Call Back
Awkward. Also, a callback between comics, in fact — from Sticky Dilly Buns to Ménage ŕ 3
"Remember how that happened? That didn't stop being a thing that happened or anything."
Homestuck, (referencing an event from thousands of pages ago)

A relevant reference to an event taking place earlier than the timeline of the present story. One type of call back is a Running Gag. This is often used to remind viewers that there is an ongoing storyline. More or less a Shout-Out to itself — but if that's all that it's doing, then it's a Continuity Nod; a Call Back brings back an element that is actually relevant again.


Alternately, in comedy: Tying the loose ends of a later, seemingly unrelated, joke to one earlier in the show; better known as a Brick Joke.

In a masterclass on playwriting, Alan Ayckbourn mentions this trope specifically, calling it "The Plant". Early on, one of his two demonstration actors mentions that he has an urge to sneeze when sexually aroused. Then at the very end:

Actress: Do you think we could become more than friends?
Actor: Aaaachoo!

Sometimes a Call Back will take up so much of a chapter or episode that will become a Sequel Episode to the earlier story it's referencing.

The opposite of this is the Call Forward. See also Chekhov's Gun, Brick Joke, Bookends, Mythology Gag, Sequel Episode and Internal Homage.

Works with their own pages


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The final season of Sailor Moon had oodles of references to the first season, mostly in the relationship between Sailor Moon and Sailor Star Fighter, including Usagi and Seiya meeting almost exactly like Usagi and Mamoru did, Seiya calling Usagi "odango" (what Mamoru called Usagi, more commonly known as "meatball head" to Americans), and culminating in Seiya throwing a rose to stop a bad guy while wearing an outfit remarkably similar to Tuxedo Mask's (with Tuxedo's theme playing in the background, even).
  • Berserk: There are frequent references to characters and events that happened earlier in the story's timeline, creating a sense of déjà vu.
    • During the part where Griffith rescues Charlotte from Ganishka, we see Borkoff, the Apostle who took Guts's arm.
    • Guts' fight with the Holy Iron Chain Knights in the woods is like a repeat of the Hundred Man Fight against Adon's mercenaries, with Farnese playing the part of Adon Coborlwitz and Azan playing the part of Samson. The part where Guts dodges several Mooks with spears attacking him is an almost exact reenactment.
    • The Lost Children chapter is focused around Rosine and includes her two insect henchmen, who were earlier introduced when they attacked Rickert's camp with the Count just before the Eclipse. Furthermore, Lost Children broadly follows the pattern of the Guardians of Desire run from volumes 2-3 using different characters in similar roles. Rosine takes the place of the Count and Jill takes the place of Theresia. Just like Guardians of Desire, it closely explores the backstory of one apostle and their Morality Pet as well as Guts' attempts to both pursue Revenge and scare away said Morality Pet with his Jerkass Façade.
    • Guts explicitly compares his confrontation with the reincarnated Griffith on the Hill of Swords to the time when they fought on a snowy hill to decide the issue of him leaving the Hawks. This time, he notes, he was the one who was defeated and deserted rather than the other way around. It also provides Guts with a rematch against Zodd, where he gets to show how much stronger he's become.
    • Guts' fight against Grunbeld slightly later is also much like Guts' first fight with Zodd, where he is facing a demonic Blood Knight who promises to destroy him if he does not put up a good fight. The way that he praises Guts after he succeeds in cutting his shoulder, and then transforms in a cloud of mist, is almost exactly the same.
  • Dragon Ball
    • The Majin Buu Saga is full of Call Backs to events all the way back to Dragon Ball, usually in the form of characters reminiscing about the old days. In one episode, nearly every single villain, no matter how minor, the main characters fought in Dragon Ball Z appears briefly in Hell, cheering on the current Big Bad... except Babidi, who's still angry that Buu killed him, and is rooting for Goku to give him what-for. Everyone except Raditz and Nappa. At least Nappa appears in a full scene in GT and not some blink-and-you-miss-it cameo.
    • One Non-Serial Movie has a fairly humorous Call Back hanging a lampshade on the power-creep endemic to the series: as a result of Hell having a slight dead management problem, Freeza is alive and wreaking havoc again, and is dealt with (with one punch!) by post Buu-arc Gohan without even breaking a sweat.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, the Z-Fighters learn that they need six good-hearted Saiyans for Goku to achieve Super Saiyan God form, but they're one Saiyan short. Bulma mentions Vegeta's brother Tarble, who was introdiced in a TV special three years earlier (but Vegeta dismisses the notion by pointing out that Tarble is on a distant planet and they have no way of contacting him).
  • Tower of God has a pretty sweet one: while being forced to kill her niece and rival/foe Anak, Androssi has a flashback to the training sessions with, where she had with Baam about loneliness and cafeteria food. Deciding get on over on Ren, that smug bastard, she instead kneels down to her and says "Anak, when this test is over, let's eat together."
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a Jewel Seed, the focus of the first season, makes a surprise appearance in the third season as a component of an early Type III Gadget Drone. It was apparently stolen from one of the Bureau's local facilities, and Fate mentions how seeing it again gives her a nostalgic feeling. Also, Erio is a product of the same Artificial Mage Replacement Goldfish programme as Fate, which becomes a fired Chekhov's Gun when Jail uses it in a later Breaking Speech.
  • One Piece
    • In an early chapter, Zoro tells Luffy he'll be doomed if he underestimates what the Grand Line can dish, but Luffy insists he'll be able to gather more crew members there because it's a paradise. Over a decade later, the narration mentions that the one thing everyone who goes to the New World says about the Grand Line is "That world was truly a paradise."
    • When Hawk-Eye Mihawk makes his first appearance, he does so by slicing Don Krieg's enormous galleon in two with a single slice of his sword, and then casually floats amongst the wreckage. Later, Zoro, after having spent two years training with the man, makes his entrance by slicing apart a ship headed to the New World and sitting atop the wreckage, commenting on how it was "fate" that brought him to destroy their ship. Sounds like Zoro got more than just the man's skills in those few years, huh. And he also got his contempt for lesser swordsmen — Mihawk was mocking Zoro during their duel in Chapter 51. Forward to Chapter 642, and Zoro tells a Fishman that he couldn't even kill his boredom.
    • In the second chapter, we meet a boy (Coby) who wanted to go fishing, but by accident walked onto a pirate ship. Guess what? Zoro also wanted to go fishing and by accident got on the pirate ship instead of a fishing boat. And it was in the second chapter after the Time Skip. Probably not a coincidence...
    • A hilarious one occurs in the Fishman Island arc where Luffy states he doesn't want to be a hero because a hero has to share meat and he wants the meat all to himself. Later, Zoro makes the same statement except with beer instead of meat despite having never heard Luffy's earlier comment.
    • There are plenty more Call Back examples in One Piece's articles. Eiichiro Oda loves them more than he loves Inelegant Blubbering.
  • Akane and Ranma's fateful first encounter in Ranma ˝ — where Akane runs into Ranma as he's just coming out of the bath — was referenced twice, in relatively serious instances, by each of the characters:
    • Akane, climbing out of the outdoors bath, runs into Shinnosuke, a very forgetful boy. Like before with Ranma, Akane preserves her modesty with a towel, but the guy is completely naked. Notable in that Shinnosuke was, for a brief while, the only serious contender for Akane's heart.
    • While spending the night at a Chinese inn, Ranma is in the bath. Akane (really a villainous impersonator) walks into him; both of them look at each other in the exact same pose as during their very first meeting, right down to the towel.
  • Ouran High School Host Club
    • There's a little joke in the first episode involving bulbs lighting up as each character realizes Haruhi is a girl, which didn't really make much sense until the reveal at the end. And then in the second to last episode Eclair suddenly has the same type of bulb pop up dark in her head, and then we see it light up when Haruhi interrupts her and Tamaki and walks out of the room again. Which almost doubles as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.
    • There's also a huge one to chapter 2 in the last chapter. Lampshaded a few times.
  • In Naruto, Sasuke, having received the Cursed Seal of Heaven, rises up after noticing his teammates in danger from the Sound ninjas, and declares, "I understand now. I am an avenger!" before showing then-uncharacteristic violence and ruthlessness against them. In Part II, Sasuke has gone into full-blown villainy, with other characters noting he has become colder than ever, even when compared to his state under the Cursed Seal. When Naruto is confronted by Tobi, and the latter tells him that even after having achieved his goal of killing Itachi, he is still focused on revenge by attacking the summit, Naruto refuses to believe it, to which Tobi replies: "Sasuke is a true avenger!"
    • Much like the above, Kabuto, once he reveals Dragon sage mode, starts using sound ninjutsu, a style which hadn't been brought up in several years and hundreds of chapters.
    • When the Byakugan is first introduced an off-handed comment from Kakashi implies there is a relationship between it and the Sharingan. This is never revisited until it is revealed that the ancestress of the Uchiha clan, Princess Kaguya, possessed the Byakugan.
    • In the first major arc of the series, Haku asked the then-rookie Naruto this question: "You said you wanted to become the best Ninja in your village and have everyone acknowledge you. Now, if someone who acknowledged you from the bottom of your heart appeared, wouldn’t that someone become the most important person to you?" Now, in The Last: Naruto the Movie, Naruto has become a hero who has won the acknowledgement of the entire village, but he still hasn't found "that someone". The events of the movie help him realize that it's been Hinata all along, as she has acknowledged from the very beginning, even if he never realized it.
  • In Pokémon, Ash's Staravia evolves in a Pokéringer competition — the same way his Taillow evolved into Swellow. However, Staraptor has a far greater Crowning Moment of Awesome. Unfortunately, James (who made it all the way into the finals in Hoenn) had a hold of the Idiot Ball that episode and gets eliminated in the first round.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!
    • Chapter 253 has multiple Call Backs to the reverse Wife Husbandry plan as several characters inwardly debate forming a Pactio, coming up against the age barrier around Kotarô and Negi and then remembering Asakura's plot.
    • Negima has a lot of Call Backs; seemingly irrelevant events can turn out to be much important later on, the most important of these comes almost 300 chapters in, when Zazie traps Negi in a Lotus-Eater Machine in which his parents are still alive and none of the events of the manga past chapter 15 had taken place. The entire thing is loaded with Call Backs to the very first chapter of the manga.
    • One particular call back in chapter 330 also serves as an Awesome Moment: Evangeline grabs Secundum's arm to stop an attack on Negi and Fate while rising out of a shadow in the ground the exact same way she did when stopping Fate from attacking Negi back in chapter 51.
    • Negi's fight with Rakan is also a callback to his earlier fight with Takamichi, all the way down to Takamichi/Rakan showing Negi his new technique's weakness, which is the same in both cases (he telegraphs his movements).
  • Code Geass
    • At the end of the first episode of Code Geass, Lelouch's very first command with the Geass is for the Britannian Soldiers to die. At the end of the first episode of Code Geass R2, Lelouch's very first command with the Geass upon the return of his memories is the very same one.
    Lelouch: Lelouch Vi Britannia commands you... All of you... Die!
    (the Britannian soldiers point their guns to themselves)
    Soldiers: Yes, your highness! (pull triggers)
    • The line in the little speech Lelouch gave accompanying that command in the first episode: "The only ones who should kill are those prepared to be killed." Near the end of the last episode of the second season, they flashed back to that. He meant it.
  • In chapter 249 of Hayate the Combat Butler, we learn that Santa, who appears in the very first chapter, is actually Nagi's Grandpa in disguise.
  • Despite the separate continuities across seasons, the Digimon dub pulls this off nicely. The 1st episode of Adventure is called "And So It Begins", and the last episode of Frontier features the line "And so it ends!" In terms of the franchise as an anime, it doesn't.
  • In the Throne arc of Kinnikuman, Meat finishes off an opponent with the Back Drop, specifically choosing it because it was a move Kinnikuman himself favored and struggled to master in the earliest parts of the series.
  • In Bakuman。, while the main characters are working with Hattori early on, Takagi mentions an idea he had of a story in which a boy tries to cheat on as many girls as he can as possible, and Hattori says it's a good example of a potential cult hit that most wouldn't be interested in, but a few might consider their favorite. In Chapter 113, while talking about what they should do next now that PCP will not get an anime and Mashiro's romance one-shot did poorly, the characters discuss the idea again.
  • Every incarnation of Fullmetal Alchemist adores Call Backs to a point that borders on fetishism. Expect everything that happens to be referenced in a later chapter/episode.
    • Classic example: when Winry confronts Scar for the first time, she learns that he was the one who murdered her parents. She's ready to shoot him, but Scar charges at her, yelling that if she can't shoot she should just leave. Ed dives in the way, shielding Winry with his body. Scar immediately flashes back to his brother defending him from Kimblee in the exact same way. The hesitation is enough for Alphonse to step in and kick his ass.
    • One standout example is when the last chapter contains a reference to Nina and Alexander's deaths, which happened over 100 chapters ago.
  • Bleach:
    • Chapter titles are often used to call back to related earlier events.
      • Chapter 459 calls all the way back to Chapter 1. Context: Ichigo has spent well over a year without his powers, eventually accepting an offer from Ginjou to try to get them back. This goes all kinds of wrong for various reasons, but as all hope seems lost, he gets stabbed by someone he can't see — meaning a Shinigami. Lo and behold, it's Rukia. And in nearly the exact same manner as he gained his powers in the very first chapter, Ichigo's back. The name of the first chapter is Death and Strawberry. The name of this one? Death and Strawberry 2.
      • "The Shooting Star Project" is used for chapters that relate to Shiba Kuukaku and her cannon.
      • "Rain" is a recurring theme that usually deals with painful memories. "Memories in the Rain" is the name of the chapter about Masaki's death and its effect on Ichigo. "Memories in the Rain 2" is about Kaien's death and its effect on Rukia. "And the Rain Left Off" is about both Ichigo and Rukia getting some resolution on their regrets. The "Everything but the Rain" mini-arc is about the traumatic events that tie Isshin, Ryuuken, Masaki, and Kisuke together.
      • "The Blade and Me" chapters involve Ichigo's relationship with Zangetsu.
    • When Hirako Shinji first introduces himself to the class, he writes his name on the board backwards and explains that he has a talent for reversing things. This is probably a reference to his shikai ability, which creates an illusion of an inverted world where left is right, up is down, and forward is back.
  • The first episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a full body shot of Kamina pointing upwards, followed by a closeup of his face and a closeup of his finger to the sides. The shot would be used several times in the series to indicate that something epic is going to happen.
  • Eyeshield 21
    • The last chapter of the manga is a Bookends to the first chapter, from the chapter title to the surprise at the sudden game to fighting the weakest team in the league for the first game.
    • A minor one came in a full-color coverpage showing what all the characters were up to before the Hakushuu game. Agon is actually shown training, visibly struggling to do pushups while Yamabushi sits on his back. It's a call back to an earlier chapter where someone mentions his twin brother Unsui trains until he bleeds (while showing Unsui doing pushups one-handed with Yamabushi on his back) and Agon never had to work for anything.
    • In the earlier chapters while in Las Vegas, Monta killed his and Sena's amazing winning streak by betting everything on Red 21 which was the Deimon Devilbats' main color and Eyeshield 21's number respectively. Fast forward before the Japan/USA game where Yamato confronts Mr Don and bets on red. This time, the ball lands on Red 21.
  • For a series that starts out very Slice of Life, Popotan relies heavily on earlier events in its later episodes. Of particular importance is Mai's friendship with Konami (established in episode 2), which is not only called back to in episodes 9 and 12 (where Mai meets Konami's daughter and goes back to her time period, respectively), but also forms a crucial part of the anime's main theme.
  • In Arata Kangatari, Kadowaki's entrance into Amawakuni mirrors Hinohara's almost exactly, down to the Dutch Angle shot of the capital.
  • The first chapter of Muhyo and Roji deals with the eponymous pair helping a girl whose friend had accidentally fallen in front of a subway train. In the last chapter, Roji waits for the subway, and the girl, talking with some of her other friends, recognizes him.
  • In Death Note, Light, dissatisfied with the state of the world, passes by some girls who are planning to go out to party and a young man who is angry about having to wait for his mother to pick him up. At the end of the manga, after Light has died and the world is going back to normal, Ide and Matsuda pass by the same types of people.
  • The dialogues in Uchouten Kazoku constantly allude to earlier events that the audience has yet to be made a part of such as the Demon King Cedar incident, the Manpukumaru incident and the false Nyoigatake incident.
  • The anime adaptation of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions:
    • There are a bunch of things that happens in episode 11 that mirror things that happened in earlier episodes. They're mostly there to see how much Rikka has changed from the events of the previous episode, and how no one is really happy with the way things played out. The train station and drinks scene from episode 1, the convenience store food scene from episode 8 and the bridge lights scene from episode 9, as well as Yuuta putting away his chuuni related things from episode 1 are all mirrored to show how subdued Rikka has become without her delusions.
    • During Rikka's Stalker Without A Crush phase two years before the present story, she has seen the entire scene in episode 3 of Lite when Yuuta carried a rifle to escort Kuzuha.
  • Kotoura-san:
    • In episode 4, when the monk mentioned his relationship with Haruka, there was a flashback from episode 1, when Haruka's mother brought the girl to him, asking him to exorcize Haruka.
    • In episode 6, Hiyori apologized to Haruka after recalling the former's bullying of the latter in episode 2.
  • In the penultimate episode of Nichijou, Mio and Yūko are confronted by the police officer Mio assaulted in episode 16 (a full nine episodes ago). The cop let's it slide after seeing that she had saved the life of a drowning child.
  • Little Busters! has an interesting example in that the opening sequence for the second season has heaps of callbacks to the original, both lyrical and visual. Firstly, the song begins with a line about how it's lonely to be by yourself and so 'we all gathered and joined our arms', taken directly from the first song, but then continues with 'but if we keep holding on so tight, we'll remain kids forever', referencing the main theme of this part of the story. We also have Riki running on a hill as before, except now he's alone and is running in terror rather than joy, and the 'scenery taking over the white space' effect from the original is reversed here. Finally, where in the original Riki and Kyousuke were walking towards each other and smiling in front of a blue sky background, here they stand in front of the same background facing away from one another, glaring. It all creates a pretty cool level of continuity.
  • In Gourmet Girl Graffiti, Ryou makes the daikon and yellowtail dish in episode 12 that she made back in the first episode. When she samples it, she notes that it's not very good despite the smell. But unlike the first time around (when she found the dish completely tasteless), she finally realizes it was sharing the food with someone else that made it taste as good as when her grandmother made it when Kirin eats it with her.
  • Heartwarming example of Your Lie in April: When Kousei reads the letter from late Kaori, she reminds him of various scene when they were together before.
    • Every ending of this show previewing the scene of next episode. The ending of OVA episode feature the scene from Episode 1 when Kousei first meeting with Kaori.
  • The very first chapter of Fairy Tail ends with Natsu and Happy running from the authorities, dragging Lucy along with them so that she can join Fairy Tail. Chapter 419 (set 8 years later in-universe) ends with the three running from the authorities again, this time to rebuild Fairy Tail.
  • My Hero Academia: Early on, the class holds a vote to determine the class representative. Midoriya wins with three votes, and Momo comes in second with two (everyone else having voted for themselves). Iida and Uraraka are subsequently revealed to have voted for Midoriya, but it's left unsaid who else voted for Momo. Eventually it's revealed far later down the line when Todoroki revealed that he voted for her. This revelation ended up giving her a much needed boost in self-confidence, as Todoroki is The Ace.

