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Iconic Sequel Song

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Soundtracks are one of the most memorable things about a work. Ofttimes, a work will have one (or many) tunes that, when you hear them, just immediately make you remember the work in question. And then there are those tracks that you associate so much with the work that the absence of it feels like Early Installment Weirdness.

This could be related to many things. For instance, a particular theme could be associated with an Iconic Sequel Character (such as the theme of Rohan from the The Lord of the Rings trilogy), it could result from a particular composer just penning something magnificent that so happened to come later in the series, or it could be because one particular track just struck a chord with audiences. Whatever the case, if you hear a song from a score and it makes you instantly think of the series as a whole, and it doesn't appear until after the first installment, you have yourself an Iconic Sequel Song.


As mentioned above, related to Iconic Sequel Character, where it's the character him/her/itself that appears late. See also Bootstrapped Theme, which is when a particular song unofficially becomes the main theme of a particular franchise, as many of those listed below are bootstrapped themes for their franchises.


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    Film - Animated 
  • "Happy" from Despicable Me 2. Pharrell Williams, the singer of "Happy" did the Title Theme Tune to the first film, but it was never as popular due to having a less universal context beyond the scope of the movie.
  • The Lion King:
  • While not quite living up to the momentous popularity of "Let it Go" from the first movie, "Into the Unknown" and "Show Yourself" from Frozen II are easily among the most iconic and popular Disney songs of The New '10s.

    Film - Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • "Daybreak" is a recurring song in Community and is essentially Abed Nadir's Character Signature Song. It does not pop up until the Halloween Episode of Season 3.
  • "The Rain of Castamere" is a recurring song on Game of Thrones that is also a fan-favorite. It does not show up until the penultimate episode of Season 2. The other famous piece of music, the best-selling instrumental "Light of the Seven" didn't show up until the finale of Season 6, quickly becoming a Bootstrapped Leitmotif used in alteration with the theme tune.
  • The most popular songs from How I Met Your Mother are all absent during the inaugural season. Robin's "Let's Go to the Mall" and Marshall's favorite road jam "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" were both introduced in Season 2, while Barney's "Barney Stinson, that Guy's Awesome" and "Nothing Suits You Like A Suit" were respectively introduced in Seasons 4 and 5. Also, the titular Mother's acclaimed rendition of "La Vien Rose" was sang in the final season.
  • Star Trek is often associated with the theme of the movie/Star Trek: The Next Generation despite the original theme being something else.
  • The signature theme song of the The Twilight Zone (1959) didn't debut until its second season. The first season featured a different, more slower piece.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • AJ Lee's most popular theme is "Let's Light it Up" by Kari Kimel. It was her third entrance theme.
  • Batista's fourth solo entrance theme, "I Walk Alone", is the song he is most associated with. His third solo theme, "Animal", is also fondly remembered.
  • Becky Lynch's third overall entrance theme, "Celtic Invasion", is her most popular.
  • Bryan Danielson is identified with two entrance themes. For his independent days, Europe's "The Final Countdown" is his most remembered theme, even though it was his third. For his WWE tenure, his fourth theme, "Flight of the Valkyries", is the most associated with him.
  • Chris Jericho's most popular theme is "Break the Walls Down", which he will not use until the ninth year of his wrestling career.
  • Christian's definitive theme is considered to be the Story of the Year version of "Just Close Your Eyes", his fifth theme in his overall career.
  • Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" is CM Punk's most definitive theme in both his independent and WWE careers. The song was actually his fourth theme in the indies before reusing it in the WWE during his final two and a half years with the company.
  • Eddie Guerrero's most popular theme is unquestionably "Lie, Cheat, Steal". He actually only used this theme from March 2004 to April 2005 after a Face–Heel Turn, and again upon turning Face in October 2005 up until his unexpected death the following month.
  • Edge's definitive theme is "Metalingus" by Alter Bridge, his seventh and final theme in his overall career.
  • Jeff Hardy didn't use "No More Words" until his ninth year as a wrestler.
  • John Cena's third ("Basic Thuganomics") and especially fourth ("My Time is Now") entrance themes are significantly more popular than his first two themes.
  • Kane's most popular theme is "Slow Chemical" by Finger Eleven, his fifth overall theme. None of his subsequent themes since have received love from fans.
  • "Lovefurypassionenergy" is considered to be Lita's most definitive theme. It was actually her second theme, which she didn't even use until her third year as a wrestler.
  • Mick Foley's definitive theme is "Wreck", his seventh overall theme.
  • Paige's definitive theme is "Stars in the Night", which is actually her second WWE theme (third overall, as she used "Faint" by Linkin Park in the indies).
  • Randy Orton's third ("Burn in my Light") and especially fourth ("Voices") entrance themes are more popular and remembered than his first two solo themes.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr.'s most popular theme is "Booyaka 619", which he didn't use until 2006 (he debuted in 1989).
  • While "Sexy Boy" has always been Shawn Michaels' solo theme, the second version is the most remembered.
  • "I Wont Do What You Tell Me" is undoubtedly "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's most remembered theme. The song debuted in late 1998, whereas Austin's wrestling career began in 1989.
  • The Rock's definitive theme is considered to be "Know Your Role", his fourth overall theme.
  • The Miz's definitive theme is "I Came to Play", his second which he will not use until the seventh year of his career.
  • The Undertaker's definitive theme is "Rest in Peace", his thirteenth overall
  • "The Game" by Motörhead is actually Triple H's seventh theme.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • A few songs out of Red vs. Blue go this way (partly due to only bringing in Jeff Williams to do the music for Seasons 8-10).
    • Despite being there from nearly the beginning and having a simple leitmotif, Tex's titular theme didn't come round till Season 8.
    • Songs associated with the Meta, such as "When Your Middle Name Is Danger..." or "Plagam Extremam Infligere" didn't premiere until he did (naturally). The former came around in Season 6, the latter in Season 8.
    • While Washington was involved in the series since the hiatus between Seasons 4 and 5, he didn't have a proper theme of his own until Season 9, as a recycled theme of the Project Freelancer faction. It didn't become exclusively his until Season 11, when the series was well past the Project Freelancer arc.
    • Carolina's theme "Spiral", one of the series' iconic themes, didn't appear until she showed up in Season 9.


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