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Whenever adaptations and remakes of an earlier works are created, the writers of adaptations/remakes often have to tell the same basic story as the original work in a reduced span of time and also have to alter elements to fit the new medium. Sometimes this leads to stuff being introduced relatively earlier than the original brought them into the picture. This can apply to characters, tech, plots, almost anything, but the basic principle is the same regardless.

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The other reasons adaptation makers will employ this are these: An Iconic Sequel Character(s) will be the beneficiary(ies) of this trope both for the aforementioned narrative purposes and also to appeal to fans of the source material. Also by having characters appear earlier, they can be present when and where they weren't and thus make some changes so as to avoid being a complete retread.

This is easier to see when elements are introduced in a different order than in the original: whichever element(s) appear first become examples of this trope. Though choosing to have certain characters and objects that tie in to the earlier introduced character Adapted Out can also qualify for this trope.

Note: Adaptations that feature the same characters (including most of their associated personalities) and objects (with the associated appearances and functions) as the source, but have a plot and/or backstory that are invented whole cloth are not this trope. Therefore adaptations in question must be of Types 5-3 on the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification to qualify.

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Also for the benefit for those who are not knowledgeable of whatever works that are cited, please include specific as possible references in order to demonstrate how an example applies (e.g. "Bob didn't appear until episode 24 of the 26 episode long (92.3% into the plot) TV show, but arises in the beginning of the close of the film adaptation's first act of three acts (33% into the plot)." or "In the comics Bob was introduced well after that of his previously established mentor Alice, but in the movie he is introduced without Alice's existence being established").

Compare Canon Immigrant (where a character introduced in a non-canon offshoot of the original source wasn't intended to be part of the main work, but is later incorporated, and retconned to be involved in prior events, due to Popularity Power), Ascended Extra (in which a character in the source material isn't crucial to the plot, but in the adaptation is given more prominence and involvement) and Early-Bird Cameo where a character appears earlier than their introduction in the same work or series. Adaptation Origin Connection is a related trope of this. The inversion of this is Adaptational Late Appearance.

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Examples, sorted by the medium of the adaptation:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the AKIRA manga, Kaori doesn't show up until halfway into the series. In the movie, however, she's Tetsuo's classmate and girlfriend from the beginning.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm:
    • The orginal light novel starts with the last moments of modern-day Japanese bookworm Urano before her death and her reincarnation as a young girl named Myne. Much later in the story (the part that became the last few episodes of the anime's first season), Myne joins the temple under the tutelage of a priest named Ferdinand. The anime adaptation added a Framing Device that consists of Ferdinand using a magic item to explore Myne's memories after having figured out there is something strange about her, resulting him being introduced before the members of Myne's own family.
    • In a later part of the novel, it's revealed, more than a year after the fact, that Ferdinand sent his two recently-introduced retainers to investigate Myne before taking her in as his student, resulting in that volume including a side story telling the reader how that investigation went. The anime has a Two Shorts bonus episode between Seasons 1 and 2, one of the shorts being an adaptation of the investigation side story that puts it its proper chronological place, resulting in an early debut for the investigators.
  • The Asterisk War: In the original light novels, the minor Queenvale student Violet Weinberg has a bit part in volume 7, chapter 4 (published in Japan in November 2014) where she asks Ayato for an autograph at the School Festival (it's hard to spot: Yuu Miyazaki only uses her given name). The anime gives her a much earlier introduction in season 1, episode 8 (aired as filler in November 2015), then ended after its second season at the end of novel volume 6.
  • In the anime version of Asteroid in Love, Yuu and Chikage first appeared as School Festival visitors during the sixth episode (which mostly adapts the ninteenth and twentith chapters). Chikage appears once more in the part of the eighth episode that adapts the twenty-fifth chapter, as one of the participants of the Earth Science Olympiad.
  • Keen-eyed viewers watching Attack on Titan will spot cameos added in the second episode. A young Annie appears among the refugees waiting in the bread line, while a young Reiner and Bertolt appear in the crowd during the announcement of the operation to reclaim Wall Maria. It's also Foreshadowing that Reiner and Bertolt caused the mess in the first place.
  • In Bakuman。, Kaya Miyoshi is briefly shown calling for Miho to come with her in the first episode of the anime. She doesn't appear until a few chapters into the series in the manga, when she meets the main characters on the roof. Koogy's music turns up a few times before he decides to make his debut as a mangaka.
  • Bleach:
    • In the manga, Chad first appears in Chapter 7 (and this story is put into the anime at episode 4). But in the second episode, he's there offering to help repair Ichigo's house after the fight against Fish Bone D.
    • Ishida gets an odd treatment of this. He has a different Early-Bird Cameo in the manga versus the anime, but still gets introduced in the same story arc.
    • While less noticeable than other examples, in the anime, Kiyone and Sentarou (Ukitake's bickering third seats) first appear in Ukitake's debut when he hears about Aizen supposedly having been killed. In the manga, a faceless messenger tells him, and Kiyone and Sentarou don't arrive until he calls them out of hiding a few chapters later.
  • The original Cardfight!! Vanguard anime introduced Leon Souryu in Season 2. The 2018 remake introduces it during Season 1.
  • While it's only one episode early, In the Date A Live anime, when it suddenly starts raining during Tohka and Sido's first date you can see Yoshino in front of the arcade they take shelter in. The first season OVA ups the ante with Yamai twins playing Breakout at the arcade in their Astral Dresses.
  • In the Death Note Matt appears in episode 32 alongside Mello, while he didn't debut in the manga until a little later.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon Izutsumi was a member of the group well before reaching the Red Dragon in the one-shot. The series proper introduces her alongside Shuro's party and keeps her disguised until the concept of artificial chimeras is brought up, both providing explanation on why there would be a catgirl ninja in an otherwise fairly western-styled setting.
  • Two major characters and a location that don't get introduced until the third volume of the The Demon Girl Next Door manga get very brief appearances in the final episode of the Animated Adaptation (which adapts the first two volumes), possibly as a sequel tease.
  • Detective Conan:
    • The anime's first episode gives Conan's future first-grade friends, the Detective Boys, speaking roles.
    • Sonoko was introduced in a filler episode, the sixth episode. Her manga debut was in volume 5, during the Mountain Villa Bandaged Man Murder Case.
    • The 2016 TV special, Detective Conan ONE, which is largely a retelling of the first two episodes, contains a lot of cameos of characters who weren't introduced in the original two episodes, including some flashforwards.
  • In the anime adaptation of Dies Irae, a special super powered version of Ren's normal time stop powers called Eine Faust Finale appeared when he confronted Reinhard at the bridge prior to where the routes are supposed to split. Not only is this far earlier than in the novel where it only appeared near the end of Rea's route, but it also appeared one route too early as the anime adapts Marie's route which canonically takes place before Rea's.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the manga, Pilaf and his henchmen Mai and Shuu aren't introduced until Goku and friends have collected 6 Dragon Balls and reached his castle (Chapter 18). In the anime, he shows up in the very first episode, and acquires the Dragon Ball that he has in the manga. For the rest of the meta-arc, their various exploits in attempting to acquire the other Dragon Balls are depicted. Which means, since Goku and friends get all the rest, Failure Is the Only Option for these exploits.
    • The introduction of Tenshinhan (Tien) and Chaozu. In the manga, they first turn up at the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai. But the anime introduces them as the villains of a filler episode while Goku is doing his solo training.
  • From Eyeshield 21, the manga introduces Suzuna Taki in the Death March storyarc. The anime includes her in an earlier episode, trying to track down her brother Natsuhiko.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • In the manga, Kenshiro's initial nemesis, Shin, doesn't show up until Chapter 4, while his lost love Yuria (or rather a mannequin bearing her likeness) first appears in Chapter 6. In the anime, they both show up in the very first episode in the form of hallucinations in Kenshiro's mind while going through the desert with real Yuria being a prominent character throughout the first season of the anime.
    • The Hokuto no Ken 2 anime changes the order in which certain characters are introduced as well. In the manga, the initial villain Jakoh isn't introduced until Chapter 150 in order to make Falco (who is introduced earlier as an antagonist in Chapter 145) more sympathetic. In the anime Jakoh is introduced in Episode 110, while Falco and the other Gento warriors show up later in Episode 114.
  • Freezing: The second season of the anime, subtitled Vibration, debuts the E-Pandoras the equivalent of two full tankoubon volumes early, seemingly skipping the preceding arc with Satellizer's half-brother Louis. This is a case of an Author's Saving Throw by way of a Pragmatic Adaptation: that arc is moved to the middle of the E-Pandora arc and its outcome adjusted to make Louis more The Atoner for his past sexual abuse of Satellizer.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • In the manga, Maes Huges is introduced during Chapter 6 when the Elric brothers have arrived at Central by train. In the 2003 anime, Maes Hughes first appears during the train hijacking incident and helps Ed and Al retake the train.
      • Roy Mustang is shown in the opening scene of Episode 1 in the 2003 anime.
    • Solf J. Kimblee is one of the characters briefly introduced in the first episode of Brotherhood; Isaac MacDougal offers to break him out of prison, but he refuses. Father also makes a brief appearance.
      • The first episode also features major appearances of many characters that were introduced a little later in the manga. Most notably King Bradley and Roy Mustang, who are introduced before even the Elric brothers.
  • The anime adaptation of Gintama starts with the core cast already assembled, and subsequent episodes that reveal how Gintoki first met Shinpachi, Kagura, Katsura, Sachan and the others essentially serve as Whole Episode Flashbacks.
  • In the anime adaptation of Granblue Fantasy, Rosetta appears early in Port Breeze, interrupting the fight between Gran and Drang. And again, in Auguste Isles where she warns Gran of impending danger and helps them to recover Lyria when she falls into a coma. In the game's actual plot, she only appears when the crew visits the Lumacie Forest.
    • In season 2 of the anime, Ferry's sister appears in a flashback, whereas in the game's version of the story arc, she was originally only mentioned. It took years for her to finally make an appearance in a fate episode.
  • In Is the Order a Rabbit?, Aoyama first appeared within the first minute of the anime (00:51 to be exact), in an anime-only intro.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In the 2014 anime adaptation of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders, there's Pet Shop. He is seen perched upon DIO's shoulder in the fifth episode, whereas the manga featured a generic parrot while Pet Shop did not appear until his battle with Iggy.
    • In the first episode of the anime adaptation of Diamond is Unbreakable, a crowd gathers to watch an unfolding hostage situation. Observant viewers will observe that the crowd in the anime version includes a number of enemy Stand users that wouldn't appear for several arcs, including the Nijimura brothers, Toshikazu Hazamada, Yukako Yamagishi, and even Rohan Kishibe.
    • The anime of Vento Aureo follows the same trend as its predecessors, albeit even more strongly. Shortly after Polpo's death, the montage of Capos talking about the rumors of his hidden treasure includes a short scene of Zucchero and Sale in a car together puzzling out that Bucciarati seems a likely candidate to know where the treasure is.
    • The Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Vento Aureo anime even dedicates an entirely original episode to the backstory of La Squadra Esecuzioni. It featured them performing a mission in the lead-up to discovering the fate of Sorbet and Gelato, showing all their faces and personalities, and even adding a scene of the other members attending Sorbet and Gelato's funeral afterwards. In the manga, this backstory lasted two pages, showed all the members as no more than silhouettes, and didn't mention any names.
      • In episode 10 of Vento Aureo, Cioccolata and Secco, Diavolo's most sadistic henchmen are seen as shadowy silhouettes in a flashback dedicated to the Hitman Team. Cioccolata is seen slicing up Sorbet, one of the hitmen, alive, while Secco films it all on a camera in the background. Although their faces are not shown, Cioccolata's distinctive hairstyle makes it very apparent that Diavolo sent the two of them as a warning for the Hitman Team for breaching his privacy. They don't make a full appearance until episode 29 much later on.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love is War:
    • Miko and Osaragi both make a small appearance in the final episode for season 1 during an adaptation of chapter 46. Neither of them showed up in the manga until chapter 65.
    • Ishigami had several cameos prior to his proper introduction in episode 6 (he had an Early-Bird Cameo on one of the chapter covers in the manga, but it wasn't adapted).
    • Tsubame, Onodera, Kazeno, and Shirogane's predecessor as Student Council President (as well as a few minor characters from the Culture Festival arc) all can be seen during the Crowded Cast Shot in episode 17, long before any of them are introduced in the manga.
  • Mysterious Joker: In the manga, Ginko and Momo didn't appear until all the way in Chapter 20 and only showed up sporadically after that. The anime adaptation has them present from the very first episode, presumably to give the show a stronger female presence.
  • Every major character appears in the first episode of the 2006 version of Kanon, save for Amano Mishio. Yes, Makoto is there. For those who kept trying to spot the Makoto Sawatari we know, it's not her that we see in the pilot episode, but rather, her fox form, the fox that Nayuki approaches on the hill that we see. Many of them appear only as extras, making them Early Bird Cameoes.
  • Ootani from Komori-san Can't Decline! showed up several times in the background of the first 5 episodes of the anime. In the manga, he never appeared until Komori bumped into him in chapter 16.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
    • Epona tags along with Link during the Child portion. In the game, she can't be obtained until later.
    • Dark Link appears in Kakariko Village, not in the Water Temple.
  • In the Little Busters! visual novel, Suginami-san and her Jerkass friends Katsuzawa and Takamiya don't show up until the beginning of Rin or Kurugaya's routes, but the anime briefly lingers over the three of them in an establishing shot of the classroom in the first episode. The anime also has brief cameos of Saya, a character who wasn't introduced until a route in the Updated Re-release that could only be unlocked upon finishing the game; however, this only half counts, as while it's an early appearance from the viewers' point of view, Saya's route was actually set before the events of the VN proper.
