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Aborted Arc / Live-Action Films

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     DC Extended Universe 
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • The Kryptonian Codex that was imbued in Kal-El/Superman's cells right before he was send to Earth in Man of Steel was to be used in the process of his resurrection in Zack Snyder's version of Justice League (supposedly, it would have stopped him from turning into a Doomsday-like abomination like it did to Zod). The theatrical version handled by Joss Whedon scrapped the idea entirely, being entirely revived using a Mother Box.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice launched a number of arcs that were aborted with the theatrical version of Justice League. The film was originally supposed to be the lead-in to a 2-part Justice League movie, and contained a number of elements that were clearly meant to be expanded on in later films. However, when BVS fell short of studio projections at the box office and was trashed by critics, those plans were heavily altered and the original script for the first Justice League movie was thrown out and completely rewritten from scratch. As a result of heavy retooling and many behind the scenes issues, the resulting movie (now a single film) ignored most of the set-up that its predecessor established. These include:
      • A deleted scene from BVS showed Lex Luthor speaking with Steppenwolf, who showed Luthor the three Mother Boxes. This was meant to imply that Luthor had more information on Steppenwolf's plans and/or the history of Apokalips that would be used in Justice League. In the actual Justice League movie, Luthor is absent from the story beyond references to his database Bruce hacked in BVS, and only appears in The Stinger talking about developing a Legion of Doom, and instead, Steppenwolf claims that he came to conquer Earth after learning of Superman's death.
      • The "Knightmare" scene from BVS had a premonition of a dystopian future where Darkseid ruled the planet (complete with his omega symbol scorched into the ground), with an evil Superman serving as his enforcer and leading an army of Parademons. Later in the movie, Batman was visited by a time-traveling Flash, who warned him of the evil Superman and cryptically told him that Lois Lane was somehow "the key." The original Justice League script would've revisited the Bad Future in full, where it would've been revealed that Superman had succumbed to the Anti-Life Equation and turned evil after Darkseid murdered Lois. The few surviving members of the Justice League then would have sent the Flash back in time to warn their younger selves to protect Lois in order to prevent Superman from going bad and joining Darkseid in the first place. When that script was discarded, the whole time "Evil Superman" plot was pretty much abandoned. Darkseid never appears in the theatrically released Justice League movie at all, and though Superman briefly fights the League due to Resurrection Sickness and has to be calmed down by Lois, it only lasts a few minutes, and the Knightmare scene never comes into play. In fact, even when Batman recruits the present day Flash as part of his team, he never mentions (or even seems to recall) his encounter with the future Flash. Likewise, even though the Parademons are prominently featured, Batman doesn't mention the fact that they appeared in his vision, whereas a Missing Trailer Scene implies he does make the connection.
      • Batman v. Superman ended with Superman dying during a fight with Doomsday, only for the last shot of the movie to show dirt levitating around Superman's coffin. This was seemingly meant to imply he was Only Mostly Dead, much like in The Death of Superman. In Justice League, however, Superman is definitively stated to be dead, and is only revived once the members of the team use the Mother Box to bring him back to life. Why the dirt around his coffin was floating is never addressed.
      • In general, Zack Snyder had a 5-film arc planned for Superman that would've consisted of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, 2 Justice League movies, and a 5th movie (although it's never been revealed what said movie would've been, some have speculated that Justice League was actually going to be a trilogy instead of 2 films), with said arc taking influence from both Final Crisis and Injustice: Gods Among Us. However, due to a combination of Executive Meddling in reaction to Batman v. Superman receiving overwhelmingly poor reviews and Snyder departing from the DCEU during the production of Justice League after his daughter committed suicidenote , only 2 1/2 movies of his planned arc were produced, so it's extremely likely that any plans that he had were scrapped.
      • Judging by all the clues that popped up since the release of the theatrical version of Justice League, there's still clearly a good chunk of Snyder's original plans left in his version of the film (most prominently, Darkseid showing up in the story), even when reduced to a single film instead of two. Its state of special effects completion still leaves a big question mark, and Warner Bros. still remains utterly silent on the subject. Fan campaigns to have it released keep going.
      • The theatrical cut of Justice League ends with a post-credit scene where Lex Luthor speaks to Deathstroke about forming a Legion of Doom to take down the League. Presumably, this was meant to be expanded on in future films like Ben Affleck's The Batman (which was planned to feature Deathstroke as the Big Bad) and an eventual Justice League sequel. A combination of Justice League flopping at the box office, Ben Affleck exiting the DCEU (which in turn led to The Batman being completely reconfigured into an unrelated movie with a new cast, script and director) and WB shifting its strategy to focus more on standalone films instead of a Marvel-style shared continuity seemingly killed these plans. Jesse Eisenberg later said in interviews that he was unlikely to reprise his role as Luthor anytime soon, pretty much confirming that WB has no further plans for the character for the foreseeable future.
