I mean, how cocky do you have to be to literally call your first movie THE FIRST MOVIE? It's like they knew they were gonna have a bajillion sequels so they decided to call it the FIRST movie just to make it easy for us. That's like naming the first Lord of the Rings movie, "Lord of the Rings: Don't Worry, We're Gonna Have a SHIT Load of Sequels."
Most franchises with Numbered Sequels
are like this: The first ever made has a title and the sequels just add numbers and/or subtitles in front of the title, like this → "Title", "Title 2", "Title 3", and if it's a prequel, sometimes it's "Title 0"
But a rare case, is when the first one it's literally numbered the first, like "Title 1", or "Title One", or "Title I", or "Title: Part 1/One/I" or "Title: The First", obviously, this is often a sign that sequels are planned, or in development or even ready, thus avoiding Sequelitis
And of course, the worst part of this trope is, that's right, when a sequel is never made and the first one keeps as the only one
Sometimes we're talking about a work Divided for Publication
; if it has a "Part 1/One/I" in the title because they want to divide a single story in parts to make it easier to follow or fit in the time schedule, keep that clear. There are also cases of when the title didn't have it originally, and then it was added as a Retronym
; when adding examples, keep clear which titles were always called like this and which ones were renamed after the fact. See also: The Original Series
It's a common practice in Fan Nicknames, but they don't count here.
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Films — Animated
- Pokémon: The First Movie, the first one of a series of over 15 movies and still counting, this trope was used in the North American title, the Japanese title doesn't have it, a safe decision since the sequel was ready when the movie came to America.
- Doug's 1st Movie, which is also Doug's last movie.
- Gumby: The Movie was alternatively called "Gumby 1" on the screen, no sequels ever made.
Films — Live-Action
- History of the World Part I: One example of when a sequel was never made, a sequel is even teased at the end, but it's ok since it was only a joke and the producers never intended to make a sequel anyway.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, a different kind of this trope because it's actually the fourth movie made, but the first one chronologically.
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is another variation on the trope, the first film in a franchise being given a number to set it up for prequels rather than sequels.
- Kill Bill: Volume 1, being one half of a Divided for Publication movie.
- The Human Centipede: First Sequence.
- Che: Part One, another movie divided in two parts, part two was made.
- Atlas Shrugged: Part I. Despite the movie failing both on the critical reception and box office, Part II was made with a new cast, but it's planned to be a trilogy and only time will tell if a Part III is coming. And yes, Part III is coming. Ironically, the people funding the series are ignoring what the market told them.
- Rambo's first movie and first novel are called First Blood, the second movie is called Rambo: First Blood Part II, but "First Blood" is a term used in duels, and it's unclear if it means that it's the first one in the series and if sequels were planned. Remember that Rambo dies in the original novel.
- The Rocky spoof Ricky 1, which never got a sequel.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. As per the seventh film installment in the Harry Potter franchise.
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Splitting the last book is becoming popular.
- Loaded Weapon 1. They did plan for a sequel but it was considered a failure so the plan was scrapped.
- The awful Italian horror film "Evil Clutch" was originally titled "Il bosco 1", but it is not known if they ever wanted to make a Part 2.
- Kamen Rider The First - not the first installment of the whole franchise, but a re-telling of the first generation and the first in a series of movies in that universe.
- Fox announced a channel named Fox Sports 1. With a number like that, sports fans must wonder if Fox can launch Fox Sports 2. Yes, Fox later announced Fox Sports 2, and both networks launched on the same day in 2013.
- Not the first time, but Canadian channel Sportsnet (which is basically an FSN-esque group of networks) launched a national spin-off channel called, well, Sportsnet One.
- The first novel of Melisa Michaels' Skyrider series was published as Skyrider 1: Skirmish. Amusingly, none of the sequels had numbers.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events has 13 books, the first is called The Bad Beginning, with Book the First written on the cover.
- The Stephanie Plum novels all have a number as part of their title, starting with One for the Money, then Two For The Dough and Three To Get Deadly and so forth.
- "A" Is for Alibi of the Kinsey Millhone series, while the title doesn't have a number, each book of the series starts with a letter in the title and they are ordered by the alphabet.
- Stephenie Meyer's fourth and final Twilight book (discounting The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and Midnight Sun) is split into three parts, the first being 'Book 1'. The Film of the Book was only two films, though; but the first was Part 1.
- Big Star - #1 Record
- Colosseum - Chapter 1: Delirium
- Hurt - Vol. I
- Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, it was titled that as a joke, because it was intended as a one-off project and they assumed there wouldn't be any sequels, and their second album is called Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
- Johnny Winter - First Winter
- ZZ Top - ZZ Top's First Album
- Michael Jackson - HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, Book II was never made, but there was Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix.
- The Sisters Of Mercy - Greatest Hits Volume 1: A Slight Case of Overbombing, the last album they released.
- George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1, no Vol. 2 ever made.
- The OC Supertones - Live, Vol. 1. They meant to record at least one followup live album, but have yet to do so.
- Shakira - Fijación Oral Vol. 1, followed by Oral Fixation Vol. 2.
- Madness had The Dangermen Sessions, Volume One. There has been no Volume Two yet, but if they ever do another covers album it's quite likely they'll return to the title.
- David Bowie had 1. Outside. It was to have been the first in a series of concept albums, but he lost interest in the project.
- Barenaked Ladies - Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001.
- Zork I, the first half of a game that was Divided for Publication.
- Star Ocean: First Departure, a remake of the first Star Ocean which didn't have that subtitle originally.
- The original PlayStation was re-released and the new version was called PSone.
- Tales of Game's Presents Chef Boyardee's Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa, a sequel is in the works.
- Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn, thanks to low sales, a Chapter Two was never made.
- Nightshade Part 1: The Claws of Sutekh, no Part 2 ever made.
- Half-Life 2: Episode One, a weird example because there is a game called just Half-Life 2, it's the first game of the episodic sequels to HL2, Half-Life 2: Episode Two was made, Half-Life 2: Episode Three however...
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, another episodic example, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was made but even more are supposed to come and we can only wait for them.
- Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic, once again a sequel was never made, but there was a Spiritual Successor.
- The Legend of Zelda was originally released in Japan as a Famicom Disk game under the title of Zelda no Densetsu: The Hyrule Fantasy. When the game was reissued in cartridge format in 1993, it was retitled Zelda no Densetsu 1. Strangely enough, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was known as The Legend of Zelda 2: Link no Bouken in Japan (instead of being called Zelda no Densetsu 2) and none of the other Zelda sequels were numbered.
- Tobal no. 1, a sequel was made, but released only in Japan.
- J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: Volume 1 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was to be the first in a series of adaptations of the books in video game form. The first installment bombed, so there was never a Volume 2.
- escapeVektor: Chapter 1 for the WiiWare, Chapter 2 was never released, instead, just escapeVektor was released for the 3DS eShop with all the chapters.
- Math Blaster Episode I: In Search of Spot for SNES, Sega Genesis and PC, followed by Math Blaster Episode II: Secret of the Lost City, only for PC, and also many more Blaster Learning System titles, the Episode I wasn't even the first in the series.
- Rap Jam: Volume One, a basketball game for the SNES featuring famous rappers as players, Volume Two was never made.
- The Journey Down: Chapter One, another episodic game, only the Chapter One was made by far but more chapters should come soon.
- Telltale Games, a company specialized in episodic video games, has many, many examples:
- Examples from flash games:
- The GBA version of Final Fight is titled Final Fight One.
- The original Final Fantasy is included with Final Fantasy II in various compilations released under the title of Final Fantasy I & II, although the actual game is very rarely referred as Final Fantasy I.
- Likewise for the first Dragon Quest, which was released a couple of times with Dragon Quest II under the title of Dragon Quest I & II.
- Ditto for MOTHER, which was rereleased together with the sequel under the title of MOTHER 1+2.
- Inverted with the Xbox ONE, which is the successor to the Xbox 360, not another name for the original Xbox.
- Insecticide Part 1, was the first portion of a PC game that was divided for publication. However, Part 2 was canceled due to the publisher GameCock being purchased by SouthPeak Games. A scaled-down version was released for the DS simply titled Insecticide, that includes most of the content that was planned for Part 2, but lacks the voice acting of the original PC version and the cinematics are just slideshows. To make up for this, the developers uploaded the cutscenes they made for the PC version on YouTube.
- The PS and DS ports of the original Front Mission were released under title of Front Mission 1st.
- The Greatest Hits edition of the early PlayStation release ESPN Extreme Games was titled 1Xtreme due to the removal of the ESPN branding in the sequels.
- Subverted on a number of TV Tropes pages. When a page exists for a first game of a series of the same name, the page's title may be "Namespace.Series Installment 1".
- World War I: it got this name when World War II came by, but some people called it the "The First World War" before. However, this can also be interpreted as "There have been many wars, but this is the first world war." The War of the Spanish Succession had also been called the first world war before the big one.