  • In the Locodol anime, the Awa Awa Girls appear briefly on TV in episode one. They are only introduced properly ten episodes later.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid anime begins with a scene showing Sankt Kaiser Olivie, Hegemon Klaus Ingvalt, and Wilfried Jeremiah during the time of Ancient Belka. In the original manga, the first two don't appear until after Einhart gets befriended a few chapters in, while the existence of Wilfried isn't shown until more than 40 chapters later near the end of the Tournament Arc.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • Kanna shows up near the end of episode 1 recognizing Tohru's Wave-Motion Gun. Doubles as Adaptation Expansion, since Kanna mentioned during her first appearance in the manga that it's how she tracked Tohru down.
    • Saikawa can be seen in the background at four different points during Kanna's first day of school before she's properly introduced. In the manga, she isn't seen until she confronts Kanna after class is over.
  • Moomin places Little My in storylines that took place before her debut in the original books.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • The Stinger for Season 1 has Stain lurking in the shadows. In the manga, he doesn't make his first appearance until the end of the Sports Festival Arc before becoming the Arc Villain in the following one.
    • If the previews are any indication, Endeavor will play a role in the Jump Festa 2016 OVA between seasons one and two, where as in the manga, he didn't have his first speaking role until the Sports Festival Arc.
    • Gran Torino makes his first anime appearance in the first episode of season 2, reading a letter sent to him by All Might. This scene is not in the manga, where he doesn't appear until the Stain/Internship arc.
  • In the original manga of Naruto, versus the anime adaptation:
    • Sakura and Sasuke (Sasuke is in the background of one panel) aren't shown clearly until after Naruto becomes a Genin. The rest of the "Nine" aren't introduced until the Chunin Exam arc. In the first episode of the anime, all the members of the Rookie Nine are seen lined up for the Henge Jutsu evaluation. Sakura and Sasuke are even shown going before Naruto.
    • Some of the dialogue is changed, as Shikamaru and Ino replace the generic students who complain about Naruto's mischief causing them to be tested on Transformation, with Shikamaru wondering why Naruto is among the graduates when they are assigned to teams.
    • In Episode 3, a few of the teachers appear while observing Naruto and Sasuke in the classroom, including Kurenai, who is incredibly Off-Model, has the red and white on her outfit reversed, and has a different voice actor for that episode.
    • In the manga, the Akatsuki members Hidan and Kakuzu were only seen clearly when they make their first appearance in person, but in the anime they make an appearance as holograms during the Gaara Rescue, requesting to take care of Team Kakashi.
    • A Whole Episode Flashback of Jiraiya's has two of the ninja who would become the Six Paths of Pain, back when they were still alive. One of whom had already been introduced before the flashback. For the anime, the entire group was introduced.
    • In the Boruto anime, Kashin Koji appears as a cloaked figure casting a genjutsu on Katasuke, before his first appearance in the manga.
    • The Last: Naruto the Movie came out while the Naruto anime was still airing. It wouldn't end for over a year. The Stinger of the movie shows Naruto and Hinata's children, Himawari and Boruto. In the manga, they aren't revealed until the Distant Epilogue. As a result of the film and the Boruto film already having came out, the anime just skipped over the manga's epilogue and adapted a book showing Naruto's wedding arc.
    • Momoshiki and Kinshiki appear as shadow figures on the flashback of Kaguya's past on Naruto Shippuuden.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Kaworu Nagisa only appears in episode 24 of the 26 episode long TV series, and is the final Angel faced after the others have been destroyed. However, he appears in the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie, which roughly covers the first six episodes of the TV show. This may have something to do with him being an Ensemble Dark Horse.
    • He also shows up quite a bit earlier in the manga adaptation, arriving in Tokyo-3 before Asuka's ill-fated confrontation with Arael. Kaworu even winds up piloting Unit-02 during the subsequent battle against Armisael, in contrast to the TV show, where he never got to see combat in the cockpit of an EVA.
    • Kaworu is among the first introduced characters in pretty much every Alternate Continuity. This may have something to do with the creators acknowledging him as being a a popular character with the fanbase and thus deciding to given a more prominent role in the stories of adaptation by introducing him earlier.
  • New Game!: Umiko and Shizuku, who aren't introduced until chapters 15 and 25 of the manga, respectively, make appearances starting from the first episode of the anime to establish their characters.
  • The anime of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! downplays this by having the Nice Girl Student Council President appear a few minutes ahead of schedule, replacing the nameless girl who was originally there.
  • The Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan anime not only has Gyuuki, the first major villain, appear early, but practically has him appear every other minute for no real reason.
  • One Piece has the anime artists adding foreshadowing of future characters that recently appeared in the manga by using an Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Akainu appeared in the background of a group shot just over a month after his present design was unveiled in the manga, Jimbei was shown among the Warlords, and Shiryuu's shadow showed up in Impel Down.
    • Nami is introduced in the first few episodes, with her own storyline, before her manga introduction during the Buggy arc.
    • A minor example with Yokozuna. In the manga, the Straw Hats encounter him while sailing to Water Seven. In the anime, they meet some shipwrecked sailors, who had an encounter with a frog matching his description, who's briefly shown in a flashback.
  • Pokémon tends to do this at least once a generation, normally to tease the following generation:
    • Generation 2
      • Ho-Oh appears in the anime's very first episode. Togepi, Marill, and Snubbull also appear before the cast gets to Johto and Donphan shows up in a small battle in the opening of the first movie. Lugia, Slowking, Elekid, Bellossom, Ledyba, and Hoothoot appear in the Orange Islands arc.
    • Generation 3
      • Kecleon first shows up about halfway through the Johto region and Wynaut, Blaziken, Seedot, Shroomish, Lotad, Zigzagoon, Wingull, and Pelipper all show up at the tail end of Johto. Azurill, Wailmer, Duskull, and Volbeat were shown off first in shorts prior to movies, and Latios and Latias were the stars of Pokémon Heroes.
    • Generation 4
    • Generation 5
      • Zorua and Zoroark were first shown in Zoroark: Master of Illusions. Additionally, a cap worn by one of the movie's characters has the silhouette of a Woobat on it.
    • Generation 6
      • Sylveon first debuted in the short prior to Genesect and the Legend Awakened and Mega Mewtwo Y and Mega Evolution as a whole debuted in the same movie. Helioptile, Gogoat, and Noivern debuted at the tail end of the Gen 5 season.
      • The original airing in Japan of Mega Rayquaza's debut was three weeks prior to the launch of the Gen 3 remakes.
    • Generation 7
  • Two instances in the Pretty Cure All Stars series:
    • In DX 2, Itsuki and Yuri show up in a crowd shot, the movie airing prior to their appearances in the show, though Yuri's something of an exception.
    • In New Stage 3, Cure Honey shows up to lend a hand twice. The movie aired two weeks prior to her official appearance.
  • In the anime of Reborn! (2004), Tsuna passes by Ryohei, Yamamoto, and Hibari when he is running to catch up with Kyoko.
  • Rosario + Vampire: In the manga, Ruby Tojou didn't appear until the arc immediately preceding the defeat of Kuyou and the Student Police, and never even met Kuyou until near the end of Season II when he reappears as a member of Fairy Tale. The anime changed the order the story arcs it was adapting so that Ruby appears before Kuyou does; she later shows up to rally Moka and the rest of the Newspaper Club to fight back against Kuyou and save Tsukune from him.
    • Similarly, Mizore's first manga appearance happens one arc after Ruby's introduction. In the anime, she already joins the Newspaper Club before they go on the trip where they would meet Ruby for the first time. Mizore herself never meets Kuyou in the manga.
    • In the manga, Yukari appears after the Swimming Club incident and after Ginei's introduction. In the anime, she appears before either of them.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal has a slight tendency to tease characters before they appeared in the Sailor Moon manga, a perk of adapting an already-finished story.
    • Ami has a brief appearance at the end of the first episode, running to get out of the rain. In the original Sailor Moon manga, she didn't appear until Act 2.
    • Rei shows up briefly at the very end of the second episode with some shots focusing on her shrine. It also foreshadows her Psychic Powers. She didn't appear in the manga until Act 3.
    • In the most drastic example, Luna's human form makes an appearance toward the end of the first season. This form didn't appear until a short story published around the same time as the Infinity arc (third season) and didn't appear in the manga proper until the fifth and final arc, Stars.
    • On that subject, there are brief appearances by Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune in a flashback scene in Season 1, two whole seasons before they debut. It’s even more drastic because this scene is the first thing shown in the original dub, and by the time they got to that season, the dubbing company had changed.
  • School-Live!:
    • Played with when it comes to Taroumaru. Chronologically he was a Posthumous Character by the time the manga started however this wasn't revealed until several chapters in. In the anime, which starts In Medias Res from the manga, he is an Ascended Extra.
    • Played straight with Miki. She doesn't meet the club until several chapters in, however the anime has her around from the get-go and her early scenes are treated as flashbacks. This created some trouble due to Megu-nee's reveal of being Dead All Along happening before Miki joined the club in the manga, but the anime had to tip-toe around the issue for several episodes while the manga never pretended Megu-nee was alive (and, as mentioned, Miki gets into fights about how the others aren't helping Yuki by supporting her delusions).
  • Shaman King: In the Manga, Horohoro first appeared in chapter 32 after Yoh's fight with Silva. The Anime however introduced him in Episode 10 long before the Story Arcs where Ryu Meets Tokagero and Yoh learns the power of Oversouls were adapted yet.
  • In the Soul Eater manga, we first see Sid after he's zombified and fights Maka, Soul, Black Star, and Tsubaki. In the anime we see him an episode earlier, before he became a zombie, in a scene added to the anime where Soul and Black Star try to find out about Kid. Likewise, we see Harvar, Ox, Kilik, Pot of Fire, Pot of Thunder, and Hiro in the fourth episode of the anime instead of some unnamed background characters, as all of them were shown significantly later in the manga.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato 2199 the White Comet Empire shows up as early as episode 9, when the original series didn't reveal their existence until the second season.
  • In Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Garrard and Hazel make their anime debut in Episode 30, which takes place between Chapter 20 and 21, rather than their canonical debut at the end of Chapter 31.
  • The manga adaptation of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Nia is shown right after Kamina, Yoko, Leeron, and Simon leave Ritoona Village. There's also some Early-Bird Ship Tease for Dayakka/Kiyoh and Rossiu/Kinon.
    • In Gurren-Hen, Guinble makes an appearance just after the destruction of the Doten-Kaizan. He looks (appropriately enough) younger than he did in the original series.
    • In Lagann-hen, the Anti-Spiral's face briefly appears on the moon's surface just as Nia accepted Simon's marriage proposal.
  • The anime adaptation of Urusei Yatsura gets most of the cast assembled way before the manga did. This means that episodes adapted from specific chapters sometimes had to rework the plots to account for characters that weren't yet in the story when the manga was written.
  • In the anime adaptation of Vinland Saga:
    • Thorkell shows up in the added Action Prologue set during the Battle of Hjorunga Bay, instead of appearing halfway through the first arc. The Battle itself is also an example as it first shows up in a flashback of Floki's in the third arc (interestingly, Floki does not appear in the action prologue).
    • The last moments of the anime is an anime-original montage that features characters that become important in arcs two and three of the manga, namely Einar, Gudrid and Hild.
  • In the manga adaption of Rusty's arrival in ThunderClan during Warrior Cats, Ravenpaw is in the camp. In the book, he didn't appear until later.
  • The anime of Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl added a date scene with Yawara in the park with Kazamatsuri (who's trying to avoid all the girls he stood up) in episode #6. One of them (the one in the boat) is Yoko Nanda, who won't join the main cast until MUCH later (like, after the part that's come to the USA). Nanda's defining characteristic WAS her bad luck with men, so it works rather well.
  • In Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh anime, Ryou Bakura appears before Monster World, where he was introduced in the manga.

    Comic Books 
  • The graphic novel adaptation of the first Artemis Fowl novel features references to Opal Koboi and her company - both of which play major roles in the second book- that were not in the print version.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Boom! Studios):
    • Drusilla and Spike weren't introduced until the second season of the show. Promotional material for the first two issues has them shaping up to be some of Buffy's earliest foes.
    • In the Angel spinoff, Fred Burckle is introduced in the second issue. She didn't appear until the second season of the sister series. Charles Gunn makes a an Early-Bird Cameo in a vision from #3, while he didn't appear until the very end of the first season of Angel.
  • The first The Adventure Zone: Balance graphic novel, Here There Be Gerblins gives a brief non-speaking appearance to Carey Fangbattle, Brad Bradson, and Boyland.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • In the cartoon Jetta isn't introduced until season 2, when The Misfits decided they need a fourth member after Jem and The Holograms start looking for a new drummer. In the IDW comics she's already a Misfit before Jem's band is even commercially known.
    • Stormer's older brother Craig is introduced in the same episode as Jetta but in the comics he bumps into Aja in the first arc.
    • Clash doesn't appear until several episodes into the cartoon but is prominent from the start of the comic.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) is an adapation and update of Wonder Woman's WWII era tales and four of the five Holliday Girls are from her Golden Age WWII era stories. Lita Little on the other hand was never associated with WWII before, and wasn't introduced until Silver Age Wonder Woman.
  • Certain random background Legionaires were changed into Brainiac 5 when early Legion of Super-Heroes stories were reprinted, by simply recolouring them to Brainy's colours (purple clothes, green skin, blonde hair).
  • Mega Man: Quite a few characters make appearances before the adaptation of their games of origin. The most notable examples include Dr. Cossack and his Robot Masters, who first appear before Mega Man 3. Mr. X (as a new character and not a disguise used by Wily) also appears just before Mega Man 4's adaptation begins, and is later revealed to be Xander Payne, who first appeared in a comic-exclusive arc early in the series.
