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Bye-bye! See you again someday...maybe. We hope.

Willow: I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you. Like, if I'm old and blue-haired and I turn the corner in Istanbul, and there you are, I won't be surprised. Because you're with me, you know?
Oz: I know. But now is not that time, I guess.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "New Moon"
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So you're a film or TV show producer or the author of a book series, or the team behind a comic book, and you have a problem. You want a character out of the story, but you don't want to kill them off, you're not going to just flat out ignore them, and you certainly wouldn't have them just disappear for no reason and with no mention of it. However, there is a situation in which a character can be written out of a series in such a way that they can easily be returned later, if the creators so choose. They are Put on a Bus.

A staple of the Prime Time Soap and particularly Soap Opera where casts are large and actor turnover is frequent. Conveniently, when such a character is brought back and now played by a different actor, it can be a case of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome or The Other Darrin. Often a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, due to actors leaving a franchise for various reasons.

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If the character doesn't return from such a way that arranging a return would be simple, this becomes a Long Bus Trip. If they return once, it's The Bus Came Back. Should they start appearing infrequently, they're Commuting on a Bus or Out of Focus. If there's obvious malice involved in the character's departure, then they've been Put on a Bus to Hell. There's also the chance of a Bus Crash or dying on the bus.

The bus in question may be a Convenient Coma.

Opposite of Dropped a Bridge on Him. Compare with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome (a character disappearing from the show without explanation and never being mentioned again) and What Happened to the Mouse? (where the story continues with a character's final fate left unknown). See also Absentee Actor and Written-In Absence, for when a character disappears for only an episode or two.

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Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Our Friend Xiong Xiao Mi: Xiao Mi's penguin friend, Zhi Peng, was written out of the show right around the series finale; specifically, in the episode "Goodbye, Zhi Peng", he decides to stay with his penguin friends in the South Pole. The series finale, which directly follows "Goodbye, Zhi Peng", does not feature him as a result.

