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Saved for the Sequel
"We always leave ideas that were in the first draft as you go along. You know, either a set piece that was great but too expensive, an idea that was really bright, but it couldn't quite fit the structure... so we have a little stash of stuff we wanted to do that we didn't get to do. So if that's a possibility, A) I would be very happy to do a sequel, but B) a lot of these ideas, set pieces and all that, actually have in them a really good seed for a sequel."

A plot element that doesn’t get fully developed, perhaps on the assumption that they’ll have the sequel to take care of it. The element can be a relationship, a theme, or a character that clearly has a lot more possible development, but doesn’t get it. The central plot is no less complete and these aspects may have just been there to enlarge the universe, but they're there and available for later use- more story to tell later. This can backfire if the sequel doesn't get made.

Compare Sequel Hook, which only occurs at the end of the story and is specifically geared toward inviting a sequel. Also compare Development Gag, where hints of certain pathways the story could have taken are left as tidbits.

The mouse in What Happened to the Mouse? can seem like one of these, but unlike a mouse, something that has been saved didn't disappear, it just wasn't resolved— it is still present.

When this happens excessively, this will develop into a Kudzu Plot.

Examples:

Film — Animated
  • Po's origins in the first Kung Fu Panda. It looks like we're going to find out toward the end of the movie, but then that turns into The Unreveal. It's part of the premise of the sequel.

Film — Live Action
  • Despite originally being touted as the "secret origin of Spider-Man", The Amazing Spider-Man left a lot of unanswered questions about Peter's parents and the nature of their experiments, which were finally addressed in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
  • Likewise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't really resolve the situation with Harry's condition, and only introduces the Rhino for a Sequel Hook concerning the Sinister Six.
  • A deleted subplot from The Avengers focusing on Captain America's attempts at rebuilding his old life (which ended up only alluded to) was included in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Batman Begins is an excellent example. When it ended, the plot was resolved, but there was unresolved romance between Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes to provide fodder for the next movie.
  • This is attempted with Humma Kavula in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. The Point of View Gun was clearly setting up a plot where he tries to brainwash everyone in the galaxy and take Zaphod's place. Too bad there won't be a second movie to make these things worthwhile.
  • The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones ended with several plot points dangling to be picked up in the next installment. Technically, even the last movie of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, ended with dangling plotlines... which were already resolved in the original Star Wars trilogy.
  • In TRON: Legacy the son of the bad guy from the original TRON, played by Cilian Murphy, appears as an Encom board member, but does little save prove his technical savvy and quick mind. With his connection to the history of Tron and the plans for a third movie, it seems likely that he was there to foreshadow a larger role in that plot.
  • According to Word of God, in Godzilla (1998) there were going to be other kaiju, but they got held back to appear in the sequel. Perhaps if they had put them in the movie there would actually have been a sequel.
  • In the Iron Man film, Rhodey looks at the silver prototype Iron Man suit and says, "Next time, baby." Unintentionally funny in that Rhodey had been recast by the next film where he actually gets to wear the armor.
  • In the first Christopher Reeve Superman film, General Zod is roaring to Jor-El, "You will bow down before me, Jor-El! Both you and, one day, your heirs!" However, he is then cast into the Phantom Zone and we have to wait to the next film to see him carry out that threat.
  • Green Lantern has Sinestro, traditionally Hal Jordan's nemesis as a fellow member of the corp. While this fits in with comics continuity, one gets the feeling that this wouldn't be the case if Warner Brothers wasn't hoping to make it into a franchise.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is, of course, the story of the rise of Cobra. So Cobra Commander doesn't become Cobra Commander until the last couple of scenes, setting up the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  • Borderline example in The Hobbit, which includes some of the retcons and context that in the original books were included in the sequel The Lord of the Rings. It sort of fits in this trope because unlike the books, The Lord of the Rings movies were made first, and The Hobbit movies are effectively a prequel.
  • Averted in the first Terminator. There were a couple scenes filmed in which Sarah discovered SkyNet's origins in Cyberdine and suggested to Reese that maybe they should try to destroy it to prevent the future war as well as a longer ending in which it was revealed that Cyberdine picked up the destroyed Terminator chip and arm, both setting up events that would occur in Judgement Day. James Cameron ultimately had these scenes cut. (Though the sequel still used these ideas)
  • The Golden Compass omitted the scenes at the end of the novel on which it is based, in which Lyra inadvertently betrays her best friend to her father and costs the boy his life. We should theoretically have seen those at the start of The Subtle Knife. Then the whole thing fell through.
  • Although the Mutos of Godzilla (2014) were introduced as Canon Foreigners rather than updated versions of classic Toho monsters in order to give the film a bit more narrative freedom, Gareth Edwards has jokingly stated that he is contacting the casting agents of creatures like Mothra and King Ghidorah so that they can appear in sequels.
  • The character of Gambit has been hit by this several times. He was originally intended to make a cameo in X2: X-Men United, (he ended up just being a name on a computer screen) but it was decided to save the character for X-Men: The Last Stand. After being written out of that film as well, he finally appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. After that film was declared Canon Discontinuity, there were plans to re-introduce Gambit in X-Men: Days of Future Past, which also failed to materialize. He's currently set to appear in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Literature

Video Games
  • The $30 expansion for Saints Row: The Third titled Enter: The Dominatrix (originally thought to be an April Fools joke, but later revealed to be real.) was announced to be canceled in favor of incorporating the ideas into the next game.
  • During the final mission of Star Fox Assault, the Star Wolf team (who are allies to the Star Fox team for the moment) draw off the enemy ships pursuing the Star Fox team, allowing them to reach the game's Final Boss, and are not seen again, leaving it unclear whether they survived. There has been another game released in the series since then and all three members of Star Wolf did appear, confirming that they did survive, though there is ongoing debate among the fandom over whether that game is canon or not.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger does not explain what exactly happened to Arakune, why Litchi is so bent on rescuing him, what Hazama is up to, who he works for, why Carl is looking for his father, what "Amaterasu" is, who the other five of the Six Heroes are, among many other plot details, creating a Mind Screw in general. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, the sequel, answers these questions and brings up more. For instance, now that we know Carl is looking for his father because he's an absolute scumbag, we learn that he is a Chessmaster villain but nothing about what he wants or what he intends to do. Arakune is regaining sentience, but Litchi is about to do to herself what Arakune did before. Bang has the power to close portals to The Edge but has yet to have an opportunity to use it. And so forth.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the Quarians are worried over a remote star dying far faster than it ought to be. Tali hypothesizes it's due to dark energy affecting the interior of the star, but remarks that no race has the ability or any particular motive to destroy one. Nevertheless, she voices concern over the possibility of an adversary powerful enough to take a star out. The explanation is left open for Mass Effect 3. Amusingly, this has ended up as an Aborted Arc - it's one of the few dangling threads that isn't addressed at all (not even in one of Shepard's emails). Perhaps it will be addressed in the expected new storyline set in the universe.
  • Pokémon Black and White left a number of loose ends that weren't wrapped up when the story was finished. Fans were expecting a "Grey Version" following the pattern from past generations, but instead full sequels were released: Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
  • The Playstation version of Soul Edge / Soul Blade was intended to feature certain characters as guest characters but in the end there wasn't time to implement them. Among these guest characters would have been Arthur, Kathandra and Monkasei. Arthur would appear in Soul Calibur as an optional replacement for Mitsurugi in Arcade machines (mainly for the Korean market but available in American ones too). Kathandra would be renamed to Cassandra and first appear in Soul Calibur II. Monkasei would be reworked into Yun-Sung and first appear in Soul Calibur II. Yun-Sung's name would change to Yun-Seong from Soul Calibur III onwards.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Bowser, King Dedede, and Mewtwo were meant to be in the first Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64; they did not get in due to time and budget constraints. Bowser and Mewtwo would eventually make it into Melee, while King Dedede would not join until Brawl. Pit was also considered for Melee as a retro character (among many other characters), but the Ice Climbers were added over him due to their gameplay potential. Pit would go on to join in Brawl, with an updated appearance, which would lead to a new game after over two decades.
    • Miis were also considered to be added in Brawl, but Sakurai decided against adding them, because, at the time, he could not figure out how to implement them. They join in the Wii U / 3DS iterations as fully customizable characters.
  • Sonic 3 And Knuckles: Due to the game being split in two parts because of time constraints, most plotlines, the second half of the story, and most (if not all) of the Sonic & Knuckles content ended up becoming this.
    • Flying Battery was originally going to be a Sonic 3 stage placed between Carnival Night and IceCap, but they choose to save it for Sonic & Knuckles, feeling that this one would be too short otherwise.
    • Hidden Palace was going to be a hidden Sonic 2 stage where Sonic would gain his Super form after collecting all Chaos Emeralds, but had to be scrapped due to time constraints. Two years later, the stage was incorporated into Sonic 3 & Knuckles, albeit using different layout, graphics and music, but keeping its concept, function (replacing Super Sonic with Hyper Sonic) and lore (albeit altered to fit with the game and the established canon), even making the area more of a central element in the story. Eventually, the 2013 smartphone Sonic 2 port added back the Zone as an extra bonus, but it stripped it off its functions and lore and changed it into more of a prehistoric-themed stage to differentiate it from the S3&K incarnation.

Western Animation
Running the AsylumSequelSequel Displacement

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