  • The New 52:
    • In order to add some diversity to the team, Cyborg is made into a founding member of the Justice League. In real life, Cyborg wasn't introduced until the early 1980s, long after the creation of the Justice League.
    • Darkseid was initially introduced years after the Justice League already formed. In the New 52 universe, he's the reason the League exists.
    • Steel was first introduced in the aftermath of the Death of Superman storyline that was published in The '90s, long after Superman had been established both in real life and within the timeline of the DC Universe. By contrast, the New 52 version of Steel made his debut during the early months of Superman's career, showing up to help the young Kryptonian hero during his very first clash with Metallo.
  • Noob:
    • The webseries and novels introduced Castorga during the Centralis battle. The comic has him show up before the first of the Disaster Dominoes that led to the Centralis battle happening in the first place.
    • The webseries and comic introduced the guild of Gaea Admirers during the Centralis battle, but the comic introduced them during an earlier battle taking place on Syrial.
    • The novels introduced Mist right after the faction of Chaos was driven out of Glacesang, an event that happened several months after then Centralis battle. The comic introduces her one day before the Centralis battle takes place.
  • In the comic book adaptation of Small Gods the History Monks' Books of History reveal on the cover that they were written by Wen the Eternally Surprised, with commentary by Clodpool the Apprentice. In the novels, the founder of the History Monks wouldn't be named until Thief of Time.
  • Spider-Man: Life Story: Life Story #4, set in the 90s, introduces Jessica Jones into the story. While Jessica was retroactively made an old classmate of Peter Parker's, she actually technically wasn't created introduced into Marvel comics until the Alias series published during the Turn of the Millennium.
  • Likewise, in Spider-Man: Season One, a modernized retelling of the early Stan Lee / Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man stories, Peter's first fight with the Vulture (originally depicted in The Amazing Spider-Man #2) has a cameo appearance from a young child who is very strongly implied to be Miles Morales.
  • When Tintin in the Congo was turned into color, Thomson and Thompson were added into the scene where he is saying goodbye to everyone on the railway platform (they were not present in the original black and white edition). The pair made their first proper appearance in Cigars of the Pharaoh.
  • Marvel Comics did a Comic-Book Adaptation of Toxic Crusaders, the first issue of which was an adaptation of the cartoon's first episode. The comic had Headbanger and Junkyard appear with Nozone and Major Disaster as heroes wanting to help Toxie fight crime, when the original cartoon had Headbanger and Junkyard appear in the second and third episodes respectively before joining the Toxic Crusaders.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Spider-Man:
      • In the original Spider-Man comics, Gwen Stacy predated Mary Jane Watson (introduced as The Ghost) as Peter's love interest. In Ultimate Spider-Man, Mary Jane appears from the very beginning, while Gwen doesn't show up until issue #14. That said, Gwen herself also counts as Peter didn't meet her — or Harry and MJ — until college, whereas here, they're among his high school classmates.
      • As with most modern adaptations, the series has Norman Osborn and his son Harry around from pretty much the beginning, with Harry serving as one of Peter's only friends at Midtown High. In the original comics, Peter didn't meet Harry until he began attending college, with Norman showing up a little bit later. Also, Norman is established as the Green Goblin within the first story arc, in contrast to the original Silver Age stories, where the Green Goblin appeared way before Norman or Harry. In fact, when the Goblin was originally unmasked as Norman back in 1966, it was treated as a shocking plot twist.
      • In the classic comics, Peter Parker had years under his belt as Spider-Man, and he and Eddie Brock were well out of college when the latter became Venom. Here, Peter is still a rookie in high school and Eddie is in college when Eddie turns into Venom. Likewise, Carnage is introduced while Peter is in high school.
      • In the classic comics, Peter met George Stacy while in college and Jean DeWolff after graduating. Here, he meets John Stacy and Jeanne DeWolfe while in high school and Stacy is even one of the cops hunting for Ben's killer (thus predating his daughter's debut). Peter also meets Black Cat, Silver Sable, and Deadpool while in high school instead of after college. Cloak & Dagger, Kate Bishop, and Maria Hill are also active during what'd be Peter's high school years instead of post-college years.
      • The Kingpin, Miles Warren, Silvermane, Hammerhead, Moon Knight, Shang-Chi, Taskmaster, and Iron Fist are also around while Peter is in high school instead of college.
      • Despite canonically being a classmate of Peter's, Jessica Jones falls into this as she didn't appear until Peter was out of college in the comics, whereas we do see her and Peter in high school here.
    • Ultimate X-Men:
      • Jean Grey was the last of the original 5 Silver Age X-Men to actually join, with the first issue dealing with her introduction to the rest of the team. Here, she's the second ever member of the X-Men, and the first issue actually has her traveling the country to recruit the rest of the team.
      • Storm and Colossus are founding members of the team, and Wolverine joins shortly after. In the original run, they didn't show up until over a decade after the creation of the team.
      • Due to the series serving as an Adaptation Distillation of decades worth of X-Men stories, there are various examples of characters who didn't show up until much later in the original comics appearing early on here. For instance, Ultimate Rogue first shows up in issue #7, while her original counterpart didn't join the team until Uncanny X-Men #171. Meanwhile, Ultimate Gambit has his debut in issue #13, while the original Gambit first appeared in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14, which was published 27 years after the series began.
    • The Ultimates:
      • Captain America is a founding member of the team, in contrast to the original The Avengers comics, where he only joined in issue #4 after The Incredible Hulk left the group a few issues prior.
      • Black Widow and Hawkeye are introduced as members of the group's secret black-ops wing in issue #7. In the original comics, Hawkeye didn't become an Avenger until the major roster shake-up in issue #16, while Black Widow didn't officially join until issue #111 (though she did have several notable guest spots prior to that).
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four:
  • X-Men: Grand Design:
    • Mesmero is a founding member of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. In the original comics, Mesmero didn't appear until X-Men #49, 45 issues after the first appearance of the Brotherhood.
    • A younger version of Callisto shows up in the first issue (set during the initial Stan Lee / Jack Kirby X-Men run), where she encounters the original X-Men when they bring the Morlocks a Thanksgiving meal. Callisto's first appearance was in Uncanny X-Men #169, nearly two decades after Lee and Kirby had left the series.
    • In general, a number of characters and concepts created during the Chris Claremont run in the late 70s and early 80s like Storm, Moira MacTaggert, Legion, Lilandra, the Starjammers and the Phoenix Force make brief appearances in the first issue, even though it's set years before any of those characters actually first showed up.
  • The Hasbro Comic Universe version of the Beast Machines Tankornote  is this on two counts: first as he appears while the Autobots and Decepticons are still around and also because (as with Galvatron and Megatron, and Bumblebee and Goldbug/Goldfire) this version is a case of Decomposite Character and thus isn't a reprogrammed Rhinox, who's a case of Adaptational Late Appearance as a result.
  • Pre-Crisis, Alfred Pennyworth did not appear in the main Batman comics until issue #16, where he first introduced himself to an adult Bruce Wayne and was hired as his butler. Previously, Bruce Wayne had been raised by his uncle Philip upon his parents’ death (Philip was originally his paternal uncle but now is his maternal uncle). Post-Crisis and all subsequent adaptations (and in a case of Backported Development, the Batman (1966) tie-in film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders), Alfred has been depicted as the one to become Bruce's surrogate father and having been a part of the Waynes' lives since, Depending on the Writer and incarnation, Bruce was a kid or before Bruce was even born.

    Fan Works 
  • Adventures on the Friendship Express also has a cameo from Flash Sentry in chapter 8. Season 3 of FiM has not ended here yet, so Twilight does not have her wings either, so this is also before he is canonically introduced.
  • Advice and Trust: Kaworu was supposed to come along after the defeat of the Sixteenth Angel. Here he arrives at NERV shortly after the defeat of the Fourteenth.
  • Amazing Fantasy:
    • Izuku meets Hanta Sero, Kyouka Jirou, and Neito Monoma while preparing for the U.A. Entrance Exam, months before he meets them in canon.
    • All For One appears as the ominous voice Mysterio calls as early as Issue #3 before Izuku even starts his training.
    • Stain makes his first on-screen appearance in Issue #6, rather than after the Sports Festival.
  • Batman Revisited: A few characters, owing to this being an Ultimate Universe for the Batman Mythos.
    • Cassandra Cain shows up at the end of the first chapter, which is set not long after Dick Grayson became Nightwing (Which happened a good 15 years before she showed up in real life.)
    • Renee Montoya is here despite similarly not debuting till much later; she's also already The Question, when that took 15 years to happen after her debut.
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant:
    • Penny originally first appeared in RWBY during the events of episode 15 of Volume 1. Here, she first appears working at Tukson's Boot Trade just after the events of "The Badge and the Burden".
    • Neo first appears helping Roman with his heists and later aids him against Ragna, Blake, and Makoto during the events of "Black and White" in Volume 1, where as canonically she wouldn't first appear until the fourth episode of Volume 2.
  • A Brighter Dark: Azama shows up just after the events of the game's Chapter 5, Laslow and Peri show up during the game's Chapter 6, and Selena, Beruka, and Gunter fully join the party far earlier than in canon, with Gunter avoiding his original Disney Death.
  • Btvs: Seasons Rewrite:
    • In the original canon, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce didn't appear until the events of "Bad Girls," the thirteenth episode of Season 3. Here, he appears much earlier during "Myhnegon," an adaptation of the seventh episode "Revelations."
    • Allen Francis Doyle didn't appear in the Buffyverse until "City of", the pilot episode of Angel Season 1. Here, he debuts alongside Wesley in "Myhnegon."
    • Inverted with Anya. In canon, she appeared in "The Wish," the ninth episode of Season 3. Here, she doesn't appear until the second chapter of the Season 4 rewrite.
  • In Challenger, besides Pokemon from every region showing up (Ash's third Pokemon is a Sandile), many character appear earlier than canon as well. Giovanni appears in the second chapter, having been at the Viridian City Pokemon Center at the same time as Ash, while Silver and Luna end up traveling with Ash's students/apprentices of his after he takes a break from challenging Gyms to train more.
  • Monica returns to the Black Eagles shortly after Byleth arrives at Garreg Mach in A Chance for a New Dawn, as a result of Bernadetta going to the Golden Deer house. The reason for her disappearance the previous year is also explained as her being away dealing with family businesses, instead of being kidnapped.
  • In the Charmed fic "Charmed Alternate", Piper meets Paige just after Grams' funeral a few months before the pilot episode, with Paige becoming Piper's best friend before they become witches. She is present in the house when Phoebe casts the spell to summon their powers, but even after meeting Melinda Warren, none of the four aware that Paige is an actual relative and assume that she is another witch raised without knowledge of her powers whose magic was activated with the Halliwells' by chance.
  • In The Chosen One's Journey, Steven and Cynthia appear as early as Kanto, along with Pokemon from all 5 (later 6) generations.
  • A Codette World Tour: Staci, a contestant who canonically first appears in Total Drama's fourth season Revenge of the Island, replaces Blaineley's time as a contestant on the show's third season Total Drama World Tour.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron:
    • Nonette, who never showed up until the opening of R2, appears at the end of Tears of the Balmera, revealing she's recognized Rai as Prince Zephyr.
    • Lotor and his generals appear a whole season before they are even mentioned, watching Lelouch's speech as Zero.
    • Not a person, but the various methods used to make flying Knightmares (such as the float system) didn't make an appearance until the middle of the first season. Here, prototype version are deployed just after the Battle of Narita in order to defend the Avalon while it carries Nunnally.
  • Code Prime:
    • The Glaston Knights make their first appearance during the Battle of Narita when in canon, they were first summoned directly prior to the school festival. Only Edgar and David leave the battle alive.
    • Unicron makes a cameo in Chapters 2 and 16, appearing in C.C.'s code-induced visions.
    • While Wheeljack shows up around the same time like he did in canon, he decides to stay with the Autobots and Black Knights instead of going back into space.
    • In the Code Geass canon, the Glinda Knights weren't formed until after the Black Rebellion. As they are name dropped by Cornelia in Chapter 19, it's implied that they were formed around the same time the Black Knights were.
    • Originally the Knights of the Round first appeared in Episode 2 of R2. Here, Gino, Anya, Nonette, and Monica all debut in Chapter 20, with Bismarck, Dorothea and Luciano showing up in Chapter 31.
    • While first appearing in Episode 3 of R2, Kanon Maldini shows up in Chapter 34 helping the Decepticons in their invasion of Pendragon.
    • The original debut of Starscream's Seeker armada was in the Season 2 finale of Transformers Prime. Here, they are first mentioned to have arrived at the Nemesis in Chapter 32, and they make their first full appearance in Chapter 34.
    • The Lancelot Albion and the Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. Eight Elements, ninth-generation Knightmare Frames that appeared near the end of Code Geass's second season, appear in the first chapter of R2.
  • In the The Flash (2014) fic "Containment" and its sequels, Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein exist in their proper 'merged' state as Firestorm from the moment they regain consciousness, Ronnie in control while able to communicate with Stein, with the result that Firestorm becomes Central City's first superhero and is able to give Barry some advice when he regains consciousness.
  • In Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Brave New World, as Barry, Kara, Sara and J'onn learn more about their new merged timeline, they learn that Oliver and Sara met Barry and Kara at the same time before either of them assumed their costumed identities, the two meeting while Barry was on the train to Starling City to investigate the theft at Queen Consolidated and Kara keeping an eye on things in case of a superhuman threat she could help with.
  • Crimson and Emerald:
    • Mandalay was contacted by Toshinori to help them investigate the Vestiges in One for All through her telepathy.
    • Camie and Inasa come a lot earlier in attempt to get Shiketsu's most famous alumni, Hawks, to hook up his fellow Shiketsu students with interns.
  • Darth Vader: Hero of Naboo:
    • Upon returning to Coruscant, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan end up meeting Dooku before he left the order, who quickly helps them in calming down the situation during Vader's faux attack on the Jedi Temple.
    • While waiting to find out the results of his meeting with the Council, Anakin meets toddler Ahsoka, who quickly latches onto him.
  • Date A Live fan works:
    • Date A Live: Altered Timeline: Several characters make an earlier first appearance than in canon:
      • Mana Takamiya appears as the little sister that wakes up Shinji Takamiya (renamed from Shido Itsuka in canon).
      • Yoshino, Natsumi, and Mukuro appear as classmates of Mana and Kotori's school, Keisei Junior High.
      • Miku debuts here with Kurumi and Nia as her classmates.
      • Kaguya and Yuzuru are introduced as being part of Shido's school at the start.
      • Ellen appears as a DEM mole in Shido's school.
      • Isaac Wescott also makes a direct appearance in chapter 2 instead of the Yamai Arc.
    • Date A Re:Live: Several characters made earlier first appearances than in canon:
      • Mana Takamiya appeared in the first chapter instead of making her debut during Yoshino's arc.
      • Instead of making their debut in the Yamai arc, Isaac Westcott, Ellen Mathers, and their organization make their first appearance during the first arc where they replace the AST as Tohka's aggressors. Jessica Bailey also debuts in Chapter 5 instead of Miku's arc.
  • In the audio version of Daughter of Discord (the second story in the Bride of Discord verse) has both Twilight's daughter Twinkle and Rarity's youngest daughter Jewel, among the children she's telling the story to in the Nested Story Reveal, despite the fact that those two didn't appear in the fan fics until Son-In-Law of Discord and CMC: The Next Generation respectively. This was done in part to fulfill the wish of Make-A-Wish kid pokeyinmypocket, who voiced both characters.
  • The Differentverse: Several characters (and one concept) appear earlier than in canon.
    • Cadance gets namedropped in the first chapter, and makes a full appearance in chapter 5. This is in stark contrast to canon, where she wasn't even hinted at until the end of season 2.
    • Shining Armor gets namedropped in chapter 2 (again, in stark contrast to canon, where he wasn't even mentioned until the end of season 2).
    • Pinkie Promises make their first appearance in chapter 2, as opposed to the last third of season 1 as in canon.
    • Cranky Doodle Donkey, who debuted in season 2 of canon, gets namedropped (as "Cranky") during the trip through the Everfree.
  • A Diplomatic Visit:
    • The series begins and largely takes place during season 4, but Scootaloo's aunts Holiday and Lofty, and Rainbow Dash's parents Windy Whistles and Bow Hot Hoof, are featured in chapter 3 of the sequel; their first show appearances weren't until seasons 9 and 7, respectively.
    • After being teased in the first story, the locales of Mount Aris and Seaquestria are featured in chapter 3 of the second. There, Twilight and Spike meet Queen Novo, her daughter Princess Skystar, her sister Ocean Flow, her niece and nephew Silverstream and Terramar, and the siblings' father Sky Beak. General Seaspray is also referenced, though not seen in person.
    • Aside from Silverstream, her classmate Ocellus also makes an early appearance, and a small yak matching Yona's description appears in chapter 12.
    • The real Grogar is mentioned late in the first story and actually appears in the second, albeit still sealed away. This is long before he was mentioned in season 7 of canon, as a character in a storybook.
    • Smolder (unnamed at the time, but later confirmed to be her) appears in chapter 1 of Diplomacy Through Schooling, Neighsay debuts in chapter 4 (which is taking place around the time season 5 starts), and Gallus and Sandbar debut in chapter 7. Sunburst also appears in the flesh in chapter 7, soon after the events of "The Cutie Map".
  • Doing It Right This Time: Kaworu shows up for first time in chapter 2, shortly after Sachiel's defeat. In canon he showed up half year later.
  • The Domino City Effect:
    • Rebecca Hawkins appears in Duelist Kingdom as a contestant, as opposed to appearing after Yugi won the tournament and challenging him to duel.
    • Vivian Wong also appears in Duelist Kingdom instead of in the KC Grand Prix.
    • Fonda Fontaine, the nurse from Yu-Gi-Oh GX, appears about ten years earlier than her canon counterpart as an Eliminator working for Pegasus.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Early on in the Saiyan Saga, there's a cutaway to Nail and Guru on Namek, the former so bored he wishes something exciting would happen soon.
    • Episode 18 (set in the Freeza Saga) has a brief appearance from Future Trunks, just before he departs for the past (future?).
    • Episode 59's ending shows Videl as a little girl watching the Cell Games, seven in-universe years before she meets Gohan in the Buu Saga.
    • Bardock: Father of Goku Abridged has Bardock, in his final glimpse into the future before his death, sees Perfect Cell, Majin Buu, and the Para Brothers, none of whom he saw in the original.
  • Evangelion 303: Asuka and Kaworu show up in the first scene of the first chapter. In canon they appeared in chapter 8 and chapter 24, respectively.
  • Fate/Gamers Only:
    • Tomoe Gozen, whose True Name isn't revealed until her first appearance in the third Pseudo-Singularity in Part 1.5, is part of Rikku's first summon.
    • Blackbeard ends up in Chaldea before his official first appearance in Okeanos to send extra outfits for Rikku to wear and influence events. While sneaking around, he laughs about no one knowing who he is yet because they haven't been to Okeanos.
  • Hero Academia D×D: Muscular is already with the League of Villains and appears with them during the USJ arc.
  • J-WITCH Season 1:
    • In Jackie Chan Adventures canon, the Ice Crew didn't appear until an episode late in Season 4. Here, they appear while the JCA side of the story is still in the equivalent of Season 3.
    • In W.I.T.C.H. canon, Miranda is introduced a few episodes after Elyon is taken to Meridian. Here, due to Cedric's cover being blown by Section 13 before he can fully win Elyon over, Miranda is brought in to help finish the job.
    • Jeek first appeared in a late episode of the first season of W.I.T.C.H.. In this fic, his first appearance occurs in the chapter that takes place between said cartoon's third and fourth episodes, with him learning that Valmont has stolen the Heart of Kandrakar and reporting this back to Phobos.
    • The Council of Kandrakar didn't appear before the second season, but here they appear at the end of "Return of the Queen" to discuss the unexpected appearance of Jade's Auremere.
  • Lelouch of the Wings of Rebellion: Chinese Federation characters like Li Xingke and High Eunuch Gao Hai, who don't appear in Code Geass until the second season, are introduced in the fifth Story Arc, around the time of the first season, with the latter being the Arc Villain as the fifth Palace ruler.
  • In Leviathan, Mirio Togata, who canonically doesn't appear until much later in canon, steps in to stop a conflict between Bit and a random stranger after Bit's attempts to test his lightsaber ended up burning the man's hair off. Mirio had watched the Entrance Exam and congratulates Izuku for his performance during it.
  • Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
    • Kalawarner, Dohnaseek, and Mittelt all appear before Raynare this time around. This leads to Kalawarner dying much earlier.
    • Diodora Astaroth appears at in the first chapter of Volume 2 instead of Volume 5 and is revealed to be working for Halja.
    • Suzaku Himejima appears in Volume 2, whereas she appears much later in the Light Novel.
  • A Moon And World Apart: The story starts at about the same time as the series, but some characters from later on appear much earlier.
    • Sunset Shimmer is one of the main characters from the beginning, rather than only being introduced after the events of season 3.
    • Blueblood (first referenced in episode 3 and debuting in episode 26), Cadance, Shining Armor (the latter 2 introduced in season 2's finale) and Twilight's mom (cameoing very late in season 1 via flashback) all appear before Celestia sends her student to Ponyville.
    • Chapter 5 establishes that the Cutie Mark Crusaders have already come together as a group, instead of about halfway through the first season.
    • Sunset Shimmer is shown to have adopted her leopard gecko Ray while she's still living in Canterlot, years before his debut at approximately the same time as season seven.
    • Chapter 10 introduces Sassy Saddles, years before her canon debut in season 5.
    • Chapter 11 includes a discussion on Zecora, who debuted in episode 9, and makes a description-only mention of Zesty Gourmand, who debuted in season 6.
  • My Hero Playthrough: Izuku meets Tsuyu in chapter four, which takes place ten months before the UA Entrance Exam. Her siblings appear in the next chapter, while in the manga they did not appear until a bonus chapter released during the Hideout Raid arc.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, several characters are introduced significantly before they are in canon.
    • While scouring newspapers in his middle school library for any signs of surviving Kryptonians, Izuku has to come up with an excuse as to why he has headphones on. He ends up quickly punching his YouTube app and bringing up the first video on the list, which happens to be a clip by Gentle and La Brava, who Izuku doesn't hear about until his first fall semester in the original manga.
    • Izuku meets Momo Yaoyorozu while looking for a place to eat in Nagoya. After helping her retrieve her phone from a storm drain, they strike up conversation over lunch and end up discovering that they both admire Princess Shazam, becoming fast friends and study partners in preparation for the U.A. Entrance Exam.
    • While attending the U.A. Culture Festival with his parents, Izuku runs into Kendo Rappa, a member of the yakuza and the Eight Precepts of Death under Kai Chisaki, who doesn't appear until the raid on Chisaki's hideout.
    • Itsuka Kendou ends up knocking a robot that would have plowed into Izuku while he was busy thinking and muttering in the middle of the U.A. Entrance Exam's practical portion, becoming a close friend of his afterward. In canon, the two don't meet until the Sports Festival.
  • In Of Monsters and Men, Rolo appears early on in the story instead of only first being introduced during R2.
  • Old Scars: The Cabin survivors are introduced to Clementine shortly after the events of Season 1, instead of being introduced after Clementine travels with Christa for a year and a half.
  • The One I Love Is...: Shinji meets Kaworu shortly after the defeat of the Thirteenth Angel. In canon Kaworu came along after the death of the Sixteenth.
  • The Dexter fic “Our time to endure” basically does this for most of Dexter and Debra’s associates; after Harry dies when they’re teenagers, they’re sent to separate foster homes, resulting in them meeting the likes of Doakes and Quinn as teens rather than when they’re all adults, while Doctor Evelyn Vogel makes contact with Dexter to try and help him on her own.
  • The Persona 5 Adult Confidant AU has the Reaper making its first appearance during Sojiro's first trip to the Metaverse, unlike in canon, where the Reaper can only appear as early as the Phantom Thieves first trip into Mementos.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has several instances of this. Justified, since the new timeline is completely different:
    • Mimey started working for the Ketchum family some time before Ash went on his Pokémon journey.
    • Misty caught Horsea and Psyduck before she even met Ash in this timeline.
    • Serena makes a few cameo appearances during the main story while Ash is still traveling through Kanto, since they kept in touch with each other this time around.
    • Ash meets Paul in the Vermillion City Gym, far earlier than in canon.
    • Burgundy is met aboard the St. Anne this time around.
    • Iris appears in Kanto and starts travelling with Ash long before Unova.
    • Ash has captured several of his Pokémon before even leaving Kanto, including Aipom, Snivy, Goomy and Roggenrola.
  • Pokemon Secret Journeys Follows the lead of other Ash Ketchum Peggy Sue stories like Ashes of the Past and the above mentioned Reset Bloodlines by having a few characters show up in the new timeline a bit sooner than their Canon debuts:
    • Looker makes an appearance early into the Kanto arc, investigating an evil scheme of Dr Eggman's.
    • Similarly to Reset, Mimey has already been living with the Ketchum family for years before Ash started his journey.
  • In Project Tatterdemalion, a Bleach AU in which Hollows are the result of The Virus and shinigami those of its vaccine, a pre-Hollow Nel gets a brief cameo as a coworker of Ichigo's parents who was infected- well before the introduction of Arrancar, or indeed any version of the events of Bleach canon.
  • The Quiververse, due to it being an AU, has had the odd event from later seasons happening much earlier due to the experinces of the characters within. The events of 'Amending Fences' have been stated to occur much sooner than before, for example, and the characters presented therein thus play roles in the plot much sooner than they did in canon.
  • A New World on her Shoulders: Because half the story is set in Atlas, characters from later volumes in RWBY, such as Winter, Jacques, Caroline, Ciel, and Penny appear much earlier than they did in canon and play various roles. On the Vale side, Ilia appears before her original debut in Volume 4 and Vernal appears before her Volume 5 debut as members of Yang's team.
  • A Rabbit Among Wolves: Thanks to Adam's demise, Ilia travels to Vale to act as a liaison between Jaune and Sienna Khan, thereby showing up three volumes early.
  • Random Drama Series: Many of the Revenge of the Island and Pahkitew Island characters, as well as Alejandro, now appear earlier than they did in canon due to the cast shuffling: Alejandro, Amy, Mike, Samey, Scarlett, Shawn, Sky, Staci, Sugar, and Zoey now debut in Island while Beardo and Ella debut in ROTI.
  • Ruby and Nora: Ilia and Trifa appear before the fall of Beacon, when in canon they appeared much after that event.
  • RWBY: Epic of Remnant: The story starts in Fate/Grand Order's Babylonia chapter, but Gudako has Ivan the Terrible and Abigail Williams as Servants. They don't get met until much later in the game.
  • RWBY: Scars:
    • CVFY first cameo at the Beacon initiation helping with the new students. Coco and Velvet are formally introduced in the scene where Cardin bullies Velvet (which in the original RWBY was originally meant to be Cardin bullying a nameless extra before Velvet was made an Ascended Extra).
    • Neo is referenced in Volume 1.
    • Neptune is introduced alongside his Sun, not a few episodes afterwards.
  • In the Smallville fic "Smallville: New Beginnings", Clark meets Oliver early during the events of the show's first season when his use of the Legion ring sends him and Lois back further than he had anticipated; using his advance knowledge, one of Clark's first steps is to have Oliver buy up the land where the Kawatche caves were discovered, as well as help Clark collect up the kryptonite from around Smallville to eliminate it as a threat.
