Resolved Noodle Incident

You know your favorite episode of your favorite TV series by heart. You especially liked the scene in which Alice and Bob are arguing and Alice brings up that birthday party with the pink and green emu. Although they've never shown what happened at that party, you chuckle at the thought of what crazy stuff might have been going on at that point.

Time goes on. Your show progresses through the years. That birthday party dialogue gets referenced as a Noodle Incident in the show's trope page. Then one day, as you're watching the latest episode, you realize, hey, they're doing a flashback to a birthday party. And wow, an emu just burst out of a giant cake. Wait... is that pink and green paint all over it???

That's what a Resolved Noodle Incident essentially is: an incident that was brought up once, only to never be mentioned or depicted again... until many years later, as part of either a Flashback Episode or The Prequel.

Sometimes it can come about as a result of Writer's Block: desperate for ideas to build a story on, a writer may do an Archive Binge of the series, and come across an interesting reference to a story that never got its due... and there go those creative juices flowing!

There must be a minimum of one television season, one movie sequel installment or one book volume for a Noodle Incident to become Resolved, otherwise it's little more than Foreshadowing. A Resolved Noodle Incident may contain any number of Chekhov's Whatevers, but these do not make the trope. It may also be a very elaborate Call-Back.

This is, in short, when a reference to some past event that had been made finally gets its story told.

Can lead to Doing In the Wizard.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In one episode of Code Geass Kallen and C.C. mention how once at Aomori they had an incident involving everyone lacking clothes. Other media showed that the Black Knights were almost caught by Britannia while they were at a hot springs. They had to run away in Modesty Towels.
  • Naruto: Suigetsu once tried to mention a past incident between Karin and Sasuke but the former punches him beforehand. Later on it's revealed to be not quite as embarrassing as she makes it out to be, with the incident being Sasuke saving her from a bear during the Chunin Exams.
  • Pokémon: In the Pokemon anime, Dawn's childhood friend Kenny likes to call her "Dee Dee", which makes her angry. In the episode "Yes, In Dee Dee, It's Dawn!", it is explained that "Dee Dee" stands for "Diamond Dandruff". This nickname comes from a childhood incident where a Plusle and a Minun (electric Pokemon) shocked her, causing her hair to stand on end and sparkle due to the static. In the Japanese version, Kenny simply made up the nickname Pikari to tease her (her Japanese name is Hikari) — it really is a Lucky Translation both ways.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority: Kev. We know Kev is forced to perform menial Black Ops jobs for his hateful boss because of "that thing with the tiger". It turns out a mission to escort a government official with a prostitute went very wrong, because to keep him from the press they shoved him into a cellar, which turned out to contain a tiger, which belonged to the squadmate whose apartment they were using. Everything was hushed up, but Kev's career was ruined.
  • The early appearances of John Constantine were riddled with references to a big screw-up he made in a Newcastle exorcism. The details of this weren't revealed until issue 13 of Constantine's solo book.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Avengers, there's a random exchange between the Black Widow and Hawkeye about Budapest. At first the writers refused to give any canon because they believed fans had built it up so much they'd just be unable to deliver and come out hated. When a comic was published which told the story, it more than delivered, telling it as in Budapest the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (including the superiors) are all mind screwed, their memories altered so even though they're all fighting the same people, they all remember it differently. This little Noodle Incident we now learn was also referenced later on, when Hawkeye asks the Black Widow if she knows what it's like to have your mind messed with.
  • Star Wars:
    • For years, the Clone Wars were just a mention in a recollection of Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. It would be a quarter-century before we actually saw — in Attack of the Clones — the clones being produced, and Yoda declaring that the Clone Wars have begun.
    • In the Opening Crawl of A New Hope, it is mentioned that rebels had managed to get the the secret plans to Princess Leia's ship, where the movie starts. For Forty years, that was all that was said on the subject... then came Rogue One, which is pretty much telling the story of the people who did just that.

