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Fully Absorbed Finale
When a show ends without a Grand Finale
—likely if it was cancelled without enough warning to the producers to film a proper ending—the producers may instead wrap up any loose ends
in an episode of another show set in the same Verse
Conceptually, this is the Counter Trope
of a Poorly Disguised Pilot
. The Poorly Disguised Pilot is effectively the first
episode of a show on a different show; the Fully Absorbed Finale is effectively the last
episode of a show on a different show. Like the Poorly Disguised Pilot, the main characters from the "absorbing" show may take a back seat in the episode, with the focus on the characters from the "absorbed" finale.
If the ended show was launched with a Poorly Disguised Pilot on one show, the Fully Absorbed Finale will usually be an episode of the same show (assuming, of course, that the parent show is still in production).
Alternatively, things might get wrapped up in The Movie
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Anime & Manga
- X/1999 shows what happened to Subaru and Seishiro after the events of Tokyo Babylon.
- Hiroya Oku created two mangas, both called Hen ("strange"). The original one ran from 1988 to 1992, and the second one ran from 1992 to 1997. The books had completely different casts, and the second book was much more popular than the first one. The last three volumes of the second book are widely despised because they brought back the cast of the first book, and more than half of the stories revolved around characters that many readers didn't know or care about.
- When the series Aztek: The Ultimate Man started publishing, co-writer Grant Morrison was also writing the series Justice League of America and had Aztek join the team. When his solo series was cancelled, Morrison wrapped up his storyline in the pages of JLA.
- Averted with Geoff Johns transferring Star-Spangled kid from the canceled Stars and STRIPE to the successful Justice Society of America title. Far from being a finale, SSK went on to become a major character in JSA and eventually took on the name Stargirl.
- The cancellation of the Spider-Man 2099 comic left the identity of villain Thanatos unresolved until writer Peter David did The Reveal in the pages of Captain Marvel (Vol. 4) David stated that Thanatos' true identity had several possibilities, but he decided that the alternate reality Rick Jones concept fit best with the resolution in Captain Marvel (where the main Rick Jones is a major character.)
- Given Rick and Mar-Vell's part in the original defeat of Thanos and the HUGE production made of The Death Of Captain Marvel, the irony or blatant gotcha applied by having Rick's alternate be Thanatos—a death god whose name was referenced in naming Thanos on the first place—is downright epic.
- The Transformers Cybertron comic by Fun Publications concludes the plot of Transformers Universe.
- A storyline in Teen Titans ended on a cliffhanger with Kid Eternity being kidnapped by the Calculator. This was resolved sometime later in an issue of Batgirl, where the title character discovered that Eternity had been beaten to death by Calculator.
- The original Omega The Unknown series ended on a cliffhanger with the fates of most of the cast left unrevealed. The storyline was concluded in The Defenders.
- The Mighty Crusaders mini-series served as this for the DCU versions of the Red Circle heroes before their rights reverted to Archie Comics.
- This also happened with the Adam Warlock series from the 1970s—after Marvel cancelled it in the middle of an epic story arc involving Warlock killing himself so that he would not become the Magus, his future/past evil self, Jim Starlin finished up in whatever books he could get his hands on, including a few issues of Strange Tales, the Marvel Team-Up Annual, Marvel Two-in-One Annual, and the Avengers Annual.
- Dwayne Mcduffie's final comic book, Milestone Forever, tied up most of the hanging plot threads from Static, Hardware, Icon and Blood Syndicate, each of which had been cancelled mid-storyline over fifteen years earlier. It also provided an explanation for the characters' sudden appearances in the DC Universe.
- The 90s revival of Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt was cancelled after only 12 issues, leaving some hanging plot threads. This lead to Thunderbolt's final battle with his nemesis Andreas being depicted in an issue of Justice League Quarterly.
- The Michael Lane Azrael series was cancelled before the story could be resolved. Writer David Hine was allowed to finish out Azrael's story via a Bat Family Crossover that ran through Batman, Red Robin and Gotham City Sirens.
- After the 2010 Young Allies revival was cancelled, the team's story was finished up in the Onslaught Unleashed mini-series. A few of the surviving characters have since been brought over into other books such as Avengers Academy.
- A few of the lingering threads from Gail Simone's Rose and Thorn reboot were tied up in Birds of Prey.
- The first Nova series ended with a group of the series regulars heading off into outer space; the story continued in Fantastic Four (then written by Marv Wolfman, creator and writer of Nova), and finally wrapped up in an issue of Rom Spaceknight.
