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Last Episode, New Character

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While most characters are introduced at the beginning of a series or story arc, sometimes somebody doesn't get to show up until the end of the last episode; they may not even get to speak. This can be a not-so-subtle way for the creative team to ask for another season: obviously, the fans will want this character to actually be in some episodes. Or it could be done when the team knows that another season is planned, and they will be able to incorporate this character in the new season. Occasionally, if the series has a larger franchise surrounding it, the character might be from one of these side-materials, whom the writers couldn't fit into the main work but still liked enough to give them at least cameo before ending everything.


If a sequel is not planned, the new character may act as closure via Passing the Torch, more broadly showing the influence the main character(s) had over the course of their adventures, or simply showing that life will go on as usual, especially in the case of settings where characters (major and minor) tend to come and go.

Compare with God-Created Canon Foreigner, 11th-Hour Ranger, Early-Bird Cameo under Continuity Cameo.


As this is an Ending Trope, beware of unmarked spoilers.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • While the goddess Rind appears surprisingly early in the story, Urd's mother Hild only appears in the last episode credits of Ah! My Goddess. (She does get a larger role in the second season of the TV series, though.)
  • In the anime adaptation of Amatsuki, Kanzou appears for the first time in the ending credits. However, the identity of this mysterious man is hardly the only question viewers are left with after watching the last episode.
  • In the manga version of ARIA, Ai.
  • Ura Sakaki, Tamaki's major rival in the Bamboo Blade manga, only appears in the last few seconds of the anime as sort of a Sequel Hook (there is no second season, by the way.)
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • At the end of season 1 Laura Stuart appears.
    • Shiage Hamazura in II, which would be an Early-Bird Cameo, except he was actually introduced in that arc in the novel. This, presumably, is a tease for a third season of Index.
  • The last chapter of Chainsaw Man introduces Natuya, the reincarnation of the Control Devil and Big Bad Makima. Though this only applies to "Part 1" of Chainsaw Man as it's the last chapter in Weekly Shonen Jump before it moves to Jump Plus.
  • In the horrible sequel to Dangaioh, Great Dangaioh, in the last five or so minutes of the final episode, an entirely new hero in an entirely new robot shows up to save the day, while telling the current heroes that they aren't needed any more. While he did appear very briefly in earlier episodes, he only had one, maybe two lines (of no more than ten words total) and was always wearing a long coat and sunglasses before he made his true appearance.
  • In the last chapter of the Death Note manga, a new guy named Yamamoto is shown to have joined the National Police Agency. (Then again, Light was shown to have a classmate named Yamamoto, so it might be the same person.)
  • Pan, Uub and Bra in Dragon Ball Z, though Pan becomes a regular character in the anime-only sequel Dragon Ball GT. Uub goes from "Goku's hand-picked student" to "Overshadowed by Awesome" entirely off-screen, and Bra is basically a Living Prop who only really exists to affirm that Bulma and Vegeta (her parents) are still together.
  • The second Durarara!! OVA, the last part of the season, introduces Mairu and Kururi Orihara. They became full-fledged characters in the second season when it debuted five years later.
  • Encouragement of Climb Second Season: Despite appearing in official promo art, Honoka, a quiet girl who likes taking photos, doesn't appear until the final arc of the anime, and returns for the last episode.
  • The Pirate King Atomsk is merely hinted at throughout FLCL, isn't referred to by name until the penultimate episode, and finally makes his first and only appearance in the final episode. This pattern is repeated again in FLCL Progressive, though Atomsk appears in the end credits this time, and gets more screentime in the final episode.
  • Ogiue is introduced at the end of the ending animation sequence of the last episode of Genshiken, and (obviously) has no lines; she then shows up in the OVA.
  • In the last episode of the anime version of Giant Killing there are lots of group shots. A couple of players who've never been seen before are in the crowd, acting like they've always been there. And logically they should have been seen, when the whole team was shown training. Of course, the original manga was months ahead with the story, by the time that last episode was made.
  • Gourmet Girl Graffiti: Yuki is introduced in the third-to-last episode of the anime and doesn't show up again. In the manga, she becomes the school librarian at Ryo, Kirin, and Shiina's new high school.
  • In episode 12 of Granblue Fantasy, many characters who were at best briefly seen earlier, suddenly shows up to assist Gran and his crew with the latest Monster of the Week. It's implied that they ran into said characters before, since Gran's group mostly acknowledges them by name. Episode 13 also mixes things up by replacing Gran with Djeeta, a lady who essentially does the same things he did, and also has a mostly all-female crew.
  • The Distant Finale of the Gunslinger Girl manga revolves around a character introduced in that chapter: Triela's daughter Speranza.
  • Due to time constraints, the Toei version of Kanon stuffed Mishio's entire story into the last episode of Makoto's arc, with no previous explanation.
  • Right before the end credits of the last episode of the anime version of Kemeko Deluxe! we see Kamishiro Yukina, miko and nanoball prototype, who appears in the manga a couple of chapters after the last anime episode.
  • A strange example occurred in Love Hina, where Naru and Kaolla's siblings appear in the television series but not the manga. However, Naru's sister was given a cameo in the final pages of the manga. The original manga also ended with an epilogue that that introduced a brand new character, Ema Maeda, who was a Distaff Counterpart of main protagonist Keitaro.
