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Remember the New Guy?

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What do you mean, "Larry wasn't always in the show?"

Ada: You... knew each other?
The Dark Id (as Leon): Well, the script says I did, but hell if I've ever seen that guy before the cutscene just after the fight with Todd.

A previously unmentioned character who suddenly appears without notice and who we are told was really there all along but just... off-screen or something. It comes about because the writers want to introduce a new character, but don't want to come up with a complex introduction where everyone meets them and learns what they're like—it's just easier to pretend that everyone automatically knows them, and the relationship is ready-made. "Oh hey, that's my old rival!" "Oh, this is my brother/sister whom I've never told you about," etc.

In other words, this is a relative or a friend or even a rival whom we really should have met, or at least heard about before, since the other characters would have us believe they have been crewing the same starship, working on the same project or sitting on the other side of the same classroom for years.

This can work if the character (and the actor) proves compelling enough for the audience to suspend their disbelief, or that it's possible nobody mentioned them "on-camera" before (like if the show is set in a school, and the character is a casual acquaintance of the others but hasn't done anything significant to the plot until now). It's also possible if there's an in-story reason for the character to have been incognito (perhaps they were a spy, or an escaped convict), and the character was there in plain sight all along, but disguised as one of the show's many extras. Among the most clumsy versions is the "Long-Lost Daughter/Son". This trope can be especially disruptive if the new addition doesn't fit the tone of the series.

The subverted, Watsonian version of this is the Backstory Invader, when a newly-introduced character actually wasn't there before, but the characters are made to believe they were due to Fake Memories, Reality Warping, or a Cosmic Retcon. Can also be lampshaded in-story by having the new guy be part of a VERY large family, so even his relatives in the cast don't recognize him at first.

When a character's ex not only is subject to this trope, but also attempts to barge back into the character's life, you have a New Old Flame.

Related to (no pun intended) Long-Lost Uncle Aesop, but while the Long-Lost Uncle is usually a one-shot character to deliver An Aesop, Remember the New Guy is basically a new main character retconned out of thin air—in fact, the term "Retroactive Continuity" was originally coined to describe this trope.

If the character is going to be killed off straight away, this trope can be used to turn them into a Mauve Shirt beforehand.

Many crossovers set in the same universe frequently contain this as a method of bringing the cast of the two series together.

Compare Cain and Abel and Seth, Cousin Oliver and New Neighbours as the Plot Demands. Can often occur in combination with Suspiciously Similar Substitute, when an actor is no longer available and a new character is quickly brought in with minimal introduction to fill the role. Contrast Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, in which a character disappears with no explanation. When an adaptation takes steps to avert this, it's an Early-Bird Cameo. Also compare Unknown Rival, which can sometimes result in the opposite situation where the audience is familiar with a character, but the other characters aren't, even in situations where they really should be. Sometimes results from a character being given an Adaptational Late Appearance, when they were Adapted Out of their debut but show up later and are still treated like they've always been there.