    Comic Books 
  • Between the late 1960s and his return in the early '80s, J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter of the Justice League, went off to find "New Mars" with the rest of the Martian people. This has since been retconned — along with the existence of other Martians in general.
  • Most of the Justice League members added to the team under Dwayne McDuffie's tenure ended up being written out in this manner once James Robinson took over and decided he wanted to write his own characters. Zatanna seemingly had an emotional breakdown and quit offscreen, Vixen took a "leave of absence" to heal from some recent injuries and then was never seen or mentioned again in that series, Green Lantern left without an explanation, and Firestorm also quit offscreen after the death of his girlfriend. Each of those characters save for Green Lantern would later return in subsequent volumes of the franchise. Ironically enough, this happened to the majority of Robinson's new characters, who quit offscreen after his first three issues.
  • The Joker despite being a staple of Batman lore disappeared from comics for a whole decade between 1964 and 1973, not even Caesar Romero's popularity in the show in the role convinced DC creatives to take the clown off the bus. It wasn't till Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams decided to bring him back Darker and Edgier did the Monster Clown cement his place on the pages forever.
    • Similarly Two Face, Batman's second most iconic nemesis was absent for two decades during the Silver Age likely because Comic Code Authority would've be reluctant to let a disfigured serial killer run around in the campy lighthearted era. Like the Joker Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams brought Harvey back.
  • Supergirl: After Many Happy Returns ended, Post-crisis Linda Danvers and her cast of supporting characters and rogues pretty much dropped out of The DCU. Linda hasn't been consigned to Canon Discontinuity, but she's barely ever mentioned anymore, either.
  • Kitty Pryde was Put on a Bus by most writers and forgotten about for majority of the 90s where Jubilee took her place. Kitty was regulated to Excalibur until Joss Whedon made Kitty popular again the mainstream with Astonishing X-Men.
  • Two female human pilots left Rogue Squadron. Elscol, a guerrilla leader before Wedge recruited her, left because of command issues and because she believed she could do better working on the ground. Plourr, a Boisterous Bruiser who turned out to be a princess, left because revolutions had torn up her homeworld and she needed to rule and bring it back under control. Oddly, it's Plourr who was written back in, and very quickly. A drop-in commando character recurred, but Elscol did not. Well, not in the comics. She did have a role in one of the novels.
    • This was originally Asajj Ventress's fate in the Star Wars Expanded Universe comic series Obsession. Having been betrayed by Count Dooku, Ventress decides she's had enough of the Clone Wars, hijacks a Republic medical shuttle and flies off into parts unknown never to be seen again. Well, then Star Wars: The Clone Wars came along and decided that none of that happened.
  • Following Excalibur #67, half the team is Put on a Bus, though they make guest appearances in other books.
  • Karolina was put on a spaceship right after the "True Believers" arc of Runaways. To make a very long story short, she had to go back to her home planet with Xavin in order to help end a war. However, they returned before the end of that volume.
  • A Scooby-Doo comic features a subplot where Scrappy goes to a gambling table and begins winning hotels. At the end, he declares that he has won hotels and vanishes from the Mystery Machine, where the gang discovers he was using the solid hologram device from that story. The last panel has Scooby leave the van to go back to Las Vegas to get him, but by the next comic, Scrappy isn't anywhere to be seen, so presumably the gang left him there to run his hotels.
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Watterson introduced Uncle Max into the strip but quickly realized he hadn't put enough thought into the character, and wasn't quite sure what to do with him. After visiting once, Max goes back home and is never seen or mentioned again.
      • Word of God says that another problem with Max was that his dialog was really hard to write: Watterson had a policy that Calvin's parents never be given names beyond "mom" and "dad," but this made their conversations with Max incredibly awkward. Thanks to Max, Watterson developed a personal rule that none of the supporting characters should be given outside friends or interests.
    • Calvin's beleaguered babysitter, Rosalyn, disappeared in 1990 but returned for a final arc in September 1995, three months before the strip's finale.
  • In the Denny O'Neil / Neal Adams run of Green Lantern, Guy Gardner was hit by a bus to make way for John Stewart. After enduring several circumstances (having Hal's Power Battery explode, trapping him in the Phantom Zone, rescued from it, and rendered catatonic), he would then play a greater role in the Green Lantern comics following the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Did you know that Catwoman had a daughter in the One Year Later storyline of Infinite Crisis? No? Good, because DC would prefer you forget that ever happened.
  • The Justice Society of America following Crisis on Infinite Earths, when they decided to disband after the merging of the Earths but were called to alter the outcome of the Norse gods' Ragnarok in order to prevent Adolf Hitler from retroactively destroying the universe in 1945, which caused the team to remain trapped in a never-ending fight cycle until several years later in Armageddon: Inferno.
  • Zap Zodiac a comic strip in The Beano ended in a way so that the strip was left open to return in the future. But as of 2011 bus has not yet returned to Beanotown.
  • Practically every character gets put on a bus at some point in Scott Pilgrim. Kim even gets put on a literal bus at the end of volume five and doesn't return till halfway through six.
  • In the X-Wing Series comics, Plourr Illo had an arc which showed her to be a badass expy of Anastasia, the last princess of a line that had died in revolution. She returned to her homeworld and waded into the teeth of a new revolution that was even more violent than the last. At the end of it, she chose to stay and rule her planet while the Rogues left. They left her her X-Wing and Wedge told her "You've saved your world. When you're ready, come back and save the rest of us." And she and a squadron of fighters from her homeworld did have a Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of the very next arc, and she complained about how boring politics was. But the very next issue after that had her serving full-time with the Rogues again, flying into combat and getting into fistfights. Weird.
  • Subverted and played straight with different characters in Transformers: Robots in Disguise:
    • Wheelie, Garnak, and Hardhead are not seen for several issues despite having been semi-important characters and then in issue #5 Ironhide makes an offhand comment about Wheelie having left Cybertron. With all of this it seems as if the characters have been put on the bus. Then in very next issue we leave Cybertron and pick up with the three of them and see where they went, why they left, and what kind of adventures they're getting into right now.
    • Played straight with Omega Supreme- he's offlined by a bomb attack very early in the series and gets occasionally mentioned as being barely alive. It's pretty obvious why this happened; he's got Story-Breaker Power.
  • When Geoff Johns took over Green Lantern, he started bringing back characters from the mythos. There was some fan interest in a giant canine GL named G'Nort. Johns insisted that G'Nort was dead. Then, during Blackest Night, when dead people started coming back, people asked about G'Nort... and were told that G'Nort was not coming. The implication being that G'Nort was on a bus, under a bridge which was itself on fire.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Legal matters resulted in every Echidna except Knuckles and Finitevus, as well as Charmy's girlfriend Saffron, being tossed through a warp ring by Thrash. What makes this funnier is that they disappear between issues: one issue ends with Sonic fighting Lien-Da, the next has Sonic coming to after being knocked out and finding the battlefield deserted!
    • Earlier, Sleuth Dawg decided he was done and walked out, promising not to be seen again. In a Q&A, Ian Flynn admitted it was because he simply found him too boring a character.
    • And before him was Dulcy the Dragon, who last appeared in #107.
  • This happened twice to Jerry, the district manager in Retail. First time, he got promoted to a job in another state, only to get his old job back a year later due to his position being eliminated. The second happened years later, when he decided to retire altogether. He hasn't been seen since 2012.
    • After Marla's promotion to store manager, she fired Courtney in 2013, and Josh in 2014. Neither of them appeared in the strip since then.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Victor Van Damme is stranded in the Marvel Zombies universe at the end of the "Frightful" arc.
  • Several early characters in Retail left the store for various reasons. These include Jerry (he came back about a year later, only to leave again), Courtney, and Josh.
  • In Mélusine, the album 22 has several characters leaving the series: Count Gonzague Hernyvanz, his wife and Winston all disappear. Their castle was accidentally burned because of Cancrelune and we don't see them anymore except of an occasional moment or two. Cancrelune also leave the series after committing suicide.
  • FoxTrot: Jason's original teacher was an elderly woman by the name of Miss Grinchley. Likely due to legal issues surrounding her name, she retired three years into the strip and was replaced by Miss O'Malley.
  • Robin:
    • Ariana Dzerchenko, Tim's First Love. Although she starred in the first 50 issues of the series, she was quickly dropped in favour of the more popular Stephanie. After her breakup with Tim, she only appeared once and was never mentioned again.
    • Dana Drake, Tim's stepmother. More specifically she was sent to a mental hospital in Bludhaven after Jack Drake's death and then was assumed to have died together with the city when it was demolished. On the other hand, she didn't show up during Blackest Night...
  • When the Gang of Harleys made their debut in issue #16 of Harley Quinn's New 52 solo series, among the founding members were five teenage sisters known as the Quinntuplets. However, they only had one adventure as part of the team before Harley found out they're too young for her group and sent them home at the end of the 19th issue.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): About twenty issues in, Perez had all the Olympians (except Hermes) run off to the other end of the galaxy after Darkseid blew up Olympus. In-universe, they did this to build a new Olympus (even though they're supposedly capable of retaliating against Apokolips immediately); out-of-universe, it's pretty clear Perez did this as a Deus Exit Machina to cut down on the gods' Story-Breaker Power, until their return in War of the Gods, to the detriment of many.

