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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 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 needs 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 budget) is not there yet.

Another variation is when doing an adaptation of a work, a scene from an earlier installments 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 script writing 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 Uplifted Side Story, where a spin-off or side story becomes the official sequel half-way through production.

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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 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.
  • As mentioned under Films, the original design of Back to the Future's time machine was going to be a modified refridgerator 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 refridgerator time machine and uses it to try and Set Right What Once Went Wrong.

    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.

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