So you've finished writing your new adventure film. It has everything you can imagine, with a very evil villain, a mysterious female-lead and even a biplane chase! The studio loves it and you get it green-lit. But as you move into pre-production, you notice the film needs to get trimmed down. The biplane chase was great, but you know it has to go, as it adds too little to the plot. A shame, it even got storyboarded and most of the models were already built. But with it left out, the pacing is improved and the change was for the better. The film eventually gets released to rave reviews and great box-office numbers. So the studio calls you up for a sequel! You start working on script and realize something:
Hey... Why, I could work the biplane chase into this one!
The sequence remains virtually identical to its first outing, except that this time a different girl is behind our hero. Just because you didn't use it the first time, doesn't mean it never can be used, instead it can be refitted for the sequel.
The reasons for dropping a sequence is usually:
- Pacing: Some sequences just end up being too long in the end, or there is one chase too many.
- Budgetary or time-constraints: Everything in a film costs money, A LOT of money. Sometimes some things will just be too expensive and needs to be cut. In other cases, to avoid a delay you need to take something out.
- Technological: Sometimes, the technology needed to produce the sequence (or at least on budget) is not there yet.
Another variation is when doing an adaptation of a work, a scene from an earlier installments makes into a later one. Sometimes it isnt a sequence that's re-used, but can be things like sets or props made for an earlier installment.
Most of these tend to be removed early, anywhere from the script writing to having gotten some sets built.
This is mostly a film, TV or video-game based trope, as readers have a lot more tolerance for length and writing an extra sequence doesnt cost anything other than time.
For video-games, it can be related to Dummied Out. With the advent of DLC, ideas that the creators just didn't have time to implement for the base game can be finished and released later down the road as... well, DLC, instead of waiting for a full-fledged sequel. The difference of how this is received varies greatly though, and often comes down to if the player in question thinks the DLC content feels like additional content for an already complete product, or the delayed missing piece to an unfinished work.
Compare Saved for the Sequel, where an element makes it to the main work in an abbreviated form and gets its full development in the Sequel, Development Gag, where the excised element is still referenced in the final work in some way, and Uplifted Side Story, where a spin-off or side story becomes the official sequel half-way through production.
- Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer set up a Big Bad called the Anointed One, a Dark Messiah for vampires with the body of a young boy. He wasn't popular and got unceremoniously killed off before he could do anything. The idea got recycled a bit for Harth, the main villain of the comic book Sequel Series Fray.
- The Metal Virus storyline of Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) was originally written for Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), intended to start shortly after the 300th issue, but the comic was cancelled and Sega ended their partnership with Archie after issue 290 was released. After IDW picked up the license, Ian Flynn rewrote the story to fit in the new continuity, becoming the second major arc of the series.
- As mentioned under Films, the original design of Back to the Future's time machine was going to be a modified refridgerator before it was changed for various reasons. In IDW's Biff to the Future series, set in the 1985-A timeline where Biff is rich and powerful, Doc Brown builds the refridgerator time machine and uses it to try and Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Emman did this twice for his planned scrapped fanfic projects:
- According to Emman and Marcos via Messenger on the planned Crossover fanfiction between The Loud House and Sailor Moon (particularly with the Sailor Moon Crystal incarnation) are gonna have the Universes clash, but got scrapped for once in favor of Goof Troop (mainly because Emman's game described as a Lighter and Softer Grand Theft Auto game with Anthropomorphic Animals and while at the same time, including many elements from other kinds of 80s Movies and Shows such as Scarface (1983), Fist of the North Star, Sakigake!! Otokojuku, Airwolf, Cagney & Lacey, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and of all influences for it, Miami Vice in which elements from Miami Vice had stuff that wouldn't fit well in a Magical Girl Warrior show that much). However, the original concept later became refitted, except with an Alien Invasion theme and while at the same time, adding other properties such as SNK's games into the mix.
- Emman did this with the above said concept again when he made a What If? scenario for his own version of the three-part Grand Finale of one of Disney's greatest TV shows of all time (and as well as the best family-friendly animated Mortal Kombat show than the actual animated Mortal Kombat show we got back then (where he compared Bill Cipher to Shao Kahn), albeit as an Urban Fantasy Sci-fi Mystery Dramedy as opposed to the franchise being a brutal Fighting Game Series), Gravity Falls with the Weirdmageddon Trilogy went From Bad to Worse (except taken Up to Eleven and even bigger) like Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Crisis on Infinite Earths and of course, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where "Everyone is here" from many kinds of Worlds teaming up with Captain Jake, of all of the people across the entertainment Omniverse to defeat Bill Cipher (complete with a lot of Memes to do so in addition to a hypothetical Original Generation Keyblade that has the Kingdom Key's design with the Infinity Stones and some parts of Luke's Lightsaber, which makes Captain Jake Took a Level in Badass even further), much like how Kirby (sans the ability to copy Everyone's powers) went on a risky journey to save the Omniverse for good in which this is his version of Disney's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (complete with a variety of Guest Fighter companies like that game in which he intended the Game to be a celebration of many kinds of Entertainment).
- Harry Potter:
- The opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which Cornelius Fudge meets with the Muggle Prime Minister, was originally written for the first book. After cutting it from the first book, J. K. Rowling reworked it as an opening for the third and later fifth book, but ultimately it didn't get used until book six.
- In a bigger case of this, the entire Half-Blood Prince storyline was originally intended for the second book (in fact, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was its working title), but Rowling realized "that I had two major plots here that really did not work too well together side-by-side, so one had to be pulled out." She also decided that it was too early in the series to reveal so much information about Snape.
- There was supposed to be more information about horcruxes and Voldemorts backstory in the second book but she didnt have the clout to fight with the publisher about keeping it in at that point and therefore it was put in the sixth
- A subversion: Rowling considered opening the second book with a scene where Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott are hanging out together at Malfoy Manor and discussing recent events from their point of view. She later reworked the scene as an opening for the fourth book, but she decided to cut it that time as well. Ultimately, it was never used in the series at all.
- Rowling originally planned that when Harry entered the Leaky Cauldron and was accosted by the patrons, one of the people there would be an obnoxious reporter named Bridget. She ended up cutting the reporter and having her show up in the fourth book, now named Rita Skeeter.
- The Discworld short story "The Sea and Little Fishes," published in the collection Legends, edited by Robert Silverberg, originally had a scene in in where Granny Weatherwax went up to the "gnarly ground" to go and sulk in a cave behind a stone witch, and Nanny Ogg had to go and find her. It got cut because Silverberg thought it was slowing things down, but was later greatly expanded for use in Carpe Jugulum.
- The Sentinels in The Gifted have the power to transform into rolling spheres that move at high speeds. This was actually a leftover idea from X2: X-Men United, where the Sentinels would have been capable of transforming into giant rolling disks.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: The episodes "The Apple" and "The Savage Curtain" alluded to the possibility that the Enterprise could conduct a saucer separation, but it wasn't depicted due to technical restraints. Star Trek: The Next Generation would finally feature a saucer separation in its pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint", and two more times in the series, "The Arsenal of Freedom" (also from season 1) and "The Best of Both Worlds: Part II" (season 4's premiere), before being depicted for the last time in Star Trek: Generations.
- As a part of the failed bid to revive Star Trek as a TV series in the 70s (Phase II), a handful of episodic scripts and a two-part pilot were prepared. While the series never made it to production, the existing work on the pilot was turned into Star Trek: The Motion Picture and two of the completed scripts earmarked for recycling. These eventually became the TNG episodes The Child and Devil's Due.
- Little Mermaid's Island was a failed 1990 Jim Henson collab show based off of The Little Mermaid. Its two episodes were never commercially available, however elements from the show ended up used elsewhere:
- The "Tell the Truth" song was later reused in a 1997 Sesame Street episode called "Telling the Truth".
- Flounder's twin sister Sandy was reused in The Little Mermaid's Treasure Chest books.
- Concept art of Zemo's iconic purple mask was created for Captain America: Civil War, but ultimately didn't make it into the finished film. The mask would later be used for the The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV Spin-Off.
- Kamen Rider Kuuga was planned to get a movie where the protagonist battled a group of Grongi who originated in America, whose leader had a wolf motif. The movie languished in Development Hell for years before finally being cancelled, and later on Kamen Rider Decade would use a Wolf Grongi as the monsters' leader when he visited an Alternate Universe version of Kuuga.
- In Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger and/or Power Rangers Dino Thunder, the red tyrannosaurus zord's tail turning into a drill arm when combined into the Megazord was lifted from an unused design for a US-exclusive upgraded version of the first Megazord (aka. Dyzyujin).
- Sometimes a Game Master plans content for his games which doesn't end up getting used (usually because the game went Off the Rails and the players ended up going a different direction). In those cases, it's not unusual for unused material to end up getting worked into future campaigns to salvage the time and energy that went into them.