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Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Not exactly a character, but the A Certain Magical Index movie A Certain Magical Index: Miracle of Endymion does this with the Space Elevator Endymion. Lampshaded when Index sees the structure for the first time and asks what it is and where it came from. Touma pokes fun at her, comments that her Photographic Memory must not be as perfect as she thought, and claims the structure has always been there. He has a flashback montage that shows the structure edited into the background of several important past scenes. Index gets really confused, as she is sure she's seeing it for the first time.
  • Orin the Pink Ninja in Akazukin Chacha is revealed later to have been in class the whole time, but clinging to the ceiling.
    • The TV adaptation turned Barabaraman (one of the Urara School faculty) into an example of this, by delaying introducing him until about halfway through the series but having Chacha and co. recognize him on sight.
  • Angel Beats!: Every acquaintance of an NPC seems to have this trope, considering how Yuri had a supposed friend when she was almost Brainwashed into becoming one.
  • Attack on Titan has a minor example with Floch. He's introduced as a member of the 104th Training Corps and fellow Survey Corps soldier before the battle to retake Shiganshina, and is revealed to have been alongside Eren & co. from the beginning. While missing from scenes up until this point, later flashbacks do show him interacting with some of the main characters during their training years. While he initially seems like yet more Cannon Fodder, Floch ends up being the one to take a dying Erwin back to the main cast in Shiganshina and thus is responsible for setting off the debate about whether Erwin or Armin should be saved using the titan serum they have. After the four-year Time Skip, he's shown to be a devout supporter of Eren's ideology and seems to be in charge of carrying out tasks on behalf of an imprisoned Eren.
  • Aoi Kuineda's primary circle of Red Tails from Beelzebub consisted of Nene, Yuka, Ryouko, and Chikai. Then, a random, never before mentioned purple haired member was inserted into the group, and treated as if she's been there from the very start.
  • A particularly frustrating example occurs in Black Clover, where in one arc Asta and Noelle meet up with a group of three mages, Fanzell, Dominante, and Mariella, in the Witches Forest Arc. Though they have never appeared in the manga before, Asta and Noelle are not only familiar with them, but have apparently already helped them escape from the Diamond kingdom, and even received trained with them. The characters were originally introduced in a light novel that serves as a side story to the manga, but it can be infuriating when the manga has flashbacks to events that never occurred in the manga. Not only that, but it's nearly impossible to tell when exactly the events of the light novel took place relative to the manga.
  • Bleach: Uryuu Ishida is first introduced in Chapter 34 as Ichigo's classmate and the highest-scoring student in the entire grade, yet Orihime has to explain to Ichigo who he is while Tatsuki lampshades the Running Gag of Ichigo's careless forgetfulness. However, careful reading of earlier chapters reveals Ishida in the background of several panels, including Chapter 1's cover, and his father is mentioned in a throw-away line in Chapter 7, so Kubo deliberately invoked this trope.
  • Played for Laughs in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, when Jelly Jiggler holds a never-seen-before character named Spikey hostage and both Bobobo and Don Patch seem to know him, much to Beauty's confusion.
    Spikey: Please forgive me! I messed up!
    Bobobo & Don Patch: Spikey!
    Beauty: WHO'S THAT?!!
  • Shingo Aoi from Captain Tsubasa was introduced in the World Youth arc as a Tsubasa fanboy who went to say goodbye to him in the airport as he left to Brazil.
  • One reason Ryo of Digimon Tamers is seen as a Canon Sue is this. Even if one takes into account his huge backstory (that most of the viewers outside of Japan never even got to see until later) that explains his presence, his sudden appearance still comes a bit out of left field even with the proper context.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dr. Gero is a perfect example: he was a scientist that worked for the Red Ribbon Army and created the androids for them, including the previously seen Android 8, but he was never mentioned in the Red Ribbon Army Saga. It's only when he shows up in the Android Saga years later in real life and many years later in-universe, we know all this time he was making more androids until he made ones that could defeat Goku and the others, and is also revealed that the whole time he was spying on the main characters with hidden cameras and collecting cells from them to create the bio-android Cell. It even creates a plot hole in the anime, where Dr. Flappe was said to be the creator of Android 8 in the RR Saga, which was only addressed in a supplemental book that states they both worked on him together.
      • History repeats itself with Dr. Hedo, Gero’s never before seen grandson introduced in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero as well as Magenta who’s the son and successor of Commander Red who’s been working behind the scenes for decades to rebuild the Red Ribbon Army. The same movie also briefly cameos of Gero’s eldest son and wife: Gevo and Vomi, although they aren’t really new characters if you’ve read the supplementary materials or played Dragon Ball Fighter Z which reveal Gero respectively based Android 16 and Android 21 (a God Created Canon Foreigner herself) on them, albeit they hadn’t been named before the movie.
    • The God of Destruction Beerus from the movie Battle of Gods is a semi-example. One of the strongest beings in the entire universe (in fact, the only one stronger is his attendant Whis), no one ever mentioned him until the movie, even though King Kai, the Supreme Kais, Frieza, and Vegeta all knew about him, yet in the series they named many weaker people as "the strongest in the universe". Although this could also be explained by the fact that they were referring to the strongest "people". Beerus is a God and, just like all the Kais, is not factored into mortal power rankings. Beerus is retroactively inserted into backstory with the revelation that he's the previously unknown being that sealed Old Kai in the Z Sword.
      • Beerus does in fact take naps that last decades, so it would make sense he wouldn't be around in important points in history. He still qualifies in some way because when Frieza is resurrected, he mentions him (as well as Majin Buu), even though he was completely unaware of what happened to them. There'd be no reason he'd suddenly mention them other than this trope.
    • Dragon Ball Super introduces Bulma's older sister Tights; both Goku (who's known Bulma since they were kids) and Vegeta (her husband) react to this news with "You have a sister?!" Of course, the meta reason is that Tights is from Toriyama's manga Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, which was written almost 20 years after the Dragon Ball manga ended. Jaco himself could also count, since Bulma has known him since she was little but it apparently never came up in the intervening decades. Tights late mentioning can be justified by Bulma's tendency of not talking much about her family to her friends, just as she never mentioned her parents in the first two arcs. Tights has also distanced herself from her family for most of her life, so it's easy for them to forget her.
    • Speaking of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, the Dragon Ball Minus chapter also introduces Gine, Goku and Raditz’s mother and Bardock’s wife who like Tights hadn’t been shown or hinted at all in the manga or anime. It’s common for characters to have a Missing Mom so many assumed she wouldn’t show up in the story (besides some Wild Mass Guessing that Fasha, Bardock’s teammate was the mom as she’s the one who reminds Bardock that he has a son). Gine’s presence like Dr. Flappe creates a Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole as she doesn’t appear in the Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku special despite being a former member of Bardock’s squad and obviously being an important character — all due to being created decades after the fact. Dragon Ball Super: Broly however makes the Dragon Ball Minus Retcanon firmly putting Gine within Goku’s origins. Now it’s more peculiar when Gine isn’t featured in Bardock’s story e.g Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot's “Bardock Alone Against Fate” DLC, even if said DLC is based on the TV special where Gine wasn’t created yet.
  • Fairy Tail: Gildarts gets this treatment in the anime. It was supposed to end before he was introduced, so the five or so mentions of his name before the Edolas arc are cut out.
  • Yoki and May in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood are this to viewers who haven't read the manga or watched the 2003 anime version. They cut the Youswell episode which serves as a proper introduction to Yoki, and May was also supposed to be introduced later in Youswell. To Brotherhood-only viewers, Yoki and May are just two random people who join Scar because they somehow know of the Elric brothers, and Yoki wants revenge for some reason. Yoki's back story and desire for revenge are explained later in the show in a series of quick flashbacks. These flashbacks occur several episodes after Yoki is introduced however, still leaving people who had never read the manga or seen the 2003 anime thoroughly confused for a while. Hilariously, when Yoki actually meets them, Ed himself doesn't remember him at first, despite ruining his life.
  • In Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, we're shown that Hiroto, the main character, was present in the final battle of the original Gundam Build Divers and that he could have altered the ending in an instant but couldn't bring himself to do so. As the Gunpla he was using, the Uraven Gundam, was a long-range sniper machine, this gives him plausibility as to why he never appeared on-screen.
  • In Haikyuu!!, Nekoma has a new starting player, Lev, in their second appearance of the manga. The explanation given is that he wasn't with them in their first appearance because he was still a newbie and they only took their main squad to training camp. In the two months between their two appearances, he developed enough to become a starter. The first OVA (which takes place between the first two seasons) properly introduces him to the anime viewers and shows how much he trained to become a starter, averting this trope.
  • Hunter × Hunter: The 2011 anime has a very frustrating example in the form of Kite, Gon's inspiration for becoming a Hunter. Unlike the manga and 1999 anime, Kite does not appear in the first episode of the Madhouse adaptation, so his return in the Chimera Ant arc is his very first appearance and we're treated to a never-seen-before flashback to his first meeting with Gon. To make matters worse, other than his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it silhouette in the first episode’s narration, there are absolutely zero hints of his existence and his importance to the story. No prior mentions, no allusions, nothing. So to any newcomers who've never read the manga or seen the 1999 adaptation, Kite really feels like he comes out of nowhere.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure: Part 6 introduced us to Enrico Pucci, close friend, confidant, and possibly-gay-lover of Stardust Crusaders Big Bad DIO... years after DIO's defeat (more than a decade out-of-universe, and two decades in-universe). Of course, neither his existence, any of the flashback scenes he shows us, or the Plot Device given to him by DIO (or his motivation for doing so, for that matter) were ever hinted at in Stardust Crusaders. Admittedly, the series almost never showed us DIO's point of view until the heroes caught up to him, so Pucci at least had a hole he could fit in, but still...
  • Parodied in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War at the start of the new school year when Shindo is first introduced with all his classmates talking about how awesome he is... and Kaguya is just as clueless about who he is as the reader.
  • Kuroko's Basketball: Teppei Kiyoshi first shows up after Seirin loses the Inter High. Prior to this, he's never mentioned by his teammates or the coach. When he's introduced, he's mentioned to be the one who brought Seirin's basketball club to life, and after that, several opponents would remember him as the "Iron Heart" of the Five Uncrowned Kings.
  • Padparadscha of Land of the Lustrous is suddenly introduced in episode 11—Rutile, the doctor, had been working to resolve their chronic coma for much longer than the time-span of the series. The protagonist knew about this character the whole time (saying "I'm glad I didn't forget about Padparadscha"), but never mentioned them before this point.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1999): It's revealed that Volvagia is a baby dragon that Link brought seven years ago. During the Young Link part of the manga, there's no place where that scene could have taken place.