  • Scarlet Lady: In canon, Marianne Lenore only makes her debut in Season 3 episode Backwarder. In this fic, she appears at the end of "Mr. Pigeon".
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • Several characters who weren't introduced until Part II appeared during the timeframe of Part I or before, either in major or minor roles. Among them: Danzo, Karin, Fu, A, Killer B, Karui and Yamato.
    • Zabuza Momochi (with Haku in tow) first appears as a mercenary hired during the Uchiha insurrection, which takes place long before Naruto has graduated the Academy.
    • Sai is a borderline example, as he appears during the period between Part I and Part II instead of Part II proper.
    • Mei Terumi and Chojuro both appear long before the Kage Summit arc.
    • Hamura Otsutsuki himself, of all people, appears before Hinata at the end of Chapter 56.
    • Samui and Atsui appear shortly after Naruto and company defeat Hidan and Kakuzu, while in canon they weren't introduced until Pain's assault on Konoha.
    • The members of Akatsuki have a brief appearance much earlier than in canon, while the story is still covering the years before the timeframe of Part I. But as early as Chapter 4, Toneri Otsutsuki of all people, appears briefly, as the mastermind behind the Hyuga affair, and by extension Hinata's kidnapping when she was a child.
  • In Thieves Can Be Heroes!, Makoto Niijima gets named and has a much more prominent role in the early parts of the story than in the original game due to being Izuku's Childhood Friend. She funnels him information and doing her best to support him when she didn't bother with the Thieves much at all until the third major target in the games.
    • In Chapter 17, Futaba Sakura, who doesn't appear until after the third major heist in the games, has a short appearance after she listens in on Izuku and his mom's reunion while lamenting that she'll never get to experience that ever again.
  • Star Wars Uncut: In this Fan Film version of A New Hope some characters who don't appear in canon until later films show up.
    • Jar-Jar Binks note  can be seen in a few scenes.
    • There are Ewoksnote  at the medal ceremony at the end.
  • This Bites!:
    • Bartolomeo was present for Luffy's would-be execution in Loguetown in canon. In this fic, Cross takes the opportunity to temper his passion to be a pirate like Luffy, and suggest that he actually do it right (in canon, while he and presumably his crew had the necessary power to survive in the New World, they had very poor seafaring skills, making it an outright miracle that they made it as far as they did).
    • Characters that would only appear in future locations, like the Whitebeard Pirates, the Marine higher-ups, or the Revolutionaries appear to show current events, or as spectators to Cross's SBS Broadcast, even though the Straw Hats have yet to meet them in person. As of Chapter 30, Admiral Akainu makes an appearance, and he does not like the SBS.
    • Chapter 31 has both Doflamingo and Scratchman Apoo calling in to the SBS Broadcast.
    • By Chapter 36, due to the popularity of the SBS, it's almost easier to list the characters who haven't made an appearance yet.
  • Time Again Series: Bakugo meets Shinso at a gym before they go to UA, while Shinso is not introduced until the Sports' Festival in canon.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse):
    • Ra's al Ghul, as he plays a major part in the backstory of all three leads. His daughter Nyssa is a lesser examplenote  for the same reason.
    • Ralph Dibny appears much earlier than he does in canon, thanks to For Want of a Nail; as Barry never joined the CCPD as a CSI in this timeline, Ralph was never caught tampering with evidence and thus was never fired. This same nail also presumably prevented his death during the Particle Accelerator Explosion, which was reversed by Flashpoint in canon.
    • Samantha Arias and Ruby Arias appear early on as well, and even meet Kara earlier, thanks to Ruby being enrolled in the same class as Kal-El at Balliol Prep. Sam and Kara even become best friends.
    • Maseo Yamashiro starts making appearances once Slade re-enters the story, as he still a member of A.R.G.U.S. in this timeline thanks to another nail.
  • Total Drama Action: All-In: Blaineley is introduced in this version of Action's Aftermaths as Geoff's co-host rather than debuting in World Tour.
  • Total Drama All Mixed Up Island: Anne Maria, Beardo, Cameron, Dakota, Jasmine, Lightning, Rodney, Sam, and Sugar all debut in Island instead of their respective seasons.
  • Total Loud Island: Dawn, who canonically debuted in the show's fourth season, is part of the original cast here in order to balance out the genders with Lincoln's addition.
  • Total Shuffled Island Series: Many of the Revenge of the Island and Pahkitew Island characters, as well as both World Tour newcomers, now appear earlier than they did in canon due to the cast shuffling: Alejandro, Sierra, B, Dakota, Dawn, Jo, Lightning, Sam, Scott, Staci, Amy, Beardo, Samey, Scarlett, Shawn, Sugar and Topher now debut in Island, Ella debuts in World Tour, and Jasmine and Leonard debut in ROTI.
  • Universe Falls: The Arc 1 finale "Magic and Mystery" ends with a Cryptic Conversation between Bill Cipher (who didn't appear in Gravity Falls until "Dreamscaperers") and Yellow Diamond (who didn't appear in Steven Universe until "Message Received").
  • Turnabout Storm:
    • The fan novelization has a cameo from Flash Sentry in chapter 52. Keep in mind that Twilight doesn't even have her wings yet, so this is happening way before he is canonically introduced. The author has confirmed Flash is in the story as a nod to the movie. Shining Armour also counts, since he is introduced in the season 2 finale, and the story takes place before that point.
    • Chapter 54 has a cameo from Sunset Shimmer in a flashback. This was actually suggested by the author of the original.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic The Ultimate Evil and its sequel, The Stronger Evil, several villains appear earlier than in the source materials.
    • Daolon Wong first appeared in one of the 2nd season's filler episodes that took place after the Demon World duology. In The Ultimate Evil, he makes a cameo appearance during the Demon World section.
    • Drago and the Ice Crew first appeared in two filler episodes of the 4th season when Tarakudo's Oni Mask arc was still unfinished. In The Stronger Evil, Drago and the Ice Crew appear before Tarakudo, and the 5th season's demon chi arc begins before the Oni Mask arc. The latter commences only when Drago instead of Daolon Wong unwittingly brings Tarakudo on the board.
  • Vigilantes' Dawn:
    • Sara, technically. Sara did not make an in-person appearance (beyond flashbacks) until Season Two. However, since it was Laurel that went on the Gambit, she's present from the beginning.
    • Nyssa also makes an early appearance, due to Laurel exposing her survival earlier than Sara did with hers in canon.
  • Welcome To The World Of Pokemon has game mechanics that appear earlier than they do in canon. Mega Evolution, a Pokémon X and Y mechanic, appears as early as Red With Rage.
  • For The Want of A Nail:
    • Mastermind: Strategist for Hire:
      • Giran is introduced following Izuku in Chapter 3, long before his canonical appearance.
      • Giran introduces Izuku to Himiko Toga in Chapter 5, before her canonical introduction among several other new recruits of the League.
      • Izuku first learns of La Brava after Giran recommends her to him in Chapter 10, whilst in canon she isn't introduced until the Culture Festival Arc.
      • Giran introduces Izuku to the League of Villains as they are planning their attack on the USJ, whilst in canon they make their first appearance at said attack.
      • Chitose Kizuki (aka Curious of the Meta Liberation Army) is introduced just before the UA sports festival working on the Mastermind story while she wasn't intoduced until the League of Villains arc.
    • Deku? I think he's some pro...:
      • Ms. Joke, Brave, Tsukauchi, Sir Nighteye, and Eraserhead are all introduced before Izuku even enters U.A.
      • Izuku meets Momo, Shoto, Tenya and Inasa at the entrance exam for recommendation students.
    • Viridian: The Green Guide:
      • Amplifier first appears during Izuku's first night as a vigilante, whilst in canon she didn't appear until My Hero Academia: Two Heroes.
      • Kaminari first appears working at a hardware store whilst Izuku is shopping for weapons, whilst in canon he doesn't appear until Izuku enters U.A.
    • Cheat Code: Support Strategist: Originally, Mei didn't get introduced to the series until the Sports Festival Arc, and Power Loader first appeared during the Final Exams Arc. Here, Izuku meets Mei during the Support Course Entrance Exam, along with Power Loader.
  • Yugioh EQG: It is stated in-universe that Starving Venom Fusion Dragon, Clear Wing Synchro Dragon, and Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon were respectively the first Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz monsters ever created. This is not the case in either the real world or the Yugioh anime the cards appear in.
  • Of Gemstones and Watches has notable uses of this trope.
    • Echo Echo, Spidermonkey, Astrodactyl, Water Hazard and Eatle all appear earlier than they did in Ben 10 canon.
    • Michelle Morningstar appears during Chapter 8.
    • Clancy appears during Chapter 4.
    • Driba appears at the Rushmore base before Max fires him for both screwing up the base's defenses and letting Ben and Ruby sneak away from him.
    • Verdona appears during Chapter 12.
    • Several aliens, like Rath, Clockwork, Big Chill, etc, appear in Chapter 14 as either one of Ben 10k's transformations or as part of one of Animo 10k's creations.
    • Psyphon appears here when he didn't appear at all in the canon original series.
    • Sunny and Deefus appear in Chapter 15.
    • The Saturdays appear in Chapter 17.
    • The bounty hunters after Kevin in Chapter 18 are led by Khyber, and it's implied that two of them that blew themselves up were the Vreedle Brothers.
    • Alien X appears in Chapter 20.
    • Raven appears before a 12-year old Ben, who was camping with Ruby, apparently testing him for some reason.
    • Kwarrel was recruited by the Plumbers out of prison, allowing him to meet Kevin in the late summer to early fall period after the main series road trip.
    • Rook appears in Chapter 27.
    • Fistrik appears in chapter 29, along with Servantis.
  • Because Remnant Inferis: DOOM begins both before and during the events of Volume 1, many characters from RWBY that first appeared in later Volumes make earlier appearances here. The same is said for the characters from Doom Eternal, as this is set immediately after the events of DOOM (2016).
    • Ironwood appears in Chapter 2 before his Vol. 2 debut alongside Winter, who's first appearance here takes place before her Volume 3 appearance.
    • Deag Grav makes his debut in Chapter 5 while his first appearance was late in DOOM Eternal. This also predates his canonical appearance since the chapter was made well before even DOOM Eternal's previews came out.
    • Jacques first appears in this story around the beginning of the events of where Volume 2 would occur. He canonically first appeared at the end of Volume 3.
    • The Marauder first appears in Chapter 22 both before when he'd originally show up in the game and before the game itself was even released.
  • Maelstrom:
    • Izuku first meets Eraserhead at 13 years old, three years before his canonical introduction as the teacher of Class 1-A.
    • Tensei (referred to as Ingenium) first turns up when Izuku takes his Hero license exam, where in canon he was first introduced in the Hero Killer Arc.
  • Shantae: A New Genie:
    • Harmony, a character who makes her first appearance in the fifth game in the series, Seven Sirens, appears as early as chapter 3, which covers the first game.
    • Chef Girl, now named Emma, and Wobble Bell turn up in chapter 5, which is covering the first game, despite not appearing until Risky's Revenge.
    • Shantae's Harpy transformation turns up in the boss fight in the Dribble Fountain when in game, it doesn't appear until the final dungeon.
  • With Confidence: Mina appears before the UA Entrance Exams and Izuku overhearing her inspires him to go to an arcade to practice dancing to improve his footwork.
  • Royalty-free Rerun:
    • Haru meets the thieves in April, unlike in canon where she wasn't properly introduced until a few months later.
    • Sumire meets Akechi during a trip to Mementos on 4/15; in the original game, Akechi only properly met the thieves on 6/9, during their trip to the TV station.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • In the original fairy-tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, the princes only appear at the end to fall in Love at First Sight with the sleeping/dead heroines and revive them. Obviously, from an adult perspective this is more than a little disturbing. Thus the classic Disney adaptations of both stories have the heroine and her prince meet and fall in love earlier, while she's still awake. In the case of Sleeping Beauty, this meant reducing Aurora's sleep from the traditional hundred years to just one night (it only would have been a hundred years if Prince Philip hadn't defeated Maleficent).
    • In Aladdin, he meets Princess Jasmine when she attempts to escape from the palace before he ever gets the lamp.
  • In The Prince of Egypt's prequel/Spiritual Successor Joseph: King of Dreams, Joseph meets his future wife Asenath while a slave in Potiphar's household. In The Bible she's not introduced until their actual marriage.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Moses first meets his future wife Tzipporah as a prisoner in Egypt and helps her escape; in The Bible they didn't meet until he ended up in Midian.
  • In Piglet's Big Movie, the episode from the original Winnie-the-Pooh dealing with Kanga and Roo's arrival and subsequent integration into the forest is adapted in flashback form; however, Tigger is in on Rabbit's initial plot to get rid of Kanga. This creates an inconsistency, not only with the book canon, but with the original Disney canon; in both versions, Kanga and Roo were well settled long before Tigger showed up.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bicentennial Man: Andrew starts wearing clothes when Little Miss gets married, wearing the same tuxedo as Sir, instead of starting after Sir's death and asking permission from Little Sir.
  • A Christmas Carol: Most adaptations introduce Tiny Tim and often the rest of the Cratchits near the beginning of the story both to build up the audience's interest in them and to add more Christmas cheer to the story's somber beginning. In the book, they don't appear until the Ghost of Christmas Present sequence.
    • Almost every adaptation has Scrooge's former fiancée Belle appear at Fezziwig's party, letting both the older Scrooge and the audience see the young couple happily in love. In the book, she doesn't appear until the scene where she ends their engagement.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • The universe includes The Masquerade as part of its story, and as such by the time the Justice League is formed very few of the heroes are actually known public figures, only existing in classified surveillance videos and government files. In almost all comics continuity the Justice League is formed because the heroes already knew each other personally, and ended up finding their Crisis Crossover team up to be successful and want to continue it. Here just trying to determine that this "Flash" or this "Aquaman" exist is a trial.
