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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.

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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.

This is an Ending Trope, so beware of unmarked spoilers!


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Examples:

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    Asian Animation 

    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.
  • In the Charmed (2018) comic continuation, the finale hinges on a medium named Amelia Desmots, who only appears in the last three issues. It's also a case of Remember the New Guy?, because she clearly knows the sisters. There was going to be a canon tie-in book explaining how they met her, but it's been put on indefinite hiatus.
  • 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).

    Fan Works 
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    Films 

    Literature 
  • 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. Downplayed with his brother Aberforth, who’d been mentioned several times directly and indirectly and actually had brief appearances during Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince but wasn't properly identified until the final book. Harry even notes he looks familiar when he briefly meets him but can’t put his finger on why.
    • 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 on Dumbledore’s chocolate frog card, never to be be mentioned again until this book. He plays a significant role in the Dumbledore backstory b-plot but doesn’t appear in the present until about 2/3 through where he commits Suicide by Cop via Voldemort.
    • Luna's dad, Xenophillius, is known to own a conspiratorial newspaper but doesn't appear until 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.
  • The denouement of The Handmaid's Tale takes place as a Distant Finale after every other character has died in one way or another. As a result, the post-mortem of Gilead is expressed through an entirely new character, Professor James Piexioto.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Surtr, the fire giant who is responsible for the end of the world in Norse Mythology, is probably the Ur-Example. He doesn't appear in any myths except the one that tells of Ragnarok, where he and his armies invade Asgard, he kills Freyr and engulfs the world in fire, and even that myth gives him little description or characterization. Still, while he may not appear, he is referred to in numerous other tales of both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. Some have suggested that this is because Surtr was a late addition to the mythology inspired by the volcanos of Iceland. When Iceland converted to christianity around the year 1000 AD, the only real myth involving Surtr that had time to develop was him being added to the story of Ragnarok.

    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 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.
  • Fate/EXTRA: Most of the game is spent focusing on the Holy Grail War, in which Leo and his Servant Gawain are built up as the most powerful enemies the player has to face. It’s not until the end of the game that the audience is introduced to the hidden mastermind of the tournament, though sharp-eyed players will remember seeing his name mentioned multiple times before: Twice H. Pieceman, and his Servant, Saver.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & 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, the last installment of the main Five Nights at Freddy's games, 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.
  • The Last of Us Part II got the Rattlers, a group of not better described slavers who serve the purpose of being the last bunch of psychos you have to walk over before the end of the game.
  • 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 Delicate and Sickly 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.
  • The final DLC character added to Street Fighter V is Luke, an American MMA fighter that Capcom notes will "play a big role in the future of Street Fighter".

    Visual Novels 
  • Dennis’s dad and Amy’s mom both debut in the final episode of Double Homework.
  • The mastermind of the killing game in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the real Junko Enoshima, doesn’t appear in the flesh until the final trial, with the Junko seen beforehand actually being her twin sister Mukuro disguised as her.

    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.

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