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aka: Stealth Prequel
When a Sequel
to a work isn't actually stated or advertised as a sequel/prequel. At first, it looks like a Spiritual Successor
, Continuity Reboot
, Alternate Universe
, or some other closely related universe tie-in but it turns out to be a direct sequel. This might just be hinted at, or expressed outright near the end. Canon Welding
often uses this to tie multiple formerly independent franchises together. The work may have a Recycled Title
. See also Broad Strokes
As you might guess, there will be SPOILERS
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Anime & Manga
- Haruhi Suzumiya. The internet exploded after new episodes suddenly starting airing without any previous announcement. Well they did make an announcement, they said it was a rerun of the first season (which is technically true, as the new episodes were shown chronologically with the old ones).
- Rozen Maiden Tale started out as a What If? manga that shows what would happen if Jun decided not to wind. Then the story transitioned into where the original continuity left off. *
- This is a common Epileptic Tree for Rebuild Of Evangelion.
- ∀ Gundam takes this a step further: though in-story it doesn't state that much, it's out-and-out obvious that the Black History is comprised of the events of all previous Gundam shows- not only making Turn A itself a Stealth Sequel, but in turn making the three previous AUs into Stealth Sequels of Universal Century as well!
- Because of their similar themes and character designs, it was generally assumed that Tsutomu Nihei's Biomega, which takes place about 1000 years in the future, was a distant prequel to his earlier Blame! which takes place tens of thousands of years in the future. However Word Of God Jossed this and besides which the second half of Biomega is completely incompatible with Blame! anyway as both feature the Earth getting destroyed in two completely different ways. However, both manga feature a Mega Corp known as Toha heavy industries. In Blame, Toha is shown to possess a device called a Gravity Furnace that can teleport the entire Toha HQ, makes travel to alternate timelines possible and is run by an AI who is completely independent of the Authority that runs the Dyson Sphere Blame takes place in. It's entirely possible that while the timelines of the series aren't connected, Toha is the exact same entity in both manga, having traveled from one universe to another.
- Similarly, Knights Of Sidonia may or may not be a sequel to his earlier miniseries Abara. Both feature strange, shapeshifting aliens called Gaunas, and the latter apparently ends with the Earth being destroyed while the former is about a Generation Ship, but the Gaunas are a bit different in each one. Toha Heavy Industries also makes a cameo in Sidonia, too.
- Mai-Otome in the beginning seemed like a spin off series and Transplanted Character Series to Mai-HiME, only with Magical Girls instead of Mons. But as the story progressed, maddeningly vague hints began insinuating that Otome is in fact set in a far future of HiME, and that the Otome and SLAVES themselves descendant technology of the HiME and Orphans.
Films — Live-Action
- Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland isn't too stealthy about it since Alice is older, but she starts off her adventure in nearly the same way as the original book. A viewer could assume it's a Hotter and Sexier version until a scene where, while Alice is struggling with changing size, the Dodo remarks, "You'd think she'd remember all of this from the first time."
- The 2009 Star Trek film functions as both this and a reboot, with Spock having arrived from the original timeline to provide continuity. The main stealth part comes from the fact that the movie is not a full reboot, but rather an Alternate Timeline, thanks to Time Travel caused by events in the prime timeline that take place 8 years after Star Trek: Nemesis, superceding every movie and series but one. It also offers a conclusion to the Federation's conflict with the Romulan Empire, which had been gradually developing since Star Trek: The Original Series: just as the Federation is on the verge of peace with the Romulans, their home planet's star goes supernova and almost the entire species is wiped out.
- In some foreign markets, Star Trek IV The Voyage Home was released as The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV, with "The Voyage Home" written in larger letters than "Star Trek IV". They were downplaying the fact that it was Star Trek film as Trek films were considered to perform badly overseas. There was also a prologue added (you can see it here) to explain the events of Star Trek III as it was felt that not enough people outside the U.S. had seen it.
- Catwoman is a stealth sequel to the Batman films, notably, Batman Returns. Her origin is identical to the one played by Michelle Pfeiffer, the Catwoman persona is said to be a Legacy Character, and in the pictures of former "Catwomen", we see Michelle Pfeiffer's original character. This is debatable though, considering Michelle Pfeiffer's character does not have actual superpowers, as opposed to Halle Berry's character.
- Except Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman continually survived situations that should have killed her, apparently gaining nine lives.
- Basement Jack is a loose sequel to Evilution, the two film featuring the same old apartment building and creepy manager and his equally creepy display room of murderous artifacts, which he adds more weapons to at the end of both films (a vial of alien virus in Evilution, and the eponymous character's sword in Basement Jack).
- At the end of Final Destination 5 two of the remaining survivors die in Flight 180, revealing the film to be a prequel to the first film.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom takes place before Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it's only indicated by the date at the beginning of the film.
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly takes place before the first two movies in the Dollars Trilogy.
- The 1999 Disney film adaptation of My Favorite Martian features Ray Walston, the original "Uncle Martin", as a long-lost Martian named Neenert whose been stuck on Earth prior to 1966 (when the show cancelled) posing as a government official under the alias of "Armitan". An offhand comment mentions a highly confidential alien crash-landing that occurred in 1963 (when the show first aired). Add some Fridge Brilliance to this and Neneert could very well be the same "Uncle Martin" from the show.
- Likewise with director Richard Donner's 1996 film Maverick. James Garner's character, "Zane Cooper," is revealed to be the father of Mel Gibson's Bret Maverick. Garner played "Bret Maverick" in the original TV series.
- Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. The only connection to the first movie is revealed at the very end, when a doddering old lady is revealed to be the baby of the first family all grown up.
- The 21 Jump Street film is actually a sequel to the original TV series inducing Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome on Hanson and Penhall. Also, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) turns out to be the son of the late Capt. Richard Jenko from the show's first season.
- Charlies Angels is implied to be a sequel to the show by having the same person play Charlie and by the sequel showing that these were not the first Angels.
- A number of people really didn't expect Paranormal Activity 2 to be a direct prequel to the first film which only explicitly states that it is in the first 14 minutes. It later transitions into a sequel at the end which shows what immediately happened after the events of Paranormal Activity.
- Mission: Impossible is a sequel to the original series because it features the original protagonist in a senior role.
- The Scooby-Doo live-action movie takes place after the original series, as most of those villains re-appear in the sequel.
- The version of Shaft played by Samuel L. Jackson is the original Shaft's nephew.
- There are details in The Incredible Hulk that could reasonably make it the sequel to either the earlier Hulk movie or the tv show, if the viewer desired.
- If you did not pay attention, you may not have noticed that the elder and protagonist in Gathering Blue are the protagonist and baby from The Giver.
- The last episode of Newhart revealed that the entire series was the dream of the protagonist from The Bob Newhart Show.
- This is one interpretation of the remade Battlestar Galactica ("All this has happened before, and all this will happen again")
- The protagonist of the Knight Rider remake is the son of the protagonist of the original show.
- Planetfall has a few references to Infocom's previous sci-fi work Starcross that imply that it is set within the same universe several centuries later. And a grue appears, implying it is in the Zork universe as well.
- Narcolepsy by Adam Cadre isn't advertised as a sequel to Adam Cadre's previous work I-0, but it isn't long before you run across a place mentioned in the prior game. Also, I-0's protagonist Tracy Valencia makes a somewhat in-joky cameo.
- Dinner with Andre by Liza Daly has a twist ending where the PC turns out to be the same character from Liza's previous IF work Bloodline several years later and sees someone she knows from that time.
- Masquerade by Kathleen Fischer has a number of endings, one of them causing the game to become a prequel to her other work, The Cove.
- Shadow Hearts wasn't advertised as a sequel to Koudelka, and indeed some people still claim that they don't have any real story links, despite the recurring theme of the Emigre Document, the villain impersonating a character from Koudelka, the real version of that character turning up later, Koudelka herself playing a significant role, Koudelka's son being a party member, and the last chapter of Shadow Hearts taking place in the monastery Koudelka was set in.
- Shadow Of The Colossus was a prequel to Ico, but you'd never realize until the very end. And even then you might not realize unless you were a big fan of Ico.
- Vagrant Story may or may not be a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics, Word of God is vague on this.
- Captain Commando is a futuristic sequel to Final Fight. The game is set in Metro City, Ginzu the Ninja is Guy's future successor in the ways of the Bushin school, and a bust of Mike Haggar can be obtained as a power-up.
- Dragon Quest III looks like a Continuity Reboot, but late in the game you find yourself on a very familiar world map, and the ending names you as the famed ancestor of the first two games' heroes.
- Dragon Quest VI has thematic links to the other "Zenithian Trilogy" games (IV and V), but there are hints that it's actually a prequel.
- Xenosaga may or may not be a prequel to Xenogears. Likewise, Xenoblade being a sequel to both. While Blade doesn't have much in common with the other two apart from some themes and design elements, and takes place in a different universe Saga's ending involves the main characters breaking the cycle of Eternal Recurrence, where the universe is constantly dying and being brought back exactly the same, while in Blade it's a major plot point that there was a completely different universe before the one the characters live in was born, suggesting that the actions of Shion and friends allowed the Blade-verse to be born after their own world ended.
- Some things in the game hints that Hellsinker is this to Radio Zonde.
- Snatcher, being the second game directed by Hideo Kojima following the original Metal Gear, features several references to his previous work. Most notably Gillian Seed's robotic sidekick, who was modeled by his creator after the "Metal Gear threat from 1988." Other references include Junker chief Benson Cunningham being a former FOX-HOUND strategist and the head of the Snatcher project being none other than Dr. Pettrovich Madnar, the creator of the original Metal Gear. However, numerous inconsistencies introduced in later Metal Gear sequels has made the series hard to fit into the Snatcher continuity anymore.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert was revealed to be a prequel to the Tiberium series when Kane appears at the end of the Soviet campaign, revealing himself as the mastermind of the war. This is somewhat complicated by the rather odd nature of the series timeline, but at least within Red Alert itself, it works.
- The sci-fi FPS series Marathon takes place in the far future of the horror-adventure-FPS Pathways Into Darkness; the Jjaro and W'rkncacnter play a key role in both, and some even theorize that the protagonist of Marathon is literally Pathways's hero rebuilt as a cyborg.
- The Persona series is implied to take place after Shin Megami Tensei If..., due to the appearance of If's female protagonist in the first two (well, technically three) Persona games.
- Bioshock Infinite has story-wise no connection with the earlier games whatsoever for most of the game, until at the very end it's revealed to be a prequel/sequel/taking place on an alternate timeline when the player character is teleported to Rapture, the setting of the first two games.
- For quite a long time, Black Ops Civil Service webcomic Skin Horse by Jeff Wells and Shaenon Garrity looked to be the spiritual successor to Garrity's earlier Mad Science comic Narbonic, but readers suspected it was actually a sequel. It was three and a half years before the connection was officially made. The actual degree of continued story is pretty marginal, but Word of God confirms the connection was planned from the beginning and not just a Sure, Why Not?.
- After the events of To Boldly Flee, The Nostalgia Critic series ended with the titular character Ascending To A Higher Plane Of Existence and Doug Walker decided to go on to film new content, including a show called Demo Reel. When the latter proved to be mostly unsuccessful, and Doug decided that he wasn't done with the critic just yet, he made an episode where it was revealed that something went wrong with the Critic's ascent and he ended up being trapped in purgatory as Donnie DuPre, the main character of Demo Reel.