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Refitted for Sequel

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"We always leave ideas that were in the first draft as you go along. You know, either a set piece that was great but too expensive, an idea that was really bright, but it couldn't quite fit the structure... so we have a little stash of stuff we wanted to do that we didn't get to do. So if that's a possibility, A) I would be very happy to do a sequel, but B) a lot of these ideas, set pieces and all that, actually have in them a really good seed for a sequel."

So you've finished writing your new adventure film. It has everything you can imagine, with a very evil villain, a mysterious female lead and even a biplane chase! The studio loves it and you get it green-lit. But as you move into pre-production, you notice the film needs to get trimmed down. The biplane chase was great, but you know it has to go, as it adds too little to the plot. A shame, it even got storyboarded and most of the models were already built. But with it left out, the pacing is improved and the change was for the better. The film eventually gets released to rave reviews and great box-office numbers. So the studio calls you up for a sequel! You start working on the script and realize something:

Hey... Why, I could work the biplane chase into this one!

The sequence remains virtually identical to its first outing, except that this time a different girl is behind our hero. Just because you didn't use it the first time, doesn't mean it never can be used, instead, it can be refitted for the sequel.

The reasons for dropping a sequence is usually:

  • Pacing: Some sequences just end up being too long in the end, or there is one chase too many.
  • Budgetary or time constraints: Everything in a film costs money, A LOT of money. Sometimes some things will just be too expensive and need to be cut. In other cases, to avoid a delay you need to take something out.
  • Technological: Sometimes, the technology needed to produce the sequence (or at least on a budget) is not there yet.

Another variation is when doing an adaptation of a work, a scene from an earlier installment makes into a later one. Sometimes it isn't a sequence that's re-used, but can be things like sets or props made for an earlier installment.

Most of these tend to be removed early, anywhere from the scriptwriting to having gotten some sets built.

This is mostly a film, TV, or video game-based trope, as readers have a lot more tolerance for length and writing an extra sequence doesn’t cost anything other than time.

For video games, it can be related to Dummied Out. With the advent of DLC, ideas that the creators just didn't have time to implement for the base game can be finished and released later down the road as... well, DLC, instead of waiting for a full-fledged sequel. The difference of how this is received varies greatly though and often comes down to if the player in question thinks the DLC content feels like additional content for an already complete product, or the delayed missing piece to an unfinished work.

Compare Saved for the Sequel, where an element makes it to the main work in an abbreviated form and gets its full development in the Sequel, Development Gag, where the excised element is still referenced in the final work in some way, and What Could Have Been, where a spin-off or side story becomes the official sequel half-way through production.

Individual pages:


