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Long Bus Trip

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A Long Bus Trip is when a character is Put on a Bus in such a way that arranging a return would be simple, but then the character never actually comes back. This is most striking when the audience only learns of it retroactively, especially when the character was intended or hinted to be returning. It may also occur as the result of a series being Left Hanging.

Character Outlives Actor is a form of this enforced by Real Life. If Died During Production instead results in Back for the Dead or a Bus Crash, that's The Character Died with Him.

When this is done to a character in-story as a coverup for execution, it's Released to Elsewhere.

Compare Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and Put on a Bus to Hell. Contrast Bus Crash (which kills the character outright) and Back for the Dead (when the character returns briefly, only to be killed off), and The Bus Came Back for that one single return.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: After willingly going Sealed Evil in a Can after her final fight to avoid being interrogated, Annie Leonhart was out of action for not only four years in-story but five years in real time without a present appearance, and after that she was still trapped in crystal, only to become Back for the Finale with Eren accidentally breaking her out as a side-effect once he wakes up the Wall Titans.
  • At the end of the first arc of Berserk, Theresia, the daughter of the Apostle Count, swears to kill Guts as revenge for her father's death. She has yet to be mentioned over 300 chapters later.
  • Erza's friends from the Tower of Heaven and Mystogan in Fairy Tail. It took until past the first Time Skip for Millianna to return as a member of another guild with Sho and Wally only showing up for a brief cameo in the penultimate episode, while Mystogan didn't return until the sequel manga.
  • At the end of Heat Guy J, Daisuke rides off into the sunset on his motorcycle to go explore the post-apocalyptic world outside of Judoh. Kyoko promises to wait for him, giving him three years to return, and Daisuke promises to come back. Because the series was Left Hanging, however, he never did come back.
  • In the Inuyasha manga, Kouga appears more and more often, even joining the heroes' team for a while, until Naraku takes his Shikon shards, then he's gone and never appears again. Despite Kouga having just received his tribe's very powerful ancestral weapon, meaning he's no longer reliant on those Shikon shards to fight at the heroes' level. Even Houjou, Kagome's other Hopeless Suitor, gets an appearance in the final volume.
  • Kei Nijimura from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: JoJolion is set up to be an extremely important character, being the one to first explain Equivalent Exchange and secretly being Josuke's sister. However, after the fight with Poor Tom and Ozon Baby, she gets Put on a Bus and isn't seen for another 27 chapters, lasting 2 whole years in real time, at which point, she's Back for the Dead and gets quickly killed by Wonder of U.
  • At the end of the second arc (and second episode of the anime adaptation) of King of Bandit Jing, the nine-tailed fox Sherry swears to one day come back for vengeance against the titular thief. The series ended without her ever showing up again.
  • One Piece:
    • The character Gin from the East Blue Saga stated that he wanted to see the Straw Hat Pirates again on the Grand Line. Over 800 chapters, half of the Grand Line, and a two year time skip later, Gin still has yet to be so much as mentioned again — not even in the various covers that show characters worlds away from the main cast. And this is in a series where the author seemingly never forgets about characters. Then again, Gin was suffering from Don Krieg's MH5 poison at the time, and coughed up blood before he left, meaning he could have died off-screen.
    • Foxy from the Davy Back Fight Arc vowed to get back at Luffy for giving him a crappy replacement Jolly Roger. Other than an anime-exclusive Filler Arc, he has not been seen since.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Almost everyone Ash meets, he promises to see again. Only a fraction of those end up being recurring characters.
    • Ash promised that he'd come back for Pidgeot when he returnednote . Twenty-four seasons later (including four returns to Kanto), he came back for it right on the Grand Finale.
    • Maybe an even more ridiculous one would be Ash's Primeape, which was Put on a Bus less than five episodes after Ash caught it, left in the care of somebody who promised to turn it into "a true champion". It was never seen again. The promise to return was only in the dub; the original dialogue had no such comment. Yet, the openings "Spurt!" (the final opening of Advance Generation) and "Yajirushi ni Natte!" (the second opening of Best Wishes!) still count Primeape and Squirtle as Pokémon who still are in his ownership.
    • Speaking of returns to Kanto, Ash travels to the cities where Sabrina and Koga hold court in the Battle Frontier season to fight in the facilities of the eponymous organization, but neither makes an appearance.
  • The Amazoness Quartet in the first Sailor Moon anime. They mention that fate may bring them to meet the Sailor Senshi again, hinting they'd possibly return in the next arc. This wasn't unreasonable, considering that their manga counterparts did exactly that, as the Sailor Quartet, guardians to Sailor Chibimoon. However, they never appear in the anime again.

