned a playthrough of Conkers Bad Fur Day, but because the game starts very slowly and there wasn't much discussion between the two during the playthrough, this idea was shelved.
    • According to Egoraptor at a panel, it was also because Jon - who has previously included the game in several 'Best Of' lists - was slowly "realizing it wasn't all that great." Ego described the experience as "depressing", and also claimed Conker was the worst game they ever played for the show.
      • As clarified by Jon in the Banjo-Kazooie episode, Jon's opinion of Conker hasn't changed but he realized why Arin didn't like it, and that due to it being particularly dialogue heavy (like Secret of Mana, which they also abandoned) it wasn't the best choice for Game Grumps.
    • Jon absolutely hated Demon's Crest and they actually got into a fight over it. Whether or not they air that episode remains to be seen.
      • Jon decided that they'd give it another try, and have started playing it on the show. He addressed their previous playthrough, saying that when they played it the first time he didn't much care for it.
    • Several games they've played have either gone unfinished or have gone months without updates, despite their last episodes ending normally in the middle of the action. See the "on hold" and "unfinished" lists on their trope page.
      • The worst example of this is their playthrough of Sonic 06. The series is over 100 episodes and 20 hours long, and right before they finished Silver's Story and moved on to the final chapter, Jon decided to leave Game Grumps.
  • The Sharkasm Crew's Paranormal Activity series of tournaments was meant to last 14 entries in accordance to one of the Crew's Arc Numbers. However, things such as university pushed them to finish it at 10.
  • Retsupurae started a Rongplay of King's Quest 7, but abandoned it at some point. This has been lampshaded several times, such as the description for the last Noir video (which also seemed aborted before they finished it over a stream) saying "Now you can't say we never finish what we start! No I've never heard of King's Quest VII."
  • In a panel discussion, the creators of Marble Hornets revealed that the skull masked figure seen in Entry 26 was meant to be Jay. They had even considered going back to this as late as Season 3.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Vlad's plans with Fright Knight, the Crown of Fire, his Elaborate Underground Base, and his acquirement of Axion Labs. Executive Meddling played a part in it all. For that matter Danny and Valerie's Dating Catwoman plotline.
    • The return of Danny's evil older self, which was hinted at at the end of his sole appearance.
    • At the end of the last episode before the Finale, Valerie discovers that Vlad (who gave her her weapons) and Danny's "cousin" Danielle are halfas. She implies she'll do something about it. Then comes the finale, and nothing happens.
    • The fate of Danielle was going to be getting adopted by the Fentons, if rumors are to be believed.
  • A Season 4 episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ended with the people of the USA becoming aware of the turtles' existence after the president (no, not him; different guy in this) came face to face with them and mistook them for aliens. This was never mentioned again. More glaringly, an ongoing plot in the series' sixth season, featuring Corrupt Corporate Executive Darius Dun, was aborted when the series was re-retooled and the turtles were sent back into the present.
    • A LOT of the 2003 TMNT series' story arcs went nowhere due to Executive Meddling. Not only was the sixth season's story (Fast Forward) supposed to continue so that it could wrap up the hanging threads there, but the shoehorned seventh season's story arc (Back to the Sewer) was also supposed to wrap up ALL loose plot threads in an arc called "The Shredder Wars"... before the series was canceled. Granted, the series was then finished off with a mega-crossover love letter to fans TV movie, but that never wrapped up anything other than the final fate of a couple of series regulars.
  • In the Season 2 finale of Code Lyoko, Franz Hopper, in his diary, mentions that Lyoko and XANA were originally created to stop a certain "Project Carthage", a military program designed to "disrupt enemy communications". This led to the expectation that the next season would deal with the Project somewhat, while delving into Lyoko's history some more. Not so. Season 3 took off in a different direction, and other than the fanon assumption that "The Men in Black" seen throughout the show are from this organization, Project Carthage is never, ever mentioned again. For two seasons. Not even when the show ends.
    • As well as the unresolved storyline with the fate of Aelita's mother that was teased throughout season 4 and never resolved. It was brought up again in the short-lived Code Lyoko: Evolution.
  • In Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable has a romantic arc with Zita Flores, a cute girl who seems to share his interests in gaming and entertainment, albeit not identically (she is a fan of sword-and-sorcery RPG's, whereas Ron is a straight FPS and Action/Adventure gamer). After two episodes and a meeting in a movie which might be construed as a first date, followed by joining forces in an MMORPG plot, she is not seen until the Grand Finale, where she's randomly paired off with Felix the wheelchair guy.
  • The season one finale of Avatar The Last Airbender features Aang traveling to the spirit world meeting the potent character Koh the Face Stealer, who ominously says "We'll meet again," as Aang leaves. They never did, not even in the second season of The Legend of Korra which dealt with nothing but spirits.
    • In a series of flash games that take place between seasons 2 and 3, they do meet again and Koh is more than a little eager to pay Aang back for escaping the last time they met.
    • Zuko's mom, who was brought up several times (even in the epilogue of the final episode), has not been heard of. Even with the implication that she might not be dead. It was finally resolved in a graphic novel trilogy.
      • And while they didn't meet Koh, they did meet Koh's mom to give Ursa her old face back in the comic book.
  • Birdboy's debut episode in Birdman ended with Birdman promising to help him find his father, and the search was occasionally brought up in Birdboy's later appearances. However, nothing ever came of it.
  • In an early Gargoyles episode, Demona is left thinking that Elisa is dead, which Goliath says is probably for the best for now. Nothing really came of it before she saw Elisa alive again in the season one finale, probably because the writers realized how hard it would be to keep Elisa's existence a secret from Demona while she was still living her normal life.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle had a storyline about Boris counterfeiting cereal box tops to procure all the prizes from cereal promotions and ruin the world economy. This did not sit well with General Mills, the show's sponsor (and owner, who likely thought it was inappropriate case of Biting-the-Hand Humor), and "The Great Box Top Caper" was stopped after a few episodes.
  • In the third series of The Transformers, Blitzwing began to have doubts about the Decepticon cause, and a deleted scene even has him considering joining the Autobots. The writers wanted him to become an Autobot in a later episode; however, the editors forced them to instead give this arc to new toy Octane. (A close viewing of one episode featuring the character suggests that this change happened at the very last minute - Octane references events that happened to Blitzwing, and demonstrates a number of the latter's quirks like getting stuck while transforming.)
  • Two cases in Max Steel; a flashback shows that Jefferson Smith's predecessor as CEO of N-Tek (and, by extension, the man in charge of the secret espionage division) was a man named Marco Nathanson, who bore an uncanny resemblance to season one Big Bad John Dread. According to the original producer, this was actually meant as a Red Herring, though later said by others to be exactly what it looked like, but neither interpretation is followed up on. Even more blatant, the episode "Truth be Told" features real-life athlete Jeremy McGrath discovering that the protagonist and his friends are ex-secret-agents-turned-vigilantes, and he suggests bringing in one or two friends he has on the sports circuit who could help the heroes save the day on occasion. This is the final scene of the episode, except the episode is also the Series Finale. Along with half the premise of the show, this was never picked up on in the subsequent made-for-TV movies.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien;
  • As Told by Ginger has a particularly jarring one in the episode "Wicked Game": a deeply involved plot about a plan involving Ginger's best friends to break her and Darren up. In a series that normally follows things through, the sudden lack of consequence to this episode is especially jarring.
  • In the third season of King of the Hill, an ongoing plot thread dealt with Hank and Peggy attempting to have another baby but failing due to Hank's narrow urethra. What made this more aggravating for the Hills was that Hank's father Cotton had somehow managed to impregnate his wife Didi, with Cotton being 75 and Didi the same age as Hank. This thread followed only into the first episode of the following season and was then dropped.
    • It's not that it was unceremoniously dropped. Peggy's skydiving accident in the season finale explicitly put paid to the idea of their having more children, as she spent months recovering from the injury.
  • Due to being Screwed by the Network, Batman: The Brave and the Bold had to abort the Shards of Equinox arc, an arc that would have focused on finding the various personality shards of Equinox that were scattered through the universe. The Grand Finale episode even made a Lampshade Hanging over the cancellation of the show by being about getting the show cancelled.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
    • Due to being cancelled after only two seasons, the show had a few of these. Notably, the heavily foreshadowed showdown with Surtur and the Enchantress never took place, and Maria Hill's repeated rants about a Superhuman Registration Act never panned out.
    • The official tie-in comic had a story with the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, which heavily implied that the two teens would be joining The Avengers at a later date. Thanks to the cancellation of both the show and the comic, this never occurred.
  • The toy company holds the reins of the Transformers Animated show and when they feel it's time to change promotions, it's dropped like a hot potato regardless of ratings. Every set of producers had to deal with never knowing if they'd be renewed or not, and every series got wrapped up in a hurry when the plug got pulled with little notice:
    • Due to being Screwed by the Network, the series left a few plot threads hanging, such as Meltdown making a return, Waspinator coming up with a plan while putting himself together, where Sari's protoform came from, and both Lockdown and Swindle escaping.