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    Comic Books 
  • Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer set up a Big Bad called the Anointed One, a Dark Messiah for vampires with the body of a young boy. He wasn't popular and, with the actor visibly aging, he got unceremoniously killed off before he could do anything. The idea got recycled a bit for Harth, the main villain of the comic book Sequel Series Fray.
  • The Metal Virus storyline of Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) was originally written for Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), intended to start shortly after the 300th issue, but the comic was cancelled and Sega ended their partnership with Archie after issue 290 was released. After IDW picked up the license, Ian Flynn rewrote the story to fit in the new continuity, becoming the second major arc of the series.
  • The original design of Back to the Future's time machine was going to be a modified refrigerator before it was changed for various reasons. In IDW's Biff to the Future series, set in the 1985-A timeline where Biff is rich and powerful, Doc Brown builds the refrigerator time machine and uses it to try and Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths: Marv Wolfman’s ambitious plans for the Post-Crisis DC Universe were much more drastic than how it eventually turned out. All continuity was going to be set aside, clearing the slate for a new, more diverse DC Universe, headlined by a new team (just as the Justice League replaced the Justice Society) called the Justice Alliance. But the comic proved so popular, this idea was nixed. The DC Universe continued with only slight changes, and continuity was preserved for the most part, with some exceptions like Wonder Woman. Some elements of this concept - a more diverse DC universe with the old continuity axed - reappeared in things like the New 52, though not quite to the level that Gruenwald envisioned. The most noticeable attempt to recycle the idea was Dan DiDio's 5G initiative, but that was itself scrapped. It was going to feature a new take on the Justice Alliance, but when it was retooled into the Future State event, they were just called the "Justice League" still.
    • Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis On Infinite Earths portrays a lost chapter of the event where the Justice League gets to meet the Justice Alliance, existing in one of the many parallel worlds of the multiverse instead of succeeding it.
  • The second season of Mega Man: Fully Charged was going to have Suna, Aki's adopted sister, become Zero. However, the show was cancelled before it could take place. The show's writers brought that idea to the Sequel Series comic book mini-series they were writing.
  • The Invader Zim (Oni) issue about alien pants was based on a planned episode of the show, which was canceled for being too similar to an episode of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
  • Iron Man's ''Armor Wars II" story ended up getting derailed from its original idea due to a change in writers. Originally, the twist would have been that a chip in Tony's spine would become sentient and hijack his armor, and then Tony would have to fight the armor, hence the title. Joe Quesada would reuse this basic premise in the infamous "Mask in the Iron Man" story (the one with the Abusive Boyfriend armor). The writer for the initial setup of Armor Wars II, Bob Layton, then teamed up with David Michelinie (who wrote the first Armor Wars alongside him), to tell a Truer to the Text version of his story in the issues 258.1 through 258.4, which he was unable to do back then due to leaving to work for Valiant Comics.
  • Over the Garden Wall:
    • One idea for the cartoon was to have Wirt and Greg get turned into animals for a few episodes. This is adapted into the mini-series in a modified form, where Beatrice thinks they've been turned into animals after a couple steal their clothes.
    • Word of God says that Sara is actually his favorite character, despite her limited screen time, and that he wanted to make another story starring her one day. The ongoing series gives her a much more prominent role.
  • Spider-Man: When Glenn Greenberg was tasked to resurrect Norman Osborn to be the mastermind behind The Clone Saga, the first idea he had was to show him dramatically bursting out of his grave. However, his editor pointed out that, since Norman was a billionaire who'd died an obviously unnatural death, he'd definitely have been given an autopsy, which would preclude the idea of him being buried alive, prompting Greenberg to change it to the final version where Norman wakes up at the morgue and murders a homeless man to be autopsied and buried in his place. 25 years later, when Nick Spencer brought back Ned Leeds, who was resurrected the same way, the flashback sequence ends with him dramatically bursting out of his grave.
  • Gary Carlson said that when he was writing Volume 3 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage), Mirage had suggested to him the idea of killing off Splinter, but he refused, feeling the character was too important to the franchise, as well as not wanting to irritate the loyal fans who had stuck with the franchise through thick and thin even in its Audience-Alienating Era (this was a time when the third film bombed, the 80s cartoon ended, and the franchise had lost its appeal to a lot of people before the 2003 cartoon aired). When franchise co-creator Peter Laird decided to write Volume 4, he eventually killed off the character himself, or so it seemed, though that Splinter may have been a clone.

