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Distant Sequel

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Some stories take place a very long time after their prequels, whether only a few decades afterwards or after centuries or millennia. Depending on the amount of time passed and the events that took place in earlier stories, the prequels' characters and events may by the time of the sequel have become famous or part of the historical record, or even entered into myth. If sufficient distortion and mythologizing takes place over generations or centuries of word-of-mouth retellings, then the sequel's account of the events of earlier stories may have become rather different from how the audience remembers it.

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Another trait of a Distant Sequel is that it can allow for significant changes to occur in the story's world. Actions taken by the main characters in earlier stories may have had the time to change the world in significant ways, characters may become parents or grandparents or leave distant descendants — who may in turn become the sequel's main characters — nations may rise, grow and fall, and science and civilization advance or regress.

See also Distant Finale, where a work's last episode, scene or chapter is set a long time after its main body, which can easily lead into this trope if a sequel is made to a work with a Distant Finale. Compare with Dashed Plot Line, where the plot skips years ahead several times over the course of the story. A Sequel Series may be more likely to be distant from its prequel than a sequel within the same series as its prequel.

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Distant prequels are also covered by this trope, as the primary theme — the time gap between the two stories and the changes that take place during it — remains largely the same. In a sense, a work with a distant prequel can be thought as having itself retroactively become a distant sequel.

Not to be confused with Sequel Gap, which is when a sequel is released a long time after its prequel in Real Life. Sub-Trope of Time Skip.

The opposite of this would be an Immediate Sequel, of course.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure:
  • Mazinger Z: Infinity takes place years after Mazinger Z. Kouji Kabuto is no longer a hotheaded teenage boy fighting for justice, but has graduated into a respectable researcher of Photon Energy. His girlfriend Sayaka Yumi has become head of the Photon Research Lab while her father went on to become the Prime Minister of Japan. His little brother Shiro is about to graduate from high school and has taken a side job of test pilot of mass-produced Mazinger machines. His adopted older brother Tetsuya Tsurugi has joined the army to bolster Japan's defenses with his good ol' Great Mazinger, and has married his childhood friend Jun Honoo and is expecting a child. The threat of Dr. Hell seemed to be a memory of the past until it came back knocking just in time when Kouji discovered a REALLY huge Mazinger...
  • UQ Holder! is set seventy-five years after the events of Mahou Sensei Negima!, focusing on Negi's grandson Touta Konoe.

    Comic Books 
  • Buffyverse:
    • Fray takes place in the Bad Future of the 23rd Century, more than 200 years after the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Its protagonist is Melaka Fray, a recently activated Slayer who fights vampires (commonly called "lurks") and other demons in the town of Haddyn, formerly known as Manhattan.
    • The graphic novel Tales of the Slayers tells the stories of various Slayers over the course of thousands of years from the first Slayer Sineya in prehistoric Africa to Melaka Fray.
    • The one-shot Spike and Dru: All's Fair takes place in 1933. While Spike and Drusilla are in Chicago, the four brothers of Xin Rong, the Chinese Slayer killed by Spike in 1900 (as depicted in "Fool for Love"), seek their vengeance.
  • The DCU:
    • The limited series The Kents takes place from 1854 to 1874, many decades before Superman's arrival on Earth. It explores how the events leading up to The American Civil War, the war itself and its aftermath impacted on the Kent family, principally brothers Nathaniel and Jebediah.
    • All of the stories in Legends of the Dead Earth are set centuries or millennia after the 20th Century. Both Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #4 and Sovereign Seven Annual #2 take place at the end of the universe 19-20 billion years in the future.
    • Batman: I, Joker takes place in 2083, then 85 years in the future. Gotham City is a police state ruled by a tyrant called the Bruce, a descendant of Batman. Joseph Collins assumes the identity of The Joker and plots to free Gotham from the Bruce's tyranny.
    • Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty depicts the Wayne family's battle against the immortal Vandal Savage over the course of almost 1,300 years. In Dark Past, the English crusader Sir Joshua Wainwright fights Savage in 1222. In Dark Present, in the 20th Century, Bruce Wayne is inspired by the legacy of his ancestor Sir Joshua to become the Dark Knight and dies in battle with Savage. In Dark Future, the Wayne Enterprises vice president Brenna Wayne lives in the flying city of New Gotham in 2500 and manages to defeat Savage by stranding him on a meteor.
    • In Robin 3000, Bruce Wayne's 31st Century descendant, a teenage boy named Tom Wayne, assumes the identity of Robin after his uncle Bruce Wayne XX is killed by an invading alien race known as the Skulps.
    • In a series of stories featured in various Superman titles, Klar Ken T5477 is a direct descendant of Clark Kent who operates as Superman XX in 2965, exactly 1,000 years after the first such story was published.
    • In Batman #26, after Earth is conquered by Saturn in 3000, Bruce Wayne's descendant Brane finds a time capsule buried in 1939 featuring recordings of his ancestor and Robin in action. This inspires him to become the new Batman and fight against Earth's Saturnian oppressors, who are led by the warlord Fura.
    • Superman #400 explores the Man of Steel's legacy in a series of stories entitled "The Living Legends of Superman" which move increasingly further into the future. They begin in 2199 and end more than seven million years after the 20th Century.
  • Star Wars: This is fairly common in the Legends continuity's Expanded Universe, as it covers several millennia of galactic history:
    • Dawn of the Jedi takes place no less than 25,000 years before the movies, during the earliest origins of the force-using order that would later schism to form the Jedi and the Sith.
    • Tales of the Jedi is set 5,000 years before the movies and 100 years before Knights of the Old Republic.
    • Star Wars: Legacy takes place about one hundred years after the the original Star Wars movie trilogy, after numerous wars and political upheavals. The main characters are the descendants of the first trilogy's main cast, several generations removed, and when older characters show up it is typically as ghosts.