  • In Lucky Star, when the cast starts their senior year, Kagami is approached by Misao and Ayano, noting that they are glad to be in Kagami's class again. Kagami then walks off, Misao notes their position as background characters, and the two then become members of the regular cast. Misao did make a brief appearance prior to this, and she even had a line... with a different voice actress than the one she had when she started showing up regularly. Ayano also made a brief, unnamed appearance as a participant in the sports festival before becoming official. In the manga, though, the two were at first unnamed and were only intended to be random classmates of Kagami's class. It was later when they were actually given names and personalities.
  • Due to being a Long Runner with a fairly dubious sense of continuity, the Lupin III franchise has multiple instances of this:
    • Part 5 saw the debut of Albert d'Andrésy, a French thief turned Dirty Cop who supposedly has an extensive history with Lupin as both a rival and an occasional ally. The later prequel series Lupin Zero expands on this by showing how the two first met, with a young Albert depicted as the new criminal apprentice of Lupin's grandfather.
    • The Part 6 episode "Two Terrible Ladies" introduces Amelia, Fujiko's old partner in crime whom she had a falling out with after a botched heist several years ago. The other members of Lupin's gang have seemingly never heard of her, and Jigen is surprised to learn Fujiko has any female friends.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Most good characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS have met the characters from previous seasons before.note  It's justified by the fact that there was a ten year Time Skip. At that point, it would have been surprising if they didn't know new characters.
    • Inverted with Corona Timil from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, who has been Vivio's friend since shortly after the StrikerS epilogue. It is also played straight when Corona remembers characters from previous seasons, even in cases when she doesn't meet them again.
    • Done with Thoma, the main character of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force. Something of an odd case, since he seems to have met everyone in the Time Skip between Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS and Force.
      • Thoma's backstory, presented in part via flashback chapters, shows that he first met Subaru (and through her, the rest of the Nakajima extended family) in the apparent aftermath of StrikerS Sound Stage X. It's also worth noting that outside of the Nakajima family (and Teana and Alto), the other, more established main characters don't know Thoma (at best, for instance, Nanoha knows of him), and they all introduce themselves properly once the circumstances allow for it.
  • In My Monster Secret, the two main characters first met Karen at chapter 60, yet it's revealed later that she's the Student Council President of their school. In the next chapters it's shown that Nagisa (the Class Representative) and Mikan (president of the news club) have known her since the start. Apparently, normal students are unaware of her existence, or that they even have a student council at all.
  • My Hero Academia: Although a flashback shows that Todoroki has three siblings, only one of them is shown living with him, his sister Fuyumi. Almost 200 chapters in it's shown that another of his siblings is also living with him, Natsuo, and apparently has been living with them all along. His lack of appearance is handwaved by Fuyumi saying that since he started college he has spent very little time at home and maybe also due to a secret girlfriend.
  • Queen Diamond in Mysterious Joker. She's Silver Heart's granddaughter and grew up alongside the main protagonist and his rival, but doesn't show up or even get mentioned until chapter 41.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto already knows the members of Team 8 and 10 and is later shown interacting with some of them in flashbacks during his time at the academy even though they do not appear to be anywhere in the classroom in Chapter 1 or 3 of the manga, even in wider shots showing the entire classroom. Likewise, Sakura first appear as Naruto's classmate in Chapter 3, but is nowhere to be found in the classroom scenes in Chapter 1. Averted in the anime, where all of aforementioned classmates make brief Early Bird Cameos in the respective episodes. Possibly a case of Fridge Brilliance; Naruto had failed the Graduation Exam twice already, so he might simply have been moved to another class that had not taken the exam yet. There are at least 10 teams of three Genin so there should be at least 30 new Genin but we barely see half that number in any scene.
    • Karin who first appears later in the series is shown as a participant of the Chunin Exams from earlier in the series having first met Sasuke during the Forest of Death portion of the exams, yet she did not actually appear in chapters that originally depicted the Chunin Exams.
    • Another example: the presence of Danzo Shimura and his organization "Root", only introduced as of Part II/Shippuuden, having largely affected the behind-the-scenes politics and histories of major characters. Which is, in-universe, what they precisely intended to be.
    • Hamura Ōtsutsuki, the brother of the Sage of the Six Paths, Hagoromo and inheritor of Kaguya's Byakugan. Not once has he ever been hinted at existing (in-universe reasoning is the Uchiha Tablet being modified), but since his introduction, he's been noted as helping Hagoromo defeat the Juubi, a feat originally seen as a solo act by Hagoromo.
    • Boruto introduces a bunch of kids (Sumire, Denki, etc) that weren't seen in Boruto: Naruto the Movie, Naruto Gaiden, or the original Distant Epilogue. They however are good friends with Boruto during his Academy days. The episode showing Naruto's inauguration short had new scenes added with some of them in it.
  • One Piece:
    • Sabo. We are made aware of the shared history of sworn brothers Luffy and Ace throughout the show. Even seeing some quick flashes of them sharing a ritual to become brothers. But when they finally show the full flashbacks of the two meeting and developing their relationship, we are suddenly introduced to a new character, their third sworn brother, Sabo. Even the previously mentioned flashback of their ritual suddenly had Sabo involved in it too. There was the very subtle hint in Ace's misspelled tattoo (ASCE, with the S crossed over), that was downright impossible to know what meant, and what we saw of the brother-making-ritual contained three cups - only with Sabo, the drinker of the third, never being shown.
    • Sanji’s whole family the Vinsmokes, are an even bigger example of this. The Baratie arc Flashback to Sanji’s past depicts him as a cabin boy and apprentice chef on the cruise ship Orbit, with absolutely no hint that he’s actually a runaway prince from a tyrannical kingdom of techno conquerors. Before said revelation in the Zou arc, it was easy to assume Sanji was an orphan like Nami or just had absent parents like Zoro. The only few hints we got that Sanji had a family were a small moment in Jays arc where Sanji reveals he’s actually from North Blue (something Nami realises later shouldn’t be possible given the Red Line separates the seas) and slightly earlier on Sanji staring sadly at a ruined photo of smiling woman he finds in a shipwreck which becomes apparent after Totto Land he was thinking of his mother Sora.
    • The One Piece movies have a bad habit of introducing characters who were instrumental to the wide world and the Straw Hat’s pasts whom were never hinted at before in the manga and for the most part don’t exist in the canon e.g Saga (Zoro’s childhood friend), Shiki (Gold D. Roger’s old rival), Zephyr (the legendary marine who trained the Admirals), Carina (Nami’s childhood friend), Douglas Bullet (a member of Roger’s crew) and Tama (Luffy’s childhood friend and adopted daughter of Shanks). The one exception is Shiki who did become a Canon Immigrant to the manga and is revealed to be have once been part of The Dreaded Rocks’s crew.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Since Episode 35 ("The Legend of Dratini") of Indigo League was not aired outside of Japan and a couple other Asian countries, the 30 Tauros Ash accidentally caught in that episode appear to come out of nowhere in "Showdown at the Po-ké Corral".
    • During the Battle Frontier arc, which took place in Kanto (the setting of the first season), second- and third-generation Pokémon were portrayed as being indigenous to Kanto... even though no one seemed to know about them the first time around (barring an Early-Bird Cameo or two like Misty's Togepi, and even then the cameos were presented as one-of-a-kind in the region).
    • Pokeathlons weren't in the original Pokémon Gold and Silver, instead introduced in the remakes, which were released nearly ten years later. Despite this, Ash and Brock act like they had experience in the sport when Lyra mentions them in Diamond and Pearl.
    • Serena is supposedly one of Ash's Childhood Friends. Naturally, since her design is based on the default female player character from Pokémon X and Y, she first appeared in the anime arc based on these games and was never seen or mentioned prior. Justified because of Forgotten First Meeting courtesy of Ash.
    • James' Victreebel evolved from Weepinbell when he left it at the breeding center in "The Breeding Center Secret" who was never mentioned before. There were rumors that in the Japanese version he stole it, but this isn't true. The later episode "Here's Lookin' at You, Elekid" shows a flashback of James catching Weepinbell to rectify this.
    • Averted with Goh, as Ash slept through the summer camp where they would have met as young kids. Therefore, when they both hop on the same wild Lugia four years later they are complete strangers to each other.
  • The Pretty Cure All Stars movies inflict this whenever extra Cures show up between the last movie and the current ones. New Stage 3 had this as a minor gag when Grell and Enyen go to confront the Doki Doki Pretty Cure team and are bewildered at the sight of Aguri and she does the same. It's only when Mana walks up that they make the connection.
  • Unazuki Furuhata from Sailor Moon. She's Motoki's younger sister and a waitress at the Sailor Senshi's hangout, which the Furuhata family owns, and her brother has been a good friend of Usagi's from the start, but there's nothing to even hint at Unazuki's existence until she appears suddenly in the second season.
  • Ai Kaga of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei first appears in the last episode of the first series. She explains that she hid away from the camera, believing that if she appeared it would drive down the ratings.
  • Shaman King features an example similar to Black Clover. In chapter 277 (episode 48 of the 2021 anime), Yoh gets a vision of a never-seen-before rabbit-looking demon with a supposed letter Z in it’s cloth. Later in chapter 290 (episode 50), we get a flashback of Hao explaining to Yoh about said character named Ohachiyo, Hao’s first ever friend. Ohachiyo was a character who appeared in the prequel manga “Mappa Douji”, detailing Hao’s childhood and how he met the demon, but in the main series we get very few details about the events, so his presence and return in the finale would be confusing to anyone who hasn’t read Mappa Douji. Fortunately, unlike the Black Clover example, it’s easy to place that story in the series’ canon, being a prequel.
  • Just as their western brethren, Transformers anime can be guilty of this as well. Transformers: Armada offers a baffling example, where the humongous Autobot Overload makes his grand intro by randomly rolling up in the middle of an episode to act as Optimus Prime's trailer. It's never explained where this guy came from, which is made even weirder by the fact that he's supposedly a small Mini-Con robot called Rollout who wears "Overload" as Powered Armor. Despite that gathering these Mini-Cons was the main point of the series' first half, with many episodes being dedicated to finding one or two "regular" Mini-Cons, here we have one that comes with his own set of gigantic armor and can look the regular robot cast in the eye, yet he's the one not to get an intro episode.
  • Because of its episodic nature, this tends to happen in Uzumaki. One notable example is when a chapter near the middle of the manga introduces Kirie's pregnant cousin, Keiko. Even though Kirie's clearly close with Keiko, this is the first time we ever hear of her.
  • In the fourth season Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yusuke Fujiwara uses the "false memory" variant on almost everyone, but it's played straight when Fubuki remembers him. Fujiwara was his classmate and he was connected with the old Obelisk Dorm and Fubuki's disappearance prior to season 1.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds featured Kyosuke Kiryu and Crow Hogan, who were apparently always best friends with the main characters despite not appearing in any of the flashbacks with Yusei and Jack in the past. Crow is particularly bizarre, since in prior episodes, Yusei was established as hopelessly scrounging for parts in Satellite to build a D-Wheel that even works, but Crow, also a Satellite resident in even worse economic straits, is introduced with a high-spec D-Wheel in perfect condition that can fly.
    • Crow's high-quality D-Wheel is later justified, since he inherited it from his late friend Robert Pearson, who was a luminary in building D-Wheels and he was even offered a job in Neo-Domino City.
  • Parodied with Rise in YuruYuri. She's supposedly been the head of the student council from day one, even though none of the four lead girls have ever seen her. To drive this home, a Flash Back shows that she was present at the group's trip to the beach, but stood just out of view of the camera.

    Asian Animation 
  • Tobot Galaxy Detectives: Averted at first. While they still had no build-up or moment of being created, the Rescue Squad and Captain Police still have to be introduced and/or explained to Tyler before he could start calling them in. Played Straight with Commander Universe and Tank Guy, though.
[[folder:Comic Strips]]
  • In For Better or for Worse, Gordon tells his friends that Tracey Wells has known him since kindergarten, they used to play together, and her parents visit his parents. Gordon's friends Mike and Lawrence encourage him to date her, saying that she is cute and nice. Despite the fact that Tracey is seemingly well-known to several of the main characters, she had never been mentioned or seen before in the strip. Once she actually appears, she sticks around, eventually marrying Gordon and remaining in the cast until the strip ends.

    Fan Works 
  • Ash Ketchum's younger sister Chibi and twin brother Dash in the Pokémon: The Series fic Guardians of Pokémon. Lampshaded as far back as the first chapter.
  • In My Immortal, most of the Harry Potter characters appear to have met Ebony sometime prior to the story. Word Of Satan even tries to explain why Draco is Out of Character by saying that he already knew Ebony. Oddly, averted with Harry himself, creating one of many continuity problems (apparently, Harry was in Ebony's "goff" band before they first met).
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic:
    • Turns out, the second main antagonist of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic II is Cadance's brother Fratello, who we never heard of before. Not to mention that Equestria seemingly has been invaded by robots around 15 years ago, of which no one has a memory of.
    • Another example would be Krysta's adopted son Twink, who suddenly appears with no foreshadowing in My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic II, Episode 1. When asked about why he suddenly appears, Dakari-King Mykan answered "New characters get thrown in all the time (everyone knows that)".
  • Lampshaded in the commentary on The Prayer Warriors Battle With the Witches, when the protagonist, Michael, is referred to as a "dear friend" and follower of Jerry; the commentary says "If he's so dear, why is he only appearing now?" Then again, it's a less extreme example than most cases, since he was earlier shown carrying out Jerry's orders to execute Mary for adultery in The Evil Gods Part 1.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager fanfic “Distortion” does this for Ensign Anne Rudbeck, a former Maquis who is revealed to be a communications expert who was apparently so skilled at the job that Janeway is amazed she hasn’t heard of the woman before now. Justified as the fic reveals that Rudbeck hates Janeway for stranding them in the Delta Quadrant and deliberately kept herself low-key until she could find an opportunity to break away, hurt Janeway, and get home by herself.
  • In The Curse of the White Sword, Will and Elizabeth return to the Black Pearl to face the threat of the resurrected Copperhead Wellings, a pirate whose ship, the Bloodstone, was said to be the only other ship capable of matching the Pearl for speed.
  • In The Choices of Earth, Dekker, the government’s expert on the 456, has worked with UNIT in the past, to the extent that he collaborated with the Third Doctor on a few projects.
  • Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Other Abridged Movie, an adaptation of Toei's Yu-Gi-Oh! movie:
    Yugi: Those bullies are being mean to Gary Stu!
    Joey: Who the hell is Gary Stu?
    Yugi: I don't know, but apparently, he's my best friend.
    • In the original, Yugi never claimed to know Shougo (the character Gary Stu is based on) very well. They were just neighbors.
  • Daria fandom has Veronica, the third Morgendorffer sister. Her original story had this trope Played for Drama—Daria couldn't remember her, but everyone acted like she'd always been there, leading to a mystery of whether it was an elaborate trick or some kind of Laser-Guided Amnesia. Other fans then started including her in stories, often with the joke that Daria literally can't remember her from day to day. Otherwise, she's just an added element for AU fics.
  • Played with in "The Only Way to Go". Captain Kanril Eleya is aware of the real story of the Battle of Goralis and was based out of Deep Space 9 at the time of the battle, but she hadn't been added to The War of the Masters yet so she didn't appear in Faces In The Flames. Rather than retcon Faces, the authors justified her absence with her having been dealing with a problem with the Tzenkethi when everything blew up.
  • The Shadow Alicorn in Princess Trixie Sparkle is Luna's best friend from infancy. They were inseparable as foals, yet he doesn't exist in canon. This is lampshaded when Luna asks why that Shadow hasn't seen her since she came back from the moon. It's also shown that Luna kept Shadow a secret from Celestia.
  • Lampshaded and Played for Laughs in Sonic X: Dark Chaos when Eric the Hedgehog shows up out of nowhere and Chris asks who he is.
    Chris: You guys never told me there was another hedgehog like Sonic on your planet!
    Amy: Yeah, and there's a reason for that.
    Knuckles: Believe us Chris, you're lucky he didn't get teleported to your world with us last time.
  • The Kimagure Orange Road fanfic Ordinary World nonchalantly introduces us to Kyosuke's cousin, and Akane and Kazyua's older brother, Musoka. However, things are not as they seem. Musoka really IS Akane and Kazuya's older brother. He's also an extremely powerful telepath that can implant and remove memories. The reason we've never seen him before is because he removed his existence from the character's memories, and what we've seen is what they remember (since Kyosuke is, as always, narrating the story from the future). It gets ever stranger, since Musoka creates the character of the Master of ABCB from whole-cloth and pretends to be him; meaning he's actually been there all along!
  • In Daring Do and the Journey to the Center of the Earth, Gummy appears halfway through with absolutely no explanation and is treated as if he was with the main characters all along. In this case, Gummy is an established character in the show, but had not previously been mentioned in the fanfic at all.
  • This is justified for Hoshi in Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante, as he only met two canon characters in person once prior to the story's beginning, one of them died and the other feigned ignorance of knowing them out of guilt. Had his Creation not give him the Volcano Belt, Hoshi wouldn't have even been involved in the anime to begin with. However, this isn't the case for Setsuna's brother and father, who both weren't even mentioned in the anime, even as the father has a connection to one of the Creators and is eventually revealed to be a producer she worked with in canon, as well as Dan Izumi, Ohnishi's friend from high school.
  • In Ruby and Nora, Cardin Winchester doesn't appear until the last full story, Cold, as the one heading up Atlas' military under Jacques Schnee's dictatorship, but the other characters remember him as previously being at Beacon Academy.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Despicable Me 2 Gru does this for the major villain. Justified as he was a villain twenty years ago, and had faked his own death.
  • Disney Direct to Video sequels seem to do this quite a bit:
    • Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure does this with the junkyard dogs. Tramp was apparently best friends with their leader Buster and possibly part of their gang, but Tramp is shown to be a loner during the original film.
    • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride introduces an entire pride of lions who supposedly were present during Scar's reign and supported him. They all look different enough from everyone who was seen in the first film that it's clear they weren't there, and there are even a couple males among them. Meanwhile, Simba's mother Sarabi does the opposite of this and disappears off the face of the earth with no reason given.
    • In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, "Ursula's crazy sister" Morgana is introduced as the Big Bad. Of course, she was never shown in the first movie; there wasn't even any implication of Ursula having a sister, and the old characters already know her. Some fans believe that the only reason Morgana was created is that Pat Carroll wanted to return for the sequel, despite Ursula being long dead.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: During Halloween Town's preparations for Christmas, we're suddenly introduced to Igor, a never-seen-before assistant for Dr. Finkelstein.
  • Lampshaded in Penguins of Madagascar when the Big Bad Dave makes his big entrance; none of the penguins has a clue as to who he is.
  • Totally Spies! The Movie has Jerry's assistant Tad and Alex's pet pig Oinky. Since the movie is a prequel to the series, their absence in the series is explained with Tad getting arrested and Oinky going to live at an animal shelter. Though Tad is replaced by an agent named Vincent, whose absence in the series is not explained, Oinky would later return in season 6.
  • Toy Story 2. When Woody meets Wheezy the Penguin from Toy Story 2, his reaction is why he's up on the shelf with him instead of being away to get his squeaker fixed. Justified in that either Andy or Molly may have gotten Wheezy either for Christmas or their birthdays between the first two movies, maybe even for the Christmas they were celebrating at the end of the first one. After all, Buster and Mrs. Potato Head were also Christmas gifts at the end of the first one… Oddly enough, Woody and Buzz do mention being friends with Wheezy prior to Toy Story 2 — in an "out of character" interview with the characters about the "filming" of the first movie.
  • The Transformers: The Movie notoriously killed the beloved cast of the cartoon (traumatizing many children in the progress) largely to sell new toys of never-before seen new characters. Justified as there was a 20 year Time Skip between the end of Season 2 of the cartoon and the movie.
  • In Cars, real-life NASCAR driver Richard Petty played the veteran racer Strip Weathers, who retired at the end of the film. Cars 3 introduces his nephew Cal, played by Petty's real son and fellow racer Kyle, as Lightning McQueen's friendly rival. What makes it feel odd is that he too is now on the verge of retirement, implying that he and McQueen have a long-standing relationship, and also has a very minor role.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf gives Shaggy a girlfriend in the form of a woman named Googie. Granted, this film also has Shaggy as professional racecar driver, making it even weirder than the other two Scooby movies of the time.
  • In Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects, Benton's old colleague Dr. Eve Belage is implied to have known him ever since childhood, but she wasn't mentioned in the previous film or the series.
  • Weathering With You is something of an Alternate Continuity follow-up to Your Name and has as a moderately important character Taki's grandmother, who Hodaka, Hina and Nagi first meet when clearing the sky so she can hold a memorial for Taki's grandfather who passed away the previous year. As per this trope, Taki having a living grandmother or a grandfather who was alive during that film's events and died during the Time Skip to the Distant Finale were things completely unmentioned previously.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman Returns (1992), Max Shreck has apparently been one of Gotham City's most famous residents for quite some time ("Here's a man who needs no introduction, he's given so much"), having been around long enough to have established the town's most successful department store, become more wealthy than anyone except Bruce Wayne himself, gotten a mayoral candidate elected, and gained enough influence to propose the construction of a new electrical power plant. So it's strange in retrospect that he apparently didn't exist at the time of the 1989 film, particularly since Gotham's 200th anniversary festival budget was seriously short on funds and he would probably have been the most philanthropic contributor. Shreck's Department Store is arguably an even more blatant New Guy: if we are to assume that the cathedral entrance on the opposite side of the city square, which we see behind the Penguin as he escapes on his helicopter umbrella, is to the same cathedral in which the Joker hid out at the climax of the previous film (and, at least according to Fanon, it is), the store is so big and so gaudy that it wouldn't previously have been missed. This cannot be explained as Batman Returns taking place many years after the original film, either, as all the returning cast members look to be about the same age as before.note 
  • A Better Tomorrow ends with the hero, Mark, getting shot a dozen times, but because of Chow Yun-fat's popularity, when the sequel comes by it's revealed that Mark actually has a twin brother, Kent, who's living in America during the events of the first film. Which every returning character said they knew him all the time and have been anticipating his return, despite never mentioning Kent at any point of the first film.
  • A few characters who were in Divergent but got left out of the film adaptation - such as Uriah and Marlene, appear in The Divergent Series: Insurgent along with the rest of the Dauntless. As the first film mainly focused on Tris and her three friends, we can assume they were there but we just didn't see them.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Black Adam (2022) introduces the Justice Society of America, a team of superheroes who predate Superman and the Justice League and have a preexisting relationship with Amanda Waller. While the JSA's lack of appearances in prior films could be explained as the result of them having disbanded in the past, they were never mentioned or even alluded to before this. In fact, previous movies made it seem like the Justice League were the first publicly known superheroes in the DCEU.
  • For the Downton Abbey film there's Lady Maud, Lord Robert's cousin who is a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and never mentioned at any point in the show. The in-universe justification is twofold: she's kept her distance from the Crawleys and being a woman, she has no claim on Downton anyways (the main story revolved around the Succession Crisis surrounding Downton) and thus little relevance to the plot.
  • Played for laughs in Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God. The mage Ormaline claims her familiar Ona has been at her side through many adventures when it suddenly becomes relevant, but none of her long-term adventuring companions have ever seen the dove before. It is immidiately killed off in the same scene.
  • The Fast and the Furious
    • Hobbs & Shaw introduces Deckard's younger sister Hattie, who neither appeared nor was mentioned in Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7 or The Fate of the Furious.
    • F9:
      • It's revealed that Dom and Mia have a brother named Jakob, who was never mentioned nor was it stated they even had a brother until this film. This is even more egregious since Mia said in Fast & Furious that Brian is Dom's only brother, contradicting Jakob's existence. Possibly justified since Dom had long disowned Jakob for (accidentally, but he didn't know that yet) killing their father and never felt like mentioning him before.
      • This also applies to Elle, as Han saved her as a little girl sometime before The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Although Elle was working with Han before his supposed death, she didn't appear nor was mentioned in Tokyo Drift.
  • The Godfather:
    • Frank Pentangelli in Part II is supposed to be a high level member of the Corleone family since the beginning even though he doesn't appear at all in the first movie. The reason he was created was because Clemenza who was in the Part I and was supposed to be in Part II couldn't be used because the actor playing him did not return.
    • The third film has the previously unmentioned Don Altobello who is not simply an important mafiosa but a very long term, trusted ally of the Corleones - he is Connie's godfather.
  • GoldenEye sets up Alec Trevelyan as "006" and one of James Bond's oldest friends, in spite of never being mentioned by name, and once by number, in the entire series. Then again, GoldenEye was supposed to be a soft reboot of a franchise which was never big on continuity in the first place (Trevelyan is only slightly more conspicuous in his sudden appearance as Countess "Tracy" Bond is in her lack of direct mention), and Bond's fellow 00-agents never were in focus throughout the films.
  • Halo: Nightfall introduced a never-before-seen Covenant species, the Yonhet, despite taking place after the original Halo trilogy. In this case, 343 Industries somewhat covered their tracks by introducing them as part of an entire "Covenant Fringe", a collection of Covenant-allied species too weak to have seen military action against the humans during the Human-Covenant war, and too small in population to be of much notice to the core Covenant races.
  • The Harry Potter movies had a habit of keeping minor characters who were introduced in earlier books out and having to shoe-horn them in later on down the road when they became necessary to the plot.
    • Arabella Figg is suddenly introduced in the fifth film as the Dursleys' neighbour who is secretly a Squib member of the Order. In the books, she has been seen since the first, and her connection to the Order doesn't come out of nowhere; the fourth book namedrops her when Dumbledore calls for the reactivation of the Order following Voldemort's resurrection.
    • Lavender Brown isn't in the first five films (well, sort of), but she suddenly materializes in the sixth film as a major supporting character. In the books, she is a Gryffindor girl in Harry's generation, and has been a recurring character since the first book.
    • Bill Weasley, the eldest Weasley sibling, doesn't appear until the seventh film, where he and Harry act like they've never met before. He actually makes a cameo in the third film as part of the Weasley family photo taken in Egypt, but isn't identified (and certainly not played by Domhnall Gleeson). In the books, he has been mentioned since the first but doesn't meet Harry until the fourth.
    • Mundungus Fletcher, an Order member, also doesn't show up until the seventh film. Interestingly, he is mentioned in passing in the fifth film, while he is properly introduced in the book it's based on (in the books, he's been mentioned since the second).
    • Aberforth Dumbledore is a complicated example. In the books, he is first mentioned in the fourth, actually shows up in the fifth and sixth but is not identified by name, before being properly introduced in the seventh. In the films, he is mentioned in the seventh film and then shows up in the eighth. While this technically corresponds with the books, his unidentified appearance in the sixth book sets up the plot point about him possessing the other half of the shattered two-way mirror Sirius gave Harry, enabling him to send Dobby to help Harry in the final book. As a result, this creates a glaring Plot Hole about the mirror thing, especially since the scene where Harry received the mirror was also cut in the fifth film (therefore making his possession of the broken mirror in the films inexplicable).
  • Highlander:
    • Highlander II: The Quickening just sort of... drops a new Big Bad, General Katana, into MacLeod's backstory and expects the viewer to roll with it. Hell, it drops an entire new backstory into MacLeod's backstory (that MacLeod is actually a space alien who has been politically exiled by Katana from planet Zeist) and acts like it all fits together despite the new backstory being almost completely incompatible with any of the details from the original film.
    • Highlander: Endgame had two major examples: Jacob Kell, Connor's former childhood friend who betrayed him and murdered his mother, and Kate/Faith, Duncan's Immortal ex-wife. Made even worse by the fact that Highlander: The Series had previously stated in no uncertain terms that Duncan never had a wife and never would marry.
  • The Hills Have Eyes Part II: The Reaper is Papa Jupiter's brother, but in the first movie, Fred says that he and his wife only had one daughter before Jupiter's mother died giving birth to him, leaving him alone with his son and daughter. This adds to the Fanon Discontinuity and Canon Discontinuity feelings about the movie.
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday introduces Jason's half-sister Diana. No mention had been made about living Voorhees family members in preceding Friday the 13th films. However, movie 6 was originally planned to include an appearance by Jason's father Elias (who would have bribed someone to have Jason properly buried rather than cremated after the fourth movie), and the scene was included in the novelization. It was cut from the final film though.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom introduces Sir Benjamin Lockwood, an elderly businessman who is said to have helped develop the dinosaur cloning technology with John Hammond decades ago. Despite this, he was neither seen nor mentioned in the original Jurassic Park movie. The character is essentially a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Hammond (right down to the cane with an insect in amber as pommel), who couldn't appear in the film due to Richard Attenborough having passed away in 2014. That being said, Lockwood has a Dark Secret that would justify Hammond never mentioning him or downplaying his role in developing the dinosaur cloning technology.
  • Lampshaded and parodied in Last Action Hero.
    • The Show Within a Show film franchise, Jack Slater, shows Arnold's character rushing to save his daughter from a previous marriage. The main character, a "real" young boy who has been sucked into the movie, points out that Slater has never mentioned his daughter before and is annoyed that the filmmakers were introducing a new character into the franchise in this manner.
    • Lampshaded again, in a different way, when we meet F. Murray Abraham, who in the Slater verse is introduced as one of Slater's old cop buddies. Danny correctly pegs him as a traitorous bad guy because he's played by F. Murray Abraham, though presumably also because he's never heard of his character either.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron introduces Dr. Helen Cho, a renowned Korean scientist who serves as a medical and scientific ally to the team. She's close friends with both Bruce and Tony, but like Alexander Pierce below, she is neither seen nor mentioned in any of the previous movies.
    • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever:
      • The film adds Aneka, a member of the Dora Milaje, to the supporting cast. Unlike the audience, every main Wakandan character is already familiar with her - she seems to be on friendly terms with Shuri and it is even implied she's in a relationship with the already established character Ayo.
      • There's also an example pertaining to a species rather than a character. The movie, alongside Ms. Marvel from earlier that same year, officially introduces the concept of mutants into the franchise's lore, with Namor explicitly using the term to describe himself. There had been no mention of mutants in the MCU prior to these instances, even though Namor being hundreds of years old would logically suggest that the possibility of people being born with superpowers has existed for at least centuries.note 
    • Alexander Pierce is introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a high-ranking member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury's close personal friend. Prior to his debut, he'd never been mentioned in The Avengers or any of the other MCU films. Word of God from the creators was that this is one of the major reasons Jasper Sitwell was chosen to be a HYDRA mole. Most of the double agents in the movie were new characters that hadn't appeared in any other films, and the filmmakers felt it'd be a cop-out to introduce such a massive conspiracy and not have it involve any established characters.
      • Pierce's situation seems especially odd that in that it appears he's Fury's superior (or at least the politically-appointed head of SHIELD while Fury is the operational leader), whereas The Avengers implies that Fury reported directly to the Council. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. further confuses the issue because a flashback established Pierce had been in a high-ranking position years earlier. Avengers: Endgame retconned him into having a role in the events of The Avengers, showing that he was involved in the retrieval of Loki's cosmic scepter (which contained the Mind Stone) following the Battle of New York.
    • The titular heroine of Captain Marvel (2019) is stated to have been around since 1995. However, she never appeared nor was mentioned in any of the MCU films until her solo movie, which was justified by S.H.I.E.L.D. having covered up the events of her movie and her having been in space since then. Nick Fury was the only one who was aware of her existence, yet he never bothered to use the pager she gave him to contact her until he was snapped out of existence along with half the universe, making her introduction to the Avengers very late.
      • Likewise in the same movie, the Skrulls were established as having been hiding in refuge from the Kree way before the events of the films. Not only were they never mentioned either, but their war with the Kree is a retcon from the Kree-Xandar war in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). The Stinger of Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed that Talos, the leader of the Skrulls, and his wife were impersonating Nick Fury and Maria Hill respectively, apparently implying that the Skrulls were hiding on Earth during the entire franchise.
