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Distant Finale
A series finale or epilogue where we're shown what happens to the characters, places and/or the setting. Usually takes place many years after the proper ending of the plot. Intervening events may be depicted via Flash Back.

If the series gets a sequel that picks up after the finale, it becomes a Time Skip.

Differs from "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue in that it's a full scene that shows interaction between characters and most likely dialogue. If the Distant Finale shows how the entire cast dies, it's a Deadly Distant Finale. When a Distant Finale is used to reunite characters who separated at the end of a series, see Fast Forward To Reunion. Might suffer from Modern Stasis.

Contrast of course Distant Prologue.

This is an Ending Trope. As such, it contains massive spoilers.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga  
  • The ending of Death Note takes place a year later.
  • Simoun's ending takes place five years later.
  • The 2nd season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's) ends with a montage showing the characters as they are six years after the series ends as they get ready for a reunion of the cast through a new mission that they'll all participate in. The third season (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS) begins 4 years after that.
  • GunBuster, in which the two main characters return to a hero's welcome twelve thousand years after the end of the war.
    • Worth noting that while twelve thousand years have passed on earth, very little time has passed for the two main characters. For them the war ended just yesterday, or a few days ago at most.
    • The sequel, DieBuster, has a much more modest version — only ten years. Turns out to be the exact same scene, from another perspective.
  • The final manga volume of Kare Kano is set many years after the series to show the cast as happy adults.
  • Both the anime ending and the manga ending of Mahoromatic happen about 20 years after the events of the main story but both offer different perspective endings where in the anime Suguru moves to the new Saint and human planet and gets cybernetic enhancements and kills combat androids. Either is dying or badly injured and sees Mahoro again and they walk together. The manga gets a different ending where Suguru becomes an officer in Vespar and defeats the last of Management and when he goes back home sees Mahoro again after she was reborn as a baby and grew up with all of her memories intact.
  • YuYu Hakusho's last episode ends two years after the Demon Tournament and the events of Sensui. The humans that were in Middle School were now almost finished with High School. Koenma went back to work,Genkai willed the group her estate before she dies,and Yusuke finally fulfilled his promise to return to Keiko.
  • The Cardcaptor Sakura manga flashforwards 4 years to reveal why Syaoran left Tomoeda in such a hurry: he was starting the process to become a permanent resident of Japan, so he could be with Sakura permanently.
  • Scrapped Princess ends with a few scenes showing all the characters living Happily Ever After.
  • Da Capo Second Season ends with the two obviously destined characters getting married, and in the repeated ending animation, 2 adults are shown (faceless) looking through a photo album. The finale's credits finally reveal (as if no one could have guessed) that the two adults are a married Nemu and Junichi.
  • Paradise Kiss (10 years later).
  • In Kurau Phantom Memory we see the lives of the main characters ten years after the events in the previous episode, in which Kurau loses her Rynax, causing her pair Christmas lots of grief. The most important event in the last episode therefore is the return of the Rynax-Kurau out of Christmas' body, much like Christmas herself did when she appeared out of Kurau years before.
  • The ending of Stellvia of the Universe fast-forwards two years to the day when the protagonist's younger brother enrolls into same academy as herself. Since a sequel was planned, it's safe to assume that he would have been its new protagonist but unfortunately, it was canceled.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a Time Skip and a Distant Finale. The finale shows the characters about 20 years after the events of the show, with Rossiu becoming the benevolent president over the entire galactic alliance with Leeron as his aide, Yoko becoming principal of her school, teaching young children, Darry and Gimmy piloting Gurren Lagann, Viral being the supreme commander over the entire fleet and Simon still living out his life Walking the Earth as a hermit, free of all bonds of authority and the responsibilities it involves.
    • In the movie, though it omits the other character's scenes, it expands on Simon's epilogue. He's going around helping people in need, in exchange for planting flowers, fulfilling Nia's dream.
  • The anime ending of Magic Knight Rayearth takes place a year after the girls return from Cephiro. Hikaru, Umi and Fuu see the once again restored country of Cephiro in the large windows of Tokyo Tower, from where ironically enough they were taken to Cephiro both times. Considering however that Hikaru wishes to return to Cephiro once more to discover the new story of the land, it's questionable whether this is really a Distant Finale or a foreshadowing of another trip waiting to happen. After all it was the girls' wish to return to Cephiro the second time that took them back! Dun dun dun!
  • The manga ending for Rurouni Kenshin picks up 5 years later, where Kenshin has retired from swordsmanship and is married to and has a son with Kaoru, Kaoru has revived the Kamiya Kasshin-Ryû with numerous students, and Yahiko has become a master swordsman. The ending deals with Yahiko inheriting Kenshin's reverse blade sword. This becomes a Time Skip with the release of the third OAV, which shows the final years of Kenshin's life (which is not canon, anyways).
  • .hack//SIGN had one of these, with the events of the .hack games taking place in between. The game characters show up in the final episode.
    • The bonus episode is called ".hack//UNISON", and was only included in a super-duper special limited DVD edition. It was shown in Britain on the Anime Central channel following the series proper, but wasn't included in the rerun because the rerun was cut short. It's available on YouTube, but only in subbed Japanese.
      • Unison is considered non-canon because Sora is in it and that complicates things later on. Sora is Haseo and lost his memories of ever playing The World.
    • .hack//Roots also had one entitled Returner. Like unison it has characters from the GU games and Roots in it.
  • The final episode of El Cazador de la Bruja is set unspecified time after the showdown with the Big Bad. Judging by how much Ellis has grown, it must have been several years.
  • The last episode of Godannar is set 7 years after the final battle, showing us what everybody is up to now. The last scene of that episode is then set one year after that.
  • The epilogue scene of Zegapain is set an ambiguous number of years after the final battle, with the lighthouse visited in an earlier episode now ravaged by time and reclaimed by nature. Depending on the viewer's interpretation, it can be a Bittersweet Ending ( as Kyo started aging once he had been reconstituted as a real human being, but the time needed to restore this technology, and save the rest of mankind, might have surpassed his own lifespan.)
  • The last chapter of InuYasha takes place 3 years later, then jumps ahead a bit for the last pages.
  • The Fruits Basket manga way overshoots the mark. The last few scenes completely skip past Kyo and Tohru's (and everyone else's!) marriage and life together and shows them as elderly grandparents (although indicating they've been happy.)
  • Sonic X originally skipped 6 years into the future for its finale, though the series was then resurrected for a further 26 episodes. These episodes took place 6 years after the original series in the Human World, but only 6 months in Sonic's universe.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 pulled one of these off. It's both this and a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, as it shows us the digidestined's reunion after 25 years, with Takeru also narrating on voiceover with interspersed little clips of the kids' careers and families now that they're all grown up.
    • Digimon Savers also has a distant finale, five years after the final battle.
  • ∀ Gundam serves as something of a Distant Finale for the entire Gundam franchise: it manages to do a surprisingly good job in tieing what would otherwise be completely separate timelines. Also referenced in SD Gundam: G Generation Spirits where an omnicidal autonimous Turn-A Gundam appears to bring about the apocalypse, effectively ending the entire Universal Century and leading to the events of Turn-A the series. Probably not the canon version of events,though.
    • Gundam 00 has its own Distant Finale at the end of the movie, showing humanity 50 years after the conclusion of the story. They're at perfect peace with the ELS and are just about to launch their first interstellar starship, crewed entirely by Innovators and built with ELS components, to meet other sentient species across the stars.
  • In the final episode of Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water the main Characters are shown married and with a child.
  • The final episode of Infinite Ryvius takes place a year after the previous episode; the very end of the episode then jumps thousands of years into the future.
  • Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ skips five years, to show how the students and instructors of the mage institute are doing and how some of them are dealing with Sora's death.
  • The manga ending of Love Hina depicts practically a new beginning in the Hinata Inn, with a female character very much resembling Keitaro going through almost the exact same shenanigans he went through when he first arrived, and ultimately showing Keitaro's and Naru's wedding.
  • The last chapter of Yokohama Shopping Trip takes place at least a decade later.
  • There is one in Michiko to Hatchin, where Hatchin, grown up with a little kid, falls into the arms of her beloved Michiko.
  • Mx0 had an abrupt ending in which Taiga transferred out for a year, finally returning a year later.
  • One of three possible interpretations for Takaki's recurring dreams in 5 Centimeters per Second. Any posited "happy ending" for that movie fits here by definition.
  • Rose of Versailles concludes stating what happened to Marie Antoinette in 1793, and later to Fersen in 1810. This is told by the three surviving main characters: Rosalie, Bernard, and Alain.
  • The final scenes of Solty Rei take place several years after the Final Battle (and attendant Heroic Sacrifice) to save the city from Eirene. Roy finds Solty floating in space, still alive.
  • The second bonus chapter of the Shoujo Sect manga jumped into the future to show that Momoku, Shinobu, and Maya were living together, and having this fact revealed to all of Shinobu's coworkers, much to her embarrassment.
  • The 13th episodes of both Please Teacher! and Please Twins! are these.
  • The ending to the Shaman King manga, "Funbari No Uta," is one of these. It follows Yoh and Anna's son Hana, his emerging spiritual powers, and how he meets his very own Anna, whom he is destined to be with. We also get to see the main characters and what's become of them now that they're all grown up.
  • The ending to Dragon Ball GT is set 100 years in the future where Goku and Vegeta's descendants fight in a World Martial Arts Tournament.
    • Dragon Ball Z's ending was set 10 years after the Buu saga.
    • Dragon Ball Z also had the episode "Free the Future", in which Future Trunks returns to his own time and takes out the Androids and Cell of that timeline.
  • The manga version of Chrono Crusade had an "epilogue" added in the final collected volume, which shows what happened to all of the characters (skipping between 1932 and 1999) and ties up some of the lose ends left over from the (much more open-ended) ending published in the original magazine.
    • The final scene in the anime also shows Father Remington in the Vatican on May 13, 1981, 52 years after the "end" of the series, where Aion appears and apparently is behind the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.
  • Myself ; Yourself has an ending episode taking place ten years later.
  • Hellsing (30 years later)
  • Ai Yori Aoshi's manga epilogue takes place 4 years later, when Tina finally returns to Japan.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood's final episode takes place two months after the final battle, showing how various characters are dealing with normalcy, then it shows Ed and Al after two years, as they depart on their own journeys. The episode ends with a collage of photographs showing the characters several years later.
  • In Kurogane Communication there is a scene set several years after the Grand Finale, in which Haruka and Katano return from Mars to have a joyous reunion with the robots that stayed behind on earth. They also bring their daughter with them.
  • After the credits to Noein it is revealed that Yuu came to terms with his angst and went to school in Tokyo, while Haruka and friends once again lead an ordinary life. Though she has Yuu, Haruka hasn't forgotten Karasu, and looks up at the church spire where she first saw him and tells him Yuu is coming back.
  • Amagami SS has two examples of this, both taking place ten years into the future:
    • Morishima Haruka's epilogue has both of them married and living together, with Junichi working as a detective. The setting is a visit from their friend Hibiki.
    • Ayatsuji Tsukasa's epilogue has Tsukasa, Junichi and their daughter visiting the Founder's Festival where they both recall the promise they made to each other ten years ago.
  • The last few minutes of GUN×SWORD take place a few years after the final battle. The final scene shows Van and Wendy unexpectedly meeting again after having reluctantly parted from each other. Although the scene is all too brief, the future looks promising for them. Without that Distant Finale, this would have been a Bittersweet Ending.
  • The last scenes of the final episode of Eureka Seven are set a year later. They show Eureka's children with Renton's grandfather, and also give brief glimpses of Renton and Eureka, and Dominic and Anemone.
  • At the end of Speed Grapher, we see an epilogue set five years later, which shows what several major and minor characters are doing now, tying up some romantic loose ends and reuniting Saiga and Kagura, now that she's no longer Jail Bait.
  • Gosick has the finale set 4 years after the main events, when Kazuya returns to Japan after the war, finally reuniting with Victorique who has been staying with his family, waiting for his return. It is also implied that they get married as well.
  • The OVA of A Little Snow Fairy Sugar functions as a Distant Finale of sorts, with the main story sandwiched as a flashback between scenes which take place some 4 years after the end of the TV series, showing a grown-up Saga and Greta, who apparently have become the best of friends.
  • One of these was planned for the Pokémon anime at one point, as noted in a Japanese trailer for the first movie; aside from footage that doesn't actually appear in the movie proper, the crux of the trailer involves an older Misty talking to a mysterious young girl with pinkish hair. No explanation as to who she is or who the other blue-haired lady with them is, and we'll never know. We know how well that one turned out, don't we?
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: The epilogue takes place 7 years in the future, showing a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue for the class.
  • The final episode of Sakamichi No Apollon jumps 8 years into the future, showing the first meeting of the Kaoru, Sentaro and Ritsuko since the end of high school. We're also shown what became of several other members of the cast, such as Yurika marrying Junichi and Seiji fulfilling his dream of becoming a pop idol.
  • The second half of HeartCatch Pretty Cure!'s final episode takes place a few months after the final battle, showing the girls a little while later: Tsubomi's a proud older sister and is back to wearing her glasses, Itsuki's dumped the male uniform for a standard female one and Yuri's much more happier than before. However, the ending is hard to reconcile with the Pretty Cure All Stars movie series which doesn't show these changes.
  • Love Lucky: After Fuuta and Kirari no longer had to keep their marriage a secret, Fuuta became a House Husband. It then skips one year and we get to see how they were living. They live at a Big Fancy House, Kirari's father moved in and demands Fuuta to make his tea.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is weird about this. On the one hand, Part 2 ends with Joseph as an old man about to visit his grandson in Japan.... which is the beginning to Part 3. On the other hand, it also ends with a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue detailing the lives of Speedwagon, Erina, Lisa Lisa, and Smokey. Considering all the parts take place years after each other (except for part 7, it's complicated), this should be an aversion, but it's the only part to do this.