    Fan Works 
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: 25 Years Later is, as the name states, set two and half decades after its parent work. A considerable amount of things happened in the intervening time, including Manny ditching his family to move to New York and Rodrick getting married.
  • Fallout: Equestria takes place hundreds of years in an alternate Bad Future, after Equestria has been blasted into a ravaged hellscape in the magical equivalent of a nuclear exchange. The Mane Six are still recognized for what they did in the years of the war prior to the apocalypse, although not all are remembered fondly. Civilization has had time to rebuild itself in rather unusual ways, and the only characters from the show still around all achieved biological immortality through ghoulification or... more peculiar means.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell is set a thousand years after the events of "A Canterlot Wedding" end in disaster, and follows a new generation of Element Bearers. The show's characters are still remembered, but often in highly distorted and mythologized ways, and a a Flim-Flam Corporation has apparently grown out of the Flim-Flam brothers' snake-oil businesses.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Babylon 5: The short story "Space, Time and the Incurable Romantic", published in Amazing Stories #599, takes place from 2560 to 2593, approximately 300 years after the events of the series. Marcus Cole, having been revived from stasis, has a clone of his lost love Susan Ivanova created with all of the original's memories up to when she was critically injured in the Battle of Sector 300 in "Between the Darkness and the Light".
  • Buffyverse: Like the similarly named graphic novel, the four Tales of the Slayer short story anthologies explore the lives and experiences of numerous Slayers over the course of almost 2,500 years from Thessily Thessilonikki in 490 BCE to Buffy's immediate predecessor India Cohen in 1993.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • The Magician's Nephew is set 1,000 years before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 1,300 years pass between The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, a generation or so between Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair, and seven generations between The Silver Chair and The Last Battle, which in turn takes place at the end of the world. This allows the world to change, often significantly, between novels, such as Narnia being overrun and conquered by the Telmarine people between the first novel and Prince Caspian.
    • Due to time flowing differently in Narnia than in our world, far less time passes between sequels for the human protagonists than for the land of Narnia. The Pevensie siblings are children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and they're only teenagers or young adults by The Last Battle, even though millennia have passed in Narnia. The Magician's Nephew is the only one that's a distant sequel (or rather, prequel) in Earth time as well as in Narnia time — it's set in The Edwardian Era and focuses on Digory Kirke as a child, while the next book (chronologically) happens during the blitz and shows Digory as an old man.
  • Ender's Game: Speaker for the Dead is set about three thousand years after the first book, as this is the amount of time needed to travel from Earth to the book's setting, the planet Lusitania, in a slower-than-light sleeper ship.
  • The The Enduring Flame Trilogy takes place a thousand years or so after The Obsidian Trilogy, by which point the latter's heroes have become the figureheads of the setting's main religion.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation: Many of the books' component stories were first published in the Pulp Magazines of the time. The overarching story achieves a Dashed Plot Line effect due to skipping between characters, often with Time Skips of a generation or some between stories.
    • "The Psychohistorians": A Short Story added retroactively when Foundation 1951 was published, this begins the timeline of the Foundation Era at -2 Foundation Era, compared to 50 F.E. of "The Encyclopedists". Year 1 is when the planet Terminus is colonized by the Foundation.
    • "The Encyclopedists": The events in this story take place in 50 F.E., fifty years since the events of "The Psychohistorians".
    • "The Mayors": The events in this story take place in 80 F.E., thirty years since the events of "The Encyclopedists" and manages to keep two characters from the previous story, who are now aged and important figures.
    • "The Traders": Created as an Interquel between "The Mayors" and "The Merchant Princes", occurring two decades before the latter (making it take place around 130 F.E.).
    • "The Merchant Princes": The events in this story take place over a few years, starting twenty years after "The Traders" (and with none of the same characters), reportedly a "century and a half" since Terminus was colonized by the Foundation. This places it seventy years after the events of "The Mayors".
    • "The General": The events in this story begins over forty years after "The Merchant Princes" (roughly 200 F.E.), and Ducem Barr (the offscreen son of an old man) is now, himself, an old man. Hober Mallow is gone, replaced by Sennett Forell (his bastard son). The other characters have all died from old age.
  • The Helliconia books are set centuries apart from each other, showing how the eponymous planet changes as it and its parent star Batalix orbit around Freyr, cyclically affecting the planet's climate over centuries. The story of Aoz Roon overthrowing the two chiefs of his village and becoming one himself in Helliconia Spring is remembered in Helliconia Summer as nothing more than a cautionary tale that was probably made from whole cloth.
  • The Lord of the Rings takes place sixty years after The Hobbit; this is not immediately noticeable due to most main characters belonging to species that are either very Long-Lived or actually ageless, but enough time has passed for Bilbo to become an old man with an adult nephew and for the city of Dale to be ruled by the grandson of Bard, who becomes its ruler at the end of The Hobbit.
  • Redwall: Most novels are set a generation or so apart from one another, so that any given work tends to feature as main characters people who were either children in its immediate sequel or who are the offspring of the previous work's main characters. As there are twenty-two novels in the series, the end result is that the last few books in chronological order take place a good few centuries after the first ones, and extensive dynasties and family lines can be traced among the characters who are each other's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
  • Star Trek Novel Verse:
    • The first two stories in the short story anthology Enterprise Logs, "The Veil at Valcour" and "World of Strangers", take place in 1776 and 1942 respectively, hundreds of years prior to the rest of the stories in the collection and the usual time frame of the franchise in general. "The Veil at Valcour" is set aboard the Royal Navy vessel HMS Enterprise during The American Revolution while "World of Strangers" is set aboard the US Navy vessel U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) during World War II.
    • The short story "I Am Become Death" in the anthology Strange New Worlds II takes place in 4367, 2,000 years after the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation. By this time, humanity has gone extinct, having been replaced by a race of androids created by Data.
    • The short story "Guardians" in Strange New Worlds VII begins in 2297, thirty years after the events of Star Trek: The Original Series, and moves increasingly further into the future until it reaches 52267 when the mother Horta's eggs hatch.
    • The short story "The Rules of War" in Strange New Worlds 9 takes place during the Eugenics Wars in 1994, about 160 years before the events of Star Trek: Enterprise. The story concerns Jonathan Archer's great-grandfather Nathan Archer fighting Dr. Stavos Keniclius in North Africa and managing to negotiate a temporary cease fire with him so that a school can be evacuated. Captain Archer tells Trip about this event in "Hatchery".
    • The short story "Stone Cold Truths" in Tales of the Dominion War takes place in 2525, 150 years after the events of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: New Frontier. The retired Brikarian Starfleet officer Zak Kebron tells his son Cal about his experiences during the Dominion War (2373-2375).
  • Warrior Cats: The Dawn of the Clans series takes place in what the modern Clans would describe as being ancient times, focusing on the very creation and foundation of the Clans, generations before The Prophecy Begins took place. By the time of the main series, the events of Dawn of the Clans have long since faded into fuzzily remembered legend.

