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Foreshadowing / Western Animation

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Other examples:

  • Adventure Time:
    • Regarding the Ice King;
      • In "The Eyes", where a horse spies on Finn and Jake all night, Finn remembers all the adventures they have in that week. One of them is rescuing yet another princess from the Ice King, who screams: "I only want to be happy!" The end of the episode reveals that the horse is actually the Ice King in disguise, and that he's spying on Finn and Jake in order to learn how to be happy.
      • In the episode "Fionna and Cake" Fionna tells Cake to take off the Ice Queen's crown to "not catch her crazy". In the second part of "Holly Jolly Secrets" is revealed that the Ice King used to be a human antiquarian called Simon Petrikov who found the crown, which eventually made him lose his sanity.
      • In the same episode, the Ice Queen is shown to be a much more competent villain than her main-universe counterpart. This seems like just a case of Women Are Wiser, but is actually foreshadowing that the whole episode was a story written by The Ice King.
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    • Every single alternate version of Finn (excluding Fionna) has a robotic arm note . Sure enough in "Escape From The Citadel" he loses his right arm trying to stop his Dad from escaping the Citadel prison.
    • In "It Came From the Nightosphere", Marceline's dad claims that the most evil creature in all of Ooo is the Ice King's pet penguin, Gunther. Seems like a one-off joke at first, but Gunther is later shown to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain in "Reign of Gunthers" when he takes over the Candy Kingdom with an artifact he stole from the Ice King. Later still, "Orgalorg" reveals that Gunther is actually a weakened form of some Eldritch Abomination who was stranded on Earth millennia ago.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In "The Mystery", as Ms. Simian closes the door on all the suspects, the camera hangs on the door's window, through which Bobert can be seen standing on the stairs. We later finds out he was turned off and had caught what actually happened to Brown on video.
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    • In "The Genius", as Principal Brown explains to the family why Darwin was taken away, Anais can be seen darting her eyes away several times. It turns out that Anais was the one who actually wrote the test that got Darwin sent away, though this one was something of a Captain Obvious Reveal in light of the characters, though.
    • In "The Remote", if you pause at just the right moment, you can see that the "remote" Anais smashes is actually a calculator, before it's revealed that she was faking.
    • In "The Storm", Masami's comment on Alan and Carmen's relationship is a fate that could really only apply to Carmen, hinting that she actually likes Alan.
    • In "The Void", when Penny falls to the ground, her limbs and antlers fall out of her body, proving it's not part of her body sticking out of her shell as it seemed like. In "The Shell", it's revealed she's actually a yellow shape-shifting fairy, which has antlers, but her limbs don't have fingers/toes, and are different of the ones she used while she was still in the shell.
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    • The title of "The Nobody". If "The Pony" is anything to go by, Rob fits the definition of "nobody" far better than anyone else in Elmore.
      • In the same episode, as Gumball investigates the fridge, the title card from "The Void" plays. The titular nobody turns out to be Rob, who has escaped from the Void.
    • In "The Bus", Principal Brown gets some mysterious texts that seem to tell him what to do. We don't find out who is texting until near the end:
      Principal Brown: *reading a text* "Stick to the pan or everyone dines?"
      Rob: Darn autocorrect... this stupid thing never works.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • "The Masters of Evil" begins with a taxi driver reading a newspaper with a headline promoting a Baxter tenant's recollections of the time he got replaced by an alien. At first, this seems like just another of several Mythology Gags featured in the paper (which also contained references to The Punisher and the X-Men). However, later episodes reveal that shapeshifting Skrull aliens have started infiltrating the Earth, and replacing various crimefighters and villains, as part of a plan to Take Over the World. The fact that it was a tenant of the Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four) specifically also foreshadows The Reveal from “The Private War of Doctor Doom”, described below.
    • "The Private War of Dr. Doom" gives a hint of one person who will become revealed as a Skrull in the end: When Tony Stark calls out Reed Richards on ignoring Sue, Reed tells him that Sue's also been ignoring him lately; she seems distracted with something he can't figure out.
    • Hank Pym has a private fit of rage in "To Steal an Ant-Man". The camera cuts to a yellowjacket wasp afterward, in reference to the fact Hank will soon assume another superhero identity, Yellowjacket.
  • Big City Greens:
    • In "Supermarket Scandal", Bill warns Cricket anyone who eats the fake produce will turn against them and ruin the family's reputation. In the end, it's Chip Whistler who does just that.
    • In "Barry Cuda" when Cricket removes the axe that sliced through the titular singing fish plaque, it slices a Green family picture in half, with him on one half and Tilly, Bill and Gramma together on the other. This can be interpreted as a literal foreshadowing that they destroyed Barry and how Cricket will act toward them when he finds out the truth.
    • In "Harvest Dinner" when Cricket is complaining over watching a pie in the window, he asks, "What's it gonna do, run away?" Sure enough, the mean rooster runs away with it when nobody watches it.
    • The largest example would be in "Reckoning Ball" when Bill is reassuring Chip. He tells him he has to "put in the work" before he can "reap the rewards", and if he does so, he can have anything he want in life. Once he finishes, Chip pauses to think and smiles, as if he just found out how to manipulate the Greens into believing he's sorry, so he can take over Wholesome Foods and focus on running them out of town now that his dad's no longer around.
    • Earlier in the same episode, when Chip shows up at the Greens' house when forced to apologize, Cricket's first order of business is to strangle him all over. While he is on the attack, he delivers the following line which happens to correctly predict what he's going to do to them.
      Cricket: Chip's here to apologize...supposedly!
    • "Cricket's Kapowie" has several hints that Cricket's hair is not his "kapowie" has he believed. First, Donny says his hair is his "statement piece", then he says he has kapowie. Bill is the only one who says his bad hair day is good. When he shows up at the commercial shoot bald, Donny is shocked that he lost his statement piece (his hair, as mentioned before), but is confident he still has kapowie. The largest example would be the people he meets on the sidewalk, who first greet him positively and later avoid him out of spite after the bad haircut — they don't say anything about his hair.