    • This goes back to G1, where "The Rebirth" three-parter introduces a ton of new characters and situations... and suddenly has to wrap up the entire show, as during its production it was cut from a fourth season to a five-parter to a three-parter. The various comic series have faced the same problem, though with the Dreamwave Comics series, it had more to do with the death of the company itself. There's one exception to the rule: Transformers Prime. Despite all Hasbro's talk of the constant reboots ending in favor of a "new, aligned continuity" Genre Savvy producers plotted a three-season series with a beginning, middle, and end. When that end came a bit sooner than intended with season three's episode count getting cut down, it apparently didn't hamper them much. As such, we get the only TF property to finish all it started and have a truly satisfying ending instead of a rushed wrapup.
  • Frisky Dingo intentionally played with this trope on at least two occasions.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987: The episode "Raphael Meets His Match" introduced a character named Mona Lisa and ended with her moving to the sewers and the implication she would go on more adventures with the Turtles. She never appeared again.
  • My Little Pony Equestria Girls features the revelation that Flash Sentry and Sunset Shimmer used to date. For the most part, nothing is done with this - Sunset does not even so much as appear on-screen at the same time as Flash Sentry, and they never acknowledge each other. And then the pony Flash seen at the end, with hints that he and Twilight will hook up, is nowhere to be seen in the show, with the crew more or less considering the film non-canon. And then Flash appeared in a cameo role in Season 4, screaming to fans "Yes the Movie is canon!" (It just doesn't have a huge effect on the series overall plot) A better example of an aborted Arc is Human!Rarity being the girl who ran against Sunset Shimmer during the spring fling. Word of Dante confirms it was her and that a few hints to this were left in the final version of the film.
  • At the end of the Futurama movie, Into the Wild Green Yonder, the Encyclopod decides to preserve the DNA of Homo sapiens after the death of Hutch Waterfall. When Fry asks why he's doing this when Encyclopods are supposed to preserve the DNA of Endangered Species, the Encyclopod flies off without any further explanation. When the show was Un-Canceled, none of the episodes bothered to expand upon this plot point. And then the show had another finale, which effectively means this plot turned into a case of Fridge Horror, implying humans are a danger to themselves.
  • There are numerous instances of this in the Total Drama series:
    • Action has Justin as the main antagonist, DJ's illegal alliance with Chef Hatchet, and Harold's one-sided friendship and attraction with Heather (which actually started as early as the post-Island special). By the season's halfway point, all three of these subplots are abandoned entirely, with the first example as a result of the studio realizing too late how ineffective Justin was in this role and leading to Courtney being his hastily-chosen replacement in order to avoid rewrites. Word Of God has confirmed that Justin's role as antagonist in the earlier episodes of Total Drama Action was deliberately dropped because they realized that he was way too self-absorbed to ever fully put his head in the game; his claims of being a master strategist were all his ego talking. Alejandro, a character that debuted in the following season, is essentially what they wanted with Justin.
    • Action and World Tour share the alleged friendship between Heather and Leshawna after being at each other's throats for the entirety of the first season, only for this to disintegrate in World Tour.
    • World Tour has Ezekiel finally return as a full-fledged contestant, only to be the second one eliminated and infamously reduced to a cringeworthy parody of Gollum. Others include the aborted romantic arc between Owen and Izzy from Island, Courtney and Gwen's newfound friendship, Blaineley's participation in the game, and the increased focus on several of the early losers from Island. Owen & Izzy's romantic plot ended due to the same order of Executive Meddling that broke up Gwenx Trent & Duncanx Courtney.
    • Revenge of the Island includes the short-lived love triangle between Zoey, Mike, and Anne Maria. Another, depending on who you ask is the rivalry between Brick and Jo, which some went so far as to speculate would eventually culminate in romance.
    • Both half's of Season 5 suffer this too.
      • The first half All-Stars is one long pastiche of aborted arcs, from Lindsay's short-live participation, to Jo and Lightning's continued rivalry, the Gwen and Duncan romance, Duncan's personal crisis and his conflict with Mike/Mal, Cameron's efforts to save Mike from Mal, Courtney and Gwen's friendship yet again, the Scott and Courtney romance, Sierra fending without Cody, Jo and Heather's attempted alliance with Gwen, Alejandro flirting with Gwen, etc.
      • The second half of the season Pahkitew Island has Jasmine's friendship with Samey (due to the latter being eliminated), Samey trying to be her own person (dropped because she tricks Amy into being eliminated in her place leaving her to pretend to be her for two episodes before being actually eliminated), and Scarlett's role as the main antagonist since the very episode where she takes over is also the one where she's eliminated alongside Max..
  • The Clam Cannon from the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "C.A.N.N.O.N.".
  • Planet Sheen was quietly canceled following the awkward airing of the 24th episode in February 2013 note , leaving the series to end on the sad note of Sheen never finding a way to return to Earth.

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alternative title(s): What Happened To The Elephant
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