Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Production Foreshadowing
"Hey, look, I found Nemo!"
When something said or appearing in a work foreshadows another work that would be produced by the same people much later.

If this happens in the same continuity as the work they appeared in, it's an Early-Bird Cameo. If it's not, but the work they originally appeared in has already been made (but you haven't seen it since it hasn't been localized), then Marth Debuted in Smash Bros.

When this happens the other way around, it's a Production Throwback.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Film: Animation 

    Film: Live-Action 
  • Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre Sa Vie explicitly references Jules et Jim, directed by his fellow at time François Truffaut, but it wasn't released yet.
  • In the Quentin Tarantino-written True Romance, Leo Donowitz is filming a World War II movie. Tarantino's later WWII movie Inglourious Basterds features a Donny Donowitz.
  • Another Tarantino example: In Pulp Fiction, Mia talks about filming a pilot episode about an all-women assassin squad. This was intended to be a reference to the later Kill Bill movies (the KB plot changed a bit in the meantime).
  • In the 2003 movie The Singing Detective, Robert Downey, Jr.'s character describes his memory of watching his mother have sex with a stranger, with the onomatopoeias "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang".
  • In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, they walk past a movie set where Daredevil is fighting some ninjas. The scene was probably put in because Kevin Smith was supposed to have directed (or written) the Daredevil movie - Ben Affleck appearing in both was probably just a coincidence.
  • This exchange from Titanic uses the term "I see you" in the exact manner as it would later be used in Avatar, which was already written.
    Rose: You have a gift, Jack. You do. You see people.
    Jack: I see you.
  • Sabrina: Linus orders a pair of ticket for the play "The Seven Year Itch". Director Billy Wilder followed up Sabrina with a film adaptation of that play, saying it interviews that the seemingly throwaway line was a preview of things to come.
  • M. Night Shyamalan 's The Happening featured a scene at the end with a little girl wearing an Avatar The Last Airbender backpack, foreshadowing Shyamalan's live action feature film of the series a few years later.
  • Pufnstuf, the film version of the Sid and Marty Krofft TV series H.R. Pufnstuf, features a number of bits that foreshadow the Kroffts' follow-up series, The Bugaloos. For starters, not only is Martha Raye (who plays the main villain in The Bugaloos, Benita Bizarre) is playing the role of Boss Witch, but also, her henchman, Heinrich, is basically an Expy of one of Benita's henchmen, Funky Rat. Also, in one scene, Witchiepoo steals Freddy the Flute while disguised as a hippie dance instructor named Betsy Bugaloo.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, after Picard discovers the Borg from the 24th century are attempting to contact 21st century Borg, Dr. Crusher says "But in the 21st century, the Borg are still in the Delta Quadrant..." Within the film, this is just exposition. But when it was released, it was a reminder that as Star Trek: Voyager was set in the Delta Quadrant, sooner or later the ship would hit Borg space — something which came to pass several months later.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: The main MacGuffin of the two films, the Infinity Gauntlet, showed up all the way back in 2011's Thor, as a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Odin's Vault.

  • Books in The Magic School Bus series often did this. On one of the final pages, Ms. Frizzle would wear a dress related to the topic of the next book. (For instance, her dress would have pictures of bees on it, and the next book would be about bees)

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Spaced, after a day of being high and playing Resident Evil 2, Tim starts hallucinating that he is surrounded by zombies. The production of this episode is where everybody on the show realized how familiar they all were with classic zombie horror, which led to the later film Shaun of the Dead.
  • The Colbert Report was originally a fake commercial. Stephen Colbert had mentioned how much better his own show would be on The Daily Show long before The Colbert Report.
    • In August 2014, while discussing the protests in Ferguson, MO, Stephen hinted at the upcoming Daily Show spinoff The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore, which is scheduled to premiere in 2015.
  • Doctor Who has, since the reboot in 2005, three times shown a character that would be the next companion in the season prior. First was Freema Agyeman, who played the cousin of Martha Jones (also played by Freema) during "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday". Catherine Tate was the companion Donna Noble just before Freema became the companion. This is the only case where the actress didn't appear as another character. Finally, Karen Gillan appeared as a one of the prophets in The Fires of Pompeii before joining as Amy Pond with the new Doctor. (also good cases of You Look Familiar) And then Jenna-Lousie Coleman did it for the same season when she appeared in Season 7's Asylum of the Daleks as Oswin, who died in that episode. She'll become the official companion in the 2012 Christmas special, though apparently she'll have no relation to Oswin.
  • In later episodes of Drake & Josh one of the marquees at The Premiere theater reads Now She's Carly (referring to Miranda Cosgrove, who played Megan on that show and goes on to play Carly in iCarly)
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", when Sisko tells the Temporal Investigators that he'd encountered the Enterprise in the past, one investigator says "Be more specific, there have been five vessels named Enterprise...", making the other investigator correct him by saying "Six.", referring to the Enterprise-E, which was about to debut in Star Trek: First Contact.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: The two-part episode "Unification" features Leonard Nimoy as Spock, and makes several references to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

  • The sides of the soccer field in Flipper Football include billboards for several other Capcom games, including the unreleased Kingpin and Big Bang Bar tables.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Future Sight set of Magic The Gathering contained several themes (and cards) that would make their "proper" debuts in later sets. It was the third set of the Time Spiral block, whose previous two sets contained Production Throwback and What Could Have Been.
    • Magic has done quite a bit of this of late to create a feeling of continuity between sets with unrelated stories. A set will often be seeded with individual cards or a sub-theme that will be expounded on in a later set or block.

