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Heartwarming in Hindsight

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Some event happens in a work, and then a later event, in either another work or Real Life (often through Reality Subtext or Life Imitates Art), comes along and makes that first event give you warm and fuzzy feelings. Even if it was already meant to be heartwarming, this makes it even more so.

Compare Heartwarming Moments (which are heartwarming upon first watching), Hilarious in Hindsight (where something is funnier or more relevant because of future events), and/or Fridge Brilliance.

Contrast Harsher in Hindsight (where something funny/lighthearted or dramatic/sad becomes worse because of future events).

IMPORTANT: Do not include examples that are Foreshadowing, nor moments that came just a handful of episodes later. Those are clearly intended heartwarming moments later in the same work.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Seto Kaiba's obsession with the Blue Eyes White Dragon card, which the series portrays as a combination of Kaiba's preoccupation with power and therefore his reliance on a power deck filled with powerful monster cards; and a strange, inexplicable, almost mystical emotional connection with said cards; is eventually revealed to be the result of subconscious Past-Life Memories: Pegasus, the creator of the Duel Monsters game, based the Blue Eyes White Dragon card on an Ancient Egyptian engraving of a priest directing a spirit-like white dragon with blue eyes in battle - said engraving was a recording of the events of Pharaoh Atem's reign when Kaiba's past incarnation was a royal High Priest named Set who fell in love with a woman named Kisara who had a hyper-powerful personal spirit animal of a white dragon with blue eyes, and when she died, the dragon lived on, continuing to fight with and defend Set in battle. Kaiba's inexplicable adoration of the supposedly-fictional monster is an echo of his forgotten love for Kisara. This became an intentional example, but in the very first appearance of both Kaiba and the Blue Eyes White Dragon, long before the full connection was conceived of and when Kaiba was intended to only be a one-shot character, he gasps in enraptured amazement when he sees the card and tells Yugi "I'm in love with that card!" It's supposed to show how egotistically obsessed he is with what seems to be a simple trading card, but on re-reads it comes off as much deeper than that.
  • At the end of Speed Grapher, Saiga lost his sight but still remained an excellent photographer. And some years later, a real-life blind photographer, Tara Miller, won an award for photography.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Maaya Sakamoto's character Haruhi has a male Unwanted Harem. Included in this harem are the twins Kaoru and Hikaru, the second of which is voiced by Kenichi Suzumura. Some years later, Maaya and Kenichi... got married.
  • While it's listed in Hilarious in Hindsight, it could be an example of this as well: in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, when discussing the logistics of Combining Mecha, Kamina decides that a combination of 16 mechs at once would be a stupid thing to do since a true combination would require everyone involved to be deeply connected to each other in spirit. In The Movie, not only do they pull that off, but the resulting Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is none other than Kamina reincarnated. And it works.
  • In One Piece, Luffy asking Jimbei to join his crew in the Fishmen arc with the latter officially doing so in the Whole Cake Island arc becomes even more heartwarming when you remember that Jimbei was there to pull Luffy out of his Heroic BSoD after Ace's death. Hence, Luffy already had a Straw Hat with him when the rest of his crew couldn't be there for him.
  • MEGANEBU! is a madcap comedy about Akira Souma and his perverted fellows in the Glasses Club trying to construct X-Ray glasses to see through women's clothes. Then come the last few minutes of episode 12, where it's revealed that's a lie, and he's trying to construct a pair of glasses that can make his blind brother see again. Really produces the warm-fuzzies when you look back at the previous episodes.
  • At the start of Rurouni Kenshin Kaoru's implicit acceptance of Kenshin's life as a Manslayer ten years before when she says she doesn't care about his past, while sweet, is largely brushed over. It is only later when Kenshin says goodbye before leaving for Kyoto that it becomes apparent how much that simple statement meant to him and changed his life.
  • Naruto:
  • Chrono promising Nanoha that he'll personally make sure that Fate isn't punished too harshly for her actions at the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha becomes a lot sweeter at the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's since, due to her adoption, it retroactively changes to him looking after his little sister.
    • Likewise, Reinforce explaining to Nanoha why she's willing to perform a Heroic Sacrifice for Hayate's sake in A's becomes this when Nanoha adopts Vivio in StrikerS.
    Reinforce: (To Nanoha) You will understand someday when you meet someone who you love as deeply as the sea and want to protect their happiness.
    [Ten Years later]
    Nanoha: (To Vivio) As long as you're smiling and happy, I'll always be smiling and happy, too.
  • The wizards of Fairy Tail have a tweaked "Number One!" sign as a gesture to denote guild solidarity, and first appearing after the Bar Brawl in the second episode. At the end of the Fantasia arc, we discover that Laxus was the one to come up with it when he was a young boy so he could signal to his grandpa during his first Fantasia parade, a full 46 episodes later.
    Makarov: You'll hold up your hand?
    Young!Laxus: It's a message! When you see me holding up my hand like this, it means even if I can't see you, I'm looking your way!
  • Pokémon: The Series
    • The episode "Noodles; Roamin' Off!", Meowth discovers his Fury Swipes are intricate enough to make him a talented cook and is offered a Friend-or-Idol Decision to leave Team Rocket for a successful noodle business. He ultimately stays with the team, though said skill remains a Chekhov's Skill throughout many of Jessie's coordinator escapades, even winning contests and showcases. A talent that nearly had him abandon his teammates for business ventures instead helps one of them with their own.
    • In a sense, nearly all of the Team Rocket trio's idolizing and yearning for Giovanni's respect becomes heartwarming when they finally achieve success in Black & White and become respected agents, even managing to save Giovanni's life at one point.
    • In "Tricks of the Trade", the trio gives Jessie's Wobbuffet a rather jaded induction to the team. Wobbuffet is the only Pokémon other than Meowth that accompanied Jessie and James over nearly every series and still does to this day. This gets even more heartwarming once you realize that Wobbuffet's original trainer Teru/Benny hopes Jessie would take good care of Wobbuffet.
      Jessie: Well Wobbuffet, you're one of us now.
      James: A proud member of Team Rocket.
      Meowth: We'll get those kids some day, but in the meantime, you'll have to be patient.
    • Pretty much any rare praise or encouragement Ash got at the start of the series about his potential to become a good trainer becomes heartwarming by the later periods of the anime, especially by XY where he verges as The Ace for his current team.
      • Throughout most of his Kanto training, Brock was the one most likely to give positive support and advice to Ash. When Brock returns in the Sun and Moon series, he helps train with the Alola students by demonstrating a deflect tactic with Gyro Ball, which he mentions he learned from "a certain challenger of his". It seems things have come full circle.
  • My Monster Secret: Future Mikan at first appears to be a Sore Loser who spends most of her time trying to motivate her past self to pursue the protagonist and end up "winning" over the other girls who are interested in him (including the girl that he likes). It's eventually revealed that Future Mikan is trying to spare the protagonist a Bad Future in which he spends most of his life alone after Youko is outed as a vampire and disappears.
  • A key part of Cowboy Bebop's arc was Spike's relationship with his old flame Julia — which ended in their deathsnote . However, their respective English voice actors, Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (the latter was also the voice director for the dub), entered into a relationship that eventually saw them get married.
  • In the eleventh volume of High School D×D, Koneko is the first person to confess her feelings for Issei. Fast forward to 2019, and it turns out that in real life, Ayana Taketatsu (Koneko) and Yuki Kaji (Issei) ended up marrying in real life. Which is even more significant as no one saw that coming since the two of them don't have that many roles that have them together.
  • When Kaguya is pleading with God to let her reach the fireworks festival in time during the summer arc of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, she refers to Ishigami as "the first junior I ever had to look after". It's a sweet sentiment at the time since it was the first time she had ever really viewed him in a positive light, but it becomes so much more meaningful in retrospect given how the two develop a close Like Brother and Sister dynamic over the next couple dozen chapters (which is often cited by the fandom as being the most wholesome relationship in the series).

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America White: In this story where Cap is grieving over Bucky's death, he gives us this line: "I wish we could bring back the dead. Maybe someday we can."
  • Superman:
  • The Golden Age: Tex Thompson/Mr. America's accomplishments and legacy are destroyed by him being bodyjacked by Ulta-Humanite in this story. In the main canon Justice Society of America stories, the Mr. America identity survives into the 21st Century, and even the tragic murders of Thompson's grandsons and their families aren't enough to put the Mr. America Legacy Character down for good.
  • A large part of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man dealt with the idea of fiction and how fictional characters "exist" in those stories. At one point, the book shows a purgatory where all the forgotten and unused comic characters exist in limbo, and one of the characters that is shown is Mr. Freeze, questioning whether or not he'll ever get out of that place. It took about a decade later, but his revival in Batman: The Animated Series cemented him as a major member of Batman's Rogues Gallery.
    • Also in comic book limbo are the Space Canine Patrol Agents, which were thought to be there permanently, as no one would care about them. Then in Krypto the Superdog, they returned as the Dog Star Patrol.
  • After the Motherfucker's defeat in Kick-Ass Volume 2, he promises to never bother Dave again if he lets him live. Volume 3 shows that he very well kept his promise.
  • The Ultimates: During the funeral for the people killed by Hulk, we can see an elder woman being hugged by a blonde teenager. This was from before Gwen Stacy moved to live with the Parkers in Ultimate Spider-Man and became close with Aunt May (especially after Peter's death, which left them alone). If this story was made a bit later in the setting's history, those two could have been them.
  • In 1965, a fan letter was published in Issue 47 of Fantastic Four celebrating the fourth anniversary of the title's debut, and expressing hope for another 44 years of the Fantastic Four to come. The editors wrote it off as impossible...but not only did it make it to another 44 years in 2009, it's still going strong.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon) portrayed a human (well, transhuman here) and a Titan character having a direct, explicit, emotional and lifelong bond to each-other over a year before the MonsterVerse canon first started portraying this phenomenon from Godzilla vs. Kong onward, with Kong and Jia and then with Annie and Dog (Kong's more distant protection of the Iwis and temporary protectiveness of Weaver in Kong: Skull Island (2017) notwithstanding).
  • Child of the Storm made Tony Stark and Pepper Potts parents to a little Ada. It was before Avengers: Infinity War showed them discussing the eventuality of having kids. And now that Avengers: Endgame is released, they did have a baby girl together.
  • Frozen Hearts (Red Witch): In this story, Betty leaves Simon after he goes on some kind of nutty rant under the crown's influence. Then, in canon, it is revealed that Betty never truly left Simon, she simply jumped into the portal to the future to be with him.