    • In the beginning of "Time Crisis" as Remy is practicing for his violin audition, his music suddenly comes to an abrupt stop. He notes that's a weird ending, but rolls with it. Later on, it turns out there's more to his music than just one page.
    • In "Fast Foodie" during the "Burgs and Fries" number, Cricket sings "I'll eat until I cry!" It foreshadows the climax where he gets stuck in the play place slide and Bill asks him if that's where he wants to be for the rest of his life, which in turn is what causes him to break down in tears and realize his mistake.
  • Bojack Horseman:
    • Season 4 has the new transition sequence between the house at morning and at night be the titular character in the middle of a kaleidoscopic nightmare of all the important relationships he's ever had, rather than the grounded imagery (grocery store, movie set, movie premiere) of previous seasons. The reason? The coffee that he drinks in the intro has been spiked with amphetamines, hinting that Bojack's half-sister Hollyhock was being constantly drugged by a now senile Beatrice.
    • There's a lot of foreshadowing involving Sarah Lynn's death in 3x11, "That's Too Much, Man!" such as:
      • Her first appearance as an adult (or young adult) is in a planetarium. Not only does she reveal that the reason she loves planetariums in the aforementioned episode is because she admires domed building, it's also where she dies.
      • Her first conversation in a flashback sequence with BoJack, off script, involves her telling him she wants to be an architect. Her Final Words are "I want to be an architect."
      • In "Prickly Muffin", BoJack outright states that she is taking way too many drugs, hoping they're sugar pills. That says a lot coming from another addict.
      • In "Prickly Muffin" when BoJack wants to check her into rehab, she tells him she'll just find another place to party. When he tells her she "... should not... do that," she replies with "Oh, I know. I know, but I can, so I will. I'm at a point in my life where I don't have to 'grow as a person' or 'rise to any occasion', so I can just keep surrounding myself with sycophants and enablers until I die tragically young." BoJack offers a single-word stunned response, to which she replies "Yeah, it's pretty much too late for me."
      • In "Downer Ending", she suggests that the ending to his memoir should be her killing him for the sheer irony. BoJack winds up indirectly killing her.
      • In "Still Broken", BoJack suggests the entire cast get back together some time, to which they respond that the next time they'll see each other is at someone else's funeral. Everyone looks at BoJack and informs him that he's the oldest. Sarah Lynn says that she's so high, she honestly doesn't know where she's looking.
      • In "BoJack Kills", the BoJack being referred to is a brand of heroin, the heroin that Sarah Lynn will overdose on.
      • In "That's Too Much, Man!", besides the actual death scene, of course, they pull a Bait-and-Switch and have Sarah Lynn briefly unresponsive in a motel room, just to reveal she was being so because BoJack was boring her.
      • On a more meta level, they set her up as a Former Child Star – already nothing good can come of that, but they took it Up to Eleven.
    • There's also a lot of foreshadowing of BoJack's near-death experience via drowning:
      • The intro sequence always ends with him falling into his pool.
      • In "Downer Ending," when trying to come up with a way to end his memoir, BoJack pictures himself in a lake in Maine, succumbing to the waters.
      • "It's You" sees a particularly ugly argument between Diane and BoJack, the former spouting, "You know what's gonna happen? You're gonna win that Oscar, and you're gonna go up on that stage and give your little speech, and then you're gonna go home. And you're gonna be so miserable, you'll want to kill yourself. And you're gonna have nobody left to stop you." Right before BoJack tries to kill himself, he calls Diane beforehand, hoping she'll save him, but she doesn't pick up. He is pretty much devoid of a support system at this point, and the only reason he survives is because the family who's currently living at his house finds him.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: in "The Conqueror", Ma-Ti finds Zarm's heart empty. In "Summit to Save Earth, Part I", he describes Zarm posing as the President as "nothing (...) like there is nothing there". And by the end of Part II, he says blatantly that Zarm has no heart.
  • An easily overlooked one appears in the Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot episode "Night Bears", where Wonderheart uses the phrase Take Heart! to activate her belly badge powers in her dream sequence. This would come back in the sequel series Care Bears & Cousins not only as the cousins' catch phrase, but is also an important indication of Wonderheart's belly badge powers.
  • Central Park:
    • In Season 1 "Skater's Circle", when Owen goes to see Gary, he's singing a song to himself with the lyrics "Do it while we can". It turns out he's singing the last song of the episode.
    • In Season 1 "Dog Spray Afternoon", the guy who tags the park actually passes Birdie when he's singing about "the guy with the paints". Birdie even notices him. The tagger also rubs his hands on his pants when he's nervous just like Owen.
    • In Season 1 "Hot Oven", lampshaded by Birdie when he tells the audience that while Molly and Brendan sings about having a perfect relationship despite not knowing much about each other, they will be surprised when they actually do learn something about each other.
    • In the Season 1 finale, "A Fish Called Snakehead", there were hints that Dick Flake was lying about catching the snakehead. When Birdie introduces Dick Flake as a "big-game fish hunter", he uses Air Quotes around it, and as the narrator, he already knows the truth about him. When Paige took a picture of the snakehead that Dick caught, she immediately noticed something off about the fish and Dick refuses to answer her question on how he caught it. Also, there was no signs of struggle between Dick and the snakehead before it was caught.
  • In The Stinger of the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: C.A.B.L.E.-T.V.", Mr. B's age-altering ray is found by the Delightful Children. In "Operation: G.R.O.W.-U.P.", they use it to turn Numbah One into an adult.