     Comic Book  
  • There was foreshadowing that this device would be used in The Ballad Of Halo Jones, with a scene set in a university history lecture several thousand years after the events of the main story discussing Halo's significance as a historical character/folk hero. However, the comic was, unfortunately, never finished.
  • Peter David set the final issue of his 12-year-run of Incredible Hulk 10 years after the previous issue. A Daily Bugle interview with Rick Jones serves as a fitting end to both David's tenure on the title as well as the Hulk mythos in general.
  • The final issue of Planetary takes place a year after the previous one. And was released 3 years after the previous issue.
  • Most of the last volume of The Sandman is this. Interestingly, it plays with the timeline by skipping back to Shakespeare at the end.
  • The end of Superman: Red Son.
    • Almost Most of the epilogue is the timeline over thousands of years after Superman's "departure" but it technically ends with Superman's time ship crashing back in 1918 using Siegel and Shuster's orginal idea that Superman was a super advanced human from the future as opposed to an alien.
  • Mike Costa ended his run on IDW's Transformers comics with a Distant Finale. Issue 31 skips ahead hundreds of years into the future where a new age of peace has begun. Ironhide and Alpha Trion are some of the few remaining original Autobots, the Transformers live on Gorlam Prime instead of Cybertron, and Optimus Prime and Megatron have both disappeared with their names becoming legend. The issue ends with a group of young Transformers asking Ironhide to tell the story of when the Autobots finally defeated Megatron....
  • The final issue of Y: The Last Man gives us a view of what Earth has become 60 years after the series' climax, with flashbacks to update us on how the surviving characters spent the intervening time. Somehow, the issue maintains the same dramatic tension and plot twist quantity as all the others in spite of this device.

    Films — Live-Action  
  • Billy Elliot - Last scene is of his father and brother going to see him as a professional Danseur (Ballarino).
  • The classic Hitchcock film North by Northwest ends with a tense and literal cliffhanger in which Roger is desperately coaxing a frightened, dangling Eve to grab his hand so that she doesn't fall from Mount Rushmore. The camera zooms in on her terrified face as she flails to reach him, and suddenly his encouraging words turn to "Come along, Mrs. Thornhill!" and the screen wipes to show the two of them playing in bed on their honeymoon. That little wipe contains the resolution to the danger as well as their return from the mountain, any debriefing between them and the Professor, and their engagement and marriage.
  • Dark Water - The last scene shows Ikuko, now in her teenage years, as she returns to the haunted apartment she shared with her mother, Yoshimi, as a child. She is briefly reunited with the ghost of her mother before she disappears. The final shot shows her walking away from the building, as she realises that her mother has been watching over her ever since her death.
  • In the final scene of Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock, which is set in The Thirties and is about the corruption of both theater and the art world by money, the cast of a vaudeville show that has had its government funding yanked due to the Red Scare form a funeral procession for a discarded ventriloquist dummy and carry the tiny coffin into Times Square, which is shown to be the Times Square of The Nineties
  • Raising Arizona ends with H.I. dreaming about his distant future and the children he will eventually have with Ed.
  • The Dead Like Me direct-to-DVD movie Dead Like Me: Life After Death takes place 5 years after the series.
  • The "Double Secret Probation Edition" of the Animal House DVD takes the well-known "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue to the movie even further, with a fake documentary, actually titled "Where Are They Now", taking the text blurbs from the movie and running with them. Director John Landis is the documentarian, who revisits his earlier "documentary", interviewing the characters. Save for Bluto; the hard-partying, mischief-making, unlikely-to-graduate fratboy is now "President Blutarsky". Unfortunately, he could not be interviewed on account of John Belushi being inconveniently dead.
  • Legally Blonde had an epilogue that is both this and a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, due to the request of the test audiences. It's a full scene of Elle giving the valedictorian speech at her Law School graduation ceremony, with interspersed text blurbs detailing what happened to the supporting characters.
  • In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, David and Teddy remain frozen in the ice for over 2,000 years before they're thawed out by the Future Mechas, when humanity has long since died out.
  • In the last scenes of Atonement the main character tells what happened to the others, more than sixty years after the story took place. It changes quite a few things.
  • The last scene of Broadcast News shows the three main characters seven years on.
  • Heaven's Gate ends with the main character on a boat off the coast of Rhode Island, married to another woman, more than a decade later.
  • In the finale/epilogue of Elf, after an undisclosed period of time, Buddy and Jovie have since married and have a daughter (or son, in the Broadway musical) when they revisit the North Pole/Christmastown.
  • An...interesting variation occurs in Jumanji, wherein after time reverses to the beginning of the game in 1969 following the end of it in 1995, the finale occurs 26 years later in 1995, which was the present for most of the movie.
  • The main action in the Biopic Chaplin ends in 1952: Charlie Chaplin, leaving for a film premiere in his native England, learns that he's been effectively exiled from the United States over accusations that he is a Communist. In the framing device set in 1963, he admits to a (fictional) biographer that he hasn't considered returning to the U.S., even though he could, as he doesn't feel that Americans care about him anymore. The distant finale takes place at the 1972 Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, where — as he watches an audience enjoy a montage of his work in the leadup to his receiving an Honorary Oscar — he realizes they still do.

    Literature 
  • In Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events, this is seven-thirteenths of The Beatrice Letters. Ostensibly they're just supplementary reading, but there's no such thing as "optional," is there?
  • In Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space trilogy, the last chapter in Absolution Gap ends with the Hordesof Alien Locusts (Called Greenfly) eating up worlds, spreading through the universe. If you read the Shadow's dialogue, you'll realize that the entire universe is doomed
  • Happens in the later books of The Bible, with Revelation skipping from the 1st few centuries A.D. to the end of the world. Obviously that makes this trope Older Than Feudalism. Of course, it can be argued that the New Testament's authors expected the world to end in their lifetimes (several of Jesus' prognostications can be read like that), so Revelation may not have been skipping very far forward at all.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe almost ends like this. After the defeat of the White Witch it jumps to the children having grown up in Narnia. Then they wander back into the real world (having nearly forgotten it) and discover not only has no time passed since they arrived (because of Year Inside, Hour Outside) but they're children again.
  • The main events of the epilogue of War and Peace take place 8 years after the events of the novel conclude. Tolstoy, per his genius, covers 8 years in thirty pages, compared with the first 7 years of the novel which took a thousand pages to describe.
  • The last chapter of Harry Potter takes place 19 years after the end of the story. It shows all the main characters taking their children to the Hogwarts train, where we briefly catch up with what they've been doing for the last few years. Naturally, most of them have married each other.
  • The Handmaid's Tale ends x-mumble years later with the finding of the documents that made up the preceding book, and scholars opining: "Oh, my, weren't people back then just so foolish; of course, nothing like that could ever happen again."
    • Deny none of it.
  • Nation, set around the turn of the 19th century, finishes in the present day with an old man wrapping up the story to his grandkids, who are not remotely impressed by the Bittersweet Ending.
  • Arguably, 1984 - the scholarly appendix at the end on Newspeak is written in the past tense in standard English, implying Newspeak is no longer the spoken language. A matter of some dispute.
  • Subverted in And Another Thing..., in which the Distant Finale was, in fact, a construct that took place in the minds of the characters while on an exploding planet. This was, oddly enough, at the BEGINNING of the novel. The story continues uninterrupted from there.
  • The Pendragon Adventure ends several decades in the future, where Bobby has been able to live out his life as if he had never been a traveler. Given how much the world has irrevocably changed by this point, it's not clear how this is possible.
    • Well, it's kind off clear. Solara granted the wishes of the travelers, including Bobby, for them to get to live back in there homes, so it created an alternate timeline for them to live their lives in, until it was time for the traveler's to return to Solara.
  • Titan by Stephen Baxter has a very Distant Finale; it jumps several billion years to when the Sun has gone red giant and Titan is warm enough to have evolved sentient life.
  • Inverted in The Wheel of Time. The first book begins with a prologue taking place thousands of years before the main story.
  • The Lord of the Rings was originally going to have one with Sam telling the story to his children, but Tolkien decided against including it. It was eventually published in Sauron Defeated.
    • The appendices include The Tale Of Years, which ends by summarising the next 150 years and telling us what happened to most of the main characters: Sam becoming a widower at an advanced age and (according to hobbit tradition) crossing the Sea to rejoin Frodo; Merry and Pippin dying as centenarians in Minas Tirith and later being entombed with Aragorn himself; Gimli crossing the Sea with Legolas after Aragorn's death, the only Dwarf ever to wish to do so or be allowed.
  • Tuck Everlasting has an epilogue taking place much later, after Winnie has died of old age.
  • The finale of Great Expectations is set 11 years after the main story.
  • The Warrior Cats prequel Bluestar's Prophecy ends many years after the main story, with Bluestar making a decision which causes the events of the first book.
  • Manifold: Space features a very brief finale set in the extreme future to demonstrate that the cycle of extinction events was indeed broken at last.
  • The Necroscope series eventually ends with an epilogue implying Vampirism is eventually cured in a few hundred years' time, that the whole world has developed esper skillsnote , and is now a post-scarcity environment
  • The novel of The Lovely Bones ends with Susie's charm bracelet, which could have provided a clue to her murder, being found years after the fact by a couple who has no idea who it once belonged to.
  • Time Regained, the last volume of Marcel Proust's A la recherche de temps perdu, inverts this trope. We see all the characters we met in the preceding volumes—all those who have survived, at least—years or sometimes decades after they had last figured in the narrative. The party at which this all takes place is, however, the entire epic's present, with the whole story told in Flashback.
  • Star Trek: Federation has two of them. The first takes place after Star Trek: Generationsnote  and the Enterprise-D's destruction and deals with Picard receiving a time capsule from Starfleet Archives containing a message to him from Kirk, whose ship he encountered in the book due to a Negative Space Wedgie. The second takes place centuries in the future, in a time when the Federation has united the entire galaxy and a ship with "sidewarp" drive has traveled beyond its edge, finding a Preserver beacon out in deep space and opening a new era. "In the language of the time, the ship's name is Enterprise."
  • Infernal Devices: The epilogue of Clockwork Princess takes place in modern day, with Tessa recalling her life with Will, his death of old age in her arms as Jem played the violin, and finally meeting with Jem who has been freed from the Silent Brothers and the two of them starting a new life together.
  • The Power of Five: The epilogue to Oblivion features Holly, decades later and now an old woman, reminiscing on the time she spent with the Five and what became of them after they disappeared.