  • In general, one of the marks of a good stand-up comedian is a good understanding of how to use a Call Back well. It's a great way of keeping a show buzzing.
  • Stewart Lee does this all the time, especially in '41st Best Stand-Up Ever'. He also lampshades it after about 25 mins. (Remember that? From the beginning of the show?)
  • Bill Bailey ends his current tour with a short film (accompanied only by swelling, melancholy piano music, no less) that references several jokes made over the course of the evening, showing things such as him standing next to a potted plant, looking suspiciously at joggers, eating Revels with a bucket over his head and him shouting at traffic with a couple of Tesco bags in hand. It Makes Sense in Context. The same show sometimes (depending on venue) a final encore after the standard two. Previously, in the first half, he plays the opening of La Bamba and makes the audience sing along and trail off, not knowing the specific words. This last encore sees him return and force the audience to learn the words, with displayed lyrics. Just to hammer it home, he plays it four times at increasingly ridiculous speeds.
  • One example comes from Ron White. In the middle of his performance, he makes a joke about his dog Sluggo, who he needs to feed medication to by sticking it in a piece of cheese. At the very end of said performance, he was talking about trying to give Midol to his wife while she's PMSing. He ends the joke (and the performance) by saying he stuck the Midol in a piece of cheese. In You Can't Fix Stupid, he even references a joke that was made in a previous special. In the previous special, he made a joke about how Dabeers's slogan "Render her speechless" was just code for "Yeah, that'll shut her up!". In Stupid, he talks about trying to shut up his wife, saying that he was "all out of diamonds".
    • He also does this in another performance, where the first thing he mentions is a new Chinese space program. Near the end, he does a joke about firework safety, and how his friend was killed by the main modulenote . He then says that it was the beginnings of the Chinese space program.
  • In the Red Neck Comedy Show, Bill Engvall talks about boarding his dog while they're on vacation. At the kennel, they ask him what type of water the dog would like. He replies that the dog eats his own turds, the type of water probably doesn't matter to him. He also talks about taking the dog to the vet, where the vet gives him medicine to make the dog stop eating his own turds. How does it work? It makes the turds taste bad. During the Ron White portion, Ron talks about how he has dozens of people who work for him, but he is the one who goes outside to pick up the turds his dog had dropped, and pondered rearranging his staff so he wouldn't have to do that anymore. White then mentions that he asked Bill to bring his dog over, but Bill said, "No, he always comes home full."
  • Eddie Izzard uses this technique during his stand-up special "Dress to Kill." Toward the end of the show he does a series of jokes about how textbook French is difficult to fit into real conversations with actual French people. To illustrate his point he repeats several of his previous jokes in French. The humor of the French dialogue, which would be incomprehensible to an English speaking audience unless they had watched the previous materials, hinges on the recognizing the jokes that we have already heard once.
  • Australian comedian Josh Thomas does this several times during his show Surprise!, the most notable of which is a story, early in the routine, about how living with his first boyfriend; shortly after they moved in together, they decided to shower together, which ended badly when Josh's boyfriend began urinating, because he forgot Josh was there. This is referenced in the final lines of the show:
    Josh: I told him, "one of my favourite things about you is that you've never vomited on me."... and he said, "Yeah, but I did kind of pee on you once."
  • Gabriel Iglesias talks about the many times he has been pulled over by police and not gotten a ticket just because he made them laugh. On one occasion, he was pulled over just after coming out of a donut shop, the smell of fresh donuts distracting him from the road. He got out of a ticket by offering the officer some donuts, which he found hilarious. Later, he tells a story about the time he and a bunch of his friends were pulled over, and his friends said a bunch of stupid things that normally would have made the situation worse. However, the officer recognizes him and is actually a huge fan of his stand-up comedy.
    Officer: Wait 'til I tell everybody I met you! Man, the only thing that beats this is the time a buddy of mine pulled over this fat guy who gave him donuts!
  • Jim Gaffigan's album Beyond the Pale contains the line "If you've never been to a Catholic mass, that is the longest experience of your life!" Three years later, he released King Baby, which contains the line "If you've never been to a Catholic mass, it's still going on."

    Comic Books 
  • The first scene of Green Lantern: Rebirth (which tells the story of Hal Jordan's resurrection and his taking up the Lantern mantle once more) is a call-back to Hal's origin story in the very first issue of the series. It starts with an Oan spaceship crashlanding outside of an Air Force base in the desert with an injured Green Lantern in the cockpit. But this time, the injured Green Lantern is Kyle Rayner.
  • In the second issue of the New 52 reboot of the main Green Lantern magazine, Sinestro creates a Green Lantern Ring for Hal Jordan, who immediately attacks him with the ring. However, as the ring is a construct of Sinestro's, it doesn't harm him as he is in control of it. Later, at the end of the fourth issue, Sinestro creates additional rings for the imprisioned Korugarans, who attempt to attack him due to their misconception of his Sinestro Corps. The fifth issue begins with the reveal that, like before, Sinestro is not harmed by the rings' attacks.
  • Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 (2011) opens with Norman Osborn observing an OZ-contaminated spider whilst telling a scientist the myth of Arachne, which happened in the opening panels of Ultimate Spider-Man #1. There's a bit of Fridge Brilliance in that the dialogue is just slightly altered to clarify a different moment in time, and that the spider, rather than the original 00, is marked 42.
  • In the third Blacksad album "Red Soul", Blacksad is sufficiently annoyed when he has to attend a Natalia Wilford Look-A-Like contest when doing bodyguard duty for a rich client. This should only make sense if you've read the first one, and know about his history with the real woman.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • In issue 16 of the comics, in the story "Five Green Vandals", Bubbles dredges up Buttercup's crush on Gangreen Gang leader Ace in the TV episode "Buttercrush". Buttercup is naturally repulsed by it.
    • Issue #30's "Monkey See, Monkey Dough": Mojo wants to hire Bubbles to clean a device (which she doesn't know is a destruction device), and she instantly brings up how she and her sisters helped Mojo nearly take over Townsville in the movie.
  • In Supergirl (Rebirth), Director Chase states that Supergirl is working for the DEO because her powers faded (at Supergirl vol. 6 issue #40), her cousin Superman died (in Superman: Super League), and she wants to keep protecting Earth in his stead.
  • In Death of the Family, Joker tells Damian how he can't really get people to laugh without giving them a pharmaceutical push first. In fact, Batman was apparently the only person he could get to actually laugh. In case you're wondering, Joker is referring to The Killing Joke, or its ending. In addition, the Joker commits many crimes similar to the ones he committed in his first appearances back in the 40s.
  • After the apparent death of Professor X, Cyclops throws in with his ex and a number of former teammates to keep mutants safe and teach them how to command their powers while maintaining tactical/philosophical opposition to the people running his old alma mater. The original concept of X-Factor (ca. 1985)? Or his post-Avengers vs. X-Men (ca. 2012) status quo?
  • My Little Pony Generation 4:
  • Issue #13 of Marvel's Laff-A-Lympics has Dick Dastardly and Muttley paying a visit to the Rottens' training camp.
    Dread Baron: What have you been up to since [they last met], Dick?
    Dastardly: I spent some time chasing a pigeon...
  • Invincible:
    • We have Mark discovering his powers by throwing the trash bag with a little too much power. Many issues later, we cut to London, England, where a passerby comes by an odd trashbag labeled "Burger Mart"...
    • Another call back, when William finds out that Mark is Invincible and that he can fly, he asks for what every man wishes he could do. Later on, William finds out who Atom Eve is, and asks for the same thing. The call back? Mark and Eve's response. "This is so gay."
  • Luther Arkwright: Plenty in the sequel Heart of Empire. One of the most prominent is when Victoria wakes up naked on parallell 00.69.05, walks out in public, and garbs herself in a Union Jack flag. Both the event and the poses calls back to when her father Luther did the same in the royalist camp in The Adventures of Luther Arkwright.
  • During Dwayne MacDuffie's run on Justice League of America, Animal Man finally accepts that he's being mucked about by a villian who can control stories when he suddenly realises he's eating chicken. A subtle nod to the end of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man, when Morrison's Author Avatar used the example of Buddy suddenly not being vegetarian to illustrate the power the writers had over him.
  • At one point in Kick-Ass, Dave's friends decide to invent a new curse, and come up with 'tunk' to refer to a cock and balls; specifically, they intend it to be the male equivalent of 'cunt'. They resolve to drop it into as many conversations as they can. In the last issue of Volume One, John Genovese is shot in the crotch, and exclaims "He just shot me in the fucking tunk!".
  • The Multiversity:
    • Grant Morrison's map of the Multiverse includes Wonderworld, a dimension that was featured in his JLA run. News articles have also mentioned that some of his characters from Animal Man would appear on one Earth.
    • He revisits some concepts he introduced in Final Crisis, such as President Superman and Earth-23, and Overman and Earth-10, and some he introduced in Action Comics, like the mention of Superdoomsday, and Optiman's allies Red Racer and Flashlight.
    • Earth-10's Batman is called Leatherwing, which was also the name of a pirate version of Batman (who according to The Multiversity Guidebook #1 is the Batman of Earth-31).
    • The variant cover to Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1 featured the Batman-esque version of John Constantine called Hellblazer. Morrison created this version in an issue of Doom Patrol, in a dreamworld that had more superheroic versions of the Vertigo-related characters. This world was seen again in the third The Books of Magic annual.
    • Sasha Norman, a.k.a. Sister Miracle of Earth-16 in The Just #1, was first seen in Seven Soldiers while Shilo Norman was forced to endure alternate lives in the Omega Sanction.
    • Countdown to Final Crisis gets a mention during The Multiversity Guidebook #1, specifically Superboy-Prime destroying Earth-15.

      Morrison references it again in Mastermen #1. In Overman's dream of Lord Broken, the bodies at his feet are those of the Justice League Axis, the version of Earth-10's Justice League that Monarch recruited in Countdown to Adventure.
    • Mastermen #1:
      • Overman's wife mentions that his cousin, Overgirl, was just a clone created from his stem cells, and if he wanted he could have her replaced. It's said that the original Overman in Animal Man had his stem cells harvested by the government to create other heroes, his world's Justice League.
      • Overgirl's death "on a distant world" is another Final Crisis reference, and the scene of Overman holding her corpse is a reference to Supergirl's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • The Multiversity #2:
      • The corrupted Nix Uotan threatens to unleash his final attack after completing a rubik's cube in seventeen moves (something that's supposed to be impossible), much like how he regained his powers back in Final Crisis.
      • The Zatanna of Earth-13 is named Annataz, which was the name of the Earth-3 Zatanna seen in Countdown to Final Crisis.
      • Red Racer and an army of alternate Flashes all use the "infinite mass punch" that Wally West used in Grant Morrison's very first story arc of JLA. He even comments that it came from "one of [his] favorite JLA stories."
      • The Empty Hand mentions that the Gentry is still feeding off the carcass of Multiverse-2, which seems to be the pre-Flashpoint Multiverse created after Infinite Crisis. This seems to highlight the discrepancies between the Multiverse as it is seen here, compared to how it was in Final Crisis.
    • Nix Uotan is seen with a monkey sidekick, possibly the typewriting monkey from Morrison's Animal Man and/or the monkey that helped Nix restore his Monitor powers in Final Crisis.
  • Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #43, "Windfall": Sandy's good trip is a general Call Back to Abby's in Rite of Spring. The Call Backs within Milo's bad trip are more specific, referencing the Swamp Thing's origin story (Volume 1 Issue 1 and elsewhere), the Patchwork Man (Vol. 1 #3), the Conclave robots (Vol 1. # 6), General Sunderland (Vol. 2 #6-21), the Rosewood "Mother" vampire, the Monkey King, a werewolf (Vol. 1 #4), the Un-Man Cranius (Vol. 1 #10), an alien (Vol. 1 #9), and finally, as the driver who accidentally kills Milo, Arcane.
  • Nintendo's German staff released a Yoshi's Story special that contained Anvilicious stories obviously aimed at children, including one where a black Yoshi was subjected to Fantastic Racism. Awesomely, he turned out to be the Yoshi from "Mario im Wunderland" (a ''The Wizard of Oz'' parody published in Club Nintendo five years earlier) who had complained about being green just like the bushes and been turned black by the wizard.

    Comic Strips 
  • Done a couple times in FoxTrot. In one arc, Jason writes a parody of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! with his mother Andy cast as the Grinch. Who-Jason roots through her purse and finds it's full of Titanic ticket stubs, calling back to an arc where Andy became obsessed with the movie and watched it several dozen times.
  • One series from the late '90s in Peanuts had Rerun patting birds on the head, much to the resentment of Lucy, who mentions that her brother, Linus, did the same thing back in the 60s in a similar arc.
  • One 2006 Retail Sunday strip had Cooper wearing a "Goofy Grumbel" costume. 10 years later, the chain decided to revive the mascot and sent a new costume to the store. In both strips, Cooper volunteers to wear it because it means he doesn't have to deal with customers all day.

    Fan Works 
  • Daryl, a Canon Foreigner from the show The Walking Dead, calls back to Shane's treacherous actions in For Want of a Nail fic Better Angels upon returning to the farm. This becomes a greater issue due to the fic's premise that Shane survived.
  • The X-Men AU fic The Wraith Saga features Jason Wyngarde being possessed by the Wraith (the Phoenix Force's Evil Counterpart) as a major plot point. The scene where the Wraith takes hold of him is a reference to the famous scene in Uncanny X-Men #101, when Jean first became the Phoenix.
    • First:
    Jean: Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever! I am Phoenix!
    • Later:
    Jason: Hear me, mortals! No longer am I the man you once knew! I am the shadow! I am oblivion, and Death incarnate! Now and forever, I am The Wraith!
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Retribution: While trying to get Kirk to forgive himself for his harsh words, Spock reminds Kirk that he forgave Spock for attempted murder.
  • Winter War plays this trope for drama rather than humor. While Orihime is restoring Ichigo to control of his body, she makes a Call Back to something Ichigo said and did way back in the canonical Soul Society arc:
    Orihime: Don’t you remember what you told Kuchiki-kun — the person who’s being saved doesn’t get any say in the matter...
  • The Harry Potter/Justice League crossover Terminal Justice contains numerous references to Rorschach's Blot's stories Make a Wish, The Hunt for Harry Potter and Back in Black, in which Harry went around disguised as one "Mr. Black", in addition to several scenes from and references to Justice League episodes.
  • Marik Plays Bloodlines, a spin-off of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, has a call back to the episode where Marik meets Joey and Tea. His vampire character is named "Malik Blishtar," the Sue Donym he made up.
  • Dragon Ball Abridged: A lot of the humor in later episodes comes from stuff like this.
    • Notably featured are three uses of the Solar Flare attack to blind an enemy. In the first instance, Vegeta shouted it was like "walking in on Frieza in the shower"; the second victim several episodes later saw a brief image of a showering Frieza when hit with the attack. The third victim is Frieza himself, who sees a brief image of the second victim posing.
  • Back in the very first episode of Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, after Anderson cuts off Alucard's head only for the powerful vampire to reconstitute, Anderson demands to know how in the hell he managed to do that, to which Alucard responds, "Fuck you, that's how." In episode 7, this gets a magnificent callback when Seras goes full vampire after drinking Pip's blood, resulting in not only taking several levels in badass, but also regaining the use of the eyes that Zorin Blitz slashed out with her scythe. Zorin is flabbergasted, demanding to know how she is even able to look at her like this. Seras's response: "Fuck you, that's how."
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series tends to incorporate parts of the original strip into itself.
    • Then there's a callback to earlier in the same episode - "Camping Trip Part 2" opens with a dream sequence where Calvin and Hobbes have resorted to eating tires. Later, the non-dream Calvin contemplates eating a tire.
    • Also, a scene in the very first episode has Calvin asking Hobbes "You Can Talk?", to which he responds, "Last time I checked." This sequence is repeated in its entirety four seasons later in "Invasion".
  • An especially blunt one comes in The Prayer Warriors:
    And if that does not work, remove the head, like I did to Grover in the epic battle the first chapter, and if you have not read that, go back and read it, or sleep you will go to hell! Beware of my warring!
  • There are entirely too many call backs in Concerned to even list. The best example is probably here when there are three separate call backs in the same day.
  • Can You Imagine That? has a chase scene in Chapter 6 that is very similar to the one in Chapter 1.
  • In chapter five of the Star Trek Online fic Bait and Switch the Galaxy-class starship USS Bajor suffers an attempted ramming attack by a Jem'Hadar attack ship. Captain Kanril Eleya flashes on "a horror story from before the Dominion War," the destruction of the USS Odyssey in DS9: "The Jem'Hadar". Then she blocks the ram by using the navigational deflector for its intended purpose: Deflecting incoming objects.
  • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, the Storyteller tends to lampshade her references to earlier plot points with the narrative flourish, "as has been told of before". When Lindsay is first revealed to be a gymnast, for example, the Storyteller describes in considerable detail Lindsay's achievements in that field. Many chapters later, when this secondary character trait becomes relevant again, the Storyteller says in pertinent part, "Lindsay was an accomplished gymnast, as has been told of before..."
  • For How To Survive In Middle Earth When You're A Teenaged Girl, the "Doodles in the Margin" call back to the main story. In "Doodles" chapter 2, Elrohir calls back to the main story, book 1, chapter 14. From his own memory, Elrohir repeats his lesson to Priscilla. He says the same lines and makes the same motions. Priscilla says, "You remembered."
  • In Tangled In Time the way Ganondorf survives is a reference to the Sages' execution in Twilight Princess: both the Sages and Link both fail to execute him by ramming their swords through him and both times he keeps the swords, one that became his personal BFS and the other, the Master Sword.
  • A Posse Ad Esse has two of these from the first chapter - Dr Spieler mentions two therapeutic setbacks since she started working in the stead of Dr Kindermann, one involving a hypodermic needle and the other involving Halo Stop Ultra. The first returns in Chapter 4 to aid Dr Wood's physical combat style; the other, in Chapter 14, the result of which the patients use as a springboard to restore Dub from his Angst Coma.
  • By the parameters of the literary challenge for which The Headhunt was written, Lore's head was transported to Facility 4028 after he was killed by the Enterprise-D crew in TNG: "Descent, Part II".
  • The Wrong Reflection:
    • In an aversion of Hollywood Healing for characters and ship, Eleya and Gaarra are still on light duty after the events of Reality Is Fluid, and the Bajor's still having repairs done in the deflector room.
    • When briefing Eleya, Admiral Riker references the Terran Empire story arc in the "Cardassian Struggle" episode, as well as the revamped "Mirror Invasion" with the Terrans attacking Vauthil Station. He also refers to a Gul Antos, the subject of a Clear My Name plot in the diplomacy mission "Standoff".
    • Admiral Kree remarks that the Terran base and its defense sats will be a tough nut to crack. Brokosh asks if she wants them disabled or plain gone. This is about a year after he completely obliterated the main control center of Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards with a kinetic strike in Red Fire, Red Planet.
    • Tess uses the question of why she joined Starfleet ("To piss off my thavan.") from "From Bajor to the Black, Part II" as a Trust Password.
  • "Remembrance Of Thefallen":
    • The framing narrative is a sequel to Sobaru's death in the Masterverse fic Faces in the Flames.
    • To From Bajor to the Black. Thrass gives Kanril Eleya the job of tutoring Tia and Sobaru in return for forgiving some of the bad grades she incurred after a messy breakup. Eleya's initially uncomfortable with the idea of tutoring Sobaru and Tia due to the campus rumor that they're a couple, since she's coming off of a nasty breakup with her boyfriend of a year, who was offered early graduation and a plum assignment on the USS Planck and left without saying goodbye. This after they were talking about getting married.
      Eleya: (to Thrass) You’re putting me next to a blue-on-blue? After Dalton?
  • In Peace Forged in Fire, another Star Trek Online fic by the same author:
    • The Romulan Star Empire apparently fell into chaos (again) with the revelations that the Tal'Shiar were responsible for Hobus (missions "Revelation" and "Taris") and Empress Sela's kidnapping by the Iconians (mission "Cutting the Cord"). Velal, who succeeded Sela as Praetor after she crowned herself Empress, only recently restored order.
    • There's roundabout explanations of Velal's backstory as the Romulan general who turned up in a couple episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Among other things the destruction of the Romulan flagship IRW D'ridthau at Cardassia is mentioned (the Aen'rhien, then an Imperial ship, apparently rescued the surviving crew).
  • "Shakedown Shenanigans":
    • Rear Admiral Taurik, the commandant of 40 Eridani A Starfleet Construction Yards, is the same Vulcan engineering officer who appeared in TNG: "Lower Decks" forty years earlier.
    • The fic references the launch of the Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations about halfway through, in the context of how stupid it was to launch the ship before it was fully finished. Eleya sarcastically asks Taurik if the remaining quantum torpedoes are going to be delivered Tuesday, and then tells him get her a full load by launch or she's not leaving port. Taurik thinks she's paranoid but she points out that over 350 people died in that incident because San Francisco Fleet Yards dragged its feet. When the inevitable happens, the ship is fully armed, and fully fueled thanks to Eleya bribing the shipyard's fueling manager with booze offscreen.
  • "Last Rights": Jhet'leya/Lyndsey Ballard from VOY: "Ashes to Ashes" is now the Kobali Armaments Minister, and adopts the Kobali created from Athezra Darrod.
  • In "Solaere ssiun Hnaifv'daenn", the planet Glintara apparently was one of the worlds mentioned to have declared independence from the Romulan Star Empire in Peace Forged in Fire.
  • The Stars Ascendant makes use of the images of the past which appear in the starry realm that Twilight Sparkle went to when she became an alicorn.
  • Strange Times Are Upon Us: The crew borrows Scotty's trick from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, capturing radiation from fissile materials, to repair their dilithium crystals so they can warp-slingshot around Sol to get back to the future. Rather than try to find nonexistent "nuclear wessels", however, they just mine and refine naturally occurring thorium offscreen.
  • Super Sentai Vs Power Rangers' sequel contains several call-backs to the original arc because the works covered are all by the same author.
    • Chapter 8 has Rika mention that Impersonator saying "baka!" makes more sense than M!Takeru saying "Onore!".
    • In Chapter 9, after Mika was called "Trini" while one of the heroes in Power Rangers Sword Dynasty watched Bioman, Rika makes references to how Trini received Mika's backstory only because of the former's actress' tragic death and the latter's on-screen death.
  • In The Fifth Act, Aeris jokingly refers to Cloud as a "nobody" after he calls himself one despite the Planet warning her about him when they first meet. She jokes that nobodies can't talk to the Planet. She starts to call him "Mr.Nobody" as an Affectionate Nickname. Later, Aeris uses it to remind Cloud that nobodies can't talk to the Planet. Which means the voice that Cloud is hearing is not the Planet, but Jenova.
  • Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations:
    • During her second encounter against Kaito Kumon, the whole battle between Samus and Lord Baron harkens back to episode 46 of Kamen Rider Gaim, Kaito pins Samus down and is held sword point just like how he does to Kouta, but Samus stands up and equips the Athena Suitnote , during the climax of the battle, Samus emulates of how Kouta broke Lord Baron's sword and stabs him on the midsection with it. However, the fight ends with Deep Specter, Chaser Mach, Ryugen Melon Energy Arms, and Samus herself doing a four-way Rider Kick.
  • This Bites!:
    • Cross threatens Zoro with Chopper's medicine in Alabasta, causing Zoro to remark "So many colors, and I couldn't cut any of them." Later in Skypiea, Zoro threatens Cross with the same, prompting Cross to mutter, "So many colors, and none of them would listen." Lampshaded by Soundbite of course.
    • When Sanji is informed that Princess Shirahoshi is underage and thus out of his range unless he wants to be a creep, he screams "CURSE YOU, FATHER TIME! CUUUURSE YOOOOUUUU!" Later, when Nami learns that a defeated Enel had flown off to the moon along with all her gold, she screams "CURSE YOU, ENERU! CUUUURSE YOOOOUUUU!" Bonus points for Soundbite responding with a deadpan "Seriously?"
    • Cross tells Nami that her facing down Crocodile directly would lead to her being eviscerated in 10 seconds (8 to monologue, 1 to laugh, and 1 for the eviscerating). Nami repeats this for what the sea will do to them if they try finding a Knock-Up Stream without the help of a South Bird.
    • When one of the Alabastan guards calls Cross and Soundbite scary for torturing the Unluckies with Vogon poetry, Cross responds with "Pi~ra~te." Later in the story, Robin responds with the exact same phrase when Cross calls her out for playing dirty.
  • With This Ring:
    • During their trip to the Logan Animal Sanctuary, Firebrand asks OL about the offer of making her his Manhunter.
    • In the first episode, OL is afraid to use the Zeta Beam in fear of getting Telefragged. In Contingency, OL spoils Kid Flash's Hope Spot by pointing that the alien invaders' Zeta Beams cause Death by Telefragging.
    • In Dependency Day, OL comments how annoying how most copies of On Liberty only have the name of John Stuart Mill when it was co-written with his wife, Harriet Taylor. For Christmas, months later OL gives Diana a homemade copy with Harriet Taylor's name as a present.
    • In Ex Perdition A co-worker of Martian adult actor J'arrkn, mentions knowing Orange Lantern through his post Displaced interview with Cat Grant.
    • In Zatanna's introduction chapter, Artemis asks her why she can just say "Erif" when attacking someone. When Mistress Martian was attacking them, Zatanna does just that.
    • Paul jokingly tries to suggest that the Grecian Pantheon bring in gods or goddesses from other pantheons to make up for failing ones in their own to Diana, who laughs and says that they're not going to do that just so Paul can play "Musical Pantheons." Several months later, when visiting Themyscera, Paul accidentally causes Hera to divorce Zeus, causing a huge shakeup in the Grecian Pantheon.