  • White Sheep (RWBY) started as a Crack Fic because the premise of Salem settling down as a housewife looked so far-fetched. Then RWBY's Volume 6 revealed she did have a family thousands of years ago, but it ended in tragedy. In this timeline, she was able to move on from her grief and love again.
  • Black Crayons series: In Summer Vacation, Sam Witwicky gets nervous about the thought of marriage. In a later installment in the series, A Child's Innocence, he proposes to his girlfriend, Mikaela Banes.
  • In the Katawa Shoujo fanfic, "From Shizune's Perspective," which was released before the full version of the visual novel, Shizune becomes depressed after finding out that Hisao and Misha (the latter of whom she confessed to, but was rejected by) are in a Secret Relationship, but after some time to think and talk with Emi, she realizes that Misha would never sleep with Hisao just to hurt her. A similar event happens in canon in Shizune's route, with Misha essentially in the same position as Shizune.
  • Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy provides several examples:
  • Queen of Blood (SirWill) gets Taylor almost Buried Alive in the Simurgh's attack, until Neptune saves her. Neptune is quite new in the cape business, and the first person he saved was a mourning Daniel Hebert, who yelled at Neptune for saving him instead of his daughter whom he just attended the funeral. Three months later, Neptune did exactly that. His rescuing Taylor becomes even more meaningful when he's revealed as Daniel Hebert's projection since the man was so guilt-ridden for failing to help his daughter he triggered. Maybe he wasn't directly here, but Daniel managed to protect his baby girl when she needed saving this time.
  • In Your Father And Mine, France immediately embracing Louisiana and gushing over her beauty and sweetness is a cute and funny scene, yet it becomes somewhat poignant with The Reveal that she's actually the second Louisiana. Her mother was America's wife and France's former colony, who never was found by the latter and mistakenly believed he didn't care about her. But as proven by France's reaction to little Louisiana, his granddaughter, she was wrong — he would have loved her with all his heart.
  • In Hazy Days, a Mollibby Future AU fic, Chapter 1 has Libby as a successful writer who takes a moment from her story to help her daughter Hazel with writing advice. This becomes more heartwarming due to Like Father Like Libby revealed Libby wanted her deadbeat dad (who cared more about writing his book series than his family) dreamt of him being there for her. So her taking a moment for her daughter shows her being a better parent than him.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie has Mario and Luigi's dad (voiced by Charles Martinet, longtime voice of Mario and Luigi in the games) congratulating and being proud of his boys for saving Brooklyn at the end of the movie becomes even more meaningful with the recent news regarding Charles Martinet officially retiring from voicing Mario and Luigi to become a Mario ambassador entirely meaning that Mario and Luigi's dad voicing how proud he is of his boys will now be Charles Passing the Torch to the new actors portraying Mario and Luigi. Charles' memorable "Too much? It's-a Perfect! Wahoo!" scene as Giuseppe praising Mario and Luigi's Italian accents in their commercial as well, showing how he was very proud of the accent and the voice he created and gave to Mario and Luigi to the very end.
  • Kung Fu Panda had Master Oogway choosing Po to be the Dragon Warrior after the latter accidentally landed in front of him and, despite everyone's worries, having full-on confidence in him and believes that Po landing in front of him wasn't an accident. This becomes more heartwarming after Kung Fu Panda 3 revealed that Oogway's life was once saved by Pandas, which gives a new perspective of his attitude towards Po.
  • Almost all interactions between Bambi and his father the Great Prince in the first Bambi movie are this as a result of the Interquel, Bambi II, which shows that following the death of Bambi's mother, the Great Prince mellowed his aloof demeanour and formed a very close loving bond with his son.
    • Also note that prior to Bambi II, Patrick Stewart had wanted a role in a Disney film for nearly two decades, but other projects got in the way. He ended up voicing a character from one of Disney's most iconic franchises (and Walt Disney's own self-considered Magnum Opus).
  • Anastasia was 20th Century Fox's attempt to copy the standard Disney Princess formula that was popular at the time the movie came out. With Disney buying out the company, that means the Disney Princess knockoff is now, technically, a Disney Princess in her own right. Bonus points for Don Bluth making this movie; the ex-Disney animator's creation is now forever a part of Disney's family.
  • In the climax of Batman: Under the Red Hood, when the Red Hood tries to get Batman to kill the Joker, Jason says he's not asking Bruce to kill Two-Face and unlike with the other two he listed (the Penguin and the Scarecrow), he even called Two-Face by his real last name, Dent. Follow-up DC Showcase – Batman: Death in the Family confirms Two-Face killed Jason's dad like he did in Post-Crisis comics, so by saying he's "not talking about killing [...] Dent", it does show he believes Harvey Dent is better than the Joker despite Dent killing his father to the degree he was willing to use the man's real name.
  • The Land Before Time: In Journey to Big Water where Littlefoot, upset when his friends can't play with him on that day, wishes his mother gave him a brother. The following film The Great Longneck Migration, where he meets his father, Bron, for the first time, and convinces him to adopt Shorty, an orphaned longneck, whom he had an antagonistic relationship with when they first meet but then befriended, in a way he got his wish after all when he got an adoptive brother.
  • Toy Story 2: A couple of moments become this after the events of Toy Story 4.
    • When he decides to stay with Jessie, Bullseye, and Pete rather than leave them for good, Woody muses to them "Who am I to break up the Round-Up Gang?" In 4, Jessie and Bullseye support his decision to go off on his own and start a new life.
    • One of the film's best jokes is Bo Peep giving Buzz a good luck kiss and telling him "This is for Woody when you find him," to which Buzz replies it "won't be the same coming from [him]." In 4, Buzz and Woody exchange a platonic but completely sincere embrace before Woody leaves him to be with Bo.
  • The Tigger Movie ends with Tigger handing his family locket to Roo as a Passing the Torch to his fanboy. Quite fittingly, Roo would get an upgraded role in a long string of projects afterwards, culminating in his own spotlight movie, meaning Tigger essentially signalled Roo becoming Breakout Character just like he had before.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In This is Spın̈al Tap, the experience of making this film actually helped Tony Hendra, who played the manager, get over his suicidal depression.
  • Space Jam: The producers built Michael Jordan (then retired from basketball) a custom court so he could practice his moves to look good for the movie. He credits this with helping him make his comeback when he un-retired.
  • In the British film Victim (1961), Dirk Bogarde plays a homosexual barrister who decides to fight criminals blackmailing gay men (blackmailing homosexuals with threats of revealing their true inclination was common in the era when homosexuality was still a crime). Bogarde, who at the time was a major star in British cinema, took a big risk by accepting the lead role in this pro-gay movie, since in Britain in 1961 homosexuality was illegal and carried a significant social stigma. It wasn't common knowledge at the time, but it's been later revealed that Bogarde himself was gay. Seeing Victim with this knowledge, knowing how personally Bogarde must have felt his role, certainly adds an extra level of heartwarming to the movie.
  • In The Producers (1968 version), there was a scene where Leo agrees with Max to partake in the "creative accounting" idea which was done at night along the Lincoln Fountain (the last scene to be filmed). This is a bit of a send-up of movie cliches Leo says that he wants what happens in the movies followed by the fountain suddenly going off. It's funny and kind of heartwarming, but what makes it even more heartwarming is learning that this was the scene that convinced Gene Wilder to stick with acting.
  • In Clerks, the main character, Dante Hicks, is on the verge of pissing away a firm good relationship with girlfriend, Veronica Loughran, in order to chase after his ex, Caitlin Bree. Then Jay and Silent Bob, two drug dealers who spend their time loitering outside Dante's place of employment, enter to shoplift. They learn of his dilemma and give him advice. During this conversation, Jay mentions all the good things Veronica has done for Dante, who responds with "She's my girlfriend." To which Jay replies "I had some girlfriends too but all they wanted from me was weed and shit." Come Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 7 years later, Jay would finally get a girlfriend who loved him for him, and not just for his drugs.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman says to Commissioner Gordon that anyone can be a hero, even doing something as simple as putting a coat around a boy's arms and assuring him that it's not the end of the world. In the film, it was a Call-Back to Batman Begins to the flashback where Gordon put a coat on young Bruce and tries to comfort him after his parents were murdered and it was used to tell Gordon who Batman was.
    • It became even more heartwarming after the tragic Aurora, Colorado theater shooting (where the theater was playing that film) when Christian Bale visited the victims unannounced on his own money and time.
  • Sue's relationship with Reed blossoming throughout the course of the Fantastic Four Duology films was this because the first film was made when Jessica Alba met Cash Warren on the set and one year after the second film came out, she got married and had three children.
  • Thirteen years before Man of Steel was released, Henry Cavill worked as an extra in the film Proof of Life, which Russell Crowe starred in. During the filming of the movie, Cavill asked Crowe for advice about acting, since he had aspirations of pursuing a full-time career as an actor. A few days after their conversation, he received a box of goodies from Crowe that included a signed picture of him in Gladiator with the words, "Dear Henry: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" written on it. Fast-forward to 2013: Henry Cavill is playing Superman opposite Russell Crowe, who's playing his father and mentor, Jor-El. In fact, Man of Steel is also the first time they've seen each other since that first meeting.
  • In Men in Black, the reason why K so quickly recruits J into the MIB as well as acting as a surrogate father makes more sense when it's revealed in Men in Black 3 that K pretty much does consider himself J's surrogate father to make up for accidentally getting J's real father killed.
  • Star Wars:
    • Luke Skywalker and C-3PO's bond throughout the original trilogy becomes heartwarming when The Phantom Menace reveals C-3PO was originally built by Luke's father Anakin, making them brothers in a manner of speaking.
    • Luke and Leia's roles in the original trilogy become more heartwarming after learning Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi hoped in Revenge of the Sith they would grow up willing to help fight the Empire. The twins willingly stepped forward to become the New Hope for the galaxy.
    • Padmé dies in Revenge of the Sith believing there is still good in Vader, and deleted scenes about the origins of the Rebel Alliance show that Padmé was a founding member. This casts a new light on Luke saying there is still good in his father and redeeming him, and the subsequent defeat of the Emperor. Luke's journey began out of a desire to follow in his father's footsteps. It ended with him following in his mother's.
    • Rogue One gives new meaning to the fighter squadron that Luke and Wedge are part of in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which is called "Rogue Squadron" after the eponymous Rogue One. Star Wars (Marvel 2015) further warms the heart by showing Luke forming and naming Rogue Squadron in their honor.
    • Given the way Anakin considered Obi-Wan his Parental Substitute in the prequels and Obi-Wan called Anakin his "brother," Obi-Wan's relationship with Luke isn't just "master and student" but also "grandfather and grandson" or "uncle and nephew."
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Professor X tells Logan, "I give you my word that I will use all my power to help you piece together what you've lost, and what you're looking for." Wolverine doesn't know it yet, but what he's truly looking for is right in front of him. As X-Men: Days of Future Past demonstrates, Xavier is the person who gives meaning to Logan's existence; the "master" to his "samurai," so to speak. This is especially true in the Alternate Timeline, where Wolverine has settled down as a history teacher at Charles' school and is genuinely happy—probably the happiest we've seen him in the entire film franchise. Days of Future Past makes it clear that it's Xavier — and not Jean Grey, as The Wolverine might have you believe — who is the most significant figure in Logan's life during his post-amnesia years.
    • X2: X-Men United: An imprisoned Magneto warmly greets Professor X with, "Charles Xavier, have you come to rescue me?" As it turns out, Charles did indeed rescue Erik Lehnsherr from drowning in X-Men: First Class, and this is how their friendship began. Despite the danger Erik was in 1962, both men still look back on the memory with some fondness.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Professor X reassuring Beast that "You are always welcome here. You are a part of this place" becomes that much sweeter when you take into account their close relationship in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In between 1963 and 1973, Charles and Hank were each other's Only Friend after the former was forced to close his newly budding school due to The Vietnam War draft. Xavier then fell into a deep depression that was further worsened by his alcoholism, and McCoy did his best to try to take care of his former mentor. They eventually became Heterosexual Life-Partners, so Beast isn't just a good friend to the Professor; he's family. Hank also mentions to Logan that both he and Charles had built the school and the labs, so McCoy is just as essential as Xavier in the formation of the X-Men.
    • X-Men: First Class: Raven angrily tells her brother, "You know, Charles, I used to think it was gonna be you and me against the world. But no matter how bad the world gets, you don't wanna be against it, do you? You want to be a part of it." By the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, they are both members of the X-Men, and they're facing the world's threats together. Foster siblings for the win!
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • McCoy asks Charles near the end, "Are you sure you should've let them [Magneto and Mystique] go?", and Xavier's reply is, "I have hope for them. There's going to be a time, Hank, when we're all together." He's half-right because Raven does come home to him in X-Men: Apocalypse as his team's Number Two. Although Erik doesn't stay after he helps Jean to rebuild the school, he and Charles do reconcile, and Lehnsherr's farewell hints that he'll return to visit someday.
      • The farewell scene between Xavier and Peter turned out to be very important in retrospect because Quicksilver becomes Professor X's protégé after the Final Battle of X-Men: Apocalypse. In 1973, it was Charles (and not Erik, who was the subject of the prison break) who had thanked Maximoff for his help, gave the teen a task that required some responsibility (i.e. returning the rental car), and offered him a paternal-sounding "Take it slow" as a goodbye, which made Peter grin. That small gesture ended up carrying a lot of meaning because Quicksilver chooses Xavier as his Parental Substitute over his own father a decade later.
      • The older Professor X reassures his younger self that empathy is "...the greatest gift we have: to bear their pain without breaking." That must have sounded like a bold statement to his 1973 self because, at the time, he regarded his psychic nature as a grave weakness, but his elderly self is proven right in X-Men: Apocalypse. Xavier shoulders the burden of Jean Grey's distress over her telepathy and this forges a strong father-daughter-like connection between them. Through The Power of Love, he helps her to conquer her fears during the climax, and she is able to use the Phoenix Force to save his life and the world.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek (2009): Leonard Nimoy reprising the role of Spock Prime, Passing the Torch to the new cast, has gotten more heartwarming since he was the next TOS cast member to pass on in 2015.
      • On a related note, from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, McCoy's line after Spock's funeral is especially poignant.
        McCoy: He's really not dead, as long as we remember him.
    • Star Trek: Generations:
      • Picard is heartbroken by the deaths of his brother Robert and nephew Rene because that means he'll be the last of the Picards. In Star Trek: Picard, Picard learns he has a son, Jack Crusher, with Dr. Crusher, thereby ensuring that the Picard line will last at least another generation (albeit under a different name).
      • Similarly, Picard and Riker mourn the destruction of the Enterprise-D. Star Trek: Picard reveals that Geordi spent more than 20 years rebuilding/restoring the Enterprise-D, allowing her to save the galaxy one last time, and afterwards, be retired to posterity like she deserved.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye's absence since The Avengers is explained away with the reveal that he's Happily Married with two children and a third on the way.
  • The final scene in Dead Poets Society, where Keating's students give him a touching send-off, showing their appreciation for everything he's taught them, now feels like a send-off to Robin Williams himself after his death in 2014.
  • The People vs. Larry Flynt features Courtney Love as the drug addict wife of the title character, but director Miloš Forman only accepted to cast her if she went sober. She did, even going through various drug tests while filming, and this helped her to a career renaissance spearheaded by Hole's Celebrity Skin album. Her life went awry during the following decade (including a reminiscence to cocaine and prescription drugs), but Love is still away from illegal substances.
  • Ghost (1990): Sam's farewell to Molly towards the end has gotten more poignant since Patrick Swayze's actual passing in 2009.
    Sam: It's amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you. See ya.
    Molly: See ya. Bye.
  • The premise of the film F@NB0Y$, a film about a group of Star Wars fans trying to get a copy of The Phantom Menace from Skywalker Ranch to show their friend before he dies of terminal cancer (the film is set in 1999), became this when J. J. Abrams screened a copy of The Force Awakens for a real-life fan before the latter's death of terminal cancer in 2015.
    • Abrams had done the same thing for a Star Trek fan in 2013, screening an unfinished copy of Star Trek Into Darkness before the fan's death.
    • Disney, in 2009, screened Up for a young girl whose cancer had advanced to the point where it not only prevented her from traveling to the theater to see it, but she was unable to keep her eyes open during the screening, which led to her mother describing the visuals for her. The girl passed within hours of seeing the film.
  • Lotte Verbeek giving the kids a tour of the Anne Frank House in The Fault in Our Stars can make one smile if they've seen her in Agent Carter where she plays a Holocaust survivor - who is also an Iron Woobie like Hazel and Gus.
  • In Problem Child, John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck play husband and wife. A few years later they would be married in Real Life, continuing until Ritter died in 2003.
    • They had also played a married couple on an episode of The Cosby Show.
  • TRON: Ram was a sweet, genuinely good Program who died halfway through the first film, still keeping his faith in the Users. We see the same actor (Dan Shor) have a one-line cameo as Alan Bradley's co-worker (and implied to be Ram's User), credited only as "popcorn guy." Come the Expanded Universe material, particularly the ARG for the filmed sequel, "Popcorn Guy" gets a name - Roy Kleinburg. Roy is a stubborn, idealistic, Nice Guy who was among the first to speak his objections to Encom's abandonment of Flynn and Gibbs's ideas in favor of profit, forced into early retirement and becoming a dedicated hacktivist and one of the masterminds of the whole Flynn Lives movement. Ram's faith was anything but misplaced.
  • At the end of The Interview, North Korea's dictatorship is finally at an end and the song Wind of Change plays over the end credits. The song is about the end of the Soviet Union, so its use in the film was meant to parallel the end of North Korea's dictatorship. Then in 2018, the ending became even better when, after technically being at war for over 70 years, North and South Korea had a historic summit and finally agreed to end the Korean war.
  • On the set of the 2014 Adam Sandler comedy Blended, Drew Barrymore nicknamed her co-star Emma Fuhrmann peanut. She would get cast as an older Cassie Lang in Avengers: Endgame, whose father’s nickname for her is peanut too.
  • When the Stark Expo from Iron Man 2 is attacked by the Hammeroid, a little boy manages to distract one of the robots long enough for Tony Stark to destroy it and congratulate the kid for helping. With the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the boy was confirmed to be a younger Peter Parker, so the scene was announcing how important a role Tony played in his life.
  • Mara Wilson talks about becoming good friends with one of her co-stars on Matilda called Kira Spencer Hesser (she played the friendly older girl Hortensia). Years later, a book written by Kira's mother called Kissing Doorknobs helped Mara diagnose herself with OCD and seek treatment.
  • Aliens sees Ellen Ripley learn that she'd outlived her daughter, Amanda, and an earlier version of the film featured a still-living Amanda angry at her mother for her 57-year absence. However, given the events of the game Alien: Isolation, which features Amanda as the main character, it's entirely possible that, while she might've believed Ellen died, Amanda died knowing and understanding just why Ellen never came back.
  • Chadwick Boseman's untimely death at 43 brought a case of this to the last four years of his life, as he made 10 movies while enduring advanced colon cancer treatment - especially regarding Black Panther (2018), as Boseman goes through the usual physicality of playing a superhero (not to mention the exhausting promotion scheme), and his efforts led to a movie very important regarding Black representation and success.
  • For all the mockery the 2019 film adaptation of Cats received, Judi Dench's casting as Old Deuteronomy can be seen as a nice consolation after tearing her Achilles tendon during an audition as Grizabella for the original musical way back in 1981, which forced her to give up the role.
  • Indiana Jones:
  • Gigli was infamously rewritten to capitalize on Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's relationship, a popular subject of media attention at the time. The film ended up bombing badly and received extremely negative reviews, and they broke up shortly after. However, in 2021, nearly two decades after Gigli was released, Affleck and Lopez decided to give their romance another shot and rekindled their relationship, getting married a year later.
  • Airheads: Chazz (Brendan Fraser) explaining why he's willing to hold Rebel Radio hostage so that he can play his song on the air, saying "I'm average and screwed up enough that I might just write a song that will live forever. And then it's all going to be worth it.", became this after Fraser, after years of struggling to get new roles, got a widely-praised comeback part in The Whale and won the Academy Award for Best Actor for it in 2023.
  • While Dr. Burke doesn't get to marry Ophelia in Doctor in Trouble, their actors (Leslie Phillips and Angela Scoular) would get married twelve years later.


  • Captain Werner Von Ebrennac in the French novel Le Silence de la mer, which was written during the Nazi occupation, is a polite Francophile who often expresses his hope that World War II will be the last war between France and Germany, and that the two countries may forge a lasting alliance which will be the foundation of a new, peaceful Europe. This is depicted as evidence of his hopeless naivety but fast forward a few decades...
  • In the last book of the Protector of the Small quartet, Keladry disobeys direct orders and chooses to rescue her refugees from a vile necromancer in Scanra; several friends also disobey their orders to help her. Apart from the physical dangers of the quest alone, Keladry assumes that she'll be put to death on Traitor's Hill even if she succeeds. Fast-forward a few years and the Beka Cooper trilogy describes how people die on Traitor's Hill in the Tortall Universe—let's just say that if you're beheaded, you got off easy. That Keladry didn't even hesitate to save her people in the face of such a death speaks volumes.
  • Over the course of the X-Wing Series Wraith novels, a relationship develops between two members of the squad, Myn Donos and Lara Notsil — which is slightly complicated by the revelation in Solo Command that Lara used to be an Imperial Intelligence agent. At the end of the novel, she is believed to be KIA but sends a message to the heroes which Wedge and Han Solo end up watching, where she reaches out to Donos again. Wedge orders that the message gets forwarded to Donos and all other copies deleted, but we never see if he opens it or replies since it's the last of the Wraith books. This remains unresolved until the X-Wing continuation novel, Mercy Kill (released a decade later) makes it clear that they reunited, started a business together, married, and had four kids.
    • The same book provides another example: Back in the New Jedi Order series, Jacen argued that the Yuuzhan Vong aren't inherently evil and that a Yuuzhan Vong raised by humans could be an entirely moral person. While it was completely hypothetical at that point, Scut proves him to be completely right.
  • The Dresden Files: In Dead Beat, Harry is about to be killed by former Denarian Cassius when Waldo Butters appears and saves him in the nick of time. Harry feels some regret in that it was not a Knight of the Cross, and he believes it might have been caused by some of his earlier bad choices. Eight books later, Butters becomes the newest Knight of the Cross, and Uriel confirms to Harry that, yes, they sent Butters (an incipient Knight) to help him against Cassius (a former Denarian).
    • Every time Ebenezar McCoy protects Harry, and every interaction between them, gets ten times sweeter when it's revealed in Changes that, unknown to Harry, they're not just master and apprentice; Ebenezar is his maternal grandfather.
    • In the short story "Love Hurts," Harry and Murphy get whammied with a love spell. Having already gone through quite a lot of UST, they're at first relieved, even when they finally realize what's happened, but make the decision to break the spell for the sake of everyone else. Several (in- and out of universe) years of Will They or Won't They? later, in Skin Game, they got together even without the spell.
  • The epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) shows that Harry named his son, Albus Severus Potter, after late Hogwarts headmasters Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. It's become more heartwarming after Alan Rickman, who played Snape in the Harry Potter films, passed away in 2016.
  • In Ranger's Apprentice, Halt explains that he first became interested in Will as an apprentice when he saw the young man sneak into a kitchen to steal some pies, and was impressed by how stealthily he moved even with no training. Book 11 reveals that he'd been keeping an eye on Will since he was born, and felt a debt to Will's parents, both of whom had saved his life.
  • Near the end of the second Franny K. Stein book, Attack of the 50-Ft. Cupid, the narration describes Franny and her new dog/lab assistant Igor as working together like they've known each other for years. This becomes especially more poignant in the sixth book The Fran With Four Brains, which goes into detail on how close Franny and Igor have grown together, with Igor doing whatever he can to entertain Franny and make her laugh when she's feeling stressed, Franny knowing that it is important to spend time with Igor and the illustrations showing Franny reading to Igor as well as Igor tucking Franny into bed and kissing her goodnight.
  • Going Postal contains a scene showing how the clack operators honor a deceased friend: they send the deceased person's name on the lines with a code attached to let the message circulate. Following Terry Pratchett's demise, computer geeks everywhere in the world decided to insert Pratchett's name into headers for web servers or tag Discworld works with "GNU Terry Pratchett". A man isn't dead as long as his name is still spoken, indeed.
  • Catarina becoming friends with Sophia in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!. While it is sweet at the time given that Catarina was the first person to reach out to Sophia outside of her family, it doesn't really stand out as anything special since Catarina had already done this for 4 other people by this point in the story. However, it becomes evens more heartwarming when it's revealed that Sophia is the reincarnation of Atsuko Sasaki, Catarina's best friend in her previous life who was devastated by her death and wanted more than anything to be with her again.
  • The Scholomance: When the motivations of the titular Genius Loci Wizarding School is revealed towards the end of The Last Graduate, the numerous instances over the course of the series up to that point where it seemed dead set on trying to bait/tempt/goad El Higgins into embracing her abnormally strong talent for Black Magic turn out to be... well pretty much that, but rather than unleashing an Arch-Devil Tier Evil Sorceress to rampage across Magical Society the intent all this time was to determine to what extent she would place the well being of others above her personal comfort or immediate self-interest in the hopes of finding her both able and willing to either fix it so it could do it's blasted job ("To offer sanctuary and protection to all the wise-gifted children of the world") properly or at least do something about the outside world so that it's own 25% survival rate is not a step up.
  • C. S. Lewis' 1955 autobiography was entitled Surprised by Joy, in reference to the experience of aesthetic longing that became the first step of his conversion to Christianity, and was edited by his friend, the American poet Joy Davidman. A year later, when Joy was at risk of having to return to the United States, they had a civil marriage so she could stay in England. What started out as a Citizenship Marriage evolved into one of the most profound love affairs of the 20th century after she was diagnosed with cancer; they were later married in the Church and when she died in 1960, Lewis was heartbroken. His friends would remark in his later life that he really had been "surprised by Joy".
  • The Butter Battle Book: The fact that the book finishes with No Ending with Grandpa Yook and Van Itch waiting to drop their bombs takes on a more hopeful connotation after the MAD doctrine effectively put the U.S. and the USSR at a stalemate, thereby ending the Cold War.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first episode of Season 6 of Saturday Night Live, host Elliott Gould introduces the cast again and tells the audience, "We're gonna be around forever!" He was right, considering SNL is still the longest running sketch show on NBC.
  • In the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard says that his and Penny's children will be both "intelligent and beautiful", to which Sheldon adds "not to mention imaginary". Fast forward all the way to the show's Grand Finale and Sheldon gives this exchange a Call-Back and admits that his part of it was wrong.
  • During season 5 of The Good Wife, "A Few Words" flashes back to Alicia's attempts to get a job when Peter went to jail. She gets rejection after rejection until running into her old law school friend Will, who hires her immediately. Becomes somehow more significant when Diane faces a similar situation in The Good Fight. After she loses all her retirement money, Diane goes to old friends and business partners for a job, and none of them will take her.
  • In Volume 1 of Heroes, Lindermann ends up healing Heidi Petrelli of the paralysis that his men caused in an assassination attempt on Nathan. At first glance, it seems like a ploy to get her to trust him. However, after the events of Volume 3, especially the flashback to the event as well as Lindermann's reaction to the event and his role in "killing" Arthur Petrelli, it seemed to be doing it out of genuine guilt.
  • An episode of Full House features DJ and Stephanie recounting memories of their mom. Danny tells them that it's very important for them to remember these stories so they can tell them to Michelle someday since she has no memories of their mom, who died when Michelle was a baby. The scene is heartwarming enough on its own. But Bob Saget went on to provide the voice of Future Ted on How I Met Your Mother (albeit uncredited), which makes a big deal about preserving memories so you can pass the stories on to your loved ones someday.
  • At the end of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Errand of Mercy", which marked the very first appearance of the Klingons, the Organians speculate to Kirk that someday, the Federation and Klingons will become allies. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, we see this indeed came true, and how it happened is explored in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Star Trek: Enterprise takes it even further, with the time-travelling Daniels revealing that in the even farther future, the Klingons will officially join the Federation.
  • Friends:
    • In "The One With the Girl Who Hits Joey", Chandler goes overboard and proposes to Monica at the end, even though he isn't ready. They're in the same location and positions they are when the real proposal happens.
    • A flashback reveals Chandler and Monica almost have sex when he calls her "the most beautiful woman I've ever known [in real life]." In season 5 when they have sex for real what does he say that sparks it? "You're the most beautiful woman in most rooms". Clearly, that line works on her.
    • In Season 1, Chandler offers to get together with Monica and raise a family together if they're both still single at forty. Turns out he doesn't wait until they're forty.
    • In "The One Where Heckles Dies", Chandler freaks out that his commitment phobia will prevent him from finding the one, and he'll be left alone when the others settle down. Flash forward to later seasons, and he has found the one, (she was living across the hall the whole time), and he and Monica are the first to get married (and stay married) and start a family.
    • "The One With All the Flashbacks", when pre-series Chandler comforts Monica over not having a boyfriend and tells her she'll find someone. Of course, she does find someone: him.
    • Chandler and Monica's conversation at Ross's wedding in the Season 4 finale. Monica confides her fears that she's "never going to get married" and Chandler responds with: "Who wouldn't want you?". That night they sleep together for the first time and three seasons later, the finale is all about their wedding.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Time Monster," the Doctor tells his friend Jo about a hermit who mentored and supported him during a dark time. Two years later, in Jon Pertwee's final story as the Doctor, we get to meet that hermit in person, and he helps the Doctor again through a tricky regeneration.
    • "The Waters of Mars", set in 2059, has a scene in which one of the first Astronauts on Mars, a Russian, video-chats with his brother about said brother's husband's spending habits, with the implication that same-sex marriage is no big deal in Russia. Given the repression of Gay Rights in Russia we've seen in 2013, it makes the episode's overall theme of humanity rising beyond its early 21st-century crisis and making it to faraway Mars all the more powerful.
    • In "Survival", the last story of the 1989 series, the Doctor closes with a beautiful speech culminating with, "Come on, Ace. We've got work to do." At the time, it was unknown if the show would ever come back, due to Executive Meddling. Fast-forward sixteen years, and the Doctor is back on our screens, with the show as good as (many would say, better than) ever, and since then it's only gone from success to success.
    • A later story has the Doctor meet Van Gogh and inspire him, though sadly it's not enough to prevent the artist from committing suicide. Later, new research showed that he may not have committed suicide at all, that it may have been accidental. If this is so, then the Doctor and Amy were far more successful than they realized.
    • Back in "Genesis of the Daleks," the Doctor tells Sarah Jane and Harry that even though he failed to destroy the Daleks, he knows that out of their evil must come something good. This can be easy to dismiss, given all of the evil the Daleks are responsible for, but given stories such as "Journey's End" and "Twice Upon A Time," where Daleks actually help the Doctor, it turns out that he was actually right.
  • In The X-Files season 4 episode "Home", Mulder and Scully discuss genetics and parenthood after investigating the death of a newborn with several genetic disorders. Mulder points out that it's not too late, that all Scully needed to do was find someone with a "spotless genetic makeup and a really high tolerance for being second-guessed" and start having babies. Scully shoots back by asking about his family. Mulder jokes that aside from needing glasses and getting abducted by aliens involved in government conspiracies, the Mulder family "passes genetic muster." Three years later, Scully would ask Mulder to be the father of her child in an IVF attempt (which ultimately failed), and they would go on to have Baby William (assumed naturally).
    • This conversation can also be seen as Harsher in Hindsight since it takes place right before Scully learns that she is barren as the result of her abduction in season two, and a year before she loses a child that was conceived from the eggs stolen during the abduction.
  • The season 2 finale of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Hilda and Zelda grumpily realising that Vesta is their mother's favourite daughter. An episode in Season 4 reveals that Vesta was once jealous of Hilda and Zelda, thinking of herself as The Un-Favourite - and turned their parents into pigs. The girls had to be put up for adoption as a result, and when the parents were turned back, they adopted the girls back immediately. So their mother really did love them after all.
    • Sabrina passes a test in season 1 to see if what she feels for Harvey is true love. Even though they split up in season 4, they remain Amicable Exes until the finale where Sabrina ultimately chooses Harvey.
  • Cheers once opened with Woody's parents ordering him to come home because his uncle told them Boston was a dangerous place. They change their minds when Al sends them a letter saying "Let your son pick his own path and it will all come back to you." Just before the Grand Finale, Woody gets elected to the city council. Unfortunately, Al doesn't live to see he was right.
  • Liv and Maddie, the Disney series featuring identical twins with different personalities both played by Dove Cameron, can be seen - at least in terms of its casting of the lead roles - as a Spiritual Successor to The Patty Duke Show, which featured the then-teenage Duke as identical cousins with different personalities. Patty's final role before her death from sepsis in March 2016 was the Liv and Maddie episode "Grandma-A-Rooney", playing the girls' grandmother and her identical twin sister, bringing her illustrious career full circle. (As an additional note, many shout outs to Duke's 1960s series are scattered throughout Liv and Maddie, and Duke and Cameron became very close friends during the filming of the episode.)
  • In the House pilot, Wilson and the patient have a conversation about the titular doctor and whether he cares about Wilson. When she says it's what you do that counts, Wilson confirms that House does care about him. While House does fuck Wilson over a lot, by the s8 finale he's proven the above a few times over; big ones being risking brain damage to try and save Wilson's girlfriend, and giving up his job/faking his death to be with Wilson when he's dying of cancer.
  • Coronation Street:
    • Manchester-based actor Steven Gidwaney has said that seeing Steve McDonald going through depression helped him realize that was what he himself was experiencing - and thus went to get help.
    • Sinead's cancer storyline in 2019 encouraged loads of female viewers to go for smear tests, where they discovered pre-cancerous cells and therefore were able to catch them in time.
  • Transparent featured a flashback to the birth of Maura Pfefferman, the titular trans parent, where her father assumes he's having a daughter and states that fathers have a way of knowing about this. The scene becomes rather sweet in retrospect when the fourth season has Maura reunite with her father in the present day and he is shown to be accepting of Maura being trans.
  • One Tree Hill:
    • In the season 3 episode "The Wind That Blew My Heart Away", when Mouth and Rachel are both trapped inside her house due to the storm, Rachel is telling him he can get more "elite" girls like her if he starts being more mean. To which Mouth says that he can never be that kind of person and mentions how someday he will find someone who might not be Rachel's idea of "elite" but that she'll be "elite" to him and she'll love him for who he is and always be there for him and they won't have to play games with one another. A couple of seasons later pretty much exactly that happens when Mouth meets Millicent (who is somewhat insecure about her looks and weight) and they really hit it off, and in the Grand Finale they end up married with her pregnant with twins.
  • Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In:
  • On Christmas Day 2021, Fox aired All Madden, a 90-minute long documentary on the legendary National Football League coach, broadcaster, and video game namesake John Madden. Just three days later, Madden would pass away, and the documentary, which was already a testimonial to one of football's largest personalities, became a fitting tribute to his legacy and a final sendoff to one of the most recognizable people in American culture.
  • That '70s Show: Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis starring as on-again/off-again couple Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhardt became this after they actually became a couple and married years after the show ended.
  • All That: Chris Farley guest starred in a 1997 episode, appearing in a "Cooking with Randy" sketch with Kenan Thompson. Years later, Kenan would follow in Farley's footsteps and join the cast of Saturday Night Live, making the sketch come across as a Passing the Torch moment between the two generations of cast members.
  • MacGyver (1985): The Episode "Black Rhino" had a clear message about poaching and even ended with a PSA read by Richard Dean Anderson about the topic. While they've been hunted to near extincion by the 90's and the Western Black Rhino sub-species did go extinct in 2011, the species in general have made a tremendous recovery thanks to persistent conservation efforts over the last 20 years. Although they are still listed as Critically Endangered.
  • The Nanny: In "The Strike", Fran Fine refuses to cross a picket line of striking busboys at the party for Maxwell's theater production of Norma Rae (a work about unions, fittingly enough), and Maxwell Sheffield gets in trouble when he tries to force Fran through the picket line before apologizing about his inconsiderate behavior. In 2021, Fran Drescher got elected president of SAG-AFTRA, and in 2023, she led SAG-AFTRA in a strike alongside the WGA.

  • "Speechless", by Lady Gaga, is a pretty sad song. However, the knowledge that it did persuade her dad to give up drinking and get the heart surgery he needed makes it this.
    • Similarly, Martika's "Toy Soldiers" goes from tear-jerker to heartwarming once you learn that not only it was written for a friend who was knee-deep into drugs... but that said friend actually went into rehab and got better.
  • P!nk's "Family Portrait" is a song about how parents constantly fighting affects the children. The song encouraged many kids in troubled homes to speak up to their parents about their feelings.
    • Not to mention "Please Don't Leave Me" when you realize that she and Carey Hart got back together.
    • Similar example with Nickelback's "Lullaby"; if the YouTube comments are any indication, it has saved a lot of people from being Driven to Suicide.
  • Joni Mitchell's song "Little Green" is about a daughter she gave up for adoption. It's a Tear Jerker, but Mitchell later reconnected with her as an adult.
  • Tupac Shakur's declaration in 1995 that "Though it seems heaven sent, we ain't ready to see a black president". Thirteen years later... yes, we were.
    • Also, to quote No More Pain, "When I die I wanna be a living legend".
  • Both Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood covered the Bob Dylan song "To Make You Feel My Love" for the 1998 movie Hope Floats. They also recorded "In Another's Eyes" together. They are now married.
    • Brooks's solo recording "We Shall Be Free" contains the line "We're free to love anyone we choose." At the time, the line was controversial because it seemed to promote homosexuality. Now that gay marriage is legal in all of North America, it becomes this trope.
  • The song "Wir Sind Wir" by Paul van Dyk recaps Germany's post-war rebuilding and the reunification (with its betrayal of social ideals and disappointment of hopes in the minds of many East Germans), in an effort to remind the listener that the German people have been through and rose above a lot worse than the economic recession / harsh austerity measures at the time of the song's release. There are lines like "Divided, defeated, and yet - at least we're still alive" and "We won't be subdued just like that. (We've got) no time for being bitter."note  The song ends on the line "This is just a bad run (of luck). We won't give up just like that, will we?" ...Fast forward 10 years, and Germany has transformed from "the sick man of Europe" to "Europe's economic powerhouse" with an unemployment rate as low as it hasn't been in decades, the Energiewendenote  working as a national project that inspires the people (similarly to the US Apollo project, except most people can actively participate) and which gains international praisenote , and the Head of State is determined to take the moral high road when it comes to the Syrian refugee crisis, compared to most other European countries, a decision that was welcomed by the majority of citizens.note  Bear in mind that in Germany, the whole concept of pride in one's country and people is considered suspect and dangerous, especially by politically left-leaning / progressive people - an attitude that's only recently, slowly changing. Which is partly why Paul van Dyk made that song, as a kind of therapy for the "national soul".note  Apparently, it worked.
  • Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" is both this and Harsher in Hindsight. It contains the line "And the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep", and when Rogers eventually passed away on March 20, 2020, it was indeed in his sleep.
  • In the Shawn Mullins song "Twin Rocks, Oregon", Mullins comments that, "I don't reckon I'll be making it big", before going on to say that it's okay because "ain't it a blessing to do what you want to do". "Twin Rocks, Oregon" was released on the same album as Mullins' first hit, "Lulllaby", which ended up being the breakout hit that lifted him out of obscurity, earning him enough of a fan following to make a relatively comfortable living. So he'd already come to terms with not making much money as long as he could do the thing he loved, and then he found himself making money doing the thing he loved.
  • In his earlier years on a major label, Eminem would regularly trash the notion of himself as a positive role model. Later in life, he would go on to adopt three children, kick a drug habit that had its grip on him for longer than he'd been signed, and found a charity for disadvantaged youth.
  • "22" by Taylor Swift is a song about Taylor and her friends having fun during her 22nd birthday. However, in 2021 she released an extended of "All Too Well" revealing she had a miserable 21st birthday and it becomes clear how much that party meant to her.
  • "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith has the line "Met Ali he told me I'm the greatest"; a few years later, he would end up playing Ali in the 2001 film of the same name.
    • When Ali passed away in June 3, 2016, Will Smith was the pallbearer at his funeral.
  • At one point, Freddie Mercury mentioned that "When I'm dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance." He doesn't know how right he is.

  • Back in 2008, a bumper for Toonami proudly proclaimed "11 years and counting!" Sadly, that year was the year it was cancelled... at first. Toonami was resurrected in 2012 following a Twitter campaign. Looks like we're still counting.
  • Not one day after announcing his "leave of presence" to watch and review movies he liked in early April 2013, Roger Ebert was overcome by his cancer and went to the big cinema in the sky to watch and review movies he likes for all eternity. It's mainly the tone of his "leave of presence" announcement that makes it fall into this; he may be gone, but he's in a better place, and his presence will still be felt by moviegoers everywhere, with his influence extending to numerous younger critics.
  • A similar scenario happened in Washington, D.C. when radio host Ed Walker found out that he had cancer and had to retire from his The Big Broadcast show to focus on his treatment. His last show (which was recorded in the hospital) had a rather heavy air to it because of this. Only a few hours after it aired, Ed left the earth on October 26, 2015, to join many of his favorite radio stars that he had showcased on Broadcast, making his last show fit this trope. This article could have been a great obituary for him, but it was also published before he died.
  • Platypus Comix ended their article about Ronald Reagan's 1981 inaugural with a mention of the extravagant Charles/Diana wedding that happened the same year, quoting a newscaster's comment that "We've just witnessed something we will not be seeing for a very, very long time," and then stating, "Not anytime soon." The article was published in 2005. Seven years later, Charles and Diana's son William marries Kate Middleton, and it's just as much of a fairy tale spectacle as the wedding from thirty years prior.
  • At the end of a mediocre 1991 season, Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray assured fans, "As sure as God made green apples, someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series." Fast-forward 25 years later, when the Cubs appeared in the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945 and then won their first World Series since 1908. Cub fans didn't forget Caray's statement, as many of them left bushels of green apples on Caray's grave (Caray died in 1998).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • David Arquette winning the WCW World title. Why? Because he donated all the money WCW paid him to the families of Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and Droz.
  • The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family - the Tear Jerker part where Saraya/Paige says goodbye to her parents at the airport to leave for WWE becomes this with the knowledge that Paige became very popular after she debuted in FCW and was pushed as a star on NXT. Now you know leaving her family was all worth it. Ditto for Tenille: The Wrestler where Tenille Tayla bursts into tears as the full force of admitting she hadn't expected to get a WWE contract hits her. She joined NXT under the ring name Emma and enjoyed a nice surge in popularity in 2013. It's especially poignant for both women because the two of them were chosen to compete in the match to crown the first NXT Women's Champion (Paige won).
  • The sad vignette WWE aired during Breast Cancer Awareness month where Layla talks about her mother's passing. It becomes a little more heartwarming with the knowledge that in 2013, Layla would be reunited with her father after nearly 30 years apart.
  • When Bayley recruited Becky Lynch to fend off Charlotte and Sasha Banks, she dubbed her a "Bayley Friend Forever". Of course, Becky ended up turning on her just like Charlotte had. But by 2015 both women had undergone a Heel–Face Turn and were in the front row cheering her for getting to main event a PPV. So it seems they really were Bayley Friends Forever.
  • This article published in 2015 describes Jacqueline as "will surely be in the Hall of Fame one day". Jacqueline would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame only a few months later.
  • In a 2011 shoot interview, Terri Poch reveals that the women of the Attitude Era didn't have any agents to help them put their matches together. So they had to go to the other wrestlers and ask for feedback. She describes Triple H as someone who always helped them out. Fast forward to 2015 where NXT is under Triple H's control and produces some of the best women's wrestling North America has ever seen - and the women get to main event a PPV for the first time ever in WWE.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Noddy Shop's first season finale ended with a song called "Thank You For Being You", in which the toys thank Noah Tomten for caring for them. After the passing of Sean McCann, who played Noah, in 2019, the song becomes significantly more poignant in the sense that this song is thanking not only the character, but the actor, for his hard work.

  • Several of the people who participated in the making of the Broadway version of The Lion King were black South Africans who had left their country due to persecution. In the musical's original playbill, they expressed their sympathy with Simba, who, like them, was exiled but eventually able to return to his homeland.
  • In a meta sense, the "Popular" number in Wicked was prophetic. Elphaba is quite popular among fans of the play.

  • In BIONICLE, Mata Nui has the following line:
    Mata Nui: It is said that some endings are really beginnings waiting to be born.
    • The end of the Bionicle line was announced a few months later. The creators had no idea it was coming when they wrote that line.
    • Then, nine months after that, Greg Farshtey (the head writer), announced that his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Turns out Mata Nui was right after all!
    • Additionally, the Turaga mentoring the Toa Mata/Nuva becomes this trope when we discover in the 2004/2005 arc that the Turaga used to be Toa themselves. They've been there before, and they know what it's like.
  • Back in the 1980s, when the idea of same-sex marriage was virtually unheard of, a My Little Pony porcelain figure of the long-forgotten G1 mares Glory and Moondancer depicted them as getting married.

    Video Games 
  • In Street Fighter, one of Guile's most popular post-battle lines is "Go home and be a family man." In later installations of the game, Guile is voiced by actor Travis Willingham... who then married fellow VA Laura Bailey (who now voices Chun-Li, who's a close friend of Guile in-story). The meme has mutated accordingly: "Travis Willingham is a family man!"
  • In Mass Effect 3, after a mission in which Primarch Victus' son sacrifices his life to disable a bomb, Tali will speak with Ashley afterward, saying it reminded her of Virmirenote . Tali asks how Ashley could accept a teammate dying for her, to which Ashley responds by asking her if she would make the sacrifice herself, then saying that one day it will be her turn and those who sacrificed themselves for her will be watching. This not only showcases Ashley's Character Development after her initial Survivor Guilt but also is quite comforting to Tali, who suffered the loss of many of her comrades on Freedom's Progress and Haestrom.
  • In BioShock Infinite when Booker was revived by Elizabeth from drowning, he was calling Anna while speaking to Elizabeth; what he doesn't realize is he was referring to Elizabeth by her original name, Anna DeWitt.
  • In Batman: Arkham Origins; the general feel is the Nolan movies. Grim, nobody trusts Batman, the police are corrupt; the game ends on what would be a generic Hope Spot but we know that it will become better. The police like Batman in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
    • The effect gets magnified - Origins was the third game released in the series, though it was a prequel to the previous games, and the cops are enemies for Batman, collectively just as interested as the traditional supervillains of Batman's rogues gallery in the 50 million dollar bounty on Batman's head. The Gotham SWAT team even starts gearing up and going rogue to hunt Batman on their own. In the fourth, Batman: Arkham Knight, set roughly eight to ten years after Origins, it's not just that the police willingly work beside Batman, they are now a strong, competent, and above all, clean organization - the worst cop among them is a singular one who acted as an informant for Riddler, with all others being ready and willing to defend Gotham against a massive terrorist threat from Scarecrow that prompted the evacuation of the entire city. All those who remained were volunteers.
      • Even more, the reason that worst cop was aiding the Riddler? He felt SORRY for Edward Nygma, whose mental state has clearly unraveled over the course of the series, and eventually, his questline in this game ends up with him occasionally having a Freudian slip about his father while fighting Batman. It's a far cry from the cops in Origins who were rounding up hobos to make them fight for scraps while the police bet on the winner.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], it's revealed that Nobodies can grow new hearts over time, and it may be possible for others with no hearts to grow one as well (eg: puppets, programs). It's mainly a Harsher in Hindsight for most cases, but it does make the goodbye scene with Tron, a program, near the end of Kingdom Hearts II more heartwarming, considering just before, he suddenly gained emotions, implying a heart.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the whole theme of the game revolves around changing fate. The game was initially meant to be the last game in the franchise but it proved to be such a success that Fire Emblem continued on. This game literally changed the doomed fate of its franchise.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, Nintendo announced that there would be a Gay Option for the Avatar. Within a day or two of this announcement, the Supreme Court ruled that Gay Marriage was legal nationwide in the United States.
  • Fi's dialog that she'll meet Link again in another life in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, retroactively made every single time Link gains the Master Sword in any of the games a Heartwarming Moment.
  • In Final Fantasy V, Gilgamesh gives one of the most inspiring speeches in the series before sacrificing himself to kill Necrophobe, telling Bartz that he has 'admirable companions' and even mentioning that he envies him for that. Fast-forward to 2015: Not only is he playable in a whole new adventure, but he can fight alongside heroes and adventurers taken from the whole series... including those from FFV. Whether or not the player decides to place him on a team consisting of his old rivals, or a couple of new faces, it looks like he's finally gained admirable companions of his own.
  • For Starcraft II, Stukov manages to complete his original objectives without hurting any innocents after all. He may have missed Mengsk the first time when Raynor helped him escape through Aiur, but Stukov later helps Kerrigan chase Mengsk into a corner. By being infested in the first place and with Kerrigan's Character Development, the Zerg have been effectively controlled. And with Amon dead and the Protoss tribes no longer having a reason to wage war anymore, the Protoss are as close to being pacified as it's going to be. Dugalle would have been proud.
  • Many moments where Kratos takes on the role of The Mentor to Lloyd in Tales of Symphonia get even more heartwarming once you find out he's Lloyd's father.
  • Back in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Chrom (from Fire Emblem: Awakening) was left muttering dejectedly that he would supposedly get his chance "another day" - before being reduced to a brooding clown everywhere by the fans and even in-game. After a year or so passed, he would actually show up as a playable quest character in another massive crossover, Project x Zone 2.
  • Malcolm being called "FenTech's finest creation" in Unreal Tournament. In the next installments of the Unreal franchise, he becomes both the nine-time champion of the Liandri Grand Tournament (thus, the game itself in hindsight represents his ascension to fame, to the point that it's even implied that he was the one to break Xan's winning streak) and the Series Mascot for the franchise. He is, indeed, their finest creation.
  • This commercial for the 2012 edition of MLB The Show, now that the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series four years later.
  • The original La-Mulana is a tribute to the MSX's wide library of Konami games, with cartridges of their games to collect and the game itself being a Spiritual Adaptation of Knightmare II: The Maze of Galious. Konami must have noticed all this and gave it a thumbs up, because they are the publisher for the console ports of La-Mulana 2.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2: Naruto and Hinata's "Secret Lovers" title, which freaked out quite a lot of shippers back in the day. The epilogue of the manga reveals that they are Happily Married with two children, and the Canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie shows how they fell in love and became the main Official Couple. The instances of Ship Tease between Ino and Sai in the game also become this for the same reason.
  • When it was first revealed for Pokémon Sun and Moon, Mimikyu's description mentioned that it desperately wanted to be as loved as the series mascot Pikachu, which is why it dresses up in a crudely-made Pikachu disguise. It ended up getting Ensemble Dark Horse status within the fandom near-instantly, meaning it got its wish. And then, in 2020, it beat Pikachu in an official popularity contest, making it to all-regions top 3.
  • For the Uncle Albert's Adventures series: In Uncle Albert's Secret Album, Tom is trapped inside the album with the treasure. In Uncle Albert's Mysterious Island, we learn about another treasure of Uncle Albert, which turns out to be Tom's egg. So in a sense, Tom himself was part of the treasure all along.
  • In The World Ends with You, despite being the one to kill him to send him to the UG, Neku still trusts Joshua as one of his partners in his three weeks in The Reapers' Game and wishes to see him again. In NEO: The World Ends with You'', they do meet up again during and after the end of the game and after discussing what Joshua did during the time skip between the two games, developed a much better rapport and gave each other a proper goodbye, parting ways on much better terms as friends.

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Late in Lilly's route, as she is preparing to go to Scotland permanently, she tells Hanako about how they became friends. Lilly says she did not befriend Hanako out of pity, but out of a desire to know more about her, and she considers her a strong person at heart who will be able to take charge of her own life even after Lilly is gone. Lilly's statement becomes even more powerful when you consider that in Hanako's route, Hanako believes that Lilly and Hisao pity her.
    • Also on Lilly's route, Hisao openly refers to Shizune as his friend on two occasions, once to Lilly, no less. Once you play Shizune's route and see how desperately she has tried to make friends, you can see that this comment has more weight.
  • In the Key/Visual Arts novel AIR, Kano Kirishima always wanted magical powers; later, in the doujin Fighting Game Eternal Fighter Zero, she fights with a fantasy role-playing staff, and is able to cast spells tiered to Fire, Ice, Lightning; in short, her wish became true.

  • Sluggy Freelance: In the first Thanksgiving, Sam expresses gratitude for his freedom, a surprisingly deep observation for him. In 2001, the panel is repeated, followed by an edited panel of Torg and Zoe expressing approval and agreement.
  • Pocket Princesses: It's about the Disney Princesses living together. While it's not canon, the Princesses are appearing in their own official comic now- drawn by Amy Mebberson, creator of Pocket Princesses.

    Web Original 
  • Take a look at SadPanda's tribute to Spoony, "Long Live the Spoony One". With the chain of events that led to Spoony leaving Channel Awesome, the last verse becomes less like continued praise of Spoony and more like the singer putting his confidence in Spoony for the future.
    ''Spoony, don't worry, you'll always be funny.
    You can turn heel or face and never be in disgrace.
    I'm a fan, I won't lie.
    And the Spoony One will never die.
    Keep providing the fun,
    And for now, I think I'm done.
    • In Spoony's Vlog of Paranormal Activity 2, Spoony starts gushing over the dog in the movie and how much of a good actor it is. Spoony then briefly wishes he had an emotive dog like that, which he would later get a few years later with Oreo.
  • In the Game Grumps' playthrough of Magic Sword, Jon asks Arin if he's ever had thoughts about marrying a random girl on the street. He replies by saying that he hasn't in public, but in his house, referring to his then-fiance Suzy. Later, they got married for real.
  • In the ending of the How It Should Have Ended video for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one of the newspaper articles was Spider-Man being included in the Avengers because Disney and Sony worked out a deal. On February 9th, 2015, 5 months after the HISHE parody was put online, Sony DID work out a deal between themselves and Disney and Marvel Studios, which allows Spider-Man to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a 2016 MCU film before his next standalone film the year after that.
  • After Anton Yelchin's death in June 2016, only 1 month before the release of Star Trek Beyond, a Star Trek fan paid tribute to him by creating a drawing of Anton being welcomed in the afterlife by Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan, captioned with "For Anton". When Beyond was released, its In Memoriam dedication to Yelchin was also "For Anton".
  • AmazingPhil made a video in 2009 where he predicted his future via tarot cards. According to his fortune, he would meet an energetic, impulsive man who would have a huge impact on his life. Not long after, Phil would meet and later move in with Dan Howell. And then in 2019...Forget that first word.
  • In the Movie Rehab review of the 1984 Supergirl film back in 2015, SaG expressed hope that superheroines will have more success in the near future. Since then, most female superheroes had been successful in media with Wonder Woman sealing the deal.
  • Thanks to Critical Role being a Dungeons and Dragons campaign and thus story arcs mostly arise out of improv, it contains a lot of this. Vax and Keyleth go Undercover as Lovers during the Vasselheim arc, and the two would eventually become an Official Couple. Similarly, many early moments between Vex and Percy become heartwarming later on with the revelation that they'd been in love with each other for a long time.
  • In one episode of The Runaway Guys's LittleBigPlanet 2, guest Lucahjin sings a snippet of Beyoncé's "All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". As she sings "If you like a thing, you should put a ring on it", ProtonJon sticks a whole bunch of ring objects on her avatar, saying "I really like it!" The two would later get engaged in 2017.
  • Twitter account Peepee's Playhouse was a roleplay account from the perspective of a real-life cat named Peepee, which became a hit due to its simplistic but adorable tweets. Sadly, Peepee died of kidney failure in April 2019, which surprised and devastated his followers. The owner revealed that he made the account after learning Peepee's prognosis years ago to commemorate Peepee in his last years. As such, the account has an even sweeter meaning than before (though it may also become a huge Tear Jerker as well.)
  • A minor example with The Music Video Show. Each season has the host wearing new clothing. In the first three seasons, she mostly wore long-sleeved shirts and wore hats. After the 3rd season, she wore clothing that showed more of her body, along with no hat, making a more exposed and changed person from season one. In 2019, she did a livestream where she came out as genderqueer. Looking at the changes in clothing she uses every season, it is like she was trying to figure herself out. Then, in 2020...
    • The beginning of Episode 5 has her wearing feminine clothing and, after making an excuse, she cries, "Don't judge me!". This example is this trope when she stated that she was genderqueer and that she feels comfortable wearing women's clothing and makeup in real life. This has even reached the actual show, as seen at the beginning of its season 10 premiere.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Season 1's "Homer's Night Out" depicts Princess Kashmir as a somewhat downtrodden who has to dance at stag parties and strip clubs on the side. Several later episodes depict her in celebrity gatherings, implying that life did pick up for her afterwards.
    • In Season 2's "Bart Gets An 'F'", Mrs. Krabappel is amazed by Bart's knowledge of George Washington surrendering to the French in 1754 that she raises his grade from "F" to "D-" meaning he barely passes. Future episodes ("Homer vs. Dignity", "Sleeping With The Enemy") show that Bart actually does have talent after all.
    • In Season 12's ""Worst Episode Ever", jokes are made about Comic Book Guy's single status, when Dr. Hibbert comments after he has a heart attack that the job of running a comic book store is something he'd call "The Professional Widowmaker" except the owners are never married. Flashforward to Season 25's "Married to the Blob" and Comic Book Guy does end up Happily Married.
    • In Season 20's "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe", Homer points out to Moe that even though things didn't work out between him and Maya, he should be happy that a woman actually loved him and remain hopeful that he will find love again. 13 years later, in "The Wayz We Were", Moe and Maya do get back together!
  • Futurama:
    • In the DVD Commentary for "Anthology of Interest II", when it was still uncertain if the show would stay on, one of the guys talking asked, "What if we had a fifth season?"
    • Similarly, in the commentary for "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" (the last episode before it was cancelled for the first time), one of the commentators jokes at the end "See you on the next DVD!"
    • The episode dealing with Robosexuality seemed like wishful thinking (for some at least), in that this analogy for gay marriage becomes legal, but now New York state allows gay marriage in real life. And then, in 2015, the US Supreme Court struck down all laws against gay marriage, effectively legalizing it throughout the country.
  • Family Guy:
    • "New Kidney in Town" involved Chris plagiarizing a speech about hope from Meg, and getting an interview for it with a local anchor (because the essay won a contest to introduce Barack Obama when he came to town at the end of the episode). Chris says, rather plainly, that he got the essay from an angel. He was speaking more in a religious sense but think for a second about from where, or rather who, it actually came.
    • "The Big Bang Theory", where Stewie goes back in time to "The Courtship of Stewie's Father" where Brian does the "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" dance for Peter and does it for him instead of Brian. At first, Peter is cheered up because you think Stewie did it better. Then you realize that this was the episode where Peter was upset because Stewie was mad at him, so seeing him do that would've cheered Peter up.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "It's Way Ed," the Eds kept falling behind on the latest fads. Edd tries cheering Eddy up by saying fads come in a cycle and that they'd be back in style in ten years. Ten years after that episode aired The Movie ended with the Eds being accepted by the kids of the Cul-De-Sac.
  • Optimus Primal of Beast Wars said as Dinobot's eulogy "May his spark join the Matrix, the greatest of Cybertron" for his Heroic Sacrifice in Code Of Hero. Years later, when they had the Transformers Hall Of Fame and would induct memorable Cybertronians based on fan votes, with the rest being preselected, Dinobot was one of the choices and beat out G1 veterans such as Soundwave, Grimlock, Jazz, and Shockwave, truly joining the Greatest of Cybertron.
    • To add to this, he was the first fan-inductee and a massive underdog candidate. The Greatest of Cybertron will be joining him, as well.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "The Wall" have Alvin, Simon, and Theodore supposedly pull down the Berlin Wall during a concert through the Power of Rock/ Power of Love. Alvin then wakes up, sees the wall still standing, and sadly notes, "It was all just a dream... but it doesn't have to be." And eleven months later, it wasn't. The episode was actually rebroadcast on NBC on November 18, 1989, 9 days after the Berlin Wall was torn down.
  • Any jokes or misunderstandings of Tommy getting a brother or Chuckie getting a mommy in early episodes of Rugrats, since Tommy eventually gained a younger brother named Dil in The Rugrats Movie and Chuckie eventually gained a stepmother when his father married Kira in Rugrats in Paris.
  • Drew Barrymore was the voice of Olive, the Other Reindeer. Her firstborn daughter's name is Olive.
  • Doug's episode "My Fat Cat" has Doug overhear the vet mention that he brought Stinky in just in time and "it would have been too late" if he waited. Given that Stinky was pregnant and yowling, this actually means that Doug saved Stinky and her kittens' lives since that means that the babies were obstructed. Ordinarily, cat labour is quiet.
  • Kim being in love with Ron in "Emotion Sickness" from Kim Possible was pretty cringy, but becomes very heartwarming when they start dating for real after So The Drama. Likewise as Shego ends up falling for Drakken also in the episode, and in the series finale it's implied they eventually do end up together.
  • In the Recess episode "Buried Treasure" we hear Principal Prickly on the phone with a friend from school. After the events of the movie where we learn how much Prickly misses his childhood, it becomes incredibly heartwarming that he is still in touch with his best friend forty years later.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Griffon the Brush Off" has Pinkie Pie throwing a party for the Jerkass griffon Gilda, hoping to "turn that frown upside-down". Fast-forward to season two where Pinkie sings a song about how much she honestly and completely loves making people smile and brightening up their days with parties and play.