    • Justice League and Zack Snyder's Justice League follow the New 52 retcon mentioned in the Comic Books section, with Cyborg being one of the founding members of the team despite not having been created until two decades after the group was first published in the original comics.
    • The comics Suicide Squad was formed as a potential countermeasure against various metahumans, including if the Justice League went rogue. Suicide Squad (2016) has Amanda Waller organizing the squad long before the existence of metahumans started to become an issue.
    • Cassandra Cain is the second most recent addition to the main Batman family, having been introduced in 1999 during the Batman: No Man's Land arc. However, she's the first member of the family outside of Batman and Alfred to be seen in this universe in Birds of Prey (2020), beating Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown to being in anything live action despite them both being older characters. Tim was created in 1989 and Steph in 1992.
  • David being revealed as the true Big Bad is a major shocking reveal in Allegiant and is kept secret until near the end; with most of the first part of the book focusing on Nita's rebellion. However halfway through The Divergent Series: Allegiant, David's true persona is already unmasked and he spends the rest of the film as the main villain.
  • Dune (1984): Emperor Shaddam IV was the overarching villain in the book but does not appear in person until the climax. In the film, he debuts at the beginning, during a meeting between him and the Guild.
  • In the film Gor which very loosely adapts the first book of the Gor series, the Big Bad is Sarm, a priest/king. Sarm the Priest-King (which is a different species altogether) only appears in the third book.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): A certain fisherman gets one in the novelization, one who appears in The Stinger of both versions of the story.
  • The Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit:
    • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the appearance of the petrified trolls that Bilbo encountered sixty years earlier is effectively a meta one, since Lord of the Rings was adapted to film before The Hobbit.
    • Ori's skeleton in Moria in Fellowship essentially counts as another meta case. Adam Brown joked that he has a cameo in Fellowship that he had to lose a lot of weight for.
    • Chronologically speaking, the Witch-king of Angmar (who features prominently in The Return of the King) first shows up in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where he attempts to backstab Radagast with a Morgul blade only for the wizard to successfully fend him off.
    • In An Unexpected Journey, there's a flashback of Smaug destroying Dale and Erebor, and also his Eye Awaken in the present at the end of the film. In the novel, Smaug only appeared once the Company arrived at the Lonely Mountain.
    • Frodo has a chronological one in the Flash Forward beginning of An Unexpected Journey.
    • There's Saruman and Galadriel's appearances on the White Council.
    • Legolas makes his appearance in the last two films. He's a supporting character who arguably gets the best fights of the entire second film.
  • In John Carter, the Therns are the Big Bad, provoking the conflict between the city-states of Helium and Zodanga, and even being accidentally responsible for bringing John Carter to Mars in the first place. In the original novels, the Therns weren't introduced until the second book.
  • In the James Bond film series, SPECTRE is introduced in Dr. No, and its leader Blofeld appears in From Russia with Love, the first and second movies respectively; in the books, both first appeared in Thunderball, which would become the fourth movie.note 
  • The live-action version of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable only covers the first two arcs, but it already features Yukako Yamagishi in a large enough role to be featured in promotional materials alongside the main cast, and the villain who kills Keicho Nijimura at the end is not Akira Otoishi but Yoshikage Kira. Also, whereas in the anime and manga Echoes only appears as an egg during the Nijimura Brothers arc, in the live action version it hatches during this sequence, revealing ACT1.
  • In Joker (2019), depicts the titular character's origin as having occurred years before Batman appears (specifically, Arthur takes up the 'Joker' name on the same night Thomas and Martha Wayne are killed), while almost every other incarnation of the Joker appears only after Batman became active. In fact, this version indirectly leads to Batman's catalyst, as Joker's actions inspire Joe Chill to assassinate the Waynes, a reversal of the normal roles of who creates who.
  • In the novel Maurice, Scudder is subtly mentioned several times before Maurice actually encounters him. In the film, there is a brief scene early on that only serves to introduce him to the audience as a servant in Clive's house, and call him by name.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers has both Black Widow and Hawkeye as original members, even though both characters joined later rosters in the comics. Additionally, the Chitauri weren't created in the comics until 2002, and didn't join the mainstream Marvel Universe until 2013. In the movie, they, along with Loki, are the first threat the Avengers have to stop as a team.
    • Captain America from his second solo move on draws heavily from Ed Brubaker’s work with the character that started in 2004. The most prominent aspect of his work in the MCU is his reinvention of The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes. Bucky was changed from a long dead Kid Sidekick to someone who was kidnapped by the Soviets in World War 2 and turned into an assassin with a metal arm.
    • Ultron is the main villain of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and is accidentally created by Tony Stark. In the accepted comics canon, Hank Pym (the first Ant-Man) created Ultron, but Hank had not even been introduced at this point in the MCU.
    • The Avengers had already been published for about a decade when Thanos first appeared in 1973. In the MCU, Thanos has essentially been the franchise's Greater-Scope Villain since the first Avengers movie, where he was revealed to be the Man Behind the Man in The Stinger.
    • In the comics, James Rhodes didn't appear as part of Iron Man's supporting cast until 1979, and didn't become War Machine until 1992. He's part of Tony's supporting cast from Day 1 in the first Iron Man movie, and becomes War Machine in the very next movie. In this continuity, he effectively predates a bunch of characters who have been around a lot longer in the comics, like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Hawkeye.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming:
      • Inverted with Spider-Man himself. In the comics, he predated Iron Man and the formation of the Avengers, and was in fact, probably the only major Marvel hero at the time not to be a member of the team when the book first launched. Because Spider-Man's movie rights were off-limits during the first two Phases of the MCU, he doesn't show up in the movies until several years after the Avengers have already been formed (and when he is, they go back to the beginning and thus give him an Age Lift in comparison to the others). In fact, Peter Parker's idolization of the Avengers (especially Iron Man) is a plot point.
      • Done retroactively via Word of God that the kid in the Iron Man mask that Tony rescues from the Hammer Drone in Iron Man 2 was a young Peter.
      • Iron Spider and Tony's mentoring role are also a case, as these are things that didn't happen until Peter was married and in his twenties. Here, he's 15 when he meets Tony and the Iron Spider suit is gifted to him six months later.
      • As an Expy / Race Lift of Mary Jane Watson, Michelle, A.K.A "MJ," would count as well, since she's introduced as Peter's high school classmate in Spidey's first solo MCU outing, while Gwen Stacy has yet to be introduced in this continuity.
      • Also by extension, pretty much every other teen character and young hero in contrast; Peter was a grown man by the time other teen heroes started showing up, and is Older and Wiser than most of them now. Here, Peter's at least decade younger than Jessica Jones (who he went to high school with) and Daisy Johnson (who is almost a decade younger than him in the comics), and is the same age/younger than such heroes like the Runaways and Cloak & Dagger.
    • Shuri is present from the very beginning of Black Panther, even though she wasn't introduced until the 2005 run of the comics. Same goes for the Dora Milaje, one of whom even appeared in Captain America: Civil War, despite not existing in the comics until The '90s. Somewhat a Justified Trope though, as in both cases, the characters were Remember the New Guy? and depicted as having always been part of Black Panther's cast; later stories set during T'Challa's early years or flashbacks to previous eras in the comics have depicted them as being around the whole time, and just never mentioned/seen during these previous stories.
  • In The Maze Runner trilogy, the Right Arm, a resistant movement working against W.I.C.K.E.D, are introduced in the third book The Death Cure. In Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the film adaptation of the second book The Scorch Trials, the group is revealed to exist about a third of the way through the movie, and the plot then becomes about the protagonists finding and meeting up with them — which they do shortly before the climax.
  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie: The 1995 film that adapted the events of the first game featured two charactersnote  that didn't debut until Mortal Kombat II. While Jax only makes a cameo appearance (which in turn serves as an Early-Bird Cameo in relation to Mortal Kombat: Annihilation), Kitana plays a prominent role as Shang Tsung's personal assassin who does a Heel–Face Turn to aid the heroes in defeating the Evil Sorcerer. Though it is interesting to note that when MK1 was being developed, her prototype character, named "Kitsune", was going to be in the game as the daughter of Shang Tsung, but was scrapped from the final product. Thus, her appearance in the movie doubles as both an adaptational early appearance and a Development Gag.
  • Likewise, the 2021 Mortal Kombat reboot is loosely based on the first game, but features Jax, Mileena and Kung Lao (all introduced in MK2), Kabal (introduced in MK3), Reiko (introduced in MK4) and Nitara (introduced in Deadly Alliance).
  • In the movie version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Manfred von Karma, who is elevated to being the Big Bad, is introduced far earlier than he is in the videogames. It is largely due to all but two of the game's five cases being Adapted Out and also using the case against Miles Edgeworth (the fourth one that occurs late in the game, but the second one in the movie) as the main plot of the film.
  • Ramona and Beezus starts with the Quimbys already having three daughters. In the book series, Roberta was born at the seventh installment, and her birth takes place after the wedding of Aunt Bea (an event which serves as the climax of the movie adaptation).
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Hajime Saito was introduced two-three arcs earlier than in the source material. Likewise, Gien and Banjin were part of the final Big Bad's team but were introduced in the same arc as Saito in the film.
  • In the Spider-Man Trilogy Mary Jane is introduced as Peter's Girl Next Door and high school crush. She is actually a Composite Character of Gwen Stacy, Peter's college girlfriend in the comics who famously was killed by the Green Goblin in "The Night Gwen Stacy Died." Mary Jane didn't show up until Peter was in college and formed something of a Betty and Veronica rivalry for Peter's affections, and years later ends up marrying Peter. Gwen doesn't show up in those films until Spider-Man 3, and is an obvious Romantic False Lead. The Amazing Spider-Man has Gwen as Peter's high school girlfriend, ending up being Truer to the Text in this regard.
    • Also somewhat inverted with regards to his superhero career; Peter started his vigilantism during his teen years while he was still in school, but in the films he's graduated shortly after getting his powers and becomes Spider-Man after having moved out of Aunt May's house. Another case of The Amazing Spider-Man being Truer to the Text as they not only keep him a high schooler until he's been Spider-Man for two years, but they also establish him living with Aunt May and using his Daily Bugle paycheck to help her with rent, which was the original reason why he worked at the Bugle in the first place.
  • When the first Alex Rider novel was made into a film, Stormbreaker, it featured the character of Sabina Pleasure as Alex's school crush even though she doesn't appear until the third novel ("Skeleton Key"). This was obviously to play on the teen romance arc, because sequels where she could have turned up were originally planned.
  • In the comics, Harry Osborn became the second Green Goblin after his father and Gwen Stacy died. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sees Harry as the original Green Goblin and Gwen's killer.

    Literature 
  • Those Doctor Who Novelisations that were published some years after the TV story was broadcast sometimes added in references to later stories.
    • For instance, the novelization of "The Tenth Planet", the debut appearance of the Cybermen, features a cameo by a Cyber-Controller, establishing that one was present on the ill-fated planet Mondas. On television, the Cyber-Controller was not introduced until "The Tomb of the Cybermen", the species' third appearance.
    • In the novelization of "Terror of the Autons", the bomb that the hypnotized Professor Philips uses to try to kill the Doctor and Jo was retconned into a Sontaran hand grenade.
    • And there's the notorious line in the novelization of "The Time Meddler" where the Doctor refers to the Monk as a Gallifreyan, leading fans who relied on the novelisations to believe that the Doctor's home planet had been named eight years earlier than it was on TV.
    • The novelisation of "Shada" contains a short scene where the Fourth Doctor and Romana gossip about the Corsair, a Time Lord created for the Eleventh Doctor episode "The Doctor's Wife". It also has a number of references to other things introduced after the Fourth Doctor's era, such as Carrionites (first seen in "The Shakespeare Code"), time locks (introduced in "The Stolen Earth") and Visionaries (first seen in "The End of Time").
    • The novelization of "Rose" has several: First off, Conspiracy Theorist Clive Finch has pictures of all of the New Series Doctors up to Thirteen, the incumbent when the book was published ("Rose" was the very first episode of the new series). Second, during the climax, a couple paragraphs show how Donna Noble slept through the Auton attack.
    • Thirteen also plays a role in the novelization of "The Day of the Doctor", meeting up with the Moment and Cass before the latter's fateful encounter with the Eighth Doctor and death in "The Night of the Doctor"
  • Modesty Blaise novels: Jack Fraser, in a sense. His first appearance in the original comic strip was in the very first scene, but the strip ran for two years before it was established that his meek desk jockey persona was just a front for his real and much more capable personality. In the novels, the real Jack Fraser puts in an appearance at the end of the first chapter of the first novel.
  • In Paradise Lost, Raphael and Michael both talk to Adam in the Garden of Eden, even though both appear long after his death in the biblical canon.
  • One such instance occurs in Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner. In the Digital Devil Saga duology, Serph Sheffield appears halfway through the second game. However, in the novels, he appears at the end of the first volume, which is halfway through the first game.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alex Rider:
    • Tom Harris is not introduced until the fifth book. Here, he's introduced straight away as Alex's best friend.
    • The books also don't mention Scorpia until the fourth installment, with them appearing in the fifth, although with hindsight their influence is visible as far back as Stormbreaker. The final episode reveals them as Yassen's employers.
  • Arrow:
    • Mia Dearden (the 2nd Speedy in the comics) was originally introduced years after Roy Harper (the 1st Speedy). Here, she's reinvented as Oliver Queen's sister named Thea Dearden Queen and was introduced in the pilot. The TV version of Roy Harper was instead introduced during the second half of the (first) season.