- Silver Surfer Volume 1 #18 (1970) ends with an angered Surfer swearing revenge on mankind. Future guest appearances and his later comics wouldn't touch upon the change of attitude. In 1999, a follow up occurs in #4-6 of Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man.
- The final story arc of Beast's feature in Amazing Adventures concerned an old friend named Vera, who approached Hank with the revelation that she needed his help to save the world from some unspecified threat. The threat was never revealed in Amazing Adventures, and the story was eventually (hastily) concluded in an issue of The Incredible Hulk.
- When his short run on The Avengers in the late 1980s was cut short, Walt Simonson revisited and resolved the main plot he had set up (the Black Celestial building a universe-destroying superweapon behind an impenetrable time bubble in the future and a plot to set him free masterminded by the Cross-Time Council of Kangs) in his subsequent run on Fantastic Four, which featured guest appearances from Iron Man and Thor, two Avengers he had been prohibited from using in the actual Avengers title (Simonson later remarked that he had more latitude to use two Avengers in FF than he did in the actual Avengers comic book!).
- The storyline that concluded the original Immortal Iron Fist series was wrapped up in Marvel Team-Up after Iron Fist had been cancelled.
- The four-volume Ringworld series by Larry Niven ends with the fate of its protagonists left open for a Sequel Hook. This is resolved in the conclusion of the five-volume Fleet of Worlds series that Niven cowrote with Edward M. Lerner.
- The X-Files:
- "Millennium" serves as a finale to Millennium. To the credit of those who put together the DVD release of Millennium, that episode was included on the DVDs of the last season. This might be one of the best examples of this trope backfiring. Many fans of Millenium and its star Lance Henriksen were very unhappy with the result and the way it trivialized Millenium's Myth Arc.
- "Jump the Shark" serves as a finale for The Lone Gunmen, which had been a spinoff of The X-Files. (Although the title characters from The Lone Gunmen appeared in other episodes of The X-Files after cancellation of The Lone Gunmen and before "Jump the Shark," only "Jump the Shark" tied up storylines from the canceled series.) This episode does appear on the DVDs for the one and only season of The Lone Gunmen.
- Not quite a Fully Absorbed Finale, but when ABC pulled Taxi off the air, Dick Ebersol gave the entire cast a send-off and curtain call on Saturday Night Live.
- The final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise was intended to serve as a finale to the entire post-TOS continuity by producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, who had served as producers since Star Trek: The Next Generation, resulting in the show's events being reduced to a holodeck program run by Will Riker from TNG. Taking place during the events of one fairly unimportant TNG episode as Riker looked to his predecessors while deciding what to do, you got your basic TNG holodeck episode guest-starring the Enterprise crew that doesn't really tell a story about the Enterprise characters, and Trip Tucker gets a Dropped a Bridge on Him death to boot. It sure wasn't anything like the Grand Finale to the pre-reboot Trek Verse that Bermaga evidently thought they were making. The episode resulted in considerable amounts of backlash from the fans, who just wanted a solid finale to Enterprise itself.
- Ultimately, it does end up a Poorly Disguised Pilot to Enterprise's Expanded Universe, which takes the ideas These Are The Voyages introduced, made it not suck, and combines it with the events known to have taken place between Ent. and TOS.
- Doctor Who:
- The story "School Reunion" picked up on the partnership between Sarah Jane and K-9 first introduced in the failed Pilot K-9 & Company. Quite simply, K-9 eventually broke down. (But the Doctor fixed him.)
- The TV series episode "The Night Of The Doctor" provides the conclusion of the Eighth Doctor's arc in Big Finish Doctor Who.
- The Companion Chronicles episodes "The Catalyst", "Empathy Games" and "The Time Vampire" end Leela's arc, which was set up in Gallifrey.
- Gallifrey, in turn, concludes Ace's arc as a Time Lord Academy student, which was planned on TV during the Aborted Arc of the Cartmel Master Plan and explored further by Big Finish in the Lost Stories releases.
- Played with in 30 Rock, when Kenneth and Tracy reassemble some of the cast of Night Court and attempt to film a proper finale for the show. Hilarity Ensues.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm has one that's Meta. Seinfeld had a rather odd ending, but one Larry insists is fine. In order to win back his wife, however, Larry kicks off a season-long plot to do a Reunion Special to act as a proper finale. The whole cast from Seinfeld makes guest appearances throughout the season as they cast and rehearse the finale, though we only ever get to see excerpts of it.
- Lopez Tonight played with this, presenting a "proper" finale for The George Lopez Show. It involved George Waking up from a dream. It heavily implies that the entirety of The George Lopez Show was All Just A Dream in the mind of....Doug Heffernan from King Of Queens!
- The Parkers considered making one to resolve Moesha finding a pregnancy test in her home and her brother getting kidnapped, but let's just say the Parkers had their own problems.
- The late '90s superhero series Night Man featured a sort-of epilogue to creator Glen A. Larson's short-lived 1983 series Manimal in Episode 206, where Johnny Domino/Night Man allies himself with Prof. Jonathan Chase. In the years since the events of Manimal, Chase married his former partner Brooke, who later died after giving birth to Chase's only daughter.
- Power Rangers:
- The mystery of the Cut Short series Vanished was intended to be solved in the third series of Bones, but the WGA strike put paid to that plan.
- In the second episode of Raising Hope, a newscaster on a television playing in the background alludes to a man who has finally completed a list of tasks in order to set his life right. Although promised the details after the break, the plot moves on quickly past it.
- Another episode has a cast reunion for My Name is Earl, with them playing their characters on Raising Hope, but with numerous references to Earl and the relationships their characters had therein.
- And there's also the Earl J. Hickey Memorial Nursing Home, and the other various background references.
- In the Childrens Hospital episode Party Down, we get to see that for 4 of the main characters of Party Down it's still business as usual. Cast regulars Ken Marino and Megan Mullally briefly reprise their Party Down characters
- Ted Buckland from Scrubs appeared in the Cougar Town episode "Something Good Coming", where he revealed that after the events of the final season of Scrubs, his wife had left him for Dr. Hooch.
- Dharma and Greg appear on Two and a Half Men as buyers of the recently-deceased Charlie's house. Evidently, things aren't going very well for them.
- Part 1 of the Grand Finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air also functioned as a Fully Absorbed Finale for The Jeffersons and Different Strokes, in which Arnold and Willis consider buying the Banks's mansion, but it ends up being bought by the Jeffersons (George, Weezy, and Florence all appear). The Jeffersons had never gotten a proper finale from CBS so this in effect resolved the plot, with the Banks and the Jeffersons essentially swapping locales: The Jeffersons moved west to Bel-Air and the Banks family moved east to New York.
- The Kamen Rider franchise has managed to take this trope and mashed it together with The Movie and created something called Movie Wars, in which it's the equivalent to the usual the "bring back last season's Power Rangers" episodes, with the added twist of having two stories, one for each starring rider featured. Usually the last season's Kamen Rider gets the finale part, while the current Kamen Rider gets more of a side story. The only Movie Wars to not pull the finale off was Kamen Rider Double's half of Movie Wars Core, though considering that they already had a Grand Finale, it made more sense to instead do an Origin Story/Whole Episode Flashback for a Posthumous Character.
- Thats So Raven has one combined with Crossover inThe Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode "That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana", which takes place sometime after the Raven episode "Checkin' Out", the canon last episode of the former's show note , in which Raven plays a large part. She has a vision of Cody getting into trouble at Carey's party, which is the driving force behind the main plot, and is pivotal to the subplot, where, with Maddie's help, she ends up selling her dresses to London Tipton and Hannah Montana.
- Little Orphan Annie ended with the main character getting kidnapped. Three years later, the storyline will be finally resolved in Dick Tracy
- John Darling ended very suddenly in 1991 with the title character's murder on panel, as sort of a Take That to his syndicate during a heated battle over the strip. The murder was never solved in that strip and in fact, at the time, creator Tom Batiuk had not intended to ever solve it and had not originally planned who the killer was. In 1997, Batiuk returned to the storyline in Funky Winkerbean when Les wrote a book about the murder and through the writing process solved the mystery.
- The Japanese video game Moonlight Syndrome, part of the Twilight Syndrome series, which was written by Suda 51, ends with a cliffhanger. The resolution is found in the first case of the first game series Suda 51 wrote after he formed his own company, The Silver Case, in which two of the three survivors from Moonlight Syndrome are unceremoniously shot and killed.
- Even though no true Darkstalkers sequel has been made since the release of Vampire Savior in 1997, Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes follows up on Morrigan's ending in Vampire Savior, by revealing that she and her "sister" Lilith have merged into one.