    Films — Animation 
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie has several. In the Goof Troop episode "Puppy Love", PJ got a crush on a girl after she recited her poetry. He does the same thing for the same reason in this movie. In the episode "Date with Destiny", Goofy went on a dancing date with one of Max's school staff members—he does the same thing here. The final scene has some to the first movie: the trophy engraving was reminiscent of what Max and Goofy said to each other when their relationship was at its tensest moment, and Bobby calls back to two jokes in one line when he uses the word "cheesa" to describe the pizza he's holding and pointedly calls it "scrumptious."
  • BIONICLE: Mask of Light contains a neat cross-media callback that also doubles as a Shout-Out to the Mata Nui Online Game, the fan-favorite web-game that helped popularize the brand. Lewa asks Takua if he's ever flown a Gukko bird, to which he responds that he hasn't flown one by himself, but he's been a second once, referring to one of the MNOG's minigames.
  • Penguins of Madagascar:
    • After Agent Classified drugs the penguins, he has them shipped to the North Wind's most remote safehouse. It's location: Madagascar.
    • After they break out of the box, and tumble into the cockpit of a commercial plane, Skipper briefly flirts with a bobblehead doll.
    • In the first Madagascar movie, Skipper asks Kowalski what's written in the box they're in and he says he doesn't understand because he can't read. In this film, during the scene where Kowalski is checking the manual of the North Wind's jet, he says "No, still can't read".
  • In The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, SpongeBob teaching Plankton the concept of teamwork, with Plankton being unable to even pronounce the word is certain to remind some viewers of Sponge Bob Squarepants episodes like "F.U.N" and "Single Cell Anniversary" where SpongeBob had trouble teaching Plankton the concepts of fun, friendship, and love.
  • Strange Magic: Marianne and The Bog King's duet of the title song is full of these from Marianne's first visit to the Dark Forest. The various features of the forest that had frightened her then are now shown to be harmless or even beautiful.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, this is how Mercedes recognizes the Count's real identity, with his habit of twirling his hair.
  • The Bourne Series
    • In a beautiful moment at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne says to the government assassin sent to kill him, "look at what they make you give", harking back to Clive Owen's final words to him in The Bourne Identity.
    • Another interesting example is a cameo from Chris Cooper as Conklin (from Identity) in The Bourne Supremacy, in which he speaks a key piece of dialogue ("Training's over.") that Bourne remembers in the first film.
  • The 2nd half of Shaun of the Dead is made of Call Backs. Every line in the 1st half comes back in radically different context.
  • Terminator
    • All of the Terminator movies have these in spades. "Come with me if you want to live" is right up there with "I'll be back". And "Get Out". Then Connor picks up that scar over his eye. Come to think of it, most of these are Call Forward as well.
    • Also Dr. Silberman, a character who appears in all of the first three movies for essentially this purpose.
    • An awesome one in Terminator Salvation. When John is about to try and rescue Kyle Reese from a Skynet camp, alone, Kate asks him what she should tell his troops. He answers, "I'll be back."
    • Another Salvation example: when John is trying to lure a Terminator to his location, he starts playing music. The song? Guns N' Roses' "You Could Be Mine", which he was listening to in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • In At World's End, when the Pirate's Code is brought out, the first thing Captain Jack Sparrow looks up is whether the rule of parley (a Running Gag throughout the films) exists. It does.
    • "Parley" is used as a Call Back twice more in the series. In The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pintel says, "Damned to the depths with him who thought up parley!" ("That would be the French."), and "If any of you so much as thinks the word parley...". But at the end of the film (after the title curse is broken), the first thing Pintel does is ask for parley in an obviously frightened tone. And then in At World's End, upon seeing the size of the East India Company's armada, Jack Sparrow reacts with a nervous, "Parley?"
    • In the first movie, Captain Barbossa says that the thing he hates most about being undead is not being able to taste anything, holding an apple as an example. When the curse is lifted at the end of the movie, he dies and the apple falls out of his hand before he can taste it. The next movie ends with him appearing at the end, finally taking a bite out of an apple.
    • When asked how he returned, Will Turner sarcastically commented he used a couple of sea turtles lashed together to make a raft. Jack quipped "it's not so easy, was it?" This is more humorous if you remembered that Jack supposedly used this method before the events of the first movie.
    • When Pintel and Raggetti are looking for Elizabeth in the first film, they call her "poppet" a couple of times mockingly. At the end of the third film when Elizabeth is saying goodbye to all the pirates, Pintel says "goodbye, poppet" affectionately.
    • Half-pin barrel hinges and the leverage required to move it with a wooden bench.
    • During the course of Dead Man's Chest, Ragetti sarcastically says to Will something along the lines of, "Your chariot awaits, sire!" while dropping a boat into the water for him to use. During At World's End, Gibbs not-sarcastically says the exact same line to Will's now-wife, Elizabeth.
    • "You look very familiar, have I threatened you before?"
    • First film: Elizabeth says she's Elizabeth Turner, to keep the pirates from kidnapping the governor's daughter. They happen to be looking for Bootstrap Turner's child. The last thing Barbossa says to her in the third film is "Mrs. Turner", seeing as she's married Will.
    • On Stranger Tides is filled with these to the first movie, in different subtle sorts of ways that you have to have an eagle eye to spot.
      • In the first movie, Jack was charged with "impersonating an officer of the Royal navy" and "impersonating a cleric of the Church of England". On Stranger Tides opens with Jack impersonating a judge. A judge by the name of Smith. Perhaps he might go by 'Smithy' on occasion?
      • Jack gives his compass to Mr. Gibbs, telling him it will lead him to freedom. In the first movie, Jack tells Elizabeth that what the Black Pearl really is is freedom. Cut to the end of On Stranger Tides and Mr Gibbs is sitting on a beach with the Black Pearl in a bottle, waiting for Jack.
      • The cut on Angelica's hand looks just like the cuts the characters in Curse of the Black Pearl get to bleed on the medallions.
    • In At World's End, one of the patrons of Sao Feng's bathhouse can be seen with barnacles littered across his face, neck, and across his arms, just like a Red Shirt crew member of the Flying Dutchman.
      • Likewise, the Sequel Hook at the end of the film is a callback to the various accounts of Barbossa's mutiny prior to The Curse of the Black Pearl.
    • While visiting Elizabeth in her jail cell in Dead Man's Chest, Governor Swann leans on one of the candelabras next to him. He then trips, proceeding to break a piece of said candelabra, in a similar fashion to Will's introductory scene in Curse of the Black Pearl, where he inspects one of the candelabras in Governor Swann's mansion, but accidentally breaks a piece of it.
  • At the beginning of The Muppets Tex Richman is with Statler and Waldorf in Kermit's office and he shows them The Muppet's Standard Rich and Famous Contract. The very same Standard Rich and Famous Contract that The Muppets signed at the end of their very first film The Muppet Movie
  • In Live Free or Die Hard, John McClane is being held at gunpoint by Thomas Gabriel.
    Thomas Gabriel: On your tombstone, it should read, "Always in the wrong place, at the wrong time!"
    John McClane: How 'bout... "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker"?!
  • The ending of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is a call back to the ending of the first ("I made another funny! ha, ha, ha, ha!").
  • In Mother of Tears, the final movie of The Three Mothers trilogy by Dario Argento, it makes reference to the architect that built the homes for the witches much like it did in the second film Inferno, which didn't mention much of Suspiria beyond that, but in Mother of Tears, a character also mentions to the heroine how her mother got herself killed while weakening the witch from Suspiria, who would eventually be killed by the heroine of said film.
  • In Ip Man 2, Ip is asked by Wong Leung if he could take on ten people at once. In the first film, he did just that. The payoff comes when he takes on even more people to save Leung later and Leung reminds him of the query.
  • In Finding Neverland, the "It's a secret." ("It's a play.") lines to Sylvia by her sons are first used when they are trying to get her to come see Peter's play. They are used again at the end of the movie when they're bringing her to another surprise performance.
  • In Punch Line, Tom Hanks's character's stand-up routine uses this to masterful effect. He begins his routine by talking about the peculiar expression the emcee used, "comedy stylings," applying this to various occupations to point out its absurdity (stopping at "hair stylist," because, well, that one is right). He goes on from topic to topic, at the top of his game, but soon devolving into an angry tirade about bank employees, cab drivers and debutantes. He stops and informs the audience, "I don't hate anybody. I'm not a hate monger. I'm a "hate stylist."
  • Canada Russia 72, a Canadian tv movie about the fiercely fought hockey tournament between the Canaians and the Soviets had a surprisingly touching example of this. Earlier in the film, Canadian goalie Ken Dryden leaves the dressing room and sees Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak practice his goaltending by bouncing rubber balls against the wall. Startled, Tretiak drops a ball and Dryden picks it up, tosses it back to him and they smile at each other. Later in the film, Ken Dryden is seen bouncing rubber balls against the wall. The fact that they are now friends makes it even better.
  • The various endings of Clue are filled with call backs to earlier in the film: "Too late." "I told you I didn't do it." "Would anyone care for fruit or dessert?" And so on and so forth.
  • DEBS
    • Two jokes, one near the beginning of the movie and one near the end.
      Max: Who's your best friend?
      Amy: You are my best friend.
      Max: And what did I say to you the very first day at the Academy?
      Amy: "That's my bunk, bitch."
      Max: After that.
    • And:
      Amy: What did I say to you the first time we met?
      Max: "High-protein diets are overrated."
      Amy: After that.
  • Big Trouble in Little China. When Jack and Wang first go after Lo Pan, Jack asks why they don't just call the cops. Wang responds "Cops got better things to do than get killed." Later, one of the others asks why they don't call the cops and this time Jack says "Cops got better things to do than get killed."
  • The Star Trek films:
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
      • The last line, delivered by Kirk (if you don't count Spock's "space: the final frontier" voiceover) call back to what he told Dr. Marcus during the Darkest Hour ("How do I feel? Old. Worn out.") and what Dr. Marcus told him back ("Let me show you something... that'll make you feel young as when the world was new.").
        McCoy: You okay, Jim? How do you feel?
        Kirk: Young. I feel young.
      • In Spock's quarters: "I would not presume to debate you." At his funeral: "... and we will not presume to debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings."
    • Star Trek: Generations
      • While exploring The Amargosa observatory, Data reminds Geordi of a joke Geordi told Riker at Farpoint Station. As noted in Late to the Punchline, Farpoint Station was the setting for the pilot episode of TNG.
      • Shortly after the D12 is destroyed, the movie cuts to Geordi in engineering examining an open panel and in the middle of a conversation about the damage the ship's taken. He turns around and communicates with the bridge, only to be cut off as the panel he's just walked away from explodes and engineering rapidly degenerates from being a mess to being an outright hazardous environment. As he's ushering everyone out, Geordi tells the bridge that they're a few minutes away from a warp-core breach he can't stop. This scene mirrors one from the episode "Yesterday's Enterprise," where the ship was fatally damaged fighting Klingons in an alternate timeline.
    • A number of plot points from Star Trek play a major role in Star Trek Into Darkness.
      • The transwarp beaming tech provided by Spock Prime is instrumental in Khan's attack. Similarly, aside from the scientists studying it, the only person who knows how to use it is Scotty, who created it in the Prime timeline.
      • Spock goes to Spock Prime for information on Khan.
      • Kirk talks with Pike about the scene in the previous film where Pike asked Kirk to join Starfleet.
      • During the space jump between the Enterprise and the Vengeance, Kirk mentions he's done this before, only vertically.
      • Khan being immune to the stun setting. Star Trek: Enterprise established that the Augments were immune to stun.
      • McCoy shows at the end of the movie that he still hates space.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982): At the end of The Battle of the Mounds, Conan gives the salute he used in his pit fighter days.
  • Prometheus is full of call backs to Alien. One noteworthy example is the scene where Fifield and Millburn encounter the facehugger-like creature, Millburn's attitude in which mirrors Kane's first encounter with an egg, and the creature's attack on Millburn mirrors the attempts to get the facehugger off Kane.
  • The Cracks of Doom being visited twice in The Lord of the Rings, each time with one character urging another to destroy the Ring, and the other deciding not to. First Elrond and Isildur, and two and a half films later, Sam and Frodo.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, Tony (a rich man) was captured by a terrorist group and forced to build weapons for them. In Iron Man 2, Ivan Vanko (a poor man) is captured by a wealthy company and forced to build weapons for them. Both groups of captors learned their mistake.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
      • The film begins with the Avengers fighting HYDRA, who returned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
      • Also from Winter Soldier—one of the personnel on Nick Fury's new Helicarrier is the same guy who refused to launch Project Insight, even with Crossbones pointing a gun at his head. Presumably, Fury picked him for his loyalty.
      • Baron von Strucker is using Loki's scepter from The Avengers as the Plot Device in his evil plan.
      • HYDRA has energy weapons similar to those used in Captain America: The First Avenger. These are indicated to be either reverse-engineered Chitauri technology, as he has one of the large transport creatures strung up in his lab, or the old HYDRA designs powered by the scepter instead of the Tesserract.
      • Tony uses upgraded versions of his Iron Legion from Iron Man 3, which soon get hijacked by Ultron.
      • At one point, Thor chokes Tony, like his brother Loki did in The Avengers.
      • By the end of Hulk's rampage caused by Scarlet Witch's manipulation, Hulk lifts his head out of some rubble and gets knocked out by a punch to the side of the head from Tony in the Hulkbuster armor, mirroring what Hulk did to Thor in the previous film.
      • In The Avengers, Thor accidentally supercharges Iron Man's armour with his lighting, and later levels an entire forest by accident when he uses Mjolnir on Cap's shield. In this film, he and Cap use the latter technique deliberately to take out a HYDRA platoon, and Thor uses his lightning to supercharge the Vision's body and bring him to life. Amusingly, some of those things from the first film were flagged by critics for seeming like a Chekhov's Gun that didn't pay off.
      • During the party scene, Sam mentions that he's doing work on their "missing persons" case while Steve is off being an Avenger, referring to the ongoing hunt for the former Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes.
      • Thor pours the Captain some Gargle Blaster that can leave a regular person in a stupor. Captain America: The First Avenger established that it's very hard for Steve to get drunk.
  • Superman Returns is chock full of homages to Superman: The Movie as well as an attempt to recapture the cover of Action Comics #1.
  • Chuky in "The Curse of Chucky " recalls victims from previous films.
    Chucky: "25 years, since then a lot of families have come and gone. The Barclay's, The Kencaid's, The Tilly's but, Nica your family was always my favorite...and now you're the last one standing so to speak."
  • Near the start of The Double, a man waves to Simon just before he jumps off a building. At the climax, Simon waves to James just before he jumps off the same building.
  • The Color of Money has several call backs to The Hustler:
    • After beating Eddie, Amos asks him, "Do I need to lose weight?" (a reference to Minnesota Fats from the original)
    • At one point, Eddie's girlfriend Janelle says she likes him because he has "character". In The Hustler, Eddie is told he's a loser because he doesn't have character.
  • Maleficent: Maleficent saves Diaval from a farmer's net when they first meet. In the movie's climax he returns the favor, net and all.
  • X-Men:
    • In X2: X-Men United, when the mutants are flying to Alkali Lake, Magneto and Mystique sarcastically say that they like the white parts of Rogue's hair. Those parts were turned white by Magneto's machine during the climax of the first X-Men movie.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand:
      • When Mystique is messing with the guard on the prison truck, she briefly turns into Jason Stryker's "little girl" avatar from the second movie.
      • Magneto reacts to the Army troops defending Alcatraz with a line from the first film, "Humans and their guns," and tries to deal with the problem. But this time:
        Magneto: Plastic! They've learned.
    • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Col. Stryker says that Wade Wilson would be the perfect mercenary if it weren't for his mouth; towards the end of the movie, Wade has his mouth sewn shut. Lampshaded by Wolverine (especially relevant since Logan, in the beginning of the film, was the first one to speak up about how Wade never stops talking):
      Wolverine: I guess Stryker finally figured out how to shut you up.
    • One of the first modern day scenes in The Wolverine is Wolverine delivering some punishment to a hunter who supposedly used a poisoned broad-tip arrow to hunt bears. Poison, particularly poisoned arrows, come back in the third act, when Harada uses a poisoned arrow to knock Wolverine out for the climax.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Logan's "Go fuck yourselves" from First Class comes back to bite him in the ass, courtesy of Charles Xavier, no less.
      • When Logan sees the young William Stryker for the first time, he has violent flashbacks to his confrontation with the older Stryker from X2.
      • To persuade Congress to consider his Sentinel program, Trask quotes Xavier's Oxford dissertation from First Class on the near-immediate eradication of the human sub-species homo neanderthalensis upon the appearance of their "mutated, more-evolved cousins", homo sapiens, alluding to the idea that mutants will eventually drive ordinary humans into extinction.
      • Charles in 1973 regards Magneto as a monster, and Erik called himself "Frankenstein's monster" in First Class.
      • The sincerity of the younger Erik's apology ("I'm sorry, Charles, for what happened, I truly am") is questionable because it sounds very much like Shaw's from First Class ("I'm sorry for what happened in the camps, I truly am").
  • Annie (2014):
    • When Annie seeks to get to know her "real parents" she asks them if they do things that were mentioned in the lyrics of "Maybe".
    • One of the girls complains about being woken up from a dream where she was ice skating. They get to do just that at the Moonquake premiere. They also get to do at least some approximation of all the things the other girls suggest would be more interesting to dream about.
    • Annie's speech at the end of the film includes the words "the sun will come out tomorrow".
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1:
    • A woman in the field hospital asks Katniss about her fake pregnancy. Katniss explains that she miscarried.
    • Snow whispering to himself "Moves and countermoves", a line from Plutarch in the previous film.
  • In St. Vincent, while Vincent is at the hospital waiting for his daughter to be born, Oliver shows him a vending machine trick he learned from Daka earlier in the film.
  • At the start of The Last Witch Hunter, when 36th Dolan pulls out a weighty journal to record Kaulder's history, the witch hunter mentions that he had bought him a tablet exactly so that the man wouldn't have to tote around a huge book. By the end of the film, 36th Dolan uses the book to swat out a Plague Fly and murmurs "Bet you couldn't do that with an iPad."
  • The Hunger Games: Snow explains to Seneca why the Hunger Games needs a champion, and why it isn't simply an annual public execution. Peeta buys this at the end, asking Katniss to kill him so that District 12 will have their champion. Katniss, by now, realizes that she would do far more good as a martyr, and tells Peeta there doesn't need to be a champion at all.