    Fan Works 
  • Only natural for Defence Professors, whose job description includes disappearing after a year, but Professor Max and Professor Lupin in The Parselmouth of Gryffindor went off to Azkaban Island and America, respectively, and haven't been heard of since.
  • Too many characters to list in The Tainted Grimoire. This is because Clan Gully and many of the people they meet do a lot of traveling.
    • The Bus Came Back: Some characters are rather important to the story so they get A Day in the Limelight to show us what they have been up to. Either that or meet up with Clan Gully again.
    • Commuting on a Bus: Micaiah and Francesca both have long periods of absence between their multiple re-appearances.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Trixie leaves Ponyville after the conclusion of the Princess Gaia arc and returns home to her family. She makes a cameo appearance in the "Retcon-Struction Blues" special episode, but it doesn't become a full The Bus Came Back example until the Wedding Arc.
  • In the Star Wars/Mass Effect crossover universe created in Fractured this ends up happening due to Loads and Loads of Characters—the sequel suffers from it even more (combined with Out of Focus) as 200+ named characters crop up. Some don't last.
  • Generally averted in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines in regards to Ash's Pokémon. The author stated from the beginning that each released Pokémon will have heir issues solved so they stay with Ash. However, they might sometimes take temporary leaves that leave them out of some adventures, but they're not as permanent as in the anime.
  • They Shook Hands by Dethryl. When first written, after Goblet of Fire, the character of Blaise Zabini was written as female. When the canon was complete, Dethryl revised the series and renamed the character Tracy Davis. The real Blaise was given a cameo appearance and then taken out of school after the troll incident.
  • Keena the Defendants of Constan Magic Academy goes for this, to make sure Keena gets notable focus and even bring up the Student Council Club from minor to main characters.
    • By the end of chapter 16, Akuto and Junko make a cameo.
    • Chapter 17 has Korone returning.
  • My Little Pony fanfic "The New Six" is set in an alternate universe where all of the Mane 6 members are gone. This trope applies to all of the six except Twilight (who died) and Applejack (who still lives in Ponyville). Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie moved to the alternate version of Appleloosa, Rainbow Dash left to travel the world, and we don't know what happened to Rarity yet.
  • Fallen King has Yami Yugi, who is made to leave by Joey and the others. Pegasus lampshades that it was a dumb move soon after he disappears.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has Vickers, Erickson, and Ferguson leave at the end of episode 7.
  • Cookie Dough only makes one appearance in the third "season" of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic.
  • The Quantum Bus is a convenient artifact that has a habit of an appearing to run over people who need to go, erasing them from the timeline. Used on the wiki to explain the sudden absence of any banned users and their characters.
  • Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations:
    • At the beginning of the Project Athena Arc, Takatora leaves for America. But, he continues to keep in touch with Mitsuzane and Gou.
    • Chase is also revealed to be absent from action in the aftermath of the encounter with Gandrayda, Ghor, and Rundas. It is implied that he underwent cryostasis hibernation for a month. He later woke up several chapters later.
  • In Tales of a Reset Mind, SCP-1370 never appears again after "wandering off" after his introduction.
  • Vivienne gets this treatment early in the Skyhold Academy Yearbook series, as she's given a delicate excuse to leave the school and never returns. The authors admit they were just never quite sure what to do with her, given the setup.
  • More than a few characters have been more or less written out over the course of Cat Tales: Clayface, Talia, Greg Brady, etc. Characters subjected to this have been known to reappear again, though, so it's hard to tell if something will stick.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy the Legion of Super-Heroes and Satan Girl's child are put on a bus after the first arc wraps up and Supergirl travels back to the present day. They make their reappearance at the beginning of the third arc, thirty-five chapters later.
  • Blood That Flows: Every main character in the Dusk arc, allowing the author to explore the minor and secondary characters more.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton (Danny Phantom Western Animation, TV Series, and Comic Books.): Sam is said to be off on a trip with her parents in Europe, so she doesn't know about Danny's dates. Given her reaction to him dating Valerie in the show, this might be a good thing.