    • The Stinger of Spider-Man: Far From Home introduces S.W.O.R.D., a seemingly new government organization that acts as a counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D. from the earlier movies. WandaVision subsequently establishes that S.W.O.R.D. has been around for quite a while and has funding and resources on par with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s, despite never having been seen or mentioned in any of the prior movies or even the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.
    • Thor: Ragnarok:
      • Due to having become a fugitive after the events of the previous movie, Heimdall has been replaced as the guardian of the Bifrost by a new character named Skurge. Despite never having appeared in the previous films, Skurge has apparently been around for a while, and claims to have fought alongside Thor in the past. It's handwaved by having Thor not recall the battle in question, which makes sense given all the crazy adventures he's gone on by this point.
      • Justified case with Hela. She's Odin's eldest child and Thor and Loki's older sister, but all evidence of her existence was covered up by Odin after she went rogue and had to be imprisoned. Throughout the movie, she's shown to be bitter about the fact that nobody remembers her.
    • Thor: Love and Thunder introduces Axl, the son of the deceased Heimdall, and his mother Grace. Both characters were implicitly among the Asgardian refugees who escaped at the end of Ragnarok, but at no point in that movie did Heimdall ever mention having a wife or child.
  • Men in Black 3
    • O never appeared in the first two films but apparently had been working at MIB for at least as long as K had.
    • In-Universe, one of J's first signs that something is wrong is when instead of K, he's greeted on the way to work by AA, who addresses J as his partner even though he's not someone J or the audience have ever seen before.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie features a new Evil Space Alien as part of Zedd and Rita's crew, the pig-like Mordant, who essentially replaced Squatt and Baboo (and to a lesser degree Finster) while serving the former duo's role of being the dimwitted comic relief. Early versions of the script were going to explain that he was in fact Goldar's cousin visiting for the summer, but the final movie leaves this out, and so there's just a brand new pig alien accompanying Zedd, Rita, and Goldar as they release Ivan Ooze that they're all already familiar with.
  • Done deliberately and repeatedly in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with King Arthur's entourage growing and shrinking exactly as needed for the current scene being played. Special mentions go to Patsy, to Brother Maynard and his disciples, and of course to Arthur's entire army that appears in the very last scene and is implied to have been there off-screen throughout the entire movie.
  • While the addition of Flo to the Barden Bellas in Pitch Perfect 2 is feasible in-universe, the movie doesn't really bother to explain to the viewers who she is or when she joined the group, instead more or less acting like she's been there as long as the others have, despite being totally absent from the first movie.
  • The Room has a really lazy example. With about 20 minutes left in the movie, a new character, Steven (whose name is mentioned only in the credits) suddenly appears and becomes deeply involved in the plot. Presumably, we're not supposed to notice that he suddenly appeared from nowhere without an introduction. Word of God is that Steven is supposed to be a replacement for the psychologist character Peter (whose actor left the production), but the audience is given no hint of this; indeed, Steven looks nothing like Peter, he doesn't even dress like him.
  • Scream:
    • Scream 3 reveals that Randy Meeks has a sister, Martha, one whom Sidney and Dewey are quite familiar with, it seems, despite her existence not being hinted at in the previous films. Gale, on the other hand, is surprised when Martha is revealed to be Randy's sister.
    • Scream 4:
      • Sidney stays with Kate and Jill Roberts, her aunt and cousin from her mother's side, while she visits Woodsboro. The fact that Maureen Prescott has a sister was never brought up before, which is strange since Scream 3 explored her past. It also makes you wonder where they were when Woodsboro was terrorized by Ghostface 14 years ago, which itself came on the heels of Maureen's murder. Jill's absence is at least understandable since she would have to be a toddler back then.
      • Judy Hicks tells Sidney that they were classmates back in high school, and were in the drama club together, indicating that they were friends, if not buddies. Obviously, Judy was nowhere to be seen in the first film. Sidney herself admits that she doesn't remember her, since she dealt with a lot of issues in the interim.
    • Scream (2022): Wes Hicks, the son of the aforementioned Judy Hicks, is introduced as a major character in the film. He wasn’t so much as hinted at in the previous film despite his mother’s status as a supporting character. However, since Judy’s life is not really touched upon in the fourth film (perhaps due to Law of Conservation of Detail ), this might be more justified.
  • The Smurfs. Gutsy, because Hefty wasn't Scottish enough.
  • The Smurfs 2 introduces Hackus and Vexy, two artificial Smurfs created by Gargamel. The fact that they weren't in the previous film(s) is justifiable, as they hadn't been created yet. What isn't justifiable is that the movie never actually introduces them — we just meet them being up to some hijinx as though who they were had already been established.
  • Star Trek: To some extent, this is par for the course in the Star Trek universe, especially with the original series. We didn't know who Spock's parents were until they'd literally come onboard, we didn't know he had a half brother until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Sulu was never mentioned to have a daughter until we see her serving as the helmswoman on the Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations.
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
      • Khan meets Chekov and says he knows him because "I never forget a face." Which means that Chekov was on ship during "Space Seed," a first-season episode, despite the character not appearing on screen until the second season. Numerous explanations have been thrown about (he was on the ship, just not as bridge crew; Chekov was the officer in charge of delivering the supplies and food to Ceti Alpha V; an obvious joke about Chekov occupying a latrine Khan wanted to use), but ultimately it comes down to this trope.
      • Another example from Wrath of Khan is Doctor Carol Marcus, Kirk's old flame. They even had a son together. McCoy's aware of her too (presumably from back in the day). And yet we're only hearing about her now, after all these years. Justified, however, because assuming David is the same age as his actor, Merritt Butrick, he would have been born, and Kirk and Carol's relationship would have been, several years before the original series, and Kirk explicitly states he "stayed away," as Carol wanted, after David was born.
      • Some have speculated that Carol Marcus was the "blonde lab technician" that Gary Mitchell set Kirk up with, mentioned in the second TOS pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
    • Valeris in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as a replacement for Saavik. The first drafts of the script did have Saavik in that part, but the writers ultimately decided that having Saavik betray the crew of the Enterprise and frame them for the assassination of Gorkon just didn't make sense for her character. (This is something that's been disputed by Nicholas Meyer. While he wanted it to be Saavik, but Roddenberry leaned on him a bit because he didn't believe it'd fit the character. Meyer may still disagree, seeing as how he came up with Saavik to begin with.)
    • Star Trek: Generations: Kirk's ultimate fantasy world in the Nexus involves the one true love of his life... who we've naturally never heard of before despite Yeoman Rand, Carol Marcus, or even Edith Keeler now being quite viable options for that role. In fairness, the original series made it plain that Kirk had plenty of old girlfriends, and he made quite a few new ones along the way (this is Kirk, after all). The real surprise is that David Marcus was his ONLY child. (Explained in the novelization of the movie; what Kirk actually did was experience similar fantasies with all of the women he'd truly been in love with.). They try to Hand Wave this, saying that Kirk retired from Starfleet at some point between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and returned to Starfleet once they broke up.
    • Captain Picard remembers the Borg Queen when she's first introduced in Star Trek: First Contact. Apparently, she was there during the events of Best of Both Worlds, but Picard doesn't mention this vital piece of information about a dangerous enemy onscreen, and Data seemingly knows nothing about her despite the fact that he presumably would have read any report Picard made after the incident. They attempt to handwave this by implying that Picard had forgotten about her until they're reintroduced in the film.
  • Star Wars: Rogue One is a prequel to A New Hope about how the plans for the original Death Star were stolen, and introduces Director Orson Krennic of the Imperial Security Bureau as a primary player in the Death Star's development, butting heads with both Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader himself during the film. Justified since he's killed near the end of the movie and has his position in charge of the Death Star taken by Tarkin, explaining why he didn't appear in A New Hope.
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines introduced Kate Brewster, a childhood friend of John Connor, whom he last saw prior to the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and who becomes one of the leaders of the Resistance following Judgment Day, as well as Connor's wife. The previous two films in the series never mentioned her.
    • Her absence is completely justified in the case of the first movie (set in the early 80s), as she probably wasn't even born back then. Her "retroactive" importance is also justified, as the Rise of The Machines is set in an Alternate Timeline in which the Judgement Day and the following war are significantly different from their versions in the first 2 movies (due to the destruction of the first Terminator's remains in the end of the 2nd movie). It is very likely that John Connor and Kate Brewster never met again after their childhood in the original timeline, and that her relation with Connor and leadership of the resistance only happen in the new altered timeline. After all, both T-850 (older and heavier version of T-800 with different components) and TX, as well as the "early Terminators", are established to be "novelties" of the new timeline, so they are deliberately different from the Terminators and other machines in the first 2 movies.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes features a love interest for Blue Eyes named Lake. She's treated as though she has always been a member of the colony, even though she wasn't seen in the previous movie. Red is also said to have been one of Koba's coconspirators in the previous film, but like Lake, he didn't actually appear in it.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • When debating how to break out Magneto, Wolverine casually announces he "knows a guy." The guy turns out to be Quicksilver, who has not appeared or been mentioned in any of the six previous X-Men movies. This line of dialogue is The Artifact of the original script, in which the teen who helped Wolverine was a young version of Cain Marko, AKA The Juggernaut, who he did actually encounter in X-Men: The Last Stand.
      • The future portion of the film fully incorporates the idea from First Class which established that Charles and Mystique grew up together. It can seem a bit jarring to see Patrick Stewart's Xavier sadly recounting how he once loved Mystique and considered her his sister, when there is absolutely no indication at any point in the original trilogy that the two were ever close or even knew one another.
    • Even earlier than that, X-Men: The Last Stand introduced Dr. Hank "Beast" McCoy, a mutant politician who everyone at the Xavier Institute (other than the latecomer Logan) knows intimately, even though he was never shown or mentioned in the first two movies. X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past rectified the issue somewhat, clarifying that Hank was a student from the Institute's early days who stayed behind when Xavier shut the school down during the Vietnam War.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse is set in the 1980s and has a teenage Nightcrawler join the X-Men even though X2: X-Men United which was set 20 Minutes into the Future had them meet him for the first time as an adult. Though Word of God has said the time travel in Days of Future Past has made the third and fourth movies non-canon, which could mean the same for X2.