    • In "Operation: Z.E.R.O.", while several villains are ambushing the KND museum, they destroy wax statues of the long-lost Sector Z, which the artist complains about. Later, it's revealed that the Delightful Children are in fact the missing Sector Z.
    • At the end of "Operation: M.E.S.S.A.G.E.", the note Numbuh 2 was hired to deliver makes an allusion to one of the most crucial elements of that season's Myth Arc; "Muffy- The splinter cell is real! Pres. Eggleston".
  • On The Dragon Prince Callum says during the first season that he was never good at anything except using magic. At the end of the second season he is the first (known) human who was able to establish a natural magical connection to one of the elements. Something that was previously reserved for elves.
    • Runaan tells Rayla in the first episode that she is far too good-hearted to be an assassin, even though she is physically more than capable. At the end of the third season, she gets her true destiny and becomes the new dragon guard of the dragon queen.
    • At the beginning of the second season, Callum went on a date with Claudia. Rayla seems upset, or at least dissatisfied, about it. The end of the second season shows that she is in love with Callum herself.
  • In the Duckman episode "Room With a Bellevue", Cornfed has to break Duckman out of an insane asylum, and so flips through his large collection of previously-prepared contingency plans to find the appropriate one. One of the other plans is labeled 'Duckman becomes dictator of a South American country.' Two episodes later...
  • During Lena's nightmare sequence in the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Other Bin of Scrooge McDuck!", one of Dream!Webby's accusing remarks is "I know what you really are... a MONSTER...". Since this is followed with "just like your aunt!!", you'd be forgiven for thinking that the use of the words "what you really are" and "monster" were metaphorical. But in light of the later revelations about Lena's true nature...
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy movie, Eddy says "Man, I'm really starting to hate slapstick." That was right after the last injury Eddy received before meeting his brother.
    • There were a few times in the series that hinted at Eddy's Brother's true nature, such in the episode Ed...Pass It On..., where Rolf is thrown into a panic, barricading himself and his animals in his house when he hears about Eddy's brother returning to the cul-de-sac and, at the end, when it seems like Eddy's Brother really has come home, Eddy looks genuinely terrified. Another example is near the end of An Ed Is Born, when Eddy says, "No more beating up little Eddy, huh, big bro?"
  • Fillmore!: the first few minutes of the first episode, "To Mar A Stall", shows one character's gloved left hand. At the end, it's revealed that she's wearing the glove to conceal red pen on her wrist - evidence that she committed the vandalism the episode is about.
  • The third season of The Flintstones had several episodes where Fred mistakenly thought his wife, Wilma, was going to have a baby. This eventually built up to an episode where it turns out that she actually is pregnant, leading to the birth of their daughter, Pebbles, towards the end of the season.
  • Futurama:
    • In "The Luck of the Fryrish", Fry's father tells Yancy, Fry's brother, that his name was passed on from his father's grandfather, to his grandfather, to him, then down to Yancy. He leaves out his father, or Yancy and Fry's grandfather. This is because in the next season episode "Roswell that Ends Well", it's revealed that Fry becomes his own grandfather.
    • In the very first episode, Nibbler's shadow is clearly visible at several points when Fry is goofing off in the cryogenics room, a seasons-long foreshadowing that Nibbler was present at, and in fact was directly responsible for, Fry being frozen for a thousand years. Here's a picture.
      • The scene is revisited in "Jurassic Bark". This time Nibbler's shadow is joined by Fry's, foreshadowing Fry's time travel in "The Why of Fry".
    • Speaking of, in "I Second That Emotion" a veterinarian suggests the number of rings in Nibbler's chipped fang could indicate his age and Fry remarks "It'd take some kind of genius to count all these rings", with the actual number being four. Yet another Fry is dumb joke, but it also foreshadows the much later reveal in The Day The Earth Stood Stupid that Nibbler is actually a member of an advanced alien species and is really 14.6 billion years old.
      • And during the Time Passes Montage, you can see Planet Express, where Fry ends up working, being built.
    • Leela's cycloptic parents can be seen among the sewer mutants when Fry and pals end up in their city. It's not until much later that Leela learns who they are.
    • In "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz", whenever Bender reboots, he scans for the dominant lifeform in the area. When he scans Leela, the Robo Cam reads Species: Human.
    • Similarly, the robots in "Fear of a Bot Planet" repeatedly refer to Leela as being human, despite her protests to the contrary.
    • In "Into the Wild Green Yonder", when Bender bursts out of the Donbot's wife (who is cheating on the Donbot with Bender), he quickly comes up with a flimsy excuse about having been sucked through a wormhole thousands of lightyears away. Guess how the Feministas elude Zapp Brannigan later in the movie? And how the Planet Express Crew escapes Brannigan again at the very end?
    • In "Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love?", the King Decapodian states that he lives a life of celibacy in order to uphold the rules and traditions of his culture. It seems like he's just stating his objectiveness in matters of love, but it turns out that Decapodians die upon mating.
    • In "Anthology of Interest I", Fry asks the What If? Machine what would have happened if he had never come to the future. The machine answers that a time paradox would have destroyed the Universe. "Roswell That Ends Well" reveals that Fry is his own grandfather, and by never coming to the future he would have broken the Stable Time Loop and retroactively prevented his own existence.
  • Gargoyles:
    • The "City of Stone" 4 parter and the following episode "High Noon" set up the 3 part episode "Avalon" as the Weird Sisters take control of Demona & Macbeth, as well as securing the three talismans (the Grimorum Arcanorum, the Phoenix Gate and the Eye of Odin).
    • Lexington's Halloween costume in Gargoyles #4-5 is identical to Cyber Lex. Furthermore, when Brentwood choses to join Thailog, Lexington's only objection is, "You're making me look bad."
