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Aborted Arc / Literature

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  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel Queen of Slayers, capped off with Buffy becoming psychically pregnant with an embryo that was the composite daughter of both Spike and Angel — Buffy's most popular love interests over the course of the series. It's ignored by later authors for obvious reasons, though Spike and Angel being told about it would probably be hilarious. It's also one of the many spin-offs and fanfics that were retconned out of existence by the S8 comic's revelations about what was really going on in Italy.
    • A couple of the earlier tie in novels seem to have gotten aborted too. Books like 'The Journal of Rupert Giles' , 'The Cordelia Collection' and Angel's "The Longest Night" clearly had Vol.1 on their covers, but no more were ever made.
  • Wild Cards had some plots abandoned, presumably because some creators left, probably taking their copyrighted characters with them. Tachyon's infection with the Typhoid version of the virus is treated as something that can be cured by another character who disappears from the series. Tachyon is also jumped into a different woman than his girlfriend, a Chris Claremont creation.
  • The Animorphs once encountered a new type of Controller called the Garatron, which was incredibly hard to defeat given that it could run ridiculously fast. After finally managing to defeat one after a book they comment there's a good chance they'll be fighting more of them soon. They never do.
    • Book 41, "The Familiar" centers on a Bad Future where the Yeerks have conquered Earth—Marco is Visser Two's host and is in charge of Earth, Cassie is a jaded terrorist and member of a resistance lead by Tobias, using the morph as Ax and looking like Elfangor, Ax is a Yeerk general that conquered the Andalite homeworld, and Rachel is crippled. The only free member is Jake, who tries to figure out what's going on. Even in-universe the world doesn't make sense though, such as how Cassie at one point uses thought-speak while human and Tobias stating that Jake is supposed to be dead, and it's revealed to be All Just a Dream. As Jake awakens he hears an entity speaking that humans require "more study", implying it was a vision from the entity. Nothing in the book ever comes into play in the rest of the series and the mysterious entity is never mentioned, though it is known that it isn't the Ellimist or Crayak.
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    • A few off-hand references are made to the Yeerks having some presence on the Andalite homeworld, but this never developed into anything and by her own admission Applegate just forgot about it.
  • K.A. Applegate's series Remnants suffered major Chris Carter Effect, meaning many arcs were left undone—most egregiously, what the "Ancient Enemy" was and how both the Troika and Billy related to it.
  • A major hazard of the multi-author format of the New Jedi Order series. Perhaps most notable were the arcs dealing with the Insiders, a conspiracy set up by the heroes that was to keep La Résistance going even if the Yuuzhan Vong destroyed the New Republic, and Tahiri's possible destiny as a half-human half-Yuuzhan Vong Dark Messiah, but smaller arcs were dropped as well.
  • Jurassic Park ends with the revelation that some dinosaurs have escaped to the Costa Rican mainland. Once Site B is introduced, no mention is made of them. This is briefly discussed in the second book, where a character mentions that they tried to look for them and found nothing, but the jungles of Costa Rica are dense enough that they could easily remain hidden there. It should also be noted that Michael Crichton hated sequels, and that The Lost World (1995) was only written at the insistence of Steven Spielberg so that he could make a 2nd movie. Thus many parts had to be retconned and threads that were meant to be left open to illustrate the unleashed dangers were ignored. Made worse by the fact Spielberg used very little of the 2nd book for the sequel movie(s).
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  • Perry Rhodan, given its nature as an extreme Long Runner written by a team of authors, is quite full of plot lines that simply disappear and/or come to a sudden (and usually bad) end after a lot of buildup. It's actually quite common for a new character to be introduced - or for a formerly random mook to be given an upgrade to Mauve Shirt along with Nominal Importance and a half-chapter backstory - only to be killed off-screen in the next issue. One particularly bad example from the early days of the series includes a hobo-turned-scientist (with the long and poignant backstory this implies; it takes up about half an issue)... who is killed on his first mission. By a falling tree. On Venus. Very slightly after it seemed he might experience happiness for the first time in his life.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Wings of Fire, one plotline involves Sky Masters, Inc. being the victim of a takeover, with the heads of the purchasing company having a Child Prodigy daughter that really impresses Jon. All this is seemingly forgotten by the next book.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe
    • The Rihannsu novels repeatedly have the Klingons turn up briefly and look like they're going to get more deeply involved in the story (they turn up in Swordhunt raiding a Romulan colony, then there's a scene at the High Council, and then they attack Artaleirh in Chair), and just as quickly are forgotten each time in favor of the Romulan/Federation story.
    • The Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch novels switched authors after book four, and there's at least one major Aborted Arc. By the end of the Spirit Walk books, arch-foe the rogue changeling had taken control of the government on the planet Kerovi. No-one knew he was there, and he was clearly up to something dangerous. It seemed as though the arc was being set up to be a big one, but it was swiftly dropped in Full Circle, the first novel from the second author. He was discovered, and arrested by the Kerovi authorities. In fact, the changeling then dies off screen. We don't even visit Kerovi in Full Circle.
  • In A Brother's Price, there's significant friction between Jerin and his older sister Corelle. She wants him to be a proper male, with smooth soft hands and tight showy clothing; she also wants to trade him for the Brindle brother, while he wants to marry into a smaller and less violent family. When their mothers and elder sisters are away, she takes the middle sisters to visit the Brindles, leaving Jerin and the youngest children undefended by anyone above twelve. Eldest Whistler punishes her by confiscating her possessions and distributing them to her sisters. Corelle is defiant and irresponsible throughout. But when Eldest takes Jerin to court, Mother Eldest assigns Corelle to come with them with the idea that she needs to see more of the world, and one mistake shouldn't mean permanent blacklisting. Corelle is then well-behaved and careful for the rest of the book. Sure, she's under Eldest's eye, but it's odd that she doesn't so much as snipe at her brother.
  • Harry Potter has Florean Fortescue, an ice-cream maker who was noted a few books. In Prisoner of Azkaban, he's mentioned helping Harry with his History of Magic homework, Order of the Phoenix namedropped a former Hogwarts Headmaster named Dexter Fortescue, and Half-Blood Prince mentioned him vanishing, likely dragged off by Death Eaters. Rowling was planning to foreshadow him being the one who explained the various historical magical artifacts to turn up in Deathly Hallows, but she eventually decided that the subplot wasn't going anywhere, and handed the explanations to other characters.
  • The end of The Final Warning, the 4th book in the Maximum Ride series ends with a cliffhanger: The Voice tells Max about a mission that she should go on. The 5th book, Max, begins with a CSM show, with no mention of the mission from the 4th book ever again.
  • In "The Stones Are Hatching" Uncle Murdo tells Phelim that his companions are working for the Stoor Worm and the Obby Oss is a hatchling. This is never mentioned again; this is odd because Murdo had little reason to lie, yet Sweeney, Alexia and the Obby Oss never show any signs of being aligned with the Stoor Worm.
  • The Discworld novel Thud! ends with the Patrician taking control of a network of dwarf tunnels under the city, many of which have rails laid down, and also a dwarfish power source with infinite torque. Making Money and Unseen Academicals go into further detail about "The Grand Undertaking", which the Patrician has planned for these tunnels. Oddly, this goes unmentioned in Raising Steam, which introduces actual steam trains, and Author Existence Failure means that we will never see the completed underground system, unless it appears in The Watch TV series.
  • Tower and the Hive: At the climax of the third book, Damia's Children, Zara makes a mental connection to the captive Hiver queen, thus can tell that the temperature in her enclosure is set too low. Zara lets the authorities (who had failed in every attempt to communicate with the queen and couldn't figure out why see seemed to be going dormant). This saves the queen's life and seemed to be a breakthrough in communicating with, thus understanding, the Hivers. This plot point is ignored in the next book, Lyon's Pride. And when it is mentioned again, it's pretty much in the context of "We don't know how Zara did it, neither does she, and we haven't been able to do it again" and ignored, past the implication that Zara's refusal to take part in operations against Hiver ships was due to her mental connection. She's eventually Put on a Bus to Earth to study medicine and is never mentioned again after that.
  • The Railway Series: The Fat Controller says that if Wilbert proves useful during his visit to Sodor, he knows where to find another Austerity tank engine to help on the branch lines. Between 1994's Wilbert the Forest Engine and 2011's Thomas and his Friends, this is never brought up again.


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