    Comic Books 
  • Bill Everett put Namora on ice (literally), reportedly with plans to bring her back, but unfortunately, he Died During Production. But then, Agents of Atlas happened...
  • Two sets of X-Men dove into what was essentially Hell to rescue their version of seven year old Illyana Rasputin from a demonic wizard named Belasco. One set got her out safely but were trapped themselves (the lucky ones died), the other set escaped but their Illyana spent seven years stuck there as Belasco's student while getting her soul sacrificed piece by piece before she overthrew him and returned to earth a heartbeat after Kitty lost her grip. A few years later, after Illyana's apparent Heroic Sacrifice, her eldritch armor was torn open to find a seven-year-old and wholly uncorrupted version of her. It was over twenty years before the X-writers were permitted to account for what was obvious to most readers at the time... it could easily have been the other Illyana. Let's face it: for the X-Men, death is essentially being Put on the Bus.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Elscol, a guerrilla leader who joined Rogue Squadron in the first arc of the comics, quit at the end of the arc following that. She knew that what she was doing was making a difference, but she knew any other good pilot could do as well, and she chafed under orders. She left without malice towards the squadron, hinting that she would try and talk Sixtus Quinn into joining the Rebel Alliance. But although plenty of other allies showed up again during the series, including a commando leader from that same issue, Elscol and Sixtus didn't. Not until the novels, anyway.

    Comic Strips 
  • The title character of the newspaper comic Robotman and Monty was written out of the strip, at the request of the comic's syndicate (tired of fielding complaints from readers confusing the absurdist humor strip with the much more kid-friendly "Robotman & Friends" toys and books). It would be easy to bring Robotman back, as he's alive and well in space, but it's unlikely to ever happen.

    Fan Works 
  • Dr. Andrew, a Delivery Guy OC who helps the Mistress deliver mixed-gender twins in Chapter 13 of the Superjail! fanfic Extended Stay, appears in this chapter only to never be seen again for the rest of the fanfic. The only thing that hints at his return is when he tells the new parents to call him back in when they're ready for him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Warren T. Rat and his gang in An American Tail are defeated by putting them on a ship headed for Hong Kong. Instead of having them come back for the sequels they instead brought in new villains for each movie.
  • Eddie from Rover Dangerfield didn't move out to the farm with Rover in the end so his fate is unknown.

    Films — Live Action 

  • In John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Christian (or Pilgrim, depending on which version you're reading) has to fight the beast Apollyon. When he's defeated, Apollyon swears vengeance on Christian, but aside from a couple of name-drops, Apollyon is never mentioned again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24, the fan favorite villain Mandy is last seen in the final of Season 4 making a deal in exchange for immunity from her past and present crimes, much like a certain other recurring female villain who did make a reappearance. While it could be argued that she left her life of crime after this, she was intended to return in Seasons 7 and 8, but the decision was dropped to avoid making "sensational moves", although there is a chance she might return in a spinoff.
  • The A-Team: Col. Lynch (Bill Lucking) is put on a long bus trip after appearing in the first season. He's replaced by Col. Decker (Lance LeGault), who in turn was Put on a Bus and replaced by General "Bull" Fullbright (Jack Ging). Decker returned for the A-Team's court martial in Season 5.
  • On Becker, Terry Farrell's character, Reggie, was put on one when Farrell was booted from the series under suspicious circumstances (she has told interviewers that it came as a complete shock to her and that she is unsure of exactly why it happened, although she reportedly led a strike among the show's cast). Farrell was even fired before the episode was filmed, and thus never even appeared on the episode where she was placed on the long bus trip, but was dismissed in a rather unflattering way where Farrell herself vanished but Reggie's continued presence was inferred (i.e. it was simply related that she slept with Becker, and it made her realize that she needed a change immediately). This was all done in a very implausibly slipshod way, obviously trumped up at the last minute: i.e. it was inferred that Reggie was popping in and out without Farrell ever being on-camera during the entire episode, and finally Reggie said good-bye to the cast in a phone-call that was dictated to them all by a complete stranger (don't ask — I said it was implausibly slipshod).
  • Dr Goodman from Bones went on a "six month sabbatical" on the second season opener and that is literally the last time we've ever heard of him. He didn't appear, or even get mentioned, on the show's 100th episode which was specifically a "before the pilot" flashback.
  • In Coupling (the original British version) Jeff disappears between Series 3 and 4 as a result of his actor not wanting to return. His absence is explained by a hilarious one sided phone conversation with Steve: "No, Jeff, the name of the island is pronounced Les-BOSS..... well that was fairly over-optimistic of you really wasn't it?". By the end of the show, Jeff is still "trapped" on Lesbos as a result of not being able get a passport... or something; Word of God has it that he ultimately decided to live there.
  • On Criminal Minds, Aaron Hotchner goes into witness protection after a murderous unsub starts popping up at Hotch's son's school. It is presented as though Hotch will be back as soon as they are able to catch Mr. Scractch, but anyone paying attention to the behind the scenes goings on knew this wasn't going to happen since Hotchner's actor, Thomas Gibson, had been fired after an on-set physical altercation with a writer. When Scratch is eventually dealt with, Hotchner is said to have decided to resign in order to be a full time dad.
  • On Dallas, Barbara Bel Geddes (who played the matriarch of the Ewing family, Mrs. Ellie) left the series in 1990 because she was quitting acting. The official reason in-show was that she was leaving to go on a tour of the Orient, and (off-screen) deeded the Southfork ranch to her son, Bobby. Despite her appearances in several of the Dallas reunion specials, she never appeared in either of the two television movies (J.R. Returns and War of the Ewings) made in the 90's.
  • Degrassi:
    • Alex (who literally gets on a bus), Darcy, Mia, Ashley, and many other characters on Degrassi: The Next Generation ended their runs on the show this way.
      • It's actually pretty funny that Peter's last two girlfriends, Mia and Darcy, both took long bus trips straight to The CW to star in other teen dramas.
      • The execs are not unaware of this bit of humor, and commented when 18 to Life got an airtime on The CW that it was the first time a Degrassi alum got a CW series without dating Peter. Then talked about doing a Degrassi mini where Peter and Ellie date.
    • Alli's older brother Sav graduates from Degrassi and is never seen again, not for any holidays, or Alli's birthdays, or even when she is a victim of Domestic Abuse. Although most of the Degrassi cast members Graduate from the Story at some point, Sav's absence was notable because his sister remained on the show for some time after he left.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Five Doctors" notwithstanding, Sarah Jane was left on Earth for 30(ish) years before resurfacing in 2006 and getting her own spinoff show. The reason that it was a bus trip rather than simply being written out was that Sarah Jane was forced to leave because the Doctor was summoned to Gallifrey.
    • Jenny, the Doctor's daughter, was shown to have revived and left the planet she was on to follow in her father's footsteps. Georgia Moffett has expressed interest in reprising the role, as well, but it seems doubtful now that anything will come of it.
    • As New Who progresses, more characters come back from a Long Bus Trip (not counting the Doctor Who Expanded Universe). Series 1 had the Autons after 34 years, Series 3 had the Macra after 40 years, Series 7 had the Great Intelligence after 44 years and the Ice Warriors after 39 years, and the 50th Anniversary had the Zygons after 38 years. The 2022 Easter Special had Sea Devils returning for the first time since 1984.
    • The Pandorica Opens had a bus with a lot of passengers coming back for the Legion of Doom from the Classic Series, including the Zygons and Drahvins. However we only saw the creatures that had been in New Who up till that point, meaning a lot of fans felt this was a missed opportunity.
    • The Eighth Doctor himself returned after seventeen years for the mini-sode "The Night of the Doctor".
    • The classic Cybermen were absent from the revived series for over twenty-five years until making a grand reappearance in "Nightmare in Silver" (while Cybermen did appear before then, those were a different breed from a parallel Earth, and supposed appearances of the Mondasian Cybermen in other episodes looked identical to their Cybus counterparts). The classic classic Cybermen from "The Tenth Planet" wouldn't come back until Series 10 — over fifty years later!
    • The undisupted king of this however is Ian Chesterton who was gone from the series for 57 years before making a suprise cameo in "The Power of the Doctor". Making Ian the only companion of the first Doctor to show up again in the story.
    • Following close behind is the Celestial Toymaker, who first appeared in 1966's titular episode and returned to be the main villain in the 60th Anniversary Specials.
  • In the beginning of the second season of Enemy at the Door, Clare Martel has a nervous breakdown, and is prescribed a period of rest and seclusion away from anything that might remind her of her troubles. She goes to stay as a guest at a convent, and although there are reports of her progress every few episodes, she never appears on-screen again.
  • This was done to Brooke Smith's character Erica Hahn on Grey's Anatomy for no apparent reason whatsoever: they spent several episodes building up her relationship with Callie, including an excellent scene where she tearfully declares that Callie "is glasses," only to randomly fire her because the writers stopped liking their own story. Erica and Callie get in a fight about the Izzie LVAD-cutting debacle and about how Callie "can't be kind of a lesbian," and she walked off into the parking lot... forever. She was then more or less replaced with perky Lipstick Lesbian Arizona Robbins. Further proof of Shonda Rhimes' ridiculous and fickle casting habits.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: After Jon Polito was fired, his character Steve Crosetti was said to be on vacation in Atlantic City. The characters actually lampshade that he's been on his vacation for too long and wonder what's going on. In the same episode, Munch and Bolander report to the scene of a suicide and identify the body as Crosetti.
  • Jessie: Season 1 ends with Mr. Kipling revealed to be a Mrs. Kipling and giving birth to twelve baby lizards; early on in Season 2, the baby lizards leave the show and are donated to Mrs. Chesterfield's Lizard Sanctuary. They never made another appearance for the rest of the show, outside of mentions.
  • Many, many characters on House of Anubis were put on some long bus rides... and then never mentioned again. The most notable include Jason Winkler, Vera Devinish, and Mick Campbell. At least Mick got a cameo a the end of season 3...
  • C.J. Lamb, the sexually flexible junior associate on L.A. Law. vanished at the end of a season. The following season opener included a throwaway line about how she quit to join the LPGA tour.
  • When Mama's Family transitioned from NBC to CBS, and the actors for the two characters were no longer available, Buzz and Sonja were said to have gone off to college...and were never heard from again. Not even at Christmas.
  • Sergeant Scott of Midsomer Murders was mentioned as having called in sick in one episode. That was the last mention of him. Especially jarring since both his predecessor and his successor was phased out simply by having them promoted and therefore moved to a different position in the police force.
  • Neighbours:
    • Marlene Kratz went on a three month cruise in 1997. She's due back any day now.
    • Also Connor, who was either killed by Paul Robinson's crazy son or went on a trip overseas.
  • NYPD Blue:
    • The departure of David Caruso was an example of this trope. Detective John Kelly doesn't even resign from the force. He simply moves to another precinct, leaving the option open for potential guest appearances in the future. There were even some hints later in the same season of his character coming back to be the best man at Detective Sipowicz's wedding, but a handwave was used to explain why it doesn't actually happen (in real life, the actor simply would not have agreed to return, even as a one-shot guest appearance, nor would producer David Milch have wanted him back).
    • Implausibly, Kelly doesn't even visit his best friend Andy Sipowicz even when Andy gets married, no matter how badly Sipowicz obviously misses him. (Word of God says that the NYPD Blue producer kept a picture of Caruso on his desk whenever any actor came to discuss a raise.)
  • Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill. Both she and her husband Lucas and their daughter were Put on a Bus after Season 6. However, only Lucas returned in the final season.
  • On Parks and Recreation, Mark Brendanawicz left his city planning job for the government to take a new architect job at a private construction company in the Season 2 finale. Although the writers kept the door open for a return and planned to have Mark come back every once in a while, those plans never materialized partly due to the writers simply not being able to work out a way to bring him back and partly because actor Paul Schneider had no interest or desire to come back after feeling like his character was being left behind while the show was finding more of its own identity and style away from its parent series. It also overlaps some with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, as even though Mark should still be living in Pawnee, a relatively small town, he is never seen, heard from, or even mentioned again, to the point of seeming like an Un-person in the eyes of the writers. Notably, while many other prominent supporting characters made cameo appearances in the seventh and final season, Mark wasn't one of them, nor does he show up in any of the clips playing during a flashback montage in the Grand Finale. He also wasn't brought back for the 2020 Reunion Show either.
  • On the sixties sitcom Petticoat Junction, the show's star, Bea Benederet, died abruptly during the sixth season. Benederet played Kate Bradley, a widowed mom who had just become a grandmother (in an episode where Benederet was too ill to appear and was played by a Fake Shemp). In a couple of episodes immediately following the birth of the baby, characters mentioned that Kate had to rush out of town and care for a sick relative. After that, she is barely mentioned again, and the show carries on almost as if she never existed. In one episode of the seventh season, her daughters remember her teaching them how to swim, and they seem a little sad, but it's left up to the viewers to decide if Kate died or not.
  • Power Rangers:
    • What became of Trini and Zack after that trip to Switzerland is unknown, and is especially mysterious since Jason came back for Zeo and two guest appearances after.
    • A better example would be Rocky: he didn't even leave Angel Grove, he just stopped hanging with the Rangers. Per Word of God, they tried to get Steve Cardenas to come back for "Forever Red" (the series' 10th anniversary team-up episode), but he didn't respond in time — and even if he had, Rocky would have just been Tommy's butler, rather than being given the unused-in-America Gosei Sentai Dairanger costume as fans believed.
    • And though bringing them all back would naturally be problematic production-wise, there are many past Rangers whose powers still exist, so you'd think they'd drop by for certain global catastrophies. In particular, "Countdown to Destruction" could've benefitted from a few "stock footage shoots at other stock footage" type scenes from the Zeo Rangers and the (never stated to be in continuity, but why not?) other Sabannote  shows.
  • Will Scarlett and Djaq stayed in the Holy Land at the end of Series 2 of Robin Hood. Fans hoped for a reappearance in Series 3, but they never turned up again. No one even mentioned them ever again.
  • Shining Time Station wrote out Ringo Starr's Mr. Conductor by having him accompany Santa Claus to the North Pole. A relative, also called Mr. Conductor (and bearing a resemblance to George Carlin) took his place, and the original Mr. Conductor was never seen or heard from again afterward.
    • Engineer Harry Cupper (played by Leonard Jackson) was a mainstay in season 1, but was written out and succeeded by Billy Twofeathers (played by Tom Jackson), his character having retired from the engineer business. Harry would return in the one-hour special "One of the Family".
  • Sesame Street: While most human characters have been Chucked Out or Put on a Bus, they still make live appearances, online videos, and reused street stories.
  • Alice from Soap. She moves out of Jodie's apartment when Carol's mother said she wasn't happy with her granddaughter (Jodie's child) growing up with a lesbian — the show was made in the 70s. She chose to move out so Jodie didn't have to make that choice but she never turns up even as a friend again.
  • Spin City had a knack for dumping characters without acknowledging this. So when, towards the end of Season 3, Mike gets a temp secretary assisted to him because Stacey Paterno was sick, you'd expect the character to return. Cue Episode 2 of S4, in which James becomes Mike's new assistant because he still hadn't got a new one and James would be out of a job otherwise. In between, no statement whatsoever is made about Stacey.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Fer(r)etti in Stargate SG-1. Kawalsky's death in the first regular episode leaves him the only surviving member of the original Stargate team other than O'Neil(l) and Daniel, and he was shown to be leading an SG team of his own in his several-second cameo in the first season finale. He was mentioned once more in season three, then permanently and entirely forgotten, though as a team leader, you'd think he'd at least be seen or mentioned around the SGC every so often. (Meanwhile, via flashbacks, time travel, and parallel universes, Kawalsky has returned plenty of times.) Of course, the really weird thing about this is that Ferretti was made leader of SG2 at the end of his last appearance, and SG2 is never shown or mentioned again. SG3 are recurring characters, and teams with numbers up to 25 are mentioned sometimes, but SG2 is never spoken of. It's almost as though the writers were planning to have him make an appearance at some point, but never got around to it.
    • Jonas Quinn, after being a regular cast member in Season 6, hasn't been even mentioned in the Stargate universe since Season 7, even when his planet was invaded by the Ori. Even a Stargate Universe episode involving said planet shows no sign of him.
    • Lt. Ford in Stargate Atlantis, in an example that crosses over with Never Found the Body, disappeared never to return following a hive ship explosion halfway through the second season. His conspicuous failure to return is more glaring in light of Sheppard's outright statement of relative certainty that he somehow survived and would turn up again at some point.
  • Teen Wolf: A lot of the characters that got put on a bus are Back for the Finale but a few, notably Isaac, Cora, Kira and Danny, are never seen again.
  • On The West Wing, Sam Seaborn left the White House in order to run for Congress, which would have made him an excellent candidate for future cameos in the series. Although it is revealed at the end of the series that he lost the race, there seems to be little good in-universe reason for why he completely vanished. (Especially since they decided in the episode "Inauguration" to promote him to Senior Counselor to the President if he lost. This was just another subplot that was dropped entirely when Aaron Sorkin left.)

    Video Games 

  • In the contemporary arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, Ector was reactivated in the army and sent to Iraq, and that was basically the last we saw of him. In a much later newspost, Paul Gazikowski explained that Ector disappears from the source material at around the time Arthur becomes king, which makes sense in the baseline and space arcs, but that it's hard to justify the guardian of a modern 15-year-old simply fading from relevance. And he couldn't kill him off, because he wanted Merlin to be the first major character death. So he was sent to Iraq, and never specifically said to have returned or been killed, until Arthur was old enough that maybe his foster father wouldn't be a constant fixture in his life.
  • Happens a few times in Girl Genius:
    • Punch and Judy were killed in 2004, brought back in 2006 and didn't show up again until 2013. They also haven't been seen since.
    • Dr. Dim was introduced back in 2003 before disappearing about a year later. He's brought back 15 volumes later in 2018. This is on top of Krosp reappearing after his mysterious departure in 2015.
    • A whole city of people were put on a bus during the Time Skip back in 2013. The few that escaped took anywhere between 2 and 4 years to show up in Paris.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the character DoytHaban is a former UNS Super-Soldier candidate with a powerful personalized A.I. implanted in his brain. He ends up temporarily taking a job with the main characters, which brings the UNS' wrath down on them. Doythaban was last seen having been "debriefed" by the UNS military, with the implication that he died during his subsequent incarceration.

    Web Original 
  • Greg the Spider from Arby 'n' the Chief left after being resented by Arbiter from a lie Chief forced him to tell. Considering what happened at the season's end, he won't be coming back either.
  • Tariq Bhartti of KateModern left abruptly for India and never returned.
  • Drago from Object Lockdown only had a short stay on the show as a contestant, and only had screentime in the first episode. However, he leaves the show somewhere between the events of "Rapping it Up" and "The Cream of the Crop," and never appears physically ever again. This happened because of his Creator Backlash courtesy of the show's crew.
  • On the final episode of JonTron's Starcade series, it was revealed that Darth Vader was actually Jon's former co-star on Game Grumps, Egoraptor. This was two years after Jon abruptly left Game Grumps, as many fans made several theories as to why he left by assuming the two weren't on good terms.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • One episode involves a rescue mission for Sokka's father Hakoda and girlfriend Suki. They also pick up a new character, Chit Sang. When Azula attacks the group in the next episode, Chit Sang is put on an airship with Hakoda, Haru, Teo, and The Duke and is the only one not to return at the end of the series finale.
    • See also the Earth King, who takes off on his own at the beginning of Season 3 and is never seen again. Presumably he comes back after Ba Sing Se is liberated, but he's never shown in the series, appearing only much later in the follow-up comics.
    • Also Hawkie, the messenger hawk Sokka buys while in the Fire Nation. Toph uses it to send a message to her parents and it's never seen again. Justified, since the cast is always traveling.
  • Brian's cousin, Jasper, and Jasper's boyfriend, Ricardo, have been subjected to this trope in Family Guy. Jasper appeared twice in a Cutaway Gag and then twice more in two episodes; the first one made Jasper and Ricardo a One-Scene Wonder and their next appearance several seasons later sets up the plot over gay marriage in Quahog. Jasper is seen talking to Brian on Skype in "Brian's Play" but otherwise hasn't appeared since.
  • One episode of G.I. Joe had a third-party villain called the Gamemaster kidnap Flint, Lady Jae, the Baroness, and Cobra Commander, and put the four of them through a Deadly Game set in his Amusement Park of Doom on an island. The episode ended with the villain fleeing while the combined forces of both Joe and Cobra attacked the island, but while he swore revenge as he escaped, he never reappeared.
  • Amazo in Justice League Unlimited teleports himself away from Earth in the middle of a battle, after seeing the monster of the week absorb his attack and become more powerful for it. Though the foe is defeated mere minutes later, Amazo never returns. In the commentary, the creators stated that they wanted to add a gag at the end of the final episode (a year or whatever later) where Amazo is sitting on an asteroid somewhere wondering if it's okay to return to Earth yet.
  • An episode of Thomas & Friends introduced a character named "Derek the Diesel" who suffered from "teething troubles." At the end of the episode he was sent off to have the "troubles" repaired, but aside from a cameo (from the back) during a music video in the special "Calling All Engines" he has not been seen since. Considering that his model was based on a locomotive design that really was that unreliable (details here), it's entirely possible they're still not there yet.
  • Transformers: Animated: "Predacons Rising" ends with Blackarachnia and Waspinator sent to an unknown region at the other end of a Space Bridge, with with Waspinator's final lines being "Waspinator has plans..." There were plans for their reappearance in a fourth season, but the show ended at three, so this is the last we see of them.