Chris: But mom, what’s Dad gonna do for a job?
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?
Oh yeah! What was up with that? That bugged the crap out of me.
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
open/close all folders
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.
- 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. It has yet to be seen when the episodes will air, but as it stands, the storyline just abruptly stopped.
- In the Pokémon manga:
- Judging by the presence of a volume number, it would seem that Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 was intended to have a sequel, but it's been a few years and there hasn't been any sign of another volume. The series even ends with a continue page. Judging from the authors previous problems with publishing, it may just be going through Development Hell.
- Similarly Pokémon Golden Boys ended abruptly after three volumes. It didn't finish the Johto arc and despite numerous references to Red we never see him.
- 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.
- A famous example: Dagomon and the Dark Ocean from the second season of Digimon.
- Code Geass lost a couple of important story elements thanks to the time slot shift for the second season and the Re Tool 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 realised 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.
- 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.
- A number of these appear to have come out of the Green Lantern books in recent years, 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.
- 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.
- Narrowly averted in the Pony POV Series. LZ0291, the co-writer in charge of writing the Shining Armor arc/side story, had a Creator Breakdown when he thought the arc wasn't popular and considering abandoning it, only for the fans to talk him out of it. And while he did eventually walk out on the project, the other co-writers took over writing the arc in order to keep it going.
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 Cracked.com put it, "The original ending is available as a bonus scene on the recent 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 Pleasen Uce (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; In another, Michelle's boyfriend Mike are 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 most recent 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.
- 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 Fox Trot 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.
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 Mc Mahon?" was abruptly halted when 2-3 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 Mc Mahon. 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 2nd 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. WWE.com 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've made the angle work (as people know what it's 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.
- TNA examples would be Samoa Joe's abduction (...by ninjas) and the mystery Ace of Spades assailant. Both seem to have been dropped in favour 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.
- Now we have the Anonymous Raw General Manager storyline to add 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.
- Speaking of WCW, the mystery of the Hummer driver went on so long, it seemed like it would eventually wind up here, until finally they did reveal who it was, but so far after the fact that no one really cared anymore.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vampire The Requiem has a lot of potential aborted arcs. The possibility that Anoushka (Vlad Dracula's daughter) 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 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.
- 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 recently shut-down Adventurers' Club in Disney World's Pleasure Island.
- These are also a form of Dummied Out.
- Near the beginning of Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Gepetto explains that Yuri is gathering a great deal of Malice, hatred spawned by slain demons. (This was an important game mechanic in the original.) His Malice even spawns a Boss Battle, Arachne. After that fight, the Malice is never mentioned again until Stupid Nicolai unleashes it all on the world, which sets up the plot of From the New World.
- 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 think will turn out to be the robot from the download video, but several still disagree.
- All Mega Man X games up through 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 didn't fare too well on elaborating Zero's backstory either.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Blizz Con 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 Wot LK.
- 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 Bad Ass 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.
- 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 5-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.
- Remember how there was a significant Drug Trade plot in the initial Silent Hill game? No? That's because it was quietly dropped in favor of the much more interesting Evil Town. So much so that in the 7 subsequent games and two movies, the drug trade only was mentioned in ONE of them (the second worst, in fact), and was a side mention at that.
- 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.
- 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, uh, 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.
- The localization of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance added a fair amount of Ship Tease for Ike/Elincia, which came back to bite them when Radiant Dawn axed the possibility of it happening.
- Command And Conquer 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 And Conquer Tiberium Wars and Command And 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, by the end of the game, all the likely suspects are dead with no confirmation as to who the traitor was.
- 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.
- 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 recent 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's 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 realised 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.
- 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.
- 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. Three seasons later and so far this hasn't been addressed or mentioned. 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.
- 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 meeting the potent character Koh the Face Stealer, who ominously says "We'll meet again," as Aang leaves. They never did, but it can be easily fanwanked that Koh was talking about a future Avatar.
- 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. Then again, this may be less of an Aborted Arc and more of some kind of Sequel Hook.
- It will finally be explored in an upcoming comic book.
- Though this is apparently now used as a Sequel Hook, it was not intended as such, as during the third season, the creators were informed they wouldn't get the planned fourth season, so they had to wrap up seasons 3 and 4 in the remainder of the third season. This arc was a casualty and became an Aborted Arc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Transformers Generation 1, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Due to being Screwed by the Network, Transformers Animated 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.
- Inverted in Season Three of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Governor Roshti from the Kidnapped arc was originally going to be a friend of Ahsoka Tano's parents, but the writers didn't intend to do anything with this, so it was cut so that the fans wouldn't think it was this trope.
- 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.