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Orphaned Series

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Yet another proud member of the Candle Jack Appreciation Cl

6. They stick the first half of a two-part story in their first issue, little realising that 95% of 'zines that follow this course are destined never to produce issue 2.
— "Ten Silly Things That Fanzine Editors Do", Doctor Who: The Completely Useless Encyclopedia

When the author of a series abandons the storyline entirely — either from lack of interest, time, money, inspiration, or pulse — the series is said to be orphaned.

This isn't much of a problem among professionally produced works, as their large team of creators, profitability, and susceptibility to Executive Meddling make it unlikely for them to be dropped for any reason other than cancellation, though it isn't unheard of.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Fan Fiction, Web Comics, role-playing fora, and other amateur works, on and offline. In fact, this is a particularly common problem with them, as many are created part-time by enthusiasts who've never written, drawn, or scripted anything before. They start on the first chapter, strip, or post, only to promptly forget about it. And if not that, they suffer from longer and more frequent Schedule Slips until either they take an "extended" hiatus that becomes permanent or they simply drop the work altogether.

Sometimes, though not always, enough time passes that the abandoned work disappears from the site(s) hosting it. Usually this happens because the account or website hosting it dies off. On rare occasions, such a series resurfaces if the original artist returns to it. Or a fan may even "adopt" the series and pick up where the original artist left off. This is rare, and one reason is that fanfiction writers often find after some years that what they made is now regretful and they would rather forget about it.

Orphaned series are liable to have a bad effect on free hosting services. Lists of works get clogged with abandoned entries, and sites become littered with hundreds of introductory strips. They can also engender a mistrust of the authors who abandon their work, as readers become wary of investing in anything they write in the future.

See also Dead Fic, where a fanfic gets this status (often without any reason given for the abandonment). Compare Vaporware, which is something the creator claims not to have given up on — but almost all the fans have; Stillborn Franchise, which is when a work could have gotten a series of Spinoffs, Sequels, and Prequels, but didn't; and Cliffhanger Wall, where a work ends on a cliffhanger, but the creator then pivots to making prequels, interquels, remakes, and spinoffs instead of resolving the cliffhanger. For when the work is orphaned in a more literal sense, see also Died During Production. If a creator has multiple examples of this on their record, see Attention Deficit Creator Disorder.

It should not be confused with "orphaned works", where a copyright holder of the work is known, but the whereabouts are unknown or cannot be contacted, thus the work cannot be used without the unknown holder's permission unless under Fair Use.

Example and standalone works Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The manga Chicago abruptly ended after two volumes, with an apology from the writer stating that she couldn't handle the schedule at the end of the second volume.
  • Akane Chan Overdrive lasted two volumes, the last of which had two chapters that were side-stories, without any resolution of the plot.
  • Manga artist Miwa Ueda orphaned the series Peach Girl: Sae's Story after two and a half volumes, because the birth of her child left her with little time to work on it.
  • Aqua Knight was abandoned by the author Yukito Kishiro in order to work on Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. He promised to be back later in the future, but even after finishing Last Order in 2014, there have been no signs of Aqua Knight continuing. With Kishiro focusing his efforts on Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle, the chances of Aqua Knight ever continuing look slim.
    • For that matter, only two OAV episodes of the Battle Angel anime were ever produced. Even if anybody was interested in reviving an anime version, it wouldn't legally be possible without the involvement of James Cameron, who purchased the adaptation rights to the series to produce a live-action film adaptation. While the film adaptation was released in 2019 after years of development hell, there has been no word on any further anime adaptations of Battle Angel Alita.
  • The prequel manga of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening prematurely ended due to the artist quitting before Volume 3.
  • The manga Hellsing: The Dawn. 6 chapters since 2007 and then dropped. Not enough to even release a single collected volume.
  • Sailor Moon artist Naoko Takeuchi had several orphaned series in the wake of the end of her hit franchise. The first was PQ Angels, which was discontinued abruptly after only 4 chapters, and Kodansha lost the proofs of the portion that had been written. The manga was never published outside of its original serial run. Her second series, Love Witch, ran for three chapters, at which point Takeuchi had written that she was taking a vacation from which the series never returned outside of a one-shot side story. It was not until the 2005-2006 run of Toki* Meca, expanded from the one-shot Toki-Meka, that Takeuchi saw a series through to its completion again.
  • Shaman King formerly ended with No Ending since Hiroyuki Takei dropped it. However, the re-release of the manga eventually led to two new volumes to end the series.
  • CLAMP has several of these.
    • Clover had a story that concluded after two volumes. The third and fourth volumes are made of flashbacks, and according to CLAMP, two more volumes are needed to complete the story, but they haven't made anything yet,
    • Gate7 managed to have 4 volumes until it went into a hiatus in 2014.
    • Legend of Chun Hyang was dropped after a single volume, but CLAMP did mention that they would like to continue it in the future.
    • Legal Drug was halted for a few years, but it continued in 2011 under a new title, Drug & Drop. Then, they dropped it again in 2013.
    • X/1999, perhaps their most infamous example, has been on hold since 2003, with 18 out of a planned 21 volumes released. It ended on a cliffhanger, and the story was building towards a resolution. The magazine that had been publishing it (Monthly Asuka) has since folded, and CLAMP has, supposedly, been searching to put it in a proper magazine - though at this point there are doubts that the group is still making serious efforts to pursue this or continue the work.
  • Fire Candy's mangaka left off her work after two volumes to begin another, although she did state in her last note that she'd like to return to the series after gaining more experience.
  • One of the more notable OEL titles to go out like this was No Man's Land, which the publisher heavily promoted and commenced work on a Flash adaptation of. Problems with the creator's schedules sadly led to the series dying after only two volumes.
  • Millennium Snow was orphaned by Bisco Hatori in 2002 after her breakout hit Ouran High School Host Club got popular. After finishing Ouran, she would eventually return to and finish Millennium Snow in 2013, just over 10 years later.
  • The short-lived series Shanghai Youma Kikai was put on hold so Hiromu Arakawa could work on Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Beet the Vandel Buster was 12 volumes into its publication when production suddenly stopped in September 2006, due to artist Koji Inada's sudden illness. The manga started up again ten years later in 2016, though at a slower schedule than before since it moved to a monthly publication as opposed to a weekly one.
  • Happens constantly with fan translations of manga and fansubs of anime. One example that left readers disappointed is that of Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl. When AnimEigo licensed the series, the circle that had been fansubbing it stopped out of respect. Then AnimEigo dropped it just a third of the way through its 122-episode run, leaving the series doubly-orphaned for a while. Finally the fansubs were started again and completed the run.
  • This happened to a number of manga series – both Japanese and OEL – due to the closure of Tokyopop, one of the largest English-language manga and light novel publishers around. Pray another company picked it up, though chances are no one did.
    • Tokyopop was also hit with this a few years earlier due to a contract dispute with Kodansha that resulted in TP losing a large chunk of their catalog. Among the biggest losses were BECK (stopped a third of the way through the story) and Get Backers (stopped just before beginning the final story arc).
    • The hardest losses to take were titles like Peacemaker Kurogane and ARIA. Both manga were originally published in English by ADV before they went belly-up. Then Tokyopop rescued the series, only to close not long after.
      • ARIA eventually got a complete release by Nozomi Entertainment (using Tokyopop branding) after a successful preorder campaign not unlike their similiarly successful Kickstarter of the anime five years earlier. However, they made it VERY clear the early-2023 release would likely be the last chance to ever get the series in print.
    • The English translation of Life (2002) was cut short by Tokyopop, meaning over half of the series has never been released internationally.
    • Image Comics collaborated with Tokyopop in order to get the final half of King City out.
  • Like the Tokyopop example above, when Random House's (Del Rey's) manga division was taken over by Kodansha, only top-tier titles like Negima! Magister Negi Magi and Genshiken were continued or reprinted; everything else was dropped.
  • The decade of the 2000s is littered with the corpses of failed English-language manga publishers, most of whom only had a few series before dying. Casualties include Studio Ironcat, ComicsOne, and DC Comics-backed CMX (who at least got out all of Emma: A Victorian Romance before Dan Didio killed it).
  • Due to the continuing collapse of the English-language manga market – closely tied to the collapse of traditional bookstores, most of the remaining publishers have at least a few cancelled series under their belt.
  • Net Sphere Engineer was announced to be the sequel to Blame! The first chapter excited many. A second chapter never came. While nobody actually knows what happened to the rest of the story, many opt for the answer that it was abandoned.
  • The story of Final Fantasy: Unlimited was plotted to last two seasons, but only the first season was animated. The story of the second season can be found in various supplemental media (available in Japanese only).
  • Stellvia of the Universe was originally meant to be (at least) three half-seasons, but due to personality conflicts the team broke up at the end of the second. At least it was a natural break-point.
  • Zombie Powder lasted only four volumes before it was cancelled, due to various issues and complications in the author's life at the time.
  • Descendants of Darkness has been on hiatus since December 20th, 2002, due to Yoko Matsushita suffering a hand injury. Her art style has changed somewhat since because of this and she did work a little more on the manga afterwards. However beyond brief periods of "SHE'S GOING TO FINISH IT!" now and then, there's been nothing else beyond a few chapters after volume 11, all of which are finally being put in a 12th volume. Fans are just pretty much begging to hear how she planned to end the series now.
  • The English translation of the Kingdom Hearts manga ended on Kingdom Hearts II Vol. 2 after TokyoPop decided to discontinue the series due to financial problems. Good that there are fans who translate where TokyoPop can't, right? The series has since been picked up by Yen Press, and as of October 2013, the manga adaptations for the first three games has been re-released, with another one upcoming.
  • Gun Blaze West only got up to its third volume when it was cancelled due to a combination of low readership and Nobuhiro Watsuki feeling he couldn't go any further with it. The series ends before the heroes even reach the fabled destination.
  • More of Orphaned Spin-Off, one of the manga-only arcs of Higurashi: When They Cry, Utsutsukowashi-hen (Reality Breaking Chapter) abruptly ended after three chapters in 2007.
  • Dub only example: For unknown reasons, Bandai Entertainment had stopped releasing the dub of Di Gi Charat Nyo! They stopped at episode 72, leaving the remaining 32 episodes with no dub. The company's closure pretty much killed any remaining hope of the dub being completed.
  • In Mexico, the most important publisher of comics was Grupo Editorial Vid, who published a large variety of titles for a bit more than 50 years. By the end of the 90s, they started to publish manga with Spanish translation. Plenty of titles were published for the Mexican market, but then, by the end of the 2000s, due to bad management choices (and mostly, due to the new Chief Editor decided to focus in other business, along with helping his children's artistic careers), they stopped publishing manga, leaving plenty of manga series without continuation, some of them just a few volumes before reaching their final volume. Even many series that were promised by them were completely canceled. Thankfully, around 2013, then-new comic and manga companies such as Panini and Kamite began to publish manga, the latter formed from what could be rescued from Vid's remains and the former rereleased Naruto and Bleach, both series previously launched by Vid (but stopped at vol. 24, so it will take 2 years to reach where Vid left them).
  • Happened with some manga in Brazil, especially by publishers Conrad and Panini (the former due to low sales and the latter due to financial difficulties). The most infamous examples are Fullmetal Panic Sigma and Otomen published by Panini which were put on hiatus for 4 years before being canceled. Other notable examples are Guin Saga (manga version), Crayon Shin-chan, Doctor Slump, Peach Girl and the deluxe edition of Dragon Ball. Subverted with Eden: It's an Endless World! which was cancelled by Panini but was republished by JBC years after. The same happened with Monster and even One Piece, which were canceled by Conrad and republished by Panini (in the latter case, the publisher folded right as the CP9 arc was reaching its climax; Panini retranslated everything from the beginning while continuing the series from where it originally stopped).
  • The 90s hentai manga series Dragon Pink by ITOYOKO had nothing after its fourth volume; it stopped on a cliffhanger of Pink, its main female protagonist, being impaled by a sword, the sort of cliffhanger you'd expect a series to follow up on. ITOYOKO himself is still active in the H manga drawing scene, making it strange how he hasn't yet finished the story.
  • While the remake manga did get an ending, the original Birdy the Mighty manga just petered out after a while. Similarly, despite wrapping up the main plot and the arc of the second season respectively, the OVA series and Decode both still had subplots left unresolved.
  • Prism ended up being put on "hiatus" then eventually cancelled due to a plagiarism scandal. The mangaka has done other series since.