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live Action 
  • In the Back to the Future sequels, Marty's girlfriend Jennifer is passed out asleep quickly and (except for an incident where she discovers something important about Marty's future and promptly passes out again from encountering her future self) stays there until the end of the third movie. In the DVD commentary, the writers admit that if they'd known they were actually going to do a sequel, they wouldn't have had Jennifer get in the DeLorean at the end of the original movie, because they didn't know what to do with her.
  • In the film Coal Miner's Daughter Loretta and Doolittle leave their four kids with a relative to pursue her musical career. They were not seen for the rest of the film and were only mentioned once in a handwave.
  • The Dark Knight Saga
    • The exit of Scarecrow in Batman Begins was putting him on a bus until the director could find out if he was reusable for the next installment. He's reduced to a cameo for the Batman Cold Open in The Dark Knight, and then sent straight to jail. Then he's freed by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and becomes a Hanging Judge, until disappearing offscreen.
    • Commissioner Gordon's entire family was put on a bus to Cleveland (explained by his wife leaving him and taking the kids with her). This conveniently removed his daughter Barbara from the story, who might have been just old enough to begin being Batgirl.
  • Mr. Church from The Expendables does not appear in the third movie, and is instead replaced with Max Drummer, played by Harrison Ford. Max claims Church is "out of the picture", implying that Church is either dead or was reassigned.
  • An offhand line in Hellboy II: The Golden Army mentions that Myers, The Watson in the first film, has been reassigned to Antarctica.
  • According to George Miller, Furiosa won't return in a sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Pepper Potts basically disappeared from the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Iron Man 3, and was only mentioned in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers: Age of Ultron, before Captain America: Civil War finally revealed that she had broken up with Tony. This is presumably because Gwyneth Paltrow took a break from acting after Iron Man 3 to focus on her company. She reappears in a cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming, working with Tony again and accepting a marriage proposal from him when his attempt to induct Peter into the Avengers is shot down by Peter himself. She also appears at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War and stars in Avengers: Endgame
    • Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk is the poster girl for this trope as unlike other hero interests who have been at least mentioned if they're unseen, Betty completely dropped off the face of MCU after her only movie appearance. Bruce Banner also sees Black Widow as he's only Love Interest despite Betty still existing, the only mention of her again was a Word of God saying that she turned to ash along with half of the universe in Avengers: Infinity War. Fans hoping for Red She-Hulk are gonna be disappointed.
      • Ironically her father Thaddeus Ross managed to get off the bus in Captain America: Civil War a whole nine years later, making William Hurt the only returning actor from The Incredible Hulk.
    • Apart from an offhand reference to her breakup with Thor Jane Foster (and her supporting cast of Darcy and Dr. Selvig) has likewise disappeared. Sif is also absent due Jaimie Alexander having scheduling conflicts, however Kevin Feige reveals Sif was not on Asgard when Hela arrived so she survived the genocide of Asgardains at least.
    • Phil Coulson has yet to be mentioned post-Avengers despite coming back from the dead and having his own extensive series of adventures. Captain Marvel (2019) marks his first cinematic appearance since 2012, though it's when Coulson was a younger man in the 90s.
    • Karl Mordo was last seen in The Stinger for Doctor Strange (2016) embarking on a quest to kill Earth's sorcerers, but has yet to be mentioned since then.
    • After not appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a short while after Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ulysses Klaue is first shown in a trailer for Black Panther (2018), now with a vibranium arm.
  • The movie Avengers: Infinity War marks the return of four characters who have been absent from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a while: The Collector, Red Skull, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill. The Collector however was actually an illusion created by Thanos's Reality Stone, so his "return" is debatable.
    • In Avengers: Endgame it seems Sharon Carter has gone the way of Betty Ross and Jane Foster as despite everyone else returning Sharon's absence is notable, fans weren't fussed since Sharon's relationship with Steve Rogers in Civil War was pretty Squick considered she's Peggy Carter (Steve's One True Love) niece.
  • After being absent from the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Iron Man, William Ginter Riva finally returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the film Spider Man Far from Home in a TheBusCameBack moment.
  • Ethan's wife, Julia, as well as Jane from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, are nowhere to be found in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Nyah from Mission: Impossible II and Declan, Ethan's helicopter pilot, are absent from the series as well. William Brandt, who first appeared in Ghost Protocol and was also a major character in Rogue Nation, did not return for Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
  • Col. Sam Trautman, Rambo's mentor and friend from the Rambo series, does not show up in the fourth movie. This was probably done out of respect for the actor who portrays Trautman, Richard Crenna, who passed away in 2003.
  • Yoda, a wise sage who guided the main characters throughout the first three episodes of Star Wars, is absent from Episode IV, A New Hope, due to his humiliating defeat and exile at the end of Revenge of the Sith by the evil Emperor Palpatine.
    • And due to his character not having been created yet when A New Hope was written and filmed.
  • Due to Anton Yelchin's death in June 2016, Star Trek Beyond will be the last Star Trek "Kelvin Timeline" film to feature his incarnation of Chekov, as producer J. J. Abrams confirmed in July 2016 that they will not recast the role for the next film.
  • In The Truman Show, Truman's father was quite literally and forcefully put on a bus immediately when Truman recognized him for who he was. As in, FORCED onto a moving bus by other people as Truman chased him and was blocked by a passing bicycle mob.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Nightcrawler didn't appear with no explanation given. (The in-universe reason appears in the X-Men: The Official Game where Nightcrawler leaves due to the X-Men's missions clashing with his peaceful nature. The real life one was that Alan Cumming had refused to return without Bryan Singer, especially since he was not fond of the torturous makeup sessions. In one of the behind-the-scenes featurettes, he readily admits that he doesn't think he could come back and go through it again.)
      • Originally, Nightcrawler was to appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it was cut out because Singer felt there were too many mutants already.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • His role in the first act concluded, Quicksilver is promptly told to go his own way, only making a brief cameo at the end at his house, away from the action.
      • Moira MacTaggert, who was last seen in X-Men: First Class, doesn't appear in this movie, but she returns in X-Men: Apocalypse.
  • In The Passenger, the girl is literally put on a bus by David Locke when the film nears its end. Soon she returns in time for the denouement.

    Literature 
  • Before the end of the first book, the Starling triplets in The 39 Clues are caught in an explosion rigged by the Holts and end up in the hospital with serious injuries. They barely garner a mention in any of the next nine books, but return in the tenth book in time for the series' conclusion.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Virgil leaves Dante just before the end of Purgatorio because as one of the Damned, he cannot enter Heaven. He spends the rest of the Poem back in the first circle of Hell, although Dante thinks of him during later discussions of God's justice.
  • Witkacy in Dora Wilk Series. After starring in book one as one of side characters and then appearing briefly in book two, he was sent out for basic magical training out of town and, despite being mentioned several times as Dora's trainee off-screen, hasn't reappeared yet.
  • Hard-drinking amateur detective Dr. Gideon Fell is married to a rabid teetotaler. Once the first novel was finished, John Dickson Carr didn't so much put Mrs. Fell on a bus as he renovated the bus into a nice RV for her and sent her off for most of the series.
  • In Michael Grant's GONE series, Justin has his own story arc in LIES and is set up to be a prominent character. Then he randomly disappears in the adjacent book PLAGUE, only to suddenly resurface as a side-character in FEAR.
  • Brian from Out of Position disappears in the second book after sending Lee an angry text message. Too bad he shows up again in the third book to cause more trouble.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • Thalia Grace gets put on a bus for book four after joining the Hunters of Artemis.
    • Percy himself is AWOL for the first book of Sequel Series The Heroes of Olympus, and in the second book all of the previously established characters except Percy are on the bus.
    • Leo Valdez is put on a bus at the end of The Blood of Olympus, or rather a flying dragon, with Calypso. They return at the end of The Hidden Oracle.
    • Annabeth is on a bus for the first book of The Trials of Apollo because she's off participating in the first book of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.
  • The Riftwar Cycle character Owyn Beleforte was key to the plot of Betrayal at Krondor and its novelization, Krondor: The Betrayal. Then he was put on a bus and never heard from again (Save for a one page reference in the next book stating where the bus is going). Strangely, the bus heads in different directions in each media: In the game, he gets a crown-paid scholarship to Stardock and potentially becomes a great wizard. In the books, he goes home and spends the rest of his life in a part of the Kingdom that is generally irrelevant to the plot of the series.
  • Father Callahan from the Stephen King novel Salem’s Lot went off on a literal bus near the end of the book, and rather unexpectedly reappeared years later in the loosely related The Dark Tower series as a church pastor in another dimension. It is explained he spent a lot of the intervening time killing vampires.
  • Happens in the sixth Septimus Heap book, where Snorri's mother comes to take her home.
    • Even the second book put Simon and Merrin on a bus, for them to return in the fourth.
  • This happens in A Series of Unfortunate Events to Hector with Duncan and Isadora Quagmire; Fernald and Fiona were Put on a Bus offscreen, no less.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Charles Martin was essentially put on this in the book Under the Radar. He comes back to stay by the book Vanishing Act.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the character Rickon gets put on a bus — or sent off with a wildling woman of dubious allegiance — at the end of Book 2 and hasn't been heard from since, mainly because the author found writing for a four-year-old difficult. It is anticipated he will return, possibly badassed up, with his psychotic direwolf, in later installments.
    • Benjen Stark has been MIA since early in the first book after going on a scouting mission north of the Wall.
  • In Star Trek: The Battle of Betazed, Lwaxana Troi features heavily. However, Mr. Homn (her valet), is strangely absent, and indeed isn't even mentioned. This despite usually appearing whenever and wherever she does (or being specifically mentioned as travelling elsewhere if not). A later novel went and transformed this into a Bus Crash; Star Trek: A Time to... revealed that he died during the initial invasion, so explaining his absence. The death is eventually shown in a short story, part of the Tales of the Dominion War anthology.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In the first six books of Galaxy of Fear, Hoole is distant and irritable and doesn't relate too well to his adoptive niece and nephew, so has his droid assistant DV-9 give them lessons and do most of the interaction with them. After Army of Terror the droid finally objects to how much danger he's been taken into, so Hoole sets him free and the droid starts working somewhere safe. By that time Hoole's relationship with Tash and Zak has warmed considerably, so the droid isn't needed anymore. He does briefly appear at the end of the series, but likes the safety too much to go with them again.
  • The Sword of Truth series does this with alarming regularity, with Chase, Rachel, Scarlet, Chandalen, Gratch, Jennsen, and several others abruptly vanishing for several books at a time. The final book, however, brought back or mentioned all of them.
  • This happens to many different characters in War and Peace, as there are so many of them, but the one who stands out most is Dolokhov, who is put on one after crushing Nikolai Rostov and stripping him of nearly forty thousand roubles, only to return later after having taken a level in Badass.
  • In The Witchlands:
    • Ryber disappears by the end of Truthwitch, with only a note explaining that she has to be gone left behind. In her case, The Bus Came Back by the end of the second book.
    • After Merik and the plot move to the north of Nubrevna, it's mentioned that Evraine stayed behind in Noden's Gift.
    • Gretchya tells Iseult that she's escaping to Saldonica with her student and disappears, never to be seen again, even when the plot visits the aforementioned city.
  • In Warrior Cats, Graystripe gets captured by Twolegs early in the third book of the second series and is ultimately presumed dead or permanently lost by his Clanmates, especially since they have moved out of the forest since he went missing. (He returns over half a year and several books later, having escaped and found them in their new home.)

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Whenever a wrestler gets injured (Kayfabe or not), they will be put on a bus. Conversely, if some other real life issue forces them to take a break, the writers will sometimes have them suffer a Kayfabe injury as a way of explaining their prolonged absence.
  • A wrestler leaving a territory would often lose a Loser Leaves Town match. This was done as a kayfabe way to explain why a wrestler no longer wrestles there and a way to give heat to a heel by exiling a beloved babyface or to put over a face by being the one who finally vanquished a hated heel. This was a common case when a monster heel was finally defeated for good after a feud with top face. The monster heel would then start up again in a new territory without fans knowing he had been beaten in a previous one. It's still sometimes done nowadays too although usually it's done when a wrestler is leaving for another fed, retiring, or taking time off for various reasons. Only now it's called "Loser Leaves (insert fed name here)"
  • Sting would regularly disappear from WCW for up to six months at a time, usually starting with Hulk Hogan's return from vacation.
  • Tsunami tried to rid LLF of Reina Vampira by stuffing her on a bus and sending her away. It didn't work, as the driver rejected Tsunami's ticket.
  • Jimmy Havoc, since Progress Wrestling Chapter 21. He lost a hardcore match to Paul Robinson, his own stablemate, during which he made a subtle face turn. Then he was helped to his feet by Jim Smallman of all people, briefly waved goodbye to the crowd as they gave him a standing ovation and left the ring. He hasn't been seen since.

    Radio 
  • Adventures in Odyssey: At this point, the only major characters who haven't been put on a bus are Connie (who first arrived in town early in the show's run and has stayed there ever since) and Wooten Basset (who likewise hasn't left town since his debut). The series' major example of this, however, would be in the central character John Avery Whittaker. When his voice actor, Hal Smith, passed away, Whit went away on a long missions trip for an extended period of time. He eventually returned (now being voiced by Paul Herlinger until he passed away, whereupon he was replaced by Andre Stojka without Whit leaving again) and hasn't left town for an extensive period of time since.
  • The ending of Have Gun – Will Travel has Paladin inheriting a small fortune and heading back East to handle the estate, though he does promise to be back for Hey Boy's wedding.
  • The character of Trillian got a one-sentence send-off at the start of the second series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Thanks to a Reset Button, she was brought back for the three much-belated series made after Douglas Adams' death.
  • One regular team member of BBC Radio 1's Scott Mills Show, Mark Chapman, went to the toilet on Christmas Eve 2009 and hasn't been heard from since.
    • He got given his own show on Radio 5.

    Religion 
  • A few examples from The Bible:
    • Moses' wife Zipporah, who ended up separating from him when she had to do an emergency circumcision on their son when the Lord met them on their way to Egypt to kill Moses, with her saying to Moses, "You are a bridegroom of blood to me." She does return later on with Moses' father-in-law after Moses leads his people Israel out of Egypt, but she isn't mentioned again after Exodus.
    • David's first wife Michal, who first is given to another man, with the assumption that David was dead, then later returned to him by Abner when he gives control of the kingship of all Israel to David, and then when she complains about David's dancing before the Lord, she is basically left childless to the day of her death.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Squats in Warhammer 40,000 were an unpopular Dwarf knockoff from older editions of 40k. They have disappeared from the game and the fluff, without much explanation. When pressed, GW will say they were eaten by a Tyranid Hive Fleet. However, they received a brief mention in the 6th edition rulebook, which carried over to the 7th edition rulebook.
  • In ''Warhammer, the Dogs of War and Chaos Dwarves are former armies, with people even having the option of hiring Dogs of War units as rare choices. GW presumably realized what a Game-Breaker that could be (essentially allowing you to hire units to get around your armies designated balancing weaknesses) and completely cut them from the fluff and army books. Chaos Dwarves are a little more complicated as the army is remembered fondly by veteran players and often sought after by new players, and they remain in the fluff (primarily due to the proximity of the newer Ogre Kingdoms army). Lately models and rules have begun popping up on Forge World, leading people to hope that the army might be due for a revival.
  • On a hilariously meta-example, the card Shared Ride from Yu-Gi-Oh! depicts characters from cards that has since no longer been able to be played due to Forbidden List rules (itself an example of cards being put on a bus due to how overpowered they are). The artwork of that card? Those characters literally sharing a bus ride. The card Tour Bus To Forbidden Realms also depict this.
  • Ravenloft had to do this when Arthaus sub-let the rights to publish material for the game-setting from TSR/Hasbro, because the original darklord of Sithicus, Lord Soth, was copyrighted under the Dragonlance setting instead. The death knight vanished out of the Land of Mists in a catastrophic event called the Night of Screaming Shadows, and was never mentioned by name in Arthaus's products, although later Dragonlance material indicated he'd been sent back to Krynn.

    Visual Novels 
  • Almost the entire cast of main characters from the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy was put on a bus by the events of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Phoenix appears as usual and the only other returning characters (where they only appear once for a flashback event) are Gumshoe and Mike Meekins. Maya, Pearl, mentions of Mia and Edgeworth, and several other recurring characters are completely ignored and Phoenix makes no mention of them at all except a slight nod to Maya with his collection of The Steel Samurai discs. Several of these trilogy characters return in Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice, though Gumshoe has been infamously absent from the 3D era games, his role being replaced by Bobby Fullbright and later Ema Skye.
  • Rose Guns Days as this as a pattern: at the end of each year, one of the characters has to leave Japan for a reason or another. In 1947 Leo goes back to southern Asia to fight with former comrades who try to get their independence; in 1948 Rapunzel must leave Japan with her father and take refuge in South America, since the latter is still under arrest from the Chinese army for war crimes and in 1949 Alan is wanted by Primavera for betrayal and goes to China where his dead girlfriend Meixue must be burried. All of them are Back for the Finale in 1950.

    Web Animation 
  • Spoofed on Homestar Runner with the Show Within a Show Cheat Commandos. In the short "The Next Epi-snowed", voice actor Crack Stuntman gets bossy and uncooperative while recording an episode of Cheat Commandos, and director A. Chimendez eventually gives up and has Gunhaver sent "on a secret mission to the moon for an undisclosed period of time", replacing him with Author Avatar Agent Chimendez. It's also mentioned that "when [Gunhaver] gets back, his voice might have changed."
  • Red vs. Blue has done this several times in their later seasons, most notably after the time skip between Blood Gulch Chronicles and Reconstruction, where Tucker and Donut are put on a bus for the entirety of Reconstruction, coming back for Recreation. Tex also tends to come and go throughout the story.

    Webcomics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Dragoon was teleported to the Moon and has not been seen since.
    • He comes back in The Epilogue.
    • Which is hilarious if you think about a 'Dragoon coming back from the Moon' in terms of Final Fantasy IV, the game the character's appearance came from.
  • Lampshaded in Bittersweet Candy Bowl several times. This was commissioned by a fan from the artist in anticipation of that character's ultimate fate, due to her importance to the story primarily as Paulo's girlfriend - a status she is unlikely to enjoy much longer. This was drawn after Kizuna's original creator threw a hissy fit, resulting in Taeshi removing the character from the comic, and all of the fancharacters save Tess and McCain have been retconned out of the comic.
  • Lampshaded here in Books Don't Work Here when the Main character and her room mate head to the mall at the same time as the author has to move and get a new job. The author's avatar also makes an appearance getting on the bus as they get off. Which gives Robin an opportunity to punch him in the face.
  • Done to every character at the end of Boy Meets Boy, to make room for two side characters who got their own spinoff in Friendly Hostility.
  • Brawl in the Family puts Waluigi on an Assist Trophy? in an Assist Trophy? whatever, the point is that he ends up one at the end of the 2014 April Fools' Day event.
  • The now decidedly unnecessary "human characters" in Comic Shorts: Spriteoverse are removed in episode 26 possibly the least subtle way imaginable: by interrupting the comic's dialog to announce that they're going to blink out of existence. They may or may not come back if it's convenient enough to the plot.
  • Half the cast of Concession is on a bus and will potentially return some day. But they're Out of Focus.
  • In Darths & Droids, one of the players, Sally, wants her character Jar Jar to be hit by a bus. In the next strip she is playing Guitar Hero, and has mostly been playing bit part NPCs.
    • In episode 4, Ben disappears for an unspecified reason.
  • Nearly happens to the main character of Furmentation. More accurately, everybody else took a bus to Disneyland and left him all alone... in the enemy camp. Poor guy. Yes, that IS the main character.
  • In General Protection Fault, Trish goes into a coma after being attacked by her impostor, who proceeds to impersonate her until she is unmasked.
  • Happens sometimes in Girl Genius; Master Payne's traveling show decamps to England to escape the wrath of the Wulfenbach empire, while Baron Wulfenbach's second-in-command Boris disappears without explanation during protagonist Agatha's two-and-a-half year Time Skip.
  • Done in Girly when Officer Policeguy gets fed up with Detective Clampjaw.
    • More like strapped to the bus!
  • In El Goonish Shive, the Demonic Duck is put on a bus after his appearance at the birthday party - he travels to Australia to learn about his roots, presumably the Demon Duck of Doom. He returned in 2010, although it's unknown if he'll be sticking around.
  • Kevin & Kell has done this with several of its supporting characters over time. Candice and her family were once nearly as important to the strip as Kevin and Kell themselves, but eventually she was outsourced to New Zealand and hasn't been heard from since, barring a cameo at Lindesfarne's wedding. The Ursuls, of whom Marjorie was Kell's best friend for the early years of the strip, moved to Florida and new best friend Aby moved into their house — they've also not been seen since. Marjorie's daughter, son in law, and grandson Harcourt initially went with them, but later they came back. Lindesfarne's best friend Tammy Tussock and her husband Ray moved to a lighthouse, and while they were important to one more storyline after the move, they've only made sporadic appearances since, most recently at the early stages of Lindesfarne's pregnancy. Rudy's rival and half brother Vin Vulpin spent years constantly being an antagonist to Rudy, then in the end ran away to the Wild to escape criminal charges and hasn't been seen since, barring one cameo in which we find out he's now got a mate and three kits, and has so assimilated to the Wild that he's forgotten his name. Then again, longtime readers of Bill Holbrook's two syndicated strips should be well aware of his tendency to rotate the cast - both of those strips have managed almost a complete cast turnover, including their main characters.
  • In A Modest Destiny two of the main characters go bye-bye for essentially a whole arc.
  • Happened to a lot of the cast in N Fans The Series. At some point, characters were either put in confinement, captured, in a coma (in the case of Ran Cossack), or simply Out of Focus. Van for example was put in jail for a majority of the comic's arc, only appearing to mention his beloved "Goth girl", while the rest of the mettaurs and a giant robot went through a portal. Christopher Blair was also fighting Ganondorf for a very long while. Team Lalala was once stranded on the exact same screen for about a year of real-time. Eventually though, some characters were written out of the comic. (Van went home, Piney had simply chosen to return home due to having a fallout with the author at the time)
  • In Questionable Content, it looked like this was going to happen to Steve. Turns out, he's back. However, the side characters Dave and Meena caught that bus. Also, Sarah, Ellen, Amir, and Natasha. Looks like Raven is on that bus too.
    • Actually, it seems like the bus dropped Raven off just in time for her college physics class. Amir got off the bus for a cameo as well, but has probably caught another one at this point. Also, since Sarah was apparently "eaten by an Allosaurus," this may be more of a Bus Crash scenario.
  • In Sam & Fuzzy the titular character Sam vanishes for like 10 months. Even though he is in plain sight.
    • Done again later when almost the entire cast of Noosehead has not been mentioned that much. But it is very likely that they will come back.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, this happens most notably to Der Thris, who resigns to help out the police on Mahuitalotu.
    • The author calls this practice "retiring characters", and it typically happens when people leave the Toughs or when the Toughs leave them. They usually come back with at least a follow-up arc a few years later or a bonus story.
  • Conversed in Shortpacked!, when Robin mentions that Jacob had been put on a bus.
  • Happens a lot in Sluggy Freelance due to the sheer number of characters it's introduced over its long run. Characters very rarely stay on the bus, however. Even if it takes over a decade, it seems like every character who isn't explicitly killed off is bound to make a second appearance. Sasha, who had moved away seven years ago, made a return to the comic.
  • Sonichu has a number of characters be tossed on the bus, due to the author's ever-shifting focus. Saramah Rosechu, who was supposed to be part of a big prophecy, is married off not even two issues after her appearance and the prophecy ignored; Meg-chan (aka Sailor Megtune) disappeared without a trace another two issues later; Metal Sonichu makes an appearance and is launched to the Moon, never to be seen again (he was supposed to return, but so far, no show).
  • Star Mares takes advantage of the party split of The Empire Strikes Back to temporarily sideline Gracenote and Maple Leaf, in order to give the other characters more screen time (and to avoid trying to find something for them to do).
  • Tepoz from Wapsi Square is put on a bus to Utah shortly after his introduction. He returned later and played an important role in the plot.

    Web Original 
  • Stanley Brown's mother in Assignment 2. She is committed to a mental asylum and then never even mentioned again.
  • Emo 5 in Mighty Moshin Emo Rangers Season Two. Captain Emohead brings up that he had to sell him on eBay to pay the phone bill, which Ross had exhausted with phone sex.
    • It's not like he did anything anyway.
  • In Darwin's Soldiers: Disruptive Selection, Hans, Werner and Cpl. Stern encounter an old friend of Cpl. Stern in a bar in New Mexico. The friend then offers to bring them back to Nevada where the terrorists from first RP are trying to put their lives back together. The three then accept the offer.
    • A temporary example in the second RP. Shelton is deported to Austria after the events of the first RP.
  • Hero House has an example in Captain America who essentially vanishes after being wounded in a fight.
  • Bowser Junior from SuperMarioLogan became this after a brief appearance in a Mario and Luigi's Stupid and Dumb Adventures episode...before reappearing in the Bowser Juice commercial and becoming a main character following an appearance in "Bowser Junior's Macaroni".
  • For episode 100 of the video game music podcast Nitro Game Injection, Audun "AkumuHau" Sorlie joined the show as a new co-host. The show went on a lengthy hiatus after episode 112, and when it came back, nary a mention of Akumu was made and he was replaced by Larry Oji of OverClocked ReMix. Akumu has returned as a guest a few times, however.
  • In the fourth year of The Questport Chronicles, the elf Gawain—one of the eight main characters—has been called away on "mysterious business" and is absent for the entire quest. None of the other characters comment on it.
  • Pegs, Kelly, Datu, and Hope were all put on a plane for a safe zone in Boulder, CO in We're Alive. The Bus Came Back for Datu and Hope. No word yet on Pegs and Kelly.
  • Greg the Spider from Arby 'n' the Chief, TWICE. The first time was towards Season 5's finale after overhearing some hurtful comments about him from Arbiter. This late paid off when he returns during Season 6's finale, bringing Cortana with him to help Arbiter feel better.
    • Halfway into Season 7 after Chief murders Cortana. Greg leaves again, this time for good after feeling unfairly resented by Arbiter for a lie he was forced to tell.
  • When The Sharkasm Crew's Cephalo the Pod left for his first year of university, his mom moved to Waterford and his Dad had left town a few years ago. Even when Kason and Sauxuas come back to town for the summer, Cephalo will be living in Waterford.
  • In The Nostalgia Critic, Ma-ti and Douchy McNitpick have both been put on a bus. Interestingly both their departures are loosely connected. Though Ask That Guy and Videogame Confessions have been so long since they were updated, one could say the same for Ask That Guy (the host) and Dominic.
  • Firelight in Fallout Is Dragons spent some time in Skyfall when his player wasn't available.
  • Random Assault: Drew left the show very quietly.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, a few characters get put on a bus such as Despard Silverbranch who sails back home to Maar Sul after he has been heavily injured fighting alongside the Grand Alliance to liberate Vanna.
  • Ted of Wong Fu Productions leaves the Wong Fu office during the 2015 "Offline" series to look for Awkward Animals. He returns in the season finale.
  • Happens often in Super Smash Brothers Life Itself.
  • In Noob, Dark Avenger's Rage Quit was this from the perspective of a story that is 90% Deep-Immersion Gaming.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Put On The Bus

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