- Other games, such as Cross Edge and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, seem to affirm other plot points from Vampire Savior. Two of the more notable ones are Felicia becoming a nun like her foster mother and starting an orphanage (although Cross Edge notes that she still operates as a singer to help support said orphanage and her ending in MvC3 has singing together with Dazzler in a concert) and Morrigan finally accepting her responsibilities and becoming the Queen of Makai.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic contains two Flashpoints that conclude the storylines of both protagonists of the Knights of the Old Republic series: Revan is saved from the stasis where he was kept by the Sith Emperor for 300 years in a Republic Flashpoint; Meetra "Exile" Surik, who has been dead since the fight with the Emperor, finally becomes one with the Force in the same Flashpoint; then an Imperial Flashpoint invades Revan's secret new anti-Sith droid factory and kills him.
- While The Nostalgia Critic series did have its own thematic finale, To Boldly Flee was where the Nostalgia Critic's story truly ended as he absorbed the Plot Hole and became one with the universe.
- Ironically, it happened again, the other way around when the special announcing the return of The Critic served as the apparent conclusion of Demo Reel. Demo Reel actually had wrapped up it's own plot, the point of the special is explicitly to lampshade what an Ass Pull the connection is to justify ending the one show and bringing back the other.
- Justice League Unlimited's 4th season finale, "Epilogue", functions as a finale for Batman Beyond.
- It was also essentially the Distant Finale for the entire DC animated universe, so the Batman Beyond setting might have doubled as a convenient setting for a Distant Finale.
- Though done as a semi-parody, The Venture Bros. would seem to offer an answer to what happened to Race from Jonny Quest... he dies in his over-the-top successor Brock's arms after a rather humiliating sequence of injurious events. Unlike most parodies of this type, the character's name is left intact and he even makes a reference to another name-intact character, Jonny. In the next season, we actually see Jonny, who has become a pill-popping psycho that lives in a marine exploration pod (and who has since recovered from his addiction—but not his messed up childhood). These characters appeared because they were originally going to be Lawyer Friendly Cameos, but the production found out that they could use the actual characters. Could be seen as a Fully Absorbed Finale just depending on how serious you can take anything in The Venture Bros.
- Not any more. As of season three, "Jonny Quest" is now "Action Johnny", whose childhood sidekick (and now manager of a IT tech support company) is named Rajni not Hadji. And Doctor Zin is now "Doctor Z". Apparently, with "Johnny Quest" being shopped around to be made into a live action movie, TPTB at Cartoon Network basically told the Venture Brothers writers that they had to stop using the Quest characters.
- Except that Race was shown alive on a Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode broadcast not long after the Venture Bros. episode. It appears that the Hanna-Barbera characters are the stylistic equivalents of Public Domain Characters in the world of [adult swim] (extending in part to Cartoon Network as a whole).
- This is because the Hanna-Barbera studio and properties ended up part of Turner Broadcasting, meaning that there are no legal issues for shows on Adult Swim (part of Cartoon Network, owned by Turner) to use those characters, more or less the entire reason for the existence of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. The exception is that some properties are considered important, and while Space Ghost and Birdman can be made to do terrible, terrible things, certain others are left unmolested. This lead to a last second plot twist in an episode of Harvey Birdman involving Fred Flinstone where Fred is shown to be innocent and only thinks that he is a mob boss, while Barney is the real don after the powers that be got wind of it.
- Link and Zelda guest-starred in several episodes of Captain N: The Game Master after the cancellation of their own series. One of these episodes, "Potion of Power", resolves two unresolved Series Goals from the original series, a resurrected Ganon is defeated for good and Link finally gets the kiss from Zelda he was after for the entire original series.
- A few years after its cancellation, Evil Con Carne got a finale on its sister show, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.
- Challenge Of The Go Bots is getting an indirect version through a crossover with Transformers in the Fun Publications comics. The story starts up some time after the end of the show. The war between the Guardians and Renegades is still going on and humanity is starting to colonize in space. Suddenly a large instability in the fabric of reality causes the universe to start slowly fading away. The Gobots discover that this is happening because an unexpected splinter Transformers timeline has been created, offsetting the balance of the multiverse. The story then involves the Gobots traveling to that splinter timeline (the Transformers: Classics universe) to find a way to stop this Cataclysem before it destroys their universe or any others.
- Similarly, there are plans to write a finale for Sonic Underground in Sonic Universe. However, the project has been delayed a bit. It was originally scheduled for Issue #50, but was replaced.