  • The Dresden Files:
    • In White Night, a minor character from Storm Front comes back and plays a significant role in the plot. Additionally, an aspect of one character's Backstory which was mentioned only twice in the entire series (Once each in Storm Front and Death Masks) is expanded on, and becomes a major Plot Point.
    • And a certain line from Storm Front gets a Tear Jerking Call Back twelve books later in Ghost Story.
      Harry: Paranoid? Maybe. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.

      Harry: Paranoid? Maybe. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't a wizard's ghost standing next to you with tears in his eyes.
  • Good Omens is particularly fond of these. One footnote joke near the beginning becomes a major plot element near the end.
  • A number of authors in the Star Wars Legends dabble in this and Call Forward.
    • Timothy Zahn is particularly adept at this—in the Hand of Thrawn duology, unless you're paying attention it's hard to tell what's a Call Back, a Continuity Nod, a Cryptic Background Reference, or a Noodle Incident.
    • Survivor's Quest and Outbound Flight, very different novels set 50 years apart, were written together, so there are calls between them. Survivor's Quest also has at least two Call Backs to the Original Trilogy. "I want to go with you", a young untrained Force-Sensitive who wants to help an older Jedi, and Dean Jinzler, brother of a Jedi, who'd been passing as an ambassador.
      Jinzler: I'm not an ambassador, Guardian. I'm an electronics technician. Like my father before me.
    • Jedi Apprentice has Qui-Gon Jinn commenting to Yoda about not-yet-a-Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi. He tells Yoda that the boy fought ferociously, which isn't a trait he likes to see. Yoda mildly says that this is like a boy he knew long ago. Qui-Gon assumes Yoda means his fallen apprentice Xanatos, but is told "Not speaking of that one. Of you I spoke."
      • Rebel Force, set many years ahead, has Obi-Wan as a Force Appartition describing Luke to Yoda, who says he's reminded of a boy he knew long ago. Obi-Wan immediately assumes he means Anakin and jumps to Luke's defense, saying he's nothing like that, but Yoda tells him he means Obi-Wan.
    • In Labyrinth of Evil, Anakin and Obi-Wan use the Linked List Clue Methodology to try and track down Darth Sidious. Many of the clues pointing toward Sidious were seen back in The Phantom Menace: Nute Gunray's mechno-chair, which provides the first break, is the same one he used on Naboo; Anakin and Obi-Wan find a pilot who delivered Darth Maul's ship to him from its manufacturer; and Sidious apparently uses a U-shaped speeder bike of the same design as Maul's to get around Coruscant quickly.
    • Star Wars: Kenobi:
      • Two to Ben's previous visit to Tatooine during The Phantom Menace: he has a healthy fear of sandstorms, and knows something of the Tusken Raiders after an (offscreen) encounter with them during that film.
      • Most people call Annileen Calwell "Annie." Ben refuses to, both to maintain some distance and because it reminds him uncomfortably of Anakin.
      • Jabba's people are leaning on Orrin for payment because the new Galactic Empire is making business uncertain, so he wants cash on hand.
      • While never directly spelled out in the narrative, it's obvious that the event a few years earlier that spooked the Tusken Raiders and led to a decline in their fortunes, as well as those of Orrin when demand for the Settlers' Call dried up in turn, was Anakin's massacre of the Tusken tribe that killed his mother in Attack of the Clones.
  • In The Chronicles of Prydain first book The Book of Three Taran helps a gwythaint, one of the dark lord's creatures, against the advice of his more experienced companions. The gwythaint appears at the end of the final book The High King and buys Taran some time at the expense of its own life.
  • Dale Brown does this from time to time. For example, in Warrior Class, Dave Luger is angered and emotionally crippled when he meets one of the former personnel at the Soviet base he was rescued from in Night of the Hawk. In A Time for Patriots there are a few, such as the nanotransponders from Edge of Battle being used on the FBI agents and Pat being reminded of Hal Briggs's death.
  • The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan:
    • Ma Gasket shows up in Son of Neptune wanting revenge on Jason, Leo, and Piper. Percy also shows up to reclaim his place as a main character after being absent for the first book.
    • "We've got a dam hole." And this one is from the original series.
    • When Percy shows up again after falling off a giant cliff and Hazel and Frank are surprised, he mentions that he's fallen from higher, which was another reference to the first series.
    • A lot of references to the past series show up in House of Hades, the curses from past enemies that Percy and Annabeth encounter in Tartarus and Percy's brief time on Ogygia being just a few.
    • Some of the centurions in Son of Neptune are caught playing Mythomagic, the same card game Nico was obsessed with in his first appearance. Later, when asked how he knows what a katobleps is, Nico admits it's because he remembers them from the game.
  • This gem from The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison:
    "Hey, Rache," Jenks said, dropping down from who knew where. "Your back is clear. And what is Plan B?"
    My eyebrows rose and I looked askance at him as he flew alongside, matching my pace exactly. "Grab the fish and run like hell"
    • Then, two books later, this exchange takes place...
    "Plan B?" Ivy said. "What is plan B?"
    Jenks reddened. "Grab the fish and run like hell," he muttered, and I almost giggled.
  • From The Lord of the Rings: Tom Bombadil gives Merry, Pippin, and Sam a long knife (a sword to a Hobbit) taken from the Barrow-wights. The enchantments on these knives, or at least Merry's, play a MAJOR role in saving Minas Tirith.
  • In the third book of the Knight and Rogue Series Burke, while boasting about his pack of magic hounds, mentions they're immune to the drug Aquilas. Though it got no mention in the second book, it was discussed several times in the first before the characters actually drug somebody with it.
  • In the Paladin of Shadows books:
    • As the situation gets worse in Unto the Breach, various heads of state call the US President about some highly sensitive material the Keldara are holding onto from Choosers of the Slain.
    • The intel expert seconded to the Keldara in A Deeper Blue is "Bambi" from Ghost.
  • The Railway Series was fond of these.
    • In The Eight Famous Engines, Thomas references an earlier, similar story where he ignored a "Danger" sign and fell into a mine. Percy doesn't see how that's relevant, because they're at the harbor, not a mine.
    • In Duck and the Diesel Engine, the big engines think Duck is making fun of them. While making their plan, they say "He did it to us, we'll do it to him, and see how he likes it" - and in the next scene they're blocking Duck line to the sheds, just as he and Percy did in Percy the Small Engine.
  • The BIONICLE books contain examples aplenty, due to their generally tight continuity and because certain characters, objects and plots had a tendency to go missing for many novels before suddenly resurfacing. One of the more famous ones is the fear displayed by Air-type characters to go left.
  • In Spock's World, numerous references are made to the episode "Amok Time" including the Big Bad of the current story.
  • The Hercule Poirot novel Cat Amongst the Pigeons has a callback to Mrs McGinty's Dead, when Julia explains to Poirot that she thought of coming to him because her mother is a friend of Mrs Summerhayes, whom Poirot stayed with when he was in Broadhinny.
  • Done frequently among the numerous narratives in World War Z. A diver who specializes in underwater zombie combat mentions the Chinese sub that was sunk in an earlier story told by a Chinese submariner. Todd Wainio and his squadron come across the church that Sharon the feral child had been trapped in during the Great Panic. Wainio also serves with the girl who sang "Avalon" at the Battle of the Five Colleges. Arthur Sinclair still hopes to arrest Breckinridge Scott. Jurgen Warmbrunn mentions having come across both the psychological evaluation of Stanley MacDonald and the blog of Fernando Oliveira's nurse in his research. Collins mentions MacDonald trying to find his peace among the monasteries in Meteora when discussing war veterans trying to deal with their trauma from the war. It's also strongly hinted that the old man Kondo Tatsumi gets his katana from is the older brother of his master Sensei Ijiro. A photograph of the old man as a young officer shows he had a little brother that would have been about Ijiro's age.
  • Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell:
    • The reveal that she was originally a pegasus makes sense, considering many of her more memorable moments have been in flight.
    • Her transformation into a Princess took her to the same hall of mirrors as Twilight it seems.
  • In Catching Fire, during the Quarter Quell, Peeta finds a pearl and shows it to Katniss, saying "If you put enough pressure on coal, it turns to pearls!", said by Effie Trinket in the previous book, to Finnick's confusion.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Halo: Hunters in the Dark sees the return of N'tho 'Sraom and Usze 'Taham, two Sangheili that serve under Thel 'Vadam (the Arbiter) and were last seen accompanying the player in Halo 3 (being the third and fourth players in co-op mode, respectively).
  • Volume II of Star Trek The Eugenics Wars opens with Roberta up on a scaffold trying to sabotage a rocket launch, just like Gary Seven in "Assignment: Earth".
  • In Warrior Cats, in The Last Hope, Firestar points out that he is once again the cat chosen by a prophecy to save his Clan, and quotes the original one.
    Firestar: I guess fire will save the Clans once more.
  • Edgedancer:
    • Wyndle grumbles that he was supposed to be assigned to a cobbler; a book earlier, the readers were briefly introduced to a Knight Radiant initiate who's a shoemaker.
    • In one of the earlier books, Hoid mentions having once spent a better part of the year in the stomach of a greatshell; here, it's mentioned again, as it turns out Lift has witnessed the moment Hoid hopped into the creature's maw.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Arya mentions in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" that her training will involve catching cats, and Doreah and Viserys discuss the dragon skulls that once adorned the throne room. In the next episode, Arya chases a cat into the cellars where a dragon skull is stored.
    • Littlefinger calls back to his own statement that he's not to be trusted when he betrays Ned Stark and his attempt to depose Joffrey.
    • "What do we say to the god of death?" "Not today."
    • Ser Dontos Hollard, the drunken knight who demoted to a court jester in "The North Remembers", is shown juggling for the ladies of the court in "Blackwater".
    • Arya is reintroduced into "The Night Land" with a very similar tracking shot to her intro in "Winter is Coming".
    • When Varys asks about his plan to defeat Stannis, Tyrion says "pig shit," calling back to Bronn's accusation that Pyromancer Hallyne was a Snake Oil Salesman as either Foreshadowing or a Eureka Moment.
    • After gleefully telling Tyrion he's lost all his power, Grand Maester Pycelle flicks him a coin and says, "For your trouble," calling back to when Tyrion arrested him, took away his power, and tipped his prostitute using the same words.
    • In the House of the Undying, Daenerys rejects the Lotus-Eater Machine vision of her husband and son by repeating Mirri Maz Duur's words that Drogo will return and she will have another child "when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, etc." When she rejects the vision, Drogo's face goes expressionless like he was after the botched ritual.
    • In "Valar Morghulis", it turns out the Dothraki can lift Xaro's golden peacock after all.
    • Bran's dream in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" calls back dialogue from his introduction in "Winter is Coming".
    • In "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Sansa has to remind Loras that he gave her a red rose at the Tourney of the Hand in "Cripple, Bastards, and Broken Things". The audience knows Loras doesn't remember because he was too busy making eyes with Renly at the time.
    • During her scene with Talisa in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Catelyn is frantically making another of the charms she made "The Kingsroad".
    • When Littlefinger calls his brothel the safest place in the city, Tyrion replies, "Not for bastards," referencing the murder of King Robert's bastard daughter there in "The North Remembers".
    • The Big "NO!" Brienne lets out in "Walk of Punishment" is reminiscent of the one she gave in "The Ghost of Harrenhal", the last traumatic event in her life.
    • In "Walk of Punishment", Jaime explains his wide vocabulary is due to being forced to read as a child, something Tywin previously mentioned as his cure for Jaime's dyslexia.
    • The beheading of Rickard Karstark in "Kissed by Fire" strongly resembles that of Rodrik Cassel in the "The Old Gods and the New", sharing music, weather, and the condemned using their last words to condemn their executioner. Both scenes harken back to Ned's beheading of the deserter in "Winter is Coming", showing how he has influenced Robb and Theon.
    • In "Kissed By Fire", Gendry refers to Arya as "milady," just like when he first learned her identity in "The Nightlands".
    • When Tyrion learns of his arranged marriage in "Kissed By Fire", he asks if Tywin has forgotten that he already was wed, referencing the story he told Bronn and Shae in "Baelor". Tyrion also protests that his prospective bride is just a child, but Cersei assures she is not by bringing up the events of "A Man Without Honor."
    • In "The Climb", Theon finally comes face to face with "that fucking hornblower" who tormented him in "Valar Morghulis". It's even less pleasant than before.
    • Olenna tells Tywin in "The Climb" that it's a rare man who live up to his reputation, calling back to her disappointment with Tyrion in "Kissed By Fire".
    • Loras' description of his dream bride wearing a "beautiful gown of green and gold brocade" is reminiscent of the rich attire Renly wore to the Tourney of the Hand.
    • Littlefinger also makes good on his threat about bad investments from "The Night Lands" at the end of "The Climb".
    • In "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", Jaime tells Roose Bolton to give his regards to Robb. Several episodes later, Roose passes on the sentiment as premortem one-liner.
    • In "Second Sons", Tyrion sarcastically declares himself the "god of tits and wine," the hypothetical god he pondered in "The Prince of Winterfell".
    • The Dothraki phrase that leads Missandei to correct Daenerys' pronunciation in "Second Sons" is the same phrase Irri taught her in "Lord Snow".
    • Those who remember Maester Cressen in "The North Remembers" know what an empty gesture it is for Melisandre to taste the wine to prove it isn't poisoned in "Second Sons".
    • Arya doesn't believe the Hound when he tells her that he saved her sister during the riot of King's Landing.
    • Sam beams when Gilly says he's like a wizard in "The Rains of Castamere", something he admitted to aspiring to in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things".
    • Jorah throws Barristan's "loyal servants, no matter the cost" lecture from "Kissed By Fire" back in his face when Barristan wants to join him on a mission in "The Rains of Castamere".
    • The Season 3 finale "Mhysa" features several call backs to the Season 1 finale "Fire and Blood". Joffrey intends to make good on the threat he made to present Robb's head to Sansa, Tywin dismisses everyone but Tyrion with the same terse "Not you," and he answers one of Tyrion's questions with, "You're my son."
    • Jaime's departure from Tywin's office in the Season 4 premiere "Two Swords" is shot from the exact same angle as Tyrion's departure from the same office in the Season 3 premiere "Valar Dohaeris".
    • In "Two Swords", Shae brings up the payoff Varys offered her in "Mhysa", which Tyrion honestly knew nothing about.
    • Podrick recognizes the contortionist at Joffrey's wedding as one of the whores Tyrion rewarded him with in "Walk of Punishment".
    • In "Breaker of Chains", Shireen brings up that Davos struggles with reading the "gh" in words like "knight", which was depicted in "Mhysa" when he couldn't pronounce "Night's Watch."
    • When Sansa asks what Littlefinger wants in "Oathkeeper", he replies, "Everything," the same answer he gave to Ros at the end of his Character Filibuster in "You Win Or You Die".
    • Margaery smugly proves she is not intimidated by Cersei in "First Of His Name" when she questions whether to call Cersei "sister" or "mother" after Cersei made it very clear she didn't like being called "sister" in "Second Sons".
    • The mystery of Jon Arryn's death established in the series premiere is finally definitively resolved rather anticlimactically in "First of His Name".
    • Just before Polliver kills Lommy with Needle he sarcastically asks, "Something wrong with your leg, boy?" and laughs when Lommy asks to be carried. Much later, in "Two Swords," Arya wounds Polliver in the leg and asks him the same question, before killing him with Needle.
    • Locke's response to a warning about Karl's knife skills is to asks, "Have you seen what I can do with a knife?" Jaime Lannister certainly has.
    • Yara's speech in "The Laws of Gods and Men" is a rehash of Tywin Lannister's speech about reputation in "You Win Or You Die".
    Tywin: If another house can seize one of our own and hold him captive, with impunity, we are no longer a house to be feared.
    Yara: As long as they can hurt our prince with impunity the word 'Ironborn' means nothing!
    • In "Mockingbird", Hot Pie seems to have taken Gendry and Arya's lesson from "The Night Lands" that not every person wearing armour is ipso facto a knight, and he asks that Brienne deliver a much-improved version of his wolf-shaped pie from "Walk of Punishment" to Arya if they find her.
    • While pondering the various words for murder in "The Mountain and the Viper", Jaime is obviously remembering his actions in "A Man Without Honor" when he brings up cousin slaying. Incidentally, "consobrinicide" is the very obscure word he was looking for.
    • Ralf Kenning's Spiteful Spit in Reek's face calls back to Rodrik Cassel doing the same to Theon in "The Old Gods and the New". Given that Reek immediately lapses into his Madness Mantra at that point, the significance is probably not lost on him.
    • Ralf Kenning's death, attacked from behind by one of his own men who didn't want to join his Last Stand, has obvious parallels to what happened to Theon in "Valar Morghulis".
    • Sansa's appeal to Bronze Yohn Royce in "The Mountain and the Viper" mentions his son Ser Waymar, the first character killed in the series way back in the Cold Open of "Winter is Coming".
    • A mysterious boy who works for Varys delivers a pardon for Ser Jorah Mormont in "The Mountain and the Viper" as in "You Win Or You Die". This time, however, it is deliberately delivered to implicate Jorah rather than reward him.
    • Maester Aemon references his discussion of love and duty with Jon in "Baelor" during a similar conversation with Sam in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Mance Rayder lives up to his boast of lighting the biggest fire the north has ever seen in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Jon apparently remembered Karl spitting in his face during their duel and puts it to use himself against Styr in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • In Stannis's introductory scene, he corrects Davos's incorrect use of "less" instead of "fewer." In the season 5 episode "Kill the Boy," he mutters "fewer" when a Night's Watchman makes the same grammatical mistake.
    • Melisandre recalls meeting Beric Dondarrion & Thoros of Myr in "The Climb" to Davos in "Home".
    • In season 6, Dany gives a Rousing Speech echoing Drogo's mighty declarations made way back in season 1.
    • In "No One," Tyrion starts telling the story about his trip to a whorehouse with a jackass and a honeycomb that he previously started at his trial in the Eyrie, but again gets cut off.
  • Happy Endings: Happens a lot. Like when Penny learns that Pete's friends are "normal".
    Penny: You mean you've never brought a miniature pig to a car dealership to prove a point about gender roles?! note 
    • In episode 2 of Season 3, Jane recalls a time she got Max a big pinata full of candy, but Dave and Max tried and failed (hilariously) to get it open. Sixteen episodes later, Max finally gets it open-by tossing it out his window and letting it get hit by a car.
    • In episode 21 of Season 3, 'Un-Sabotagable', when Max sees Chase, he drops the slice of pizza he's holding out of surprise & fear. At the end of the episode, Chase is in the hospital for, as he explains, slipping on that piece of pizza and hitting his head.
    • There are plenty of other call backs that refer to the events of the pilot, such as Alex running away from her and Dave's wedding with a guy on rollerblades, which usually leads to Dave saying Too Soon. Since the pilot also showed Penny's birthday party, the next episode to feature Penny's birthday contains a number of call backs: Max pounding the table and yelling 'here we go!', Brad repeating but slightly modifying his breathless 'that bitch young' about Dave's high school date, and in general, the day being another example of Penny's birthday being cursed.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
    • Joel and Frank's surprise appearance in the first episode of the final season was a Call Back to earlier seasons on a different network.
    • They also love making Call Back jokes about previous movies, especially if they run into the same actor.
    • Lampshaded in the episode King Dinosaur. Servo criticizes Joel for repeating a joke, to which Joel responds that it was a call back. Crow even makes a call back to the first call back in the same episode.
    • They even did this when it made no sense, such as having Mike reference movies that were shown during the Joel era. Although it is possible that Mike just deliberately sought out terrible movies and/or had very bad taste.
  • Ben Browder's character in the last two seasons of Stargate SG-1 does a lot of these. (He read the mission reports.)
  • Lampshaded in Stargate Atlantis season 4, when Samantha Carter left the SGC to take over leadership of Atlantis. She asks Teal'c if he'll come visit her, and he tells her "undomesticated equines could not keep me away." This is a repeat of a line from Season 2 of SG-1 (around eight years earlier). Sam laughs and tells him, "Nice call back."
  • Due to the nature of Lost, with its broad mythology, Character Focus episodes, and time-compression, features many a Call Back to previous episodes and seasons. A few examples: Hurley's van from "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" turns up in a small way in "The Man Behind the Curtain" and a big way in "Through the Looking Glass." Locke's donated kidney from Season 1 saves his life in Season 3. "Cabin Fever" in Season 4 heavily called back the fourth episode, "Walkabout."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The last scene of the second episode is recreated before the last battle of the last episode.
    • In "Innocence", after Buffy sleeps with Angel and he has lost his soul, Angelus is critical of Buffy's "skills" in bed, to which she responds, "Was I... was it... not good?" In the episode of Angel where Darla seduces Angel into having sex with her in hopes of him losing his soul again, Darla is self-conscious when Angel doesn't lose his soul, and asks the same question, word for word.