  • In Emerald City, characters from the Land of Oz books who don't appear until The Marvelous Land of Oz (the second book in the series) such as Tip, Jack, and Mombi, instead show up early in Dorothy's journey, which parallels the action of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • The Expanse: Chrisjen Avasarala doesn't appear until the second book, but she's a major character from the first episode of the tv series in order to provide an Earth-perspective to political events.
  • In Winx Club, Aisha didn't show up until the start of season 2. In Fate: The Winx Saga, she appears along with the rest of the Winx Suite fairies at Alfea in the first episode.
  • Game of Thrones: Hodor appears as a face in the crowd when King Robert arrives in Winterfell, but isn't properly introduced until three episodes later.
  • A large number of Batman's supporting cast and Rogues Gallery have showed up in Gotham even before Bruce Wayne dons his iconic cowl.
  • The first season of the BBC/HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials, which mostly covers the events of the first novel, introduces several characters from later novels early, most notably Will Parry, which is understandable given that he and his relationship with Lyra are so pivotal to the later novels.
  • I, Claudius adapts the novels I, Claudius and Claudius The God. In the novels, Herod Agrippa is briefly mentioned but doesn't appear in person until the sequel, at which point Claudius talks about him being a childhood friend and playing an important role in previous events. The novel lampshades the use of Remember the New Guy?. In the tv series, a Pragmatic Adaptation is done wherein Herod is "written into" scenes from Claudius' earlier life, rather than appearing out of nowhere like in the novels.
  • Jupiter's Legacy:
    • Barnabas Wolfe, Neutrino, Shockwave, Jack Frost and Raikou appear only after Walter and Brandon have taken over the US in the comics. Here they are introduced prior to that.
    • Some characters that only appeared in the prequel comic Jupiter's Circle, which was released after the first volume of Jupiter Legacy, have also appeared in the show's first season such as The Flare's daughter and Skyfox's butler Cuthbert.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Season 3 of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had the Rangers start off with the Ninja Zords as opposed to their Sentai counterparts, the Super Stealth Beast Gods, which would be the last set of mechs the Kakurangers would receive. This also extends to ally Ninjor, who also appears at the beginning of the season whereas his Sentai counterpart Ninjaman didn't show up until the series' midway point.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Storm had Cameron Watanabe show up in the beginning, as his Sentai counterpart Shurikenger was introduced in episode 21, though this is a subversion as Cameron is also a Composite Character due to his Sentai counterpart as support for the Rangers being Oboro Hinata, who was there from the start.
    • Power Rangers RPM combines this with Ascended Extra, having Kilobyte appear long before, and stick around long after, the two-parter his Engine Sentai Go-onger counterpart came from.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge had Kendall Morgan being introduced from the start of the series, whereas her Sentai counterpart Yayoi Ulshade was introduced in episode 21.
      • Snide is this retroactively, or something... it's complicated. Basically, his sentai counterpart is from a team-up movie that wasn't adapted during PRDC. Now that that team-up is getting adapted, this means his entire role for that season is now a very early Early-Bird Cameo, as he showed up four years before the episode that corresponds to his sentai appearance.
  • In Preacher, Odin Quincannon is a major villain for the first season, before the show does more than hint at the Grail or Jesse's family matters. In the original comic series, Odin was the newly-introduced villain of an arc about two-thirds of the way through, after the Custer family arc and the first Grail one.
  • In the Netflix adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017), the show is set up with a much more cohesive narrative from the get go through bringing in aspects of the Volunteer Fire Department in the adaptions of the first 4 books when they didn't show up until a little bit after, most notably in the Sigil Spam of the VFD logo, which the film shows Olaf's tattoo actually looking like this time around, the frequency of VFD spyglasses, and Montgomery Montgomery and Josephine being shown as clearly active members.
  • A lot of characters (specifically Lex Luthor, Lois Lane and various superheroes and supervillains) in Smallville showed up years before Clark Kent even became Superman.
  • Most of the main characters in Titans are from either the original 60s-70s Teen Titans run (Dick Grayson, Wonder Girl and Hawk) or the New Teen Titans run from the 80s (Raven, Starfire Beast Boy and Jason Todd). The exceptions are Superboy, Dawn Granger and Ravager, who didn't join the Teen Titans in the comics until the Geoff Johns run that began in 2003.
  • On True Blood, Sophie-Anne is introduced at the end of the second season, which loosely adapts the second book in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries series. Sophie-Anne wasn't introduced in the books until the fifth one; by time the series reached that point, she'd been killed off.
  • Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy primarily adapts Apocalypse Suite, the first volume of the Umbrella Academy comic book, but also adapts some elements of the comic's second volume, Dallas. This means that while the Commission (called the Temps Aeternalis in the comic) and temporal assassins Hazel and Cha-Cha don't appear until the second volume of the comic, they show up at the very beginning of the first season in the Netflix adaptation.
  • The Animated Adaptations of some 1960s Missing Episodes of Doctor Who have occasionally slipped in wanted posters of The Master, a character introduced in 1971, into the background of certain scenes.

    Theatre 
  • When Frozen was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2018, many changes were made to the story. Among them is that Anna's first run-in with Kristoff is during "For the First Time In Forever" right before she runs into Hans, rather than meeting him for the first time at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post & Sauna. In fact, it goes a step further: in the movie, Anna runs into Kristoff at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post & Sauna, then they meet Olaf in the woods the next day, before reaching Elsa's ice palace. In the musical, Anna first meets Kristoff and Olaf before she ever gets to Oaken's. And this is all in the first act (as the story is restructured so that "Let It Go" is the closing number for act I).
  • Bianca cameos in "Drive" at the Lotus Hotel in The Lightning Thief, the musical adaptation of the first book in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, when she doesn't show up until The Titan's Curse in the book series proper. Additionally, campers like Silena Beauregard, Charles Beckendorf, and Katie Gardener appear/get mentions despite only being introduced in sequel books.
  • Puss in Boots makes a cameo in Shrek: The Musical despite it being an adaptation of the first movie when Puss doesn't appear until Shrek 2.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark makes Carnage and Swarm, who were introduced in 1992 and 1977, respectively, into founding members of the Sinister Six, a team that's been around in the comics since 1964.
  • Due to A Very Potter Musical using elements from first Harry Potter book in Harry's final year, A Very Potter Sequel (actually a prequel) used the plot of third book in Harry's first year. Meaning Harry gets Lupin as a teacher and meets Sirius Black two years early. Dolores Umbridge is sent by the Ministry to protect the school from Black even though she doesn't appear until book five.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The Sand Snakes accompany Oberyn to King’s Landing instead of Ellaria, resulting in them debuting the equivalent of an entire A Song of Ice and Fire book early. This gets plenty of mention in their debut song, "Hisstorically Inaccurate".

    Video Games 
  • The tie-in games for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sees Carnage appear before Venom.
  • Batman: Arkham Series: As established in the prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, Bane and his right hand man Bird, Killer Croc, Black Mask, Lady Shiva, Anarky, and Deathstroke are among the earliest major villains Batman has faced, and predates characters like Robin, Batgirl, and Mr. Freeze, while in the comics they did not appear until long after those other characters.
  • Beast Wars: Transformers: While the animated series had Maximal Airazor and Predacon Inferno as later recruits to their respective factions found from the stasis pods scattered around prehistoric Earth, the video game depicted them as established members of their respective teams from the beginning.
  • Black Mesa: The mod features cameos by Half-Life 2 supporting characters Eli Vance, Isaac Kleiner, and Barney Calhoun, with mentions of Wallace Breen and Arne Magnusson. All of these characters, while technically present in the original Half-Life due to retcons, were indistinguishable from all the other NPCs.
  • Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, despite being based on the last Crash Bandicoot title Naughty Dog worked on, includes characters from the post-Naughty Dog era of the series including Crunch, N. Trance, the bosses from Crash Nitro Kart, Nina Cortex, Pasadena O'Possum, Ebeneezer Von Clutch, Rilla Roo, Yaya Panda from Crash Nitro Kart 2 and Megamix. In addition, Chick and Stew from the same game as Pasadena and Von Clutch are back as commentators (and later racers).
  • Dante's Inferno: In The Divine Comedy, Satan, though discussed about intermittently by the protagonist and Virgil during their journey through the Nine Circles of Hell, is seen in person by the poets in the last circle at the very center of Hell. In the videogame loosely based on the poem, Lucifer plays a far more active role and is first seen on Earth taking Beatrice's soul before Dante has gone through the Gate of Hell.
  • 007: From Russia with Love, the Licensed Game of From Russia with Love, gives James Bond several gadgets that wouldn't appear until later films. Among other things, he gets to use the jetpack from Thunderball in the Justified Tutorial, and acquires Q's tricked-out Aston Martin DB-5 from Goldfinger on the third level. Most notably, he uses both the rappelling belt and laser watch from GoldenEye, which was made more than 30 years later, in the game.
  • Dragon Ball Z The Legacy Of Goku II:
    • In the original manga, Mr. Satan (AKA Hercule) first appears during the Cell Games. In this video game which adapts the events of the Androids/Cell Saga (of which the aforementioned Cell Games are the last act), he is introduced just after the warning about the arrival of the androids within three years time in West City taking part in a parade in his honor.
    • Zig-zagged in regards to Cooler. Cooler, an antagonist from two Non-Serial Movies which would have occurred sometime within the aforementioned three years, arrives shortly after a mission in which either Gohan or Piccolo have stopped a tribe of Triceratops from trying to run farmers off their land (which occurs prior to the heroes training for the Android's attack) only to issue a challenge to fight against Goku and then flies off. It's not until one completes a prolonged sidequest of finding seven missing Namekians to get them to New Namek (where Cooler is waiting) which even at the earliest can't be completed until the game's third to last mission (the one immediately prior to the Cell Games) at which point Cooler wouldn't have been present. note 
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (an Adaptation Expansion of the "Midgar" arc of the original game):
    • In the original Final Fantasy VII (1997), Tifa is first encountered after the Reactor explosion. In Remake, Jessie asks Cloud about Tifa during the Reactor mission and she is briefly seen in a flashback as a child.
    • In the 1997 version, Sephiroth is not encountered in the flesh (sort of. For most of the original game, the Sephiroth you're pursuing is actually various Jenova figments shapeshifting as him.) until the Junon cargo ship, and in Remake, he appears multiple times during the Midgar section as one of Cloud's Helpful Hallucination visions. (This was an idea planned for the original that was cut - Dummied Out scenes on the 1997 version's disc show Cloud having a hallucination of a gigantic Sephiroth while riding the pinball table.)
    • Shiva, Ifrit and Leviathan all appear as summons in Midgar, much earlier than Summon magic can be acquired in the 1997 version - this is because Remake only consists of Midgar, and the developers felt a Final Fantasy game needed to have the Summons in it.
    • In the original game, Yuffie first appears as a Random Encounter after the party leaves Midgar. In Remake, her DLC episode has her enter the story sometime after the events at Mako Reactor 5, although she doesn't directly interact with the party.
    • Cait Sith makes an early appearance arriving too late to stop the destruction of Sector 7. (Pedant's note - Cait Sith technically appeared much earlier in the original, showing up in a room in the Honeybee Inn, but in a much more ambiguous scene that makes it hard to tell if it counts.)
  • In the Anniversary remaster of Halo: Combat Evolved, 343 Guilty Spark is introduced in a terminal message where he warns you that your ship is getting too close to the ring. The rest of the terminals delve into his backstory.
  • In Mega Man Powered Up, a remake of Mega Man, there is an option to play as Proto Man, who did not appear in the series' original run until Mega Man 3.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission is a remake of Metroid, yet it features items and abilities that didn't exist in the original, but debuted in later games. As well, Kraid and Ridley are based on their appearances in Super Metroid, and Samus's distinctive Varia Suit design after the Zero Suit sequence originally appeared in Metroid II: Return of Samus. Notably, the Power Grip is based on an ability from Metroid Fusion that didn't require an item to use.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 is an in-continuity reboot of the series that retells the events of the first three games in the series. The story mode features characters such as Baraka, Jax, Kung-Lao, Kitana, Jade, Nightwolf, Ermaa and even human versions of Cyrax and Sektor participating in the first Mortal Kombat tournament. Likewise, Sheeva and the Cyber Lin-Kuei alongside some of the aforementioned characters take part in the Mortal Kombat II portion of the story. Most notably, Quan-Chi, a character who wouldn't be formally introduced in the mainline games until Mortal Kombat 4, plays a major role throughout the entire game.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2016) includes a lot of the weapons that were introduced in R&C games after the first one (that is, all of them), including the Bouncer (Going Commando), Combuster, Mr. Zurkon, Groovitron (Tools of Destruction), Plasma Striker (A Crack in Time), and Warmonger (All 4 One). Also, as a "reimagining" of the plot of the first game, Dr. Nefarious appears, but in his organic form prior to his Unwilling Roboticization.
  • The PSP port of Persona 3 featured characters that first appeared in Persona 4 in cameos: Ms. Kashiwagi for the male protagonist's route, and Yukiko Amagi for the female protagonist's.
  • The 2002 remake of the first Resident Evil features Jill's and Chris's main outfit from Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil – Code: Veronica respectively as unlockable outfits.
  • Sword Art Online's "Gameverse" not only makes Leafa and Sinon into SAO Survivors in this version of events, but it also makes Yuuki a bonus boss/character in Hollow Fragment before introducing her as a full party member in Lost Song, which takes place before this continuity's version of Gun Gale Online. In the main continuity, Leafa is introduced after Aincrad, Sinon in GGO, and Yuuki is introduced AFTER the incident involving GGO.