    • In "The Price", Macbeth attacks the Manhattan clan out of nowhere, is apparently killed, then comes back, and throughout this uses the same few lines over and over again, including an almost random exclamation of just "Trophy!" It's revealed at the end that it wasn't Macbeth at all, it was a robot built by Xanatos to keep the gargoyles busy while he kidnapped Hudson, explaining his somewhat erratic and out-of-character behavior.
    • Demona gives two. In "The Mirror", she snaps at Puck, "You serve the human, you can serve me!" This hints that Puck is actually Owen. Then, in "City of Stone", she says to Owen, "Since you are the tricky one...," which hints that Owen is actually Puck.
  • Green Eggs and Ham:
    • The group called BADGUYS actually get along so well compared to our main characters. It's because they're the good guys this entire time.
      • Speaking of, you notice it's always in all caps when they're mentioned? It's an acronym that names them as anything but bad guys.
    • McWinkle and Gluntz always refer to their boss as "the Bigman". That's because it's not a nickname for Snerz; it's someone actually named Bigman, although he's actually really small.
    • Sam stating that Guy is "the brains" and he's the "other brains". Because Sam is a smooth-talking scam artist with people skills in comparison to Guy's technical genius.
    • Also, even though Sam is determined to get the Chickaraffe home, why is it that he doesn't seem to have any knowledge about it at all? Because he's lying; he's an animal smuggler scam artist.
      • He usually uses Guy's money in order to pay for everything, and also acquires the Goat's credit card. Again, part and parcel of being a scam artist.
    • Michellee is able to draw an accurate description of the Chickeraffe, and later on draws a spot-on portrait of her daughter in crayon. She was actually an artist before her husband passed away.
    • The fact that Guy initially mistakes the Giroosters for Chickeraffes foreshadows Sam using a Girooster to fool Snerz.
    • In "Car", after Sam discovers the Chickaraffe is missing, the episode cuts to Snerz learning that the person he hired to capture the Chickaraffe has lost it, heavily hinting that he hired Sam. In this instance, the series tries to throw the viewers off by showing the BADGUYS getting a call from their boss right after, suggesting that they're working for Snerz.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law:
    Phil Ken Sebben: I was wrong. Dead wrong. Ha! Ha! Foreshadowing. About being dead, not the being wrong part.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "Origin of the Sorceress", the background of a flashback scene features She-Ra's sword.
  • The Hollow:
    • Death says that there are only two people who can lead them out of the world they're in. While one of them is the Weird Guy, he is hastily stopped before being able to talk about the other one, but it still foreshadows the existence of the Last Ironwood Tree in the following episode.
    • When the trio first meet the Weird Guy, he aggressively asks them if they think this is some kind of game. It is a game, and he's the host of it. Later on, he tells Kai and Adam that they "chose to be here" when they prod him for answers, which they assume to mean that they were destined to end up in this world. He literally meant that they chose to be contestants on the show.
    • The characters in each realm cannot leave their area. Just like NPCs in any other game.
  • Jem: There was foreshadowing that Roxy was illiterate prior to "Roxy Rumbles". In the episode where the Misfits go to China she doesn't notice their name is misspelled "The Misfats" on their welcome banner, and she shows no interest in reading Kimber's diary.
  • Justice League:
    • In "The Terror Beyond", Hawkgirl realizes that Dr. Fate is using Thanagarian runes, and demands that he tell what he knows about Thanagar. This is because Hawkgirl is afraid that Dr. Fate may have blown her cover and discovered the Thanagarians' invasion plan. But, given Hawkgirl's cover story, the audience is led to interpret her reaction as her being antsy to return to her homeworld, and thinking that Fate might have information that could help.
    • In another episode, Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl are flying through Brainiac's data banks, J'onn suggest that they could find information about Hawkgirl's homeworld, only to have Hawkgirl insist that they don't have time for that (cause they have to help Superman). In another episode, J'onn also discovers he cannot enter her mind, something that becomes a plot point in Starcrossed.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In Episode 121, Olaf informs the main four that they have been fired from the show and must report for a job interview the next day to see if they can be re-hired. At one point in the episode, Mr. Cat questions the logic behind firing them and immediately hiring them again. It turns out that the whole thing was a "prank" by Olaf and the main four never got fired in the first place.
    • The title card for the episode "Let's Play Hopscotch" has flames on it despite the episode seemingly having nothing to do with fire. Near the end of the episode, Mr. Cat successfully constructs a path to Hell, and Quack Quack is Dragged Off to Hell.
    • In the episode "Let's Play Catch the Mailman", Kaeloo gets a letter in the mail from someone claiming to be a fan of the show, and the letter is quite insulting. It is addressed "Dear frog" instead of "Dear Kaeloo", foreshadowing the fact that the letter was written by Mr. Cat, who often refers to Kaeloo as "frog" or "froggy".
  • The Legend of Korra: Photos of Tahno and Councilman Tarrlok appear on newspapers held [1], and attacked [2], respectively, by Korra in "A Leaf in the Wind". Though they serve as innocuous introductions for both characters, Korra is speaking with Tenzin about pro-bending while she holds Tahno's newspaper, and is attempting to airbend Tarrlok's in vain after a long day of practice.Tahno becomes her rival in the pro-bending arena and Tarrlok uses her lack of airbending ability as verbal whiplash against her in a later episode.
  • The Loud House:
    • Note that before Clyde's dads appeared in-person, he would always refer to them as "my parents" and never "mom and dad".
    • When the sisters hear Lincoln's mention of Ms. DiMartino in "Study Muffin", note that Luna is the only one to say she is "smokin'".
    • In "Get the Message", if you look closely when Lucy stops Lincoln from falling into the bathroom, his "worst sister ever" letter can be seen on the floor by the sink.
    • In "No Such Luck", Lincoln is seen in the dining room in the morning eating a cereal named "Oh Nuts!", with a squirrel on the front of the box.
  • On Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, several hints are dropped as early as "Big Bad Buggysitter" that Spindella and Spiderus are going to become parents.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • As the camera follows Twilight Sparkle when she's dictating her letter to Celestia in the pilot episode, the hourglass distorts everything behind it like you'd expect, but replaces the unicorn head sculpture outside with Nightmare Moon's head.
    • In the same episode, Rarity is choosing decorative ribbons. Upon selecting a particularly glittery one, she declares "Sparkle always does the trick!".
    • Also in the same episode, Twilight exclaims, "the fate of Equestria does not depend on me making friends." By the end of episode 2, it's pretty clear that it does.
    • Listen closely to the music playing at Pinkie's surprise party in episode one. It's almost identical to the tune of her song in episode 2.
    • When Nightmare Moon shows up at the festival, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are briefly shown cowering in fear next to each other, despite the fact that this episode was before "Call of the Cutie."
    • The camera also pans across each of Twilight's friends as she lists each of the Elements of Harmony as they correspond to each pony.
    • In "Call of the Cutie", Rainbow Dash tells Apple Bloom that she got her cutie mark after her first race. In "Sonic Rainboom", she says that she's only done a sonic rainboom once before, when she was "just a filly." These are, in fact, the same event, which is shown in detail in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles."
    • "Cursaders of the Lost Mark" revealed that the Cutie Mark Crusaders true talent is helping others with their cutie marks. This was foreshadowed in "Appleloosa's Most Wanted."
    • In "Swarm of the Century", when Pinkie plays the harmonica, the Parasprites in Rarity's bag briefly react to the sound.
    • In "Party of One", what happens at Gummy's birthday party is mostly Fauxshadowing, but one of Pinkie Pie's lines is true Foreshadowing.
      Pinkie: I can't tell you that, silly—then it wouldn't be a surprise!
    • In the first episode, Twilight proclaims that "all the ponies in this town are CRAZY!". By the time the first season ended, all the mane characters had had a mental breakdown at least once.
    • In "Lesson Zero", Spike mentions that Twilight has a cape, and that he and Twilight dropped it off at the cleaners. In the next episode, "Luna Eclipsed", Twilight wears a cape as part of her Nightmare Night costume.
    • In "Party of One" during the infamous Pinkamena insanity scene, an odd rendition of Discord's theme can be heard briefly in the background.
    • In "Return of Harmony Part 1", after Rainbow Dash says that she'll always be loyal to the princess, Discord ominously says "We'll see about that...". He later gives her a Sadistic Choice and inverts her sense of loyalty.
      • In the same episode, when Discord is taunting Celestia about being imprisoned in stone, he is leaning on one of the pictures in a window, and then knocks on the forehead of the pony whose image he's leaning on. The pony in question is Fluttershy the only one he had to magically touch instead of tempt to turn bad and the pony that would eventually reform him.
    • At the beginning of "Baby Cakes", Rainbow Dash says that Pound Cake will be "all over the place" when his wings develop, and Rarity mentions that baby unicorns get "strange magic surges" that come and go. Guess what happens while Pinkie Pie is foalsitting them later in the episode?
    • When we first see the Elements of Harmony in their new forms in the second episode, Twilight's isn't a necklace like the other five, instead taking the form of a tiara (which she comments on in "The Return of Harmony part 2"). In "Magical Mystery Cure", when Twilight becomes an Alicorn and a princess, the tiara changes shape slightly and becomes her crown.
    • One particularly clever bit of foreshadowing is also extremely subtle. Twilight's mane and tail are both cut in a style called "Hime Cut" and have been since day one. In Japanese, this literally means, "Princess Cut". What does she become at the end of Season 3 again?
    • Another subtle bit of foreshadowing regarding Twilight's destiny happens in "The Crystal Empire Part 1". When Princess Celestia gives Twilight her final instructions regarding her "test", there's an Art Shift in the background, with Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks looming behind them, and a similar treatment given to Twilight's reaction shot.
    • A rather subtle bit of foreshadowing occurs in "Magical Mystery Cure" with Pinkie Pie's role being switched to running Sweet Apple Acres. The following season, we discover that she may be a distant relative of the Apple family.
    • In "Three's a Crowd", Discord casually mentions "Abyssinia", and given the many cultural references in the song you'd be forgiven for thinking he meant the real Abyssinia (Ethiopia). However, in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) we find out it's a place within the show's universe upon meeting a native of the place.
    • Back from "Three's a Crowd", Discord, in full-on jester mode, gives Twilight a friendship medallion of little value. In "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 2", Discord gives Twilight the medallion he got from Tirek, assuring her he fully means his friendship this time.
    • Before being sent to Tartarus with Luna and Cadence, Celestia weakly tells Tirek that he would not prevail. Her prediction would later come true when Twilight and her friends unlock their rainbow powers from the chest and send him back to Tartarus.
    • If you're observant while watching "Amending Fences", you'll catch a quick glimpse of Starlight Glimmer hiding behind a menu, giving viewers an early hint that she's actively stalking Twilight Sparkle looking for an opportunity to get revenge.
    • In the Season 5 opener "The Cutie Map", the cutie unmarked ponies have muted coats and live in rows of houses side by side; Starlight Glimmer, the leader, is the only one whose coat isn’t muted, and lives at the end of the village alone. This hints she isn’t unmarked like the others; her equal sign cutie mark is really makeup with the real cutie mark underneath.
    • Done very subtly with the Season 8 villain Cozy Glow, where you're given only given very disparate hints at her true nature as a manipulative Enfant Terrible: she flashes a couple of ominous expressions and of course her cutie mark is a chess piece. Very unfortunately the synopsis for the finale completely blew the surprise before the character even made her first on-screen appearance (though some fans believed that Cozy Glow was just Chrysalis in disguise).
    • In "Marks for Effort", this part comes up.