  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) repeatedly makes references to having cleared a Space Hulk and having spent time with the Reclaimers chapter of Space Marines, but not until The Emperor's Finest do we get to see it.
    • Several of the short stories from the omnibus editions of the novels expand on the Noodle Incidents from the stories;
      • "Echoes of the Tomb" explains the encounter he had with necrons (and why he's so terrified of them) in "Caves of Ice". It's also the story of why he has two augmetic fingers (Which TEF expounds on, since it starts immediately after).
      • "The Beguiling" gives the story of Cain's encounter with a Slaaneshi cult which is mentioned and has a returning villain in "The Traitor's Hand".
      • "Sector 13" is about Cain's first encounter with genestealer infiltrators (which is mentioned in pretty much every book where it comes up).
    • The very first book notes how he was reactivated and brought back into service shortly after writing it (since he mentioned enjoying his retirement) thanks to the beginning of the Black Crusade. Six books later, "Cain's Last Stand" is about how this happened.
    • In addition to following immediately on from the events of "Echoes of the Tomb", "The Emperor's Finest" is about the time he spent acting as Imperial Guard liaison to some Space Marines (not to mention his often brought up memories of their armour being sliced open like butter by purebreed genestealers every time he fights them).
  • Discworld: For several books, the battle of Koom Valley is an ancient battle between dwarves and trolls, the only one where "both sides ambushed each other". In Thud!, we finally see it being used as a selling point by dwarves and trolls alike to keep the emnity strong. In fact, it was a peace meeting that went wrong when everyone attacked each other, thinking themselves under attack.
  • Michael Moorcock's works left it unclear for decades what, exactly, recurring villain Gaynor the Damned had done to get horribly cursed. It was finally revealed in the 2000s novel The Dreamthief's Daughter aka Daughter Of Dreams, and boiled down to successively betraying a Lord of Law and a Lord of Chaos, in hope of gaining personal power, leading to both of them briefly ganging up and making an example of him.
  • The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr which expand upon the Noodle Incidents from various canon stories.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: In the first book, an atomic warhead headed for the Heart of Gold becomes a potted petunia, which thinks "oh no, not again" before plummeting to the ground. Two books later it is revealed that the petunia was Agrajag, who is (per the other wiki) "a piteous creature that is continually reincarnated and subsequently killed, each time unknowingly, by Arthur Dent." Agrajag mentions one death at Stavromula Beta, which Arthur has never been to. Two books after that, it turns out that Arthur is at a night club owned by one Stavro Mueller, it being the second of his nightclubs it is called "Stravo Mueller Beta".
  • Warlock of Gramarye: Christopher Stasheff wrote 27 novels in the series from 1983-2004, which had "Saint Vidicon of Cathode" mentioned as the Patron Saint of computers. Only in 2005 did he decide to actually write Saint Vidicon's story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • The discrepancy between the smooth-forehead Klingons foreheads in Star Trek: The Original Series and the ridgy foreheads in all subsequent series was acknowledged in Deep Space Nine when Worf said "We do not discuss it with outsiders!" The writers in prequel series Enterprise decided to explain it as a genetic engineering experiment gone wrong.
    • The main plot of the Deep Space Nine episode "Facets". Jadzia Dax hosts a symbiont who has been in 7 other hosts before her. As a result she shares their memories and personalities. Throughout the series, she keeps dropping Noodles about what her previous hosts were like. In this episode, she goes through a ritual that transfers the memories and personality of each host into another person. This allows her to interact with each host, and the viewers get to meet each host. Most noatable was Curzon Dax, who was the host right before Jadzia, and also the main characters Sisko's best friend. Curzon transfers into a shapeshifter, who shapeshifts to look like Curzon. In this episode we see Curzon Dax in the flesh, and also get to see Sisko interact with Curzon.
    • In Star Trek (2009) Captain Kirk's "solution" to the Kobyashi Maru no-win test was a long standing noodle incident in Star Trek lore. The 2009 movie shows us what happened: That he deliberately did nothing or flung the test towards failure — it wasn't designed to have people not try to best it, and so actually failed its failure, letting Kirk win and/or kind of just was so unprepared for his actions that he didn't (they weren't a sequence that could) lose. Though it was known that Kirk "cheated", this was just the Noodle Incident, and his actual method wasn't known. It also shows that he was originally admonished for his defiant behaviour, rather than congratulated for thinking outside of the box (though this makes sense, the test is designed to be unbeatable to see how someone will cope with impending doom; Kirk was nonchalant and, in real life, trying to lose is almost always going to make you lose, rather than trick a computer).
  • Early in Better Call Saul, Jimmy/Saul's brother, Chuck, mentions having to bail him out of an Illinois jail after Jimmy performed an unidentified act called a "Chicago Sunroof". Chuck also comments that Jimmy narrowly avoided being labeled a sex-offender. The final episode of the first season explains what a "Chicago Sunroof" is/what the incident involved: A drunken Jimmy saw someone he disliked parking their car and so Jimmy climbed on top of the car and defecated through the sunroof. Unbeknownst to Jimmy, the owner's children were in the back seat (which is why he was almost tried for a sex crime).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Vampire William the Bloody is better known as Spike because he likes to use railroad spikes as a torture device, even though we never see that happen. Eventually in an episode of Angel, this is revealed as an Embarrassing Nickname; we discover that before he was turned he was William the "bloody awful" poet, and one person says he'd rather have a railroad spike driven through his head than hear any more.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The montage of five-word sentences containing bad ideas includes a shot of Marshall standing on a roof, saying "I can jump that far". The incident forms a central plot point in that season's finale.
    • Another one involves Ted telling a strange story to his kids and constantly forgetting the details, before eventually remembering that the events took place much later and dropping the story altogether. The last we see of it is a shot of Ted walking into the bar wearing a green dress. Sure enough, Ted eventually does get around to explaining these events properly- just not during that particular season.
    • "The Pineapple Incident". There are so many noodle incidents in this episode that get resolved (after a The Hangover-style night), except for the appearance of a pineapple in Ted's room. There's a scene included in the box set that tells us how the pineapple got there: The Captain would place a pineapple on the porch as a sign of hospitality. The night when Ted was super drunk, he grabbed it, thinking it was funny to have a pineapple on the porch.
  • In Hustle, Ashley Morgan is nicknamed "Three-Socks", a nickname indicated to have been picked up in the prison showers. For several series, this is unexplained and the viewer is fairly likely to suspect it involves some method of escaping Prison Rape. However, it eventually turns out to be a reference to a physical characteristic of Ash.
  • Smallville: people kept holding an unexplained incident at Club Zero over Lex Luthor's head and pointed it as a prime example of his money getting him out of trouble. A later episode (appropriately titled "Zero") showed a flashback to what happened there, and the Villain of the Week was relative of someone who died in the incident trying to kill Lex for revenge.
  • Arrow, owing to its heavy reliance on flashbacks, has a number of examples of this.
    • In a Season 1 episode, Diggle tells Felicity about an incident from his tour in Afghanistan, in which he killed a Child Soldier while protecting a surrendered terrorist leader, Gholem Khadeer. The flashback sequence of the Season 2 episode "Suicide Squad" depicts this incident.
    • Also, in Season 1, when Diggle questions Oliver about his father's List, Oliver tells him that he discovered a message from his father "a few years ago" explaining who the people on the List were and why they needed to be brought to justice. He further clarifies that he didn't find the List on the island where he was supposedly stranded for five years. Two seasons later, a flashback reveals how Oliver found Robert's message on a covert trip to Starling City.
    • This tends to happen frequently on the show owing to the ongoing flashback narrative of the first five seasons. A Noodle Incident from Oliver's five years away is brought up in the present-day, and at some later point, the flashback narrative resolves it. One of the most notable examples is Oliver's past association with the Bratva, and his friendship with Bratva boss Anatoly Knyazev, both of which were alluded to heavily in the first season of the show. Flashbacks in Season 2 reveal the beginnings of Oliver's friendship with Anatoly, while the flashback narrative of Season 5 deals Oliver's initiation into the Bratva.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 2: An alien scientist you recruit, who happens to be ex-Special Forces, will mention that once he killed with a piece of farming equipment. In the DLC that revolves around fighting a shadowy figure that has records of nearly everything and everyone, it turns out that he stabbed a krogan - notoriously hard to kill aliens - through the eye with a pitchfork, during a clandestine mission.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: In the climax of the first game, Manfred von Karma is exposed as the true culprit in the unsolved DL-6 Incident, which Miles Edgeworth's father Gregory was murdered in the courthouse elevator. von Karma's motive for killing Gregory? Gregory, a defense attorney, had revealed von Karma's use of faulty evidence in a trial that took place immediately before the incident, for which von Karma got a penalty for on his otherwise perfect record. Other than the fact that Gregory's client was still found guilty, the full details of Gregory's final case was left to the player's imagination. Then ten years later, the second Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Gaiden Game was released, in which a major part of the game's story revolves around finally resolving Gregory's final case, which includes a playable flashback as Gregory.

    Web Comics 
  • Best Friends Forever: Teddy and Vincent act weird about each other and it's only ever referenced that something happened over the summer they spent together. It turns out that during that summer, Vincent got drunk and attempted to kiss Teddy, who turned out to be his Closet Key. Teddy thought Vincent was messing with him due to the fact other football players called him girly. Even further, when Vincent tells the story to Louis, he reveals that that time was simply the only one Teddy noticed, but he actually tried to kiss him several times during the summer.

    Web Original 
  • Some noodle incidents from the Whateley Universe have been explained in the Hank stories:
    • They have a literal Noodle Incident that Generator was behind. It's Generator strangling Hank by blocking his windpipe with a noodle.
    • Three new noodle incidents appeared recently: Team Kimba faced an Unwinnable Training Simulation and got their asses handed to them the first time that term (the Grunts, the supposedly the best team in the Sims, needed three or four tries). Generator proposes a strategy that includes a Radioactive Condor Girl and scares the crap out of battle-hardened combat teachers. After the weekend, they (apparently) try this scenario thrice more, ending with the Radioactive Condor Girl strategy. And win. We don't have any details, however.

    Western Animation 
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: In early episodes there are mentions of a villainous dolphin named Dr. Blowhole, which were implied to be one of Skipper's delusions. Come the end of the first season, Blowhole is introduced as a real character.
  • The first half-season of Milo Murphy's Law repeatedly alludes to "The Llama Incident;" eventually we get an episode with that name, during which Milo and Melissa finally tell Zack exactly what it was.