  • Hikaru Sakuraba only appears in the last episode of the anime adaptation of Lucky Star. She's featured more prominently later on in the manga.
  • Maiho in Maburaho, who gets one speaking line.
  • Reinforce Zwei of Lyrical Nanoha, whose first appearance in the frachise was in the Distant Finale of the second season.
  • Tateo Mochizuki makes a cameo at the end of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, after the arc he appeared in was cut from the show.
  • Maria†Holic has Enjouji, the hot swimming instructor. Kanako lampshades this. Later subverted, when it's revealed that she's entirely in Kanako's dream.
  • In the last episode of Mazinger Z (and in the Mazinger vs Great General of Darkness movie), Kouji Kabuto and his friends were defeated, Mazinger-Z completely destroyed, and their base demolished. Before Kouji gets killed, though, showed up Tetsuya Tsurugi riding the newer and most powerful Great Mazinger, and easily defeated the new enemy. We were introduced to new characters, enemies and locations would star in the sequel, Great Mazinger.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE introduces a new villain in the very last episode of entire series: Zera Gins, a clone of Lord Ezelcant who provides the final fight for Kio Asuno.
  • My Hero Academia: The last two episodes of Season 3 are actually the first few chapters of the Internship Arc and both introduce several characters that will become relevant only in the next season. While Overhaul, the next Arc Villain, and focus characters Mirio, Tamaki and Nejire are introduced in the penultimate episode (the last three right at the very end), the final moments of the final episode introduce Sir Nighteye and his assistant Bubble Girl and set up a little of his relationship to the next Arc.
  • In My-HiME Arika is literally the very last character visible on screen in the final episode, although she never says anything and plays no part in the action. She then appears in My-Otome as its lead. (Sunrise also created a fake "movie trailer" for My-HiME that had her being a villain and taking over the school.)
  • Nagasarete Airantou: Michiru, daughter of an islander and a Yuki-onna and Obaba's medical apprentice. First appears during the end credits of the last episode.
    • The manga has since retconned her into the very beginning of the story: she is now seen helping treat Ikuto when he first shows up on the island. Her late appearance is explained away as a consequence of being the daughter of a snow woman, a spirit associated with winter. She is immune to cold but sensitive to heat, and thus rarely went outdoors to avoid the sun.
  • In the final chapter of Naruto, over 10 years have passed and most of the recurring cast are married with children. Stand-out characters include Naruto and Hinata's two children, Boruto and Himawari, along with Sasuke and Sakura's daughter, Sarada. They would become the main characters of the Sequel Series, Boruto.
  • In Penguin Musume Heart, the very last shot shows a girl who is perhaps Sakura's sister, looking just like her and also going by the same name, but acting a lot more dignified.
  • Pokémon:
    • Several Pokémon from later generations will often tend to appear toward the end of certain story arc of the anime, with the sole exception being Ho-oh, which appeared at the end of the show's first episode.
    • Giovanni's secretary appears in the final episode of Diamond and Pearl. She becomes a recurring character in Best Wishes, when Team Rocket gains more importance.
  • In the ending Montage to Rozen Maiden: Träumend, a new character appears who may or may not be the resurrected version of another character; likely, it's actually the as yet unseen one that she had been impersonating.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • The final episode of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! gives us Futaba Hanasaki, Tsubomi's baby sister who's cute, cuddly, and becomes a Pretty Cure herself in (about) ten years time. However, it's never stated whether or not this was a case of Passing the Torch.
    • Starting with Go! Princess Pretty Cure, it would become common for the lead Cure of the next season to be introduced within the final episode of the current season, mostly to build hype for the new team as they wreck the Post-Final Boss.
  • Ranma ½:
    • The last story arc introduced not just the Mt. Phoenix tribe (who, like the Musk Dynasty, work just as well as one-shot enemies,) but also the Jusenkyō Guide's daughter, Plum, an adventurous and smart little girl (smarter even than the teens and adults) who never really got much screentime.
    • The animated version introduced Ranma's mother Nodoka in the final, two-episode story in the TV series.
  • Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers: The final episode of the anime introduces Rolonia, the eighth member of a group that should only be six, revealing that right after uprooting one Mole, there's now a second one they have to think of.
  • In Saki Zenkoku-hen, Usuzan High School, one of Kiyosumi's opponents in the semifinals, is introduced after the quarterfinals that comprised most of the series have finished. The same episode also introduces a so far unnamed girl who is implied to play a large role in Saki and Teru's backstory.
  • Bontenmaru in Samurai Deeper Kyo, who gets no dialogue, despite being a major character in the manga.
  • Sgt. Frog: There were three of them in the last episode of the 7th season shown throughout all of Japan (257. 258 had an initial limited Tokyo-only run), two who probably will return later if the anime continues. The characters were the supremer commander of the Keronian army, an invasion AI called DK-666, and also Haru Hinata, Fuyuki's and Natsumi's absent father. The last one basically only had a cameo appearance though, and his face wasn't even shown.
  • Tsukiyo Ooba from Sketchbook has some inconspicuous cameo appearances throughout the series, but only gets a few lines in the last episode, which gets lampshaded by her vocal complaints about this treatment. There is also a glimpse of Soyogi-sensei, who doesn't get a speaking part whatsoever.