    Comic Books 
  • The Devil May Cry spin-off comic by Dreamwave was abandoned due to the company folding.
  • Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden has only two volumes, Borrowed Magic and Separation Anxiety, with the third volume, Flannel Sorceress, still in progress since 1996.
  • It took David Lapham several years to find the time to complete the final issue of Stray Bullets. He claimed that after the birth of his child he was no longer able to rely on the inconsistent revenue and heavy time investment of a self-published series and that he had chosen to primarily seek work-for-hire and creator-owned work at the major publishers. He often stated a desire to finish the series, or at least the current arc, but a lack of time to do so. He was finally able to finish and release the final issue in 2014.
  • During the '90s, Joe Madureira started a comic called Battle Chasers, an epic fantasy story of which the first few issues hinted at a huge backstory. But it quickly started slipping from its schedule (because Joe Mad was spending all his time playing Final Fantasy VII, or so the legend goes) to the point where issue 7 was released 16 months after issue 6. The editorial in issue 9 promised that 10 would be out soon, but then Joe Mad left the comic industry altogether, basically leaving the story hanging (although a video game based on the comic has since come out).
  • Artist George Perez's creator-owned series Crimson Plague was ended after its first issue. Perez revived the series a few years later with Image Comics, only to end a second time after one new issue and a reprint of the original comic.
  • Martin Wagner signed a deal with Antarctic Press in 1996 to reprint the 12 issues of his self-published comic, Hepcats, and then start publishing new material. The only new material to emerge was a #0 issue; Wagner abandoned Hepcats before issue #13 made it to print, right in the middle of a multi-issue story arc called "Snowblind." 10 years later, Wagner announced that he would finish "Snowblind" as a webcomic, but after 4 years of virtually no progress, he threw in the towel and left the comics industry for good.
  • Marvel series NYX was slated to be an ongoing series but after numerous delays by both the writer (Joe Quesada) and the artist was declared a limited series simply to finish out the first story arc.
    • Marvel later released a follow-up mini-series, with a different writer and artist this time around.
    • NYX did, however, win a place in history as the first appearance in comics continuity of the successful Canon Immigrant Laura Kinney, aka X-23.
  • GoldenEye had a Comic-Book Adaptation that only got the first issue out of the planned three released, with rumours that the cancellation happened due to the suggestive cover for issue 2.
  • The comic M. Rex ended after two issues. About ten years later it received a cartoon that started to delve into the abandoned plots and more.
  • Sokora Refugees, a manga-inspired (in both art and story) comic, was super-popular before its abrupt end after two volumes. The comic's site, after two years in operation, stopped updating in November of 2006 and died completely a few months after. The artist mentioned the author had some personal issues after a few weeks of no new strips. What seems to have actually happened is that the creator landed her own syndicated daily comic strip, My Cage. The demands of doing four panels a day pretty much ensures that Sokora Refugees will remain an orphan unless something happens to My Cage. And now, we've jinxed it.
  • Alan Moore's miniseries Big Numbers stopped after two issues. This was particularly frustrating as due to the more literary, kitchen-sink-drama nature of the series, the audience didn't learn what direction the series was going in, how the groups of unrelated characters were going to interact, or what all the untranslated dialogue in some Indian language was about. The main cause was that illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz left the series and he was replaced by a nineteen-year-old assistant of his named Al Columbia. Columbia had to replicate the gritty, photo-realistic technique Sienkiewicz utilized for illustrating the previous Big Numbers issues, and he had to do so by specified deadlines. Columbia cracked under the pressure of such a herculean task and as a result, he not only left his Big Numbers work unfinished, but he destroyed much of his work, including two unpublished issues. Columbia, despite having a cult following generated by grotesque works such as The Biologic Show, remains somewhat a pariah in the comic industry.
    • Moore never finished Supreme or 1963 for various reasons that aren't really his fault, either. Moore's last script for Supreme (which did not resolve ongoing storylines) was finally illustrated and published twelve years later, preceding Erik Larsen's revival of the series.
    • The Ballad of Halo Jones reached a fairly satisfying conclusion, but only got a third of the way through Moore's original plan for the saga.
  • In the early '00s there was a quirky British comic titled Bazooka Jules, by Neil Googe, about a 16-year-old schoolgirl named Julie Glocke who gets mixed up in a plot involving aliens and super-science and gains the ability to turn into a ridiculously well-endowed Action Girl who can spontaneously pull gigantic pieces of armament out of thin air. It was criticized for the underage Fanservice, but fans and critics enjoyed the humor and Googe's expressive art style. Anyway, around issue #3 (it was planned to run for six), Googe took seriously ill and someone broke into the publisher's building, stealing the material for the planned future issues, which were never recovered. Googe got better and planned a relaunch of the series with artist LeShawn Thomas, but before it got off the ground they hit some copyright issues, Thomas left to do animation work on The Boondocks, and Googe himself eventually signed an exclusive deal with DC Comics. Neil Googe has retained Julie as a sort of signature character, but as a comic, Bazooka Jules seems to be as dead as it gets at this point.
  • Classic fantasy comic Wormy (sort of Dungeons & Dragons meets Pogo) stopped in mid-arc when David A. Trampier dropped off the face of the earth. He became a taxi driver.
  • The Tick comic series ended abruptly (right before a big fight with the bad guys) when author Ben Edlund decided to spend time working on the cartoon. He never made it back, and given the current success of Supernatural, it's unlikely he'll be making it back anytime soon.
    • And especially given that the series has been relaunched under writer Benito Cereno.
  • Warren Ellis has a number of these to his name, many of them due to a hard drive crash in 2008 (as explained here). It didn't help things at all that he already had a reputation for Schedule Slippage prior to this. Projects affected by this include Fell, Desolation Jones, New Universal and Doktor Sleepless. Planetary and Ministry of Space both experienced lengthy schedule slips, but were, eventually, completed.
  • Pretty much everything by Rob Liefeld after he and the other Image founders left Marvel. He's become notorious for starting new comic titles (or revamping the existing ones) only to abandon his plans partway through. The list of mishandled crossovers alone can make a significant portion of this list. Most notoriously, he's gone SIXTY-TWO MONTHS between issues of a Youngblood (Image Comics) limited series.
  • Mike Baron's Sonic Disruptors (a DC limited series from the late 80s) ended on a cliffhanger after seven of an originally-announced twelve issues, with no explanation given at the time. Eventually, Baron admitted he had been making it up as he went along and simply realized he had no idea where the story was going. It may be just as well; after an excellent first issue, it got So Okay, It's Average fast.
  • Xenozoic Tales started in 1987 as a bimonthly, but the artist's increasingly detailed drawings necessitated a gap before issue 4 and a reschedule to come out once every three months. This reschedule lasted only three issues before hitting another gap and ceasing to have a regular schedule beyond "when we get it ready." Space between issues got increasingly long, with only two issues released in 1989. The series had one issue a year each April for the next three years, then skipped 1993 entirely. Issue 13 came out in 1994 and issue 14 came out in 1996. There have been no issues since, though the author/artist has been known to claim in interviews that he will get back to it. Should we hold our collective breath?
  • Scud the Disposable Assassin was this for ten years, due to Creator Breakdown. It was finished up, working this into the plot as a Time Skip.
  • Unicorn Isle was a fantasy comic by Lee Marrs, c.1987, originally slated to run for 12 issues but cancelled after only 5 for unknown reasons.
  • Archie Comics once made a comic based on NiGHTS into Dreams… and had made the initial three issue mini-series into a ongoing series in the same vein that the Knuckles The Echidna ongoing spun out of its second mini-series. However, after its second three issues, they put the series on indefinite hiatus and classified issues 4-6 as a second mini-series.
  • When Seven Seas Entertainment was first starting out and before they began to publish licensed manga, they released several original titles in the manga style. Having vastly misread the market for such titles (as well as the rapid decline of the publishing market since the company's founding), several of these series were cancelled due to low sales, while some others were stopped short due to other issues. Seven Seas has since largely switched to either one-volume releases (with sequels as sales demand), printed versions of original web series that have a high enough readership (such as Aoi House), or licensed series. Some of the casualties:
    • Seven Seas debuted with four OEL series, Amazing Agent Luna, No Man's Land, Last Hope (2005), and Blade for Barter. Blade for Barter was cancelled after a single volume (with the conclusion to the cliffhanger published online to make it up to people who actually bought the first volume). Last Hope ran for two volumes with a third teased but then hit a wall when a contractual dispute arose between the publisher and the author that eventually led to the series being cancelled due to market concerns. No Man's Land was originally heavily publicized and also had a flash series started, but both the books and flash series were scrapped originally due to the artist and author having too many other commitments, and have been essentially cancelled due the company's concerns over the declining publishing market.
    • The Outcast sold well and the publisher intended to continue with it, but the author abruptly left it midway through the second volume for other commitments.
    • Both Unearthly and Captain Nemo never moved past their first volumes due to the author, who also runs the company, being forced to stop writing in order to run the company instead.
    • Ravenskull had a teaser for a second volume, but never moved past one. The artist was juggling multiple projects at the time, which led to delays before the second volume was quietly cancelled. No reason was ever given, though looking at Seven Seas response to other properties that have languished in development hell, its probably a safe bet this one won't be returning either.
    • Seven Seas have several manga and light novels they've licensed, and then never released, such as Ryohgo Narita's Vamp. The kicker is that a few of them are fully translated and ready to be printed, but SSE are reluctant to release them due to market concerns (in the case of Vamp!, they're worried that the series won't appeal to the Twilight crowd... which it wouldn't, but they're looking in the wrong place. It's doubtful those fans would be interested in a novel series featuring a vampire T-rex).
  • Bill Willingham's Coventry lasted two issues before it was discontinued. Willingham later wrote two short novels in the same universe. Arguably, his later series Fables may be a continuation of the Coventry universe, so perhaps it was not entirely orphaned.
  • In the mid-90s, three different companies produced comics based on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. The first company, Gladestone, published two mini-series set in Season Two before passing it to Marvel. Marvel did an adaptation of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and started two series set in Season Three (one with the Rangers in morphed state and a flip book with the team in Ninja form coupled with stories based on VR Troopers). Only six issues of those were made before it was passed over to Awesome Comics where only one issue of a Power Rangers Zeo comic and an ad talking about a crossover between the Zeo team and Youngblood (Image Comics) was made. Moral of the story - don't make comics set in an ever-changing continuity.
  • Wildsiderz was abandoned by writer/artist J. Scott Campbell after the second issue. In fact, he stopped doing Sequential Art altogether around then — now he does pin-ups and covers. Basically, this is a case of "100% uninterested in finishing it."
  • Randy Green's Dollz was, like M. Rex and Wildsiderz, a two-issue series that was never finished. As far as anyone can tell, Green got too caught up with other projects to bother with it. He still, however, produces art of the characters now and then, sort of like Neil Googe does with Julie Glocke.
  • Kevin Smith's second Batman miniseries, The Widening Gyre, follows the events of Cacophony and has been on hiatus after 6 issues since early 2010. Smith's reasoning for the delay boils down to "Being stoned all the time".
  • Before that, there was the infamous Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target mini-series. Long story short, Kevin Smith did a highly acclaimed Daredevil run in the 90s, and one of the most memorable issues had Bullseye killing Karen Page, Matt's girlfriend. Once Smith finished his run, Joe Quesada asked him to enter into a gentlemen's agreement that Smith would get the first shot at writing any future confrontation between Daredevil and Bullseye, as he'd set the stage for their inevitable showdown quite nicely. A few years later, Brian Michael Bendis had made it known that he wanted to have Bullseye return to the franchise, and Smith reminded Quesada of the deal they'd made. Quesada agreed to let Smith write Bullseye's return instead of Bendis, but on the condition that he do it immediately as part of a limited series. The ensuing limited series (The Target) only ever saw one issue released before Smith lost interest and scrapped the whole thing. He's since said that he regrets agreeing to do the mini-series, as he did it more to hold Quesada to his word than any genuine desire to do another Bullseye story.
  • After an already erratic release schedule, Frank Miller's All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder abruptly ceased publication in 2008. A continuation called Dark Knight: Boy Wonder was announced in 2010, but as of 2020, it's yet to actually appear.
  • As stated above in Manga/Anime, Grupo Editorial Vid. It was the most important publisher of comics for the Mexican market, but then since the first half of the 2000s, they started to have problems, like losing the rights to publish Marvel Comics in Spanish, then losing the rights to publish DC Comics, Image, Dark Horse, etc. Thankfully, other publishers decided to work on these titles.
  • Director Jon Favreau partnered with superstar artist Adi Granov for a four issue mini-series called Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas. The series was meant to be released alongside the first Iron Man movie as a gateway book to get new fans interested in the comics, but only two issues were published before it fell victim to Schedule Slip and was then cancelled altogether. Also not helping matters was the fact that Favreau had a massive falling out with Marvel over the Executive Meddling he put up with while making Iron Man 2, meaning that even if he ever had any interest in finishing the mini-series, it's certainly not going to happen now.
  • Bad Planet by Thomas Jane was planned to be a 12-issue long series, but it was plagued by Schedule Slip during its development cycle. Volume 1 containing the first six issues was concluded, but the second volume hasn't been updated since 2013. Due to lack of funding, it's unknown if the series will ever see its conclusion.
  • French comic artist Olivier Ledroit wrote and drew a comic, The Scarlett Door, about a group of cyborg Transhumans who wake up from hibernation in a post-apocalyptic North America, which was discontinued after a single issue and ended on a cliffhanger.
  • After running non-stop for 24 years, Archie Comics' restructuring and financial troubles led to the cancellation of their Sonic the Hedgehog series. The last few issues were meant to head into a new arc but the axe came down at that point and nixed any future plans. The comics at the least were able to finish up the "Shattered World" arc (a.k.a the Sonic Unleashed adaptation) and was as far as a proper closure the comic was going to get despite a ton of lingering plot lines. Sega since then gave the comic license to IDW. While the comic has the same writers, they opted to reboot the comic world rather than continue the previous universe.
  • On 2018, Cosmo The Merry Martian was rebooted as as the action-oriented Cosmo the Mighty Martian with the former writers of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog series, most likely in an attempt to retain the latter's reader base after its cancellation. After five issues, the miniseries suddenly came to a stop in 2020 for no apparent reason, although since the writers were also working on IDW's own Sonic series at the time, it's a moot point.