    Video Games 
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Excellen Browning notices that all the Humongous Mecha produced by Isurugi Industries have names ending in -lion & makes a joke something along the lines of "Does that mean they made Go-" before being interrupted. Two years later Super Robot Wars W was released featuring Go Lion's SRW debut.
  • The 3DO version of Policenauts was preceded by a supplemental database disc known as the Pilot Disk which featured information on the game's production and plot. The database disc was later ported to the PlayStation as Policenauts: Private Collection. Both versions of the disc feature a glossary of the game's terminology. If you look for the definition of FOXHOUND on the glossary, you will find early concept art for Metal Gear 3, which ultimately became Metal Gear Solid, drawn by none other than Yoji Shinkawa himself.
    • Attempted in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater with "Guy Savage", a minigame using an engine that was to be used in Zone of the Enders 3. The game got cancelled, though. Due to the game's cancellation, the minigame was not included on the HD version of MGS3.
  • In Persona 3: Portable, there's a NPC at a bar who mentions girlfriend problems and strange dreams, but tells the protagonist it's not something s/he will have to worry about now. This character is Vincent, the protagonist for the then-upcoming Atlus game Catherine.
  • A Sonic the Hedgehog air freshener can be seen hanging hanging from the player's rear-view mirror in the Sega racing game Rad Mobile, which was released for the arcades two months before the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis.
  • The Nintendo 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has several rooms with (not so) hidden artwork from the then-upcoming Skyward Sword for Wii.
  • The English pub scene in Uncharted 3 features a newspaper with a headline about deadly fungus, which is a reference to Naughty Dog's upcoming The Last of Us. Although according to Word Of God, it was a company in-joke that wasn't meant to be in the final version of the game, and almost ruined Naughty Dog's surprise reveal.
  • The trailer for the Nintendo 3DS that Nintendo used for its 2010 E3 Press Conference (where Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime get sucked into a 3DS) featured what turned out to be an early rendition of the final portion of the final boss fight against Bowser from Super Mario 3D Land.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee had previews to future titles Cubivore and Animal Crossing, as well as on to the (then) future installment in the Fire Emblem series in Roy.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 official comic "A Smissmas Story", Balloonicorn (who would later appear in Meet the Pyro) made its first appearance as a Christmas ornament.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent features the 8-bit styled bonus game Mega Man a, with graphics reminiscent of the classic NES series. Guess which game Inti Creates worked on next.
    • Mega Man 9 itself had a blueprint of Bass shown in Dr. Wily's lab, during the ending. Needless to say, he wound up having a playable DLC appearance in the following sequel.
  • Halo 3: ODST was the second-to-last Halo game Bungie made before turning over the series to 343 Industries. However, this hidden poster alluded to their next big work: Destiny.
  • In a cutscene from Hitman: Blood Money, the camera briefly lingers on a copy of The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, which would be much more important to the plot of Eidos' next big game in development at that time, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
  • In Madworld, there's an ad for The Gates of Hell in the subway. The Gates of Hell is the bar from Bayonetta, which was still in development at the time of Madworld's release. Also becomes Hilarious in Hindsight once you realize that Madworld was a Wii exclusive, the first Bayonetta was an Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 exclusive, but as of Bayonetta 2, all further games in her series will be Nintendo exclusives.
    • In Anarchy Reigns, there is a scene where Max (the antagonist) strangles the Blacker Baron's hoe, Mathilda. Baron's response to this is, "No one said you could touch, mother fucker!" In the E3 trailer for Bayonetta 2, Bayonetta says this same line, minus the "mother fucker" part.
  • The fifth game in the Dark Parables series, The Final Cinderella, includes a sketch of the Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat, from the nursery rhyme. Blue Tea Games later revealed on their Facebook page that this was a piece of Production Foreshadowing for their new series, Cursery, a dark take on classic nursery rhymes.
  • After Operation Moonfall came and went, Nintendo announced that a 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask in the vein of Ocarina of Time would be under consideration, but not until an original 3DS installment of the series had been officially published. This, presumably, is the reason for the cameos of a few masks to the Nintendo Gallery in Wind Waker HD, and why Link has Majora's Mask hanging on his wall in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (the aforementioned 3DS game).
  • One reference to a future game was intended in Final Fantasy VII, but was botched by a mistranslation. In a scene where Cloud is incoherently babbling, one of his utterances is "Zeno....gias." He was actually supposed to say was "Xenogears."
  • In The Secret Of Monkey Island, one of the patrons in the SCUMM Bar is wearing a button that says "Ask me about LOOM" (Lucasfilm Games' then-upcoming production), and if you talk to him, he'll launch into a sales pitch for the game.
    • Called back to in The Curse of Monkey Island with a dead undead customer in Blondbeard's chicken shop that bears a striking resemblance to Manny from Grim Fandango and wears a button that says "Ask me about Grim Fandango." He has nothing to say when you try to talk to him.
  • Freeware game Pause Ahead has several words and phrases that appear on the Pause Screen. In levels where the screen mentions anagrams, one of the repeating phrases is "Ozuak", calling forward to the Strategy RPG Police Team Kazuo.

    Web Comics 
  • Platypus Comix has two comics foreshadowing the debut of Free Spirit:
    • Heroine Winnie Goodwin made a guest appearance in the Electric Wonderland comic "Into Thin Aerynn" months before Peter Paltridge officially decided to give Winnie her own webcomic.
    • The Keiki story "Haole Berry" has a scene where Beefer throws rocks at three of the main characters: Winnie, Gene Harper, and Gene's older sister Jessie. He admits to Keiki that he doesn't know who any of them are, but has an inexplicable hatred for them.note 

    Western Animation 

Post ModernismMetafiction Demanded This IndexProduction Throwback
Monsters, Inc.ImageSource/Animated FilmsMonsters University

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy