Disposable Love Interest

"It never could be love
That's how it hadda be
Her name reminds me of
Female anatomy."

The mysterious vanishing of a hero's established love interest between the first movie and the sequel. Related to the Cartwright Curse, but this is where what happened to her isn't mentioned, and is never referenced again. They can't have the hero settle down because Status Quo Is God. On the other hand, they can't make the hero look like a heel by spelling out why their relationships always fail, so the situation becomes the Elephant in the Living Room.

Basically, the girls aren't put into the movies to be characters or interesting, but merely so that the main character can go through the motions of a fresh Token Romance in every single sequel.

Related to Girl of the Week. Compare the Temporary Love Interest, who is taken far more seriously and gets the dignity of being written out, but again because adding a lasting romance would upset the status quo. See also Disposable Woman, Disposable FiancÚ, and Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Very common in a Sequel Reset. Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome is similarly related.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • In Daredevil, Matt's former love interest Elektra is still active following her resurrection, but she and Matt are not pursuing a long term relationship.
  • The Incredible Hulk's love interests include Bereet, Betty Ross, Caiera, Jarella, Kate Waynesboro, Marlo, Monica Rappacini, Thundra, Umar...
  • In Looney Tunes comics, Bugs Bunny's girlfriends were Bertha Bunny, Lula Belle Bunny, and Honey Bunny, who appeared sparingly in merchandise until disappearing completely.
  • Spider-Man and a rotating cast of supporting characters.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian shoots and kills the Vietnamese woman, pregnant with his child, and blames Dr. Manhattan for not interfering.
  • In Wolverine, Logan's love interests run the entire spectrum of being dead and angsted over or no longer angsted over, partially dead or in an afterlife state and still angsted over, still alive and angsted over, or, if lucky, still alive and no longer angsted over. Goes through a lot of women.

Film
  • Spoofed in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where Austin's love interest from the first movie turns out to be a robot that explodes. Played straight in the third one (although it can be assumed the second movie's love interest is with his clone ... long story).
  • Every Batman movie has a new girl for the Batmeister who will only get mentioned if she's lucky.
  • In Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Deuce's love interest Kate has been killed by sharks.
  • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane's wife Holly is only there as part of a phone conversation, and by Live Free or Die Hard they are divorced.
  • In Elektra, Matt is no longer part of the story, nor is any mention of the continuance of their relationship.
  • In Ghostbusters II, Venkman has split up with Dana, who has a son with the violinist. After having a conversation with Venkman, she gets rescued again. It's doubtful that they continue their relationship.
  • In Indiana Jones, Indy forgets about all of his past relationships, including Willie in The Temple of Doom, Elsa in The Last Crusade, and numerous Expanded Universe love interests like Sophia Hapgood. Until The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which sees the return of the marvelous Marian Ravenwood.
  • Basically, every James Bond movie ever produced. This makes sense in-universe considering the one time he marries someone, she dies at the end of the movie.
    • One of the James Bond books handwaves this by having the female character from Diamonds Are Forever break up with James and marry a Marine stationed at the US Embassy in London.
  • In The Karate Kid Part II, Ali Mills breaks up with Daniel and dates a football player, and Daniel meets Kumiko in Okinawa.
  • In The Karate Kid Part III, Kumiko decides to stay in Okinawa, and Daniel finds a new girlfriend who is into mountain climbing.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pepper Potts' relationship with Tony Stark, who has retired from being a superhero, is presumably ongoing after Iron Man 3, assuming she does not explode from her new Extremis powers. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pepper Potts does not appear, but she is mentioned by Stark as still working at Stark Industries. In Captain America: Civil War, Pepper Potts has broken up with Tony Stark, due to Stark's refusal to remain in retirement.
  • In Men in Black II, Agent K's wife has divorced, and Agent L appears to no longer care for Agent J.
  • Mission: Impossible II closes with Ethan Hunt and Nyah Hall living happily ever after. M:I-3 opens with Hunt marrying a different woman, and Nyah is never spoken of again.
  • Night at the Museum: Rebecca doesn't appear or get mentioned in the sequel, despite starting a relationship with Larry at the end of the first film.
  • In Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Paul's love interest Amy has filed for divorce.
  • In Shanghai Knights, Chon Wang and Roy O'Bannon's love interests have already left them.
  • In Star Trek: Generations, Kirk reconstructs memories of being married to Antonia, a girl he met, instead of Carol Marcus, his love interest in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, who was written out in subsequent films.
  • In Step Up 5: All In, Emily has dumped Sean from Step Up 4 Revolution.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Mikhaela (Sam's love interest in the first two films) is given the Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Carly, a similarly improbably attractive Damsel in Distress who Sam is suddenly living in an apartment with with little explanation. This is due to Michael Bay falling out with Mikhaela's actress.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian shoots the Vietnamese woman, pregnant with his child, and blames Dr. Manhattan for not interfering.
  • In Zoolander 2, the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good building collapses, killing Matilda.

Literature

Live-Action Television

Video Game
  • In the Leisure Suit Larry series, Larry's love interest from the previous game typically breaks up with Larry in the beginning of the next game.
  • Stretched almost to the point of Deconstruction by Metal Gear Solid and its sequel. Snake ends up happily with the girl, Meryl, but by the time of the second game their relationship has not only failed without explanation but Snake's now actually living with a man, who seems more compatible with him than she was. It's straighter than it sounds...but not much.
  • Iris, the defendant from last case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations is very clearly supposed to be Phoenix's love interest and yet she completely dissapeard without as much as a mention after the original trilogy.

Western Animation
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Roxanne, Max's love interest from the first movie, is never seen or heard from again, and Bobby's love interest Stacey is gone.
  • Subverted in an episode of Futurama. Bender and the disembodied head of Lucy Liu fall in love at the end of one episode and vow they'll marry. This relationship is never mentioned again... except in one episode that reveals she's been living in his chest cavity all along.
  • Looney Tunes
    • Bugs Bunny was married to Mrs. Bugs Bunny in Hold the Lion, Please. Bugs dates Daisy Lou Rabbit in Hare Splitter. Lola Bunny, introduced in Space Jam, has become Bugs' official girlfriend in The Looney Tunes Show.
    • Daffy Duck was married to Daphne Duck, was married to Honeybunch Duck in Quackodile Tears, was married to a different, more abusive wife in His Bitter Half, and may have married Fowl Fattale in The Super Snooper. Daffy's girlfriend was Melissa Duck. Daffy dated another duck in Daffy's Meet Market. As of The Looney Tunes Show, Tina Russo is Daffy's current girlfriend.
    • The Tasmanian Devil was once married to the Tasmanian She-Devil, but it's unclear if their relationship has been longstanding.
    • Tweety's girlfriend Aoogah has not been seen since Tweety's High Flying Adventure.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Bart's Girlfriend", Bart's girlfriend is Jessica Lovejoy. In "Moonshine River", it is revealed their relationship was short term only.
    • Colin, Lisa's love interest from The Simpsons Movie, appears in art class in "Lisa the Drama Queen", and in the opening of "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs". Colin does not appear regularly enough in the series to establish if their relationship is still ongoing.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DisposableLoveInterest