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Left Hanging

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"You ran outta ink too, didn't you, you bastards?"

The special feeling that you get when you've watched a show and realized that an unusually large number of loose ends have been left dangling.

This special feeling is usually preceded by a glance at the clock, noting that it is 9:54, and saying, "Wow, they sure have a lot of loose ends to wrap up in the next six minutes. How will they pull it off?" The answer: they don't.

Some shows, such as The X-Files, actually used the principle of Left Hanging in order to build an aura of mystique and uncertainty around the show. When shows that are more grounded in reality, such as CSI, wander into this territory, the results are rarely pretty.

Occasionally the loose ends are picked up on much later, either as part of a Lampshade Hanging or as an "untold story" in the Expanded Universe. If, on the other hand, they're picked up later in a serious way, they might fit one of Chekhov's tropes; if the entire episode is redeemed by one of more of these, it qualifies as an Innocuously Important Episode. Could also be a great opportunity for a Brick Joke.


See also No Ending. If the hanging thread is trivial to the plot, it's What Happened to the Mouse? Let the Kudzu Plot grow out of hand, and you have The Chris Carter Effect. If it was going to be explained, but the intended story was canceled, it's an Aborted Arc.

It should be noted that a few of these examples are merely early plot lines that are abandoned once the main plot is kicked off. Why bother tying up loose ends on one matter when they have The End of the World as We Know It to deal with?

Sometimes the result of being Screwed by the Network. This will lead to Canon Fodder and, thus, Fanfic Fuel. See also Cut Short where the series doesn't even get a chance to ignore their loose ends and ends abruptly.

Compare Cliffhanger and Bolivian Army Ending, when deliberately used as an artistic device. Frequently this is an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole, particularly as the result of sudden Gecko Ending that fails to resolve all lingering plot threads. It may also be the result of a Gainax Ending.


Remember this is an Ending Trope, so beware of both marked and unmarked spoilers.

Not to be confused with High-Five Left Hanging.


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  • The Eggo Waf-full commercials. The first two commercials had a giant Eggo waffle eating raspberry and blueberry flavored filling. A third commercial featuring apple cinnamon filling was slated to air, but never did.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Chapter 44 of Attack on Titan offers a flashback of Annie and Mikasa about to square off in a training fight, causing all the others to flock around them in excitement over who the winner will be. We're never told however, as that's where the flashback ends. Word of God later confirmed they had been so equally matched the instructor had to interfere and call it a draw.
  • Baccano! wraps up everything which concerns episodes 2 to 16, but the very first episode is a mash up of future events in the show, where there's a particular short scene where a blond girl slices Issac's ear off with a spear. The girl's name, Adele, is not even mentioned through the show as she would later appear in a future arc from the source material right after where the anime ends. The loose ends are lampshaded in the OVAs, where Carol asks Gustav why the story doesn't have a proper ending. Gustav's answer is that life always throws in another plot thread for everyone it ties up, meaning that there's going to be loose threads no matter where you stop, and now's just a good place as any to end things. Carol, on the other hand, thinks it's just a Sequel Hook.
  • The anime of Berserk covers the Golden Age arc... and then it ends during the Eclipse. Since the series begins with a scene set after the Golden Age arc, it means the series never got out of the flashback.
  • The Big O. Everything is left hanging. Everything. Maybe it's the author's love of Mind Screw, maybe it's the lack of a followup season ([adult swim] declined to produce another season). No matter what, a lot is left hanging.
  • Bleach: The manga was cancelled midway through its Final Arc as a result of Kubo's increasingly worsening health since 2010 that leaves him bedridden with increasing frequency; he only kept going for as long as he did as a result of an inspiring letter that he received after the death of a terminally ill child who had enjoyed reading Kubo's manga while bedridden. Many established plot threads were abandoned in order to wrap up the final battle in time for the manga's fifteenth anniversary. These include, but are not limited to, the Ishida family's true history, the reveal of several Bankai (including Ichigo's new one), the fate of Captain Komamura after losing his human form, the exact nature of Yachiru's existence as Kenpachi's Zanpakuto spirit (as well as the rules of Zaraki's Bankai), and whether or not Nel was able to rescue Grimmjow, Yoruichi and Urahara from Askin Nakk Le Vaar's poison prison. The subsequent light novels Bleach: We Do Knot Always Love You and Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World resolve many of these.
  • Mari's fate in the Blue Drop anime after her loved one Hagino dies is never addressed, not even in the huge time skip at the end of the series. This is especially egregious, since Hagino sacrificed herself to save Mari's life, so it would at least have been nice to know how Mari dealt with it.
  • Code Geass actually resolved its main premise, but several subplot threads were apparently lost in the rush or deemed less important somewhere between seasons as the staff had to alter their original plans due to an unexpected time slot change. They include the true nature of Suzaku's superhuman abilities, C.C.'s real name and, perhaps most frustratingly for several viewers, any sort of official explanation for the Geass. In regards to the last one however, the Spin-Off Code Geass: Akito the Exiled and the Big Damn Movie Re;surrection give some hints to it, while simultaneously raising even more questions in the process. Such as just what in the hell that skull was that gave Shin his Geass.
  • The anime adaptation of Durarara!! had a mostly-satisfying ending, but never addressed the fact that Izaya was still in possession of Celty's severed head. This is mostly due to the fact that the Light Novel series the show was based on is still running in Japan, leaving the writers without a proper ending to adapt. With a second season currently airing, however, it's possible that this will eventually be resolved.
  • Fairy Tail ties up nearly every significant plot thread except for one: Lucy's promise to reunite with Aquarius after the Final Battle was over, something that remained unresolved by the one-year Distant Finale. Fortunately, this is addressed by the manga's official sequel, Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, which picks the subplot back up as a major driving force for Lucy.
  • Full Metal Panic! resolves its main plot, but leaves hanging a number of plot threads, most importantly the precise origin of The Whispered (only resolved in the novels) and the Black Technology that seems to be encoded in their genetic structure. One might presume the new season of Full Metal Panic!, "The Second Raid", would answer some of the unresolved issues. It doesn't, and the source material is still going; while there's no absolute guarantee it'll be dealt with, resolving these issues would require making something up just to end the anime.
  • Genshiken - both the anime and the manga, but for different reasons. In the anime, material was added for the second series to ensure enough was left for a third series, but there's no guarantee there ever will be one to finish the job. The manga has the "life goes on"-No Ending that is so typical for Slice of Life series, so it was almost inevitable that not everything got wrapped up.
  • At the end of Heat Guy J, Daisuke has been permitted to leave Judoh and go off on adventures, and Kyoko tells him I Will Wait for You (but only for three years), and he promises to come back. Off he goes, Riding into the Sunset and...that's it. Where did he go? What did he do? What became of Kyoko? And Clair? And the others? The world will never know. It appears to have been a Sequel Hook, but that sequel never materialized.
  • His and Her Circumstances: Everything was left hanging. The play that they built up for 6 or 7 episodes never happened, there was no culture fest, and the only way to actually understand what happened between Tonami and Sakura in the final episode was to read the manga.
  • A variety occurs in Koi Koi 7, where everything is set up for the final battle with the Big Bad—only to have everybody inexplicably relax on a beach in the last episode. An attempt is made to explain what happened in a short DVD-only episode, but it's still one heck of a sudden turn.
  • Magical Warfare introduces a number of plot twists and potential story arcs throughout the second half of the show, and then ends suddenly and very strangely without resolving any of them. Takeshi's mother using a ring that boosts her powers but drains her life force in order to train him? Never brought up again. Wizard Brace being accused of historical war crimes? Never brought up again. Ida's sister being kidnapped by the freaking magical FBI? Guess what? Never brought up again! The final episode then delivered the biggest and most confusing plot twist of the whole show, and then promptly ended without explaining anything at all.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico does this twice at least in America- first, the series ends with only a bare acknowledgment of how the war ended, then they made The Movie which takes place after a Time Skip, doesn't explain the war's end either, and ends on its own cliffhanger (it was meant to be the first part of a movie trilogy which was never finished). The first hanger was only resolved through information which is All There In The Japan-Only Sega Games. The last episode of the series even has the audacity to introduce new subplots just to intentionally leave them hanging.
  • While the manga it is based off is still running and does reveal everything that happens past this point, the OVA series for Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt ends with the revelation of who the leader of the South Seas Alliance-based religion is and that he has possession of the once-thought destroyed Psycho Zaku, we never find out how the Federation and the Zeon Remnants handle them.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • The first anime fell into this hard, mainly because it was supposed to go for two seasons, but the general lack of quality and pure Off-Model-ness got it killed after one season, forcing a Gecko Ending and dropping a bunch of newly introduced plot threads. Not that two seasons would have come close to covering everything in the manga, but starting a bunch of B-plots and then ending the series two episodes later is pretty bad.
    • The manga hits the same issue (though much later on and for different reasons), trying to at least resolve as much as it can in the very last chapter and only succeeding partially. If you want to know who the Gravekeeper is, what happened to Arika or any number of other things like that, you won't get to know. And more importantly, who Negi ended with. In fact, we only got that the most likely candidates DIDN'T win, which is even worse than not getting anything at all.
  • The original TV ending for Neon Genesis Evangelion didn't resolve much, and in fact the English edition has a hilarious Easter Egg where Spike Spencer, the English voice actor for Shinji, complained (in-character) about the sheer number of dangling plot threads that were never addressed. Many of these ended up being answered in The Movie finale, End of Evangelion.
  • Parodied / lampshaded (like a bazillion other tropes) in Ninja Nonsense. Onsokumaru and another character have an ominous conversation about Shinobu's hidden destiny. In the last episode the characters realize they forgot all about this plot thread and hastily construct a Magical Girl story to cover.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt pulls this to a seemingly sadistic degree. In literally the last minute, Stocking inexplicably reveals she's actually a demon, chops Panty into pieces, and leaves Brief on a quest to gather them back up. The end. Aside from a tease in the episode itself, there hasn't been a whisper of a new season in the years since to follow any of this up — which was the point, as it was a Lampshade Hanging on other shows with similar conclusions. Geekboy Homecoming ended up subverting this by showing the tail end of that plot thread and how Brief got Panty back, but that just opened a whole new can of worms by throwing in cryptic references to whatever's going on with Stocking and Garterbelt as well as the loose plot threads from a completely unrelated series in its last few pages. No matter the studio, the folks behind P&S really like trolling their audience.
  • Most of Piano is about Miu composing a piece for her piano recital. At the big moment, the story simply cuts off when Miu starts playing, without stating how the recital went or what happens between Miu and her love interest afterward. Sure, the main point is Miu's decision about her music and her life, but it would have been nice to get some more closure.
  • A particularly infamous example of this is Ranma ½; the anime version, already criticized for being stuffed to the brim with Filler that had absolutely no bearing on the original manga plot, concluded a full three years before the original manga did, cutting out roughly a full third of the overall plot. For those without easy access to the manga (which, as a note, did not finish officially releasing in English-speaking countries until 2006, ten years after the conclusion of the manga in the original Japanese), this was kind of a huge kick in the pants.
  • The Shadow Star anime cuts off the second half of the story, leaving the entirety of the dragons — where they come from, why they're here, everything — hanging, the Government Conspiracy that's seemingly studying them, and the 'villains' that needlessly kill people with them and talk of making a better world vanish off the face of the earth — mind you, they were so badly characterized nobody cares much anyhow. And wraps it all up with a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending.
  • Soul Eater managed to end without Eibon, the enigmatic being behind Noah and the Book of Eibon having made an appearance outside of a flashback. Hell, the entirety of Noah, who has the Book of Eibon and Brew and 5 more copies of himself. Only Noah-Greed was given a major role as a villain.
  • Spiral suffers this in Gecko Ending form. It's a mystery series, and its main mysteries are "What are the Blade Children?" and "What happened to Kiyotaka, Ayumu's older brother?" The anime never answers either of these questions, as the manga hadn't yet by the time it finished production. An offhand comment by Kanone might or might not imply that Kiyotaka is dead in the anime continuity, and another compares the Blade Children to cuckoos, but that's it. The manga did ultimately end up clarifying all this.
  • Trinity Blood Overtook the Manga, and the manga seems to in turn have overtaken the Light Novels on which it was based. The death of the original author didn't help matters. Bottom line is that the ending of Trinity Blood anime failed to wrap up any long-running plot threads whatsoever.
  • Variable Geo ends abruptly on a cliff-hanger, just as the final bout between Yuka and Satomi begins. Who wins, or whether Daisuke receives the medical treatment he needs is left uncertain.
  • Due to the Gecko Ending of the anime, Venus Versus Virus didn't end well. Did Sumire and Lucia die? The manga has a completely different ending arc, so this is never revealed. Though, it is greatly suggested that they did survive, and that all Lucia did was hug Sumire.
  • The World God Only Knows has the entire plot suddenly resolved with the abrupt revelation that a main character (Elsie) is actually a powerful monster and the enemy's ultimate weapon and her using her powers to produce some sort of Cosmic Retcon that makes the good guys win somehow. A very significant number of questions are left unanswered and plot threads unresolved; in particular Lune's whereabouts, what happened to Shoutarou Shiratori, and more importantly how Satyr was able to use Elsie for their plans and what will happen with the girls who still have the goddesses inside their bodies.
  • Pokémon happens to have two plot points that ended up as this. The first being the GS Ball, which after Ash gave it to Kurt in Johto to study is never heard from again.note  In Unova, anything pertaining to the Meteonite became this due to the episodes that were going to wrap up that plot (and introduce Team Plasma) never airing due to the 2011 tsunami.note 