    • In season 2, Xander is supposed to warn Buffy that Willow is attempting to restore Angel's soul. Since he hates Angel, Xander tells her, "Willow says kick his ass". In season 7 Buffy mentions this in front of Willow, and Xander is finally caught out in his lie.
    • In the 6th-season's "Gone", Warren, leader of the evil-nerd trio, declares to Buffy that "We're your arch-nemesises... ses." When they fail to open their escape door, Buffy mockingly says to Willow: "I give you my arch-nemesis... ses... ses." In season 7's "Conversations with Dead People", vampire and former acquaintance Holden marvels that he and Buffy are now enemies, saying, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we became nemeses?" Buffy responds, "Is that how you say the word?"
    • When Willow and Oz meet for the first time in season 2, Oz only says one thing, "Canapé?" and offers her a plate of it. When Oz and Bayarmaa meet for the first time in season 8, Bayarmaa only asks, "Butter tea?" and offers him a plate of it.
    • In the season 3 episode "The Wish", Vampire Willow commonly says "Bored now." In season 6, Darth Willow says the same thing right before killing Warren, who she has just flayed.
    • In Season 2, when Ethan "leaves" in "Halloween" Giles finds a card with "Be seeing you" on it. Eyghon says the same thing while leaving Giles' apartment in "The Dark Age".
    • Season 9 has a call back to the season 3 episode where Faith accidently kills the deputy mayor. It's because she remembers this that she is able to stop another Slayer from making the same mistake. Later, her father reveals he knew about this and tries to get her to kill humans that are after him. To save Angel, she ends up cutting off one of the guys' hands and is understandably horrified.
    • In Season 9 Faith is worried about what will happen to Angel in Quor'toth, since the last time he was in an alternate dimension he had trouble controlling his demon side. It is revealed being in Quor'toth may affect their behavior.
    • Mohra Demon blood from Angel season 1 is being sold on the Black Market in Season 9.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: In the pilot episode, Marie and Raymond have a discussion about the 'Fruit of the Month' club that Raymond has bought a membership for his parents. His parents see it as a cult that continually gives them more fruit than they know what to do with. This is referenced often throughout the series.
  • M*A*S*H does this often with one of the more serious characters complaining about all the things Hawkeye, Trapper, and B.J. had done to them. More seriously, there are references to Col. Blake, Trapper, and Radar after they left the show.
    • In the series finale, Charles and Margaret rehash a trivial argument from several seasons before about whether Charles had touched his nose in surgery (which would mean he wasn't sterile).
  • Firefly
    • In the first two episodes, Kaylee tells Mal that they need a new compression coil or some such part for the ship's engine or they will be dead in the water. In the episode "Out of Gas", the failure of this part causes exactly that, thus giving us the plot of the episode.
    • And in the episode "Ariel", Wash finds an apparently pristine compression coil in a junkyard, shows it to Kaylee, and tosses it aside.
    • In the movie "Serenity", Kaylee finds another piece of gear that looks suspiciously like the same kind of coil, this from the broken piece of the Reaver ship that landed in the cargo bay. This shows how common this piece of gear is. They're everywhere, until you really need them.
  • In the Heroes episode "A Clear And Present Danger", Peter ends up as a passenger in Mohinder's cab and asks, "Do you ever get the feeling like you were meant to do something extraordinary?", echoing the first time they met.
  • Doctor Who
    • It remains to be seen whether the Time Agents referenced by 51st century Captain Jack Harkness in the new series are a Call Back to the Time Agents mentioned by his contemporary Magnus Greel in the Fourth Doctor's adventure "The Talons of Weng-Chiang".
    • "School Reunion" was one big Call Back to the Fourth Doctor's era. As well, there was a more short-term Call Back: The Doctor explains that he can't open the Krilitane device because it's got a "deadlock seal". The same thing prevented him from unlocking the door from the Big Brother house in "Bad Wolf".
    • Deadlock seals have been mentioned repeatedly since, to the point where it's stopped being a Call Back to earlier references and started being a standard part of the series.
    • "The Lazarus Experiment" also had a hilarious Shout-Out to a previous Doctor's Techno Babble of choice, where he complains that it took him longer than usual to "reverse the polarity".
    • In the end, the reason The War Doctor decides he must end the Time War is, fundamentally, the very reason that the Fourth Doctor refused to push the button and destroy the Daleks at their genesis: a great evil done which inspires great hope and justice. Incidentally, Russell T Davies has described the events of that episode as the "opening salvo" of the Time War.
      • Also, what the War Doctor planned to do was almost exactly the same as Davros did in the same episode, for the same reason (though Davros was probably lying): Destroy both his own and the enemy's races for the sake of peace
  • In the end of the CSI episode "Pirates of the Third Reich", Lady Heather, the recurring dominatrix character, has abducted her daughter's killer, tied him up and is beating him bloody with her bullwhip when Grissom arrives to confront her. In a previous episode, the two had discussed the sanctity of the safeword; in a BDSM relationship, when the dominant is told to stop, she must stop. So when Grissom (who had once engaged in some Unresolved Sexual Tension with her) grabs the whip as she's swinging it and tells her "I said stop", she caves, and it's a powerful moment to those who realize the significance.
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, during the trial of Darius Parker (someone close to Finn's family), the defense brings up the fact that, two seasons earlier, Stabler used connections in the police to sweep his daughter Kathleen's DUI arrest under the rug. This forces the judge to recuse herself and to put out an arrest warrant for Kathleen.
  • The US version of The Office has a few Call Back jokes throughout the series. One of the more notable of these is the use of the expression "Win-Win-Win" to describe a favorable outcome of a compromise. According to the season 2 episode "Conflict Resolution", both parties win for having a successful compromise, and Michael wins for having successfully managed a conflict. From this point on, "Win-Win" in almost any context is replaced by "Win-Win-Win".
  • Arrested Development is full of these, but you have to be on your toes to pick up on them. The line "The fact that you call making love 'pop-pop' shows me you're not ready" is used in two completely different contexts by two different characters over the course of two seasons.
  • Star Trek (not known for its continuity) has a moment in the "The Deadly Years" where Kirk references the Corbomite Self-Destruct Device from "The Corbomite Maneuver" in order to bluff some Romulans. Some of the Bridge Crew actually smile when he makes the broadcast. There's another one in "The Trouble with Tribbles" when the Klingon commander makes a reference to the Organian peace treaty. In "Errand of Mercy", the Organians intervened to stop the Klingons and The Federation from trying to kill each other - apparently, they're still watching.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In the pilot episode, someone mentions "... an Admiral who hates transporters." The importance of this can best be summed up in a quote from Wil Wheaton: "...and this is where we separate the Trekkies from the Trekkers, folks, because the hardcores know before they see or hear him that the Admiral is Dr. McCoy." A nostalgic Tear Jerker promptly ensues as DeForest Kelley proceeds to pass the torch from one series to the other.
    • In the episode "Family", Picard takes shore leave on the French vineyard where he grew up, and before he leaves, his brother gives him a bottle of homemade wine. Later, in the episode "First Contact", before Picard offers a toast to the new friendship between an alien species, he explicitly mentions that he got the wine back home.
    • In "Relics", Data gets a bottle of alcohol for Scotty in 10-forward, and when Scotty asks what it is, he says, "It is..." (pause while evaluating) " is green." This is in reference to the episode "By Any Other Name", where Scotty brings a bottle of booze to a Kelvin, and when the Kelvin asks what it is, Scotty drunkenly examines it, and proclaims, "It is green."
    • In "Pegasus", at the end of the episode, Picard consoles a guilty Riker for not having spoken up about a mistake made a decade ago. Calling back to the episode "The First Duty", he congratulates him on standing up for the truth and accepting the consequences and, just so we know that it's a callback, tells Riker he does deserve to wear that uniform.
  • In 1976, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz was forced to resign because he made a racist joke (cleaned up here): "What blacks want is good sex, loose shoes and a warm place to go to the bathroom." Saturday Night Live, in the News portion of the program, led with this story, stating the joke as given above. At the end of the "news" broadcast, 10 or 15 minutes later, they announced that Muhammad Ali was considering a retirement from boxing. According to the reader, all Ali wanted was good sex, loose shoes and a warm place to go to the bathroom.
  • In the season 1 episode of Scrubs, "My Tuscaloosa Heart", Elliot does the "I Told You So Dance" when her suspicion that a song on a tape was sung by Dr. Kelso turns out to be true (though Dr. Kelso denies it). Then, in the season 8 episode, "Their Story II", we see it again when she's right about a decision.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? is excellent at this, and usually manages to slide in at least one inside joke at the end from a game earlier in the episode. (After all, how can we forget Colin's famous Irish Drinking Song moments: "Meowwww" and "You can get poo from fud!") The best example of this (a Brick Joke due to the time frame) started in the UK show where Greg and Colin did a piece where Greg was a Gremlin (Can be seen here, it's the first game played). Later, in the US show, Greg has to play a Gremlin again, and Colin makes the quiet comment "You should have never taken that shower" in reference to how Gremlin!Greg got wet in the first skit. (Actually, Colin's infamous Scottish accent keeps being called back to as well.)
  • In an early episode of Red Dwarf, Rimmer tells Lister he can't escape death by hitting in the head and running. In the last episode, Rimmer escapes the Grim Reaper by kneeing it in the groin and running.
  • The Wire:
    • In the first season, Bodie, Poot and D'Angelo Barksdale have a conversation about chess and the nature of expendable pawns, which concludes with Bodie saying that if you want to get ahead, you'll have to be "one smart-ass pawn". Three seasons later, when Bodie is virtually on his own and sits down for a conversation with Detective McNulty, he mentions that he feels like a pawn, and deliberately references the conversation from the first season.
    • Early on in the series, McNulty is told by a fellow detective in the Major Crimes Unit that there will inevitably come a time when he will screw up on a case, and will be asked by the police brass where he doesn't want to work - the lesson being that he should the advice and say the wrong answer so he doesn't get buried on a terrible beat. At the end of that season, Commissioner Rawls approaches McNulty and asks the same question to him, word-for-word - and McNulty heeds that advice, but it amounts to nothing because Jay Landsman gives Rawls the answer himself. McNulty ends up working on the Baltimore P.D.'s Marine Unit for the better part of the second season.
    • In the series finale's montage, the clip of two boys throwing a rock into the lens of a police camera (seen in the opening sequence of all five seasons) is replayed again, as well as a clip being shown of an empty basement with a phone in it (which is the same office the Major Crimes Unit used throughout the first season).
  • Coupling does this repeatedly, especially with reference to Jeff's theories of the universe (e.g., the Sock Gap). Another nice example - in the second episode of season 3 ("Faithless"), Jeff uses "hippo" as an example of an accidental word; in the season finale, Steve blurts out "Hippo!" when he learns Susan is pregnant.
  • Monk has one of the longest reaching call backs. At the beginning of the pilot, Monk is worried about leaving the oven on. After a skip past 8 seasons or over a hundred episodes later, the last scene of the final episode has Monk make sure the oven is off before he leaves for a case.
  • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Gambler's Fallacy", Rollins is exposed as a cop by a 16 year old waitress after visiting an underground gambling den while off duty. It's the same 16 year old waitress who was the victim of a sexual crime the protagonists were investigating several episodes earlier.
  • Seinfeld
    • Some dialog is mirrored: when Jerry is horrified at having to wear the "puffy shirt" Kramer's girlfriend designed on a TV charity show, Kramer compliments him, saying "You look like a pirate!" Jerry wails "I don't wanna be a pirate!" In a later episode, Kramer is going to pull a sting operation to see if an associate is dealing drugs. He wears an ostentatious outfit including an eyepatch, and Jerry tells him how ridiculous he looks:
    Jerry: You look like a pirate!
    Kramer: I wanna be a pirate!
    • In the same "puffy shirt" episode, there's a Call Back to the masturbation episode — George is a hand model, and it's revealed that the best male hand model before him lost his career by not being "master of his domain"; George says there's nothing to worry about with him: "I won a contest."
      • This is also The Reveal for the masturbation episode, since that episode ended without explicitly stating who won. It was further called back in the finale where George revealed that he actually cheated.
    • The pilot: the conversation about George's button being in the wrong place on George's shirt? Ya. Guess what Jerry talks about in the series finale when the gang lands in prison?
  • In Young Blades, when the main character says that killing the guard who killed her father is not murder, she is told, "No; it's satisfaction." In the final episode, she kills the guard who killed her brother; his last words are, "You have your satisfaction."
  • When aired on TV, the theme song for the show Dawson's Creek was "I Don't Wanna Wait" by Paula Cole. In the show within a show at the end of the series finale, a show based off the lives of the characters, one of the characters said, "I don't wanna wait for my life to be over what will it be?" Which is a Call Back to one of the lyrics often heard in the show's opening over the last six years.
    • WKRP in Cincinnati did the same thing, in a flash back episode Andy Travis was explaining that he just "got kind of tired packing and unpacking, Town to town and up and down the dial". which are lyrics in the shows theme song.
  • The first episode of The Big Bang Theory mentions that one of Leonard's ex-girlfriends defected to North Korea, and that the person who used to live in Penny's apartment was an overweight transvestite. The finale of Season 3 shows Sheldon and Leonard's first meeting in 2003, where both characters appear. It also explains the Running Gag of the broken elevator- Sheldon placed Leonard's improperly mixed rocket fuel in the elevator just as it exploded.
    • That episode got its own callback in Season 9; to deal with Leonard leaving, Sheldon strips the apartment back to its empty 2003 state.
    • Also in the first episode, Sheldon gives Penny a detailed lecture on why only he is allowed to sit in his spot. Then in Season 3, everyone tells Bernardette not to sit in Sheldon's spot. When she asks why, Penny recites Sheldon's lecture almost verbatim, leaving the group in stunned silence and prompting Sheldon to say, "Perhaps there's hope for you after all".
    • In Season 4, Howard uses a robot hand to masturbate, and gets his penis stuck. He goes to the hospital and the nurse asks him where the rest of the robot is. When he tells her it's just a hand, she replies, "Cause that's all you needed, right?". In Season 8, Howard meets his hitherto unknown half-brother and they quickly bond. When his brother hears that Howard had sex with a robot, he asks if it was sexy. Howard says that it was just a hand, to which his brother replies, "Cause that's all you need, right?".
  • Supernatural
    • The pilot episode ends with Sam and Dean standing at the trunk of the Impala. Sam throws in a gun, shuts the trunk, and says "We've got work to do." At the end of the second season finale, Dean delivers the same line, complete with the gun and the trunk, after killing the Yellow-Eyed Demon, who had opened a gateway to Hell and released a couple hundred other demons and spirits. Also doubles as And the Adventure Continues.
    • In season 2, Dean sarcastically shuts down Sam's hope of angels existing, saying there's also a ton of lore on unicorns, and that he heard they walked on moonbeams and shot rainbows out of their asses. The unicorn in season 7 isn't seen walking on moonbeams, but there is indeed a rainbow streaming out of its ass as it gallops away.
    • In the season 5 finale (originally meant to be the series finale), both Sam and his younger half-brother Adam went to hell as vessels for Lucifer and Michael, respectively. Sam got out in the closing montage, and continues to be a main character. Adam, on the other hand, stops being mentioned in mid-season 6. In the series' 200th episode, Sam and Dean find themselves fighting a monster that's targeting a high school drama club that's putting on a musical based on the Supernatural books. In the second act, the characters that have died over the years join in a rendition of "Carry on Wayward Son." When a kid steps out of the Impala, this happens:
      Sam: Who's that?
      Stage Manager: Adam, John Winchester's other kid. He's still trapped in the cage with Lucifer.
  • The "fish-fry massacre" from The Walking Dead, which occurred in the first-season episode "Vatos" (in which walkers attacked the camp when Rick, Daryl, T-Dog and Glenn went to get the bag of guns in Atlanta), continues to be a sticking point between the survivors long after it happened. In the season 2 episode "Pretty Much Dead Already", Shane calls out Rick for not being around when the attack happened, and specifically mentions that Jim (one of the other survivors who was left behind after the attack) and Amy (Andrea's sister) died as a result of his inaction.
  • In the Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "Excuses", Cookie pushes Vanessa's grandmother down the stairs, thinking it was Vanessa in disguise as a phony excuse, only to learn she was real. Later, in "Science Fair", Cookie brings her to the fair to prove that he's not the monster he's being made out to be.
  • Modern Family has used quite a few:
    • The second season's finale, "The One That got Away", has an in-universe video montage, supposedly for Jay's birthday, showing all the characters either dressed or holding a prop in such a way as to indicate a particular episode from the season as they say they're too busy to say something.
    • Two second season episodes got callbacks in the third season: the events of "Bixby's Back" (itself a Sequel Episode) were brought up by Clare's opponent (David Cross) during a political debate in "Little Bo Bleep", and the outcome of "Caught in the Act" is cited by Mitchell as a reason not to hold a party at a certain restaurant in "Leap Day".
  • In an episode of the TV version of Hello Cheeky, the second part of the show begins by showing "edited highlights" — a string of Orphaned Punchlines and set-ups from the first part.
  • The last ever line in House, spoken by the title character, is a paraphrasing of House's first line in the pilot.
  • In the iCarly episode "iSpaced Out", Carly is suddenly revealed to save severe claustrophobia. It may seem like a Compressed Vice, but it later shows up in "iSam's Mom".
  • Eureka: The final scene of the series is a call back to Jack and Zoe's initial arrival in Eureka, from the pilot: Jack and Zoe are driving out of town, and see a car coming the other way. As the cars pass, they see that the other car has Jack and Zoe in it, driving into town.
  • A more administrative version, the first episode of Charmed is called Something Wicca This Way Comes, and the last episode of the seventh season is called Something Wicca This Way goes. This, and the events of the episode, imply that it was meant to be the final episode before the show got extended fore another season.
  • Retro Game Master: Arino's fondness for Dhalsim and his Yoga Fire is often mentioned when Street Fighter and other fighting games appear.
  • In the series finale of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the bracelet Harvey gave Sabrina during the first season's soap opera episode happens to be the bracelet Morgan pulled out of Sabrina's jewelry box to be the "something old" at Sabrina's wedding to Aaron. It serves as one more reminder that she and Aaron aren't quite meant to be. At the end, when she runs off with Harvey, her father observes that it's "12:36 on the dot", which is the time engraved on the bracelet and the exact time Harvey gave it to her... which was in turn the exact time they met for the first time. Awwwwww.
  • "All Shook Up," a 1994 episode of Lois & Clark: the New Adventures of Superman, is a veritable remake of the 1953 Adventures of Superman episode "Panic In the Sky." This was far from the only callback to prior Superman material on the series.
  • Frasier: One episode sees two of the Girls of the Week from earlier in that season reappear at once, with Frasier struggling to choose between them.
  • The titular cyber-activist group that gave Holmes and Watson so much trouble in "We Are Everyone" end up being very helpful later on when a British Intelligence mole who's after Mycroft visits the apartment. Watson sets up a video-chat with fifteen members of Everyone before letting the man in as a safety precaution, which ensures he can't do anything without witnesses and thus saves her from certain doom.
  • In one episode of Cheers, Sam pays a random bar patron to be Diane's blind date, and he turns out to be a convicted murderer. In a later episode, the ex-con returns and holds up the bar because no one will hire an ex-con. Diane helps him follow his dream of being an actor and he falls for her, but then he sees her kiss Sam and tries to kill her.
  • In the first season of House of Anubis, Patricia went crazy thinking that Joy disappearing was not just a coincidence, and that Nina was behind it. Nobody believed her and she got very stressed about it. After she and Nina made up and became friends, it wasn't brought up again...until early in season three when Fabian was feeling suspicious and desperate about Nina leaving, and brought this up to Patricia, reminding her of how she felt to be alone when Joy was missing. It worked and Patricia agreed to help him.
  • In episode 3 of Letterkenny Problems, Wayne says his cousin sounds like a dial tone. The next episode has him mention that said cousin stuck a live catfish in his glovebox in retaliation.
  • When the cast sang the theme song for The Flintstones in Fuller House, the screen splits and shows the same cast doing it in Full House two decades earlier, synced up. Also, the use of the original theme song at the start of the first episode.
  • The Kicks: In "Go Big Or Go Home", the team was trying to raise money for new uniforms, which prompted them to enter a tournament in which the top prize was a gift card for a sporting goods store. Nothing comes of this in the episode, as they end up disqualified. Two episodes later, Coach Rivas reveals that he bought them new uniforms out of his own pocket.