  • Subversion: Before airing, it was highly expected that Slayers Try would make use of Lina Inverse's mysterious sister, Luna. Once it aired, she merely made an appearance in the opening, with an accompanying humorous apology note to the fans.
  • The manga version of Soul Eater Not! ends with the introduction of Ao Hoshino, Tsugumi's third Meister, who specializes in the scythe portion of the halberd. Not only is two Meisters already unheard of, let alone a third (and Tsugumi's other Meisters are not amused), but Ao also has star eyes, which makes her related to the Star Clan. The how is never explained.
  • Tiger & Bunny has an in-series example. Barnaby decides to make his debut in the last episode of HeroTV's most recent season (in episode 1 of the actual anime) as a way of making a stellar impression on the in-show audience.
  • The manga version of Tokyo Mew Mew ends with a never-before-seen girl (later identified as Shirayuki Berii) looking through the window at the party inside the Cafe Mew Mew.
  • Konomi Yuzuhara's (from To Heart 2) appearance in the sixth Omake of To Heart: Remember My Memories may count as this.
  • Tsuritama has one in the form of Urara, the very same fish alien... person... who terrorized all of Enoshima for the last few episodes.
  • WORKING!! has Maya, the glasses-wearing girl who had been in shots sprinkled through the entire show, introduced and finally speak in the final episode. This also happens in the manga to a certain extent, since she's only properly introduced in Volume 5. This occurs in the second season as well.
  • Yellow Dragon Zeno in the anime version of Yona of the Dawn. His introduction is adapted very faithfully from the manga and he dangles a few plot possibilities in front of the viewers, but with no second season...
  • The final episode of the Killing Bites anime has its last minute introduce Pure Inui and Tasuku Kuroi, who become the major characters in Part II of the manga (Chapter 31 onwards).
  • Joshiraku: Parodied with Uzannu Uzatei who tries to ruin the final episode by being as annoying as possible, but the main cast manages to get rid of her at the end of the first half of the episode by introducing hundred more new characters for one brief scene.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: The last episode of Season 1 introduces Careful S. to the team.

    Comic Books 
  • The final issue of the DCU version of The Web introduced Fly Girl and War Eagle, who were part of The Mighty Crusaders in their mini series!
  • The final issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight introduces a new character: a young villain with round sunglasses. Of course Season Nine followed soon after.
  • The final issue of Flashpoint introduces Pandora, with no fanfare or explanation of who she was.
  • The final issue of Supreme Power introduces Shape, Inertia, and Emil Burbank, who would all become regular characters in the subsequent Squadron Supreme series.
  • Spider-Man, of all heroes, was introduced this way, debuting in the last issue of Amazing Adult Fantasy (re-titled Amazing Fantasy).


  • Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny: The Ice Cream Bunny doesn't appear (or even get mentioned) until the climax.
  • A bit of an odd example: although the trailers seem to indicate otherwise, Venom doesn't show up until shortly before the last battle in Spider-Man 3, but Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote that make up Venom are both major players in the story as separate entities for most of the film.
  • Although the character is shown throughout the movie, it's not until the last act of The Dark Knight that Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face.
  • The Dark Knight Rises introduces four new major characters in Bane, Catwoman, John Blake and Miranda Tate along with a slew of new minor characters.
  • Two for the Grand Finale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first Myth Arc, "The Infinity Saga":
    • Carol Danvers only appears for the first time in her titular movie Captain Marvel, which is the very last movie of the entire slate (eleven years and twenty films) prior to Avengers: Endgame, where she also plays an important part.
    • Morgan Stark is born during Endgame's five-year Time Skip and introduced about thirty minutes into the movie. She's the young daughter of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, and nearly every decision Tony makes in the movie is guided by his trying to do right by her.

  • In Book 40 of The Railway Series (which, then, was Christopher Awdry's final book) the final story features a new engine, who is named "Ivo Hugh" on the last page. Unfortunately, the publishers scuppered the plans to publish any more Railway Series books until recently, meaning that Ivo Hugh hasn't had his personality developed.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, Dovepaw and Ivypaw are born at the ending of Sunrise (the last book in the third series), with Jayfeather realizing that one of them is the third cat in the prophecy. Both of them are main characters in the fourth series.
  • City of Heavenly Fire, the last book of The Mortal Instruments introduces Emma Carstairs, hero of the sequel trilogy, The Dark Artifices.
  • Professor Moriarty, supposed to be THE nemesis for Sherlock Holmes is introduced only in The Final Problem, originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the definitive series ending. Holmes got better, though.
  • Animorphs does this with The One, the mysterious entity that absorbs Ax and leads the others to the Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows introduces several new characters, most of whom had at least been mentioned before due to the series's very liberal use of Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Albus Dumbledore's sister Ariana is introduced as a Posthumous Character early on without ever having been mentioned before. Subverted with Aberforth, who actually had brief appearances during Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince but wasn't properly identified until the final book.
    • Bathilda Bagshot is mentioned in passing as early as the first book as the author of Hogwarts: A History but appears for the first time midway through the book. She's a major example of One Degree of Separation as a long time resident of the quazi-Wizarding village Godric's Hollow. She's a family friend of the Dumbledores, previous Big Bad Grindelwald's great aunt, and a neighbor of Harry's parents when he was a baby. She's also dead by the time Harry and Hermione "meet" her.
    • Grindelwald himself is only ever mentioned in the first book in passing but first appears in the Backstory of this book before appearing in the flesh at right around the 2/3 mark when Voldemort kills him.
    • Luna's dad, Xenophillius, is known to own a conspiratorial newspaper but doesn't appear until this Bill's wedding at the beginning of this book. He also appears a little later in the story when he tells Harry, Ron, and Hermione about the Deathly Hallows.
    • Several characters who were born during the nineteen-year Time Skip between the climax and the epilogue.
  • Dying of the Light has Kirak Redsteel. A poet unconnected to any of the main players, he is oft-mentioned but never seen until the last chapter when a white-bearded old man strolls up to muse on some long dead Old Kavalar poetry. And he's even nice enough to arrange duels.
  • Theo Waitley was introduced into the Liaden Universe in the final chapter of what seemed like the final novel of the series, as part of an And the Adventure Continues ending. After a break of several years, the authors found a new publisher for a couple of novels about Theo, and the series has been going strong ever since.
  • Lampshaded in Last Term at Malory Towers, where several new sixth-formers were introduced, and the main characters express surprise in seeing new students coming in so late in the school year.
  • The Shepherd's Crown, the final Discworld novel, introduces and is partly written from the perspective of an entirely new witch character. Of course, the afterword reveals that it wasn't intended as the final Discworld novel, because Sir Terry simply didn't think that way, and indeed he had plans for even more new characters. Whether he also had plans to revisit this one will sadly never be known.

    Live-Action TV 
  • iCarly had Carly and Spencer's father appear near the end of the series finale. He had been away on an extended tour with the United States Air Force.
  • Little House on the Prairie: The final two episodes of Season 9 introduced two new characters that were possibly intended to become regulars, with the hopes the show would have been renewed for a 10th season. Alas, that wasn't the case, and aside from appearances in the three follow-up movies (which comprised the unofficial "10th season"), there was virtually no time to flesh out and truly develop their characters. Those characters, by the way, were:
    • Rachel Brown, who marries Willie Oleson in the second-to-last original episode, "May I Have This Dance." Had the series been renewed, their stories would have revolved around her learning to get along with her mother-in-law (the dastardly Mrs. Olesen) and becoming part of the town. A "newlywed" story was dedicated to her and Willie in the finale, "Hello and Goodbye" (which aired the following week), but from there her appearances were fairly limited in the follow-up movies, as more time was spent on Albert and Charles (in the two non-Christmas movies), and on Laura and Almonzo (in the holiday flick). On top of this, actress Katherine MacGregor did not choose to return for any of the specials and her absence was Hand Waved by Harriet going off to visit relatives and coming down with a prolonged sickness; thus, there was no further conflict to be had (some might be thankful for that). Then the final movie effectively broke up the entire cast and sent whole of Walnut Grove to other lands.
    • Sherwood Montague, the eccentric Englishman who settles in Walnut Grove in the final 60-minute episode, "Hello and Goodbye." Undoubtedly, his plots would have involved the clashes of culture and adjusting to life in small-town Minnesota. His time is limited in "The Last Farewell," although he does make a sizable appearance in "Bless All the Dear Children" (a plot centering on his cynical attitude toward Christmas softening, thanks to little Jason Carter).
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has the Raven King, John Uskglass show up in a non-speaking (but important) role in the final episode. A painting of him was scene in a previous episode and he was mentioned in nearly every episode but only showed up in person for the last.
  • Smallville: With its constant rumours of being cancelled, it has a lot of these. Covenant, last episode of season three, had Kara Zor-El who turned out to be a fake. Commencement (season 4) had Brainiac in the form of a black ship. Vessel (season 5) had General Zod. Phantom (season 6) had Bizarro. Doomsday (season 8) had Major Zod (long story). Prophecy (second to last episode of entire series) had several evil extras who do absolutely nothing just like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold, Black Manta.
  • Power Rangers:
  • In 24, the character of Morris (Chloe O'Brien's ex-husband) is introduced in the Episode 23 of Season 5.
  • Several of the Doctor's regenerations in Doctor Who take place at the end of a series. The ones to debut right at the end of a series are the Fourth, Fifth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors. (The Second Doctor is sentenced to forced regeneration at the end of season 6, but we don't see the Third Doctor until the beginning of the following season in 1970) Although the new Doctor is technically the same individual, in terms of personality and actor they're fundamentally a new character.
    • Also, while she wouldn't become a regular for another couple of years, Donna first appeared at the end of the Season 2/28.
    • The War Doctor technically counts due to appearing at the end of Series 7B and comprising a major Cliffhanger going into the 50th anniversary special, and because the Eighth Doctor shows up for one more outing in a mini-episode that is effectively his last story, where his long-unexplained regeneration finally takes place into said incarnation of the Doctor.
    • Of all the people to show up, Santa Claus appears at the end of Series 8 as an unexpected arrival in the TARDIS. Or perhaps not unexpected, as by then it had become standard practice to set up the yearly Christmas special at the end of each series of the revival era Doctor Who.
  • Ryan on Joan of Arcadia, who would have played a big role in the third season, had there been one.
  • On Angel, Gunn, Fred, and Connor were introduced in the last three to four episodes of the season before the one in which they were bumped to main character.
  • During the final episode of the Metal Heroes series Space Sheriff Gavan, the baddies are ganging up on Gavan and are about to win when a new Sheriff suddenly pops up to even the score. He turns out to be Sharivan, the new hero of the upcoming sequel show Space Sheriff Sharivan, which would start airing the next week. Also, surprisingly, he would turn out to be a character that had been featured before. A previous victim of the day who had been sent to the Sheriff planet for treatment several eps before and forgotten about.
  • On Lost:
    • Ana Lucia had a flashback cameo in the first season finale before returning in the second episode of the second season as a regular.
    • Jacob's appearance at the end of Season 5 also qualifies. Lost actually does this a lot during season finales, even with locations and situations rather than people, in part due to the disjointed order of the narrative.
  • The last two episodes of Season 1 of Desperate Housewives gave a glimpse of the Token Minority Applewhite family moving in, implying that they'd get more focus in Season 2 (sort of happened) and perhaps become permanent members of the cast (definitely didn't happen).
    • The series finale introduced a woman who moves into Susan's old house. In the last shot, she hides a mysterious decorated box. Just another day on Wisteria Lane.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva: Wataru's son comes to interupt Nago and Megumi's wedding to warn them of the Neo-Fangire. Four Riders and three Monsters Kick ensue!
  • Molly Evans, aka Trudy's daughter in Monk.
  • In The Prisoner (1967), two entirely new characters were introduced in the last episode to make the already Gainax Ending even more of a Mind Screw. They were played, however, by actors who'd already appeared on the show (in wildly different roles, and pretty much unrecognisably).
  • Stargate SG-1's Jonas Quinn showed up in the last episode of season 5 and became a main character next season.
  • Teased, but ultimately averted (because Real Life Writes the Plot) in That '70s Show. Charly was introduced towards the end of the seventh season as a future Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Eric, but as the actor had landed another role before the season eight premiered, his character was unceremoniously killed off and was only seen in flashbacks in the season 8 premiere episode.
  • In Charmed, Chris was introduced in the final two-parter of the season five. He was a regular character during season six.
  • True Blood has done this in every season; in the last couple of episodes new characters and tiny bits of new storylines are introduced, this is of course a Cliffhanger in disguise as they know another season is coming. This often leads to rage from fans because, well, Waiting Sucks.
  • Percival was introduced in the last episode of season three of Merlin. And season four does it again, introducing Tristan and Isolde in the first part of the season finale. Tristan survives, but Isolde is killed in the second part's battle.
  • Zaf was introduced in the last episode of season three of Spooks and became a regular for the fourth series.
  • The third season finale of Holby City introduced the new ward sister, Chrissie Williams. She has been on the show more or less continuously ever since, making her the show's longest serving character.
  • The final episode of Ultraman introduced Zoffy, Ultraman's superior officer from Nebula M78. Zoffy goes on to become a key recurring character in subsequent Ultra shows and movies.
  • Mike gets introduced in the last episode of Breaking Bad's second season and becomes a regular in the next season.
  • Gossip Girl: Ivy Dickens was introduced as a guest character late in the show's fourth season and her true identity wasn't revealed until the final episode of the season. She would return as a regular the next season thanks to the departures of two other cast members.
  • The season two finale of The Neighbors introduces a new human family that moves into the neighborhood after all the Zabvronians except the Bird-Joyner Kershees have left, hinting at a change of format for the show. Unfortunately, the show wasn't picked up for a third season.
  • Grimm's Season 1 ended with the reveal of the identity of the huntress who was stalking Akira throughout the episode (and kicked his ass): Kelly Burkhardt, single mother and legendary Grimm:
    Kelly: Nick, NICK, NICK, CALM DOWN. It's me.
    Nick: Mom?!
  • 2point4 Children had the last episode of Series 7 introduce Declan, a homeless child whom the Porters foster after their daughter leaves for university.
  • The Season 2 fall finale of Gotham features a stinger in which we see an innocent man getting chased into an alley by an unknown assailant. Eventually, it's revealed that the man chasing him is none other than Mr. Freeze.
  • The Grand Finale of Downton Abbey introduced Bertie's mother Mrs Pelham as a last-minute obstacle to the match between him and Edith.
  • The final episode of The Wizard introduced H.E.N.R.I. VIII, a robot that Simon had created. Simon clears the robot of murder, and the last segment has H.E.N.R.I. talking about how he's going to cook, clean, and go on adventures with everyone. Had there been a second season, he would have been a regular character.
  • The last scene of the third season finale of The Big Bang Theory introduced us to Amy Farrah Fowler, who became a series regular in the following season.
  • How I Met Your Mother's titular mother, while mentioned throughout the show's run, does not make a proper appearance until the Season 8 finale. The Reveal of her name does not happen until a season later during the last minutes of the Grand Finale.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands make their debut in the Season 1 finale. Jaqen H'ghar also debuts here, though the one who will reappear later is implied to be a different character wearing the same face. Furthermore, the dragons are officially introduced in the Season 1 finale after Dany successfully hatches their eggs in the funeral pyre.
    • Ternesio Terys was introduced during the Season 4 finale.
  • Arrowverse:
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Michonne makes her debut in the Season 2 finale.
    • Gareth makes his debut in the Season 4 finale.
    • Negan makes his debut in the Season 6 finale.
  • One Tree Hill:
    • Peyton Sawyer's biological mother makes her debut in the Season 2 finale.
    • Jamie, Nathan and Haley's first son, makes his debut in the Season 4 finale.
    • Lucas and Peyton's daughter makes her only appearance in the Season 6 finale.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): District Attorney Samantha Reyes makes her debut in the Marvel Netflix shows in the season finale of Jessica Jones before having a recurring role in season 2 of Daredevil (2015).
  • The Season 7 finale of Shameless (US) has Monica's father, Bill, come to town to not only beat on Frank, but also give his daughter a proper funeral.
  • After being noticeable by her absence throughout the entirety of Black Sails (this being a show that features all the other famous figures during the Golden Age of Piracy), Mary Read is finally introduced in the very last minutes of the Grand Finale.
  • Supernatural:
    • Season 1's finale introduces longtime fan-favorite Bobby Singer, a surrogate father figure to Sam and Dean who would continue to accompany them on their adventures throughout the series.
    • While unseen, Season 4 ends with Lucifer being freed from Hell.
    • Originally, it was intended for Season 5 to be the last season of Supernatural. Archangel Michael and Archangel Raphael were established as being the commanders of Heaven within the first few episodes, Meg Masters, a demon from Season 1, gets brought back with a new vessel, and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse wreak havoc on the world. However, the best example of this from Season 5 is Crowley, the King of the Crossroads and originally meant to play a smaller role as a demon who aids Sam and Dean, who would later become the King of Hell after Season 5 and a recurring Big Bad, with his actor, Mark Sheppard, eventually being promoted to regular status.
    • The last few episodes of Season 8 introduce the Scribe of God, Metatron, who usurps Crowley and Naomi as Season 8's Big Bad in the finale, by casting all of the angels out of Heaven and closing its gates.
    • Dean gets reborn as a demon after dying in the Season 9 finale.
    • The Darkness is revealed to be the ultimate Big Bad of Supernatural and the original source of evil within the series in the Season 10 finale, and is freed from the Mark of Cain in the final moments of the episode.
    • Lady Toni Bevell and a British chapter of the Men of Letters are introduced in the finale of Season 11. Mary Winchester is also resurrected by Amara AKA The Darkness in the final moments of the episode.
    • Season 12 takes this to the logical extreme, by introducing an entirely new dimension where the Apocalypse came to pass, and where Angels and Demons are locked in a constant war, with humanity caught in between, complete with a parallel counterpart of Bobby Singer. And in the last few minutes of the episode, the Nephilim child of Lucifer, Jack, is born as an adult.
  • ER had several new interns, including one played by Alexis Bledel, show up in the series finale, as a way of showing that life in the ER would continue.
  • The three-part series finale of The Fosters is set a few years after the last full season. Stef and Lena are fostering yet another child.
  • Alias:
    • The final scene of the first season finale has Sydney come face to face with her supposedly-dead mother (played by an extra standing in shadow, as the role wasn't cast until the first episode of the next season), a major figure in the remainder of the show.
    • More obliquely, the season 2 finale featured a Time Skip where Sydney lost two years of her life - the cliffhanger final scene included the revelation that Vaughan got married while she was 'dead', with his wife becoming a main character in season 3.
  • Cobra Kai:
    • The Season 1 finale has Johnny returning home after winning the Karate Championship and finding his old sensei, Mr. Kreese. He becomes a major character in season 2, taking over the dojo with his aggressive teaching methods.
    • The Season 2 finale episode ends with Johnny getting a Facebook friend request from Ali, Daniel's high school girlfriend not seen since The Karate Kid (1984).
  • Teen Wolf: the flash forwards in the finale introduce Alec, a young werewolf chased by hunter who gets recruited by Scott for his pack.
  • Robin Hood: With star Jonas Armstrong leaving after the third series, in the last three episodes the creators introduced a hitherto unknown half-brother named Archer who would be the main character in series 4. The third series was widely despised and hemorrhaged ratings, however, so... a new protagonist wasn't needed after all.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Although calling it the last "episode" is not quite accurate, in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's story mode, The Subspace Emissary, Sonic the Hedgehog makes his first appearance at the last possible second, showing up in the cutscene immediately preceding the final boss.
  • While he's briefly mentioned early on, King Mickey Mouse never actually turns up until the ending sequence of Kingdom Hearts. Also, Roxas's first appearances were in The Stingers for Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. A similar thing happened with many of the new Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep characters, first appearing in The Stinger for Kingdom Hearts II.
  • The iOS Games port of The World Ends with You adds an extra image after the credits showing a then-unnamed girl who would ultimately go on to show up in the trailer for NEO: The World Ends with You.
  • Jade Empire: Death's Hand can be recruited 5/6 of the way through the game if you are a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Brave Young Layna shows up in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters for only a few maps (storyline ones at least, not counting the random dungeons) when Revya and co. arrive in Drazil.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the final character available, Gotoh, joins in the last chapter. In the remake Shadow Dragon, you can either get him as normal or get a different character (Nagi) by completing a secret level right before the final battle.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • The final character available (Athos) doesn't join your party until the final chapter.
      • For bosses, it's possible to fight the gaiden chapter-exclusive Kishuna in the second-to-last chapter of the game, without having previously encountered him in one's play-through. When this happens, Nils gives the other characters a brief explanation of Kishuna's Anti-Magic seal before the battle; otherwise, he'd use this moment to describe how much more sorrowful Kishuna's aura is, in contrast to the more hostile previous encounters.
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn the Laguz Royals become playable in the last part of the game and if the player fulfills the requirements, they can get Sephiran for the final battle.
  • In Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, there is one new animatronic called Lefty. note  Turns out to be subverted, as Lefty has The Puppet from FNAF 2 inside of it.
  • In Mass Effect 3, The Catalyst plays this role.
  • In the original Metal Gear Solid, Jim Houseman, the Secretary of Defense and the person who authorized Solid Snake's mission, only appears during a CODEC call prior to the game's final boss fight with Liquid Snake.
  • The all-important Madeline Bergman doesn't make her first appearance in Metroid: Other M until right before you've beaten the final boss, and she doesn't tell the player who she is until after the boss is dead. At which point she unloads a whole truckload of new plot exposition and character motivations. This is considered by most to be one of Other M's bigger missteps in the story department.
  • The final chapter/episode of Harvest December ends with the introduction of the children of the two main heroines.
  • The very last scene of Liar Liar 2 introduces Nao. She is a childhood friend of Yukari's that reveals Yukari has always been Ax-Crazy and has killed everyones she's ever dated since elementary.
  • In Crescendo (JP), there's a route that can only be unlocked after all the others have been completed. The girl in said route is the local Ill Girl, Miyu Shizuhara, who barely appears in the other paths.
  • Copy Kitty: In the 12th and final world of Boki's Hard Mode (a continuation of the Normal campaign), during the 3rd stage, the game abruptly cuts to static with two unseen characters tracking her progress and spying on the simulation. The next stage barely has time to load before a character named Isotope suddenly breaks into the simulation to challenge Boki to the most serious encounter in the game and Boki's True Final Boss. The dialogue strongly suggests a future encounter between the two will take place.
  • Averted with Alia and Signas from Mega Man X - the game they debuted in (Mega Man X5) was originally going to be the Grand Finale of the franchise, but the release of Mega Man X6 and its sequels caused them to have more appearances than originally intended.
  • Valimar from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel ends up being introduced right before the two final bosses of Cold Steel I, complete with a brand new game mechanic introduced to players just for those two boss fights. Valimar fights end up being more prominent from the second game onward.
  • Grand Chase Dimensional Chaser has Lapis (who got her name after being released as a new playable character), who appears at the end of World 9, after Decanee's villainous story arc. After the Grand Chase heads back home after defeating Decanee, the scene changes to Nelia, with Veigas and another demon resembling Dio, only to be interrupted by someone coming in. That person is Lapis, asking "what propositions does she have for her", which is the very last scene in the ending.

    Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: A mysterious new character named Jenna is introduced in the final scene of the second season finale. Intended to be the villain of the third season.
  • Nyan~ Neko Sugar Girls normally has a Minimalist Cast. However, the final episode involves Raku-chan's old college friends visiting her after they heard on Facebook that she was sick from rabies.
  • RWBY does this extensively to build hype for the next season.
    • In Season 1, Penny and Sun Wukong both debut in the final two episodes, while The Stinger reveals two new villains, Emerald and Mercury.
    • In Season 2, Velvet's team-mates Coco, Fox and Yatsuhashi debut in the lead-up to the finale.
    • In Season 3, Weiss' father has a brief cameo, forcing her to return home to Atlas with him, setting up her Volume 4 storyline.
    • Season 3 also has Salem, the series Big Bad who doesn't make her first physical appearance until the very last scene of the third season.
    • Season 4's last scene before the credits introduces the headmaster of Haven Academy, Professor Leo Lionheart. Not much of him is shown, but his first onscreen appearance reveals that he's the informant Watts was ordered to meet at the beginning of the volume, and, according to Watts, he's been in league with Salem for a while now.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold's finale features Ambush Bug as the guest hero, despite him never having appeared in the show before.
  • Ben 10:
    • Cooper from the original series. Presumably didn't have a greater role than one guest appearance in the sequel series because he was generally disliked by the fandom.
    • Since "Secret of the Omnitrix" is technically the real Grand Finale of the first series, Azmuth also qualifies.
    • The final episodes of Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien introduced Ultimate Swampfire and Ultimate Way Big. Ultimate Alien plays this straight, as Ben receives a new Omnitrix at the end of the episode that (According to Word of God) does not possess the evolution function, meaning Ultimate Way Big will never be seen again.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • Season 1 ends with Bojack doing a screen test for the Secretariat biopic with director Kelsey Jannings present. Season 2 involves the making of that biopic.
    • Season 2 ends with the introduction of Ana, a well-known publicist nicknamed "The Oscar Whisperer" due to her clients almost always winning Oscars, she becomes a major character during season 3 as she helps Bojack get his awards.
    • Season 3 ends with the introduction of the Walking Spoiler that is Bojack's illegitimate daughternote .
  • In Chowder, the final episode gives us Chowder's apprentice, Scraps.
  • In the final episode of Cro, a new human character was introduced named Sooli. After helping to tame a wild horse, Cro accepted her into the tribe.
  • Averted in the finale of the Nickelodeon run of Doug. While the main character spends most of the episode trying to finally see what his principal, Mr. Butsavage, looks like, by the end of the episode, he barely misses seeing the principal give a speech, but stops worrying about it and finally starts celebrating the fact that he's graduating.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy's brother shows up in the climax of Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show. Up until then, he was only mentioned by other characters. This is even more notable considering he's the only new character introduced in the entire show after the principle cast was established.
  • In Beast Wars:, Tigerhawk shows up in the episode before the two-part series finale. He doesn't make it to the sequel series, Beast Machines, having died going toe-to-toe with a warship. He might not really count given his being a fusion of Tigatron and Airrazor though.
  • The multitude of new characters appearing in the three-part series finale of The Transformers. Of course, it turns out that it was going to be the premiere of a fourth season, but reworked into a series finale when the plug was pulled on the show at the last second. Similarly, the Constructicons first appeared in the final episode of the first season, "Heavy Metal War", and the Throttlebots in the two-part finale of the third season, "The Return of Optimus Prime".
  • Transformers: Prime has Darksteel and Skylynx, two Predacons created just before the finale.
  • Young Justice was Screwed by the Network and Left Hanging, which is why the series originally ended with the appearance of Darkseid. Averted with the revival of season three, which places a heavier focus on Darkseid and The New Gods.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men suffered a similar fate, which is why the series ends with the appearance of Apocalypse.
  • Invader Zim did this as well introducing Zim's new sidekick Minimoose in the final episode "The Most Horrible X-mas Ever". In a unique spin on this trope, this wasn't actually supposed to be the final episode of the show nor Minimoose's first appearance. An episode called "Nubs of Doom", which would've introduced Minimoose being made by Zim to replace Gir as a sidekick, was in development. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the show was canceled before it could even finish its second season, Minimoose's debut episode ended up having to remain unfinished with the Christmas special airing as the finale. Though considering the type of show this is, Zim suddenly having a tiny, floating moose as a second sidekick out of nowhere is par for the course.
  • The Grand Finale of Kim Possible has Warhok, a Darth Vader Clone and the greatest threat Kim and Ron ever faced.
  • The final two episodes of Timothy Goes to School were all about a new cat-girl in Hilltop School named Juanita. While she did recur a bit in some of the picture books, this introduction was all that was seen of her on the television series, which was canceled after its second season.
  • The final episode of The Wuzzles sees a new Wuzzle named Tycoon moving in and befriending the main characters. While the series didn't make it to a second season, Tycoon did live on in the toy line, getting his own plush toy and storybook.
  • In the Grand Finale and Halloween Episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Underfist: Halloween Bash, we are introduced to the evil marshmallow bunny Bun-Bun. Given one of the title cards at the end, he might have made a return of some sort, had the special become a series like it was supposed to.
  • In the Grand Finale of Regular Show, after eight seasons of flip-flopping between Margaret and CJ, the Time-Compression Montage during the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue has Mordecai meet a bat woman named Stef during one of his art shows. The two immediately hit it off, marry, and have children.
  • In Daria, Tom makes his first appearance in the finale of season three, and ends up becoming a prominent character through seasons four and five as he dates Jane, and later Daria herself.
  • The Legend of Korra introduces Bumi in the final moments of book 1, although he was already mentioned earlier. Kuvira is also spotlighted near the end of book 3 before becoming the Big Bad of book 4.
  • The third-to-last and second-to-last episodes of King Arthur & the Knights of Justice introduce warriors outside of the Knights of Justice who (have the potential to) defend Camelot. One of them even appears to be a fictionalized version of Clovis I, more or less the first king of France and a contemporary of the historical Arthur. Their introductions seem to be meant as counterweight against the Purple Horde on the evil side, but without a third season, their additions led to nothing.
  • The Grand Finale of Adventure Time features Shermy and Beth, who have been speculated to be Finn and Jake's reincarnations in fan theories.
  • The first season finale of Harvey Street Kids ends with the introduction of Audrey's older sister Zoe and her friends Maria and Stu. Later, the second season introduces the show's incarnation of Richie Rich.
  • The final episode of WordGirl, "Rhyme and Reason", introduces a villainous duo named Rhyme and Reason and is about them breaking up and having to figure out how to get back together while Becky's Secret Identity of WordGirl is discovered by her best friend Violet.
  • The Grand Finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic introduces Luster Dawn, the student of Twilight Sparkle. Luster is used as the Framing Device for a Whole Episode Flashback explaining what happened at Twilight's coronation several years prior, as well as what happened to each of the show's main characters.
  • The final episode of W.I.T.C.H. brings in Agent Riddle and Sylla as the only people that can detect the magical final battle in the middle of the city. Sylla later appears as a new computer instructor. This appearance was setting them up for the next arc, but the series was not picked up for another season.
  • The Grand Finale of DuckTales (2017) introduces twin sisters June and May, with the third sister from the comics (April) suspiciously absent because she's actually Webby.


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