    Fan Works 
  • Archive of Our Own allows an author to literally orphan a fic (original or otherwise), disowning a work that they no longer want to be attached to, with the "new" author being orphan_account. This can be done with both unfinished and completed works, and naturally, a vast majority of the fics "written" by orphan_account are of the former.
  • Harry Potter and the Breeding Darkness seems to unfortunately have been discontinued due to lack of interest and time to continue writing for it, and has now been put up for adoption.
  • With Strings Attached was this for a long time. The author, who started the story in 1980 and began posting it online in 1997, abandoned it in 2002 due to real life problems preventing her from devoting time to it. The two-thirds of the book she'd finished remained on her website. She maintained that she would probably never finish it, but in early 2009 she was hit by literary lightning, wrote 300 pages in 3 weeks, and finished the whole story. (The final product in book form is over 650 pages long.) She has now released the first half of the long-promised sequel, The Keys Stand Alone.
  • Colonization: First Contact is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic with the typical "human in Equestria" premise, except with a twist: instead of the typical self-insert, it features a space expedition of scientists and soldiers who stumble upon the planet Equestria. Unfortunately, it petered out after only five chapters, with an unfinished piece of the sixth on the author's profile. The author later announced he will not be finishing the fic (and offers it to any enterprising author who would like to finish it).
  • allows authors to label their stories as being "On Hiatus" or "Cancelled", though whether or not an orphaned fic will actually make use of either label is a toss-up.
  • Invoked by the Harry Potter fanfic "Our Obligations", where the writer specifically wrote the last chapter as a No Ending just to give people this impression.
  • Yellow Submarine, a Harry Potter fic, was almost finished when its author decided to wrap up an earlier loose end. The related subplot was reintroduced, then abandoned.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic series Consequences of Our Pasts was meant to be an exploration of the Avatar cycle starting with Aang and show the results of having no Airbenders left for the cycle to use, as well as explore how events in the distant past made the canon war inevitable. Midway through the second of five projected stories, the author put it on hold for over two years due to Real Life concerns, then expressed dissatisfaction and burnout (as well as belief that Embers (Vathara) expressed his intended themes more effectively) before finally removing it all from FanFiction.Net. Only the first part of the first story, The Aftermath: Aang's Book, is now archived here, and that is mostly setup.
  • The "Partners" series by Nate Grey will never be finished due to the author losing interest in Pilot Candidate over the years.
  • Obscure Splatoon fanfiction Orange and Blue by Inkling Studios. It was first cancelled as a fanfic in late 2016, then being revived in early 2017 as a webcomic...only for THAT to be cancelled as well due to the creator losing interest in the game and having poor experiences with the fandom.
  • Twilight Pretty Cure was abandoned after the author was accused of mishandling sensitive subjects such as rape. Though she tried to address this problem by rewriting the story to make it less offensive, the backlash against it eventually caused her to give up on it completely, with several of the revised chapters still not reposted.
  • When the Monster Musume anime first aired back in 2015, several artists and anons met on imageboards to discuss the series, and decided to create a parallel story starring the Bicycle Cop and girls from the most dangerous liminal subspecies available, as a sort of "evil" counterpart of Kimihito's harem. So Everyday Life with Bicycle Cop was born. High-quality art of the girls was made, along with backstories and info pages that perfectly replicated Okayado's writing and drawing style. Several strips were made to show the interactions between the girls and the cop, like a very funny and occasionally sweet sitcom. Unfortunately the artists either got bored, had other commitments, or jumped to other fanbases, so the project slowed down and eventually came to a halt. The anons sent the whole work to Okayado as a sign of gratitude.
  • Grej created a Jreg fan series called Realicide. Officially, three episodes have been released with shorts in-between. It was given the Approval of God and is a piece of Ascended Fanon, with the events of Realicide being acknowledged in Centricide to be simultaeneously occuring. Jreg even expressed desire to collaborate with the Grej team one day. However, the series was officially canceled in mid-2021 as the creators were burnt out and wanted to move on to other projects.
  • The fic Hell and High Water was cancelled in 2022, though at that point the last chapter was written two years prior, which itself was written a year after the previous one. The author cited these long update gaps as one of the reason for dropping the fic. The other was the bloated nature of the plot, as he felt there were too many needlessly complicated details, characters, and plot beats. He did suggest that he may revisit the story in the future, albeit completely rewriting it to be more condensed and focused.
  • The Danganronpa fic series Legacy Of Hope, a reboot of A New Hope (Danganronpa), was ultimately shelved due to story fatigue and loss of communication with the original author (the reboot is ghostwritten). As such, A New Luck abruptly ends on the third story arc, but the author gave out the list of killers, victims, and survivors.
  • Universe Falls, a Steven Universe and Gravity Falls crossover retelling was 102 chapters in, and halfway through what they called "Arc 9" of a planned 11 arc story. There were even preliminary plans to do a sequel series once they finished, with the titles for the remaining episodes posted online to sho what the general flow/themes of the remaining parts of the story would be. But in mid 2022, the author announced that he was putting the fic on "indefinite hiatus", partly because of sheer exhaustion for having worked on it for 7 years and no longer considering it fun, and partly because they had other stories they were now more invested in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The first two instalments of Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series, 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two have film adaptations, but not 2061: Odyssey Three or 3001: The Final Odyssey. Tom Hanks expressed interest in doing film adaptations of the last two, but now that Douglas Rain has died and Keir Dullea is probably too old to do the rest of the series, it seems unlikely that anything will come to fruition.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia survived a Channel Hop of distributors (from Disney to Fox), but then Walden Media's contract with the C. S. Lewis estate ended and so did the film series. The third film's poor reviews and Adaptation Decay certainly didn't help. While a planned adaptation of The Silver Chair was announced back around 2013 which would have be a reboot directed by Joe Johnston, it has since been cancelled in favor of a new reboot of some sort for Netflix.
  • DC Extended Universe:
  • The Divergent Series suffered this fate, given that the final book Allegiant was split into two movies (Allegiant and Ascendant)...that were not shot concurrently.note  Part one ended up being a Box Office Bomb, so the next one never materialized.
  • Eragon never had any sequels despite 3 later books to adapt. The film underperformed—not financially, but regarding its critical and audience reception—and there wasn't enough interest in continuing it.
  • The Last Airbender only adapted the first season of the three season animated series it was based on, but due to a poor critical and audience reception, the planned sequels were never made.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events was planned to be the first in a "Harry Potter" stype film series, but was instead cut short with the first film only adapting the events of the first three books (The Bad Begnning, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window). Luckily, the Netflix adaptation was able to show the rest of the series in live-action.

  • Older Than Print: At the beginning of The Canterbury Tales, the characters are all heading to Canterbury for various reasons, and it's stated that each one will (for a story contest) tell two stories on the way there, and two on the way back. However, it breaks off before they make it to Canterbury or even have one character tell more than one story (in some cases, such as the Cook's Tale, the story is incomplete). Whether or not Geoffrey Chaucer simply abandoned it or meant to finish it but died first is unknown. (An alternative explanation is that the work was completed, but no complete version of the manuscript has been retained or recorded.)
  • Some scholars consider The Tale of Genji an example. It cuts off abruptly with the potential for plenty more story.
  • Robin Jarvis seemingly abandoned his Hagwood trilogy after the first book. Indeed, for over a decade there was only one book, but the final volumes were released in 2013 and 2016, respectively. However, his Intrigues of the Reflected Realm series still only has one book, Deathscent. Hagwood and Intrigues of the Reflected Realm debuted at about the same time, and now the latter has remained unfinished for longer than the former.
  • Quest Of the Gypsy by Ron Goulart was supposed to be six books long, but stopped after the second book in 1977.
  • Stieg Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy was planned to be a decalogy, but was cut short in 2007 after only three books by his sudden death. The series' publisher would later hire David Lagercrantz to continue the series in Larsson's stead, releasing the fourth installment in 2015.
  • Kim Newman writing as Jack Yeovil's Demon Download series for Games Workshop's Dark Future universe has been awaiting the fourth and final installment since 1991. Despite GW republishing the earlier works, there's no sign of the final volume ever appearing in print.
  • Tales of the Nine Charms by Erica Farber and J.R. Sansevere had two books published in 2000 and 2001 respectively and claims to be a trilogy. As of 2014, the third book has yet to materialize.
  • The Architect of Sleep by Steven R. Boyett ends on a cliffhanger that may never be resolved. After wrangling with his publisher over the sequel, Boyett took the unusual step of buying the rights back and has stated repeatedly that he no longer has any interest in finishing the series.
  • Charles Stross has explained that he will not be continuing The Eschaton Series beyond its existing two installments because he feels he made some worldbuilding mistakes so serious at the end of Iron Sunrise as to make that universe unviable.
  • George R. R. Martin attempted to start a number of short story series (he says in Dreamsongs, "My career is littered with the corpses of dead series") before settling on Haviland Tuf, chronicled in the Tuf Voyaging fixup novel.
  • Changeling and Madwand by Roger Zelazny set a stage for multidimensional conflict of technology vs. magic vs. Eldritch Abominations and just stop there. In over a decade the author never came back to the setting.
  • Roald Dahl's third book about Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka, Charlie in the White House—which would have picked up from the Sequel Hook at the end of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator—never got further than Chapter One.
  • The War Against the Chtorr is at great risk of becoming this, as David Gerrold is pushing 80 years of age and has yet to finish Book 5 (of a planned 7), after Book 4 ended on a cliffhanger thirty years ago.
  • Lilith Saintcrow's Steelflower trilogy wound up subverting this. At one point, the author stated on her website that she would not be continuing the series due to heavy piracy of the ebook edition of the first installment, but wound up releasing the second and third installments of the trilogy nearly ten years later.
  • Empire from the Ashes (Dahak) sets the stage for an interstellar war of epic proportions, where human ancestors have been fighting genocidal aliens, whose invasions kept nearly (but not quite) exterminating them for millions of years. The first book, Mutineer's Moon, is about a stranded picket planetoid waking from 50 000 years of sleep to enlist the help of the Lost Colony Earth. Armageddon Inheritance is about figuring what killed the rest of the interstellar Imperium/Empire and fighting the invasion, this time with a fleet of planetoids and using exploding stars as death traps. Heirs of Empire is about slowly preparing a counterstrike while surviving a coup and establishing order on another Lost Colony, this time stuck in the flintlock era. And then nothing since 1996. Presumably, David Weber is busy writing about Honor Harrington and Bahzel. Meanwhile the animated adaptation has been in pre-production limbo since the early 2000s.
  • Terry Jones's The Lady and the Squire, the sequel to the children's novel The Knight And The Squire, ends on a downer with two major characters missing-presumed-dead and the three main characters splitting up. It was published in 2000 and never continued.
  • Dragon Queen, a Web Serial Novel, stopped updating in March of 2015, with eight chapters up.
  • Diane Carey had initially planned at least one or two more books revolving around Piper, the character she introduced in what would eventually be called the Fortunes of War story, but those novels never came about.
  • Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories: The introduction of Volume 1 makes it clear that Dr Asimov was intending to work with Doubleday to republish all of his fiction in a format that would make finding his stories easy, but having only 88 stories/poems when his short Science Fiction is more than two hundred shows that at least two more volumes would be needed. Once you add in the Mystery Fiction and Poetry counts, the two lonely volumes look very incomplete.
  • The Maradonia Saga. The last new book to be released was Maradonia and the Law of Blood, all the way back in 2010. The series presumably stalled due to its author Gloria Tesch preferring to focus on The Movie. It seems like the creators ran out of money and gave up on the series after the film's premiere, making the story end on an unresolved cliffhanger. Several other factors point towards the series being cancelled: as of January 2020, the Maradonia websites are down, none of the e-books are available for purchase, the only physical copies for sale are used, and Gloria Tesch's website focuses on her modelling. To make matters worse, Gerry Tesch, Gloria's father and the one person who helped promoting and publishing the series, died in 2018. In December 2019, Gloria Tesch released The Secret of Moon Lake (under the new name/pseudonym Sofia Nova) and called it her debut novel, effectively disowning Maradonia.
  • Erec Rex was supposed to be an eight-book series. The fifth entry was published in 2012. The official site currently has a headline "Book Six is underway!"...from 2014.
  • Tales of Elethiya, a planned ten book length web serial novel seems to have stalled out at three instalments and the website where they were available is offline leaving the series in limbo.
  • The Starkillers Cycle, a serialized online Space Opera novel available on Tumblr that was co-authored by Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard. It was first uploaded in 2014 but then stopped being updated and has since been taken down. It's been speculated this is because of Dennard and Maas breaking off their friendship (the details aren't public but it's been noted they no longer interact during interviews/panels or post about their friendship, and they've stopped following each other on social media).
  • The Familiar, an ambitious book series written by Mark Z. Danielewski that was planned to span 27 volumes, with each volume being a whopping 800+ pages filled with interlocking stories and characters, was prematurely halted at less than 25 percent complete after the fifth volume was released, as the publisher lost faith in it with sales being poor.
  • Girls Kingdom's fourth volume ends on a cliffhanger, with Misaki noting that things are going to get crazy. However, despite the first four volumes being released in less than a year through 2021, there has been no sign of a fifth, leaving fans frustrated. J-Novel Club's site lists the series as ongoing, suggesting that it hasn't been Quietly Cancelled, at least.
  • Age of Steam series of novels by Devon Monk has only three installments, with the third being released in 2013. This is despite the fact the series sets up that there will be seven novels (one for each "Holder" fragment the characters are searching for) and the many plot threads left unresolved.
  • The Fey and the Fallen by Stina Leicht ends after only two novels, ending on a cliffhanger as the protagonist decides to work with the church to hunt demons, learns his little sister has magic, has discovered there are multiple fairy courts and learns of a fairy king who has been suspiciously silent in the past few decades while demons have been ravaging the mortal lands. Liecht has gone on to write other works, and while she has never gone on record saying why the series was orphaned, the timing coincides with the publisher, Night Shade Books, going bankrupt.
  • Likewise, Catherynne M. Valente has gone on record saying that the closing of Night Shade has affected her ability to publish the third and final Dirge for Prester John novel.
  • Eric Flint's two Joe's World satirical fantasy novels were among the first things he ever wrote for professional publication, and he hoped to extend the series, but he had to divert his attention to more marketable works, and passed away twenty years later with a third novel only partially finished.
  • Chrono Crown, the displaced Prequel of In Another World with My Smartphone, only ends with three arcs and 22 chapters total, leaving the whole story in limbo. However, due to the Canon Welding by the author, every single elements of that abandoned story have been merged into the Smartphone's main premise, thereby making Chrono Crown still alive ipso facto as one of Smartphone's major story arcs as the Gollems and its creator Chrom Ranchess becomes involved with the history surrounding the Phrase invasion in the Eastern Continent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Chappelle's Show when Dave couldn't handle the fame and pressure after the success of the first two seasons. He literally walked out on the production of the third season, even after Comedy Central offered a bigger paycheck. He is currently focusing on performing stand-up.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures, the kid-friendly spin-off of the modern Doctor Who series, ended halfway through Series Five following the death of star Elisabeth Sladen (the production team weren't willing to replace her or carry on without her). Fortunately, although one story arc — related to Sarah Jane adopting an alien girl — was left incomplete, the series' storylines were standalone enough to avoid any loose ends.
  • Twin Peaks was this for over 25 years. The movie, Fire Walk With Me, rather than concluding the story, was supposed to mark the transition from TV to films, but after its failure at the box office, the follow-up was never made. A revival series eventually aired in 2017, concluding the story at last (or not).
  • Technically, you might say this of Sonny with a Chance. Season 3 ended with Sonny Munroe (sort of) reconciling with Chad Dylan Cooper and landing a job singing songs in an outdoor café. Before the fourth season was to continue the plot line, Demi Lovato went to rehab to treat self-harm, bulimia and drug and alcohol abuse, as well as her bipolarity, and she decided at the end that returning to Sonny wouldn't be a good thing for her recovery. So Random!, which only loosely brought back the SWAC characters and cast (with a few additions) as part of their "Show Within a Show Becom(ing) A Show", did not mention Sonny or "Channy" at all, used Chad Dylan Cooper as a Random, and was canceled after one season. Demi never even got to guest on an episode as herself or Sonny.
  • Though the stories of its characters would be continued in film, Star Trek: The Original Series doesn't cover all of the five-year mission of the Enterprise, ending unceremoniously.
  • Bryan Fuller is the victim of this trope way too frequently:
    • Wonderfalls had completed a full season of episodes but only four aired before FOX pulled the plug. The story behind the Muses remains unresolved and several planned stories, including a lesbian's mystery pregnancy and a stint by Jaye in a locked ward never played out.
    • Pushing Daisies ended after two shortened seasons with many unanswered questions and dangling plot threads, not least of which is the source of Ned's ability.
    • Although Hannibal made it through three seasons and seemed to come to a conclusion, Word of God confirms that Will and Hannibal both survived the Fall. Fuller had planned on five seasons and has expressed repeated interest in adapting Silence of the Lambs.
    • Fuller also has two failed pilots to his credit, Mockingbird Lane and High Moon.
    • Even his Carrie (2002) counts. It's an adaptation of the Stephen King novel that was talked about expanding into a TV series, so it ends openly in the hopes that the story could continue. Despite strong ratings justifying a series, he soon realised the network weren't interested.
  • The BBC adaptation of John Christopher's trilogy The Tripods was cancelled after the first two series (covering books one and two) leaving it in limbo.
  • New Amsterdam (2008): Fox halted production of the show after only filming eight episodes out of a planned 13. The only reason the show even aired was because the network was starving for material during the 07-08 writer's strike. After airing all of the completed episodes, Fox officially canceled it.

  • While Chonchu had its first part driven to completion, its second part is still pending 10 years after the end of the first part and there's no prospective date for a release.
  • Many manga/manhua/manhwa continued until the end but their non-official fans-translations didn't. Manhwa Metal Heart is such an example.
    • Yoo Ah Dok Jon only ran 15 chapters then was abandoned without any news.
    • PHD: Phantasy Degree aka Master School Olympus only ran to 10 volumes, while the author seemingly moved on to do other projects.
    • Cavalier of the Abyss was abandoned just after a big twist was revealed and nearly reaching a climax.

  • The Vocaloid series "Synchronicity" was thought by fans to have been abandoned, since the third and final video in the trilogy has yet to be released. This notion was perpetuated when an incomplete version of the final video was allegedly posted on Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga before quickly being removed. However, the creator of the series, Hitoshizuku, claimed that no such video was ever uploaded, and she has confirmed on her blog that the conclusion to the series is in progress, though she stated that fans might have to wait awhile for it to be released.
  • The 1995 David Bowie album 1. Outside was intended to be the first part of a trilogy of concept albums. Bowie apparently lost interest in the project.
  • Similarly, George Michael's 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was intended to be part one of a Distinct Double Album, 'Volume 1' containing pop-rock and soul influenced tracks. 'Volume 2', which was intended to be a dance album, was never finished because of disputes with the record company. Michael had recorded 4 tracks for it. He contributed three of them — "Too Funky", "Do You Really Want To Know", and "Happy" — to the Red Hot + Dance AIDS charity album. "Too Funky" was released as a single with the b-side "Crazyman Dance", also recorded for the cancelled album. The Vol. 1 single "Waiting For That Day"'s b-side "Fantasy" may also have been intended for the album as it fits in stylistically. It isn't known if Michael recorded any more songs for the cancelled Vol. 2 or carried them over to his later albums Older or Patience. It is unlikely the record company wanted him talking about unreleased material so it may not be known for a while.
  • Shirley Manson recorded a solo album. The studio refused to release it considering it non-commercial, and she also gave up putting the songs out on her own.
  • Simple Minds recorded a promo video for This Is It, and clips were shown in a promo video for the album Graffiti Soul. The song was ultimately not released as a single, and the full video has not been released.
  • The Beach Boys had planned for a Stars & Stripes series featuring various other artists (primarily in Country Music) doing remakes of their most famous hits. After Stars & Stripes, Vol. 1 bombed, they abandoned any plans for a Vol. 2, although one track for what would have become Vol. 2 (a cover of "In My Room" with Tammy Wynette) later appeared on one of Wynette's compilation albums.
  • The Residents intended on releasing a six-part "mole trilogy" set in the same universe as the Mark Of The Mole Concept Album: They cut things short after a disastrous tour supporting Mark Of The Mole itself, and only put out three albums and an EP revolving around the concept. One of those releases is a Live Album presentation of Mark Of The Mole itself (Mole Show), and all the others (Tunes Of Two Cities, Intermission, The Big Bubble) are supposed to be music made In-Universe by the feuding societies depicted in Mark Of The Mole, so the whole story-line ultimately has No Ending.
  • Limp Bizkit EP The Unquestionable Truth, Part 1, bore a more serious tone than usual LB fare, and served as a comeback record for guitarist Wes Borland. Naturally the title implied there would be another part, but EP sold badly and Borland walked away again after its release (he rejoined the group later, but little was heard about the second part since then, especially with their main album stuck in Development Hell).
  • Miley Cyrus was originally planning in 2019 to release a 3-part album project called She Is Miley Cyrus, releasing it in the form of 3 EPs throughout the year. Only the first EP, She Is Coming, saw a release, with the later two, She Is Here and She is Everything, being indefinitely postponed after her tumultuous breakup with Liam Hemsworth. In the following year, she announced that the project was scrapped and rebooted from scratch (she claimed that it didn't make sense to continue on with the pre-breakup material), culminating in the release of an entirely new album, Plastic Hearts, near the end of 2020.
  • Kanye West's first three albums between 2004 to 2007 (The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation) heavily revolved around college and themes of growing up into adulthood, with Kanye planning immediately after Graduation to complete the series with an album titled Good Ass Job. Then Kanye was hit with multiple of personal tragedies all at once, including the sudden death of his mother and breakup with his fiancé, which prompted an almost complete overhaul in musical direction with 808s and Heartbreak. The last news that anyone has ever heard of Good Ass Job was Kanye announcing in 2018 that it would be salvaged as a collaboration with Chance the Rapper, but word of that too has since stagnated, with Kanye focused on other projects since.

  • The Pinball 2000 line from Williams Electronics, heralded as the future of pinball, debuted with Revenge from Mars and Star Wars Episode I. Although both machines were well-acclaimed and decent sellers, Williams' shareholders decided to pull out of the arcade gaming business all together to focus solely on slot machines.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In a sort of Show Within a Show style example, this phenomenon got a reference in the RPG sourcebook GURPS Fantasy II, where the greatest poet of a certain ancient civilization has been suffering a writer's block for thousands of years, his magnum opus left one volume short of completion. Rather than an isolated case, this is another symptom of said civilization's stagnated nature.
  • While the game itself has continued without a hitch, Konami is notorious for creating and then dropping various deck archetypes for the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. While the anime-based ones are forgivable, the original ones are not, especially when some of those archetypes are left orphaned with only an opening hand's worth of cards to their name. Fortunately, Konami seems to be realizing that they have those archetypes orphaned, and are starting to readopt them with new support in the game's more recent sets.
  • Mage: The Ascension's revised Convention books, covering the groups of the game's primary antagonist group, the Technocracy. The first book in the series, Iteration X, was released in 2002, proving to be a considerable improvement over the original... then White Wolf went and ended the Old World of Darkness. Fans thought that was it for the Convention books. However, at Gencon 2011, WW announced they'd be doing the remaining four Convention books, and finally completed the set in October 2013.
    • On the subject of the oWoD, both Wraith: The Oblivion and Changeling: The Dreaming were ended before the other lines, and both were left incomplete. Wraith's Guildbook series was left unfinished, with five of the thirteen Great Guilds not covered. In Changeling's case, meanwhile, Book of Glamour was announced, but never saw light of day (and is unlikely to, its intended content being superseded by Changeling's 20th Anniversary edition), and the Kithbook series was cut short, with the Boggans and Sidhe not done (though Nobles: the Shining Host is considered an unofficial Sidhe Kithbook). Fortunately, a Boggan kithbook was funded as a stretch goal for the Kickstarter to fund a deluxe version of the Changeling 20th Anniversary corebook.

    Video Games 
  • In a particularly early example, the Horace series of video games on the ZX Spectrum became orphaned following the departure of its creator from the video game industry in the mid-80's after suffering a collapsed lung. The series came to a close in 1985, with a standalone game appearing ten years later, and then nothing since.
  • Any game released on an episodic schedule can be prone to this if the first episodes don't stir up enough interest and the developers are fired (as is the case with SiN Episodes: Emergence, whose development studio was disintegrated after the release of the first episode Emergence) or lose interest and move on to other, better things (Telltale Games, for example, released only the first two episodes to their Bone series, which were met with lukewarm reviews, before moving on to the much more successful Sam & Max: Freelance Police series).
  • After Half-Life 2 Episode 2 ended on a cliffhanger, gamers eagerly awaited a resolution in Episode 3 which was supposed to come in by the end of 2007. However, after Valve missed this deadline the project was never seen or heard from again, with Half-Life 2 Episode 3, or eventually, Half-Life 3 becoming one of the most infamous pieces of Vaporware in video game history. During 2016 and 2017, most of the key creative story staff from the Half-Life series left Valve, which many saw as the final nail in the coffin for Half-Life 3's chances of ever getting made.
    • 2020 saw the release of a VR interquel named Half-Life: Alyx, the first Valve-produced entry in the Half-Life series for over a decade, which follows the exploits of Alyx Vance 5 years before the events of Half-Life 2, with the ending suggesting that the timeline was rebooted. This, along with announcements from Valve stating their plans to continue the series, may mean the long-awaited subversion of this trope.
  • Team Fortress 2 was another victim to "Valve Time", in this case most regarding its comic series. Initially announced in 2013 for a bi-monthly 7-issue story arc, only 6 issues were completed between 2013 and 2017, and the final issue nowhere to be seen. Following issue 6's release, the development team of TF2 had massively downsized, and in 2019, series artist Heather Campbell confirmed that issue 7 was not in active development as everyone moved onto different projects, and barring the possibilities of "waiting to see if/when the stars align", it seems it'll stay that way.
  • Left 4 Dead was yet another series that was left abandoned by Valve (Starting to see a pattern here?). The last game was Left 4 Dead 2 which was released all the way back in 2009. This is despite the fact that both the first and second game being released merely a year apart. Although there have been hints on Valve attempting to make a sequel, they were merely rumours and nothing substantial has been released, despite fans begging Valve to make a sequel due to the game's aging engine.
  • The LucasArts adventure game Loom was conceived as the first game in an epic fantasy trilogy, with an extremely confusing cliffhanger ending to get players interested in a potential sequel. For years, many fans speculated that the sequels were dropped because Loom wasn't as critically acclaimed as LucasArts had hoped (it was) or because it didn't sell very many copies (it did), but LucasArts would later confirm that the sequels were dropped because no-one at the company wanted to work on them.
    • Full Throttle sold well enough that the company intended to create sequels. However, two different attempts to put one together fell apart in the process. As the creator Tim Schafer left LucasArts not long after the first sequel attempt to form Double Fine, and LucasArts went under in 2013, it's safe to call this one dead (outside of a remake).
  • Tim Schafer is cursed with these.
    • Brütal Legend was intended to be the first title in a series and the ending has a Sequel Hook. The second game had even started pre-production at Double Fine when Electronic Arts swiftly cancelled it in response to low sales of the first title. Years later, when EA dropped support for the title, DF gained full rights to the game, allowing them to finally release a PC port, and the fate of the sequel or new content all depends on whether the PC port sells well or not (which, so far, it seems to be doing much better on PC than on consoles).
    • Tim stated in 2017 that a sequel can and will happen eventually, he just needs to work on Psychonauts 2 first. The Psychonauts crowdfunding campaign did say that it passing would make the sequel much more likely. Eventually it was successfully funded and the sequel was released in 2021 to much applause from the fans. Awesome.
  • Betrayal at Krondor enjoyed immense success and is now a cult classic. The team that put it together was just starting to work on a sequel when the studio broke up the RPG department and crashed the whole project. A Spiritual Successor, Betrayal in Antara, and a thematic successor, Return to Krondor, eventually appeared, but the first had nothing in common with its predecessor except for the general game engine, and the latter was a sequel in name only. (And Betrayal in Antara would get abandoned itself, though fewer people cared about that.) The actual project intended by the creators of Betrayal to expand on that storyline and tie off all the loose ends, called Thief of Dreams, never saw the light of day.
  • This trope seems to have hit Sega particularly hard:
    • Before being released, six episodes for Shenmue were planned. The first episode was critically acclaimed, but flopped financially, so they decided to make the series shorter, by merging episodes 2, 3, 4 and 5 into a single episode, leaving the series with only 3 episodes. But Shenmue II (still universally acclaimed as an awesome game) flopped even harder than the first one (all thanks to the game being released as an Xbox exclusive in America, and the Dreamcast dying out in Europe and Japan), so plans for future games in the series were abandoned by Sega. Creator Yu Suzuki managed decades later to get a Shenmue III done with the help of crowdfunding. But the story still ends on a Sequel Hook and the game has a letter hoping for a Shenmue IV.
    • El Dorado Gate was intended to be released in 24 bimonthly installments. Due to the death of the Dreamcast, the last 14 volumes were canned. Slightly averted in that Capcom planned for this ahead of time, and gave the game a proper ending in Volume 7.
    • SEGA also had the honor of publishing High Voltage Software's The Conduit and its sequel, both designed to fully capitalize on the Wii's processing power. Unfortunately, even though they both end with a Cliffhanger, poor sales of the latter discouraged High Voltage Software from continuing the series.
  • Commander Keen ends rather suddenly with an impending battle between Commander Keen and his arch nemesis who intends to destroy the universe. Both Commander Keen 5 and 6 make reference to this impending conflict, but the story was never finished. Unless you count the Game Boy Color version, which doesn't exist.
  • Viewtiful Joe claimed that there'd be two more times the world needed to be saved at the end of the first game and the sequel ends on a cliffhanger. Odds of the 3rd game ever coming out are pretty damn low now that Clover Studios doesn't even exist anymore, and most of the employees are working at PlatinumGames now, which isn't associated with Capcom.
  • Drakan and The Suffering are both duologies made by Surreal Software and published by Psygnosis (later Sony, after the former was bought out by them). Granted both series achieved positive reviews and have loyal (but small) fandoms, however neither of them were huge moneymakers while the second The Suffering game is considered inferior to the original and sold significantly less. The developers then helped with the creation and porting of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, then later worked on a game called ''This is Vegas'' (a Grand Theft Auto and The Sims hybrid) for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360... which got cancelled. Even worse is that both Midway Games and Surreal Software closed in 2011 after going through bankruptcy, got merged with Monolith Productions and bough out by Warner Bros.. If anybody ever wants a third Drakan or The Suffering video game, the IP copyright license is in purgatory between Warner Bros and Sony, therefore unless a miracle happens any chances of a sequel to either are sadly almost zero.
  • Legacy of Kain was last seen with the Big Bad still at large and many plot lines still hanging. Due to the death of a major voice actor and the departure of the main writers (and the death of another), the story will never be completed.
  • Anachronox ended on a cliffhanger. The game was a critical hit with a cult following, but didn't sell too well. Then there's the fact that that the development team was fired the day before the game was released. So no sequel for you.
  • No One Lives Forever was abandoned by Monolith in favor of First Encounter Assault Recon and Condemned: Criminal Origins. The odds of a modern reboot, sequal, or remaster are unlikely now since now no one's sure who even owns the IP.
  • The four-part Swordquest series from Atari was cut short with the release of Waterworld, the third game in the series, thanks to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
  • Freedom Force is a pair of light-hearted yet brilliant superhero pastiches that blended pastiche with actual overarching plots and solid gameplay. Unfortunately, they didn't sell that well so development on the third entry died. Since then the studio has become so focused on (and rich by) making the Bioshock series that the cliffhanger ending of the second game will likely never be cleared up.
  • The Croc series ended after two normal games and two mobile games, due to Argonaut Software folding. The mobile games have long been unavailable for download, so the only games most people will play are Croc 1 and 2. A 3rd game in the series was announced but never released. The games were serious contenders to Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon at the time, and could have gone on to better things.
  • Sadly, Klonoa had fallen victim to this for years, the series' last console game released in 2001, and last handheld game released in 2005 (outside Japan). There was a brief revival, when the first game was remade for Wii, but sales were very low, so the series was stuck in limbo again. Fortunately, there was an announcement for a Compilation Re-release of both the first and second console games called The KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series, meaning that the series is starting to get some activity once again.
  • Breath of Fire fell victim to this after the release of Dragon Quarter. Though Camelot Software Planning offered to revive the franchise, nothing ever came of it.
  • Mega Man Legends has unfortunately become this with 3 being cancelled.
  • Continuing with Mega Man, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X was intended to kickstart a series of Mega Man X remakes whose story was more in line with Keiji Inafune's original vision. Unfortunately, poor sales killed that idea after the first installment.
  • Final Fantasy XV had a second season of DLC campaigns planned with episodes dedicated to Ardyn, Noctis, Lunafreya, and Aranea that would fill in the gaps in the story, similar to the episodes for Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis. Unfortunately, due in part to the departure of head developer Hajime Tabata, the second season of DLC was cancelled, making Episode Ardyn the last DLC campaign released for the game.
  • Bonk also appears to sadly be another victim of this, with Bonk 3DS and Brink of Extinction being cancelled due to the dissolution of Hudson Soft.
  • Shadow Hearts, due to the dissolution of Nautilus.
  • Monster Rancher, aside from a bare-bones freemium mobile app, was last seen as a handheld game in 2010, and hasn't had a proper numbered console installment in over a decade. The only speckle of hope is an homage to the series in Deception IV in the form of a Suezo trap. This ended in 2020, where a remaster of the first game was announced.
  • While the remakes of Lunar: The Silver Star may very well never end, it's safe to say there will probably never be a brand new installment in the Lunar series, due to Studio Alex no longer existing and the absolute trainwreck that was Lunar: Dragon Song. Sad, because a "Lunar 3" was apparently in development at one point.
  • Wild ARMs appears to be orphaned, given Media Vision has moved on to other projects, such as Shining Ark, Shining Resonance, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, and some of the later games in the Valkyria Chronicles series (3, 4, and Valkyria Revolution).
  • Suikoden hasn't gotten a proper sequel since the fifth, with Konami ultimately announcing on their Facebook page that they had no new announcements on the series, and that the development team behind the franchise had been disbanded.
    • Not quite dead, given the announcement of Genso Suikoden: Centennial Tapestry (official English title, if the game is localized, may differ), although the series that takes place in the same universe has been orphaned for years.
  • Sony left Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow hanging on a cliffhanger, then abandoned the franchise.
  • Blinx, due to the dissolution of Artoon, poor reception from critics and gamers alike, the failure of the Xbox line in Japan (where Blinx was supposed to help the Xbox catch on), and because Microsoft elected Master Chief as the Xbox mascot instead.
  • The Space Quest series, after ending with a teaser for Space Quest 7, has been abandoned as Sierra, like LucasArts, had moved away from adventure games, and later went under. Some fan made sequels do exist, but nothing official is ever likely to appear.
  • The Dark Cloud series appears to have ended with Dark Chronicle, now that Level-5 has moved on to other projects.
  • The Oddworld pentalogy. It was planned to be at least 10 games. To very few people's surprise, this turned out to be not an easy task. So far, there have been 4. Every year or so there's been news about the company making a new game (At least 3 different sequel ideas have been completely scrapped,) or making sequels in the form of films, but nothing ever comes of it. It seems like they may have finally given up on completing the series. They're working on remakes of their old games instead.
  • Activision fired the makers of the Crash Bandicoot series in the late 2000s, which is why Crash: Mind Over Mutant, released way back in 2008, is the latest canonical game in the series. Activision has since released remakes of the first three games and a racing spin-off, and the success of those remakes has led to the announcement of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, breaking the streak. At least until Activision downsized Toys for Bob and made them a support studio for Call of Duty, causing the studio's leadership to leave and seemingly orphaning the series once again.
  • The World of Mana series, with Kingdom Hearts having replaced it as Square Enix's flagship action RPG franchise.
  • Also on Square, attempts to follow on Chrono Cross have been Vapor Ware for quite a while. And yet many attempts of fans to remake or create sequels to predecessor Chrono Trigger are met with cease-and-desist letters. Yasunori Mitsuda and Masato Kato are interested in another installment but want to have the Dream Team together again.
  • Baten Kaitos has had new installments planned, but scrapped for unknown reasons.
  • Lennus (Paladin's Quest to North American gamers) got one sequel that remained in Japan, and that was it.
  • Xenogears and Xenosaga due to a really bad case of executive meddling in the former, and perceived lack of interest in the latter. Notably, while the person behind Xenosaga would love for it to at least be remastered, even he doesn't think there's enough fan interest for it to be profitable. Xenoblade Chronicles 1 continues on the series, but the only thing it has to do with the previous games is Gnosticism. And that one got multiple sequels of its own.
  • The Marathon game mod Return To Marathon was planned to be an episodic scenario, but only the first chapter was completed before it was scrapped.
  • This is what happened to de Blob, with THQ's bankruptcy in 2013 and the closure of developer BlueTongue.
  • Silicon Knights. Making M-rated games that were published by Nintendo? Check. Being bought out by Microsoft? Check. Making lackluster games at Microsoft, and then dying because (in a rare case where it'd be positive) they refused to do any Executive Meddling to keep Denis Dyack in check like Nintendo did? Check. Silicon Knights were planning on making an Eternal Darkness 2, but it never happened because after the release of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny, the company folded due to a lawsuit with Epic Games and plaigarism of the Unreal Engine.
  • Virus Invasion 7 was announced in 2008, then fell into extreme Schedule Slip; the final nail in the coffin was October 2011, when its creator, Blublub, first announced that it would be done within a week, then dropped off the face of the Earth. There were attempts to salvage the series, first by Pteriforever with a fansequel, Virus Invasion Spectrum, and then by SpeedyVelcro with a generally-inferior Spiritual Successor, Advanced Invasion. Advanced Invasion 4 seems to have been orphaned in its own right.
  • This seems to have been the fate of Jak and Daxter. A highly-successful franchise on the PS2, but when Naughty Dog went on to working on other projects such as Uncharted and The Last of Us, the Jak series was left in limbo. There was a new game released for the PSP in 2009, but it was poorly received, and Naughty Dog has said that they tried to make a Jak 4 or a reboot, but couldn't get it to feel like Jak, so—aside from an HD compilation—it looks like we might not see another Jak game for the time being.
  • Though the Sonic the Hedgehog series is itself going strong, this has happened to many of its spinoffs. The Sonic Storybook Series is the best example, as Sega decided to abandon it after Sonic and the Black Knight met with poor sales and even poorer reviews.
  • Zap Dramatic's Ambition ended on a cliffhanger and was supposed to be continued in a sequel series. It hasn't happened yet.
  • Darkstalkers hasn't seen a new installment since 1997. Capcom re-released Vampire Hunter and Vampire Savior in 2013 as Darkstalkers Resurrection, but Capcom later stated that they had no plans for a new Darkstalkers game, citing poor sales of the re-release.
  • Power Stone similarly stopped after Power Stone 2 in 2000. Capcom re-released both games as part of a collection for the Playstation portable in 2006, with no signs of life from the series since.
  • Big Huge Games' Rise of Nations was found to have had developed plans for future installments. Unfortunately, with the studio's closure, the fate of the RTS series is up in the air.
  • The unfortunately titled Insecticide: Part 1 released in 2008 and has yet to see a part 2.
  • The Remake of the Phantasy Star series, Phantasy Star Generation was abandoned after two games in favor of porting the originals. Further more, the remakes were announced for a US and EU release but never released.
  • The F-Zero franchise has been on a standstill since 2004 (the last game being released on the Game Boy Advance) due to Shigeru Miyamoto simply having no idea how to progress with the franchise without resorting to just throwing in only new characters and tracks.
  • Tactics Ogre started with "Episode VI" in the same fashion as Star Wars. Only four games were ever released.
  • LEGO The Hobbit was released containing An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug; The Battle of the Five Armies was promised as a future DLC but it was ultimately canceled, leaving it unfinished.
  • The Forgotten: It Begins, published in 1999, was developed as the first installment of a seven part series, and most reviewers agreed that it seemed like more of an introduction to a story than a complete game. Unfortunately the series was never continued, and because of disputed ownership rights between the developers almost certainly never will be, leaving the game as an orphaned first chapter.
  • ObsCure II ends on a cliffhanger revealing the existence of a Greater-Scope Villain, but the third game fell into Development Hell for several years. By the time it was finally released, it had evolved into a non-canon spinoff called Final Exam that only loosely references the events of the first two games.
  • An in-universe example is found in Dragon Age: Inquisition. As part of Cassandra's romance/friendship arc, the Inquisitor can persuade Varric to un-orphan a story series he had given up writing - just because she loves it and wants to know how it ends. Despite stating that he didn't like the series and it sold poorly, he agrees, then after he sees her reaction he says that it was Worth It.
  • Cursery was a series of PC point-and-click games from Blue Tea Games, sort of a sister series to their Dark Parables, which took classic nursery rhymes and twisted them into dark mysteries. Only one installment, The Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat, was ever produced before this trope went into effect; Blue Tea Games made the decision to shift focus to their mobile titles, and all of their PC game series were either sold to other developers or orphaned.
  • Nexus War was called off in a Grand Finale when the creator was unable to continue his work for financial and contractual reasons. One of the supporting developers revived the series not long after with Nexus Clash, but the sequel isn't as well-known and took several years of development to get itself back to the level of quality that players had come to expect from the original.
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was supposed to be the first of a new trilogy, however, due to Eidos' constant meddling, it failed spectacularly and Core were stripped of the very series they created. Eidos handed the series to Crystal Dynamics and the original series was suddenly ended in favor of a reboot, starting with Legend. Core made a last ditch effort to release a 10-year anniversary Tomb Raider game, but Eidos simply nabbed all of their concept art and scripts and gave them to Crystal Dynamics for them to make the game — Tomb Raider: Anniversary — instead, leading to poor Core Design ceasing to exist.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda was set up with Sequel Hooks for DLC content at the end but BioWare, citing poor sales, canceled it and placed the series on a hiatus in favor of Anthem (2019) and a future Dragon Age installment, and a new Mass Effect announcement in 2020 teasing the return of Shepard's crew may be the final nail on the coffin for Andromeda. However, Bioware has hinted that this new Mass Effect game may explore some threads left open by Andromeda.
  • The Sly Cooper series was infamously abandoned by Sanzaru Games in November 2014, even when the latest game ended with a major cliffhanger. This led to fans rejecting the game as canon to restore the happy ending of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Sanzaru was later purchased by Oculus Studios, eliminating all chances of a sequel from them. Time will tell if Sucker Punch or another developer will rescue the franchise and either provide a sequel or a different fourth game.
  • For a long time, Stinkoman 20X6 was missing its last level, Level 10, and since 2005 never received an update. While there was an announcement for the level in 2018, it would not see completion until 2020, coming with an all-new opening, new levels, and an Anti-Frustration Features mode.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn ended on a cliffhanger where Alex, the Big Bad from the previous game, is still alive, Isaac is missing, and there's a massive psynergy vortex hanging over the lookout point from the beginning of the game. Due to poor sales and mixed reception, Camelot effectively shelved the series and all dangling plot threads were left unresolved.
  • Dino Crisis had moderate success with the first two games, but the third game was critically panned by critics and fans. Between the poor sales of the third game and Capcom wanting to focus on other projects, Dino Crisis fell off the radar since 2003 and there hasn't been a word of when or if the series would ever return.
  • MySims ended on a rather abrupt note after SkyHeroes came out in 2010, and aside from a few references in The Sims 4, was never really heard from again. It doesn't help that Electronic Arts shut down Visceral Games, the franchise's primary developer, a few years after MySims went dormant, meaning it isn't likely to come back.
  • Gardens Inc has four games, with a "To Be Continued" sequel hook at the end of the fourth one. Said fourth game was released in 2016, and the devs have indicated that they will not be moving forward with any more games.
  • The Dark Tales released its 18th installment in August 2020. Despite being one of the best-loved developers of the hidden object game genre, AMAX Interactive seems to have closed its doors since then, being either rebranded or bought out by another company, and as far as anyone can tell has orphaned all of its game franchises.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was quite transparently the middle third of a story intended to finish with a third game. Publishers Square Enix meddled with the game by forcing a pay to win microtransaction cash shop, reportedly two weeks before Eidos were going to send the game off for certification, siphoned off a team to create "Breach" mode which was a horrendous game within a game with extreme freemium paywalls, wasted $50,000 on one part of the marketing campaign that gained no traction, royally pissed off the player base with a egregious pre-order bonus stunt and set a release date that competed with Madden, No Man's Sky, Resident Evil 4 and a World of Warcraft expansion, among other things. The massive 5 year dev cycle and wasteful spending required a 3 million sales figure to break even but it came up a million short, Square's executives labelled it a failure, cancelled the 3rd game and put the franchise on ice while redeploying Eidos to work on Marvel-licensed games. In 2022, the Deus Ex IP was acquired by Embracer Group along with several other IPs that Square Enix was sitting on, which could see a return of the series in the future.
  • Emily Short's When in Rome series was planned to run for five episodes, but only the first two were released (both in 2006), leaving the story unfinished. In 2022, she said it was canceled due to a lack of player interest and she doesn't remember what the rest of the plot was intended to be.
  • 2001 Interactive Fiction game Fine-Tuned has a chapter structure. The first four chapters are finished and playable, and when you get to the end, it says you and your party are ready to drive off and prevent the hero's arch-enemy from boarding a train to steal an artifact from the museum. Then "To Be Continued" text appears. The game was never finished properly, and the author has not been active in the IF scene since the late 2000s, meaning no conclusion will happen.

    Web Animation 

Object Shows

According to rough statistics, nearly a third of Object Shows get cancelled/abandoned very early on without any resolution or reboot (Hence the astonishing number of Short-Runners in the Object Show Community). The reasons may vary in one way or another:

    Web Original 
  • TVTome Adventures was seemingly orphaned for a while because it wasn't getting its creator any money or attention. However, a full-fledged continuity reboot called TOME was released, so this trope was subverted. Double Subverted because the Reboot doesn't exactly follow the continuity of the original, so the plot of Tv Tome Adventures still ended up being unresolved and likely never will be except through supplementary material on the creator's DeviantArt.
  • A fanmade animation by NipahDUBS based on the horror RPG Mad Father ran on YouTube with the goal to have six episodes, according to the description of the first episode. However, only two episodes were made (that tells a little about the beginning of the story) and the project was dropped, according to the second episode's description. It has only "PART THREE IS CANCELLED." written on it, with no reason explained. Both episodes on YouTube had the comments section disabled.
  • A well written and hilariously machinima of RuneScape known simply as "The Quest" was started in 2006 only to be left to rot at the end of part two due to the creator apparently contracting AIDS. Needless to say that should the creator wish to continue the work, they couldn't. Runescape has since had a massive graphics update, making this machinima completely dead. Its fandom isn't taking it well.
  • The Newgrounds series Joe Zombie by Robert DenBleyker was supposedly meant to be concluded with Episode 7 as said in Episode 6 (from 2006). More than half a decade later however and a final episode has still not been produced.
  • Evil Rebellion trilogy by Konejo, the first two parts came up and the third was announced for 2007 but never came to be. First two parts can be seen in Newgrounds.
  • The first incarnation and reboot Darwin's Soldiers on Furtopia were never finished and will probably remain that way.
  • Trinton Chronicles never had a proper finish and was cut short before its final story.
  • Xiao Xiao ended with a demo of a beat-em-up game back in 2002. In particular, the Mutilator story, which featured a Professional Killer out to take out an evil boss, ended in an up-in-the-air ending, with the bad guy getting away after a motorcycle chase and the protagonist being reduced to hitchhiking with no success; there was supposed to be a third installment of that storyline that would wrap things up, but it never got made. There have been no signs of the beat-em-up demo or the series ever continuing since then. In fact, the author's whereabouts are unknown as well.
  • Sapphire Spindle Paw: Mystic(TheSpiritWolf) created a prologue video and then a first episode, then posted about his/her intentions to make a third video, and then left the site. Searching "Sapphire Spindle Paw", with quotes, gives around four or five results. There is no sign of an episode 2.
  • Rock Tumbler's Let's Play of Grand Theft Auto IV was discontinued due to his drug use. His former partners have started it up again and finished it.
  • Spoony's Let's Play of Deadly Premonition is looking like it won't ever be continued (at least not any time soon), having only Part 1 up on the site. This doesn't stop fans on the forums starting a new thread every few weeks or so asking when he's going to finish it...
  • Atlas of Medieval America was a very intriguing concept that never got more than a couple months of updates. Alternate History buffs have tried to carry on.
  • Super Mario Bros. Z due to how time consuming it took to the animate the fights, as well as Artist Disillusionment. What was meant to be twenty six episodes ended at eight after the creator called it quits. The series has since been revived, however, with just the first episode so far, so there may yet be hope.
    • Then fans' hopes were severely dashed when the reboot was stopped after one episode because of Alvin Earthworm's worsening mental health struggles. Then on February 2, 2020, he posted a sample footage from his 2nd episode, giving viewers of the series another big sigh of relief.
  • The Game Grumps are notorious for the amount of playthroughs they've left unfinished, the most infamous ones being Sonic '06 and Pokémon FireRed. While some (such as the ones just mentioned) have legitimate reasons for their abandonment (Dan doesn't want to butt in on an adventure he was never a part of, and Arin wants to grind up so that he can face the Elite Four in a fair fight, respectively), most of them are just dropped for no apparent reason.
    • The FireRed playthrough was eventually finished, over two years after it began.
  • The SCP Foundation story "Metafiction" (one of the most popular tales on the site) ends with a to be continued on a very interesting cliffhanger since 2010. The discussion page is filled with requests, pleads and threats to the author to just finish the damn thing already. The author himself made several promises over the years that he will most definitely finish it, any minute now, honest.
  • The Yogscast Minecraft Series Tekkit playthrough with Lewis Brindley, Duncan Jones, Simon Lane, Sjin and Sips was cut short after the crew got fed up with what they were doing; they had reached their initial goal of building a factory, but after attempting to revive the series by focusing on bees they decided to call it quits.
  • The Area 11 Minecraft machinima, titled GIGACRAFT, was eventually cut short after four episodes. This was in part due to the difficulties in getting Beckii Cruel to record Minecraft videos with them, as well as a general lack of time.
  • CaptainSparklez did a playthrough of the Pokémon Gold and Silver remakes, which ended after only four episodes. The reasons for this are unknown, though given the iffish content policy of Nintendo some fans believe that to be the reason.
  • Platypus Comix has two orphaned subsections: The Warner Bros. Club, a Warner Bros. animation fansite not updated since 2008, and For Portlanders Only, a collection of Portland, Oregon-related ephemera that has sat untouched since 2010.
  • The Website Is Down released 5 videos in 2009 and 1 more in 2011. The last one was titled Episode 4.5: Chipadmin part 1. More were promised to come soon, but haven't appeared yet (as of June 2016). The website spent years slowly deteriorating (for example, the blog domain expired around 2011). In 2014 Joshua Weinberg announced that the series will continue as an Adventure Game. As of summer 2016 he was still busy playing and analyzing the classic adventure games in his blog and started actual work on the game only in January 2016.
  • This happened to a number of Sips' playthroughs, according to this comment.
  • Comic Book YouTube Channel B3Comics. The channel was running smoothly but after a update video (Which was upload after a month long hiatus) they completely disappeared. Not even updating their Facebook or Twitter either.
  • The Dead Fantasy series has been orphaned with the sudden and tragic passing of the wonderfully talented animator Monty Oum in February 2015. On the upside, his other major work, RWBY, continued on without him.
  • Movie Rehab's Trailer Jailor was discontinued after the 13th episode since Jack Skyblue himself has stated that he has lost his passion for reviewing movie trailers.
  • Following the cancellation of BIONICLE's product line, writer Greg Farshtey volunteered to continue its plot in his series of online stories. Since this he could only do in his free time and had other occupations and family matters to deal with, the serials ended after only a few chapters, and were officially scrapped once their website got deleted. Greg has since cleared some of the cliffhangers up in his discussions with fans.
  • Labelscar was a popular blog dedicated to shopping mall history, with stories and photos of various shopping malls across the United States. The site abruptly stopped updating in 2013, due in part to one of its two writers and most of its fanbase shifting to Facebook.
  • Many YouTube reaction videos where someone watches a certain series end up unfinished. Although sometimes it's not because the "reactor" became unable or uninterested, but because the ones holding the copyright make the video be pulled (and three strikes terminates the channel).
  • High and Tight was going to have more episodes exploring the war and how the characters' lives have been affected - alternating between the soldiers who went off to the front lines at the end, and the friends and family left back home. However James Healy moved to Canada, Thomas Fitzgerald became too busy with college work, and Bobby Calloway lost interest - developing The Gumdrops instead. The film however was initially written to be standalone and has an open ending.
  • Lindsay Ellis:
    • She stopped doing 'Loose Canon' - where she analyzed different incarnations of a famous character (eg. Hades, Starscream etc) - after people kept complaining about which adaptations she left out - and has focused on specific video essays ever since. She said she still has plans for it, but hasn't uploaded one since 2017.
    • She's also discontinued The Whole Plate - a series examining various film theories in relation to the Michael Bay Transformers films. Her final word on the series' state came in August 2018, where she said it was on hold due to entering more controversial territory (of the particular film theories she began introducing the series with, critical race theory had yet to be tackled), but it never came to be.
  • Diva Dirt introduced a new feature called 'Fanline', where David would do a podcast with a wrestling fan talking about their interests re: the Divas, Knockouts etc. Three episodes were released and then it was abruptly stopped.
  • Wizards of the Coast has a notorious anti-drama policy, so when it came to light that Dice, Camera, Action! cast member Jared Knabenbauer ran seven sex blogs and was accused of cheating on his wife with co-star Holly Conrad, that was the anticlimactic end to the Waffle Crew.
  • The Wyoming Incident is an infamous Alternate Reality Game whose fate is hard to decipher, but it's likely this. Started in 2006 by a mysterious video of an alleged video hijacking, the game lead to an anonymous forum known as the Happy Cube, unraveling a story of people tied by the act of "cubing"... and then about a billion other directions with threads about worshipping malicious gods, moderator civil wars, the Wyoming Incident itself turning into an in-universe ARG, with its supposed creators being characters, and more. If there was ever meant to be an answer to the mystery behind the video, nothing has turned up conclusive — it's widely believed that at some point, the ARG was hijacked by anonymous users who quickly derailed the whole setup, leaving it an inscrutable mess.
  • While Visual Novel Lets Player Bosskwar had this happen to a couple of his LP's (such as with Aokana Four Rhythms Across The Blue due to issues with Spryte), he was diagnosed with cancer in November 2023, and unfortunately passed away in early December 2023, meaning any visual novel playthroughs he was doing at the time, (such as the Grisaia Series, Chaos;Head, and Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!) will never see their completion.

    Web Video 
  • SHiFT's web documentary covering the Any% Speedrun history of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was originally planned to be in four parts. However, due to the Rehydrated remake's unexpected release at the time of production followed by SHiFT's declining motivation to continue with the project since he wanted to focus more on improving his records, the documentary series was put on indefinite hiatus after just two parts, with the second part ending on a cliffhanger teasing the rest of BFBB's history from 2017 onward which still remained a mystery.
  • The fan-made Transformers Audio Play Transformers: Elite, which focused on Elita One and her team of female Autobots in their fights against Slipstream's group of Decepticons on Cybertron, got up to twenty-two episodes and then stopped on a cliffhanger about an unknown prisoner in Shockwave's lab, whom Elita and her teammates argued about whether or not to rescue. The project's Tumblr blog also went inactive, with no updates since 2016. It took three years afterwards for the head artist to confirm that the series was canceled, explaining that real life responsibilities got in the way and the crew had already split up and moved on to new things by the time those responsibilities were cleared up.

    Western Animation 
  • Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings only covered the first two-thirds of Tolkien's three books. It was then concluded by the Rankin-Bass The Return Of The King, but with a very different style and tone, and much cheaper animation. A big cause of this was that the costs were massively underestimated, and the final result had to be pieced together from unfinished footage (for instance, every live-action character was supposed to be animated over). It would take twenty years for a live-action version to be made covering the entire story.
  • Perfect Hair Forever was scheduled to have 17 episodes made for the internet but the creators only made 1 due to lack of interest.
    • On April Fools' Day 2014, an eighth episode was aired as a stealth premiere after a long period of being orphaned with seven episodes.
  • The Pirates of Dark Water eventually simply stopped, after about eight of the thirteen treasures of rule were collected. A lack of budget and Channel Hops were the responsible issues, here.
  • Generation 3.5 of My Little Pony, which amounted to a style revamp of the G3 designs, lasted only a single year, having just one special and a few toys to its name. But then it was meant as a stopgap while Generation 4 was in development, with executives hoping that it would revive the franchise. It did.
  • Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles ended abruptly before finishing the final story arc.
  • Disney's adaptation of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series is incomplete, with The Black Cauldron only covering the first two books. However, as of March 2016, the company has bought up the film rights to the series once again, and has announced that they are now re-adapting it altogether in live-action instead.
  • Joe Murray spent less and less time working on Rocko's Modern Life after his first wife committed suicide. He needed some time to get stuff in order, and to process what happened, and that not only took a lot of time, but made him less interested in working on the series, until he finally gave up on it altogether. For a while, he occasionally blamed the series for his wife's suicide.
    • A similar turn of events happened with Camp Lazlo, this time the result of a messy divorce.
  • Storm Hawks had a ridiculously high-toned Cliffhanger as the season finale, which seemed to be building up a huge journey through the Eldritch Location of the series... only to abruptly end. To make matters worse, even the main character drops a MASSIVE Sequel Hook just before the ending.
  • TRON: Uprising. The show went for one major arc, then production stopped in 2013 with many threads still unresolved. The reasons for this are largely speculation at this point.
  • Thunder Cats 2011 got hit hard with this, ending the first season with a massive cliffhanger revealing that Pumira was Evil All Along and Dead All Along, among other things. Then Cartoon Network announced that the show was cancelled.
  • Despite being renewed for a second season a week ahead of its finale, Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart's first season would ultimately end up being its last due to being part of a massive tax write-off following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger.