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Disposable Love Interest

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"It never could be love
That's how it hadda be
Her name reminds me of
Female anatomy."

The mysterious vanishing of a hero's established love interest between the first movie and the sequel. Related to the Cartwright Curse, but this is where what happened to her isn't mentioned, and is never referenced again. They can't have the hero settle down because Status Quo Is God. On the other hand, they can't make the hero look like a heel by spelling out why their relationships always fail, so the situation becomes the Elephant in the Living Room.

Basically, the girls aren't put into the movies to be characters or interesting, but merely so that the main character can go through the motions of a fresh Token Romance in every single sequel.

Related to Girl of the Week. Compare the Temporary Love Interest, who is taken far more seriously and gets the dignity of being written out, but again because adding a lasting romance would upset the status quo. See also Disposable Woman, Disposable Fiancé, and Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Very common in a Sequel Reset. Written-In Absence and Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome are similarly related.


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  • "American Honda Presents DC Comics Supergirl": Steve Gordon was expressly created to be Linda Danvers' -aka Supergirl- boyfriend in this story. His sole role is to get hurt in order to cause the protagonist grief, whereupon he will not be seen or mentioned again.

    Comic Books 

  • Parodied in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where Austin's love interest from the first movie turns out to be a robot that explodes. Played straight in the third one (although it can be assumed the second movie's love interest is with his clone ... long story).
  • Every Batman movie has a new girl for the Batmeister who will only get mentioned if she's lucky. In Batman Returns, we're informed that previous love interest Vicki Vale couldn't handle Bruce's dual life and left him.
  • In Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Deuce's love interest Kate has been killed by sharks.
  • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane's wife Holly is only there as part of a phone conversation, and by Live Free or Die Hard they are divorced.
  • In Elektra, Matt is no longer part of the story, nor is any mention of the continuance of their relationship.
  • In Ghostbusters II, Venkman has split up with Dana, who has a son with the violinist. After having a conversation with Venkman, she gets rescued again. It's doubtful that they continue their relationship.
  • In Indiana Jones, Indy forgets about all of his past relationships, including Willie in The Temple of Doom, Elsa in The Last Crusade note , and numerous Expanded Universe love interests like Sophia Hapgood. Until The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which sees the return of the marvelous Marian Ravenwood.
  • Basically, every James Bond movie ever produced. This makes sense in-universe considering the one time he marries someone, she dies at the end of the movie.
    • One of the James Bond books handwaves this by having the female character from Diamonds Are Forever break up with James and marry a Marine stationed at the US Embassy in London.
  • In The Karate Kid Part II, Ali Mills breaks up with Daniel and dates a football player, and Daniel meets Kumiko in Okinawa.
  • In The Karate Kid Part III, Kumiko decides to stay in Okinawa, and Daniel finds a new girlfriend who is into mountain climbing.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Bruce Banner's love interest from The Incredible Hulk (2008), Betty Ross does not show up and is not mentioned ever after, although both Bruce and her own father Thaddeus Ross appear in multiple films. What happened to her is unknown. Starting from Avengers: Age of Ultron, Bruce even has an Unresolved Sexual Tension with another female character, Black Widow.
    • Pepper Potts' relationship with Tony Stark, who has retired from being a superhero, is presumably ongoing after Iron Man 3, assuming she does not explode from her new Extremis powers. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pepper Potts does not appear, but she is mentioned by Stark as still working at Stark Industries. In Captain America: Civil War, Pepper Potts has broken up with Tony Stark, due to Stark's refusal to remain in retirement. As of Avengers: Infinity War, a relationship Snap Back has the two back together.
    • After solidifying their relationship in Thor: The Dark World, Jane and Thor have broken up by the start of Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Avengers: Endgame addresses all of these issues, though Thor mentions no longer dating Jane.
  • In Men in Black II, Agent K's wife has divorced, and Agent L appears to no longer care for Agent J.
  • Mission: Impossible II closes with Ethan Hunt and Nyah Hall living happily ever after. M:I-3 opens with Hunt marrying a different woman, and Nyah is never spoken of again.
  • Night at the Museum: Rebecca doesn't appear or get mentioned in the sequel, despite starting a relationship with Larry at the end of the first film.
  • In Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Paul's love interest Amy has filed for divorce.
  • In Shanghai Knights, Chon Wang and Roy O'Bannon's love interests have already left them.
  • In Star Trek: Generations, Kirk reconstructs memories of being married to Antonia, a girl he met, instead of Carol Marcus, his love interest in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, who was written out in subsequent films.
  • In Step Up 5: All In, Emily has dumped Sean from Step Up 4 Revolution.
  • In Ted 2, John has divorced Lori Collins, who he married in the first movie.
  • Top Gun: Maverick establishes that Maverick didn't stay with Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), his love interest in Top Gun, and has instead had a decades-long on-again, off-again romance with "admiral's daughter" Penny Benjamin, who was only referenced in the first film. This is actually to the movie's benefit, thanks both to considerably more convincing chemistry between Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly and to considerably stronger writing for their relationship (as in, it is actually established why they love each other beyond superficial attraction). His relationship with Penny also serves to help further Maverick's character arc, unlike the original.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Mikhaela (Sam's love interest in the first two films) is given the Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Carly, a similarly improbably attractive Damsel in Distress who Sam is suddenly living in an apartment with with little explanation. This is due to Michael Bay falling out with Mikhaela's actress.
  • In Watchmen, the Comedian shoots the Vietnamese woman, pregnant with his child, and blames Dr. Manhattan for not interfering.
  • In Zoolander 2, the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good building collapses, killing Matilda.