    Comic Books 
  • Paperinik New Adventures, full stop. Among the things left hanging:
    • Issue #20, "Mekkano": the eponymous machine, which can break down any other machine for parts and add it to itself, is picked up in Earth Orbit by an alien spaceship, which takes it back to their base. Never seen or mentioned again.
    • Issue #24, "Twilight": the issue's Big Bad is offed in a No One Could Survive That! way, just after proclaiming that with the data from his analysis of Paperinik's Swiss Army Weapon, he will proceed to Take Over the World. Moreover, before leaving to go back to his dimension, Paperinik gives Urk a device which can transmit across dimensions, "In case you need help or something comes up." Neither plot points come up again.
    • Issue #25, "Crossfire": Paperinik meets up with what is, essentially, La Résistance within the Evron Empire. They never show up again.
    • Issue #40, "A Single Breath": it's pretty much stated outright in the ending that the issue's Big Bad, a Straw Nihilist with almost unlimited Psychic Powers, has survived being swept away by the wave caused by the collapse of a dam. Where did he end up? No one knows.
    • Although it has a definite ending, PK2 was severely shortened over the original plans, so the conclusion is quite hasty and leaves no certainty about the future of Everett and his daughters, although one of the last issues of PKNA can be considered a Distant Finale to both series.
    • Might and Power includes many of the plot threads left hanging to continue the story, leading to Continuity Porn.
  • A storyline in Power Pack heavily implied that Toro, the sidekick of the Golden Age Human Torch, was not only still alive, but was also the father of Frankie Raye. This never went anywhere, and the later Avengers/Invaders crossover confirmed that Toro was still dead.
  • Next Men ended with a cliffhanger in #30. Byrne had intended to conclude the story in a second series, but the collapse of the American comic book industry in the mid-1990s made it financially unfeasible for him to do so.
  • When Crossgen Comics folded, they promptly ended every single comic mid-story, right when the overall plot was reaching its apex. Marvel comics said they would publish CrossGen titles, but as of yet that hasn't happened.
  • DC Comics' Star Raiders graphic novel was truncated to half its length due to a cancelled contract; many secondary characters and plot points qualify as a result.
  • The final issue of Captain America and The Falcon Vol. 2 ended with the implication that the Falcon might have been killed by Anti-Cap, as well as the real Captain America finding his abandoned costume fluttering in the wind. Word of God is that the Cliffhanger was meant to be a Sequel Hook for a solo Falcon series by Christopher Priest, but it fell apart when Priest left the project. When the Falcon next appeared in Ed Brubaker's Captain America run, he was back to wearing his costume, and there was no mention of his disappearance or the prior incident with Anti-Cap.
  • Near the end of the first War Machine series, Rhodey's parents claim that he has a son that he's never met. It's left ambiguous as to whether this revelation was true or simply a lie to get rid of his then-current flame, Rae, but it's never resolved one way or the other.
  • Dinocorps ends with Jarek still alive and well, and a shot of several more Saurons still in cryogenic sleep. It's implied that Jarek had a backup evil plan, but no further issues have been published since then.
    • Some inquired on Bunn's social media if he thought Pak would follow up on the Creed/Monet relationship, but Bunn gave no response. Pak was asked in an X-Position panel if he would continue Bunn's work on Sabretooth -since his moral struggle & budding ship with Monet couldn't be wrapped up by Uncanny's end. Pak said he had plans to follow up on the former, but no answer on the latter.
  • Runaways ended with Chase Stein getting hit by a car after chasing a girl who looked suspiciously like his dead girlfriend while the rest of the team contemplated making a deal with Chase's shady uncle. There was also some mystery about the sudden disappearance of Old Lace. When the team later reappeared in other books, Chase's near death was handwaved, and Old Lace's disappearance was explained in a way that raised more questions, but Gert's sudden reappearance was never explained, and Chase's uncle was never heard from again. To this day, there's never been an explanation for the sudden attack that kicked off the story's events, either.
  • Elephantmen ends with multiple subplots unresolved, the most egregious cases being that it's never revealed where Serengheti took Sahara's baby, or if Raven tried to break Dr. Nikken out of prison. This was likely intentionally; the final page ends with Flask and Farrell going on another adventure, and the final words are "Never The End!", implying that while the comic itself has ended, the characters will continue going on unseen adventures.
  • Skrull Kill Krew ends with Captain America enraged upon hearing about the presence of Ryder, implying they've already met before and have some sort of feud together, but this is never brought up again.
  • Spider-Man: The mystery of FACADE would have been simple to resolve in one issue, but then the The Clone Saga took all the attention, until being referenced years later in Dark Reign Files and Amazing Spider-Man #678.
  • The Tintin story Tintin and Alph Art was meant to be Hergé's Grand Finale for the Tintin series, however, he was still working on a very rough draft when he died. Unfortunately, he never told anyone exactly how he planned to end it, and the incomplete story ended on a colossal Cliffhanger.
  • Wolverine: Many hints at Wolverine's past have been ignored with no explanation. One was that Archangel's metallic modifications reminded Logan of the Weapon X facility, and an adamantium skull in Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure also reminds Logan, hinting that Apocalypse was involved in the Weapon X project. This was never followed up on.
  • The Archie Mega Man comic was cancelled due to low sales and ended right at the start of the adaptation of the fourth game. While fans of the games know how things will turn out, there was still the matter of what Mr. X (who in this version is not a disguised Wily, but an aged Xander Payne who got thrown into the past following the Worlds Unite crossover and had to take The Slow Path back to the current time), was planning against all robot kind and how his version of the fifth game would play out.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Due to a lawsuit with former writer Ken Penders, the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) comic was forced to pull a Cosmic Retcon so that any characters of his were written out to avoid paying him royalties. As such, many storylines that were still in development such as Naugas taking over Geffory's body and still in rule over New Mobotropolis, Bunnie coping with her regained flesh, Antonie still in a coma, Scourge breaking free from the No Zone, whatever Finitivs was planning and Sally still being a robot were dropped indefinitely and will no longer have an official resolution. With the comic book's cancellation as of 2017, this is pretty much the fate of any ongoing plotline, as the IDW series is a Continuity Reboot.
    • The mini-series, Sonic Mega Drive, was made to celebrate Sonic's 25th anniversary with a original story made in the vein of a original Sega Genesis game. They got through two issues and a third was meant to close out the series, but Archie and SEGA got into financial disagreements in 2017 which caused the book to be put into hiatus. Then ultimately cancelled when SEGA broke ties with Archie, leaving the story on a cliffhanger of Eggman having all the macguffins in his possession and Sonic and his friends setting out to find the Chaos Emeralds in order to have a chance at stopping him.
  • The Intimates was abruptly cancelled after 12 issues due to several members of its creative team moving to other, more high-profile books, and thus the series ends on a cliffhanger with the main characters running away from the Seminary.
  • Druuna: Druuna's ultimate fate is never resolved. The last reliable thing we see of her, she's still trapped inside a dream inside a dead person's mind inside a computer onboard a spaceship adrift in the cosmos. Everything that happens afterwards, including the whole clone story, is probably part of the Lotus-Eater Machine, given how various elements from her past make unexplained reappearances.
  • Back in the early days of trade paperbacks, many plot points introduced during an event reproduced for said TPB tend to get ignored as they were only were focused on just that story. For instance, in the TPB for the Superman storyline Time and Time Again, the story ends with Superman in despair as the means of sending him home meant that the Moon of the 30th Century was destroyed. While the storyline was followed up on in Legion of Super-Heroes it was never represented in the TPB.
  • Star Trek: Early Voyages: The series' cancellation left several story arcs unresolved:
    • The identity of the individual who sent a message to the Enterprise telling them that Captain Pike was on Prairie in "The Flat, God Forever" is not revealed. Pike is concerned that the individual responsible may be an enemy of Commander Kaaj who could pose a threat to the Enterprise in the future.
    • Captain Pike's distant relationship with his father Admiral Josh Pike is not explored after the two-part story "The Fallen" but there were plans to do so in a flashback storyline involving the Federation's first contact with the Klingons.
    • The Will They or Won't They? storyline between José Tyler and Mia Colt is never resolved. Although she agreed to go on a date with him in "The Fallen, Part Two", they had not got around to it by the time that the series ended.
    • The story arc concerning the search for the ancient weapons on the Temazi homeworld and the strange behavior of Admiral Robert April in the final two issues "Thanatos" and "Nemesis" is left unfinished.
  • Billy the Cat: The viewer never finds out what happens to Billy in the end. Does he stay a cat forever? Does he get turned back into a human?
  • Justice League 3000's abrupt cancellation left a ton of subplots unresolved: Who was Lady Styx and where she came from? Why is she so incredibly powerful? What are her real goals? Why did future Lois Lane hate Superman so much? Why did Superman send Supergirl to the far-flung future? Were Lois and Ariel Masters able to escape Lady Styx's death squads? The final issue doesn't even conclude the battle betweeh the League and the Legion of Death, and readers had to read a completely different book -Blue Beetle Vol. 9 #12-13, published one year later- to find out whether the League won or lost that battle.
  • Wonder Woman comics have a long history of arcs going unfinished when a new writer comes on board as new writers almost always dramatically change the status quo. The other frequent way new writers will wrap up an arc is to quickly kill off the key characters in their first issue and then go tell the stories they want to tell.
    • Volume 1: The Saturnian Arc had a rather heavily foreshadowed betrayal that never actually happened. Eviless formed Villainy Inc, and failed to actually escape Reformation Island or overthrow Hippolyte and then Marston died, that was his final issue and no subsequent writer event mentioned any of the Saturnians.
    • Volume 2: The USA had warships parked around Themyscira in what they refused to acknowledge was a blockade with the government being manipulated against the Amazons by one of Diana's villains and then editorial cut the story short for Infinite Crisis and this was never mentioned again.

    Comic Strips 
  • Little Orphan Annie ended in 2010 on a cliffhanger, as Annie was kidnapped by a war criminal called the Butcher of the Balkans, who intended to raise her like his daughter, while Daddy Warbucks was left to believe she had been killed. This cliffhanger was later unofficially resolved in the comic strip Dick Tracy.
  • Nero was published daily for over 55 years. Author Marc Sleen had to work so fast that he made zillions of continuity errors and plot holes that remained unsolved.

    Fan Works 
  • New Look Series: Link's New Look was meant to be as twice as long, but only the first half was uploaded due to backlash. Later averted as the author did finish the second half.
  • The Rival Prefects Trilogy: The New Prefect does not reveal what became of the characters from The Other Prefects. However, since only a Legilimens can reverse a petrification spell, it's likely that Simon is still a statue.

    Films — Animated 
  • In-universe example: In Toy Story 2, Woody learns his TV show from the 1950s, Woody's Round-Up, was left hanging during a cliffhanger in the final episode because low toy sales caused its cancellation.
  • The animated The Lord of the Rings notoriously ended halfway through with no warning. There was supposed to a second movie to wrap things up, but it never got off the ground. The Return of the King was produced a few years later by Rankin and Bass, the company who made the animated version of The Hobbit; it did not go as well.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: After Polly the reporter takes a photo of Joe, aka Sky Captain, he says that she left the lens cap on her camera, and her looks of joy turned into a big, big sad stare, and cut to black. Whatever happened to the falling animals, the city and their worries about the evil doctor that sent his robots, the people they rescued, and other stuff, is left to wonder. All part of the 30's serial feel of course.
  • Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys was given the English marketing title of The Incomplete Struggle - quite fitting, since it ends with the eponymous turtle badly wounded in the midst of a burning city with a horde of Gyaos about to descend upon him.
  • X-Men Film Series
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • The film ends with a post-credits scene where General Ross is approached by Tony Stark, who offers to help him take down the Hulk in exchange for Ross helping out with a team that S.H.I.E.L.D. is putting together. This is never addressed in any of the subsequent Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and The Consultant reveals that Ross violently rejected Stark's offer.
    • The movie also never reveals what happened to Samuel Sterns after he was mutated by Banner's Gamma-infected blood. This plot point was resolved in Fury's Big Week, the official comic prequel to The Avengers. We see Sterns being confronted by Black Widow, who subsequently shoots him at the knees and brings him into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
  • Another in-universe example: In Galaxy Quest, the last episode of the titular show when it was cancelled ended on a cliffhanger, with Captain Taggert shouting "Activate the Omega-13!".
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Looks like we'll never know how Cameron's "little chat" with his father went, despite all the post-credits scenes.
  • W. ends this way, literally. At the end of the film, after he embarrasses himself by being unable to answer a reporter when she asks him what his biggest mistake was while in office, Bush has another baseball fantasy where he runs to catch a long fly ball which never comes down.
  • Scanners ends just after Vale and Revok merge into a single being (though not in a Body Horror sense), but there's still some ambiguity about which consciousness is more in control. Grand Theft Me of Revok by Vale would be the nicer possibility.
  • Sound of My Voice: The viewer is left questioning just about everything:
    • Is Maggie really from the future, and is Abigail her mother? If so, why couldn't she think of a single song that was written after 2010?
    • What's wrong with Abigail? Why does she seem to have narcolepsy? Why does she always wear a hat? Why does she build strange sculptures solely from black legos? What kind of shots was her father giving her? Did she need them?
    • Was Carol really from the Justice Department? If so, why does she smuggle her files in clothing boxes? Why does she screen her hotel room for bugs? Why didn't any of the police who arrested Maggie stay around to take statements from anyone else at the scene?
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Series was developed to be a sprawling, Marvel-style universe, many plot points that were introduced in the first two films went unresolved.
    • We never do find out who Richard Parker was spying on Oscorp for, or who killed Uncle Ben, or how Gustav Fiers convinced Norman Osborn to fund the creation of the technology for the Sinister Six in the first place.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ends with Harry deciding to form a super villain team and forcing Spider-Man back into action. A slew of sequels to retain the character's rights were planned. Then the film's diminishing returns and Sony's problems led them to abandon the idea and instead let Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home narrowly avoided this. The film ends with a huge cliffhanger where Mysterio outs Peter Parker as the villain along with leaking his secret identity to the whole world. However, after the release of the film, licensing talks between Disney and Sony broke down, and as a result Spider-Man was nearly removed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which would have forced Marvel Studios to cancel a third and fourth movie for Spider-Man for the MCU, leaving Peter's fate forever unresolved. Fortunately, roughly a month after Sony had announced that they were pulling Spider-Man out of the MCU, a deal was reached that allowed the character to return and the aforementioned films to return to production.
  • It Comes at Night gained notoriety for leaving just about every plot point as an Ambiguous Situation. A few examples include: Where did the virus come from? Was Will lying about his family's past? What did Stanley the dog chase after, and why did he just disappear? Why were Travis and Andrew drawing pictures of ominous people in the woods? Did Andrew get infected? And what the heck does the title even refer to?
  • The ending of The Good Son leaves several questions unanswered after Henry's death: Was his body found? It was last seen getting swept out to sea, Did Connie ever come out of her coma? Did Wallace and Susan's marriage remain intact? Did Wallace believe Mark and Susan about what happened to Henry?
    • The tie in novel states that Henry's body was found and he was buried under a tree and Connie came out of her coma everything else was unexplained.