      • Even later in "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone", Gilda's genuine friendship with Rainbow Dash is easier to see when she flashes back to the day they first befriended each other, especially their Junior Speedster's chant, begrudgingly as it was. "Only for you, Dash." It becomes even more heartwarming when you see the friendship that ended between Rainbow Dash and Gilda in "Griffon the Brush Off" rebuilt in season five.
    • In "Call of the Cutie", the Cutie Mark Crusaders get formed when they meet at Diamond Tiara's celebration of receiving her cutie mark. In "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", they all receive theirs after helping redeem Diamond Tiara.
    • "The Washouts" has Scootaloo lose interest in the Wonderbolts because (on account of her being unable to fly) there is no realistic hope of her ever becoming one. About a year later, issue 81 of the IDW comic would have her hear the story of an earth pony aeronaut who experimented with gliders, used his invention to rescue a stranded Wonderbolt, and was welcomed into their ranks. Combined with Scootaloo exhibiting mechanical skills of her own in "One Bad Apple" and "Twilight Time", this would suggest that she could develop a workaround to her Dream-Crushing Handicap if she were so inclined.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • In the first movie, Princess Celestia notes that she had wished that her former student Sunset Shimmer would need guidance once again and return to Equestria using a mirror that links it with the human world. Fast forward to Forgotten Friendship, and that is exactly what happens.
    • In the first Equestria Girls movie, Alpha Bitch Diamond Tiara and her Beta Bitch Silver Spoon are seen uncharacteristically getting into the spirit of "Help Twilight Win The Crown" and appear to be nicer in the human world than they are in Equestria. Fast forward to the Friendship is Magic episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" where their pony counterparts get redeemed for real.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker,
    • Tim Drake's blond wife is a nod to Stephanie "The Spoiler" Brown, who was then dating Tim's comics counterpart. Considering what Stephanie's been through since note , it's heartwarming to see at least one continuity where their counterparts settled down together.
    • Bruce tries to retire Terry so the Joker won't go after him. Already heartwarming but after The Reveal that Terry is actually Bruce's biological son and there are hints that Bruce knew all along, it becomes more heartwarming as Bruce was terrified that the Joker would hurt another son of his.
  • The Legend of Korra: with the finale making Korra and Asami the Official Couple, rewatching the show now makes their slow-burn relationship and its development quite heartwarming to watch.
    • The above becomes even more heartwarming when the US Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage is legal nationwide a little over six months afterward. Bryan even posted this, with the tag "love wins".
    • In the original series, Toph once asked Aang "Do you really think friendships can last more than one lifetime?" It becomes heartwarming in The Legend of Korra when, many years later, Toph would eventually meet and befriend Aang's reincarnation.
    • In the first season, Tenzin mentions that his ex-girlfriend Police Chief Lin Bei Fong "got along famously" with his father, Avatar Aang. After what we learn about Lin's past in seasons three and four and how Lin never knew her real father, it becomes rather obvious that Aang must have been a surrogate father figure to Lin, and a source of positive parental love that her own mother Toph constantly failed to provide.
  • In Gravity Falls, Stan's growing obsession with the portal device in the Mystery Shack's secret basement becomes heartwarming in "Not What He Seems", when it turns out he was using a device that could potentially cause a Class X apocalypse because he was that desperate to see his long-lost brother again.
  • What we learn about Garnet in the first season finale of Steven Universe retroactively makes a lot of her best moments even better because she basically is The Power of Love. But another one that's more Fridge Heartwarming (if there was such a page) is what it says about Steven and Connie's accidental fusion. As we see with most fusions, it is difficult to initiate, difficult to maintain, and sometimes difficult to control. Pearl and Amethyst could only make it work while Steven was in great danger and popped apart the moment it was over and they started arguing again, and Garnet and Amethyst were once the Monster of the Week with Pearl and Steven having to stop their uncontrollable One-Winged Angel form who just wanted to fight and didn't care who. The Fusion Dance is a literal one and a lot longer and more complex than the Dragon Ball Z edition, too. On the other hand, because of how total their love for each other is, Ruby and Sapphire require only a Twirl of Love to become Garnet and stay that way for as long as they see fit. That means for Steven and Connie to be able to ''accidentally' fuse just while having fun together after only a few steps of dancing just for the heck of it, and stay that way for a long time, only separating when Connie's social anxiety was pushed to the extreme, it means that even if they're only at the Ship Tease stage romantically, their bond must be very close and very deep. Nothing's more intimate than fusion and for them, it's as natural as breathing!
    • Also, when we find out that Pearl was jealous of Rose Quartz's growing relationship with Greg back in the day, Pearl's friendship with Steven is made even more meaningful: After all, Rose Quartz gave up her physical form to make Steven with Greg, effectively dying. Rose was Pearl's close friend, and Pearl may have wanted a Relationship Upgrade, so the amount of pain and loss Steven represents for her is extreme. You would never know that from her relationship with Steven, who she never treats as anything but a dear friend... and we know from the episode where we learn all this that it's definitely not because Pearl is this perfect person who's just not capable of being unfair.
    • In "We Need to Talk", it was shown that Pearl downright despised Greg out of jealousy for Rose's affection. Knowing this, it makes all other moments in the present where the two are working together on much friendlier terms all the more sweeter.
  • South Park:
  • In a season 1 episode of American Dragon: Jake Long, Rose guesses that their problem with rehearsing the kiss scene in Antony and Cleopatra was that the kiss represented the culmination of everything Antony and Cleopatra had gone through together, and Jake and Rose may have liked each other but had not gone through anything together. They later do go through a lot of things together (including Jake discovering that she's a member of the Huntsclan, and her discovering he's a dragon), and their first kiss in season 2, right before they have to fight a Duel to the Death in which she's going to feign killing him to save his life, turns that line in this trope.
  • In the TV spinoff of The Little Mermaid, which takes place before the events of the original movie, Ursula was noticeably not as nice to Flotsam and Jetsam as she was in the movie. It's possible she's grown more attached to them as time progressed.
  • In a similar fashion to the Liv and Maddie example under the Live-Action TV folder, June Foray's final voice acting gigs before her 2017 passing were reprisals of perhaps her most iconic role: Rocky the Flying Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle. A GEICO commercial was the last thing she worked on, but it was released first, well before the short film it was meant to complement, which went through some Schedule Slip and ended up on the 3D Blu-ray of Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold's finale, "Mitefall" features Batman himself telling the audience that they'll meet again someday. Thanks to the Scooby-Doo Direct-to-Video Film Series, he was right.
  • Rocket Power was very much an Unintentional Period Piece of the "Extreme sports" culture of The '90s and the Turn of the Millennium. A few episodes showed conflicts about how skateboarders were perceived as annoyances (Before skate parks became more commonplace). However, the 2020 Olympics added Surfing, and both street and park skating as events.
    • Lars's voice actor also played a rather nice character on Coco. And he used the exact same voice as he did for Lars.
  • The Owl House
    • In the first episode, Eda asks Luz to help her steal a paper crown for King because he's the only family she has and it makes him happy. King returns the favor in the first season finale where he says he's going with Luz to rescue Eda because she's family to him. To take it further, in "Eda's Requiem", King announces he wants to take Eda's last name officially since she raised him and has been a great mother figure while sending a message on social media to his father.
    • Amity starts being friends with Luz when the latter lends her book five of Azura as an apology for accidentally reading her diary. As of "Enchanting Grom Fight" there are hints that this actually started a Rescue Romance when Luz risked her life to save Amity from a corrupted Otabin. Amity also admits that she knows Luz doesn't mean to cause trouble, she just gets in over her head, which is what she loves- no HATES, HATES about the human. Later on, she declares it is her turn to save Luz when Luz enters a Deal with the Devil with Odalia Blight to help her friends return to Hexside. Amity not only stands up to her mother but also declares that Luz is under her protection, and anyone who has a problem with that can deal with her.
    • Luz saves King and Eda in the first episode from the creepy, horny Warden. Later on, in Season 2 when Luz is undergoing a Heroic BSoD and declares it's her fault that Eda lost her powers, Eda snaps her out of it. She starts her You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech by pointing out that Luz rescued her first, and they're in this mess together as a family.
    • Late in season 1, it's revealed that there is someone impersonating Luz back on Earth, having sent creepy letters to her mother about how much she's enjoying the camp and how she can't wait to come home and spend time with her. Then in season 2, it turns out those letters weren't creepy; Luz's impersonator, Vee, is a basilisk that escaped imprisonment and found life on Earth to be much better, and the letters she sent to Luz's mother were genuine.
    • A few months after Hunter's debut, a selection of fans started shipping him with Willow (among other characters) and writing fanfiction in which the two interact. In the episode "Any Sport in a Storm", they officially meet and become friends.
  • Arthur:
    • In "D.W.'s Snow Mystery", D.W. says she treasures the snowball because it's a piece of the best day of her life. Season 4's "The Blizzard" reveals that she made it the first day the power came back after a devastating snowstorm, allowing everyone to play outside properly. D.W. during that episode was freaking out that she and her family would die from lack of heat or food and was relieved when the snow stopped falling. It suddenly makes more sense why Jane humored her and let her keep it in the freezer.
    • In "D.W. Unties the Knot", D.W. sets out to plan her dream wedding after being inspired by a reality show about fancy wedding parties and chooses her preschool classmate James as her groom. While they obviously don't actually get married in the end, being preschoolers and allnote , D.W. tells her best friend Emily that she would like her to be the bridesmaid again at her real wedding 20 years in the future. Fast forward to 2016, six years after the episode first aired, and two kids who met in preschool did actually get married exactly that amount of years later, so a future romance for D.W. and James is very much plausible. And if the amount of years it took for them to get married isn't enough of a similarity, the woman of the couple has a sister named Molly, which is also the name of James' older sister.
  • Code Lyoko: In an episode of season 2, Sissi ends up learning of Lyoko, and Ulrich fills her in on it - specifically to keep her from panicking since the situation is bad enough Jeremie will have to hit the Reset Button this time. Knowing that everything was going to be undone and she wasn't going to remember, Sissi kisses Ulrich on the cheek to show him how she really feels - since he will remember. Already heartwarming enough, but the prequel episodes revealed that the reason the group doesn't trust her was that she was too afraid to go into Lyoko and contacted the authorities. This time? She trusts them to have things under control. Her kissing of Ulrich also comes off as her apologising for her actions in the past.
  • In the fifth season of Spider-Man: The Animated Series we discover how Uncle Ben came up with the "great power comes great responsibility" creed, as it turned out his best friend, Keene Marlow was also a superhero himself, and now his own nephew ended up being a superhero too.