    • Batman v Superman established that Wonder Woman had disappeared for a century after World War 1, with Diana saying that she turned her back on mankind in disgust due to what she experienced. It was expected that this would be explored in the solo Wonder Woman (2017) Prequel film, only for that plot point to be completely ignored. While the movie does end with Diana being less of a Wide-Eyed Idealist, her faith in humanity is never shattered, and nothing in the film suggests that she plans on giving up her career as a superhero. This is taken even further in the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, which reaffirms that Diana was absolutely still fighting evil during the decades between the first movie and BVS, albeit while keeping a low profile.

  • An odd one in Aliens. Ripley confronts Burke about the fact that he ordered the investigation of the alien derelict ship. This should be a major plot point, as it essentially says that Burke knew that the aliens were out there and deliberately set the colonists to investigate so they could be infected, which should make him the villain of the movie and responsible for all of the evil that's happened. However, Burke offers an excuse for it that makes him come off as careless rather than deliberately villainous, and it's never mentioned again, even though it should be a major bit of information to bring up to the Marines. This is compounded because the investigation scene in question was cut from the theatrical release, so it's never explained when the colonists first encountered the aliens, and it's assumed that the aliens just coincidentally decided to show up not long after Ripley was rescued. As a result, the conversation is a bit confusing in regards to what Ripley is talking about. The Special Edition restored the missing scenes, removing the source of confusion.
  • One of the many Sequel Hooks at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man involves Peter attempting to track down the man who shot Uncle Ben. In The Amazing Spider Man 2, this plot thread is never even mentioned. Likely this was meant to be continued in a future film, however with the series now canned so Spider-Man can join the MCU, it'll never be resolved.
  • Annie (2014):
    • Hannigan smugly informs Annie that she's arranged for her to be moved to another home very early in the film after she messes with her in front of the social worker. This is never mentioned again, because before it can happen, enter Stacks.
    • Annie catches Stacks without his hairpiece, but other than a one-off joke with Grace about she "shouldn't bank on the hair", it's completely dropped.
  • Despite being in the title, the killer barracudas in Barracuda are completely forgotten when the conspiracy behind their behavior is uncovered halfway through the film, and the rest of the film is spent unraveling it.
  • In the Syfy original movie Camel Spiders, one of the two major stories involves a group of four college kids, two boys and two girls, trying to survive the spiders, sharing screentime with another group of survivors. A little more than halfway through the movie, though, after the two boys die, the movie completely forgets about the two girls who were still alive.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen had a few scenes where Tom Welling's character has problems with a bully. This is never resolved.
  • In the 2004 Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead, after establishing that the zombie infection is spread through contaminated blood, a "very big deal" is made of one character washing off infected blood in a water feature in the mall. Later, a similar "very big deal" is made of one character falling into this pool of supposedly infected water, cutting open his arm on the way in. Both shots are done with Snyder's trademark "this is important" slo-mo, but the incident is never discussed nor followed up, and the character in question does not suffer from zombie infection.
  • In Django Unchained, Zoë Bell plays a mysterious tracker who always wears a scarf over the lower half of her face. She gets two significant close-ups, including a lingering scene where she's shown looking at an old photo of two children. What, if anything, this is meant to indicate is never resolved, since she soon ends up being killed off without contributing much to the plot. Bell has confirmed that the film was originally going to go more into her backstory and explain exactly what the photo scene meant, but this subplot was cut for time. Some have theorized that she was going to be revealed to be Django's former childhood friend.
  • Shocker classic Freaks had a pair of reoccurring acrobat characters who kept setting up their great act as something that was going to be amazing, but we never get to see it. In the available cut of the film, their bragging feels more like padding to show off the eponymous stars' unusual traits and features.
  • In The Final, when the outcasts are setting up their torture chamber, they mention how they are rigging the place with webcams in order to send a message to high school students all across the country. This is never brought up again.
  • Both Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning set the character Tommy Jarvis up to be Jason's replacement as the main villain of the series. These plans were canceled due to the unpopularity of A New Beginning and Jason was brought back to life in the very next film.
  • At the end of The Ghost of Frankenstein the Monster is given Ygor's (late Dr. Frankenstein's assistant, played by Bela Lugosi) brain, enabling the Monster to speak once again. This portrayal was supposed to be continued in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, but the negative reaction from the test audiences made the executives to cut out all the Monster's dialogue and returning him to the Man Childish brute for the rest of Universal Horror movies featuring the character.
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers has Michael's young niece Jamie Lloyd seemingly inherit whatever evil drove him to kill, as at the end of the film she stabs her stepmother with a pair of scissors in a manner almost identical to how Michael killed his sister Judith in the original film. The prospect of Jamie replacing Michael as the main villain of the series was abandoned by producer Moustapha Akkad, much to the disappointment of Danielle Harris (Jamie) and Donald Pleasence (Doctor Loomis). In the fifth film Jamie is back to normal and is retconned into merely wounding her stepmother in the previous film, instead of killing her.
  • Hellboy (2004) builds up Sammael as an unbeatable enemy due to his ability to duplicate himself every time he is killed. If you don't kill him then he lays eggs all over the place, which hatch into even more clones. By the end of the movie there are at least dozens of Sammael-clones and more hatching — so, how do they deal with him? Well, a whole raft of other plot points had come up, including the Big Bad and his chum, so they just set all the ones they could find on fire and called it a day. We already know from earlier in the film that Kill It with Fire doesn't stop him duplicating, and they only bother looking for clones in one room of a very large underground complex halfway around the world from his last hangout. Once they leave the room, Sammael is never so much as mentioned for the remainder of the film. It does however appear in The Stinger, so it wasn't forgotten.
  • In I Am Legend, Robert Neville lays a trap that captures a female dark seeker. Shortly after, a male dark seeker goes to look, even briefly exposing himself to sunlight. Neville theorizes that the dark seekers have started to lose their remaining higher brain functions, and with them some of their basic survival instincts. However, the next day Neville is caught in a trap very similar to the one he set, hinting that the dark seekers may be more intelligent than he thinks. In the original ending, the dark seekers come to rescue the female dark seeker and spare Neville's life; due to bad test audience reactions and Executive Meddling looking for a Sequel Hook, the ending was changed and the implication ignored.
  • The opening scene of Johnny Mnemonic establishes that the protagonist needs to do One Last Job in order to have enough money to afford an expensive "procedure" that he can have done to restore lost childhood memories. This character motivation sets the rest of the plot in motion, but the importance of needing money for the procedure and needing the procedure itself to restore the protagonist's lost memories is abandoned as soon as the scene ends.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ended with three mayor Cliffhanger : One is Angelica being trapped in an island with the Jack Sparrow's Vodoo doll, the second one being Philip the Misioner being severely wounded and Syrena taking him to underwater to some unknown place, And the third one being Jack and Gibbs having Blackbeard's ships in a bottle (including the Black Pearl) and planning in a way to release them, Only the latter one is resolved in the next movie (and even then only the Black Pearl is released and the other ships are neither shown or mentioned.) With Philip, Syrena and Angelica being neither mentioned or appearing in the next movie (and there are no plans for them to appear in future installments)
    • Not only that, the movie also introduced a lot of new crewmembers from Blackbeard's crew that were suppose to be more prominent in the next movies until the point that many of them were named : Salaman, Ezekiel, Scrum, Cabin Boy and Garheng, from the mentioned only Scrum returned in future installments.
    • The movie also introduced The Spaniard, a potential Sequel Hook villain and the Sword of Triton (Blackbeard's magical sword) that for the name could have been related to the Trident of Poseidon but ended up in nothing in the fifth film (The sword appears and is used exactly once in the entire movie and has no relation to the Trident, the Spaniard is not even mentioned).
  • The Room uses this trope at least three times: In one subplot, Denny has a brief run in with a drug dealer (a Voodoo Shark to explain the presence of the gun at the end). In another, Michelle's boyfriend Mike is shamed by Lisa and Claudette walking in on him with Michelle in Johnny and Lisa's living room; and another one - and here's the kicker - has Claudette telling Lisa that she has breast cancer, something that NOBODY ELSE MENTIONS. Not even CLAUDETTE HERSELF. All of these subplots are introduced and immediately forgotten. In an AMA on Reddit, Mark's actor stated that Claudette's actress asked Tommy Wiseau several times whether the breast cancer would come up again, only to be told that "It's a twist". Eventually she dropped the subject and moved on.
  • Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness had a plotline going on about the increasing militarization of Starfleet (thanks to Nero's incursion and Klingon border skirmishes) and a looming conflict with the Klingon Empire. Star Trek Into Darkness even had Starfleet wearing Nazi-ish uniforms and was full of The War on Terror parallels. In Star Trek Beyond, we get a bright, colourful standalone adventure where Scotty explicitly says "Starfleet is not a military organization," the opening scene is about diplomacy, and the main plot is a big-budget version of TOS's many "stranded on an unfamiliar planet" episodes. Furthermore, the technological advances from the last two movies (transwarp beaming, using augment blood to cure death) have been forgotten.
  • Star Wars:
    • Rogue One introduces Jyn Erso and the force sensitive Kyber crystal amulet given to her by her mother, who tells her to "trust in the force". Kyber crystals power lightsabers and Death Star weapons, and there usually is a link between a force sensitive character and their personal crystal. This one, however, never has any impact on the story whatsoever (other than Chirrut starting contact with Jyn due to his sensing of it); originally Jyn's mother was supposed to be a Jedi apprentice in hiding (hence why she wears Jedi-like robes in her scenes). It gets destroyed along with Jyn and the other characters. The end.
    • Similarly to how The Force Awakens focused on Han Solo and The Last Jedi focused on Luke Skywalker, The Rise of Skywalker was supposed to have General Leia as a major character. Carrie Fisher's tragic passing in December 2016 completely destroyed these plans, and Lucasfilm stated they wouldn't digitally recreate her likeness as they had with her and Peter Cushing in Rogue One.
    • A lot of plot points seem to have been dropped between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, in the former Luke is said to have gone off to go and find the original Jedi temple, but then in the latter he instead states that he is in self-imposed exile. This doesn't quite gel with the fact that he also left a map to his location that was a major plot point of the The Force Awakens. The Last Jedi also goes into more depth exploring why Kylo Ren went rogue, but never once are the Knights of Ren mentioned. Finally Snoke alludes to finishing Kylo's training at the end of The Force Awakens, which would make sense as he has just been defeated by Rey and would need to grow stronger. However, in The Last Jedi this only amounts to finding Luke Skywalker rather then any actual training and in the end Snoke ends up dead.
    • A lot of run time in The Last Jedi is spent building up a relationship between Rose and Finn, and at the end of the film, Rose declares her love for Finn. In The Rise of Skywalker, Rose is Demoted to Extra. Other than Finn watching over Rose while she recuperates, the pair barely interact, and their relationship is never addressed.
  • Underworld: A big part of the fourth movie's story showed that humanity found out about the existence of vampires and lycans and started a extermination war against them. Come the sequel which is set a few years after the previous one and not even a mention of said war as if it never happened in the first place, with humanity going on their way unaware that the two races are back and resuming their old secret feud like they did in the previous movie.
  • UHF: Raul Hernandez, the eccentric animal show host, is dropped from the movie midway through. His actor, Trinidad Silva, died in a car accident before his scenes were completed.
  • The X-Files: I Want to Believe features a controversial paedophilic priest with "psychic" powers around which most of the publicity hinged. However, about halfway through the film goes off at a tangent about a different character, the only reference to Father Joe being his death announcement at the end.
  • X-Men :
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: The Stinger ends with Moira McTaggart discovering that Xavier (who was seemingly de-atomized by Jean earlier in the film) has somehow managed to transfer his mind into her patient, who is otherwise in a comatose state. The film ends with Moira expressing surprise at Xavier's voice speaking to her. Come the next film in the chronological timeline (The Wolverine), Xavier is back in his original body in that film's Stinger, with no explanation given as to how he was able to get his original body back. The whole question is rendered moot by the ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which changes the timeline so that Jean never becomes the Phoenix, and is still alive with Scott in the Everybody Lives future.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine ended with the reveal that Deadpool had survived being decapitated, setting the character up for future appearances. The movie's poor reception and mediocre earnings led to the studio completely abandoning any plans for a sequel, and releasing the unrelated The Wolverine and Deadpool instead. The whole thing is later lampshaded in The Stinger of Deadpool 2, where Deadpool time-travels to the events of Origins: Wolverine and shoots Wilson several times in the head before he even has a chance to fight Logan at Three Mile Island.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse ends with Xavier and Moira beginning a relationship, Psylocke escaping, and the Essex Corporation recovering a sample of Logan's blood from the Alkali Lake facility. While Logan does have a plot thread about X-23, the film takes place 40 years after the events of Apocalypse and no direct connection is made to either the Essex Corporation or Mr. Sinister (the presumed benefactor in charge). Meanwhile, X-Men: Dark Phoenix does not bring back Moira or Psylocke in any capacity, with no one commenting on their absence.note 


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