     Live Action TV  
  • Six Feet Under ("Everyone's Waiting," follows (almost) all of the main characters to their deaths years in the future.)
  • Mad About You ("Final Frontier," 22 years later, with flashbacks)
  • Babylon 5 ("Sleeping in Light," 19 years later, as well as the season 4 finale "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", a whole episode of this trope, showing us the impact of the titular space station 100, 500, 1000, and 1000000 years in the future.
  • Dawson's Creek (Two-parter "All Good Things..." and "...Must Come to an End," 5 years later. This had the added effect of making the actors look only 5 years older than their characters rather than 10 years.)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise ("These Are the Voyages," 6 and 200 years later)
    • Interestingly, the episode is woven in with a Next Generation episode that aired more the 15 years before.
  • Eureka's first season finale is four years in the future, but this is a subversion because two characters then proceed to time-travel back four years.
  • Star Treks The Next Generation and Voyager both do this, after a fashion: in their respective Grand Finales, we see a good deal of the cast, years after the events of the show proper, in futures of varying degrees of desirability. Then it's all undone via Time Travel, in such a way that their lives, to say nothing of the galaxy at large, will probably be better for it.
  • ReGenesis "The Truth", 35 years later, although it's heavily implied to be David's dying hallucination.
  • The epilogue of Will and Grace occurs when the pair, who had a falling out around the time they each had children, are reunited by the meeting-in-college and eventual marriage of said children.
  • Parodied in Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!!, as one of the earliest episodes is a preview of the 50th Anniversary Special.
  • Stargate SG-1's final episode "Unending" featured SG-1 and General Landry being caught in a time-distortion field and living and aging 50 years while less than a second of time passed outside. This was undone and everyone but Teal'c completely forgot the 50 years that had been.
  • How I Met Your Mother reverses this - the premise is that 20 or so years after the main character has met, married and had kids with the girl of his dreams, their father decides to tell the story of how the two of them met - and the entire series becomes a giant flashback to relate this story, going on for half a dozen seasons with only occasional remarks from Stock Footage of the kids to keep the frame story intact.
  • Battlestar Galactica 150,000 years later...
  • Inverted on Newhart: In the final scene of the last episode, Dick Loudon wakes up to discover that his entire life from 1982 to 1990 as depicted in Newhart was actually a dream of Bob Hartley, the protagonist of The Bob Newhart Show, which had last aired in 1978. That comes after a false "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue in the same episode.
  • Dollhouse: Epitaph One, included with the first season DVDs, is set 10 years in the future, showing what the consequences of the Dollhouse's technology will be on civilization. It's not pretty.
  • The Guiding Light 's 72-year run ended with a not-so-Distant Finale scene, set one year after the rest of the episode.
  • The final scene of Alias is set a few years into the future: Dixon visits Sydney and Vaughn, who are living in peace by the sea with their two children, to ask for their help catching Sark (again). Also, we learn that Isabelle has the potential to be a great spy, just like her mom — but it seems she just wants to lead a normal life.
  • A variation on The West Wing: The opening of the last season is set 3 years after the end of the previous one, and shows who has married, who has changed careers etc. It still leaves open the big question of who won the next general election, though.
  • The final episode of LOST revealed that the Flash-Sideways was a distant afterlife. Christian tells Jack that some of the other characters died "long after" Jack, and given that Hurley became the island's immortal protector, it's quite possible that millennia have passed since Jack's death.
    • This troper assumed that the afterlife shown was timeless, making whether or not it counts as "distant" very, very confusing.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! ends like this. All the members of the cast are elderly and Gruber and Helga (now married with children) come to visit and they wonder whatever happened to the Fallen Madonna. Helga still has the left boob in her purse and they work out that the rest of the painting is in the local statue of Rene the town put up. Then Rene elopes with Yvette as Edith shouts out the attic window at them.
  • The CW TV series Life Unexpected was cancelled in its 2nd season due to low ratings. To prevent ending the series without closure for the fans in an already short 2nd season, there is a random 2 year time skip at the end of the final episode, taking place after Kate runs into Ryan's ex-girlfriend Julia, who it turns out WAS pregnant from her brief affair with Ryan when he and Kate were separated. Kate returns to break the news to Ryan, and suddenly a "TWO YEARS LATER" title card appears and we are at Lux's graduation, where she is Valedictorian of her class, and we are slowly revealed that Julia and Ryan are now a couple, as are Math and the radio show producer, who is now pregnant. After the speech and the group posing for a photo op, the show ends with the big reveal that Kate and Baze are finally a couple (We watch the two of them share a long passionate kiss), thus giving Lux a real family with her real mom and dad.
  • Smallville's final scenes takes place in year 2018, with Lex Luthor elected as the US president, Clark, Lois and the younger Jimmy working at the Daily Planet and also had a scene of Chloe reading a Smallville comic book to her son.
  • Strange Days At Blake Holsey High has a strange exception, considering the final episode is a film. It takes place a year after Josie disappears into the worm hole.
  • Third Watch ends with Office John "Sully" Sullivan giving an epilogue on the fates of all the characters—marriage, children, jobs, etc., including himself, retired and living upstate.
  • Merlin ends in the present day with Merlin walking down a road and looking out at the island of Avalon, still waiting for Arthur to return.

    Theater 
  • At least a decade passes between the 3rd act and the 4rth (only in the musical update) of Vanities. In the original, the Manhattan tea party was the finale. The off-Broadway version also had a How We Got Here format. In the Theatreworks version, it was more of a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.

     Video Games  
  • Zero's ending in Mega Man X6 was retconned into this when Capcom decided to continue to the series for a few more games.
  • The visual novel Fate/stay night has several, due to its Multiple Endings:
  • Asellus' "Human" and "Half-Mystic" endings in SaGa Frontier take place decades after killing the Big Bad, Orlouge. The Human ending shows a slideshow of her living out the rest of her life, while the Half-Mystic ending shows her having retained eternal youth, visiting her old friend, Gina. Her Full-mystic ending takes place more or less immediately after the final battle.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6 does this in pure text, presumably to eliminate the need for new sprites.
  • Final Fantasy VII's last scene is after the credits, showing Red XIII and his children, 500 years after the game, coming upon the ruins of Midgar. It is an edge case of the trope, since it's a short scene, but it only covers one character and there's no voiceover narration or text explanation.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII takes place 500 years after the end of the previous game, in which time has stopped for everything except the people, no one dies, and no newborns can be conceived.
  • The final screen of Marathon Infinity is set in the last quantum moment before the end of the universe.
    • Not quite as impressive, but Marathon 2's ending screen detailed events happening 10000 years after the end of the gameplay.
  • Used in the Visual Novel Crescendo, where the bad ending for Yuka's path takes place several years later at a class reunion
  • The good ending of BioShock. The little sisters grow up to live normal, happy lives. Oh, and you die of old age...with every little sister you saved by your side in your final moments.
  • An unorthodox version in Ghost Trick: At the end of the game you go back 10 years into the past and save Yomiel from the meteorite. The epilogue shows what happened 10 years after that (though it's the same day as when the rest of the game was set) and how everyone's lives have changed as a result of the new timeline.
  • Valkyria Chronicles shows Welkin and Alicia married with their daughter named Isara.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has a secret ending that shows that Sora is embarking on a quest 11 years after the events of the game to save most of the series' cast from their Not Quite Dead fates.
  • Shining Force 2's epilogue occurs two years after the victory against Zeon.
  • killer7: Chapter 6 ("Smile") is the proper final stage in the game, in which Garcian Smith discovers that his true identity is Emir Parkreiner and that the other six Smiths are actually people that he killed years ago in the Union Hotel. The epilogue, known as Cahpter 7: "Lion" is set five years later and has Garcian, having reverted back to his Emir identity, fulfilling a final mission on Battleship Island, eliminating the last few Heaven Smiles and either killing or sparing eminent Japanese politician Kenjiro Matsuoka. The very final scene is set one hundred years after that, showing Harman and Kun Lan meeting again in Shanghai beginning the next cycle of their eternal game against each other.
  • Fallout games show the montage of your adventure's long-term consequences, most of which depend on your sidequests' results.
  • The "A Wonderful Life" Harvest Moon sub-series ends with these, after you die.
  • While most of Rogue Squadron's story takes place prior to the Battle of Hoth, the last mission is years later during the Dark Empire conflict, specifically the Battle of Calamari where the World Devastators were stopped.
  • Mass Effect 3 ends several years (possible decades or centuries) after the events of the finale, with an old man telling a story to a child about the series' protagonist, now known as "The Shepard". In one ending, the interlude is about 50000 years.
    • With the Extended Cut, we also see still-frames showing what the various characters and factions got up to after Shepard's work was done. The possible scenes run the gamut from Awesome to Heartwarming to straight-up Tear Jerker territory, depending on what characters survived, and what choices Shepard made.
  • Star Control II ends with the protagonist as an old man, telling his story to his grandchildren.
  • Lily Sheerfield's epilogue in Duel Savior Destiny takes place a thousand years after the events of the story when her mother finally breaks out of a sealed dimension and returns home.
  • The final scene in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is set 1000 years after the rest of the game, during the modern day, in which an immortal Zobek tries to enlist Gabriel (AKA Dracula) into helping him stop Satan from returning to earth.
  • Subverted in Illusion of Gaia Where at the end the protagonists find that Due to the meteor's radiation the world had evolved quickly, and the futuristic ending is the present for them.

     Web Comics  
  • Unicorn Jelly ends with jumps of 350, 116666, and finally 150000 years. Then the semi-sequel Pastel Defender Heliotrope jumps 700000 years after the original. And then that sequel has a 100000 years later Distant Finale.
  • In 8-Bit Theater the epilogue is 3 years in the future, with a dramatic Art Shift to boot. Fighter and Black Mage never did find that Armor of Invincibility from the beginning of the strip.
  • Penny and Aggie, a high school dramedy, skips ahead 6 years in its final chapter (the previous arc having ended just before the main cast's senior year) to the characters' Class Reunion.
  • Dominic Deegan shows the titular character and his wife growing old together, apparently gaining at least one child along the way. As both were effectively sterilised along the course of the plot, if they adopted or became fertile again is left up the reader.
    • To a lesser degree, Dominic is given one last vision from the Heart of Magic, showing a few brief snippets of the future of his family, friends and homeland.

     Web Original  
  • Tech Infantry has the Y3K story, set almost a millennium after the rest of the plot, and the abortive '"Tech Infantry: Exodus'' project, set several centuries after that.
  • Lothíriel by JunoMagic is fan fiction of The Lord of the Rings. The first 109 chapters happen in the years during and after The Lord of the Rings, but chapter 110 "Epilogue" skips ahead some decades.

     Western Animation  
  • Rocko's Modern Life: The last episode took place 17 years in the future (although it seems much farther), complete with all of the generic Sci-Fi cliches about the future. It stars Filbert's kids, who ask Filbert, who suddenly is a very old man (This is lampshaded) about a banana they found in an abandoned house, which happened to be Rocko's. He tells them that a mix-up with a monkey that was intended to be launched into space eventually ended with Rocko, Heffer, Spunky, and the monkey travelling aimlessly through the stars. Because Nickelodeon could never let a show truly end, the ship they were stuck on crash lands next to Filbert's house, and the main cast suddenly meets up again, probably meant to be the start of a Spin-Off. One could assume that naming a futuristic spin-off of a show with the word "modern" in the title wouldn't have been too hard, either.
  • The 2nd-season finale of Justice League Unlimited, "Epilogue" (often mistaken for the first-season finale because the DVDs inexplicably package the first two 13-episode seasons as a single 26-episode season), was originally meant to be the series finale. It takes places some number of years after Batman Beyond, the DCAU series set the farthest into the future, making it both a Fully Absorbed Finale and a Distant Finale for the entire DCAU.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door series finale takes place when the kids of Sector V have grown up into rather old adults (who, in an artistic twist, are portrayed by real life actors rather than animated characters). Most of the episode is told via interviews and flashbacks, and attentive viewers can infer what the kids of Sector V grew up to be.
    • It's flat out stated that Numbuh 3 and Numbuh 4 got married, as did Numbuhs 2 and 5. Numbuh 3 is also president of the Rainbow Monkey Corporation.
  • There is an As Told by Ginger movie which gives closure to the series and shows us that Ginger ended up publishing her diaries. We also see that Ginger and Darren are now married and have a baby.
  • The Family Guy episode where Peter declares his house an independent country after Mayor West reveals that Peter's house is not on Quahog's map ends with the entire previous twenty-one minutes' shown as having been presented to a class of children in in a future history class in space. The only question raised was whether or not people understood Stewie when he talked (which is what a lot of fans wondered back in the early days of the show. Word of God reveals that people do know that Stewie can talk, but because he's a baby, they don't take his threats or cursing seriously).
  • Pepper Ann ended with a reunion in the future, with a B-plot set in the show's "present" shown through flashbacks.
  • The finale of Chowder takes place in the future with Chowder as an adult with his own apprentice.
  • While not a finale per se, the Season 4 episode of The Batman "Artifacts" shows archaeologists unearthing the Batcave 1000 years in the future, interspersed with a story set about 20 years from the main timeframe of the series. The episode was well-received, with nods to Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" (even using that as a Title Drop) and other elements of Batman mythos including something that, due to its cause, you'd never expect in a Batman cartoon; Barbara being Oracle (Read The Killing Joke).
  • Moral Orel ends with a peek ahead at Orel as an adult. He managed to overcome the hellish family situation he had, and is seen happily married to his Distaff Counterpart Christina, with two kids, and a dog.
  • A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!, the first Live-Action Adaptation of The Fairly Oddparents, shows the life of Timmy Turner and his fairies 13 years after the timeframe of the cartoon.
  • The classic Chuck Jones Warner Bros. short "One Froggy Evening", shows the plot's cycle beginning anew a century later.
  • Mixed with What Could Have Been, The Simpsons Christmas episode from season 23 ("Holidays of Futures Passed") takes place 30 years in the future, showing Bart and Lisa as parents trying to raise their children and realizing that parenting isn't as easy as it looks (Bart is a divorced dad living in what used to be Springfield Elementary School—which is now an apartment complex, while Lisa is trying to bond with her rebellious teenage daughter whom she had with Milhouse, and Maggie, now a popular singer, is about to have a child of her own). What makes it a "finale" of sorts is that it was supposed to be the last episode of the series (since the show was suffering from budget issues and FOX was considering cancellation to save money. After everyone agreed to cutting the show's budget, the show was saved from cancellation and greenlit for seasons 24 and 25).
    • Which is just about where they would be, since the series time was "frozen" in 1989 or so.


Delayed Narrator IntroductionFlashbacks and ChronologyDistant Prologue
Cue O ClockTime TropesExploding Calendar
Diabolus ex MachinaEnding TropesThe Dog Bites Back

alternative title(s): Distant Epilogue
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