    Cozy: I guess I still have a lot to learn about friendship.
    • The final story arc involving Twilight becoming the new ruler of Equestria was vaguely hinted back in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. When she worries to Spike about being a princess, she thinks Celestia will let her rule a kingdom of her own — she gets the whole kingdom of Equestria to rule once the sisters retire and she takes over.
    • The Reveal that Grogar was just Discord in disguise was only vaguely hinted throughout the season, though rewatches prove the reason behind it.
  • Plenty of examples in Ready Jet Go!.
    • In Backyard Moon Base, the kids find the house remote. They press some of the buttons on it, which causes the house to fly in the air, unbeknownst to them. In Back to Bortron 7, it is revealed that the Propulsion house is actually a starship turned house. Pressing the remote converts the house back to a starship. No wonder Carrot was especially freaked out when he saw the house flying in Backyard Moon Base.
    • In "Project Pluto", Carrot at one point utters "little frozen Pluto". And in the planetarium show in "Visit to the Planetarium", the aforementioned show refers to Pluto as "dear little frozen Pluto". Both foreshadow the song "Dear Little Frozen Pluto" from "From Pluto With Love".
    • Tons of examples in Back to Bortron 7:
      • During the first song "Is Your Planet Like My Planet?", one of the lyrics is There's no planet like my planet, which foreshadows the song aptly named "There's No Planet Like My Planet".
      • Somewhere at the beginning of the movie, Carrot and Celery are practicing their PowerCube presentation. Their lines are It's not too hot, and not too freezing / And is suitable for breathing / Not too big / And not too small / And planet Earth is what its called!. Later, during the Just Add Water song, the cast sing these lines: Plus it's not too hot, and no, it's not too freezing / Add to which its atmosphere is suitable for breathing / It's really not too big / And really not too small / And planet Earth is what its called!
      • At one point, Jet says "What do you call those things in cities that shoot water in the air?", and Sydney and Sean respond with "Fountains." Later, during "Just Add Water", the song stops so Celery can asks what they call those things in cities that shoot water in the air. Guess what Sydney, Jet, and Sean respond with.
      • In the show credits, doodles of the characters are scattered throughout. However in the credits for Back to Bortron 7, at one point we see Mindy in a space suit, which foreshadows the fact that Mindy turned five in season 2, and is now able to go to space.
    • One Small Step:
    • During the song "Super Saucer", the kids sing about how it's easy going to space, but hard getting back. Later, the gang has trouble getting back to Earth from the moon because Sydney used the landing gear crank to fix the saucer. The gang ends up using a parachute and crashing into Little Dipper Lake, where they almost drown but Mitchell rescues them.
    • At one point, Jet 2 presents Sydney with a mysterious object that Sydney thinks is a robot arm. She asks Jet 2 if they will need it in the future, and he says no, so Sydney uses it to fix the saucer. It turns out that the "robot arm" was the landing gear for the saucer. Without the landing gear, the landing will be difficult. So, the kids end up using a parachute and crashing into Little Dipper Lake back on Earth instead.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Dead at Eight", Death suggests that Muscle Man will die in a hot dog eating contest. Sure enough, in the episode "Last Meal", Death comes back to take Muscle Man's soul during a hot dog eating contest.
  • Happens a lot in Rollbots, most notably with Vertex collecting parts of the Dymex Key and with references to a lost tribe.
    • Crontab trouble starts with Spin sleep-talking "Zuuuuuuuuuushiiiiiiiiiiin".
  • ThunderCats Roar: When Jaga gets to talking about Snarf, he doesn't actually know how to describe him, while the onscreen trading card shows his stats as maxed out and his skills as "all" with a Arm Cannon next to it. Near the end of "Exodus Part 1", Snarf is revealed to be a robot with tons of tools and weaponry jammed inside him.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is full of this:
    • In the first episode, when the gang finds the locket that spurs off the plot, Mayor Jones flinches. This is because the people in the locket are Fred's real parents.
    • Also in the first episode, Velma says that Crystal Cove was found by Spanish Conquistadors, who play a crucial role in Crystal Cove's backstory later on.
    • In the fourth episode, the gang finds a newspaper clipping about the missing kids, and Angel seems to be looking at it as if she knows something about the missing piece. That's because she's the one in it.
    • In "Howl of the Fright Hound", Professor Pericles tells the gang to "Beware of those close to you", and gave extra emphasis to Fred. Fred's dad turns out to be the Big Bad of the season.
    • In "Escape from Mystery Manor", Danny Darrow thinks Fred is Brad Chiles of the original gang, and refers to him as "Big Chin Man." The physical resemblances between them foreshadow that Brad is Fred's real father.
    • In "Nightmare in Red", the Annunaki possessing Nova tells them that "Everything can be undone, everything can be forgiven." In the finale, "Come Undone", literally everything is undone.
  • In The Simpsons, this sequence from the first of the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episodes foreshadows Burns's later attempt at stealing a lollipop from Maggie.
    Burns: [Stealing oil from Springfield Elementary] will be like taking candy from a baby.
    (Burns looks through the binoculars and sees a baby with some candy.)
    Burns: Say, that sounds like a larf. Let's try it right now.
    Smithers: Er, um, there's some candy right here, sir. Why don't we eat this instead of stealing?
    Burns: Oh, very well.
    • There's a bit on who the shooter is, too. When Mr. Burns challenges a group of armed townspeople, asking who has the guts to stop him, most of them wind up looking away sheepishly. One person keeps glaring at him through the whole scene, however: Maggie.
    • In "Brick Like Me", LEGO Comic Book Guy's "No Outside Realities" sign (shown after one of LEGO Homer's visions of the real Homer's life) wasn't a mere throwaway gag — it was foreshadowing how LEGO Comic Book Guy himself represents Homer subconscious desire to remain in his dream world.
  • In the Sofia the First Pilot Movie "Once Upon a Princess", Sofia tells her mother she's worried that she'll trip and everyone will laugh at her. Later on, during the dance lesson, with thanks to Amber giving her trick shoes, she does exactly that.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil had quite a bit of this:
    • In season one's "Fortune Cookies", after learning that the fortunes in fortune cookies aren't real, Star laughs off one that reads "A great evil has been unleashed." The same episode has Ludo hire a new minion, Toffee, who would go on to be a constant threat to Star's friends, family, and allies, as well as the very existence of magic in the universe, until his defeat early in season three.
      • Almost every line that came out of Toffee's mouth during his early appearance were hints of his origins and intentions. His self-introduction in "Fortune Cookies" has him tell Ludo that he's "not the first monster to fall victim to their magic." It's revealed the next season that Toffee has been a foe of the Butterfly family for generations, having killed Star's grandmother Comet and battling her mother Moon, with the latter striking him with a curse that prevented regeneration of his finger. Later, he blatantly tells Ludo that "Sometimes, your biggest threat is right under your nose": pointing towards his later control of Ludo's army and, after that, his bodily possession of Ludo himself.
    • "Storm the Castle" has an odd joke play out as this. Star attempts to explain the series of events that led to Marco getting kidnapped to an Earth cop, who assumes Star just likes "magic", claiming that he himself liked to watch magic shows in Vegas... before oddly topping it off with a warning that unwise use of it can cause you to lose everything, much to her confusion. It was originally assumed that this referred to her reckless assault later that episode that results in the cleaving of her wand, it actually refers to the ending of the following season's "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown", where Star ended up using dark magic to spy on Marco's date with Jackie, filling her with negative emotions. Said emotions cause Star's spells to become uncontrollable and violent, giving Ludo the chance to successfully steal her spellbook and mentor, Glossaryck.
  • Star Wars animated series examples can be found here.
  • In the first episode of Season 1 of Transformers Animated, when Decepticons are bearing down on his ship, Optimus Prime orders Teletraan 1: "Emergency Defense Program, Codename: Omega". Nothing happens, and the show goes on, where in the last episode of Season 2, the ship transforms into Omega Supreme.
    • Also the revelation that Sari is part-robot is foreshadowed so many times in the first two seasons that it might as well be a drinking game!
    • "You must never sacrifice a piece of the future to restore the past. When your time comes, you will understand." Prowl sure did and the fandom wept.
  • The series Transformers: Prime confirmed Dark Energon to be the blood of Unicron. A behind the scenes video shows Frank Welker as Megatron stating that "Unicron...grows even stronger" meaning he will soon appear in some form.
    • For that matter, all the energon varieties found on Earth imply the Cybertronians have been on the planet before. Or rather, in the planet. Turns out Earth is Unicron.
    • In another Transformers show, Beast Wars, the episode where Rhinox is brainwashed into a Predacon actually forshadows his eventual transformation into Tankor in Beast Machines.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man episode "The Lizard" shows that Doc Ock had several test tubes of animal DNA. Test tubes contained pictures of lizard, rhino, scorpion and vulture. The Lizard and The Rhino have already appeared, Scorpion has appeared but as a martial artist from K'un-L'un, however his debut episodes ends with him being exiled and likely seeking revenge against Spidey and Iron Fist. Vulture hasn't appeared yet, but the existence of a test tube of vulture DNA may be a sign that we will see him at some point.
  • The Venture Bros. uses this a lot. A throwaway line about The Monarch's Henchmen stealing equipment from Sgt Hatred becomes the reason the later decides to become Dr. Venture's Arch-Enemy. The boys being clones is hinted through several times during the first season, most notably when Dr. Venture mentions it could have saved Dean from Testicular Torsion by eliminating it during the "prototype phase".
    • A rule of thumb for viewers: Any line uttered at any given point can become useful to the plot. Any. Or at least the subject of a Brick Joke.
    • Similarly, the name of Brock's assignment "Operation Rusty's Blanket" comes into play at the end of the third season.
    • Possibly an accident, but the first season finale has the main cast dressed at the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including Dean as Riff-Raff. The in the third episode of season four it turns out Rusty threw out a malformed Dean clone, who survived and looks quite a bit like Riff-Raff.
    • In the season one finale The Monarch tells his minions to send Wonder Boy's charred remains to Captain Sunshine, three seasons later and entire episode revolves around this event.
    • Another is when Monarch casually mentions during a Villain Party that he tricked Sunshine into believing he was invincible. A few seasons later Sunshine is shown to still believe this.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In the season 1 finale, Haggar creates duplicates of herself when she confronts Shiro before turning into a duplicate of him. The next season finale confirms that she's Altean as Alteans have the ability to shift into other forms.
    • There's a lot of foreshadowing throughout season 1 that Keith is part Galra. First of all, in the pilot episode, he has to retrieve the Red Lion from a Galra ship. In addition, whenever the Paladins have to use Galra technology, they need to use Shiro's artificial arm or the arms of one of the robot Mooks to activate it, but Keith can use it with his own hands. Speaking of Shiro's arm, the reason he can use it to activate Galra technology is because it was given to him as part of being experimented on by them. It's his right arm that was replaced. Keith pilots the Red Lion, which forms the right arm of Voltron. In the first season finale, Zarkon tells him that he fights like a Galra. The second season has him recognise a Galra symbol because it is the same as the symbol on his knife, and at one point he muses about how due to everything being made of the same substance, everyone could be related to every species, with emphasis on the Galra, as by then he's starting to suspect that he has a connection to them. Season 2 Episode 8 finally confirmed this.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • In "The Fancy Party", Entazoa rejects anyone she sees as "weak" to bequeath her power to. This is because she's looking for a new, strong body to possess. Also, note she is named after a parasite.
    • In "The Troll", every time Wander ignores Sylvia, she leaves. This foreshadows how to defeat the troll.
    • In "The Hero", only the hero in the "prophecy" can pull out the Sword of Destiny; note that Wander was able to pull the sword out, but Brad couldn't. Also, the "prophecy" seems more modern day than cryptic.
  • We Bare Bears: While waiting for their pizza in "Panda's Sneeze", Panda notices a portrait of Nom Nom in the middle of a "wall of celebrities" photo collection, which Ice Bear throws in the trash, foreshadowing Nom Nom's involvement in the episode's plot.
  • W.I.T.C.H. is famous for its constant foreshadowing of many of its main plot points and plot twists.
    • Elyon being the princess is eluded to many episodes before it is revealed.
    • The mystery surrounding the Mage's identity is also hinted and prodded at many episodes before the big reveal. Also, there are various scenes where we see Julian and the Mage exchange glances of longing for each other, especially after Caleb or Julian mentions their family, foreshadowing that the Mage is Caleb's mother.
    • Will states "Victory at any cost is no victory at all; not if you lose yourself in the process." In the final episode, in order to defeat the Big Bad (former Dragon Cedric), the Guardians connect with their true elements, becoming living manifestations of their powers. This also strips away their humanity, leaving them mindless, and vulnerable to control by Nerissa. Fortunately, that doesn't happen, and their friends and family manage to bring them back to themselves.
    • In "V Is for Victory" we have three in one scene, the one where Will enlists Phobos' help against Nerissa. The first is Raythor being the only prisoner who wasn't already near the energy bars of his cage to follow the conversation when he , hinting about the conversation he was having with an invisible Hay Lin in that very moment. The other two are when Will gets Phobos to swear on the power of Kandrakar to not use the power of the Seal of Nerissa for himself and Phobos is looking at his right, where Cedric is imprisoned, silently asking for warnings if it's a trap, forewarning both Will's plan and Cedric's future betrayal.
  • Wild Kratts;
    • in the Season one Episode "Rapter Round Up" When the titular brothers mention "raptors", Jimmy Z(their base's pilot and the one who transports their creature powers) gets scared because he thought they meant Velociraptors. Aviva (the one who invented the creature power suits) tells him that her time machine is not ready yet. In the two part episode "Back In Creature Time" she shows off said time machine.
  • Young Justice:
    • In the episode "Failsafe", the first clue that the team wasn't in the real world was that there was no time and date stamp in the beginning of the episode. Also, the team's reaction to the deaths of the Justice League.
    • The episode itself is littered with foreshadowing of events occurring throughout the rest of the season and even season two, from season two's "alien invasion" premise, a message the Team transmits around the world, to the winter stealth-suits and a mission in the snow, to Kaldur "leaving" the team, Kid Flash being distraught by someone's death, Dick's cold and calculating nature coming out, the Justice League being "gone" and leaving the kids behind in the wake of an alien threat, Artemis's "death", and M'gann's powers causing problems.
    • In one episode, there's an exchange between hero Red Arrow and assassin Chesire that foreshadows that Roy is actually a pre-programmed clone who doesn't realize he's going to take down the League from within.
      Red Arrow: I think you know what I'm after.
      Chesire: I do, actually. Do you?
    • When Kaldur visits Atlantis in season 1, in the background we see a fish boy practising magic. In season 2 he's joined the team as Lagoon Boy. Other cameos of heroes are also common; for example, Barbara Gordan (aka Batgirl) appears as a civilian in several season one episodes, Rocket is seen saving lives before joining the Team, and both Virgil Hawkins (aka Static) and Stephanie Brown (aka Spoiler/Robin IV) are among the Light's hostages in season 2. Garfield Logan stars as a civilian in a season one episode, only to have become Beast Boy by season 2.
    • M'gann makes many comments about racial conflicts and her green skin throughout season one, foreshadowing that her real form is a huge white monster that was discriminated against back on Mars. In the same episode, M'gann's catchphrase "Hello, Megan!" becomes much more important.
    • In Bloodlines, Bart introduces himself to Wally with the line, "You're Wally West! My first cousin once removed!" Since Wally is erased from existence at the end of the second season, Bart had never met him before the events of the episode.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Nature Pants", Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Squidward all surmised SpongeBob would realize living with the jellyfish is a harsh and unbearable lifestyle and he'd crawl back to civilization sooner or later.
    • In "Valentine's Day", Patrick crushing a rock heart while thinking SpongeBob's inside is the first sign of how dangerous he can get when he wants something.
    • In "The Smoking Peanut":
      • Clamu does not cry the instant SpongeBob throws the peanut at her; she frantically searches around her enclosure before bawling. This is a visual clue that the peanut is not what's making her cry.
      • In the beginning, Mr. Krabs is shown swiping loads of souvenirs at the zoo on its free day; in the end, it's revealed Mr. Krabs is the real culprit for Clamu's breakdown.
    • In "Frankendoodle" when SpongeBob and Patrick are playing Rock–Paper–Scissors with bubbles, SpongeBob wonders why Patrick always uses paper. Later on in the episode, SpongeBob discovers paper is how to defeat DoodleBob.
    • In "The Secret Box" during SpongeBob's heist to get the secret box from Patrick, he's stuck in the sleeping Patrick's arms. Patrick proceeds to pull on SpongeBob's tongue while muttering about the secret box, foreshadowing the function of the string inside.
    • In "Missing Identity" when SpongeBob gets dressed, eagle-eyed viewers will notice the front folds of his shirt are missing. Also when Patrick says hi to him, note that his back is turned when he passes Patrick.
    • In "Plankton's Regular", note how Nat reacts to Mr. Krabs' brand of chum hinting he doesn't really like Plankton's.
      Nat: It's the second foulest thing I had ever tasted!


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