    Fan Works 

  • Harry Potter:
    • The opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which Cornelius Fudge meets with the Muggle Prime Minister, was originally written for the first book. After cutting it from the first book, J. K. Rowling reworked it as an opening for the third and later fifth book, but ultimately it didn't get used until book six.
    • In a bigger case of this, the entire Half-Blood Prince storyline was originally intended for the second book (in fact, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was its working title), but Rowling realized "that I had two major plots here that really did not work too well together side-by-side, so one had to be pulled out." She also decided that it was too early in the series to reveal so much information about Snape.
    • There was supposed to be more information about horcruxes and Voldemort’s backstory in the second book but she didn’t have the clout to fight with the publisher about keeping it in at that point and therefore it was put in the sixth.
    • A subversion: Rowling considered opening the second book with a scene where Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott are hanging out together at Malfoy Manor and discussing recent events from their point of view. She later reworked the scene as an opening for the fourth book, but she decided to cut it that time as well. Ultimately, it was never used in the series at all.
    • Rowling originally planned that when Harry entered the Leaky Cauldron and was accosted by the patrons, one of the people there would be an obnoxious reporter named Bridget. She ended up cutting the reporter and having her show up in the fourth book, now named Rita Skeeter.
  • The Discworld short story "The Sea and Little Fishes," published in the collection Legends, edited by Robert Silverberg, originally had a scene in in where Granny Weatherwax went up to the "gnarly ground" to go and sulk in a cave behind a stone witch, and Nanny Ogg had to go and find her. It got cut because Silverberg thought it was slowing things down, but was later greatly expanded for use in Carpe Jugulum.
  • The whole of the fifth Rivers of London book, Foxglove Summer. It was originally intended as the second book, before it was suggested to Aaronovitch that it might be better to more firmly establish that Peter's comfort zone is firmly in London before doing the Strange Cop in a Strange Land story.
  • In Gideon the Ninth, Harrow was supposed to tell Gideon "You are the sole fruitful thing in my salted field" while they were in the pool together. However, Tamsyn Muir's editors asked her to remove the line due to finding it too weird and implicitly sexual for what was meant to be a tender and emotional scene. Muir eventually wound up using the phrase in the sequel, where it is said by Ianthe, who arguably fits the line better due to her unnerving and sexually provocative behavior.
  • Star Trek: A prologue sequence cut from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in which Kirk goes about Putting the Band Back Together was reworked into the novel The Fearful Summons (written by Denny Martin Flinn, who co-wrote the film's screenplay). This included scenes of Chekov playing competitive chess against a telepath, and Spock playing Polonius in a theatrical production of Hamlet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Sentinels in The Gifted (2017) have the power to transform into rolling spheres that move at high speeds. This was actually a leftover idea from X2: X-Men United, in which the Sentinels would have been capable of transforming into giant rolling disks.
  • Star Trek:
  • Little Mermaid's Island was a failed 1990 Jim Henson collab show based off of The Little Mermaid. Its two episodes were never commercially available, however elements from the show ended up used elsewhere:
    • The "Tell the Truth" song was later reused in a 1997 Sesame Street direct-to-video special called "Telling the Truth".
    • Flounder's twin sister Sandy was reused in The Little Mermaid's Treasure Chest books.
  • Concept art of Zemo's iconic purple mask was created for Captain America: Civil War, but ultimately didn't make it into the finished film. The mask would later be used for the The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV Spin-Off.
  • The Scarlet Witch costume for Wanda in WandaVision. The final design heavily resembles one of her concept arts from Avengers: Age of Ultron, including the comics version's signature tiara. It was discarded in exchange for her street clothes in the film, but modified and brought back for the series.
  • The Mandalorian had many ideas and plot beats that were carried over from Disney's cancelled Boba Fett solo movie. Like the movie, the series stars a stoic Mandalorian Bounty Hunter going on missions for a bounty hunter guild and teaming-up with other bounty hunters and mercenaries. Boba Fett himself would appear in the second season of The Mandalorian and later got his own spin-off series.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga was planned to get a movie where the protagonist battled a group of Grongi who originated in America, whose leader had a wolf motif. The movie languished in Development Hell for years before finally being cancelled, and later on Kamen Rider Decade would use a Wolf Grongi as the monsters' leader when he visited an Alternate Universe version of Kuuga.
  • In Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger and/or Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, the red tyrannosaurus zord's tail turning into a drill arm when combined into the Megazord was lifted from an unused design for a US-exclusive upgraded version of the first Megazord (aka. Daizyujin).
  • Back when Titans was being developed for TNT, Oracle was planned to be one of the main characters. This idea was dropped, but the character was finally introduced in her civilian identity of Barbara Gordon in the Season 3 premier.
  • Legends of the Superheroes was loosely based on Superfriends and notably featured Captain Marvel among the heroes and Dr. Sivana among the villains. Captain Marvel and Dr. Sivana were originally planned to appear in Challenge of the Superfriends, but couldn't be used because of Shazam! (1974) already using them.

  • It is very common for a Cut Song to emerge in the next album. Sometimes getting reworked along the way - during the sessions of Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd wrote the songs "You Gotta Be Crazy" and "Raving and Drooling", which after some years being part of their live concerts, were adapted on follow-up Animals into the tracks "Dogs" and "Sheep".
  • Eminem was fascinated by the idea of his Loony Fan character Stan (from his song "Stan") getting his revenge on him, long before he ever wrote the Sequel Song "Bad Guy", in which Stan's little brother Matthew avenges his brother. Em's Cult Classic deep cut "No Apologies" contains a passage where Eminem predicts his assassination at the hands of a fan who is in love with him (well, he uses another word beginning with "fa_"...) and "Off The Wall" suggests "my man, Stan" is creeping around Slim's house to shoot him. The skit "Stan (The Lost Verses)" has Eminem narrating an alternate ending for the song where Stan escapes the crash, gets mad that Slim isn't sending him any get-well cards in the hospital, comes to kill him, and Slim blows his head off (though due to him being a Trolling Creator, it's not clear whether or not Eminem was telling the truth).
  • Megadeth's thirteenth album Thirteen has some examples. New World Order was originally released in Duke Nukem's sountrack and Black Swan was released as a bonus track in some United Abominations' editions. Both songs were reworked and re-recorded for this album.

    Web Animation 
  • Reportedly, Helluva Boss came to be because creator Vivienne Medrano wanted the main characters to be extras in Hazbin Hotel, but wasn't sure where to fit them in the pilot's already large cast of characters.

  • David Willis originally intended for It's Walky! to have a storyline where the characters meet Mike's parents and fight the Giant Mutant Frosted Honey Bun in New York, but after 9/11, felt it would be in poor taste to draw a bunch of buildings in New York getting damaged. By 2009, people's emotions had settled down a bit, so he used the idea for a Shortpacked! story about Mike and Amber.