  • Lady Gaga is very keen on this trend
    • Monster's line "I wanted to Just Dance" referencing Just Dance
    • Bloody Mary's line "I'll tell my religion's you" echoes the line from Teeth "My religion is you"
    • Gypsy's "I don't speak German but I try" to Scheibe's opening "I don't speak German but I can if you like"
    • Fashion's "Married to the night" references Marry The Night
    • Cake's "Singing Paparazzi in this bitch"
  • In Joe Diffe's Third Rock from the Sun a man in Smokey's Bar sees a beautiful woman walks into the bar and calls up his wife to tell her he is working late (so he can make time with the lady in question). The wife calls up her sister and asks her to come over to comfort her, which gives her boyfriend time to go out and get a beer from a nearby store. He leaves the keys in his car, allowing some teenagers to take a joyride in his car. The teenagers end up in the path of a semi truck, which crashes into them, goes across a bank parking lot, and hits a nearby clocktower. The clocktower falls over and takes out a powerline, making the entire town go dark. A waitress calls the police in panic, claiming aliens are landing, and the police call the mayor, waking him up, because they can't find the sheriff. The mayor tells the police to use their heads - if he isn't in his car, he's probably hiding from his wife down at Smokey's Bar. So he is going to have to work late after all.
  • Marilyn Manson has a habit of doing this, although with a few of the examples, Foreshadowing is an alternative explanation.
    • In the song 1996, there is the lyric "Anti the things I fucked and ate." In Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon, "First you try to fuck it, then you try to eat it, and if it hasn't learned your name you better kill it before they see it."
    • In Heart-Shaped Glasses, "That blue is getting me high and making me low." The next album was The High End of Low.
    • In If I was Your Vampire, "6 a.m. Christmas morning. No shadows, no reflections here." Then, two albums later, there is the Grammy-nominated song No Reflection.
    • In the pre-Portrait of An American Family (their first album) song Luci in the Sky With Demons, there is the lyric "I'll spread me open, stuck to my ribs, Are all your infants in abortion cribs?". This is reused completely in The Man That You Fear. In fact, this song has been called-back to multiple times, with the lyric "Cut, cut, cut" from it recreated almost identically (over fifteen years later) in I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies.
  • In DMX's Damien III, Damien mentions "What happened to the right hand, Light Man?", referring to DMX's line in the first Damien, "For that nigga, I would bleed, give him my right hand, now that I think about it, yo, that's my man!"
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' music video for the lead single "Scar Tissue" off of their album Californication is this. It references their previous video for their massive 1991 hit "Give it Away" (from Blood Sugar Sex Magik, involving the band dancing crazily in the desert) by showing the members instead bloody and beaten from their struggles with drug addiction while riding through the same desert from the previous video. It's a nice metaphor for the maturation and strength of the band.
  • Britney Spears does this quite nicely in the song "Stronger", where she sings, "The loneliness ain't killing me no more," a call back to "My loneliness is killing me" from her debut single "Baby One More Time."
  • Bon Jovi's song "It's My Life" (1999) mentions Tommy and Gina from Living on a Prayer (1986). Both songs are similar in terms of arrangement (with the talk-box and a climatic guitar solo) and they were both huge hits for the band.
    • Tommy and Gina are also called back in the lyrics to the New Jersey album track, "99 In The Shade".
  • Although it could be far-fetched, Queen could count as well:
    • In terms of videos, "One Vision" begins similarly to "Bohemian Rhapsody", which itself is based on the cover of their second album; in terms of lyrics, "These Are the Days of Our Lives" (1991) ends with "I still love you" — "Love of My Life" (1975) had the lyric: "when I grow older, I will be there at your side to remind you how I still love you."
    • And in "Lily of the Valley" on their third album Sheer Heart Attack, the lines: Messenger from seven seas has flown, To tell the king of Rhye he's lost his throne — a reference to the song "Seven Seas of Rhye" on their first and second albums.
      • The connection goes further; Seven Seas of Rhye (as it appears on Queen II) ends that album with a crowd singing the music hall song "I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside" over the fadeout. The opening song on Sheer Heart Attack ("Brighton Rock") begins with some crowd noise, over which careful listeners may notice someone briefly whistling... "I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside".
    • "Seaside Rendezvous" has "I love you madly"; "Was It All Worth It" has "we love you madly".
    • "Dead On Time" mentions "Better keep yourself alive, better leave on time", a reference to the similar-sounding "Keep Yourself Alive", their first hit.
    • The cover of Queen II, the opening shot of the video to "Bohemian Rhapsody", and the opening shot of the video of "One Vision" feature Queen lined up in the same shadowy, diamond-esque formation.
    • The music video to Freddie Mercury's cover of The Platters' "The Great Pretender" has a split-second, split-screen homage to the diamond image lineup, with Mercury himself in all four corners!
  • Beirut's song "Cherbourg" has the same chorus as the earlier song "Nantes," only sang in a different sense, suggesting his longing for the events portrayed in the former.
  • If examples on the same album count, Nine Inch Nails's "The Downward Spiral" uses part of the same melody from "Closer" in a very different context.
  • Sting was fond of quoting his own lyrics from earlier works, both in his solo career and while part of The Police:
    • "Love Is The Seventh Wave": Every ripple on the ocean / Every leaf on every tree / Every sand dune in the desert / Every breath you take from me / Every breath you take / Every move you make...
    • "We'll Be Together": We'll be together tonight / If you need somebody / If you wanna keep something precious / [If You] Love Somebody [Set Them Free]...
    • "Seven Days": Saturday could wait / But Sunday'd be too late / Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met...
  • Frank Zappa's body of work is Made of this, and he called it "Conceptual Continuity". Lampshaded by name in "Stinkfoot". On Overnite Sensation, "Camarillo Brillo" Calls back to "The Toads of the Short Forest" on Weasels Ripped my Flesh.
  • The Format
    • "The First Single" included the line "I hate what I've become". "Dog Problems", the title track to their next album, calls back to it with "When I said 'I hate what I've become', I lied, I hated who I was".
    • Nate Ruess, former lead singer of The Format and current lead singer of fun. is arguably the callback king of modern music:
      • In addition to the callback in "Dog Problems", Ruess calls back to "The First Single" (which included the line "let's cause a scene...") in fun.'s "Take Your Time (Coming Home)", referring to the breakup of The Format as "I'm through with causing a scene."
      • In several fun. songs ("Take Your Time (Coming Home)", "Some Nights" and "Why Am I The One?") "the desert" and "the sun" are used to refer to Arizona and California, respectively. This is a callback to The Format's "On Your Porch".
      • A callback to two songs from fun.'s debut album is present in the song "Stars", with the line "Some nights I rule the world with "Barlights" and "Pretty Girls"." The titles are even in quotations in the lyrics, so it's a pretty obvious reference. It's also probably not a coincidence that the debut had a song called "I Want To Be The One", while Some Nights had "Why Am I The One?".
  • The refrain of Shiny Toy Guns' "You are the One" reprises the lyrics of Jeremy Dawson and Chad Petree's old trance production "Neo (The One)" under the name Slyder, featured in Grand Theft Auto III.
  • Enter Shikari
    • The song "Solidarity" of their second album Common Dreads ends with a chorus singing "and still we will be here / standing like statues", a phrase which is repeated multiple times during their debut album, Take To The Skies.
    • "Havok A", also from Common Dreads, makes reference to their song Acid Nation, B-side to Jonny Sniper (also from TTTS).
  • In Mariah Carey's "Fantasy", which Sampled Up Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love", she interpolates the first verse of the original song for the bridge.
  • Cascada's cover of Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't It Be Good" reprises the verse melody of "Everytime We Touch". Also, "Runaway" is melodically a Call Back to "Bad Boy", which in turn was a Suspiciously Similar Song version of a Groove Coverage song also titled "Runaway".
  • Two versions of Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari, the Morning Musume original and one of the Elder Club versions, contain references to the song Koi no Dance Site, also by Morning Musume during the part sung about or by Yaguchi Mari.
  • The Beatles
    • They liked this trope a lot. "I Am The Walrus" references "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and "Glass Onion" references "Strawberry Fields", "I Am The Walrus", "The Fool on the Hill", and "Lady Madonna".
    • Later, on the "Abbey Road Medley", certain parts of "You Never Give Me Your Money" resemble the "Here Comes the Sun" melody, and "Carry that Weight" has a verse straight out of "You Never Give Me Your Money".
    • And directly inspired by "Glass Onion", Veruca Salt's "Volcano Girls" references their first hit "Seether":
    Well here's another clue if you please,
    The seether's Louise.
    • "We love you, yeeeeeah, yeah, yeah!" in "All You Need Is Love".
    • The promo of their Hello Goodbye" video show the group wearing their old matching suits from 1963, waving at the camera, and their "Sgt. Pepper" clothing in the main performance clips.
    • By mid-1964 they'd grown enough musically to likely call back on an earlier hit in "If I Fell" singing "'Cause I've been in love before/and I found that love was more/than just holding hands".
    • John's son Julian Lennon used the intro of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as the outro to his own song "Lucy".
    • In its Word Salad Lyrics, "Come Together" mentions "walrus gumboot", while "Mean Mr. Mustard" deliberately changec the name of his sister to "Pam" to connect it conceptually to "Polythene Pam" in the Abbey Road medley.
  • Future Perfect's "Solitary Star" refers back to "Queen of the Dance Floor", a previous song on the same album with the lines "You wanted your life to be queen of the dance floor, now all you want is the life from before", and "diamonds and bling that are losing their gleam".
  • Dropkick Murphys have a couple on the title track to Going Out In Style. The narrator mentions apologizing to Slugger and the Flannigans, presumably Slugger O'Toole (mentioned later in the album's cover of "The Irish Rover"), and Flannigans presumably being the hosts of "Flannigan's Ball" on their earlier album, The Meanest of Times. The Flannigans one is particularly evocative, as the second half of "Flannigan's Ball" details the general havoc and destruction after a few too many people have a few too many drinks at the titular party.
  • The title of Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" recalls the paper cityscape being set on fire by pyrotechnics in the video to "Rolling in the Deep".
  • Devin Townsend loves this so much fans actually whipped up a chart with about every Call Back they could think of. And it's still missing a few.
  • Sound Horizon songs often feature Call Backs to previous songs and albums, usually cued as such by the use of a Recurring Riff or line.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence references an old song Panty Shot in their later song I Hate Jimmy Page"
    "Who like that song five year-old panty shot / Yeah, yeah, that could be a real big record / Cause it got the bump with the molestation"
  • Though the Gaelic Storm song "Don't Let the Truth Get in the Way (of a Good Story)" is a long string of completely implausible fish tales, there's a noticeable Beat after the line "I was in some blockbuster movie and I didn't make a dime."
  • Tom Waits' "Army Ants" makes reference to a line in his earlier song "Earth Died Screaming": "And as we discussed last semester, the army ants will leave nothing but your bones"
  • Towards the end of Ministry's "Ghoul Diggers", Al Jourgensen starts singing the first few lines of The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" — this is both because Jim Morrison was mentioned earlier in the song and because Ministry covered that particular song in full on their previous studio album.
  • Emilie Autumn's gone out of her way to make sure Opheliac and Fight Like A Girl are two related concept albums.
    • The middle eight of "Fight Like a Girl" is the same melody as the middle eight of "Misery Loves Company", albeit with different lyrics.
    • "Goodnight, Sweet Ladies" samples "4 O'Clock", "The Art of Suicide" and "If I Burn".
    • "Gaslight" calls back "Art Of Suicide" in its opening notes.
    • "I Don't Understand" refers to the "Opheliac" theme of the prior album.
    • "If I Burn" has a chant at the end which is the same style as "Let The Record Show" chant on "Opheliac"
    • "4 O clock Reprise" refers explicitly to a song which came out before Fight Like A Girl.
    • The various call backs within Fight Like A Girl Album. (What Will I Remember-Start Another Story, Gaslight-Gaslight reprise)
    • "Take The Pill" reminds many listeners of "Liar."
    • Judas Priest included so many of these on their 2005 "comeback" album Angel of Retribution that the whole thing almost became Continuity Porn.
  • The lyrics for Veruca Salt's "Volcano Girls" references "Seether," with the speaker revealing "another clue" that "the Seether's Louise." The band's co-vocalist is Louise Post.
  • "I Don't Give A Honk" from The Lonely Island's third release, The Wack Album, is a clear Spiritual Successor to "Punch You In The Jeans" from their first album, Incredibad. "Punch You In The Jeans" is directly name-dropped in one of the last lines of the former song.
  • The coda of SlyphStorm's "Pegasus Device" calls back to both WoodenToaster's original "Rainbow Factory" song and its previous Sequel Song, "Awoken".
  • The first word in a refrain in "The Remembering High The Memory" in Yes's Tales From Topographic Oceans is "Relayer". Relayer became the band's followup album.
    • "Change We Must", a phrase used in "Ritual" from TFTO, was the title of a 1994 solo album by Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.
  • The Vocaloid song "And then the Girl Went Mad -End of a Moonlit Night-" from the Evillious Chronicles franchise contains multiple callbacks to a previous song, "Abandoned on a Moonlit Night". The title, the use of "Otsuki-sama" to refer to the moon, the overall theme of abandonment, and the singers from the latter song even sing two lines in it.
  • The liner notes to Cunning Stunts by Cows included a completely fictional discography for the band, consisting of absurd album titles like Sexy Pee Story. A year later, they actually did call their next album Sexy Pee Story.
  • The Steve Miller Band references "Livin' in the USA" and "Gangster of Love" in the opening line of "Space Cowboy"; "I told you 'bout living in the U-S-of-A, and you know that I'm the Gangster of Love". They then start "The Joker" with the line "Some people call me the Space Cowboy, some call me the Gangster of Love."
  • Seal: in his cover of Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle", he closes with a line from his hit "Crazy": "In a world full of people only some want to fly, isn't that crazy?"
  • Axis: Bold as Love by The Jimi Hendrix Experience begins with a radio skit that starts with the opening six notes of "Stone Free", a single that was recorded and released during the Are You Experienced sessions.
  • GaMetal's fiftieth song was a medley entirely made up of remade versions of particularly popular or otherwise significant old songs.
  • Poets of the Fall

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Melina Perez faced Michelle McCool at Night of Champions 2009 and Michelle dropkicked her off the apron while she was doing the splits as part of her entrance. They faced each other again at the next Night of Champions event and Michelle tried to do the same thing again. This time however, Melina was ready for her and lifted herself out of the way.
  • When Trish Stratus guest hosted Raw she was involved in an awkward backstage segment with Chris Jericho where he mentioned their history together and led to Stratus having a return match against him that night.
  • A similar segment happened with Lita and Kane at the Raw 15th Anniversary where they had an awkward conversation backstage (before Ron Simmons came in to say "Damn!"). They had been in a lengthy storyline where Kane had pulled a Scarpia Ultimatum, with Lita agreeing to "sleep" with Kane in exchange for Kane not beating up Matt Hardy, who was her boyfriend both on and off-screen at the time, leading to a terrible "pregnancy" angle.
  • In Vickie Guerrero's match at WrestleMania 26] she went to the top rope and performed a Frog Splash as a tribute to her late husband Eddie Guerrero (she had been introduced on WWE TV during Eddie's feud with Rey Mysterio) and danced like he used to in his victory poses.
  • Santino Marella started a romance angle with WWE diva Tamina Snuka which was quite similar to his pairing with Beth Phoenix. On a Christmas Episode of SmackDown, Santino cornered Beth under the mistletoe and suggested they kiss for old time's sake. She kissed his tag team partner Vladimir Kozlov instead.
  • The basis for Matt Hardy's heel turn after he was drafted to Raw in 2003 was him turning on Lita whom he had been in a relationship with about a year ago before her neck injury.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Geist: The Sin-Eaters has an "Fetter" Memento (a magic item made by binding a ghost to its own anchor) called the Thirty-Thirty. This is a rifle once owned by a man named Donnie Pritchard, who once tried to sacrifice several people to a ghost town he was convinced was haunted by the ghost of its past. (Pritchard's captives overpowered him and beat him to death with the rifle.) Donnie Pritchard was a character in the New World of Darkness book Ghost Stories, in the story "Dust to Dust", about a literal ghost town.
  • For another New World of Darkness example, one of the first pieces of fiction in the World of Darkness corebook was a sermon by Marco Singe, the Pain Prophet of New Delhi, and introduced the concept of "the God-Machine" to the gameline. Come Demon: The Descent, it's revealed that Singe's family runs a Mega Corp. that has a special connection to the God-Machine, gaining proprietary knowledge of occult physics from its work.

  • Roy Cohn's first line in Angels in America ("I wish I was an octopus, a fucking octopus") is referenced in his final line before dying.
  • The Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone mentions at the very beginning that he is feeling "blue." At the end of the show, he is emotionally drained, and he mentions that it's not a perfect show, but it gives you a tune to hum "for when you're feeling blue."

    Video Games 
  • Alice: Madness Returns is full of Call Backs to American McGee's Alice — odd lines from various characters, a few riddles, and some statues and depictions. If you haven't played the first game, they won't bother you, but if you have, they're beautiful familiarity.
  • Digimon World -next 0rder- introduced itself with one in its first teaser trailer. The game's tagline "Welcome "Back" to Digimon World" invokes the original game, which began with Jijimon telling the protagonist "Welcome to Digimon World." The trailer also begins with the same CGI opening as its predecessor.
  • The ending Dissidia: Final Fantasy features the Warrior of Light walking off towards a castle in the distance. The scene is of course an obvious Shout-Out to the opening sequence of Final Fantasy I. This being an anniversary game, this makes a great deal of sense.
  • The Downloadable Content for Resident Evil 5 "Lost in Nightmares" is one huge callback to the original Resident Evil. It takes place in Spencer's Europe mansion (which is startlingly familiar to the other one), doors open in first person, and you can even find the wonderfully creepy "Keeper's Diary"note . There's even a trick to turn on the original fixed camera angles.
  • During the Tall Oaks Viral Outbreak in Resident Evil 6, there is a young rookie cop on his first day who has teamed up with a young girl. Sound Familiar? Oddly enough Leon never actually remarks on the obvious similarity, and sadly it ends very badly for the two.
  • Marathon Infinity: Blood Tides of L'howon
    • The first level has a half-open door that leads to the end of the level, a small shaft that one must drop down, a mysterious locked door behind the player, an alien ship out the window, compilers operating terminals, a hidden stash of weapons through a door textured like a wall which is near ranged Fighters, and overall darkness and eerie-ness. All of these are also present in the first level of the first game. The whole thing is pretty creepy.
    • And then there's the Vidmaster Challenge levels, which are the hardest level (at least in Bungie's opinion) from each game, with added enemies that you never see anywhere else in the game, such as red vacuum suit-clad Simulacrums and Super-Hunters for double the fun!
  • Towards the end of the first Mega Man Star Force game, after the Z-wave incident at AMAKEN, Tom Dubius aka Cygnus Wing mentions the incident that involved him near the beginning of the game if you talk to him.
  • And in Mega Man Battle Network 6: Cybeast Gregar, the titular Eldritch Abomination Final Boss, has a completely similar origin to Gospel, the Final Boss of Battle Network 2.
  • Used in the Final Battle in Mega Man Zero 3: Omega's final form uses moves from the boss fights with Zero in X2 and X5. Another Call Back is the very location of the fight: the abandoned laboratory, destroyed in a mission in the first game, that Zero woke up in at the series' beginning.
  • Mega Man X5 has the return of one of the Castle Bosses from Mega Man X, complete with a remixed version of the BGM for it. It also has a recreation of Quick Man's stage from Mega Man 2.
  • The Yellow Devil from Mega Man 1 reappears as a boss in numerous other forms and concepts in the Classic, X, and Zero series.
  • Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000:
    • One of Ryu's win quotes is "What strength! I will remember there are guys like you all over the world!". Whenever you beat an opponent in the original Street Fighter, they gave you that line (but with "But remember" instead of "I will remember").
    • One of Ken's win quotes in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is "I wish you good luck!". In the first Street Fighter, this is the line that the defeated player gives at the end of a two-player match.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Big Boss's first lines in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are a word-for-word Call Back to a similar scene in Metal Gear.
    • The series is full of them, really. For example, the members of the Beauty and the Beast Unit act as Call Backs to previous bosses in the series. Another example; Laughing Octopus takes her name from Decoy Octopus from the first Metal Gear Solid, wields a P-90 machine gun and prehensile tentacles just like Solidus Snake in MGS2, and bears the emotion of the Joy, the codename of one boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Raging Raven takes her name from Vulcan Raven, wields the weapons of Fatman, and has the emotion of The Fury. Crying Wolf's name comes from Sniper Wolf, she wields Fortune's rail-gun, and has the emotion of The Sorrow, and she is fought in the exact same snowfield at Shadow Moses as Sniper Wolf and uses similar tactics. Screaming Mantis comes from Psycho Mantis, she uses Vamp's knives, and she has the emotion of The Fear, as well as using similar tactics to Psycho Mantis.
  • In the opening sequence of The World Ends with You, we see Beat skateboarding away from a Noise while carrying Rhyme. The same occurs just before the end boss fight in a Big Damn Heroes moment, only with Shiki instead of Rhyme.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • Assuming Leliana and the Warden had a threesome with Isabela in the first game, Leliana reacts with embarrassment to meeting Isabela again, prompting Varric to snark "Is there anyone in the Free Marches you haven't slept with?".
    • From the Legacy DLC:
      Merrill: Do your stories ever have griffons in them...heroic griffins? The sort that swoop in and save the day?
      Varric: Daisy, haven't you heard? Swooping is bad.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D is full of these:
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
  • The Phantasy Star series often makes references to things that happened in the previous games — the exception is Phantasy Star III, which appears to have almost nothing to do with the rest of the series until the end, and has only one reference in an optional dungeon in the fourth game.
  • One of the NOD missions in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Sun features your armies uncovering an old NOD base that's been left over from the first game. When you reach it, you'll find that the buildings look exactly the same as the structure design from Tiberium Dawn.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Ogon no Kaze (based on the fifth series of the manga) has you playing as Polnareff at one point. The music is a fully orchestrated version of... his music from the arcade fighting game based on the third series.
  • Starcraft II in a fairly literal way: a major Plot Point is the discovery of a recording of some of the mission briefings from the first game (specifically New Gettysburg and a crucial line from The Hammer Falls).
    • The first three missions, set on Mar Sara, throw back to the first missions of the original game.
  • Duke Nukem Forever: You can sign "Why I'm So Great," Duke's autobiography first mentioned in Duke Nukem II.
  • One of the last levels of Ninja Gaiden (the Xbox 360 / PS3 game) is a recreation of the first level from the previous Xbox/ PS3 Ninja Gaiden.
  • Chrono Cross features several Call Backs to Chrono Trigger, in particular the Dead Sea area and a portion of the game in which the player character is transported to Lucca's house.
  • The Legend of Zelda series has had an increasingly large number as time went by. In particular, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess feature areas that are clearly from Ocarina of Time, hundreds of years later.
  • At the beginning of Half-Life 2 Barney mentions the beer he owes Gordon Freeman referencing the first Half-Life game.
  • Upon Augustus "Cole Train" Cole's introduction in Gears of War, Marcus mentions that Dom still owes him $20 from a bet on a game Cole played in. The very first collectible to find in Gears of War 3 is a $20 bill, with an attached note from Dom apologizing for it being so late. It's worth noting that the bill is currently completely worthless, as there is no government around to honor its value anymore.
  • Elizabeth's story campaign in Persona 4: Arena is deeply tied to the events of The Answer from Persona 3: she thrusts herself into the events of the P-1 Grand Prix in search of power that would allow her to defeat Erebus permanently, so that the soul of the young man who sacrificed himself to save humanity (the player character from Persona 3) could be saved.
  • In the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, there are several:
    • The long-term call back related to Price's handgun. In MW1, the gun is slid over to Soap by Price in order to finally kill Big Bad Imran Zakhaev. Soap keeps the gun, and in the second game, gives it back to Price when they meet again at the Russian gulag, with Soap remarking, "This belongs to you, sir.". In the third game, Price "gives" the gun back by placing it on Soap's body after he's died, before having to escape.
    • In the third game, Price places a call into the SAS in order to get clearance to contact the U.S. Delta Force unit led by Sandman. The operative who gives the clearance is only referred to as "Mac", and Price references the person "owing me for Pripyat". This is a reference to "One Shot, One Kill" from the first game - the operative is none other than (the retired) Captain MacMillan.
    • "Contingency" from MW2 is one long reference to "All Ghillied Up", with Price making several remarks referencing that mission, and Soap commenting that he "hates dogs".
    • The second game's final level is one huge homage to the first game's final level. Both have "game" in the title ("Game Over" and "Endgame"), both involve a vehicular chase (in the first, the player is being chased in a truck; in the second, the player is doing the chasing in a boat); both involve said vehicle being destroyed and the player (Soap in both levels) being wounded, and then even more badly injured; and both involve Soap desperately using an emergency weapon (pistol in the first, knife in the second) to kill the Big Bad before he kills Price. In addition, all three games have a vehicle crashing just before the final confrontation (a truck, a Zodiac and a helicopter, in that order) and the second and third games have a character being saved just before they're shot (Price saving Soap in the second game, Yuri saving Price in the third).
  • The mid-boss in Child of Eden's fourth stage is a pair of planetary bodies that evolve into running men, like the fourth boss of Rez, its spiritual predecessor.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, Shepard will receive different side-quests depending on the background the player chose for him/her, referencing the off-screen events of that background.
    • Thanks to the Old Save Bonus, many of the emails in Mass Effect 2 and War Assets in Mass Effect 3 are references to quests and conversations from previous games.
    • In Mass Effect 3, the quote "My name is Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel!" is one of the many call-backs to the many memetic (both out- and in-universe) lines from the second game.
    • The first shot of a Reaper descending from the clouds during the opening of 3, complete with red lightning, is very reminiscent of the first shot of Sovereign above Eden Prime in 1.
  • Quake has the Well of Wishes in the Crypt of Decay, where you find the Dopefish from Commander Keen.
  • Darkstalkers series: the opening for Vampire Savior 2, an updated version of Vampire Savior, mirrors the opening for Vampire Hunter 2, except instead of Donovan clutching Morrigan's skull before opening his eyes menacingly, it features BB Hood clutching Lilith's skull before unleashing a Slasher Smile.
  • Dark Souls is littered with callbacks / mythology gags to the game's spiritual precursor, Demon's Souls.
  • In The Neverhood, after Klaymen tricks the weasel into eating TNT, one of its arms lands next to Willie Trombone, who eagerly whips out a knife and fork. At the end of Skullmonkeys, Willie has the same reaction when a piece of Evil Engine No. 9 lands next to him.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance there is an info conversation in which Ike and Soren bond over both choosing not to burden themselves with unnecessary items. In the sequel Radiant Dawn, if Ike takes Soren with him then Soren's ending plaque makes note that he "lightly packed" before leaving.
  • Primordia pulls off a callback that functions as a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Early in the game, when Crispin suggests going to Metropol, Horatio (who is sceptical of the idea, but doesn't want to force his views onto his companion) tells him that he's "got free will and a mag-lev unit". Shortly after, Horatio casually mentions to Crispin that routing too much power to said unit would cause it to explode, resulting in Crispin proclaiming in shock: "I'm a floating bomb. Sweet.". Near the end, Metromind outwits Horatio, stuns him and starts assimilating him, mocking Crispin for uselessness in the process. The result?
    Crispin: I'm not "no one". I am Crispin Horatiobuilt, version one. I have free will and a mag-lev unit. And I... am a floating bomb.
    (Crispin overloads his mag-lev unit and rams into Metromind, destroying himself in the process but successfully freeing Horatio.)
  • I Wanna Be the Guy:
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates has a few dungeon areas filled with miasma. It's a prequel to the original Crystal Chronicles, where the whole world (including the ruins of Rebena Te Ra, a major location in Fates). To traverse it, you have to carry Meeth's urn like you do the chalice.
  • The final battle of Metroid: Fusion is a direct call-back to the final battle of Super Metroid: A huge monster ambushes Samusnote  and has her at it's mercy, and then she is saved, healed, and given a weapon to defeat the boss by an unlikely characternote 
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver:
      • The Victory Road has the same layout as the one in the Kanto games.
      • The fact that you can meet and battle Red is a Call Back in itself, especially because his party is based on Pokémon given to the player by NPCs in Pokémon Yellow.
    • Pokemon Xand Y has several references to the Kanto games, such as the player being offered one of the Kanto Starters, having to use a Poké Flute to wake up a sleeping Snorlax, finding the Legendary Birds, and capturing Mewtwo in the Unknown Dungeon note .
  • In Tears to Tiara 2 The Ba'al gods is powerless without people's worship is brought up in Chapter 1. It comes back to save Tarte's life in the ending.
  • Sony's E3 presentation in 2013 had to point out that a game being depicted was historically accurate but without featuring a Giant Enemy Crab.
  • Far Cry 4: In addition to Hurk, a former member of the Rakyat from Far Cry 3, one of the loot items is a very peculiar bobblehead with the body of a hula girl and the head of VAAS. This was a real-life prize for preordering Far Cry 3. It's also implied that Longinus was a former UFL or APRR gang lord from Far Cry 2, who was shot in the head only to survive and take on the Jackal as a role model. Evidence of blood diamonds and a broken GPS from the previous game supports this.
    Hurk: The new and improved Tat Bros!
  • Jurassic Park:
    • The power control panel that Ellie uses makes an appearance in Jurassic Park: The Game, and you must also do the same action steps as in the film.
    • The climax of the first episode takes place in the ruins of the Visitor Centre, after all the chaos of the first film (it's even possible to see Hammond's helicopter fly overhead at one point).
  • During the prologue of Super Robot Wars UX, Richard and Saya bail out Kazuki just as a Festum's about to assimilate him by using the Hell Stringer attack. Jump forward forty-two stages, and Agnes and Saya do the same once more as Kazuki's in trouble
  • World of Warcraft: The Legion cinematic trailer is narrated by King Varian Wrynn, in the form of a letter written to his son Anduin, as he heads off to fight the Burning Legion. This parallels the Wrath of the Lich King trailer, which was similarly narrated by King Terenas Menethil to his son Arthas. Both speeches feature the father giving advice on how to rule wisely, and even begin with the same two words: "My son..." However, while the Wrath of the Lich King trailer was played as Dramatic Irony (as Arthas ultimately fell to evil and slew his own father) the Legion trailer is foreshadowing Varian's death in the upcoming battle and Anduin's subsequent ascension as King of Stormwind.
  • The Witness: One puzzle is solved with the help of a set of slow moving clouds, in a nod to a similar maneuver made by Blow in his previous game, Braid.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: The game remembers every decision the player makes, even the joke ones. If you picked a particularly goofy dialogue option while talking to Lukas at Endercon, Jesse will repeat it while trying to cheer him up later on.

    Visual Novels 
  • Frequently used between Narcissu and its prequel, Narcissu ~ side 2nd
    • Setsumi's last words from the original game are identical to the last thing Himeko said to Setsumi in Side 2nd
    • Atou's last question for Setsumi in the original note  is echoed in Setsumi's narration towards the end of side 2nd
    • There are several phrases that reoccur in the narration of Side 2nd
  • Happens a lot in the Ace Attorney: series, particularly Investigations and Spirit of Justice. One of the more serious ones is the dream Phoenix has during 2-4, which is exactly the same as the one he had at the beginning of 2-1, but it makes much more sense in the context of Phoenix having to defend an obviously guilty man to rescue Maya.
  • In Grisaia No Meikyuu Yuuji's friend Danny was really looking forward to meeting the presumably badass communications officer Immortal Robbie only to find out he was actually an Occidental Otaku who was actually being called Imouto Robbie because of his obsession with, well, imouto characters. In Grisaia no Rakuen Yumiko heads to a small cafe hoping to meet a retired intelligence officer and figures she'll find some sleek professional badass, but nope! Robbie again. You can see her dreams dying.
  • Super Dangan Ronpa 2 utilizes a ton of these as part of it's MO of taking the major plot points and themes from the first game and turning them on their head. One such Call Back in particular is used to rather excruciating effect during Chiaki's execution, which occurs at the same point and under similar circumstances as Naegi's foiled execution in the first game, only this time the game throws numerous Hope Spots at the player before finally killing her off instead.

    Web Animation 
  • Zero Punctuation: Yahtzee's review of the iPhone game Fruit Ninja, whose developers are based in the same city as he is, featured a call-back to his subtle recommendation of Gametraders Robina in his Super Smash Bros Brawl review.
  • Much to his dismay, Koden's party from the first episode of DSBT InsaniT is references a few times.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • In episode four, the Emperor mentions that he's still disgusted with Dreadknight, which has appeared in episode one.
    • Another episode one call-back happens in episode eighteen-and-a-half, when the Centurion returns to keep the Emperor calm.
    • In the same episode, Kitten mockingly repeats Emperor's "Fourth-Degree Warp Fuckery" line from the previous Q&A, earning him a mind-fist to the face.
  • Ultra Fast Pony turns these into an off-screen subplot. In "Out with the Old Characters", Applebloom kidnaps Princess Luna to finance the Cutie Mark Crusaders' new treehouse. In "Rocks Clocks, and Two Stupid Ponies", Celestia shows up at the Running Of The Leaves because she's "pretending to care" about Luna's kidnapping. (This is accompanied by the subtitle "Epic continuity!") In "Ponynet Fight!" the day lasts for much longer than 24 hours, because Luna isn't there to raise the moon (and Celestia forgot). Finally, in "Gelatin Swingsets", Celestia pays the ransom, and the CMC build their treehouse.
  • GEOWeasel's Nar, in the fourth episode, performs a line from the "false start" pilot episode verbatim. Weas informs him that he's reading the wrong script, and he reads the correct line.
  • Practically every good joke in Red vs. Blue eventually gets a Call Back.
    • The longest gap between joke and Call Back — which would probably be a Brick Joke if not for the Memetic Mutation of the quote — was Simmons' observation in the first episode that "Even if we pull out today, and they come and take our base, they would have two bases in the middle of a box canyon. Whoopdee-fucking-doo." In episode ninety-five, when the Blues take over the Red Base:
      Church: I guess we have... two bases in the middle of a box canyon now.
      Tucker: Whoopdee-fucking-doo.
    • Recently been surpassed by Sarge's epic Rousing Speech in "Revelations 18" starting with the first line in the series, "Do you ever wonder why we're here?"
    • And now in "Revelations 20", "Can you settle a bet? Does that look like a big cat to you?
    • One of the episodes in Season 10 gives us yet another one, as well as a bit of Self-Deprecation.
      Tucker: Whose turn is it this time?
      Grif: It's Simmons' turn.
      Simmons: [sigh] Fine. I would just like to know that I suck, and that I'm a girl...
      Grif: [to Donut] You know, these were a lot funnier the first time we did them.
  • Team Service Announcement:
    • In Subtlety, "Sneakman" by Hideki Naganuma plays when the BLU Spy is being sneaking up a Heavy. In Objectives, the same music plays when the Spy sneaks up to the Payload cart.
    • The Soldier in Grenade Launcher says "I've got a good feeling about this!" in a bad situation just like he did in Unlockable Weapons.
    • The BLU Scout in Scout Combat screams while running just as he did in Subtlety.
    • Cooperative Engineering features a Sniper saying "It's like Christmas mornin'" twice just like he did in Class Balance.
  • In Underpants, there are 2 in the Genocide ending to the fake Genocide ending. Both involving SANESSSS. They are both triggered when given the option to spare Sans:
    • If "No" is selected, SANESSSS appears for brief seconds when Sans states that they'll have food, keep watching, laughing, and making more memes.
    • If "Yes" is selected, after Sans wakes up for the third time, he sees SANESSSS next to him and gets his eye impaled by a bone shot by a gun, and then gets disintigrated by the Tom Blaster.

    Web Comics 
  • In this strip of Holiday Wars, Labor Day makes a reference to some sort event that happened ten years ago in Venice. It's the first time in the webcomic that really hints that there is a large history between all the main characters.
  • Concerned has a lot of these. In one strip Frohman find out he can use the force (that's what he said, not me) to pick stuff up. For most of the rest of the comic, whenever he holds something it floats in front of him.
  • xkcd has one strip that connects to another from years earlier when a boomerang that a character threw in that strip returns.
  • 8-Bit Theater
    • One of Brian Clevinger's related blog posts read this: Anyone confused by today's comic needs a history lesson. Also counts as Foreshadowing...
    • More recently, the aptly titled strip "Longest set up in webcomic history" has a Call Back to a throwaway line over 1200 pages ago.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Sept 26 1997 and Sept 15 2011, 4738 days later Bun-bun and Zoe are in the same spot they first met with the same dialog. Also a rare Pet the Dog moment for Bun-bun
  • El Goonish Shive
    • An example has Nanase making a reference to a spontaneously changing hair-color gag from six years ago.
    • Remember that background with dejected Susan and critters, a bunny sitting on her head, back from 2006? In Jule 2010 a scene in the continuity brought it back — and how!
  • The Order of the Stick
    • At one point, Belkar suggests selling a captured female antagonist into slavery because he "knows a guy who knows a guy". Several plot-arcs later, the party runs into said guy-his-guy-knew, Buggy Lou, as he's out catching slaves in the desert.
    • V's raven familiar fails to recognize her/him when s/he is transformed into a lizard. 536 strips later, he learns of his mistake.
  • It's Walky! celebrated its tenth anniversary (and the birth of a new character) with a Call Back to its first two strips.
  • Girl Genius: Agatha and Von Zinzer meeting each other. And again.
    • Wooster's words to Agatha here reference the last time Wooster was with Gil.
  • Homestuck is absolutely loaded with Call Backs, from the phrasing of words to reused art panels.
    • Andrew Hussie discusses it here.
    • According to Doc Scratch, Call Backs are a rule of Paradox Space.
    • And Caliborn hates the frequent Call Backs and gets pissed off when Dirk notices that he's repeating phrases that other characters have used, which is a sort of meta-commentary on readers who find this practice irritating.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl, This most definitely shows Justin remembers David.
  • A Wapsi Square strip from December 2009 featured a reference to the dialogue in the very first strip back in 2001.
  • In 5 Color Control, Vlad and Dave's match in the Pro Tour intentionally mirrors their earlier games from earlier comics.
  • In General Protection Fault, after Trent sues Fred for libel, Fooker proposes breaking into his house again, like they did to clear Trudy's name. Nick, however, refuses and points out that it comes off in a new light now that they know he's a secret agent. The "To Thine Own Self" arc is based around a universe in which an alternate universe's Nick and Ki enacted a scheme their prime counterparts dreamed about in a brief arc in the early comic and took over the world.
  • The most recent, and furthest one in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The McNinja Burger is back! Complete with Flat "What.".
  • This strip of minus mentions several previous one-off gags.
  • Bob and George: Overlooking all the Running Gags, in an early strip Bob agrees to a suicidal plan with the phrase "Sure, why not, I was tired of living anyway." Fast-forward several years, and Alternate Mega Man and Bass cheerfully use the exact same justification for an equally suicidal plan. (Naturally, this being Bob And George, certain death...isn't as certain as you'd expect.)
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Seren makes a lighthearted promise to Mifi to let her meet Seren's captive demon lord; 88 pages and almost 2 years later, she finally does.
  • This strip of The Whiteboard gives a nod back to Sandy's first paintball game, where Rainman suggests reading a pamphlet titled "Coping with loss" after Sandy asks what to do taken out of the match by a hit, with Bandit offering one such pamphlet to a generic player he managed to sneak up on to tag out.

    Web Original 
  • One infamous scene in Dino Attack RPG was intended to be a Call Back to an earlier, rather strange moment from the LEGO Island arc. The incident in question involved Zenna and an unnamed doctor attempting surgery on Kate (who had taken a bullet through the neck). For the Call Back, this was handled more realistically, when a stressed Pierce attempted to perform CPR on Amanda's corpse only for Shaw to point she was already dead. Unfortunately, this scene had to be retconned into Canon Discontinuity because for whatever reason Atton Rand failed to realize she wasn't in a position for her body to be recovered at the time.
  • Destroy the Godmodder has lots. Many things are called back on at some point, such as the Black Monolith, the Glitch, and the Homestuck Invasion. Even used as an attack by Doc Scratch to counter someone's godmod of an attack.
  • Board James: Episode 27: the "Dream Phone" theme plays at the end of the credits, calling back to the episode 19 review of Dream Phone. Episode 19 has a Mr. Bucket appearance, calling back to the Mr. Bucket review from episode 8.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, various story arcs feature quite a few Call Backs to previous storylines. For example, Leon recognizes the lich Drishnek whom he met several years earlier during another plot, and Ax references Refan's attempted rape during their second encounter.
  • Lots in Echo Chamber, the TV Tropes original webshow.
    • In Episode 4, Tom tells Dana that all he has to offer her to eat is rice, but she can "add salt" if she's "feeling adventurous". Then, in Episode 6, Tom is depicted making rice. Dana has a plate in front of her, but she conspicuously does not help herself to any.
    • The eighth episode's Girl of the Week, Porn Girl, first appeared briefly in Terrible Interviewees Montage, an episode which also set up the character of Shannon, who had her day in the limelight in Episode 6.
    • A literal call back in Episode 5, which features a Moment Killer phone call. Episode 6 implies that this phone call was from Shannon.
  • lonelygirl15 features multiple Call Backs to earlier points in the series, particularly towards the end of the third season, where details such as a broken clock seen in the background of a season 1 video suddenly became relevant to the plot.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd
    • Used in his review of Winter Games for the NES. When complaining about the unresponsiveness of the controls during the figure skating segment, he states "I wonder who programmed this...maybe it was Fred Fuchs...". Fuchs is the name of one of the producers of the film version of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and whom the Nerd referenced in a review of that game after seeing his name in the credits.
    • In his review of Dark Castle for the Sega Genesis and Philips CD-i, he ends by saying that the game "fucks you harder than life itself", recalling a quote (in German) of a fan summary of Deadly Towers.
  • The Nostalgia Chick's "NChick Labs" segment is full of these, referencing the Makeover Fairy, the scientists, Lord MacGuffin (and the confusion about MacGuffins) and rapping about rape.
  • Two Best Friends Play has a couple of Call Backs. Usually they are in the form of Pat making Matt play something because Matt made Pat play something earlier.
  • Whenever something is repeated in Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time, the last videos where they appeared are put on top of the current one.
  • Tobuscus followed up his immensely popular Literal Trailer of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood with one for Assassin's Creed: Revelations. At the end, he reuses two lines ("Nod at the bird and PEOPLE DIE / Everywhere PEOPLE DIE.") in an Ironic Echo fashion, transitioning from the awesome action scene in the first trailer to Ezio's poignant, apparently hopeless plight in the second. He does it again in his Literal Trailer for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and hangs a lampshade on it this time.
    Nod at the boat and PEOPLE DIE / Everywhere PEOPLE DIE / (It's a call back)
  • Cheap Arse Film Review has one in the Christmas Special:
    Ghost: Who makes important life decisions while wearing an animal costume?
    Cheapus: [looks uncomfortable] ...
  • Noob is rife with these. Among the longest ones:
    • Omega Zell trying to figure out how Gaea could be blackmailing Fantöm has him say something along the lines of "I don't know, maybe she took his cat hostage or something". A cat is shown in a Season 3 episode parly set Fantöm's home.
    • A Season 3 episode has Omega Zell use an add-on that shows the stats of a given battle. He mentions using it again in Season 4.
    • After having trouble contacting Tenshirock during Season 5, a desperate Gaea attempts a Call on Me, something she was last seen doing in Season 2.
  • Vaguely Recalling JoJo recalls various moments in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • To defeat Nena's Empress Stand, Joseph and Caesar use the plus-minus Ripple trick used on Esidisi!Suzie Q.
    • When the Speedwagon Foundation workers showed up to rescue Kakyoin, they used Speedwagon's favorite catchphrases when arriving and leaving.
    • In the My Little Pony Meets, So far whenever Batman appears theres a call back to his previous encounters with the Ponies
  • Random Assault: Boney Jones and Bookfart have made repeat appearances.
  • Mystery Science Theater F1: Matt frequently references things he said in previous episodes.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, specifically episode 6:
    • All of the protagonists are now their favorite color as stated in the first Episode, after Red Guy unplugged the machine.
    • During the medley near the end of the video, Yellow Guy's "An old man died." in Tony the Clock's song is replaced with "You made me die!", in reference to the events of Episode 2
    • The song Red Guy sings in the karaoke bar is also Sketchbook's song on creativity from the first episode of Don't Hug Me Im Scared.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • There's a fun little Call Back involving turtleducks: In a flashback Zuko shows his mother "How Azula feeds turtleducks" by throwing a loaf at them. In the present, while Zuko is feeding the turtleducks they suddenly scatter... Because Azula shows up.
    • In "The Western Air Temple", the Gaang reminds Zuko and each other of all the bad things he did to them in the first season. They continue to reference them throughout the rest of the season.
    • In the same episode, Zuko accidentally burns Toph's feet. After Combustion Man is killed and Zuko apologizes to Toph, Aang remembers that he himself accidentally burned Katara (In "The Deserter"). Knowing full well how destructive uncontrolled fire can be to the ones you love, Aang accepted Zuko as his Firebending teacher.
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • Like the name implies, "Dee Dee's Rival" at least starts out as a scene-for-scene remake of "Dexter's Rival," appropriate considering the latter introduced the show's default Big Bad Mandark and the former introduces his sister.
    • In addition to his Giant Robot, the Giant Dexo-Robo, showing up prominently in several eps, his power frame (first called the "Dextransformer" then later the "Exerjock 4000") from the early first season dodgeball episode reappears in three late season 2 eps, the first one ("Gooey Aliens That Control Your Mind") specifically mentioning the "dodgeball incident" (and including a sweep pan over a room of previous episodes' inventions).
    • Dexter brings back his "Dex-Star" identity from "Sidekicks Assemble" to fight alongside Blue Falcon and Dynomutt.
    • A meta-example in that the second act of "Last But Not Beast" features Monkey and the Justice Friends fighting the kaiju, just as they were the second cartoon short in the first season.
  • Transformers:
    • The second season finale of Transformers: Beast Wars is a huge Call Back to the original Transformers Generation 1 series, the consequences of which could shake the foundations of time itself.
    • Beast Machines continued the Call Backs with Vector Sigma, its Key, the Plasma Energy Chamber, and the Hate Plague.
  • The Simpsons: In the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" two-parter, Smithers' throwaway comment in part one about never missing the Comedy Central show Pardon My Zinger (which isn't a real Comedy Central show) ended up providing his alibi for not having shot Mr. Burns in part two.
  • Gargoyles is juicy with them.
    • When Demona's plan to betray the humans of her castle so that the gargoyles would have it to themselves went wrong and resulted in the deaths of most of her clan and the rest being frozen as stone for good, she says "What have I... what have they done?!!" At the very end of the show, John, a human hunting gargoyles, accidentally shoots his brother while attempting to shoot Goliath, and says the exact same words.
    • "Hunter's Moon" is full of Call Backs to previous episodes, especially in "Awakening" and "City of Stone." For example, in the very beginning of "Awakening", Elisa is investigating the battle on top of the Eyrie Building and comes across a stone with claw marks in it, to which she muses, "What could be strong enough to leave claw marks in solid stone?" Then, in "Hunter's Moon," Elisa and her partner are investigating a crime scene in which a gargoyle tore a steel door off of its hinges, and Elisa's partner asked "What could be strong enough to leave claw marks in solid steel?"
    • In "The Edge" Owen mentions a meeting with an Emir to Xanatos. Later, in "Grief" the Emir is actually a character.
    • Goliath occasionally mentions "needing a detective." In the first episode, "detective" was the first new word that Goliath learned after waking up in the 20th century, and he advised Xanatos to "call a detective" to find his lost disks soon after learning it.
  • Family Guy:
    • An episode has Cleveland complaining about shows that cut away from the main story for some bullcrap. Cut to Hitler on a unicycle, juggling fish. Later on in the episode:"It's the right thing to do, like killing Hitler." The scene is revisited and Peter does just that: "See? We had a plan for that all along."
    • Yet another good example: In "To Love and Die in Dixie", Peter has decorated the family car like the General Lee, but when Brian's attempt to jump into the car Duke-style is thwarted because Peter forgot to roll the window down. Jump ahead to "The Fat Guy Strangler" where Brian throws a rock at Peter's head, telling him it was payback for the previous incident.
    • Another example is when Peter becomes a redneck he starts chewing tobacco. Brian tells him to spit in a cup. Later Stewie comes along and takes the cup and is about to drink it. Brian starts to warn him, but flashes back to the episode "Patriot Games" (where Stewie horribly beat Brian for not immediately paying a gambling debt) and changes his mind, letting Stewie drink it.
    • Likewise, Peter's attempt to integrate into Southern "good old boy" culture in "Boys Do Cry" is derailed when he reveals that he is legally retarded, which was a major plot point in "Petarded."
    • Brian's novel is a particularly long-running example. He mentioned writing one in the early seasons; after the show was revived, there was a brief Running Gag of Stewie mocking him for not having gotten any work done in three years. Later we hear excerpts from the novel, which the family mocks for being a Cliché Storm; later still it's finally published and is a total flop, owing to being a cheap ripoff of the Iron Eagle series. The final twist of the knife comes when Brian learns that the only people who enjoy his book are mentally retarded.
    • "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing" in which Peter blows up a children's hospital and ends up losing his promotion when he is found guilty for his crime.
    • Season 9 episode "Brian writes a Bestseller": Stewie says "At least it's not raining" and gets stabbed by a random guy. One season later, in the episode "Stewie Goes for a Drive" he says "At least I'm not getting stabbed by some random guy on the street". It starts raining and he says "See? It's the exact opposite." He then gets stabbed anyway.
    • Two throwaway gags in "Jerome is the New Black" would later be relevant in later episodes:
    • Quagmire telling Brian that Cheryl Tiegs was the only woman he truly loved and that his sex addiction was the result of her leaving him: "Tiegs for Two" would be about Cheryl Tiegs coming back to Quagmire (but not before dating Brian). In fact, the revelation that Quagmire's sex addiction stems from a long-lost love is a callback in itself. Watch the episodes "Barely Legal," "Emission Impossible," and "The Perfect Castaway" and you will see clues about Quagmire's obsession with Cheryl Tiegs (the Missing Piece book he reads when he feels that he's missing the one thing to make him whole, the poster of Cheryl Tiegs on his refrigerator, and his reason why being blind is better than being a midget: "Every woman I did would be Cheryl Tiegs.")
    • The appearance of Quagmire's sister and her abusive boyfriend: on "Jerome is the New Black," it was funny in a sick way (since Brian thought that Quagmire's sister was one of his dates who liked her sex on the rough side), but on "Screams of Silence: The Brenda Q. Story," the abuse and everyone's reaction to it would be more on par with what you would find on a Very Special Episode of a sitcom.
  • There are a few call backs in Danny Phantom, but one of the most blatant is in "Memory Blanks" when Danny lists events that happened in previous episodes to use against Sam during a bitter argument.
  • As Told by Ginger was actually well known for this. In every single episode, except the first, they make some form of reference to a previous episode, and everything is kept in continuity.
  • The Venture Bros. likes to do this. When 21 and 24 are taunting 1 for his Mauve Shirt status, 21 mentions a character called Speedy. Speedy was a Red Shirt from the second episode.
    • Another example is in the season one finale The Monarch casually mentions to his henchmen to send Wonderboy's remains back to Captain Sunshine, this becomes a major part of the episode "Handsome Ransome" 3 seasons later.
  • An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants had Man Ray use role-playing to become good. SpongeBob first tries to teach him good by giving back someone a wallet they dropped. Man Ray does this to Patrick, but is so dumb he doesn't even think it's his wallet despite his ID being in it. SpongeBob's second lesson is for Man Ray to help someone carry a heavy package. Patrick keeps dropping the heavy package on Man Ray's foot. He gets furious and asks what is even in the box to which Patrick replies, "My wallets". That one's more of a Brick Joke, really.
  • In the second episode of Exo Squad, police officer and future Resistance leader Sean Napier saves Phaeton from an assassination attempt. Later on he refuses to shake Phaeton's hand because "Saving his life was my job. That doesn't mean I've forgotten what you Sapes did fifty years ago." Phaeton doesn't take it very well. In the final episode, Napier, who has become a politician since the end of the war, is giving a speech about the need for reconciliation and cooperation to some Neosapien POWs. One of them pulls a gun and tries to kill him, but he is saved by General Shiva. When Napier tries to shake Shiva's hand, he refuses, explaining that "the past cannot be forgotten". But, he adds, if Napier meant what he said before, "someday, I will be glad I saved your life."
  • Justice League
    • That kryptonite Batman carries around? That came into play when fighting Amazo? He got it twenty episodes earlier, in "Injustice for All", when fighting Luthor, who, at the time, was armed with kryptonite. Green Lantern took it from Luthor with his ring, but Batman grabbed it from midair and put it in his utility belt, where it stayed for almost a full season.
    • It gets better. Amazo blasts the kryptonite into splinters, leaving only a single useful piece. This piece is the one Bruce gives to Terry McGinnis in the Batman Beyond two-parter "The Call". Since Batman Beyond was made before Justice League, in reality it's a Call Forward.
  • Futurama is made of this.
    • "Ask" is pronounced "aks" from the moment it's mentioned that "ask" is an archaic pronunciation (like "Christmas" instead of "Xmas"), for the rest of the series.
    • In "Neutopia", a Sufficiently Advanced Alien inverts the main cast's genders. Fem!Bender is Coilette, the identity he adopted when he got a sex change in the episode "Bend Her".
    • The plot of Fry being his own grandfather as a result of "Doing the nasty in the past-y," later becomes an explicit plot point.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series repeatedly references a scene from the first episode where Dante and Randall appear to be climbing a building, only to pull back and reveal that they're simply doing a Bat-Climb.
  • In one episode of Pinky and the Brain they try to enter a cabal of World Leaders that secretly rules the world, so they resume their identities of the President (Brain) and the Minister of Finances (Pinky) of Brainania, a fictional country they created in one of their previous attempts at taking over the world.
  • Frisky Dingo loves these. It's packed with Call Backs and recurring jokes, but special mention should go to one involving Steven Seagal, The Taliban, and a Penguin.
  • Adventure Time is a mostly episodic show, but there are moments that remind you that there is a story going on.
    • During "In Your Footsteps", at the end of the episode, we see the Snail being possessed by The Lich like in "Mortal Folly", who planned to steal The Enchiridion for unknown reasons.
    • In "Beyond this Earthly Realm", when Finn is looking for the Ice King, he says "Where'd you go Simon?" This is referring to the Ice King's real name from when he was a human, as learned in "Holly Jolly Secrets Part II."
  • Total Drama World Tour
    • In the Yukon episode, Tyler complains about being ignored by everyone, mentioning that Lindsay even called him "Noah" earlier. The next episode opens up with Team CIRRRRH not noticing Noah was missing all night, to which an injured Noah snaps, "Who am I, Tyler?"
    • Also in the Yukon, Chris says that he ordered jackets for the contestants to keep them from freezing in the icy climate, but then adds that they wouldn't arrive for a few weeks. Several weeks/episodes later, the contestants arrive in snowy Sweden, and Heather asks Chris if the jackets had arrived yet. They hadn't.
  • Amusingly blatant example in The Garfield Show. When asked why he's so concerned about a bluebird, Garfield flat-out says "Don't you remember the episode last season when I rescued the baby bluebirds?"
  • In The Problem Solverz episode "Magic Clock", the Eternitron from "Time Twister" can be seen in the background of the clock museum. Also, Fauxboro, from the previous episode, is the setting for Roba and Katrina's wedding.
  • American Dad!, of all shows, has a surprising amount of call backs. Unlike other animated comedies, the writers seem to be putting a surprising amount of effort into keeping continuity.
    • One episode shows Stan sending a realtor/hand model to Guantanamo Bay. When she borrows another inmate's napkin, they say they will cut off her "beautiful hands". Later episodes show her with a hook for a hand, and at one point was even introduced as a "former hand model".
    • Another episode features a subplot involving a cat that constantly attacks Steve. The end of a later episode shows the cat using a gun to kill Steve's clone.
    • In season one, Stan sends a bitter, wigless woman to the CIA and claims she is the alien they were looking for. Five seasons later, Stan and Roger go to Area 51, where the old woman can be seen in a tube full of green goo in the background.
    • An early episode has Francine mentioning George Clooney as her "one free kill". A later episode reveals that she really hates him for stealing her chance at fame, and she spends the entire episode trying to make him suffer by breaking his heart.
    • In season one, Stan casually mentions having a half-brother. Guess which member of his family we meet much later on?
  • In Teen Titans "Aftershock: Part 1", two mentions are made of the "Apprentice" episodes from Season 1 (not surprisingly, given the parallels between the two episodes).
  • In an early episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spidey saves a geeky guy and a hot girl and in his rush webs them up together and hollers "You can thank me later!" to the guy who is now making eyes at the girl. Later in the latter part of the second season, the geeky guy is proposing to her.
  • Archer's main source of humour is the callback, a carryover from Adam Reed's previous project Frisky Dingo.
  • In part 2 of the 5-part, "Super DuckTales" story on DuckTales, when Fenton first accidentally gets the Gizmo Duck suit, he shouts out "I'm being canned like a tuna!" In a much later episode, "A Case of Mistaken Secret Identity," when Launchpad is trapped in the Gizmo Duck suit, he describes himself as "feeling like a canned tuna." Coincidence? I think not!
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Reeking Havoc:" Buttercup asks Blossom where she got a giant match to battle a giant fart monster.
    Blossom: Same place I got the giant jar from, silly. Season one, episode two... remember?
    • In "Keen on Keane", the Professor recalls a bad experience with a cat that made him "jump off a building", a nod to the episode "Cat Man Do".
    • In "Aspirations," Bubbles mentions Buttercup's crush on Ace of the Gangreen Gang from the episode "Buttercrush."
      Buttercup: Why you gotta bring up old stuff?
  • South Park:
    • The Gainax Ending to Season 16 episode "Butterballs" is referenced at the end of same season's "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining". Both occur when Stan achieves fame for raising awareness for a certain problem (bullying in the former, the literally lethal boredom of ziplining in the latter).
    • In The Movie, the boys send out a pamphlet for La Résistance promising punch and pie. In "Super Best Friends", David Blaine hands out pamphlets encouraging people to join his cult. Guess what is promises.
    • In the first Halloween episode, Wendy wins the school costume contest with a Chewbacca mask. In the third, Kenny enters the contest with an insanely elaborate Humongous Mecha costume and seems a shoo-in to win... only for Wendy to win again with the exact same mask. They might even have relooped Mr. Garrison's announcing her winner for that one.
    • In the season 3 episode Starvin' Marvin' in Space, Cartman blames Kyle for a turd in the urinal. Season 10 makes an episode note out of finding out who took a crap in the urinal. Cartman blames Kyle, obviously. After a purposefully convoluted plot, it turns out to have been Stan.
    • In the Season 8 episode "AWESOM-O", a disguised Eric Cartman asks Butters to reveal private aspects of his life. After mentioning a particularly embarrassing bowel condition, he mentions a bully named—you guessed it—Eric Cartman who likes to play tricks on him. The two incidents he names are from previous episodes: "Jared Has Aides" and "Casa Bonita".
    • In the theatrical movie, General Plymkin shoots Bill Gates in the head after what he believes is a glitch in Windows '98. Gates later appears in "The Entity" (airing two years after the film was released), only this time, with a band-aid poorly covering a hole in his head.
    • In "Elementary School Musical", the boys are asked rhetorically "where have you been" when they say they don't know anything about High School Musical. Craig replies "Peru", a callback to "Pandemic" earlier in the season.
    • In "The Coon", Cartman holds a failed rally for his eponymous superhero alter-ego, where the attendant asks him if he's the same kid that held the "Ginger Pride" rally from "Ginger Kids" and the AIDS benefit from "Tonsil Trouble," which Cartman angrily denies.
    • The ending of "Scott Tenorman Must Die" is Cartman's Remember When You Blew Up a Sun? moment. At the very least he used it to threaten Ms. Choksondik and to brag to a Bart Simpson Lawyer-Friendly Cameo about how hardcore he is.
  • In the episode of Goof Troop "Axed By Addition", Pete says that one time he made PJ pluck dog hair out of the carpet with tweezers. Evidently, it was more than once since the task is referenced as something PJ needs to do in both "Take Me Out of the Ball Game" and "And Baby Makes Three."
  • Though Superjail! is mostly episodic and prone to the reset button, the cliffhanger in season 2's finale is revisited in the season 3 premiere, after a short timeskip. The inmates become aggravated with the current state of the integrated "Ultrajail", and think back to what happened after they were captured by the Mistress.
  • A surprising number of Fillmore! episodes feature background appearances by characters from previous episodes - the science fair in "The Shreds Fell like Snowflakes" has blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances by one of the would-be perps in "A Cold Day At X" and the psychic from "Cry the Beloved Mascot".
  • A disturbing one occurs in Gravity Falls. In "Into the Bunker", the shapeshifting monster, as he's being frozen, taunts Dipper by morphing into an image of him horrifically screaming, saying it will be "the last form [he'll] ever take"; in "Northwest Mansion Mystery", Dipper is turned into a wooden statue whilst screaming in a very similar pose (though since he's turned back at the end, the monster's prediction wasn't exactly correct).
  • The Ready Jet Go episode "The Grandest Canyon" references an earlier episode where Mindy mishears "perspective" as "respective", only this time Mindy can say it and it's her friend Lillian who has the same trouble with the word. Mindy lampshades the situation.
  • In Steven Universe, Steven heals Lapis Lazuli's gemstone in the episode "Ocean Gem". He tells her "No prob, Bob" after she thanks him. Taking his reply literally, this prompts her to tell Steven that her name is Lapis, not Bob. Fast forward to the episode "Hit the Diamond" and Lapis uses the name "Bob" as an alias for her masterfully human disguise to fool a team of Rubies from Homeworld.
  • The second episode of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo makes a call back to the pilot of the original series of the franchise.
    Knight: Blimey, what a night!