  • Yoshi made retroactive cameos in the Super Mario Bros.. trilogy by way of video game remakes. In Super Mario Bros. DX (a remake of the first Super Mario Bros.), there's a block hidden in each level in Challenge Mode, each holding a Yoshi egg. Collect it, and Yoshi will hatch out during the point tally. When Super Mario Bros. 2 was remade as Super Mario Advance, you can unlock an extra mode where you can find two Yoshi eggs in each level. Find all the eggs in each world, and Yoshis would hatch out of them. Finally, Super Mario Bros. 3 was remade for Super Mario All-Stars and as Super Mario Advance 4, and in both versions, the King of World 7 had been transformed into a Yoshi rather than a Piranha Plant.

    Webcomics 
  • The Devilman: In the source material the Archangel Michael is introduced one of the sequels, Devilman Lady, in this series they are introduced during the time of the original series.
  • In Erstwhile's telling of Snow-White and Rose-Red, the second prince appears about halfway through the story, in search of his missing brother (the bear). In the original tale he only appears at the end in order to Pair the Spares.

    Web Original 
  • Magma Dragoon, Mac and Green Biker Dude Dude are the other badasses posing next to Zero in Something about Mega Man X.
  • The original toyline early on in its life aside, most Beast Wars fiction protrays the Maximal/Predacon conflict happening centuries after the Autobots and Decepticons gave way to the two (putting aside the time travel to prehistoric Earth). The Transformers: Power of the Primes sees Optimus Primal interacting with the Autobots and Depecticons without the use of time travel, including working with the original Megatron and once he's resurrected, Primal's own namesake, the original Optimus Prime.
  • As Vaguely Recalling JoJo is an adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, there are comedic scenes where characters from the other parts will show up
    • Vanilla Ice is seen playing card games with the D'Arby Brothers when Joseph is using Hermit Purple. He and Telence also appear in a photo of Dio created by Hermit Purple.
    • Giorno Giovanna is seen in background events with his dad, DIO.
    • Yoshikage Kira is the owner of the dog devoured by Yellow Temperance.
    • Illuso shows up Polnareff and Kakyoin talk about the non-existance of a world inside the mirror.
    • Josuke Higashikata, Yuriko Yamagishi, and Keicho Nijimura show up during Steel Dan's underclassman rant.
    • Rohan Kishibe is the mangaka who interacts with Boingo.
    • Page looks like Pesci, which doubles as a pun and then Straizo spares him, so he's alive during part 5 somehow.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has a significant amount of cases for this trope:
    • In the comics, Black Panther didn't join the team until The Avengers #52, long after Hawkeye joined the team in The Avengers #16. In The Avengers: EMH, he appears within the first few episodes and joins the team in the fifth episode, while Hawkeye doesn't end up joining the team until after Black Panther.
    • Hawkeye himself also counts. While he doesn't join the team until halfway into the first season, he actually shows up within the first few episodes as a fugitive who has been framed by Black Widow.
    • Ultron originally debuted in The Avengers #54, where he was created by Hank Pym, who had long since retired his original Ant-Man identity in favor of the name Goliath. The Avengers: EMH instead introduces Ultron in the fourth episode, where he is the creation of a less-experienced Hank Pym who is still using the Ant-Man name. Ultron goes on to serve as a minor recurring character before finally becoming a major villain in the the twenty-third episode.
    • Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel also becomes an Avenger early in the second season, despite not joining the team until issue #183 in the comics.
    • Graviton made his first appearance in The Avengers #158, many years after the team was established. In The Avengers: EMH, he's the main antagonist of "Breakout" (the two-part series premier), effectively serving as the first major villain the Avengers have to face as a team.
    • Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage and Iron Fist all join the New Avengers in the second season, even though that team wasn't formed until many years after the debut of the original team in the comics. The Thing and War Machine, both of whom joined the West Coast Avengers in The '80s note , are also part of the adaptation's version of the New Avengers.
  • The Batman: Batgirl became Batman's first sidekick in season 3, whereas Robin didn't come along until season 4. (In the comics and most other media, Robin comes along before Batgirl) This was done because Robin was currently being used in Teen Titans and couldn't appear due to the "Bat-Embargo" at the time.
  • Blake and Mortimer: In the episode "The Secret of the Swordfish", two prototypes of the eponymous fighter jet have already been built before the Empire's global offensive, with Blake testing one right away as the episode starts and the other being blown up during the offensive to avoid capture. The Swordfish first appears much later in the comic book album, at the base in the Strait of Hormuz (it is the third Swordfish in the episode).
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series:
      • Bane comes knocking in the DCAU while Dick Grayson is still Robin and relatively early into Barbara Gordon's tenure as Batgirl. In the comics, the events of Knightfall happened not long after Tim Drake took up the Robin mantle, years after Dick and Barbara became Nightwing and Oracle respectively.
      • For that matter, Dick's wearing Tim Drake's classic Robin costume — a suit that wouldn't exist until a bit of time after Tim took up the Robin mantle.
    • The Justice League cartoon made Hawkgirl, the John Stewart version of Green Lantern and the Wally West version of The Flash into founding members of the group. In the comics, Hawkgirl did not join the team until issue #146, while John straight up wasn't created until The '70s (which in-turn also makes him a case of Adaptational Late Appearance, too, as his comic counterpart predates the below-mentioned Kyle Rayner). Meanwhile, Wally West did exist when the team first formed in the comics, but as the Kid Sidekick to Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash. Thus, Wally didn't join the League until much later in the 1980s, when he became the new Flash after Barry's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • Superman: The Animated Series:
      • As mentioned above, Steel was originally one of the replacement Supermen who debuted after Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday. Here, Steel shows up in the second season, while Doomsday doesn't even appear until Justice League many years later.
      • Kyle Rayner is the first Green Lantern of Earth to appear in the DCAU. John Stewart and Hal Jordan, both of whom predated Kyle in the comics by decades, don't show up until Justice League (and even then, Hal's appearance is a mere cameo).
      • Darkseid and his forces don't usually come a-knocking until after the Justice League is already formed. Here, they and Superman cross paths multiple times years before the League exists.
  • DuckTales (2017): In the original cartoon, Fenton Crackshell, alias the superhero Gizmoduck, isn't introduced until the second season, after over 65 episodes, and in-universe after some time has passed since Scrooge first met his grand-nephews. In the new series, the Gizmoduck suit is teased in just the third episode of the series, and Fenton makes his debut a mere eight episodes later in episode 11.
  • Fantastic Four: Both Terrax and Firelord are present during Galactus' two-part debut episode, and battle the heroes during their master's attempt to consume the Earth. The episode is adapted from the original "Coming of Galactus" storyline from 1966, while Firelord and Terrax did not debut until 1974 and 1979, respectively. This also applies to Galactus himself, as he originally appeared after "The Inhumans Saga" in the original Stan Lee / Jack Kirby run in the comics, while the show's adaptation of that storyline didn't happen until Season 2, well after Galactus had made his debut.
  • Garfield and Friends did this in the U.S. Acres segment for every member of the cast who wasn't Orson (who was present at the first installment of both the comic strip and the cartoon version anyway).
    • Roy Rooster first appeared in the comic in the April 14, 1986 strip, while the Garfield and Friends segment had him an established character from the start.
    • Wade Duck did not appear in the comic strip until August 4, 1986, while the very first U.S. Acres episode, "Wanted: Wade", doesn't just feature him, but has him in a major role.
    • Orson's adoptive sons Booker and Sheldon were introduced in a May 1986 arc where Orson found and hatched some abandoned chicken eggs. The cartoon again depicted the two chicks as being present among the cast at the beginning.
    • Bo and Lanolin made an Early-Bird Cameo in the comic strip in the July 20, 1986 strip before getting their proper introductions in January 15, 1987 (Lanolin) and January 19, 1987 (Bo). The animated version again has them appear as early as possible, giving the twin sheep cameos in "Wanted: Wade" and giving them their first speaking roles in the second U.S. Acres episode "Unidentified Flying Orson".
  • The Hello Neighbor video game had Nicky investigate Mr. Peterson's house alone. The Hello Neighbor Animated Series, on the other hand, had him accompanied by Enzo, Maritza, and Trinity, all of whom originally didn't appear until Secret Neighbor, the third game in the series.
  • In the Hilda graphic novels Erik Ahlberg only appeared in the final book, "Hilda and the Mountain King". In the animated series, he is introduced in the first episode of season 2, before the events of "Hilda and the Stone Forest".
    • Likewise, Baba and her mother make a small appearance in the season 2 episode, The Old Bells of Trolberg. In the graphic novels, the two Trolls won't show up until The Stone Forest storyline.
  • In Muppet Babies (1984) , Muppet mainstays Statler and Waldorf didn't appear until season 7 . In Muppet Babies (2018) , their first appearance is in episode 2 .
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • Whereas Hobgoblin in the comics was an imitator of the earlier introduced Green Goblin, in the 90s TV series Hobgoblin was introduced before the longtime Spider-Man archenemy Norman Osborn took up the identity of the Green Goblin. The reason for Green Goblin's later appearance in the show was that a previous producer had decided to use the Hobgoblin instead (possibly because Osborn was dead in the comics at the time, while the Hobgoblin was still being featured). By the time producer John Semper took over the series, the tie-in toyline had already begun production, meaning the executives refused to allow him to drop the Hobgoblin from the show when Hobgoblin action figures were in the works.
    • Eddie Brock was already Venom when he first appeared in the comics, and all the stuff about him being a former reporter whose career was accidentally ruined by Spider-Man was only established by exposition and flashbacks. The cartoon introduces Eddie as part of the supporting cast in the very first episode, and slowly builds up his hatred of Spider-Man across several episodes, until he finally becomes Venom near the end of Season 1. Nearly every adaptation since then (including Spider-Man 3, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man) has adopted this method, introducing Eddie as Peter's coworker or friend in order to actually show audiences why this guy hates Spider-Man so much.
    • This also applies to the Venom symbiote itself. In the comics, Spidey first encountered the symbiote during Secret Wars (1984), but in the TV show, Venom appears in Season 1, while Secret Wars doesn't happen until the final season.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Grand Admiral Thrawn becomes the Big Bad for the second half of the series. Thrawn originally appeared in The Thrawn Trilogy (which had been retconned along with the rest of the Legends continuity), which takes place after Return of the Jedi, whereas Rebels takes place a couple of years before A New Hope.
  • James the Red Engine makes cameos in all six episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine prior to "Thomas And The Breakdown Train/Thomas Saves The Day". This causes a continuity error since the following episode keeps the novels' statement of the events of said episode occurring on his first day. Henry similarly makes cameos prior to "The Sad Story of Henry/Come Out Henry", while Thomas himself appears before the events of the Three Railway Engines stories as a result of "Thomas And Gordon" being adapted as the first episode to fit his leading status.
    • This seems to be a recurring tendency for characters newly introduced in feature-length specials. Most seasons produced at the same time will feature said character. The majority of the time the specials are released some time after the season (are a fair number of episodes) have already aired, meaning the character first appears in the TV episodes.
    • Also played with in The Adventure Begins, a movie retelling the events of the first two books. In this version, Thomas doesn't arrive on Sodor until after the events of The Three Railway Engines, ("Edward and Gordon" happens before Thomas's arrival, and Edward later retells "The Sad Story of Henry" to Thomas). However, James, who in The Railway Series only showed up at the end of the second book introduced as a "new engine", is there from the beginning, before Thomas even arrives on Sodor. Similarly, Annie and Clarabel, who in the books aren't properly introduced until the fourth book as Thomas's coaches on his branch line, are introduced as coaches assigned to James during Thomas's time as station pilot.
  • X-Men:
    • Because the series was an Adaptation Distillation, certain characters who didn't join the team until much later on in the comics are present from the beginning. The most notable examples are Jubilee and Gambit, two very recent 90s characters at the time, both of whom show up in the very first episode. This is also true of characters like Bishop and Cable. A side effect is that these characters ended up appearing in adaptations of classic Chris Claremont stories that were written years before many of them were even created, such as Jubilee being in The Dark Phoenix Saga or Bishop playing a central role in Days of Future Past.
    • Morph, Wolverine, Storm, and Rogue are also X-Men from the beginning. While Flashbacks in later episodes would establish that they were not founding members of the team, they're still part of the group by the time the first episode starts.
    • The series also sees Professor X already in his hover chair, long before the team ever met Forge or the Shi'ar Empire (respectively its builder and the source of the technology used in it in the comics). Likewise, the X-Men are depicted in their costumes from the Jim Lee days, whereas barring Wolverine and Beast, most of the costumes wouldn't debut until after many of the stories the series adapted. Additionally, the Danger Room already uses hard-light holographic technology — another thing he gained from their ties to the Shi'ar in the comics.
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • Like the Ultimate X-Men comics, the series has later 70s additions to the team like Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler as part of the cast from the very beginning. 80s recruits like Kitty Pryde and Rogue also end up joining very early on.
    • Likewise, the New Mutants join the cast in Season 2. This causes a bit of an Age Lift, since in the comics, the New Mutants were initially introduced as the next generation of teenage X-Men after the original members of the team had all grown up. Here, the New Mutants are roughly the same age as characters like Cyclops and Jean Grey, who were their elders in the comics.
    • This also holds true for many of the villains. Mystique, Sabretooth, Destiny and Avalanche didn't start fighting the X-Men in the comics until the 1980s, while they all are present within the first few episodes of the show.
  • In addition to Venom, The Spectacular Spider-Man takes after Ultimate Spider-Man and has Peter know the Osborns, Mary Jane, Gwen, Captain Stacy, Jean DeWolff, Black Cat, Hammerhead, Silvermane, Silver Sable, and Miles Warren while in high school instead of college or afterward. It also extends this to other characters like Stan Carter, Glory Grant, Randy Robertson, Sha Shan Nguyen, Roderick Kingsley, Walter Hardy (though in the case, it's because he's a Composite Character with Uncle Ben's killer)and Debra Whitman.

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