  • The inexplicable (in-story) disappearance of Fenchurch toward the beginning of Mostly Harmless.
  • Robert Langdon has Vittoria Vetra in his first book, Sophie Neveu in his second, and Vittoria a COMPLETELY different hot science chick in his third. There's a brief Hand Wave towards the fact that he's no longer with Vittoria in The Da Vinci Code, but nothing else.
  • While perhaps not the oldest example, the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope did this on occasion. In The Chronicles of Barsetshire, the husband of the female protagonist of The Warden is dead by the beginning of Barchester Towers so that she is open for marriage again. The wife of the protagonist of Phineas Finn has died in childbirth by the beginning of the sequel, Phineas Redux.
  • Amy and Kayra in the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman books by Brian Jacques.
  • Name one of Luke Skywalker's girlfriends. Mara Jade is the only one that doesn't qualify for this trope.
  • Monica Figuerola is introduced in the third book of the Millennium Series and quickly strikes up a relationship with protagonist Mikael Blomkvist. Towards the end of the book, each separately confess to his on-again/off-again lover, "I think I'm in love with him/her", but she's disappeared by the next book with nary a mention nor explanation of her absence.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • In the Leisure Suit Larry series, Larry's love interest from the previous game typically breaks up with Larry in the beginning of the next game.
  • Stretched almost to the point of Deconstruction by Metal Gear Solid and its sequel. Snake ends up happily with the girl, Meryl, but by the time of the second game their relationship has not only failed without explanation but Snake's now actually living with a man, who seems more compatible with him than she was. It's straighter than it sounds...but not much.
  • Iris, the defendant from last case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations is very clearly supposed to be Phoenix's love interest and yet she completely disappeared without as much as a mention after the original trilogy.
  • In Ultima VII, The Avatar can start a relationship with Nastassia, who goes unmentioned in later games.

    Western Animation 
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Roxanne, Max's love interest from the first movie, is never seen or heard from again, and Bobby's love interest Stacey is gone.
  • Subverted in an episode of Futurama. Bender and the disembodied head of Lucy Liu fall in love at the end of one episode and vow they'll marry. This relationship is never mentioned again... except in one episode that reveals she's been living in his chest cavity all along.
  • Looney Tunes has generally no continuity at all and the characters relationships are no exception. Which means that a love interest can disappear for a good while and then reappear and get re-introduced to the main character in a totally different way.
    • Bugs Bunny was married to Mrs. Bugs Bunny in Hold the Lion, Please who liked to wear the trousers in their home. Bugs dates Daisy Lou Rabbit in Hare Splitter. Lola Bunny, introduced in Space Jam, has become Bugs' official girlfriend in The Looney Tunes Show, the only one to become an iconic name.
    • Daffy Duck was married to Daphne Duck, was married to Honeybunch Duck in Quackodile Tears, was married to a different, more abusive wife in His Bitter Half, and may have married Fowl Fattale in The Super Snooper. Daffy's most recurring and recognisable girlfriend was Melissa Duck however. Daffy dated another duck in Daffy's Meet Market. As of The Looney Tunes Show, Tina Russo is Daffy's girlfriend.
    • The Tasmanian Devil was once married to the Tasmanian She-Devil, but she didn't appear in any further shorts after she twice fulfilled her role of dragging her husband away from Bugs. It's only in the comics and in a couple of video games that she got to do anything more than being a match made in heaven for the Devil.
    • Tweety's girlfriend Aoogah has not been seen since Tweety's High Flying Adventure, which makes perfect sense since she existed as a tailor-plot stand-in to the Indian princess Aoudah in order to keep Tweety from being a lonely Phileas Fogg in his trip around the world.
    • Porky Pig's girlfriend Petunia is in far fewer cartoons than Porky himself.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Bart's Girlfriend", Bart's girlfriend is Jessica Lovejoy. In "Moonshine River", it is revealed their relationship was short term only.
    • Colin, Lisa's love interest from The Simpsons Movie, appears in art class in "Lisa the Drama Queen", and in the opening of "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs". Colin does not appear regularly enough in the series to establish if their relationship is still ongoing.
  • Family Guy: In the episode “Baby Got Black”, Chris fell for Jerome’s daughter Pam and spent the episode trying to get her father to let them date. In the end, Jerome sees that Chris is a good fit and lets them be together. One episode later, Chris is seen dating a six-foot-tall German girl as a one-shot gag.