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Sometimes an author will spend a lot of time blatantly Foreshadowing something, only to play with the audience's heads. When The Reveal comes, the promised (implied, really) development never occurs. Which, by the way, is Irony. May be an Orphaned Reference and/or the result of an Aborted Arc.

Here there be spoilers.

Compare Sheep in Sheep's Clothing when the Nice Guy is suspected to be not-so-nice, but turns out to be exactly as advertised. See also The Un-Twist, Bait-and-Switch, Red Herring Twist, Red Herring, Red Herring Mole. This trope also includes any and all subversions of Chekhov's Gun; see that page for examples.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Pokémon: The Original Series
      • The opening of Master Quest seemed to hint that Casey and Ritchie would be competing in the Johto League, as they appeared alongside Gary in the background of a stadium. Neither fought Ash in the league.
      • Late in the Johto saga, the gang comes across a mansion inhabited by a lone servant named Lokoko and her Ninetales. Or rather, a lone Ninetales and an illusion created by it by which it could communicate with the outside world. As Brock mentions how he once had a Vulpix (which he had returned to Suzy over sixty episodes prior to that point), the Ninetales clearly has a fondness for Brock (he resembles its old master), and the Poké Ball that kept it tethered to the mansion breaks at the end of the episode, one would expect Brock to invite Ninetales to join his team, but the Ninetales simply roams free and is never seen again.
    • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl:
      • Ash's Aipom's love of Contests gets quite a bit of foreshadowing, eventually being traded over to Dawn and becoming one of her most used Pokemon. Zoey even tells her the two are meant to enter the Grand Festival together. Unfortunately, this is all thrown out the window after Ambipom suddenly gains a love for ping pong and literally Put on a Bus, never to be seen again.
      • The Elite 4 and the Champion all make an appearance at separate points and it's almost set up that Ash will actually get to battle them. Shame he doesn't, no thanks to Tobias at the League Conference. It wouldn't be until Pokémon Journeys: The Series, 16 years later, that Ash gets to fight Cynthia in a 6 vs 6 Battle at the World
    • Pokémon the Series: Black & White
      • The first half of the series, has Ash's badge case have a clear slot for the Legend Badge. After getting the Icicle Badge, the Opelucid Gym is temporarily closed (much to Iris's delight), so Ash eventually wins the Toxic Badge from Roxie instead.
      • It's practically tradition that an (obviously) Always Someone Better trainer would be the one to prevent Ash from getting a tournament victory, which, in the Unova arc, fans would believe to be Virgil. Instead, it was Cameron, a worse Idiot Hero than Ash was.
      • The first episode of Unova implied Ash was Zekrom's chosen hero of ideals. The first time N makes his anime debut he seems to be Reshiram's chosen hero of truth. While they like each other well enough, N takes offence at Ash's chosen lifestyle as a Pokémon Trainer. So you think they will take command of each other's legendary and battle to see if truth or ideals wins the day as in the games? Nope, Ash gets N on his side before Reshiram appears and Reshiram leaves with little fuss. Zekrom doesn't even make an appearance.note 
      • Ash's Charizard returns late in the Black and White saga. In a case of Bait-and-Switch Credits, he doesn't have an actual role in Team Plasma, let alone face Reshiram, as the opening theme suggested. And then, when Mega Evolutions were introduced in the next generation, Pokémon X and Y, many were thinking that since Charizard stayed on Ash's team until the end of Black and White (and never returned to the Charicific Valley), Ash would get access to the new mechanic (since Charizard is one of those confirmed to get Mega Evolutions [two, in fact]). The Pokémon the Series: XY came and went, and Ash never got to actually be a Mega user, in spite of having Charizard (and a whole LOT of other potential Mega candidates, for that matter). In fact, none of Ash's previous Pokemon appear at all in XY. Finally subverted in Pokémon Journeys: The Series where Ash becomes a Mega user as his Lucario can Mega Evolve.
    • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon featured a recurring Eevee with shaggy fur that was expected to join Ash's roster once it officially joined the main cast. Instead, it ended up being captured by Lana and nicknamed Sandy.
  • Despite all the hints throughout the series as to the real identity of Marin as Seiya's sister in Saint Seiya, she doesn't end up being his sister at all, the real sister is somewhere else.
    • This, and Eagle Marin is the master of cryptic lines: she knew Seiya would have to face many a hardship, she knew who the real Athena was, but contrary to other Gold Saints who have good reason to suspect something was going on with the Sanctuary, it's never explained why she had knowledge of Saori being Athena. She also went to Star Hill to find the dead Pope's body. In the manga, she's basically always in the right place at the right time with the right info, hinting at a much larger role than that of a mere Silver Saint. Word of God also hinted in a databook that she has a mysterious unrevealed power.
  • The very first scene of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which appears to be a Flash Forward, but never actually happens.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Joey vowed that he'd be the one to defeat Marik and save Mai after her defeat in Battle City, however, after seriously getting burned, Joey collapses just as he was about to win in the semi-finals.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds foreshadowed that the Big Bad Z-one was Yusei from a Bad Future. He turned out to be a random unnamed scientist who just assumed Yusei's identity so he could bring the world hope.
    • Sly who, in a potential subplot initially planned to take Stardust Dragon from Yusei counts as well.
  • Project A-Ko shows us A-ko, a Person of Mass Destruction capable of feats of incredible speed and strength. Space aliens are searching for their long-lost princess they left behind on Earth. Obviously, the aliens have come to take A-ko away. Oh, wait, no they're not. They're here for C-ko. It turns out A-ko is all but said to be the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman.
  • This ended up happening to Orihime Inoue in Bleach. At the start of the series, her main power seems to be healing people, along with creating defensive shields. Partway through the Arrancar Saga, she's kidnapped by people working for Aizen, who reveals that her real power is to flat out reject reality, altering objects or restoring them to their previous state. Orihime develops a plan to use her ability to unmake the Hogyoku. Ulquiorra lates implies that Aizen has done something to modify Orihime, and a big deal is made during this arc about how Orihime's sole offensive technique is a One-Hit Kill that is rendered useless by her own gentle nature, weakening the attack to the point that almost anyone can block it. At the same time Ulquiorra is built up as far more Orihime's nemesis than Ichigo's, with Ichigo already getting two other major enemies in the arc (Grimmjow and Aizen himself). This is seemingly setting up Orihime to find the resolve to fight without holding back and defeat Ulquiorra herself. Ultimately, despite all this build-up, Orihime gets left behind in Hueco Mundo while Ichigo defeats both Ulquiorra and Aizen, the latter of whom he beats with a new power that causes him to be rejected by the Hogyoku without Orihime needing to do anything about it.
  • In Fresh Pretty Cure!, it was implied in episode 21 that Miyuki would become the fourth Cure. Two episodes later, the spot is given to a post-Heel Face Turned Eas.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! has a lot of fun with this, at the expense of Only Sane Man Mahiro's sanity. His attempts to be Genre Savvy usually involve trying to find the Foreshadowing that would produce the stupidest possible resolution to the plot; while his logic is accurate, he's almost always wrong because an entirely different piece of Foreshadowing will crop up that produces an even dumber resolution than he thought was possible.
    • Specific example: In Second Season, the main cast goes to the Great Big Library of Everything because Nyarko has an overdue book; while they're there, a pair of aliens raid the library looking for a specific book. Putting two and two together, Mahiro guesses that Nyarko's book is the one they're looking fornote . However, it turns out that he had the MacGuffin, a book he picked up earlier and absently shoved in his pocket when the bad guys attacked. When this is revealed, Mahiro gets a Big "NO!" at the idea that he's responsible for the plot twist, and Nyarko tells him how mean it was to immediately blame her for it.
    • Another example gets lampshaded; two episodes of Second Season have the Cyclone vacuum cleaner voiced by Norio Wakamoto. At the end of the latter episode, both Nyarko and Mahiro remark that they thought the vacuum would end up being important to the plot, based on how much set-up it got. But no, it was only there so they could give a Shout-Out to Kamen Rider Double.
  • Early parts of Fullmetal Alchemist dropped a lot of hints that Van Hohenheim, Ed, and Al's father was the Big Bad of the series. He's not, though the actual Big Bad does look exactly like him, due to having constructed his physical body from Hohenheim's DNA.
  • Masashi Kishimoto, regarding Naruto, has said that all the comparisons and parallels made between Naruto's mother (right down to the part where Kushina advises Naruto to find a girlfriend "like your mother") and his initial love interest, Sakura, were deliberately inserted to pull the legs of the shipping fans. Naruto ended up with Hinata instead, as fully detailed in The Last. It's also explained that the character in the current generation who most parallels Kushina is not Sakura at all, but Naruto himself (both being mischievous pranksters who were hosts of the 9-tailed fox and wanted to make everyone recognize their talents).
  • Played for Laughs in a chapter of My Monster Secret. It starts with an ominous flashback featuring demonic principal Akane and a character we had heard of but so far never seen (the former principal Shirayuki). Then return to the present, where an equally mysterious character appears before Akane with their face hidden. They fight, then there's a dramatic build-up to the reveal that said character is completely unrelated to Shirayuki, and is baffled by Akane's assumption. Cue Akane curling on the floor in shame after her dramatic effect was ruined. The character in the flashback does eventually appear, but much later.
  • Made in Abyss misleadingly implies that "Mitty," Nanachi's pet blob-mutant, is made of the remnants of Riko's mother Lyza. It's established that the Curse of the Abyss often turns people into unidentifiable "hollows" of their former selves, like Mitty, and Lyza was last seen heading to the region of the Abyss with this nasty side effect. Mitty seems oddly attached to Riko, and during a scene where Reg tries to remember what happened to Lyza, the camera keeps jumping to Mitty at ominously-framed angles. "Mitty" sounds like a nickname, and Nanachi is evasive about her backstory. It turns out Mitty was an unrelated girl of Riko's age; she was Nanachi's best (and only) friend, but they failed to save her from the machinations of a Mad Scientist that changed her, and Nanachi, into her current unfortunate form.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • All throughout the second half of the series, Zeref anticipates that Natsu is the only person in the world capable of killing him. This is reinforced when Natsu is revealed to be E.N.D., a demon Zeref turned him into for this very purpose. However, Natsu's only opportunity to kill Zeref is wasted midway through the final story arc, and while he remains the only one capable of defeating him in battle, it's ultimately Mavis who kills him as an Act of True Love via their shared "Instant Death" Radius.
    • The Dragon King Festival is set up as a major event that is implied to happen on the anniversary of Igneel and the other dragons' disappearance, which is also when they openly announce their planned return. When the awaited date comes, all that happens is a Big Bad Wannabe's attempt to recreate a similar historic event, and none of the dragons are anywhere to be seen except a few random ones brought over from the past through the Eclipse Gate. It's later justified as the dragons were waiting for the true Dragon King Acnologia, who never showed up, and they all reappear in the next major arc when the Godzilla Threshold is crossed by both the threat of all magic being erased and Acnologia's arrival.
    • One example is played straight in the manga but averted in the anime. Early on, Lucy worries that Eisenwald's leader, Erigor, may one day come back for revenge. The last he's ever spoken of is a passing mention at the start of the Nirvana arc, due to the author changing the draft of the story where Erigor was planned to return, resulting in a What Happened to the Mouse? scenario. On the other hand, the anime does feature his return in two more story arcs: once as intended in the Nirvana arc, where he is beaten with little fanfare; and again in the Key of the Starry Heavens Filler arc, where he Took a Level in Badass and is promoted to full member of the reborn Oración Seis.
    • After getting her butt whooped by Erza's seemingly invincible Nakagami Armor in the Grand Magic Games, Minerva reveals she has found a countermeasure for Erza's armor and promises an epic showdown with her rival. The closest they get to this "showdown" is a fight Erza has absolutely zero interest in and talks Minerva out of, and Minerva's countermeasure is never revealed.

  • The first story arc of The Phantom features an Upper-Class Twit named Jimmy Wells, who occasionally drops hints that there's more to him than people think, and who tends to make excuses and leave quickly when something exciting happens; the clear implication is that he's the foppish alter-ego of the Phantom, like Lamont Cranston in The Shadow (or Bruce Wayne in Batman, except this was before Bruce Wayne had been invented). Eventually, the Phantom decides to reveal his true identity to his love interest — and he's somebody completely different. It's generally assumed to be a case of an Aborted Arc, where the writer originally did intend Jimmy Wells to be the Phantom but then had a more original idea partway through.

    Fan Works 
  • In Girls und Panzer: Hope Dies, the fic seems to imply that Miho's killer is Erika, who'd always been hostile towards her in canon. Erika late to return on the night of Miho's murder, and ominously expresses her hope that Miho won't show up to the finals the next day, even before Miho's body is discovered. At Miho's funeral, Erika clashes with Miho's friends and ends up throwing out wild accusations. She's apparently a likely enough suspect that the student council has her abducted and tortured to force a confession out of her. However, it turns out that the real killer is Yukari, of all people.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Mole comments on how the dormant volcano the exploration team has landed in will only erupt in reaction to an explosion of great magnitude. In response to this, everyone stares at Vinny, who is tinkering with a time bomb. When the volcano does erupt, however, Vinny has nothing to do with it; in fact, he lampshades this.
  • In Batman: Soul of the Dragon, it seems like Jade is set up to potentially be a villain like her comics counterpart (Cheshire) due to the envy she has for Shiva being better than her. That's not the case as she's murdered by Rip Jaggar to open the gate before this could happen meaning that she still has Adaptational Heroism in the movie.
  • In Rango, the leader of the Greek Chorus of owls states explicitly several times that the main character is going to die. At the end of the movie, Rango is still very much alive, and the owl states that he will die someday, as everyone does eventually... just not right now.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Early in the Ator sequel, The Blade Masternote  appears to set up Ator's female companion, Mila, as having a Chekhov's Skill that would come into play, later on note ... however, that skill is never used and she becomes more of a Faux Action Girl / Damsel in Distress / Neutral Female, instead note .
  • In First Blood, Teasle asks Col. Trautman if he'd give Rambo a hug or blow his brains out, leaving Trautman to give the wish-washy answer "I couldn't decide until I met him face-to-face". This hints at the original ending in the book, where Trautman goes with blowing his brains out (Rambo and Teasle shot each other and it was a Mercy Kill at this point).
  • SkekSil the Chamberlain is set up perfectly in The Dark Crystal to pull a Heel–Face Turn, but then he just... doesn't.
  • The original Star Wars trilogy features several:
    • Han Solo getting the feeling he's never going to see the Millennium Falcon again. There's an Urban Legend that the line was a holdover from an earlier draft of the script, where he didn't see it again, but even the earliest version of the script had both Lando and the Falcon surviving to the end.
    • Yoda proclaiming that Luke was not their last hope, implying that he would fail and that the "other" he was talking about (Leia) would have to take his place. An Infinities arc was later written that demonstrated this possibility.
    • The "love triangle" of Luke/Leia/Han. Han and Leia end up together, but only after Luke and Leia have shared a few kisses that are never re-visited after they learn they're brother and sister.
  • The whole film Sleepaway Camp seems to be setting up a reveal that Angela, the obvious suspect, is innocent, and Ricky is the real killer. Every time someone victimizes her who later ends up dead, Ricky always witnesses what they're doing to her and gets angry. That the head of the camp suspects him seems to be obviously part of the fake-out. Everything seems calculated to add up to Ricky being the killer for those who are watching carefully, but it's not too terribly overt. Then at the end, it turns out that Angela really is the killer, and the real surprise is... well, let's just leave it that it's something else entirely, although that has been conservatively foreshadowed. A little bit.
  • Wes Craven said on the commentary track of Wes Craven's New Nightmare that he had deliberately made two characters seem, very subtly, to be possible villains in disguise. He did this by introducing them with "was it really a false alarm or just foreshadowing?" moments, and by making their performances seem suspicious. One is a babysitter (who in the original draft of the screenplay was in league with Uber Freddy) and the other is a slimy chauffeur. Neither of them turns out to be either a villain or a threat: the babysitter ends up dying to save Dylan and the chauffeur is never seen again after his one introductory scene.
  • Unstoppable has an excellent example in the form of Frank's death. He has a Fatal Family Photo, he retires in less than a month, and he even Tempts Fate at one point by remarking offhandedly to Will, "Don't get sentimental on me; it makes me feel like I'm gonna die." He survives to the end of the movie.
  • Steven Spielberg has stated that upon seeing Forbidden Planet as a child, he was very disappointed that the movie never revealed what the Krell actually looked like, after the line about a characteristic triangular door shape throughout their compound being the only clue to their physical appearance.
  • While everyone who knows about Audition (or catches sight of its DVD cover) knows just what's up with the enigmatic Asami, watching it in the mindset of someone unaware of the twist makes it apparent that the first half of the film set up many indicators of Asami being a ghost: her ethereal white-dressed beauty, Aoyama's friend commenting that something seems off about her and that none of the references she gave exist, and her sudden and mysterious disappearance one day that baffles Aoyama — all of which would make The Reveal even more shocking to an unknowing viewer who was expecting a quiet, romantic story.
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene: The cult leader takes the protagonist (Martha) out to the woods to practice shooting. Turns out she's barely involved in the murder the cult perpetrates (and that is with a knife). Martha also spends much of her time swimming alone in a large lake by her sister's summer house and near the end of the film, her sister cautions her that the day is quite cold for swimming, suggesting that Martha might meet a watery end. She doesn't.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Chekov is forced to put on a Red Shirt at one point, suggesting he could die at any second (he even looks appropriately horrified). Instead, Kirk is the one who ends up dead (he gets better).
  • In Man of Steel, Zod's armor has a Blade Below the Shoulder he uses to kill Jor-El. In the final fight with Superman he makes an adjustment to his right gauntlet as if to bust out the blade, but instead just removes his armor.
  • Early in Django Unchained, when Django and Schultz ride into the first town they visit, the foreground of one shot conspicuously incorporates a noose through which Django's head cleanly passes, strongly suggesting that he will be hanged. In a way, he does end up hanging, but not quite that way.
  • Leaving Las Vegas seems to be setting the viewer up for a thriller plot or subplot, with its early chance encounters between Ben. the mobsters, and Yuri, with exposition on the latter's increasingly desperate circumstances. But then he's killed, offscreen, and that's that.
  • Still Alice invests considerable time in setting us up for the title character to kill herself once her early-onset Alzheimer's has progressed beyond a certain point — she records a video telling herself how to do it, and when she does reach that point, she pulls it up and watches it, going to considerable effort to make sure she does it. However, her attempt fails when she spills the pills on the floor and can't remember what they're for
  • Beneath Hill 60: The explosives in the mine are electrically detonated, and we get several shots of groundwater dripping over the racks of wired-up explosives. When the time comes for the big bang, this goes unmentioned and causes no problems.
  • For most of Waitress, it's heavily implied that after Jenna gives birth, she'll quietly leave her abusive husband and get together with Dr Pomatter, and/or that she'll win the Springfield Pie Contest, then use the prize money to leave the town and start her own pie shop somewhere far away. None of this happens - after her daughter is born, Jenna calmly tells her husband she wants a divorce despite not having the money to leave town, she breaks off with Dr. Pomatter after realising that he still has a good relationship with his wife, she inherits a large sum of money from Joe and buys the diner that she already works for, and the Springfield Pie Contest ends up having no real impact on the plot.
  • In L'Invitation, a meek office drone winds up buying a lavish mansion after coming into some money, and he throws a reception for his coworkers, hiring a butler named Emile to serve drinks at the party. Emile has a vague air of mystery about him, and he gives people oddly knowing looks, and as the film unfolds it seems certain that Emile will do something dramatic to affect the story somehow—but he doesn't. Also, there's a man lurking about the grounds that is eventually revealed as a burglar who is being hunted by the police, but that doesn't affect the story either, as the burglar is simply arrested at the end of the film.

  • In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita there are several indications that Humbert will murder the title character; and we know from the prologue that Humbert was arrested for murder after the novel's events. He won't.
  • David Farland's The Runelords draws heavily upon Mormon theology, philosophy and symbolism, and one of the clearest examples is the wizard Binnesman, based on a Book of Mormon prophet named Abinadi. His confrontation and continual opposition to the evil king Raj Ahten make the comparisons clear almost from the first encounter between the two. Raj Ahten's ever-growing affinity for fire only serves to heighten the foreshadowing: Binnesman is clearly going to end up being burned to death by Raj Ahten, or at his command, which was the fate of Abinadi. Except... in the end, Raj Ahten is defeated and Binnesman is still alive, preserved by the author to meet an even stranger fate in the books that follow.
  • Some people were very disappointed while reading The Shining. Early in the book, a character mentions a large picture window, how expensive it was to install, and to take care that it doesn't get broken. It doesn't get broken presumably until the scene where the hotel explodes, which does not mention the window.
  • In the beginning of the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery The Nine Tailors, the bumbling vicar explains how his dear old clock is going a bit slow these days. He always sets it an hour early when he winds it on Sunday morning - but if you can only remember that it is before time on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, accurate on Wednesday, and late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, why, it's a very excellent clock indeed! The reader expects a tricky alibi problem, but it never happens. The clock is only mentioned once more in the book. Lord Peter's manservant and the vicar's maid have an argument about cleaning it.
  • The Discworld novel Maskerade, which is heavily inspired by the various versions of The Phantom of the Opera, has several characters remark that the giant chandelier in the middle of the Opera House is an accident waiting to happen. At the end of the book, it still hasn't fallen, though that's not for lack of the villain trying.
  • In Hero of Ages, the third book of Mistborn, a character, Marsh is under mind-control from Big Bad Ruin. He has enough Heroic Willpower to resist once, and his thoughts in his POV sections make it clear he intends to use this to kill himself at a key point, depriving Ruin of his services. Nope: he uses it to rip out Vin's earring — revealed as a kind of minor Artifact of Doom — thereby allowing her to break free of its influence and ascend to a Physical God-type state, where she can face Ruin directly. Marsh is one of the only POV characters to survive the entire series.
  • In The Wheel of Time, prophecy is commonly used as a tool for Foreshadowing; Talents thought extinct or dying are resurfacing, several of which allow insights into the future, with varying accuracy and clarity. There are characters who mostly just crank out one serious-sounding prophecy after another; however, most prophecies are quite diluted in importance as a resultnote , and there is no telling which prophecies are important or even fulfilled during the timespan of the series.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Neville Longbottom is revealed as having been a potential Chosen One until the Big Bad singled out Harry instead. He is plagued with memory problems. What deep, dark secret is lurking in the recesses of his mind? NOTHING!
    • Ron Weasley mentions offhand that his mother has a cousin with no magical abilities. The cousin works as an accountant. We never get to meet this character.note .
  • Ciaphas Cain: The last words of Chaos Warmaster Varan the Undefeatable ("That was unexpected.") are used as a quote at the beginning of a chapter, leading the reader to think it's a character wryly commenting on his betrayal (the other quotes are similarly humorous). When the actual character is seen in a later book, he actually screams the line, the reveal being that his Compelling Voice isn't the only thing he got out of worshipping the Chaos gods, they also gave him carapace-like skin and razor claws. Not that it stops Cain from dispatching him with a kickass (and prescient) Pre-Mortem One-Liner ("Commissar Donal sends his regards").
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Back when the series was pitched as a trilogy, Jaime Lannister was intended to be The Evil Prince. In a letter to his editor, George R. R. Martin wrote that Jaime would kill everyone in his way in order to seize the throne, which never ended up happening and he instead went on a Redemption Quest. Thus, some early foreshadowing, like him being found sitting on the throne right after killing the Mad King, doesn't have the same implications anymore. Going by the series Live-Action Adaptation Game of Thrones, this arc seems to have been given to his twin sister Cersei instead.
    • Another plot arc in that letter was for Sansa to take the Lannisters' side against her own family. Martin seems to have been setting the reader up for this as late as the scene early in A Clash of Kings where she has her first period, practically lampshading it by having her note that the bloody stain on her bedsheets was "Lannister crimson, as if her body had betrayed her". But she ultimately remained a Stark.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: In Season 5, Bronn jokes about death, sings a song about dying, and gets cut by a poisoned weapon. Despite all of these obvious death flags, Bronn survives the season.
  • Heroes Season 2, probably as a side effect of the Writers' Strike cutting the season short, had three main plots: 1. slowly-building storyline about a character with the uncontrolled power to produce a deadly virus and her antigen-producing brother, 2. major plot about a future deadly apocalyptic virus outbreak and 3. Hiro gets set back in time to meet his ancient Japanese samurai hero. The brother is offed by Sylar and the sister arrives in New York just in time to not be involved in destroying the virus at all, and the ancient samurai hero ends up being a foreign Immortal who tries to release the virus.
    • There's also the Isaac Mendez comic of St. Joan which is supposed to be Monica. Also, a kriss-bladed dagger appears in the vault at the end of Season 2. As we all know, the Monica arc doesn't go anywhere.
    • Also, just about anything in the vault.
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the episode "Dillman" has the squad under investigation after someone pranks Jake with a glitter bomb that winds up contaminating valuable evidence. It's not difficult to deduce that the culprit is very unlikely to be a member of the squad, which leaves only three other suspects who have any role in the story: Detective Dillman, Officer Booth, and District Attorney Greene. Dillman is the obvious choice among them; he's played by the famous actor J. K. Simmons, he's the one called in to investigate the squad, and the episode is named after him. Meanwhile, Officer Booth only appears for a gag in one scene and Greene isn't actually seen or heard in the episode. Near the end of the episode, Jake accuses Dillman after proving that he was lying about working for the SFPD, but the culprit actually turns out to be Officer Booth, who's working on behalf of Greene.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Giles the untouchable. The Big Bad of Buffy's last arc could take the form of anyone who had died, but only as a non-solid illusion. There was a scene that suggested Giles may have died, and his later appearances had him never directly interacting with anything, hinting that he may be the aforementioned Big Bad in disguise. The characters themselves eventually pick up on this and panic, especially as Giles just went off to mentor the very group of teenage girls the Big Bad has been trying to kill. When they finally catch up with him and find that he is indeed still a living, tangible person, he gets a great line about how "they thought he was evil because he wasn't touching underage girls?"
    • The fifth season introduces Buffy's little sister Dawn, who's suddenly always been there. At the end of her introduction episode, Dawn ominously narrates "She thinks I'm just her dumb little sister. Boy is she in for a surprise". While this seems to be telegraphing that Dawn is aware that she's deceiving Buffy and the others, it's actually just a ploy by the writers to make Dawn seem suspicious, as we later learn that Dawn has no idea her existence is abnormal.
  • Lost:
    • Locke's special destiny is foreshadowed for about five seasons. Then he dies uselessly.
    • Caesar for Season 5. Prior to the premiere, they heavily hyped him up with bits and pieces of information. When it airs, the hype grows as questions are asked: why is he on the plane? Why does he seem to already know about the Island? Why is hiding a gun and other items from what appears to be his lancer, Ilana (who comparatively seems boring, just some bounty hunter who escorted Sayid onto the plane)? What is his agenda? Surely he'll be an important player in the show's endgame...then he dies in the middle of an episode. He's never mentioned again, while his lancer turns out to be an important character with a personal link to Jacob and a promotion to regular for the final season.....which she abruptly dies in the middle of without resolution to her connection to Jacob.
  • The Big Bad of Season 3 of Justified, Detroit mob enforcer Quarles, has a rail-mounted gun he conceals up his sleeve; multiple characters point out that, while this is handy for getting the drop on people, he'd be fucked if the mechanism were to jam. In the season finale, nothing goes wrong with the mechanism... but Quarles' entire arm is lopped off with a meat cleaver.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the TV Movie, there is a radical reveal that the Doctor is half-human, a detail stated three times to make sure we get it. It's also made very clear that the Eye of Harmony, a structure inside the Doctor's TARDIS containing the Doctor's memories and the TARDIS's power source (which the Doctor says would suck out his soul if he looked into it), can only open when looked upon by a human retinal structure. Surely the Doctor's half-human eyes are going to be instrumental in opening the Eye of Harmony? Nope, it never happens, the Master instead using his human companion Chang to open the Eye. The consensus seems to be that this was buried in rewrites.
    • Amy and the Doctor getting together and/or being together off-screen seemed like this. In Series 5, Amy was especially flirtatious with him and even attempted to have sex with him on her wedding night. In "Amy's Choice" she chooses her fiancé Rory, but it's revealed that the Doctor had been battling with his attraction to her. Eventually, the couple does get married, but they keep the tension up; when kidnapped Amy keeps up a constant monologue, saying she loves a man, "even though you think it should be him," without specifying which 'him' it is, only that he has a 'stupid face'. It's Rory. Later, when Amy and her child are kidnapped, she tells the baby to look out for her father, who is The Last of His Kind and Older Than He Looks. She actually means The Last Centurion, Rory's alter-ego. Later, when the two of them have been (briefly) rescued, they beg the Doctor to tell them what's going on, because this is their baby. His response is "It's mine." He actually meant the cot. And then there's the reveal that the baby is part Time Lord...because Amy and Rory conceived her in the time vortex.
  • In the prequel season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, obviously any character who appeared in the first season was not going to die. Anyone else was fair game and most of the important characters introduced that season were indeed killed. However, that wasn't the case with the champion Gannicus. He was never mentioned in the first season and anyone unfamiliar with the legend would very likely assume it was a question of when and how rather than if he was going to die. The writers exploited this by giving him some close calls, but ultimately he won his freedom and left the Ludis, then reappeared in Season 3.
  • We are led to believe in the "Conspiracy" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that we might have another encounter with the "Bluegill" aliens after Remmick sends out a transmission. Nothing ever comes of it (at least within the main canon), and what remained of the ideas regarding them were repurposed into the Borg.
  • In Red Dwarf episode "Future Echoes", the cast sees a "future echo" of an aged Lister with a mechanical arm. Six series later, Lister gets his arm chopped off in an attempt to cure him of a sentient virus that had been driven into that arm, apparently fulfilling the foreshadowing... until the next episode where Lister's body is reconstructed by nanites, giving him a whole new flesh and blood arm.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Future Ted mentions at one point that the titular Mother was at the same St. Patrick's party he and Barney went to. Stella mentions offhand that she went to the same party. She is not the Mother.
    • Various episodes in the series imply that Barney and Robin's wedding will turn out disastrous. It actually went off without a hitch (though Barney backs out on the flower gorilla idea at the last moment).
  • In Breaking Bad, when Hank follows Heisenberg's rolling meth lab to a garbage disposal yard, he pulls off the duct tape over the bullet holes in an attempt to gain probable cause to investigate. When he does, light shines through the holes and falls on Walter's chest, clearly indicating that Hank would shoot Walter. Hank is gunned down by a gang of Neo-Nazis two episodes before the end.
  • Season 2 of Big Little Lies had several hints that one of its main characters was going to drown, most likely Bonnie. However, it ended with all five still alive and Bonnie's mother dying of a stroke.
  • In the comics, Barry Allen/The Flash travels back in time to save his mother from Professor Zoom, which would lead to the Flashpoint storyline. In The Flash (2014), after a whole season of buildup, Barry travels back in time, but was prevented from saving his mother by his alternate (perhaps older) self, and thus Flashpoint never came to fruition.
    • And then the next season, this ends up being averted, as at the end he decides to save his mom after all, and does create the show's version of the Flashpoint reality.
  • In the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode "Ad Astra Per Aspera", a mystery hangs over the episode as to who ratted out Una's secret as an Illyrian to Starfleet. La'an is horrified as she's afraid that she might have said something, given that she was furious over learning it back in "Ghosts of Illyria". However, a "Eureka!" Moment over this allows Una's council, Neera, to figure out the true culprit: Una herself, who got tired of hiding who she was.

  • In Strange Woods:
    • In episode 3, the bear that attacks the New Year's party is hinted to have had contact with humans before, and it's the kids resolving the incident that lets their parents okay the Final. It seems like Howl may have had something to do with it, but ultimately he didn't.
    • Howl's shady past and the ambiguity of whether he let Jacob die or not seems like foreshadowing that he'll be up to something during the Final, or perhaps is training Peregrine for a sinister purpose. Ultimately, his actions are sincere and nature itself is the only obstacle to making it back.

    Role-Playing Games 

  • In Jasper in Deadland, Agnes mentions that she wants her and Jasper to be one of "the great couples of all time", like Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, or Orpheus and Eurydice. All of those couples end up dying tragically at the end of their respective stories, unlike Jasper and Agnes, who actually get a happy ending.
  • In Next to Normal, Diana's medication has a Long List of potential side effects, including possibly being fatal. Her doctor brings this up in a way that makes it sound important, and then nothing comes of it - Diana throws her meds away for unrelated reasons shortly after receiving them.
  • In Wicked, there's a brief scene when Madame Morrible meets up with Elphaba during a rainstorm, at one point saying, "You mustn't get wet." Elphaba is not seen in contact with water throughout the show. It's just a Red Herring, Elphaba isn't actually allergic to water in this version.

    Video Games 
  • At the beginning of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, a shadowy figure holds up Edgeworth in his office. We can't hear the voice, obviously, and Edgeworth only refers to them as 'that person', leaving open the possibility that the mysterious person might not even have been a man despite the masculine silhouette. It turns out to be Detective Badd.
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure: The woods north of town have 'no fire' signs around them, and the police officer warns that they could go up in flames at the slightest spark. While there is a fire, it's at the construction site for the new hotel, and the woods remain unburnt through the valiant efforts of the townsfolk.
  • One of the biggest buildups of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was Task Force 141 gathering intel that could lead to the whereabouts of Makarov. But towards the end of the game, their leader General Shepherd betrays the group and brands them as terrorists. For that reason, the remainder of the crew decides instead to get their revenge on Shepherd. You don't return to hunting Makarov until MW3.
  • Near the end of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, after Sly recovers from his injuries, Bentley warns him that taking another blow might result in a brain shock. Sure enough, Sly takes a hit from Dr. M to protect Carmelita and suddenly has amnesia. Until The Stinger shows that he was faking it just to finally be with Carmelita.
  • In Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Sullivan displays extremely suspicious behavior, for example suggesting a Vigilante Execution. As it turns out, Sullivan is an admittedly jerkish Sheep in Sheep's Clothing, while it's Stacey who is the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, whenever Snake's name is brought up in front of the Colonel, he dodges the subject, only referring to him as "that man", eagerly accusing the terrorist of being Solid Snake as if desperate to kill even a lookalike to get some closure, and getting irrationally angry whenever anything is mentioned about Snake's competence, prowess, or heroism. However, Snake and the Colonel parted in the previous game as close friends. Raiden explicitly asks the Colonel if Snake did something terrible to him, and he doesn't give a straight answer — every implication is that Snake somehow betrayed the Colonel or hurt him on a very personal level, and the absence of Snake's love interest from the previous game, Campbell's daughter, adds to this suspicion. As personal secrets come out, The Reveal is actually that Snake had nothing to do with anything and that Raiden has been talking to a crazy A.I. that had been imitating the Colonel and attempting to bring about a plot to control human will and consciousness.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, a game full of betrayal as is, it was heavily suggested that Genis Sage would betray the party and side with the Big Bad, Mithos. In fact, there is one optional scene where he openly states that If The Hero, Lloyd, and the Big Bad, Mithos (who wasn't known to be the Big Bad at that time) were to get in a fight, he (Genis) would side with Mithos. When it all comes out, Genis sides with Lloyd, mainly because he knows by that point that Mithos is the Big Bad.
    • Subverted in a sense with Kratos. Most of the foreshadowing that he might be Lloyd's father is heaped on early in the game, and if you're going into the game expecting a plot twist — which you should, it's a Tales game, after all — that is most likely what you'll guess. However, when you arrive at the Tower of Salvation, it seems to be Fauxshadowing because Kratos pulls a pretty blatant and unexpected Face–Heel Turn. So then you believe that's the plot twist, and all of the father stuff was fauxshadowing. In the end, it turns out that Kratos is Lloyd's father and the Face–Heel Turn was actually a sham, so he could go on helping Lloyd from inside Cruxis. Kratos is a complicated guy.
  • The Infocom game Wishbringer: Throughout the feelies and prologue, repeated mention is made of the threat of the dragon Thermofax, who doesn't play any role in the game whatsoever. Naturally, there are a number of fake clues in the hint book about dealing with him.
  • Mega Man X:
    • The end of Mega Man X3 hints that to save the world, X must destroy Zero at some point in the future. (In the original Japanese, it merely hints they will fight at some point.) X4 continues the hint and states they will come to blows in some kind of epic, world-shattering battle. X5 finally has them fight, and canonically it wasn't even close to a fight to the death or for the fate of the world. (In the non-canon Bad Ending, it IS to the death, however.)
    • Mega Man X4 foreshadows the title character's Face–Heel Turn for the Sequel Series Mega Man Zero. (Un)fortunately, because Capcom vetoed what they viewed as Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome (and Zero subsequently killing the evil X) making things too dark, that plot twist never comes to be. At least it succeeds in foreshadowing the Maverick Hunters' transformation into the evil Neo Arcadian regime. (Plus said regime is ruled by an evil copy of X that Zero has to stop.)
    • Similarly in Mega Man X5, Sigma mentions during the final battle that he has a "partner" who hates X as well and provided him with a new body. Due to the story being nuked by Executive Meddling, we never find out who this partner is and he vanishes into the numerous other plot holes in the following sequels. Word of God claims he meant it to be Dr. Wily in some form or another and the game does strongly hint at Wily's presence plus X6 does hint that the newly introduced Isoc is actually Dr. Wily in a robot body, but it never gets resolved.
      Sigma: Here I am. You can challenge me at any time. I have delightful news. I've recently acquired a new partner. He has been very supportive. He seems to have created quite a few robots. And he gave me the toughest body that you will ever see. You got here sooner than I expected, so it is not yet complete... is enough to defeat you... He is an excellent partner... I believe you two know each other... In fact, he used to be a comrade of yours. He was very persistent about you... and that makes him very helpful to me. You see X, there is someone other than me...who hates you... Now feel our combined rage and die! ...But not before suffering horribly, ha ha ha! ...Goodbye, X!
  • [PROTOTYPE]: The only surviving child born in Hope, Idaho, was taken into government custody and codenamed PARIAH. According to the few people who know about him, it would be "extraordinarily bad" if he and protagonist Alex Mercer were ever to meet one another. Fortunately, they don't.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect: Can potentially happen on Noveria. At arrival at the Peak 15 facility, the surviving scientists will mention how the guards are increasingly on edge, and how it's gotten noticeably worse now that Shepard's shown up. If the player goes through the effort of doing a complex side-mission rather than going straight to the Hot Labs, nothing comes of it. If they do, it turns out it's because the guards have orders to kill everyone in the facility.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Shepard rescues Tali from the geth on Heastrom. Before being attacked, she was researching the planet's star. It turns out the star is dying but is nowhere near old enough to actually be in the stage of decay it's at. Later, she hypothesizes that dark energy is decreasing the star's mass and killing it, noting that if it's not just an isolated, freak phenomenon, it could be very bad for galactic civilization. This plot point is never brought up in Mass Effect 3; stopping it from becoming widespread was originally the true goal of the series' villains, but this was discarded early in the third game's development.
  • A fairly bizarre scene in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess seems to imply that Link or Midna will wind up corrupted by the Fused Shadows they spend the early parts of the game tracking down. Upon getting the final Fused Shadow, they're stolen by the villain (who's already evil, so the Fused Shadows didn't seem to do anything to him). Then the heroes get the Fused Shadows back, Midna turns into a monstrosity!... for only two different scenes, and in both of them, she is completely in control, still on the side of good, and goes back to normal for a few seconds later. After all this, the scene Lanayru presents to you seems like a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment — it does explain the backstory of the Twilight Realm and the existence of the Twili, but it's strangely acted out by effigies of Link and his friend Ilia, and as mentioned, it doesn't come up again in the plot.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi has the action figures of enemies and bosses, each with voices and "attack actions" that you can often buy before encountering said enemies. Typically they serve as a heads-up to what kind of enemies you'll be facing next. However, you never fight Colonel Capricolla and it turns out he's been helping you the entire time. The pistol, sound effects, and battle cries made by his action figure are only there to keep players from discovering the big twist.
  • There's an minor character in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords named Zherron. A creepy dude that's spying on the mercenaries and is holding something back. Most Definitely Not A Villain. Sarcasm excluded, as the mercenaries intended to attack the local settlement and Zheeron was one of the few who suspected that.
  • In Poppy Playtime, Mommy Long Legs' commercial has a disclaimer saying not to bring her near extremely hot or cold areas, suggesting that those will play a role in her defeat. That proves to be wrong - she instead gets caught in a grinder.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Red XIII's tattoo puts him in the same category as the Clones, which all have number tattoos. He's given a scene where he worries to Tifa that the fact that he was experimented on by Hojo means he might go mad and get possessed by Sephiroth. Red XIII's medical history or mental state is never mentioned again in the rest of the game. Early in Disc 2, there is a scene where Red XIII is manipulated by Sephiroth into giving Cloud the Black Materia for flimsy reasons... but Barret, who was never experimented on, will do the exact same thing if the player gives him the Black Materia instead.
  • Paper Mario:
    • In Paper Mario 64, sometime after Chapter 1, if Mario checks his mail, he will find a letter from the Koopa Bros. (the bosses of Chapter 1) vowing to return to get their revenge on him. Sure enough, they do indeed make their return during the final chapter, ready to make good on their threat... only to get their asses thoroughly kicked by Jr. Troopa.
    • In Super Paper Mario, Tippi reacts to Dimentio in his first meeting with Mario in a way that implies she already knows who he is, but even after Tippi's backstory is explored, her familiarity with him is never mentioned again.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, while attempting to clear the Rainbow Sage's trial it's mentioned that you would be the fifth person to do so. It's explained that King Garon and King Sumeragi were the first two, and Prince Xander was the most recent. The third person to receive his blessing is described as being a knight from an unknown land, and the game's Golden Ending deals with the lost kingdom of Valla, an entire kingdom with a curse placed on it that kills anyone who speaks too specifically of it or anyone from it outside the kingdom itself. Everything was lined up for the third person to be a knight from Valla who couldn't be described more specifically than "a knight from an unknown land", but this isn't the case. The third person's identity is never revealed.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Flame Emperor's true identity is Edelgard, leader of the Black Eagles and a potential playable character if the player choses the Black Eagles route. Edelgard is not playable during chapters where the Flame Emperor is present, and conspicuously disappears any time the Flame Emperor is set to make an entrance, hinting at her double identity. However, on the Blue Lions and Golden Deer, the same conspicuous absences are repeated by Dimitri and Claude, despite them having nothing to do with the Flame Emperor, seemingly only for gameplay parity.
  • In the third chapter of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, there is a double murder, which leads to Monokuma introducing a rule that only the one who killed the first victim will be considered the culprit. Throughout the trial, this rule is often brought up whenever discussing the second murder, noting that the first one is more important, making it seem like the one who killed the second victim will escape execution. However, as it turns out, Korekiyo had actually killed both of the victims, and the rule ends up not playing any role for the rest of the game.
  • Bug Fables:
    • Chapter 2 is centered around an unseen goddess named Venus. The game drops every hint it can that she's Evil All Along and a venus fly trap monster: it fits with the main characters being bugs, it's mentioned that nobody has actually seen her, the Golden Hills has flytrap-like objects that eat her offerings, there are venus flytraps seen throughout the area, "offerings" to her are mentioned a lot, it is possible to encounter a pitcher plant optional boss before the proper encounter with her, and even her name suggests the plant. While Venus is the boss of the chapter (through a sunflower creation of hers), she turns out to be a completely benevolent goddess who is only challenging Team Snakemouth to see if they are worthy of getting the second Artifact. She is also more like an orchid than a flytrap.
    • The first five chapters purposefully present Queen Elizant II in an eerie light to make it look like she's going to turn out to be the game's true main villain. Around the second time the Wasp King attacks the Ant Kingdom, it becomes evident that he really is the Big Bad, while more light is shed on Elizant II which shows that her intentions are much better than they were implied to be.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: In the Final Boss for Tombs of Terror, Rafaam steals the Plague of Undeath and uses it to summon the four Old Gods to distract the player while he escapes. That seems like pretty obvious foreshadowing for his mysterious evil scheme, especially since his Dragon Madame Lazul is a servant of the Old Gods. But it turns out that his plan was to use the plague to resurrect Galakrond instead, and the Old Gods didn't make a reappearance until a year later with no relation to Rafaam.

  • MS Paint Adventures is built on this trope... (and most of the other ones). The overall plot is planned ahead of time, but the actual details of the story are mostly ad-libbed, making foreshadowing difficult. The author's solution? Foreshadow everything, and decide which ones were red herrings later, shortly before the reveal.
  • Diamond in the Rough (Aladdin), a prequel to the Disney film, throws in misleading hints to who the main characters might be, such as suggesting they might be the Sultan or Jafar. The real answer is much more surprising...

    Western Animation 
  • The second season finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender: After spending an entire season giving Zuko every reason to do a Heel–Face Turn, he makes the choice to stay loyal to his father instead. This was then Double Subverted because he does do a Heel–Face Turn later.
  • Winx Club, season 3 (you decide if this was intentional or not): An episode has Stella saying, "I hope I don't have to save Chimera", of having to save someone from her own realm to earn her Enchantix. You know what that means, right? Well, wrong. When Chimera and her mom and her dad come under attack at a party later, Chimera's mom takes her daughter and escapes, leaving just Stella's father for Stella to save.
  • Executive Meddling has an example of executives putting the Faux in Fauxshadow (the Exo Squad entry).
  • The Series Fauxnale of Futurama, "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", has a scene where Fry makes a deal with the Robot Devil to replace his clumsy human hands with those of a "random" robot chosen by a giant Wheel of Fortune with the name of every robot featured in the series. The scene drops numerous blatant hints that the Robot Devil has rigged the wheel to stop at Bender's name... and when the wheel spins, it moves just past it and lands on "Robot Devil," to his utter shock.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • There are hints early on that Batman might join forces with Project Cadmus. As it turns out, Cadmus was more of an authoritarian power-grab than it first seemed, so the foreshadowing comes to nothing: Batman stays in the League.
    • The last season seems to be building up to the resurrection of Brainiac, with Lex Luthor bent on that singular goal. However, this is twisted in the second-to-last episode when Darkseid, who was killed with Brainiac in the second season episode of Justice League, is accidentally revived instead. The Luthor-Brainiac plot thread dies away in the last episode (although Darkseid's new appearance led to fan speculation that he had been fused with Brainiac, Word of God said otherwise).
  • South Park:
    • Done intentionally and Played for Laughs in the first Christmas episode (sorry, first non-denominational holiday episode). It was the first episode in which Kenny doesn't die, despite being put in several life-threatening situations.
    • Played Straight in Season 20, which was plagued by other problems such as dropped characters and plot points. Lennart Bedrager, the apparent Big Bad of the second half of the season, was hinted to not be what he seemed; for example, he dropped his Danish accent to reveal he was apparently American. So the fans speculated that he was actually one of the characters from the previous episodes that could be acting behind the scenes, such as J. J. Abrams, Hillary Clinton, or even a lifeless husk being controlled from the inside by the Memberberries. The answer? He was just some random guy who wanted to cause World War III for shits and giggles.
  • A long-running subplot in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic involved Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo trying to find their cutie marks, symbols that represent their special talent. The season one episode "The Show Stoppers" drops hints as to what their talents are. Apple Bloom is shown to be a skilled designer, Sweetie Belle has an excellent singing voice, and Scootaloo is a talented dancer. A season four episode shows Apple Bloom's potion-making skills, Sweetie Belle's improving magic, and Scootaloo's mechanical prowess. And all along, Scootaloo's namesake scooter skills basically make her the pony version of Evel Knieval, performing insane stunts with ease and once getting enough speed to outrun a train. Finally, in season five, the episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" has them gain their cutie marks when they realize that their real talent is helping other ponies figure out their special talents.
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long, Sara predicted the death of Haley's mentor Sun Park, but due to Executive Meddling they had to rewrite "Homecoming" to remove the scene where Rose killed her.
  • In Adventure Time, we see various versions of Finn—via Reincarnation, an Alternate Timeline and a Year Inside, Hour Outside lived-a-whole-different-life situation—who lose one arm and get a robotic replacement. Eventually, Finn does lose an arm...and then gets it back a few episodes later, through weird means in an episode that was already disliked for other reasons. Though they technically did follow through with (half) of their Foreshadowing, many fans cried foul, and eventually Finn lost his arm again, this time getting a robotic replacement. He even explained away his Angst? What Angst? by admitting that this felt right somehow.
  • Gravity Falls: The "Zodiac," hinted at at the end of the opening sequence, is built to be something relating to the Big Bad. The fact that it has symbols that clearly represent some of the main characters (the pine tree on the hat Dipper gets at the end of the first episode, the shooting star on one of Mabel's sweaters, etc) and some that are more subtle had led to plenty of speculation throughout the series as to who the ten people involved would be. In the Grand Finale, these characters do gather as Ford explains that the Zodiac is the key to defeating Bill. But the whole process is interrupted by Stan and Ford arguing over the former's grammar long enough for Bill to arrive and trap everyone who isn't a Pines and destroy the drawing they needed. Bill is finished off by another method, and the Zodiac never actually plays a role in the show. The official "Journal 3" lampshades this with Soos theorizing that the Zodiac would grant the team superpowers.
  • Steven Universe: A popular theory around the time that Future was airing was that Steven would either lose an eye or somehow gain heterochromia, based on images throughout both the original and the epilogue series (the Cookie Cats, Steven's black eye at the end of Season 1, Lars' scar, a doll of Steven with different coloured buttons for eyes, and Bluebird drawing her gems on Steven's face, one of which is around his eye). However, while the fanbase was right about the monster seen in Future's intro turning out to be Steven himself, which was how they believed he would have one of his eyes affected, he looks the same as he did before after turning back, with no "corruption scars" or anything similar, and the series ends with his eyes looking just as they've always looked.
  • Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters: After Rook's secret is revealed, several characters including Rook himself insist that Kane is unaware of it. Along with Kane's visible displeasure with Rook, this makes it seem like he's going to leave Rook and join the Flex Fighters once he finds out the truth. Kane knew about Rook's double life all along and he proceeds to double-cross him, but he's also the villainous Number One, rather than an ally to the heroes.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Early in the show, Light Hope shows Adora a selection of princess holograms, including several silhouettes of characters that we haven't met - and one that bore a notable similarity to Catra, fuelling a lot of fan speculation - accompanied by some stuff about uniting the princesses. Season 4 would later establish that only five of the princesses were important to Light Hope's plan (Mermista, Perfuma, Frosta, Glimmer and Scorpia), we never meet any of the unidentified outlines, and Catra never turns out to be a princess.
    • A lot of work was put into showing that Catra and Shadow Weaver weren't so different, with parallel dialogue choices, similarly cruel and controlling treatment of Adora, even some elements of costuming such as the asymmetrical sleeve in Catra's fourth-season outfit, hinting that it might become important to her arc. The graphic novel even had Adora outright call Catra "the new Shadow Weaver". In the fifth season, it's dropped entirely, Catra never deals with those similarities or even really realises they're there, and the closest thing it gets to a resolution is that the show just cuts off her asymmetrical sleeve and gets rid of the mask.
    • There are some hints that Glimmer's tiny wing-buds might end up as full wings similar to her mother's, most notably that a Glimmer toy was released with an element on the back that could have served as a mounting point for a set of wings. They even grow out early in season 4, as she bonds with the Moonstone fully...and then they disappear and are never seen again by the end of the scene.

Alternative Title(s): Fauxshadowing