    Live-Action TV 

    Radio 
  • The Green Hornet: The main character, Britt Reid, is typically depicted as the grand-nephew of John Reid, The Lone Ranger. As such, The Green Hornet is typically set two generations or so after the events of the earlier series, enough time for the Green Hornet's parents to be dead from natural causes.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: A common occurrence, as the games are set all over recorded history.
  • Call of Duty: The first three games were set during World War II; the Modern Warfare series is set around The New '10s, around seventy years later.
  • Castlevania takes places over centuries with the Belmont clan's fight against Dracula:
  • Chzo Mythos: This happens twice.
    • The first game, 5 Days a Stranger, takes place in the 1990s, ending with the death of multiple characters and the assumed defeat of the murderous ghost John DeFoe. The sequel is 7 Days a Skeptic, which takes place in 2385, aboard a spaceship, with only loose connections to the original game — otherwise, it's a new cast of characters being terrorized, once again, by John DeFoe.
    • The third game, Trilby's Notes, is set only a few years after the events of 5 Days, bringing the series back to a focused, overarching plot. Although the next game 6 Days a Sacrifice follows this overarching plot trend, and even adds some meaning to the events of 7 Days, it also takes place in 2189.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls II takes place at least a thousand years after the events of the first Dark Souls, by which point the Chosen Undead's journey to determine the fate of the Age of Fire is nothing but a faded memory.
    • While the first two games take place close enough to each other that the First Flame showing no sign of permanently fading, Dark Souls 3 is set countless thousands of years in the future, after so many cycles have come and gone that the Flame is at risk of permanently going out and the events of the first two games aren't just legends, but the legends of long-dead civilizations. The Ringed City DLC is implied to be set even further in the future.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II is set 1200 years after Divinity: Original Sin, and although it is not a direct sequel to it (it actually more closely follows Divine Divinity), the two games form the two end points of the same story arc concerning the Dangerous Forbidden Technique Source as the origin of the divine power: D:OS explains how it got corrupted, while the sequel allows you remove it from the world entirely in some of the endings.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim takes place several centuries after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, following a number of wars, political upheavals and a massive eruption that devastated Morrowind's setting.
  • Fallout: While individual games are set no more than a few decades after their prequels, the years add up between installments — Fallout 4 is set 126 years after the original Fallout, and, while still set in an After the End Scavenger World, later games show signs of civilization having rebuilt considerably from the point of the first few games. Among other things, agriculture, trade and nations larger than village-sized city-states all reappear as time goes on. The New California Republic, which the player helps establish and defend in early games, has for instance grown into a powerful nation by the time of Fallout: New Vegas.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Jumper Three takes place millennia after Jumper Two, due to Ogmo spending all that time in a spaceship. The game doesn't even provide any specific number, it just throws up a random number as a number of years that passed since Ogmo boarded the rocket in the intro.
  • Legacy of Kain: The franchise often jumps around by centuries or millennia between games — Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain, for instance, takes place 400 years after the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Most games are implied to take place anywhere between a few lifetimes to centuries away from each other, as Link, Zelda and Ganondorf all reincarnate over and over again throughout Hyrule's history, and events from various games often feature as legends of ancient deeds in chronologically later installments. While clear amounts of time are never given, games at the far end of the franchise's timelines, such as Spirit Tracks and The Adventure of Link, take place centuries, and likely millennia, after games such Skyward Sword and The Minish Cap that are set in the early parts of the setting's history.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker takes place a very long time after a great flood destroyed Hyrule at some point after Ocarina of Time, long enough that Hyrule itself, Link and his deeds and the Triforce have all long passed into legend, and that language drift has caused the dialect of Hylian spoken in Ocarina of Time to become an incomprehensible dead language to the people of the game's present.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one to effectively the franchise as a whole. Exactly how long after the other games Breath of the Wild takes place is not stated, but 10,000 have passed since the ancient, technologically advanced Hylian civilization sealed the Calamity Ganon away in the game's backstory. This is on top of the amount of time that would have been needed for the medieval Hyrule seen in most games to develop the technology needed to create robots, Giant Mecha and other such wonders to begin with, making the amount of time that must gone by between the times of the other Zelda stories and Breath of the Wild vast indeed.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue takes place about 1,000 years after Lunar: The Silver Star, although it shares two returning characters.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place hundreds of years after the original Mass Effect trilogy, due to the physical limitations of intergalactic travel.
  • Mega Man loves this trope.
  • MOTHER 3 is set an indefinitely long amount of time after the events of EarthBound; by this point, the world already experienced an apocalypse, with the survivors deliberately erasing all of their memories about life before the cataclysmic event. EarthBound itself is also a milder example in the sense that it is set an ambiguous number of years after the events of EarthBound Beginningsnote , but is decidedly still "contemporary" in its setting compared to MOTHER 3.
  • Knights of the Old Republic occurs approximately 3,956 years before the main Star Wars movies.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia takes place thousands of years before Tales of Phantasia, enough time for magitek civilizations to rise and destroy themselves in a war before a meteor impact sends the world back into another technological dark age. An exact time gap is not given, but the general consensus is four thousand years, with Symphonia's ending acting as Year Zero for the calendar used in Phantasia.
    • Tales of Berseria similarly takes place in the far distant past of Tales of Zestiria.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond takes place in the future of the DC Animated Universe where an aging Bruce Wayne trains a new Batman.
  • The Legend of Korra takes place 70 years after Avatar: The Last Airbender, by which point Aang has died of old age, allowing the Avatar to be reborn among the Water Tribes in the form of the protagonist. Characters from the prequel series, all now famous historical figures, return as either alive but very elderly (like Toph, Katara and Zuko), deceased (like Sokka) or deceased but still present as spirits (like Aang and Iroh). Other characters include the now middle-aged children of the first show's main cast, many with children of their own, and a large city and surrounding fifth nation has been established in the time between the shows.
  • Samurai Jack: Season five takes place fifty years in-universe after the fourth season, by which point most characters — except Jack, who seems to have become immune to aging — have become elderly and have families of their own.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars and its sequel Beast Machines have a cast from Cybertron in the distant future of the original cartoon, by which point the original's events are the stuff of myth (even though some of its veterans are still alive). Although in the former, it turns out both the Maximals and Predacons have traveled to Earth in the distant past.

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