  • Animorphs:
    • The final book, "The Beginning", ended this way by introducing a new antagonist with absolutely no desire from the author to go further with it about 3 pages before the book and series end (she even admits to leaving the reader hanging in the afterword).
    • Another incident in-series is the fate of Sixth Ranger David. At the end of "The Return" he begs Rachel to kill him rather than force him to live out the rest of his days as a rat. Whether or not she does it is never revealed.
    • The reader never finds out who burned down Joe Bob Fenestre's house. For that matter, we never find out what happened to Joe Bob Fenestre at all.
    • In #41, the whole Bad Future thing turns out to be a mind exercise brought on by some other entity that is studying humans. It's not Ellimist or Crayak... So who was it?
  • The Brothers Karamazov, on any number of plot points. Dmitri is still wrongfully in jail, convicted of a crime he didn't commit. Ivan is still suffering from insanity. The fate of Ilyusha's family is uncertain. Alyosha's fate is uncertain. We've all learned a lesson, though, so they don't need to be cleared up for us.
  • Bonfires and Broomsticks, the second book in Bedknob and Broomstick, ends with Miss Price having gone off to the past and the children walking to the ruins of the house that she would have lived in, only to hear her disembodied voice tell them to get off of the cabbages.
  • In Andrea Chang's The Year of the Book and Honeysuckle House (novels for middle-grade readers featuring Chinese-American characters), it can reasonably be said that what is more or less considered the main plot is wrapped up, but a number of important plot themes are simply left hanging, such as, in Honeysuckle House, whether or not the father of the main character gets his Green Card to work in the United States. The Year of the Book at least has a sequel (May 2013), but no such luck for Honeysuckle House.
  • The Charles Sheffield sci-fi novel Cold as Ice follows this trope to ridiculous extremes as the writer tells the story of several, unconnected main characters. One of these, a standard End of the World plot, is resolved in the main story. The others are swiftly, and without explanation, dealt with in the Epilogue.
  • The Dinosaur Lords series has ended abruptly in middle of the plot, with its third volume — and is unlikely to continue, due to Author Existence Failure.
  • Discussed Trope in The Divine Comedy; the narration asks the reader to imagine if the story stopped just as a thousand Heavenly spirits from Mercury surround our heroes and begin to sing of a love unknown on Earth. The narrator hopes that making the readers think invoked "They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot" will help them understand how strongly the characters longed to talk to the ghosts of Mercury.
  • Another series by Applegate that ended with the readers left hanging was Everworld, which abruptly cuts off with numerous subplots, and even the main story itself, mostly unresolved. Plot threads left dangling include: Brigid, the coming battles against Ka Anor, the fate of the Sennites, how the introduction of technology will affect Everworld, who will be the next mayor of Atlantis, the Great Scroll of the Gods, etc.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leaves the fate of the evil witch Dolores Umbridge up in the air after she is placed in a high level of the government after the Death Eaters take over. J.K. Rowling soon came out and said that Umbridge was prosecuted and imprisoned.

  • Johnny Truant's narrative in House of Leaves ends with an anecdote he once heard about a mother who spent all of three days with a newborn child doomed to die. The kid in the story could be him, meaning that he's been Dead All Along; Zampanò might have wrote it in as a Downer Ending (this is suggested by the one phrase in purple); none of this is explained. The Navidson Record ends on a higher note, but that's little consolation.
  • Maria Watches Over Us ends before Yumi's graduation, and leaves many questions unanswered. Who will Noriko and Touko's new petite soeurs be? What will Yumi do after graduation? And, most importantly, will Yumi and Sachiko finally enter a relationship, or remain soeurs forever?
  • Piers Anthony had a book called Mute which created an entire well-defined and intriguing universe, with complex characters and hinted-at half-revealed plans, ended it on an unresolved plot Cliffhanger... and then dropped it. Word of God is that he's not going to pick it up again, ever.
  • Serial mystery novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood was Left Hanging by Author Existence Failure when Charles Dickens died.
  • In The Neverending Story many subplots are deliberately left unresolved: "But that is another story, to be told another time."
  • Anthony Price retired from fiction writing at the end of the 1980s, leaving at least one planned novel in his spy thriller series uncompleted, for a number of reasons, including ill health. (It's also been speculated that the downfall of the Soviet Union did a number on the series' Cold War-based Myth Arc.) The final published novel, The Memory Trap, does manage to fit in a theme of series protagonist David Audley acknowledging it may be time to pass the torch to the younger generation, but a lot of ongoing plot threads — in particular, Audley's ongoing rivalry with the Russian spymaster Panin, and a story arc about a possible highly-placed Russian sleeper agent — are left dangling.
  • Red Moon Rising (Moore) has no resolutions given with regards to the full effects of Danny's Change, his relationship with Juliet, or the assassination of Huey Seele. And it seems unlikely that the book will receive a sequel any time soon.
  • Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Legacy series, which was left unfinished due to copyright issues, since two of the three books were novelisations on Riftwar-based video games. The events that presumably happen during the finale of that series have been referenced in later books, but it is uncertain whether the books will actually ever be written.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events :
    • The books never officially explain what the Sugar Bowl secret is, they never explain who actually burned down the Baudelaire mansion... In fact, the series ends with a note that basically says: "Real Life is full of mysteries. Get over it."
    • Also, the fates of the Quagmires, Captain Widdershins and his stepchildren, and Hector.
  • According to Word of God, The Wheel of Time was always planned to end with a few plotlines not fully resolved, because Robert Jordan wanted the reader to be able to imagine his world and the lives of his characters continuing past the end of the final book. Probably the biggest thing left up to the reader to decide is whether the Bad Future that Aviendha saw can be prevented.
  • A Wolf in the Soul ends with Greg defeating the werewolf and returning to normal, but many other subplots, such as his parents' marriage and the reason he was infected in the first place remain unresolved.
  • The final book in the Familiars series, Palace of Dreams, ends on an as-of-now unresolved Cliffhanger, with several loose ends such as where Aldwyn's sister is not wrapped up.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sesame Street: A classic Ernie and Bert skit "Ernie's Short Story" — which is the alphabet — comically twists this. After Ernie gives his usual over-the-top performance of it (a standard opening, followed by "the sad part," "the exciting part" and "the big finish") ... he leaves viewers "hanging" by stopping after "Y" and when Bert presses Ernie for the obvious conclusion ("Z"), Ernie says, "Wha? And give away the ending?" before giving his trademark giggle and Bert being frustrated.
  • Atlantis got cancelled after 2 seasons ending with a resurrected Pasiphae taking over Atlantis and Jason and friends starting his quest to find the Golden Fleece.
  • Drake & Josh has many episodes that play with this.
    • For example, the episode, "Tree House" features the boys fixing a treehouse and get trapped inside it. The episode doesn't show how the boys are let free.
  • 24 has an unfortunate tendency to simply abandon important secondary characters and leave their fates hanging; examples include Rick from season 1; Miguel, and Lynne Kresge from season 2; Andrew Paige and (quite egregiously) Behrooz Araz in season 4; and former President Charles Logan in season 6. The hanging plot thread regarding Charles Logan was ultimately subverted it the long run, as he turns out to have survived his wound and went on to serve as the Big Bad of the final season.
  • Now and Again - final episode of the first (and only) season ends with most of the plot strands resolved and a brand new bunch just springing out in the last five minutes.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode. When the loop breaks, they find out that their collision partner is a ship — captained by Kelsey Grammer — that is a full century out of date, the USS Bozeman. It was never mentioned on the show again, but dialogue references to a ship named "Bozeman" popped up in both Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: First Contact (complete with an uncredited one line Continuity Cameo from Grammer to imply that yes, it's the same Bozeman and his character is still its captain even years later), and it was the subject of a (non-canon) novel. TNG also left the fate of Enterprise-C and the alternate timeline Tasha Yar hanging in "Yesterday's Enterprise". Did they succeed in their mission, or die senseless deaths? All we knew is that their passing back into the phenomenon, they restored Enterprise-D to it's original timeline, with only Guinan aware of the entire affair. It wasn't until much later (several seasons) that the fate of Tasha Yar was learned.
  • The 2000s Battlestar Galactica has a reputation for not leaving plot threads unresolved, though due to the sheer number of threads ongoing in any episode some tend to be dropped due to lack of time or neglect. Examples include Boxey in Season 1, who was left on the cutting room floor after two episodes, and "Shelly Godfrey", a Number Six hiding within the civilian fleet who is never seen again after her sole appearance. (Notably, Helo's storyline was intended to be abandoned after the pilot miniseries, but was maintained due to popular demand.) Apparently, Shelly Godfrey will eventually be explained, in "The Plan". However, the Opera House itself (not the visions), the original temple on the Algae Planet, and the exact nature of the Lords of Kobol seem destined to remain in the file marked Left Hanging. Not to mention "God". Many fans thought that Shelly Godfrey was just Head Six who had materialized herself to help Baltar, but The Plan shows that she was a real Six trying to discredit him. Cavil and another, cooler Six intimate that she made it too easy to discover her fake evidence because of Baltar's "dreamy hair".
  • Moesha ended with Myles having been kidnapped.
  • Seems like we'll never find out now what was going on with that damn spy pen in Veronica Mars...
  • Firefly's abrupt cancellation left a number of plot threads dangling. Though many of them, particularly River's psychosis and the origins of the Reavers, were covered in The Movie, many more, such as Book's past, were left in the air. They're only resolved in the comics; Book in particular gets a trilogy devoted to his past.
  • Stargate SG-1 ends with an episode that makes no attempt to resolve any of its plot lines. Of course, given the many times they were Absolutely Finally About to Be Canceled and got renewed again, it could be that the Powers That Be didn't know it was for real this time. At any rate, a Wrap It Up movie, Stargate: The Ark of Truth, came out and resolved the Ori plotline, and was followed up by Stargate Continuum. A third movie was announced, but seems to be stuck in Development Hell.
    • Also left in Development Hell was an MMORPG, and concepts for another series... Interestingly however, Stargate: The Ark of Truth seemed to be quite deliberate in avoiding stating "Yes, the Asgard are dead and gone we're not going to retcon that." Events from the final SG1 episode remain, for instance the presence of the Asgard computer core, but there is no reference to the fate of the Asgard. Oddly though, they are stated as an intended playable race in the MMORPG, which takes place some time after the upcoming movies — supposedly a significant amount of time, despite, again, being allegedly canonical.
    • Stargate is a prime example of this trope in general. Especially in the first seasons there were a lot of plotlines opened that were just left hanging. For example, Daniel's grandfather as ambassador with an alien super race is never again heard from. Or the time they found a device with the recorded knowledge of all the ancient races on a planet where the gate plunges into the ocean is never visited again as soon as the SGC has ships. You should think something like this would be of value enough to fly there, especially since the planet was very close to Earth.
  • Keeping with the Stargate tradition is Stargate Universe, At the end of the final episode Eli has decided to stay awake onboard the Destiny while everyone else goes into stasis, in hopes of fixing the broken stasis pod and joining them so the Destiny can begin its really long voyage to another galaxy, one where they are not constantly pursued by evil aliens and robot drones. It ends with Eli staring contemplatively into space and no follow-up seasons exist to resolve matters.
  • Sliders ends similarly, with a finale that ends on a cliffhanger, with a few but not all plot threads updated if not resolved. There was also talk of a Wrap It Up movie for that one, but it never got beyond the talk phase.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Season VIII ends with a sci-fi cliffhanger involving Rimmer kicking Death in the groin with the rest of his cast members are in a mirror universe, while the ship was being eaten slowly by a genetically engineered virus.
    • "Red Dwarf Back To Earth'' does nothing to resolve this, as it's set, well, ten years later. In fact, just to make things more frustrating (intentionally), the 3-parter includes a meta-reference to the existence of a "Series 9" which included resolution of this plot (there wasn't one, the show ended at series 8 and then the next episodes were the 3-parter). Then after the 3-parter the show started "Series X". In the finale of series X they even specifically mentioned the cliff-hanger at the end of series 8 but changed the topic before they could give the audience any details about it what happened with it.
    • Lampshaded/subverted with the end of Season II, which ended with Dave pregnant with twins fathered by a female version of himself from a mirror universe. Season III opened with a Star Wars Crawl that explained it all away, but was too fast to read.
  • The ending of the TV miniseries The Lost Room wrapped up only the main story line (Joe searching for his daughter) and left every other plot thread unanswered. This is because it was meant to be the pilot for an ongoing series, where those story lines would presumably be continued, but its low ratings meant that the series never happened.
  • The Fox sci-fi series Space: Above and Beyond ended its one season run with an awful lot of loose ends left unwrapped. The show ended with one character presumed dead, two more falling in an escape pod into enemy territory, one reunited with his prisoner-of-war lover, and everyone else generally in limbo.
  • 90210 started off as a series that involved both the old gang (the ones from the 90s) and a new fresh almost entirely unrelated (except for the half-sister of the franchise protagonist). For instance, it was revealed that Dylan and Kelly had a son but then broke up, Brenda was sterile but ended up adopting, Kelly's mother relapsed in alcoholism and got cancer for which she'd die in the second season, but as the show changed executives, it was decided that it wouldn't rely on the old gang any longer (except for Kelly, who's now been downgraded to recurring supporting character), leaving the whole thing about what happened to Donna and David, their divorce, their kid, David's flowers and message in the air.
  • The final (British) series of Primeval ended with a battered, bloodied future version of Matt appearing him, warning him that there's still something he needs to fix, and that he needs to 'go back'. With the New World series mostly unrelated to the old characters, the movie languishing in Development Hell and the sixth series even worse, it is doubtful this huge plot thread will ever be picked up.
  • Titus was canceled before they could write a proper episode to conclude the series. While the last episode was good and funny, it ended with Titus being put in a mental hospital for a few months as a stipulation for everyone to avoid jail time.
  • The Office (US):
    • One episode deals with Dwight finding a joint in the parking lot and becoming more paranoid than ever as he tries to find the culprit. By the end this morphs into Dwight covering for Michael, who had accidentally inhaled some pot smoke the night before, leaving the question of how the joint itself got there unanswered. It's revealed in a deleted scene that it's two employees from Vance Refrigeration.
    • Dwight never finds the man who flashed Phyllis.
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto: Who is Dark Tendou? Why was ZECT cooperating with worms from time to time? Where did the Hopper Riders come from?
  • In Phil of the Future, after Phil and Keely get together, the Diffys head back to the future, only to turn around for the cavemen Curtis. Then it ends forever.
  • Name a high-concept Sitcom from The '60s. Lost in Space, Gilligan's Island, and many others were summarily canceled when the time came, even after a successful run and regardless of whether or not the show featured An Arc, simply because that's how business was done at the time. A lot of them eventually got Wrap It Up movies once they'd had enough time in syndication to get interest back up.
  • Twin Peaks:
    • Perhaps David Lynch thought that by leaving every single subplot sadistically hanging on multiple cliffs that the fans would scream and cry for another season in which to see them all resolved. If such was the case, then the tactic didn't work as the show was canceled with little fanfare and with much grumping by the small devoted fanbase the show had. And apart from the subplots, the main plot wasn't really resolved with the "How's Annie!" ending either.
    • Interestingly, the show was originally planning on doing this on purpose with the murder of Laura Palmer; part of the reason for the Seasonal Rot (and consequent cancellation) of season 2 is that the network forced them to reveal the murderer.
    • The movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, ended up a prequel, which meant it did almost nothing to resolve any of these ambiguities. However, in the usual Twin Peaks fashion, there are a few chronological irregularities that tie into the events of the series' finale (though in a very ambiguous and indirect manner).
    • A sequel series, released almost 25 years after the fact, does tie up some unresolved plot and character points, though leaves others unanswered and adds quite a few new ones as well.
  • In the Cracker episode "One Day A Lemming Will Fly", Fitz actually spends the entire episode pursuing the wrong man for the murder of a child. The episode's entire resolution hinges on the fact that the child's killer will never be known - at least, until he strikes again...
  • Kyle XY left many plots dangling (although Word of God cleared up a few of them). In fact, the finale actually introduced a new plotline in the last few seconds of the episode!
  • Farscape had, initially, one of the most evil Left Hanging endings ever. Knowing they were going to be canceled, the writers extricated the crew from the worst of the crap they were buried in, and set them on a planet to recuperate. This left some of the major arcs unfinished, but hey, we can deal with that, right? So there they are, recuperating. John proposes to Aeryn. It's a really touching moment. The crew are watching, all happy. Then, out of nowhere, the newly affianced couple get blown up by a random fighter craft. To Be Continued. On a show that's canceled. Luckily, there was enough fan pressure that a TV miniseries, the Peacekeeper Wars, was eventually made and tied up the remaining loose ends.
  • Done very intentionally in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Doubt", which literally cuts off right before the verdict (as in, the last line of the episode is, "We find the defendant —" Cut to black), so not only does the audience not find out what really happened, they don't even know the outcome of the trial. Viewers who saw the episode live were invited to take a survey on whether, in their opinion, 1. The man was guilty, 2. He was innocent or 3. There "wasn't enough" evidence to make a judgment on the facts displayed. (Option 2 recieved 60% of the vote, with the other two getting 20% each.)
    • The intial murder case in "Harm" ends with the suspect fleeing the country to a non-extraditable location, so they can't even confirm that he did it. What's more, because it's mentioned only briefly and because of how much the Halfway Plot Switch (involving a Torture Technician who was implicated in a related murder) is already beginning to take over the episode when this is revealed, many viewers didn't even remember that much, leading to a perception that the murder case had just dropped away with no explanation.
    • The season eleven episode "Savior" did this. A young prostitute goes into premature labor and her baby is put on life support. The mother then runs away, giving power of attorney to Olivia, effectively giving Olivia the choice of whether the baby lives or dies. The episode ends with the baby needing immediate brain surgery and the doctors hammering Olivia for a decision that she never gives. This turns into a case of What Happened to the Mouse?, as neither the baby nor the mother are ever seen or heard from again.
    • "Executive Producer Dick Wolf" are often claimed to be the most frustrating words in the English language, due to the many episodes of Law & Order, and the spin offs, that end without enough resolution or sometimes any resolution at all.
  • The Mentalist: In the rush to wrap up the Red John arc (because viewers were getting tired of it), the series ultimately failed to resolve a couple of loose ends from earlier in the arc.
    • The most notable example is the connection between Red John and the Visualize cult. After teasing it for several seasons, a Season 5 episode confirmed that a link existed, but that's the extent of what's revealed; the man who turns out to be Red John has no established connection with the cult, and in fact that link is never mentioned again. (The fact that they Dropped A Bridge on the cult leader doesn't help.)
    • In the Season 5 finale, Red John is able to do a few things that should be impossible; he accesses a memory of Jane's that Jane had never shared, and he demonstrates that he knew who would be on Jane's final list of Red John suspects months before Jane actually created said list. How all of this was accomplished is never established, and the entire thing is Hand Waved by having Jane decline an explanation in favor of taking his revenge.
  • Due to being canceled by the second season, Pushing Daisies left a lot of stuff hanging, in spite of its sweet finale. Alfredo and Oscar were Put on a Bus by the end of the first season, and no one will ever find out where is Charles Charles or what the deal with Ned's father was.
  • Babylon 5 inverts this problem—the carefully planned five-season format of the original show wrapped up the entire premise of the universe at the end of the series, dooming future sequels to serious Sequelitis from the very beginning, as they seem like nothing but barely related afterthoughts to a story that has already been told. A more straight example is the Spin-Off sequel Crusade, which was Screwed by the Network only half a season in, leaving the Drakh plague story arc unresolved.
    • According to JMS's DVD commentary, the plague plot was to have been wrapped up in the second season. As with the original, the real plot was supposed to lead out of things that seemed like minor side details in the episodes that actually aired. The endgame for the Drakh war was handled in novels set more than a decade after the events of the full run of Crusade would have been over.
  • The '90s AMC series Remember WENN ended with an unresolved cliffhanger after the network's new management abruptly canceled the show.
  • The Myth Arc of The X-Files never received a fitting conclusion. This series has also drifted in and out of Screwed by the Network and Un-Canceled several times, so Chris Carter knows he's playing with fire.
  • Deadwood was canceled after three seasons, and had been intended to run longer. As the series was based on the real history of Deadwood in a macro sense, there was enough material and history left for at least a few more seasons. Due to the abrupt cancellation, several plotlines had to be hastily tied up, to no one's satisfaction.
  • Flash Forward left just about all plotlines open due to series cancellation.
  • Foyle's War was canceled and restarted multiple times, with each cancellation resulting in an attempt to tie up the series hastily, and then put everyone together again when the series resumed. Furthermore, the first cancellation resulted in the season then in production to skip several months of time in Real Life per episode. Prior to that season, each episode had a gap of days or weeks.
  • ALF ends with the eponymous alien surrounded by government agents facing certain vivisection. What happens to him after would later be covered in a TV movie.
  • Bugs ended with Alex's husband murdered by persons unknown at her wedding and Beckett and Ros being kidnapped by a mysterious man they seemed to recognize. The cancellation of the series means we'll never know who killed the poor man, or who kidnapped our two heroes.
  • The first season of Class ended on a triple cliffhanger : Miss Quill was pregnant with a kid that could kill her, April was trapped in the body of an alien, and the Board of Governors' backers were revealed. BBC has announced that there won't be a second season, so no resolutions to those plotlines.
  • My Name Is Earl was canceled at the end of the fourth season, which ended on a big cliffhanger and a To Be Continued. It's somewhat dealt with on Raising Hope where we find out that a "A local man who made list of good things to do finally finished it." Both shows are by the same creator, Greg Garcia.
  • According to this page, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids ended its first season revealing that the leader of the Men in Black (no, not those Men in Black) was an evil alien who had plans for the Szalinskis. It ended up getting tossed by the wayside for the rest of the series.
  • iCarly has a few plot-points unresolved or not referred to, and they revolve around the shipping that is not the main focus for the show, and only comes up in a handful of episodes per season. There are differing ideas on what it meant, mostly around which side of the Creddie (Carly + Freddie) or Seddie (Sam + Freddie) shipping divide people stand on.
    • The first, is the end of "iThink They Kissed" where Carly asks Sam and Freddie (who shared a First Kiss, then hid it from Carly), how long it was, and if they enjoyed it. The episode ended before they answered the question.
    • The second, is at the end of "iSpeed Date", Sam walks in on Freddie and Carly sharing a slow romantic dance in each other's arms. She walks out with saying a word. Again, it's not been brought up again, so speculation abounds on her motives and feelings for Freddie (or Carly). Again, what people think is based around the shipping divide.
    • Finally, "iSaved Your Life", where Freddie saves Carly's life, they enter a relationship. Carly tries to say she loves Freddie, but Freddie still breaks up with her because Sam put it into his head that Carly just loved that he was heroic and she's just hero worshiping. Freddie says to Carly that if she wants to be his boyfriend in the future, he'd love to. Neither this nor any of the mentioned plot-points have been mentioned again, and a deliberate Cliffhanger which adds even more questions, in the last episode of Season 4 means it'll be at least another 3 or 4 months before any could get possibly answered.
  • An episode of Walker, Texas Ranger had Cordell Walker rescue a girl who was trapped in a Christian cult camp, but with the last minutes of the episode devoted to Walker's rescue of Alex Cahill from the cult camp, it's unknown what has happened to the girl he was supposed to rescue. An even worse example is the movie "Trial by Fire" which ends with Alex being shot in the courthouse and lying near death. Supposedly, the producers were expecting CBS to offer them the opportunity to make further TV movies but low ratings (supposedly due to a football game preceding the movie running an hour longer than anticipated) and CBS shortly thereafter scrapping their Sunday night TV movie has made further TV movies unlikely. INSP network even doctored the movie to edit out the final scene with the shooting because there is no resolution and removing Alex's shooting leaves the story in a position to end without a hitch.
  • Probably due to extra seasons being planned but ultimately being cancelled by the BBC, season 3 of The House of Eliott ended with an unresolved argument between Evie and Beatrice over the direction of the eponymous fashion house.
  • The final episode of Unnatural History ended with the cast in the Mongolian desert, when they hear a strange noise. Jasper and Maggie wonder what the noise was, and Henry suggests the area is "more than just dust and bones".
  • Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. The first season ends with a sadist/masochist killer team forcing team leader Cooper into a Sadistic Choice of killing the masochist or the sadist will kill one of his teammates. The choice is right down to the wire, cut to black, gunshot. But, sorry, show was cancelled the previous week, NO RESOLUTION FOR YOU!
  • So much for The Cape. Didn't help they reduced the seasons episodes from 13 to 10, and didn't even show the last episode on TV (you had to go to the website to watch it). So die hard fans will never know if the Big Bad will ever go to jail, Vince will ever clear his name, or his family will know that he is alive.
  • This is Wonderland, a brilliant Canadian legal dramedy, ran for three seasons, and ended on three concurrent cliffhangers.
  • In the fourth series of Merlin Guinevere and (a fake) Lancelot are brainwashed with magic into kissing each other on the night before Gwen's wedding to Arthur, resulting in Gwen's exile and Lancelot's suicide. Although Guinevere is eventually welcomed back to Camelot by the end of the season and becomes its Queen through her marriage to Arthur, no one (including herself) ever finds out that she wasn't acting of her own volition when she cheated on Arthur, even though it would have only taken a simple conversation with Merlin (who knew that Lancelot was being controlled by Morgana) to clear up the issue (Gwen being smart enough to realize that the bracelet Lancelot gave her was probably the cause of her abrupt change in behaviour). Yet for whatever reason, the writers thought exonerating the pair of them wasn't worth any meaningful resolution, and the fact that Guinevere had to have found out at some point that Lancelot killed himself isn't ever addressed in any way.
  • The short-lived BBC soap opera Eldorado did this deliberately in the hope that viewers would demand to know what happened next and force an UnCancellation. It didn't work.
  • Steven Moffat's tenure on Doctor Who was known for this, as he is known for playing the "long game" and introducing plot threads that are intentionally left unresolved for years. The series has also picked up on the occasional hanging thread dating back decades (such as a 2013 episode, "The Name of the Doctor" that answered questions dating back to the very first episode in 1963).
  • Alcatraz: The final episode ended with Rebecca having been shot and seemingly dying on the operating table, and no indication what would happen to the 63s who were still at large.
  • The The Amanda Show had a recurring skit called "Moody's Point" which was a parody of teen angst shows. It had a twist that Moody was switched at birth and wasn't the real Moody and the episode ended before we could be introduced to the real Moody. Executive Meddling cancelled the show at that point and Dan Schneider later wrote in his blog that he doesn't even know who the real Moody is since the show was cancelled before he could write the script.
  • In Game of Thrones, it is never revealed who sent the assassin to kill Bran Stark. In the third book, Tyrion and Jaime both deduce it was Joffrey, however in the TV series it is never mentioned, and since nearly everyone who would care is dead the question was dropped. The seventh season eventually ends up implying that Littlefinger sent the assassin, which creates something of an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole since the timeline for this to have been planned by that particular person is not impossible, but pretty questionable.
  • To its credit, Forever did resolve what happened to Abigail, the identities of Abe's birth parents, and the fate of the ship Henry was sailing on during his first death. But it ended its only season with no answers about the source of the immortality curse or how Henry can break it. Along those same lines, the evil immortal Adam is immobilized but still alive, and could be a threat later on if he dies again, but we won't know how so. As to whether or not Henry ever told Jo his secret, the show ends right when he's confronted with evidence, and though the dialogue implies he will tell her, we ultimately don't know for sure. Word of God attempted to clear some of this up on Twitter after the cancellation (e.g. Adam would return with the help of a third immortal, and Jo would become a Secret Keeper), but not much else — in fact, some tidbits raised even more questions.
  • The Tripods, The BBC's adaptation of of John Christopher's trilogy was left hanging at the end of the second series, which adapted the second book and ended with a massive cliffhanger. A third and final series had been scripted but was cancelled due to the same hostility to SF and fantasy among the BBC's leadership that saw Doctor Who gradually smothered at around the same time.
  • The Season 2 Cliffhanger finale of Rosewood came right up to the edge of resolving the Unresolved Sexual Tension between the main characters. Since there will be no Season 3, we'll never know what would have happened.
  • The Knights Of Prosperity, about a group of friends trying to rob Mick Jagger, was cancelled partway into its first season (with the remaining episode airing over the rest of the year), ending with them almost robbing, and almost getting caught robbing Mick Jagger, then deciding not after meeting him in person and finding he's actually a nice guy, and deciding to rob Ray Romano instead after meeting him and finding him to be a jerk.
  • The Mick ends with Sabrina critically injured, with the doctor unsure of whether she's received brain damage. It's left hanging how she'll recover and whether she'll continue to Yale.
  • Wonder Woman: In "The Girl from Ilandia", Tina is left trapped on Earth without a way home. It's a rare Downer Ending in the series. And she's never mentioned again.
  • The Last Man on Earth ended Season 4 with the gang being surrounded by a huge group of gas mask-wearing survivors who had been living in an underground bunker. The series was cancelled after that, although Word of God did at least explain where it would have gone in an interview.
  • Out of This World (1987): the finale, Donna and Troy swap places, and she is still stranded on Anterias (and he is still stranded on Earth) at the end. We never find out how they switch back because the series was canceled.
  • Hannibal ends with both Will and Hannibal falling off of a ledge, presumably to their deaths.
  • Mork & Mindy: in the finale, "Gotta Run", the titular duo uses time-travelling shoes and winds up in prehistoric times. They escape, but the last we see of them is in a time vortex; viewers never find out where they ultimately end up. It's hinted they wound up there forever, as the episode ends showing a cave painting of the couple. (This was actually the series' next-to-last episode: the final one, "The Mork Report", filmed before "Gotta Run", was aired later to give the series proper closure).
  • The writers of Robin Hood were expecting to get green-lit for a fourth season, and so went to a lot of trouble in setting up plot-lines that could be continued going forward, despite the Kill 'Em All nature of the third season finale, which included the death of Robin himself. The last episode ends with Prince John still in power, King Richard held hostage in Austria, the few remaining outlaws vowing to raise the ransom money, and the recently-introduced Archer (half-brother to both Robin and Guy) tasked with the responsibility of becoming the new Team Leader. The entire production was set to move to Scotland under new showrunner Sally Wainwright, with the remaining cast members signed on for at least two more seasons and some scripts having already been written. However, faced with the third season's low ratings, the absurdity of a Robin Hood adaptation without a Robin or a Marian (she having been fridged at the end of season two), and the grim prospect of the universally-despised Kate as the show's female lead, the BBC opted to pull the plug.

  • Cool Kids Table: Despite not completing the story, the group decides that the The Wreck isn't feasible for the podcast because it doesn't have much room for roleplaying or much leeway anywhere. Though they initially suggested they could come back to it, by the time they're referencing it in Sequinox it's clear that they're not very keen on spending any more time with it.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • The Metal Gear saga surprisingly avoided this problem. The fourth game filled up pretty much all plot holes, with the exception of Fortune's Last Stand in the second game. According to Word of God however, it was originally supposed to be played straight, with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty being the last game chronologically in-universe; so whether or not Metal Gear counts as an example depends on whether one wants to invoke Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Of course, due to a buttload of behind the scenes problems, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an absolute mess. From a narrative standpoint it's a chaotic heap of unresolved plot threads barely held together by Voodoo Sharks, Plot Holes, Remixed Levels, and an entire final act that went unfinished (it only exists as a slideshow narrated by the developers in the special edition of the game). That said game somehow managed to actually be good in spite of this is nothing less than awe-inspiring.
  • James Bond game Blood Stone ends with a Tomato Surprise that could been resolved in a new game, also the credits start with "James Bond will return..." But we know Bizarre is done for good and the next Bond game won't follow this one. You could however stretch things up and pretend somehow that Skyfall's villain was The Man Behind the Man.
  • Final Fantasy VII has references to "Techno-Soldiers" replacing human agents of Shinra early in the game, but is never elaborated on and is forgotten once Sephiroth is introduced into the game. It is believed by many fans that the original plot of the game would have revolved around a Turned Against Their Masters scenario, which was abandoned in favor of Sephiroth. The techno-soldiers themselves finally turned up in Dirge of Cerberus, and even that game's storyline is an example of this trope with its secret ending, where Genesis Rhapsodos appears in a cave and flies away with Weiss in his arms, his motives and goals still unknown. And the next game he appears in is a prequel.
  • Early in Final Fantasy VIII, the heroes are assigned to help the city of Timber gain its independence from the Galbadian Republic. This storyline is quickly folded into the main plot, but the question of whether Timber becomes free in the end is never addressed. However, since the Timber mission was a low-paying and therefore low-importance goal, when the sorceress showed up and became a threat to Garden and the world itself, it sort of makes sense that no-one cared about that so much when the main plot kicked off.
  • Final Fantasy XII at some point completely forgets to resolve the Occuria situation. Yeah, the Sun-Cryst is destroyed, but why can't they make another? Why do they just seem to give up without any word? The sequel does not address this at all either. If the canceled sequel Fortress might have expanded on this issue is now a mystery for the ages.
  • At the very end of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II, the player sees an ominous-looking cutscene showing the rise of a new Big Bad. This was intended to be a teaser for DA III, which was never made. Dungeon Keeper III suffered the same fate.
  • The Fallout series has the Followers of the Apocalypse in the first game and the very similar tanker vagrants in Fallout 2, both are due to bugs. Although Fallout: New Vegas does feature the Followers, meaning they survived in canon even though it's impossible to get their good ending in the first game. The Fallout 3 expansion Broken Steel leaves Colonel Autumn's fate unresolved if you let him walk out of the purifier. Was he killed or captured, or did he leave the Wasteland entirely?
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War ends with Brother-Captain Gabriel Angelos swearing to defeat the demon he had accidentally unsealed from the artifact sealing it. Neither Gabe nor that particular demon have been seen for the three expansion packs that followed. The plot line is completed as of Dawn of War II: Retribution.
  • Dreamfall, sequel to The Longest Journey, tied up about two of the many different plot threads left hanging over the course of the game. It doesn't even tell you what happened to the main characters. To be fair, though, it is the middle part of a trilogy. With the episodic release of Dreamfall:Chapters, the fates of the main characters were quickly resolved and slowly but surely a lot of the other plot threads are being tied up.
  • The Interactive Fiction version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ends with Arthur setting foot on the planet Magrathea. The game promises a sequel, which of course never came.
  • Gears of War series:
    • Gears of War 2 is paced from beginning to end by dropping the latest subplot and introducing a new one.
    • Gears of War 3, which Word of God confirms is definitely the last game in the series, does do a good job of wrapping up each characters' personal plot arcs and finally explains Imulsion and the Lambent, but still leaves unaddressed the Sires/New Hope Facility sub-plot from the second game, the true nature of the Locust (if any), as well as the question of who or what Queen Myrrah really was. This was solved with old forum posts and the tie-in comic The Slab. Though, Adam Fenix's disk is never brought up again.
  • No More Heroes really ends with just Travis Touchdown and Henry striking each other by the Santa Destroy flag. This leaves many things to consider, such as what the UAA really is, who Travis's parents were, who Darkstar was, and, of course, if the events affected the video game's real world or if it really was Silvia's daughter Jeane day dreaming about a picture. Some, but not all, of these questions are answered in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
  • The original Japanese release of EarthBound Beginnings ended like this. After sending Giegue packing, Ninten and his party start to walk away from the battle field... and then the scene pauses, the credits roll, and you're left with a "To be continued..." for your troubles. The then-cancelled American localization averted this, adding an epilogue that gave a proper resolution for all the characters in the game; this was kept in the game when Mother 1 + 2 was released on the Game Boy Advance years later.
  • F.E.A.R. has one of your allies, Spen Jankowski, in a different area of the same operation as you. He disappears on the site. Eventually, the support guy stops mentioning him, and he never comes up again. You finally find his body in Project Origin.
  • Persona 4 seems to be doing this deliberately; while the main plot is resolved well enough, there's a fair few details, large and small, left completely dangling. The largest one by far is that, despite defeating the thing that was shrouding the "Other World" in fog, the TV-based portals to the other side still function, in stark contrast to the cessation of the Dark Hour after the Big Bad of Persona 3 is defeated. The cast themselves briefly note that this has potential issues for the future. It's quite possible that Atlus has simply left hooks in for another sequel. One seemingly Left Hanging detail is actually exploited by the game: in order to get the game's Golden Ending, you have to refuse the Good Ending that the game hands you in order to find out where the protagonist and Adachi got their Personas, a detail you may have completely forgotten about.
  • Medal of Honor: Rising Sun ended with the Big Bad escaping with the protagonist's captured brother. Thanks to the game performing poorly both critically and financially, the intended sequel was cancelled.
  • When Mega Man 9, and later 10, were announced, people wondered if Capcom would finally fully tie together the Classic series and the Sequel Series Mega Man X. It didn't happen. If an X9 is ever announced, people will probably ask about the Elf Wars. Mega Man X8 ended on a cliffhanger that doesn't look to be resolved any time soon.
  • Mega Man Legends 2 ended with Mega Man Volnutt stuck on the moon, and Roll Caskett and Tron Bonne working together to rescue him. This was left to hang for an entire decade, and with the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3, it seems it's not going to be resolved any time soon.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent mostly ties all the plot points together in a satisfying conclusion...until you unlock the secret ending, which ends on the blatant Sequel Hook of Master Thomas going evil and the four thought-to-be-dead enemy Mega Men standing with him to carry out his plan. It's been over a decade since then, to the point many fans will tend to treat it as non-canon until an actual release of ZX 3 comes out.
  • The Viewtiful Joe games were planned to be a trilogy, with a character in the first game even outright telling the protagonist that he'd have two more fights for justice on his hands in the future. This made it all the more incredible and infuriating when come the end of the second game, Joe's father turns out to be an evil villain, powered by a mysterious black V-Watch he acquired somehow, the superpowers and other craziness of the movies have somehow made their way into the real world, and a fortress of evil rises out of the earth in the distance, signalling the final and oh-so-presumably-epic battle and the answers to all our questions... but then, OH DEAR, the studio shut down, and we never got closure on any of that, or the overall story of the games.
  • Hydrophobia ends abruptly without dealing with a lot of the plot points: the credits roll just as the heroes encounter a new danger, you never find out about the person you're trying to save, the full details of what the heck was going on is never revealed, as is info about the Big Bad and the organization behind the plot. You can get the bare bones from the various collectible documents spread about the game, but that still only gets you the lead-in to a possible reveal, which never comes.
  • The original Dead Rising left off with Frank and Isabella escaping the mall and defeating an insane military general. However, Carlito spread infected orphans all over the country and Frank himself is infected. It also isn't mentioned as to whether or not Otis escaped with the survivors successfully (and there's the fact that a few of the survivors were infected anyway). The sequel pretty much confirms that the country-wide infection has more-or-less succeeded. Case West reveals that Frank and Isabella have survived, Frank is suppressing his zombification via Zombrex, and the two are hard at work to get to the bottom of the whole mess.
  • Fatal Frame:
  • The bizarre ending to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has never been resolved — by the time The Curse of Monkey Island came around, Ron Gilbert was no longer working on the series, and the devs for that game decided to Hand Wave it away rather than come up with their own explanation. A Word of God answer to what happened doesn't seem likely, either, as Ron Gilbert seems unwilling to share this (or the true Secret of Monkey Island — they appear to be connected) unless he can make a game out of it.
  • Return to Krondor had an ending that was clearly intended as a Sequel Hook. Let's see... Sidi is still alive and active, and puts the amulet back together. He intends to release the Dark God into Midkemia and the amulet is clearly a part of his plan. Meanwhile, there is the matter of the Crawler still alive and and active...somewhere. A sequel has never been made.
  • Touhou Project's Hisoutensoku has three story arcs centered around three heroines searching for the owner of a giant shadow/silhouette. Only Sanae's arc has sufficient closure - that she had, in fact, found her "giant." Cirno gets sidetracked twice by Marisa and ends up fighting one of Alice's experimental spell cards, pegging it as her Daidarabotchi. Meiling gets it worse: either she dreamed the whole thing, or she did see something but never even got to her first stage battle.
  • Legacy of Kain, pictured above, has lain dormant since 2003's Defiance, with the Pillars of Nosgoth still destroyed and the future of the world uncertain. Crystal Dynamics' shift to the Tomb Raider series, the series' creator's move to Naughty Dog, and the death of Tony Jay make the chances of a resolution appear unlikely.
  • The details of Nero's background in Devil May Cry 4 remain very blurry. We still don't know whose son he is (claims that he's Vergil's remain Fanon), when or how he got his Red Right Hand, or how much Dante knows about him. Devil May Cry 5 however, finally gives us an answer, as it reveals that Nero is in fact Vergil's son.
  • DmC: Devil May Cry game ended with Dante defeating Virgil to keep him from taking over the Big Bad position to rule humanity. Despite this, however, demons have now been outed and the world is in a state of confusion and chaos with it being uncertain how things will turn out. If that wasn't bad enough, the DLC for Virgil shows him casting his empathy aside and amassing an army of demons for his own conquest. What happens next? No clue, as there's no word from Capcom on if they'll continue this continuity or not.
  • This trope is one of the many complaints regarding Mass Effect 3's ending.
    • No matter what you did throughout the entirety of the series, you receive one of three endings with no closure outside of the fate of the Reapers. "Side" missions such as using/sabotaging the genophage cure, whether the Quarians or Geth (or both) were saved, and the fate of the Rachni have no narrative consequence outside of War Assets, and the fate of your squadmates is left completely unknown.
    • Another common complaint is that Shepard only can survive in the Red Ending if you do everything right, but even then, it's a split second of his/her torso taking a laboured breath in a pile of rubble. Smash Cut to credits, leaving his/her fate completely unknown.
    • However, it has been addressed with the release of the Extended Cut DLC, pretty much showing how the galaxy recovers from the war, changes the mass relays from being destroyed to being damaged and, with the exception of the Destroy ending with the lowest EMS possible on these two cases, Shepard's squadmates are safe.
  • Killzone:
    • The ending of Killzone 3 abruptly smashes you in the face with the credits immediately after the climax. There's a short stinger scene in the middle of the credits which answers one minor question but that's as far as it goes. As far as the player knows: 1. The Helghast fleet has been mostly destroyed. 2. The nuking of Stahl's flagship on the surface of Helghan triggered a massive Petrusite chain reaction which appeared to wipe out all life on the surface, with the obvious exception of Stahl and a few of his soldiers as seen in Stinger mentioned. 3. Considering how powerful the Helghast weapons have become, and how some of their ships warped to Earth, it's possible the attack on Earth has already begun. 4. The ISA forces left at Helghan were either destroyed by the petrusite reaction or stuck flying around the planet in fighters incapable of warp travel, so they probably have no way to get to Earth.
    • Killzone Shadowfall dealt with the aftermath of the ending to Killzone 3, only to leave players hanging about the fate of the cold war. No new sequels have been made, and no information about the original protagonists has been given.
  • Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich ends with Alchemiss/Entropy meeting the living embodiment of Energy X who implies that she still has a job to do. The third game in the series, which was intended to cover modern and Iron Age comics, was never greenlit.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age resolved most of its major plot points, but left a few smaller plots open -Namely Anemos, Sheba's origins, and the ultimate fate of Alex. The sequel, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, revealed that Alex survived but otherwise did not address any of these points, and even introduced a few more: The quest Takeru is on, what happened to Felix, the Tuaparang Emperor, and especially the Psynergy Vortexes, particularly the huge one that has manifested over Matthew's home. Oh, and Alex is still The Unfought.
  • What happened to Alis(a) after Phantasy Star Gaiden, and what exactly was the threat she was returning to Algol to face? At the time it was made, she was supposed to return as the protagonist of Phantasy Star IV and this game was the set-up for that, but when they ended up going with a different plot for that game, they just left this unresolved.
  • Episode 2 of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 ended with Little Planet not being restored. No Episode 3 for you!
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II ends with Darth Vader captured by the Rebellion and the Rebel fleet makes the jump into hyperspace, little knowing that Boba Fett is following them. Unfortunately, the lack of sales, combined with LucasArts closing in 2013, suggests that it's not going to be resolved any time soon. At least Vader is somehow Saved by Canon.
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando ended with Delta Squad (now a three-man squad after Sev was under heavy attack and stranded; Clone Advisor 1 was adamant on Delta Squad evacuating immediately) aboard a Republic Gunship, receiving a message from Yoda, and preparing for a new assignment, the Battle of Kashyyyk, followed by a Smash to Black. The planned sequel, Imperial Commando, was cancelled in 2005, and Republic Commando itself would be rendered non-canon to the post-Disney Star Wars Franchise.
  • Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two ends with Mickey and Oswald saving the wasteland and defeating the Mad Doctor. The post credits scene features all the Petes of the wasteland getting together and plotting something while holding Gremlin Prescott hostage. However, due to the game's poor sales which led to the closing of Junction Point Studios, a third game is highly unlikely.
  • Assassin's Creed III left three unsolved mysteries: Connor's ultimate fate, Juno's true plans for the world, and that mysterious voice at the very end. Only the last was ever resolved (an Abstergo tech guiding one of the company's Animus users). In Black Flag, Connor is only briefly mentioned with no new information, and Juno for some reason is helplessly trapped in Abstergo's network, only saying that "perhaps the Vault was opened too soon".
  • The Epic story of Shenmue ended on (perhaps) the 4th, of its planned 11 chapters, when it was cut-short after its sequel, for a multitude of reasons but mainly because Sega could no longer afford to make the games any more, leaving not only the whole driving revenge plotline hanging but introducing us to new characters that would apparently answer many questions about the mysterious MacGuffins, character motivations and if the world was Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. Eventually, a Kickstarter was announced for Shenmue III, which was funded within 12 hours, guaranteeing that the series would finally see its conclusion- or not, as that game ended on yet another cliffhanger.
  • The entire continuity of Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. The game ends with a strong Sequel Hook, as Shadow Island and its gate to the shadow world are destroyed and Lamb, who arranges a cover-up, now has the Abkani tablets and knows the location of at least two more gates, but no direct sequel has been ever made. The planned comic book series was to follow Carnby and Aline after the events of Shadow Island, but only the first issue was ever made.
  • In Telepath Tactics, Igor Bloodbeard and his bandits are the major antagonists of the first arc, but he's never confronted directly, and his forces end up vanishing from the plot rather abruptly with no proper resolution. His subordinate Fera does show up in the epilogue, however, so this may be an intentional Sequel Hook.
  • In the two Left 4 Dead games and their accompanying comic, the Left 4 Dead 1 gang eventually get an ending that's fairly easy to take as conclusive, but the Left 4 Dead 2 survivors have their fate left much more ambigious. While the final canon campaign, The Parish, serves well as a close to the series overall due to it's excitingly paced finale and satisfying visual payoff in the ending cut-scene (compared to most other campaigns), all of the foreshadowing regarding the army's vile treatment of carriers makes it hard to take the survivors' final escape as being a conclusive end to their trials. With no further DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 on the horizon, and Left 4 Dead 3 unconfirmed, it's not looking like we'll know what happened to Coach and the gang for a long while, if ever.
  • Although Five Nights at Freddy's 4 resolves most of its plot threads, the biggest one left unsolved is the locked box that appears at the end of Night 7. According to Scott Cawthon, it contains, "all the pieces [of the story] put together," and though he planned to include the means to open it in an update, he eventually decided to leave the box as it is after noticing how the fanbase, unlike with the other games, hadn't fully solved the story yet. This has yet to be addressed even after the main story was resolved in Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator.
  • Disney Infinity: The ending of the story mode of the Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set (which implies that Loki and Ultron were in league with Thanos, and that Thanos is coming after the Marvel heroes) was clearly a Sequel Hook, but the fact that Infinity has ended production means that this twist in the game's plot likely won't be leading anywhere anytime soon.
  • The ending to Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a sudden Downer Ending Cliffhanger with main protagonist Sly trapped in the distant past of ancient Egypt and the unresolved plot point of just why Penelope pulled a Face–Heel Turn and continues to stalk her ex-boyfriend with postcards. Unfortunately, a fifth game was never announced, and over a year later, Sanzaru Games unceremoniously confirmed that they had no intentions of releasing a new game, and that the franchise had been cancelled. Most fans accordingly disowned the game in response, and Sanzaru became a pariah of video game development.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a player-dependent example — players who refuse to take their time and decide to rush straight to the Final Boss will be able to finish the game, but won't learn anything about the world, the nature of this Link's true identity, or the role Zelda had in the backstory.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: After the Sardinis flee the fourth house, we never get to see them again and their fate is completely left ambiguous. However poltergeist Polterguy suggests that he will continue with his haunting but he does not specify where he will do this.
  • Grand Theft Auto III left two plot points hanging (and those wasn't ever answered by future games either). The first one is the disappearance of Donald Love (which is never revelead the reason or where he went) and the second one is regarding the ambiguous last scene in which Maria Salvatore may be or may be not have been Killed Offscreen.
  • The Stinger of the main campaign of LEGO Dimensions showing an unseen character picking up a bit of Lord Vortech and getting corrupted by it, clearly setting something up was never to be followed up on as the franchise ended up being abruptly cut short as well.
  • Pokémon X and Y has a bit of this due to the fact that Gen VI didn't get follow-ups or sequels of any kind unlike other gens. Examples include a Hex Maniac that says something mysterious before disappearing and Zygarde's backstory. Although Zygarde did get new forms that debuted in Pokémon Sun and Moon, it still didn't get any story pertaining to it.
  • The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince's main plot point (the Wolf atoning for what she did) is resolved, but it's never explained where the Prince went afterwards. The forest is probably too dangerous for him to live in, even with his newly-restored sight, but his parents imprisoned him at the start of the story, so he wouldn't want to go back to them. At least it's explicitly established that he's happy.
  • Conduit 2 ended with the protagonist accidentally signalling an alien spacecraft to Earth, and several former American presidents (including the Founding Fathers) wearing Powered Armor emerging from a portal offering their help against the coming threat. The third game, which was supposed to round out the trilogy, was never developed, due to a combination of poor sales, the developer suffering a disasterous falling out with Nintendonote , and the studio's other major project, The Grinder, being cancelled after a lengthy and costly Development Hell, all of which led to the studio suffering financial hardship and shifting gears towards developing ports for bigger studios instead of releasing their own original titles.
  • Flight has the plot the whole game started with - Sandy wanting to be with her mother on Christmas. What happened with it, seeing as Santa received Yamato's composition and not the letter asking him for it she originally sent him?
  • The Stinger to Anthem's single-player campaign ends with the discovery of the fresh corpse of an Urgoth soldier, hinting that humanity's ancient overlords were coming back and that a fight with them was soon coming. After months of delays and missed roadmaps, EA and Bioware announced in 2021 they would be ceasing further development on Anthem in order to focus on the new Dragon Age and Mass Effect games, leaving Anthem as a Stillborn Franchise and making it all but explicit that this plotline would be never be explored or resolved.

    Visual Novels 
  • Remember 11: The characters are basically out of danger, and free to start piecing together the many lingering mysteries surrounding their experience. Then comes an implied imminent infanticide and the credits. And we are barely scratching the surface as Satoru realizes he is not who he thought he was. Many of these problems were allegedly caused by budget problems.
  • Zero Escape:
    • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Though you may not know it: the True ending seems to imply Junpei finds Akane, right? Wrong. He doesn't. He spends the rest of his life looking for her, and she goes off on some huge, grand scheme that the director only mentioned in passing.
    • The sequel Virtue's Last Reward is even worse: the entire game being training set up by Akane and Future!Sigma to develop Sigma and Phi's esper abilities to send them to the past and prevent the Radical-6 outbreak. Naturally, the game ends with them jumping back in time, and neither epilogue takes place when any of the participants willing to divulge information have yet been in the Mars mission test site. Most of these unresolved hooks are directly or indirectly setting up for the third game, but at least a few of them, not the least being the identity of "?", are unaddressed.
    • Not to mention Zero Time Dilemma, which leaves a good bunch of plot threads unresolved. Who was that religious fanatic? Was he/she found by Crash Keys, or did they doom humanity? Did Carlos shoot Delta or not? What happened to D-Team after the Payoff confrontation with Delta? note  None of these questions are addressed in the story, and unless a fourth game suddenly comes out of nowhere, we're unlikely to ever get the answers.

  • While Jeph Jacques did complete Alice Grove, it was done with releases coming at a breakneck pace in the comic's last third or so and the story focusing on directly resolving the most central arc. That, plus an abrupt Time Skip ending, left a lot of dangling plot threads and unanswered questions about the characters and setting.
  • Cheap Thrills spent much of the fourth chapter (among other unresolved subplots) detailing protagonist Jerodie becoming a meth addict due to stress in addition to the deaths of his mother and younger brother in a car crash. Jeordie’s girlfriend Bethany finds this out in the last panel of what wound up being the final published comic. After a five-year hiatus, author/artist S. E. Case ultimately gave the comic an outright Continuity Reboot as Rigsby, WI.
  • Rumors of War frequently ends a Story Arc without resolving all of its plot threads. This is generally viewed as intentional on the part of the author. Not that it's any less frustrating to be left wondering What Happened to the Mouse?
  • RPG World, the heroes invade Galgarion's headquarters and make it to him for a final battle. Everyone's about to throw down just stopped. A combination of creator, Ian J, going into animation and backlash from his fans on certain things they didn't like in the story resulted in him quitting the webcomic entirely, leaving the story unfinished after a seven year run (2000-2007). What's more there was a subplot going on that Rika's robots had stumbled upon a time machine meaning there could possibly be a way to prevent her from being killed by Galgarion. But the series stopped before it could go anywhere.
    • Eventually when Ian got his show, OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, greenlit years later after becoming an animator. He dedicated an episode to Hero and Galgarion ultimately resolving their feud and Hero going back home to Cherry where they later have a child. Ian himself inked a final page as a proper ending. It was about as much closure fans were gonna get of the series despite the other plotlines that were still going on since the webcomic ended.
  • Girls with Slingshots ended with Hazel and Zach sorting out their relationship and settling as Better as Friends, but there were several plotlines that were left unresolved: Will Hazel move in as a roommate with her Dogged Nice Guy Vincent, despite Jamie thinking (with justification) that it's a very bad idea? And what's Vincent's side of the story in this? What about the hints that McPedro is an alien? Although, the author has stated that the story may continue in another form, so these plotlines may get a future resolution.
  • Homestuck ends in this manner, with all of the plot threads that had been developed over the last couple years being abandoned in favor of the ending that had been planned out and worked on for years. However, the credits sequence released six months later ended up resolving many of the threads, and The Homestuck Epilogues came out three years after the comic ended.
  • xkcd has "The Race" series, featuring Firefly actors, which abruptly ended just before the main character and Nathan Fillion duke it out, mocking Firefly's abrupt cancellation mentioned above.

    Web Original 
  • The X-Entertainment 2008 Advent Calendar's last update was the 22nd... right before the traditional final battle. Great.
  • Little White Lie featured a major cliffhanger...and then the creators lost their money and most of the people moved and scattered around the country.
  • The ending to Candle Cove is a mixture of this and The Reveal. The last person discussing the long-forgotten children's show explains that Candle Cove didn't exist at all, and that anyone who watched the show was just watching static for half an hour. It turns into Paranoia Fuel when the participants in the story remember some profoundly scary things from the show.
  • The BIONICLE web-serials ceased being updated long ago, for the simple reason that the writer didn't have time to continue doing them, leaving about a dozen or so different plot-lines hanging, some of them in their very early stages. And as these were the sole story-sources after the cancellation of the toys, comics, books and movies, this effectively means the entire franchise ended this way.
  • The fourth season of TVTome Adventures will likely never happen, which Chris Niosi may never stop hearing backlash about. Granted, he WAS planning on creating a fourth season, but after he went to college, he had less time for the series and the show was cancelled. He later admitted that the reason he didn't finish his series was partially because it was less popular than other his other works such as Brawl Taunts and Parody Rangers, which didn't help public opinion. Still, most of the loose ends can be answered by scrounging Niosi's DeviantArt page. It's a shame, too, since season 4 would have been awesome.
    Gamecrazed:I'm just a virus...
  • Because of a Creator Breakdown, Demo Reel ended up leaving a few things unanswered, most annoying being Donnie's failed marriage. What did he do to make it die? Did she know about his past? How did they meet? We'll never find out.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers the PMD-R arc abruptly ended by leaking into Kanjoh-2 due to most of the playerbase losing motivation, though there have been attempts to properly fill the gaps and close the loose ends.
  • A number of plots in Pokémon: Rise of the Rockets, primarily due to players leaving before finishing what they started—or worse, introducing characters and plots and then not doing anything at all with them. One particular example that comes to mind is Hoenn's liberation from Team Rocket, which was never followed up on again until the GM decided to do something with it himself—which resulted in complaints from the very player who had left it hanging to begin with!
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, any plots introduced by players who disappear afterwards will often be left hanging unless some other players decide to carry on the plots and resolve them instead.
  • The 13th Season of Red vs. Blue. Epsilon-Church deconstructs himself into his fragments, which each go to one of the different Reds and Blues to help them defeat Hargrove's forces, which are about to blast their way into the room they're barricaded in. Church remarks about how the hero who gives his life doesn't get to see the happy ending he helped created. And with the line "Well, ain't that a bitch," the screen cuts to black before anything else happens. Season 15, the next season chronologicallynote , picks up well after this point, and the writers have gone on record stating that they don't intend to reveal how the Reds and Blues escaped the ship.
  • Googlebrains has a video that just leaves you in thin air about what happens next. There is an ending but they say stuff that adds so much possibility for a continuation.
  • Pissed Off Angry Gamer: At the end of the Xbox 360 review, he says his next console review will be of the PlayStation 3. It never happened.

    Western Animation 
  • The first and only season of Clone High ends with a series of dramatic events, including Joan sleeping with JFK, Scudworth being apprehended by the Board of Shadowy Figures, and all the clones being frozen. The show was cancelled and we never learned what became of anyone.
  • As Told by Ginger, "Wicked Game" (about Dodie's attempts to break her best friend Ginger's relationship with Darren). This is brought up again in a later episode as an offhand comment, so it's assumed that Ginger, Dodie, and Macy patched things up off screen and deal with it by never speaking about it again.
  • Near its end, Hey Arnold! got hit by this twice in quick succession. In Hey Arnold! The Movie, Helga confesses her feelings to Arnold, but at the end claims she said it on the heat of the moment. From his unconvinced smile, and the fact that he later flirts with her while dancing tango in "April Fool's Day", it's pretty clear he knows that's not the case. However, he never actually responds to Helga's confession at all. And then, at the end of "The Journal", Arnold finds a map of the San Lorenzo jungle that could lead him to his lost parents' whereabouts. This was intended to be the lead-in to the second Hey Arnold! film, known as "The Jungle Movie", which would've resolved both of these questions, but Craig Bartlett's departure from Nickelodeon, coupled with the low gross of the first film, led to the Grand Finale of the series being cancelled. It would be more than a decade before this trope would be subverted with the announcement of The Jungle Movie going back into production as a two-part TV movie. It's notable that this was only achieved because of a loving fan base. Fans were intensely driven to help fund the return of the series as a movie and it finally picked up speed in the mid 2010's and led to a full resolution. The end result turned out to be just one movie, but with the door open for potential follow-up installments.
  • The Weekenders, "Croquembouche" (about Carver in a food essay contest: Tino does his usual end-of-episode Aesop routine while Carver presents his essay on a French cake, which gives the ep its title, and the ep ends with people applauding Carver's speech, without showing if he won or not)
  • All Grown Up!, "Izzy or Isn't He?" (when the episode ends, you realize they never mention the result of the election that forms a major part of this episode's storyline).
  • ReBoot started the "Daemon" storyline during the third season... only to find out that they weren't getting a fourth season. That one was left hanging for years until the TV movie Daemon Rising (which used "It's About Time!" as part of the advertising). Alas, ReBoot ended on another cliffhanger not long after. Other three movies entered into production, and a webcomic is being done on the official ReBoot website to bridge the storyline gap between the old and new material. But then it all ends in another cliffhanger.
  • In the BattleTech Expanded Universe animated series, the final two-part episode pits the main characters against the bad guys in a Trial of Possession for the main characters' home planet of Sommerset. When it finally breaks down to a hand to hand fight between the bad guy and the hero, it ends with the hero winning the planet... but not the people, including the hero's brother, who were all spirited off the planet. The series was not continued. However, in a novel set in the same universe, the main character shows up nearly 15 years later. He is presented with the temptation to make an unauthorized attack to retake Sommerset, meaning that the Trial of Possession (much like the rest of the series) had little or no lasting effect on the larger Battletech universe.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender never resolves the question of what happened to Zuko's mom. The Sequel Series to ATLA, The Legend of Korra, features a character asking the phrase above verbatim. The adressee is cut off before she can answer. At least the viewers are given the hint that it was a happy ending. The question is finally answered in a sequel comic book called The Search.
  • The 1990's cartoon Mummies Alive! ended with one of the minor characters (who'd been searching for proof of their existence) listening to fellow believers on his own radio show in what boils down into an extended Clip Show. The series was supposed to be picked up for another season, but this fell through due to low ratings.
  • Robotix ended with Nemesis, who had been presumed deceased, still alive in space. If the episodes had been picked up as a full series, he and the other Terrakors would have most likely returned to Skalorr to get revenge on the Protectons.
  • The Simpsons has an odd tendency to start episodes with one plotline that somehow activates another, and what happened to initiate the new plotline is rarely, if ever mentioned again:
    • A lampshading occurred in the episode "A Tale of Two Springfields" when, after the plot had shifted, a badger who had been living in the dog-house tries to reassert itself, but Homer accusingly tells it that they're onto something else now. The episode ends with the badger leading an army of badgers to invade Springfield when they're distracted by a concert by The Who.
    • Lampshaded again in a different episode, where a supermarket bagging boy strike tangentially led to the family going on an African safari. As the family drifts down a dangerous river on a very makeshift raft, Homer wonders if the strike back home is over. His rant is cut short when they careen over Victoria Falls. After they survive this, they follow a monkey in hopes of finding their way back to civilization... as Homer continues to rant on why those bag boys don't deserve anything.
    • Interestingly inverted in one episode where Homer, going crazy with Throwing Down the Gauntlet to scare everyone, ends up offending someone who accepts his challenge and he and the family are forced to flee the house while he's waiting on the lawn. At the end of the episode when they return from a failed farming venture, Homer finds his opponent still waiting for him and they end up dueling after all.
    • The episode, "Missionary Impossible", with Homer on an island, where he and a girl are at the top of a tower, which is about to fall into a lava flow with them in it. The episode's plot ends there as they get interrupted by a callback to the telethon fundraiser Homer ran away from in Springfield (and a joke about Rupert Murdoch being so greedy that the show's revenue from commercials and merchandise isn't enough).
  • Duckman's last episode, "Four Weddings Inconceivable", ends with the titular character about to remarry —until his first wife, who has been presumed dead for the entire series, shows up. According to the series' entry at Wikipedia, "Writer Michael Markowitz noted (in Sep 1998): "We never formally planned Part II... and I'll never tell what I personally had in mind. I'm hoping to leave it to my heirs, for the inevitable day when Duckman is revived by future generations. Ah, the Spandex suits they'll wear, the hovercrafts they'll fly!"
  • The French and Vietnamese dubs of Beast Wars both ended after the second series, leaving fans with a massive, unresolved cliffhanger.
    • One could argue that the series itself ended up like this. While the main plotline was largely resolved, the nature of the Vok aliens (who instigated some of the series' biggest episodes) and the origins of Tarantulas were not explained. This was a result of the series being rushed to completion so that the sequel Beast Machines could begin. Simon Furman eventually revealed that the season 3 finale was originally to be a 3-parter that would end on a cliffhanger, leading in to season 4 - this Season Finale was to explain Taratulas' origins in detail and his motivations for hating the Vok (and would likely have resulted in Tigerhawk gaining a bigger role as well instead of being thrown conveniently under the bridge). The plot was rushed, and unexplained aspects of the story were left to the comic continuation.
  • Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles details in its final season the invasion of Earth. Anyone Can Die is established fairly quickly, the queen is on Earth, and the whole thing seems to be heading to a massive climax. Then Sony cut the funding three episodes from the end.
  • The ending of the second season of Legion of Super-Heroes revealed that Brainiac was still alive and well, but the show didn't get a third season.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): The final episode of Season 2, "The Doomsday Project", ends with Robotnik's sinister plot to launch doomsday pods all over Mobius ruined, and the city of Robotropolis can return to Mobotropolis as Dr. Robotnik is left to an unknown fate. Sonic and Sally realize their emotions for each other and kiss. But that's not it—Snively tells Sonic not to be so happy as it's now his turn, and a mysterious red-eyed figure, revealed in a later interview to be Ixis Naugus, laughs threateningly behind him. Sadly, the show was canceled after Disney took over ABC.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man. Did you enjoy seeing all your favorite major and minor characters from classic Spider-Man history and can't wait to see how they develop under the direction of writer Greg Weisman? Want to know what kinds of juicy drama will take place now that Gwen hotted up, and is stuck with a seemingly revenge-bent Harry Osbourn? Just how in the world did Norman survive that nasty explosion and what he's planning next? Does Peter end up with MJ or Gwen? Does Gwen even live? Tough luck, tiger. The rights for Spidey being fought over between Sony and Disney following the latter's Marvel buyout in 2010 meant the show got cancelled.
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: Peter defeats the Gaines Twins, but his friend Indy is injured thanks to them tricking Peter into attacking her. Harry, who was starting to come around that Spider-Man might not be so bad, goes back to hating him and Peter ultimately quits being Spider-Man and throws the costume into the Hudson River.
  • "Things Change", the final episode of Teen Titans, was about two things. First, it was about Beast Boy finding a Terra look-alike and trying to figure out if it was really her. It was later confirmed it was her in the comic series Teen Titans Go!, but the episode itself leaves it ambiguous; fair enough, the moral was having the strength to move on from the past...that said, the second plot is about a completely unexplained conflict between the other four Titans and a random white chameleon thing. It's never explained what it is, where it came from, why it's causing trouble, or how the Titans will catch it and defeat it. And the Made-for-TV Movie that followed never once mentions it.
  • The second season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has a subplot regarding the return of Surtur, the fire demon, and the possibility that he will cause Ragnarok to destroy the Earth. In two episodes, Surtur wipes out the dwarves of Nidavellir, enslaves Amora the Enchantress, and slaughters Korbinite aliens. A bonus episode on one of the show's DVDs features copious buildup to a confrontation between the Avengers and Surtur. However, since the show didn't receive a third season, this confrontation ends up never taking place.
    • There were actually several plot threads that were never fully resolved thanks to the canceling of the show. Surtur was just the most noticeable one. Others include Captain America's arrangement with Hela, Maria Hill leading the heroes toward Civil War, Hawkeye's love life, the fate of Princess Ravana, Hulk's eventual return to the team, capturing the last of the breakout villains, Stark industries's woes, Wonder Man's possible return, and Ronan the Accuser escaping custody.
  • The Silver Surfer cartoon ended with thirteen episodes, because Marvel went bankrupt. Episode 13 featured Thanos destroying all of the cosmos. The second season was meant to fix this.
  • The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "Planet Kate" ends on a cliffhanger. We never find out what the alien dogs' mission is or why the map Kate made for a homework assignment happened to fit perfectly as the other half of a real map.
    • Likewise, The Modifyers ended with Agent Xero and Mole managing to reclaim the All-Seeing Eye but she loses her communication ring which the villains, who only know her by one of her other personas, Lacey Shadows, find on the floor.
  • TRON: Uprising seems to have ended this way. This means that we never find out how Clu managed to capture Tron and turn him into Rinzler, if Mara and Zed ever found out that Beck was the Renegade, if Beck ever proved to them that he did not kill Abel, if Paige ever underwent a Heel–Face Turn and joined Beck's side, and whatever happened to the uprising, Argon City, and virtually every single character in this show with the exceptions of Tron, Clu, Quorra, and Flynn.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series ends with Aya coming to her senses when she accidentally hurts Razer, then reversing her attempt to rewrite the universe and destroying the remaining Manhunter army with a virus that also affects herself, then she disappears into the aether. At the end Razer is convinced that she's still out there somewhere in space and goes off to find her, his hope for doing so causing a Blue Lantern ring to follow him.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order, but so many plot resolves (i.e. What happens on Mandalore, what did Darth Sidious do to Darth Maul, "Did Palpatine really clone the Zillo Beast?", and "How do Poggle the Lesser and Wat Tambor escape from prison to be in Revenge of the Sith?") were left hanging after the show got axed after season 5 ended. Fortunately, most of the plot points were resolved in season 7 with the series returning on Disney+.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan was cancelled before any plot points could be resolved. Some people say the cancellation was due to lack of toy sales, though co-creator Genndy Tartakovsky later revealed that the cancellation was just as fueled by executives wishing the show to be more like Ben 10.
  • While X-Men had a definitive finale in the episode "Graduation Day", the series had few unresolved plotlines: Friends Of Humanity organization is still out there and is implied to be even more powerful, an episode with Cannon suggested that shady Government agents will try to manipulate mutants to destroy each other and most importantly Apocalypse had returned to plan more evil.
  • Zorro: Generation Z ends on the corrupt mayor losing his reelection campaign to a much more competent crime boss who also coopted most of his former henchmen in the process. And to stand against this new, greater better, Zorro and Scarlet Whip reveal their secret identities to each other. Because a second season never happened, the increased threat to the city and our hero was never resolved. Although strangely, the intro sequence that was made for the second season looks as if they would've gone back on this, showing the former villain a lot as if he'd be the main antagonist again.
  • Gary and Mike ended with the duo framed for murder and cornered on a incomplete bridge by the police, Gary's father (whose looking to punish him for destroying the SUV, though that was Mike's doing) and Officer Dick (whose after Mike for sleeping with his daughter and costing him a promotion). With nothing left to lose, the duo decide to recreate Thelma & Louise and drive off the bridge. The screen whitens as they do so and were given a "To Be Continued" but the show was cancelled after that.
  • Planet Sheen was quietly canceled following the awkward airing of the 24th episode in February 2013 note , leaving the series to end on the sad note of Sheen never finding a way to return to Earth.
  • Samurai Jack originally ended with an adventure where the title character helps a baby, having nothing to do with stopping Aku or getting back to the past. Originally Subverted, as Genndy Tartakovsky planned to resolve the Series Goal in a theatrical movie. The movie never got made, but a fifth season that wrapped up the series eventually did.
  • Metalocalypse ended on a TV Movie, The Doomstar Reqiuem, with Dethklok finally shedding their selfish ways, saving Toki and apparently on the track to godhood. But Offdensen quits being their manager to become the new head of the Church of the Black Klok, Selectia is still plotting something with his Project Falconback and Murderface was pricked by a "fan"'s spiked braclet during the movie which injects him with something and seemingly will sow discord with the band later. So what happens next? Well your guess is as good as anyone else's since Adult Swim and creator, Brendon Small, got into a disagreement over creative differences, resulting in AS ultimately cancelling the series. Even despite fan support, AS refused to budge and Brendon was later quoted stating he was done making music for the series.
  • Oh No! It's an Alien Invasion is about a group of kids battling aliens that have captured and hidden their parents. In the final episode, just as the kids find where their parents were hidden, The Dragon gets there first and hides them somewhere else.
  • The Fatherhood episode "The Birds, Bees, and Bindlebeep" ends with Norma announcing to Arthur that she is pregnant with their fourth child and Arthur freaking out about it, because of the show's abrupt cancellation the story was never concluded and the child's gender was never revealed.
  • The British adult claymation series Crapston Villas ended on a cliffhanger as a bus was about to crash into the titular apartment building.
  • The tenth season of The Smurfs is about a dozen of the main characters lost in time due to magical crystals traveling from time to time. As the show was cancelled after that (generally ill-received) season it ends with it never known whether the Smurfs did return to their original time.
  • Jem was cut short because it was Screwed by the Merchandise. It had a grand finale that did nothing to solve the overarching Love Triangle between Riot, Jem, and Rio. Neither man even learns that Jem and Jerrica are the same.
  • Total Drama was confirmed to have ended in late 2018 when series co-creator Tom McGillis revealed that there are currently no plans for any more seasons after The Ridonculous Race which by then had originally aired almost three years earlier. The reason being due to the show's fleeting demographics and the franchise's original reality TV spoofing gimmick no longer being marketable. As a result, many characters (such as Courtney, Harold and Leshawna) were never given proper sendoffs and many more plotlines were never given any kind of resolution. To add further salt to the wound, the sixth season finale ("Lies, Cries, and One Big Prize") ends on the cliffhanger of Dave being left behind on the island with Scuba Bear. Likewise, the Grand Finale to The Ridonculous Race, as well as the entire show ("A Million Ways to Lose A Million Dollars"), ends with Don telling the viewers to "stay tuned for more Total Drama," implying that TDI will be back.
  • Detentionaire ended on a cliffhanger, with most of the main characters still in Coral Grove after defeating the main villains, one of the (supposedly dead) council members apparently about to attack the school with an army of lizard men, and a number of questions left unanswered (how involved with Coral Grove were Biffy's parents and Jenny's aunt, for example?) The creators did have plans for a fifth season; however, poor viewership in the US (caused by Cartoon Network screwing the show over) led to it getting cancelled.
  • Much like its counterparts Young Justice and Green Lantern, Beware the Batman was not picked up for another season, so it left behind some loose plot threads, such as Batman's allies coming together as the Outsiders, Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face, and Anarky still playing his twisted games.
  • Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters was only picked up for 26 episodes rather than the expected 52. This led to some unresolved plot points, such as Rook still being in power and framing the Flex Fighters for crimes they didn't commit, Erika's newfound superpowers, Dr. C being in a coma, Agent Reynolds being replaced by Rook's mysterious ally, the Gentleman having plans for Rook's secret identity, and more.
  • Shazzan ended with Chuck and Nancy still wandering the Arabian Nights themed world, trying to find the true owner of the rings so they would be returned home.
  • Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space ended with the group still wandering space, trying to find Earth.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series ends without Spider-Man finding Mary Jane.
  • Spidey can't catch a break: Spider-Man Unlimited's single season ended with Spidey still on Counter-Earth, Karen still unaware that The High Evolutionary is her grandfather, the tension in the ranks of the Knights of Wundagore unresolved, the Gobin's identity unrevealed (although it's pretty obvious where they were going) and oh yes, a cliffhanger involving a symbiote bomb! At least, if you inteprete it as a sequel to The Animated Series, it seems like Peter did find MJ. And promptly lost her again. Spider-Verse twists the knife even further with Unlimited!Spidey as well as the Knights of Wundagore getting killed off by an Inheritor.
  • Pixel Pinkie: We are not shown how Nina and Anni felt about Pixel Pinkie being possibly out of their lives forever or how they even dealt with it after suddenly being transported back into Nina's room when their last wish to visit Pixel Pinkie's world wore off. Nina's opening lines just retroactively have her say, in sad resignation, that she has lost Pixel Pinkie for good.
  • Batman Beyond doesn't leave too many outstanding plot points, other than "who does Terry end up with?", which is fairly peripheral, and "why does Terry look like Bruce?", which wasn't brought up in the series but did get noticed by fans. However, it also doesn't have any kind of meaningful finale; it just kinda... stops, with its last episode being a crossover with red-headed stepchild of the DCAU The Zeta Project. Hell, the third-last and second-last introduce a new cast of characters in the form of a future Justice League, some of whom definitely feel like they were waiting to get more development. Reportedly, the show's cancellation had some knock-on effects on later DCAU projects; all five season finales of Justice League were written with the idea in mind that they could potentially serve as a series finale, and one of them is a Fully Absorbed Finale for Batman Beyond itself.
  • Infinity Train ended with four seasons out of a planned eight due to higher-ups thinking the show was "too mature" for its target audience. Despite being a genre anthology, the cancellation left the overarching storyline involving Amelia unresolved and the whereabouts of Hazel unknown. Word of God confirmed that the fifth season, which had already been written by the time of cancellation, would have explored the former's backstory in-depth, as well as explain many lingering questions about the true Conductor, the nature of the train and the Wasteland, and what the Ghoms' purpose are.

  • An old joke around this trope; a man living in an apartment building has fallen into the habit of dropping his shoes on the floor when he gets home and takes them off. This causes his downstairs neighbour to complain about the frequent noise. One evening, the man comes home, takes off one of his shoes and drops it, but then remembers his neighbour's complaint and places the other one quietly on the floor beside the first shoe. Hours later, he's going about his thing when he suddenly hears an anguished cry from downstairs: "For God's sake, drop the other shoe!" Ba-dum-tish.

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