  • In Patrick Graham's The Apocalypse According to Marie, it turns out Marie had another friend of sorts in her city aside from Bannerman. The new guy in this case is a crazy old neighbour named Cayley who had never even mentioned in the previous book... and who turns out to be connected to the novel's plot, of course.
  • One of the prequels to The Belgariad introduces Belmakor and Belsamber, two previously-unmentioned disciples of Aldur who both committed suicide shortly after the War of the Gods. Their deaths help explain how Mallorea ended up being such a huge blind spot for Aldur's disciples, as Belmakor and Belsambar would have been sent to gather reconnaissance in that region if they'd lived.
    • The disciples were mentioned in the series proper as having died in the distant past, though the details were not given until the prequels were published. Each map of the area where the disciples lived shows broken-down towers labeled with their names alongside the other disciples' towers.
  • In the Darkwing Duck spinoff book "The Silly Canine Caper", Darkwing speaks as though he knows the villainess Anna Matronic and she also seems to be familiar with him but how they met never comes up.
  • Played with in the Discworld book Interesting Times, which reintroduced Twoflower and introduced Twoflower's daughters, Pretty Butterfly and Lotus Blossom. Rincewind insists that Twoflower hasn't mentioned having children and that the whole thing just came out of left field, but Twoflower keeps trying to play the whole thing off, insisting that he "must have mentioned it."
  • The Dresden Files: Book 3, Grave Peril, introduces Michael Carpenter, Knight of the Cross and Harry's long-time friend from at least two years before the books started. He has never been mentioned in any of the short stories, books, or flashbacks set before Grave Peril.
  • The first time Skye is mentioned in the Evernight series is Afterlife, the fourth book, and yet Bianca recognises her, mentions that Raquel shared a class with her a few years back and was pally with her. In fairness, there are a lot of students at Evernight Academy that Bianca and Raquel are probably familiar with, without mentioning every single one, though it does stand out a bit due to it clearly indicating Skye is going to be an important character in this book.
  • In Great Expectations, it isn't until chapter 15 that we learn that Joe Gargery has had another apprentice all along; apparently Pip just never thought to mention Orlick before. (In reality, this was because the novel was originaly published serially, meaning Charles Dickens couldn't go back to add the new character to earlier chapters.)
  • Harry Potter:
    • Professor Silvanus Kettleburn is this trope by technicality. Care of Magical Creatures, his subject, is mentioned in Chamber of Secrets, but its teacher is not specified until Prisoner of Azkaban, at which point he has already retired.
    • In Half Blood Prince, Cormac McLaggen is introduced and tries out for Keeper against Ron. McLaggen provides an explanation for his absence from the Quidditch trials in the previous book: He was sick in the hospital wing at the time after eating doxy eggs on a bet, also providing his Establishing Character Moment.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • The Roman Aspects were not mentioned at all in the original Quintet... however, The Lost Hero justifies this in that the Greek and Roman Aspects do not get along at all, hence the need for them to remain hidden from each other. In fact, a clever reader can point out that the only ones explaining the Roman aspects are, of course, Romans, and that the Romans felt this way about the Greeks. (Since Lupa's not one to tell!)
    • Related, Jason Grace. Thalia didn't mention having a little brother for several reasons, among them being that the events surrounding his disappearance were quite traumatic for her and that she thought him dead until this series began. Jason also happens to be a Backstory Invader to the class of Wilderness School students that Piper and Leo were part of, thanks to Hera transporting him onto that bus with amnesia and messing with the students' memories.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Brisingr introduces Nasuada and Ajihad's culture. Not only had they never been previously mentioned (and none of Nasuada's point-of-view segments from the previous book so much as alluded to her culture), but the book tries to act as though they are well known throughout Algaesia and have been part of the Varden. Despite this contradicting what the first book said about nobody knowing where Ajihad came from.
  • James Bond novel High Time to Kill introduces one Roland Marquis, a distinguished RAF member and Bond's rival since his studies in Eton. This is actually the first time that anyone from Bond's days of studying had been introduced.
  • The Lion King comics and books are bad at this. Many characters, such as Tama, Tojo, and Malka, appear but are never referenced in other material ever again. Very often they're not given any reason for popping up and are just always presumed to be there. A particularly noticeable example is Mtoto, who is Simba's cousin according to a magazine. Sarabi had sisters once, but they were scrapped very early in development. In the final product Nala and Simba are the only two cubs in the Pride. Other examples include the cubs introduced in Nala's Dare, which apparently were Nala's friends during Scar's reign but are never even implied to exist in the film. In The Lion King Nala was the only cub in the pride after Simba left.
  • The Nancy Drew series (all versions) frequently introduced characters (usually just for the duration of the current book) as relatives/old friends of Bess, George, Nancy's father, or Nancy herself, essentially explaining their absence by having them live far away.
  • Invoked by October Daye when she has to introduce her fetchnote  May to humans. The audience and fey characters know what she is (or at least understand what a fetch is), but Toby has to pretend that she's always had an identical twin sister who she just never mentioned.
  • Halt's twin brother, introduced in book 8 of Ranger's Apprentice. Justified in that the brother lived in another country and Halt actively avoided telling people about his childhood, as shown in book 11.
    • Brotherband introduces two important concepts to Skandian society: the Andomal and the Maktig. Neither is mentioned in Ranger's Apprentice, despite Skandians being prominently featured.
  • The opening chapter of Redshirts by John Scalzi plays with this from the New Guy's perspective. This week's Red Shirt thinks about the time his father saved the captain's life, and then realises that up until the captain mentioning it just now, there has been no reference to this happening the whole time he was on the ship.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Stacy Cornwallis and Fay Willock were apparently present for the garuda incident in volume 1 but weren't seen. We are humorously informed at their introduction in volume 2 that they spent the whole time hiding while Oliver, Nanao, and Richard were fighting it.
    Fay: Seriously? You want in [on the Tournament Arc]? You were quaking in your boots like the rest of us when that garuda attacked.
    Stacy: F-Fay! You're mistaken! I was just watching really intently!
  • Sandokan: Sambigliong, a Tiger of Mompracem that debuted in The Pirates of Malaysia and Sandokan's third in command since that novel, is mentioned as one of the then-unnamed pirates that ambushed lord Guillonk in The Tigers of Mompracem. This is particularly notable because there already was a named character, Juioko, known to have taken part to that ambush and survive the fall of Mompracem, but him and the other named pirates would not be mentioned anymore.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", Holmes casually mentions that he has a brother, living in London, and has simply never mentioned him before. Adaptations generally play up Watson's surprise at this, and make it part of Holmes's eccentricity.
  • Peter David's Star Trek: New Frontier series had Commander Kat Mueller appear suddenly several novels in. She's introduced as the Executive Officer of the Excalibur and a former lover of Calhoun's, with her earlier on-scene absence described as being due to her taking the night shift.
    • One could say this was justified, as she was actually introduced as the Executive Officer of the Grissom in Calhoun's Captain's Table story, along with Romeo Takahashi, Mick Gold, and Doc Villers, the former two of which worked night shift on the Excalibur before it blew up, and all four work under Shelby (and eventually under Mueller) on the Trident after.
  • From Star Wars Legends:
    • It plays with this in Legacy of the Force with Brisha Syo. We know she's Lumiya. We really do. Despite this, Mara assumes she's Luke and Lumiya's daughter. Since Mara and Luke have each other's memories from their Force bond, Lumiya barely kissed Luke, and that TIE crash would most likely have led to a miscarriage, why Mara would even think that only raises even more questions. That said, Word of God says that even if they use a character from the comics, they are free to accept or reject anything that took place in them.
    • By contrast, it's played straight and lampshaded in Invincible. Tenel Ka has cousins? Okay, so Ta'a Chume secretly had more than one son, we'll give her the benefit of the doubt and accept that she managed to hide her pregnancy. And... Tenel Ka has cousins? But the fact that nobody knows about them is what makes them so useful. And, wait, Tenel Ka has cousins?
    • It's likely that Kevin J. Anderson left a number of Luke's original twelve students nameless and description-less in the Jedi Academy Trilogy for this very reason. At the time of the Legends continuity reboot in 2014, at least one was never positively identified.
    • Winter, Princess Leia's best friend and hero of the Rebellion, is introduced this way in Heir To The Empire. Having a character who we should have seen during the original trilogy, but didn't, lead many readers to mistrust her and think that she was Delta Source (back when it was assumed that Delta Source was a spy in the imperial palace, and not just a left-over surveillance network that the New Republic never found.)
  • In the Twilight series, we hear briefly about the Volturi, mainly that they and Carlisle are on friendly terms, but that he left because he did not agree with their diet of humans. Edward speaks pretty well of them, when he tells Bella about them. In the next book and all books after, it's revealed that the Volturi are a highly corrupt organization, and the Cullens are all highly suspicious of them. This also leads to a case of Remember Those New Rules, since it's not until then that it's mentioned that there are any sort of laws or governing of vampires.
    • In New Moon, we find out that the teenagers of La Push had been turning into werewolves ever since the Cullens first settled down in Forks. This is not present in Twilight (when nothing is done to stop James, Victoria, and Laurent from killing people in Forks) or Midnight Sun (when nothing is done to stop Peter and Charlotte from killing people in Forks).
      • The James, Victoria, and Laurent example is only in the film version. In the book, they never kill any of the residents of Forks.
  • In the Warrior Cats book Moonrise, six cats were sent to deal with the mountain lion, Sharptooth. The Clan cats meet three of them: Talon, Bird, and Rock, who explain that the other three had been killed by Sharptooth. In the next book, the Clans return to the Tribe, and there's a fourth cat, Jag, listed as being one of the ones originally sent to fight Sharptooth, with no explanation as to why we didn't see him in the last book (though the characters do recognize him and say they'd met him before).
  • The Wheel of Time: Cadsuane is never mentioned until she appears in the sixth book, even though she is Famed in Story. To be fair, the Aes Sedai are known for being extremely secretive even among their own members, and Cadsuane has a history of embarrassing many sisters who would as soon not talk about her unless needed.
  • In the Wolf Hall series, Meg Douglas, and to a lesser extent her flame Tom Truth. Meg is an odd example; as a Princess of Scotland, Henry VII's niece, and being very high up in the English line of succession at a time when Henry had few potential heirs, she probably should have been at least mentioned much earlier, but wasn't. She only appears in the final book, which makes her out to be an important lady at court and to have been thoroughly involved in Anne Boleyn's circle while participating in an illicit affair of her own, entirely offscreen. The book she appears in goes out of its way to explain why the series' resident gossips Jane Rochford and Mary Shelton never mentioned Meg earlier by having them answer that everyone was more concerned about Anne's affairs at the time than Meg's.

    Multiple Media 
    • Nuparu and Hahli appeared in the second story arc in a web animation, alongside Kotu who was meant to be introduced the previous year but didn't show up in the story proper, only in the character sections of the website and an off-hand mention in the Mata Nui Online Game. Both Nuparu and Hahli then became major players, pushing aside former characters and were even sold as toys. Nuparu is especially conspicuous, being an important miner engineer, yet he wasn't alluded to in any of the mine-related side quests of the MNOG. Later years would be more conscious about introducing new characters.
    • An intentional version of this was attempted in the prequel film Legends of Mata Nui, which you'd expect would deal with how the Makuta became known. Instead, after manipulating things from behind the scenes as a mysterious force and never being mentioned by other characters, Makuta reveals himself at the end and everyone acts as if they had always known him. What they're surprised about is that he's become evil, while the audience was meant to be shocked that he was at one point good. In fact, he has been a high ranking governing figure all this time, a fact no one had mentioned before, masquerading as another authority figure to gain more power. This "twist" was intended as a prequel hook to another movie that would properly explain Makuta's background and how others had known him, which never got made. Years later, his origin was detailed in books and online stories.

  • Brave Saint Saturn's first album was a Rock Opera about fictionalized versions of the band's three members as astronauts. Their second album was a sequel, but a new member (Andy Verdecchio) had joined the band by then, so the liner notes wrote about him as a crew member as if he had been on the mission from the beginning. For the third album in the series, Andy was just as abruptly written out of the crew—this time, he was a cosmonaut on a completely different spacecraft.
  • Queen: Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) didn't give interviews too frequently, but he did grant at least ten per year since he became famous in '74. Very often, he was asked about his favorite singer(s) and answers used to include Robert Plant and, depending on the era and occasion, people like Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Montserrat Caballe, etc. His band mates, his former girlfriends and boyfriends, biographers (official and unofficial), people who worked with him (producers, engineers, guest musicians) were also asked about Freddie's favorite singers and more and more names came including Prince, David Bowie, etc. Paul Rodgers had never been mentioned as one of his influences until late 2004 when Brian May and Roger Taylor decided to go on tour with him as "Queen + Paul Rodgers." Then, he'd suddenly become "Freddie's favorite singer" and had apparently been all along. When the partnership ended, Freddie's alleged admiration for Mr. Rodgers was never mentioned again.
  • "But do you recall/The most famous reindeer of all?" Back when the song was written, this trope was in full effect, as Rudolph was brand new after debuting in a 1939 story by Robert L. May which became a song in 1949 by Gene Autry with the help of May's business partner. Several Rankin Bass specials and light-up lawn decorations later, it could be argued that Rudolph is, in fact, the most famous reindeer of all - or at least the most distinctive, since all the other reindeer have no real character traits. The line in the song itself is pretty funny—the singer takes for granted that "You know Dasher and Dancer...." So why would there be any question of the listener recalling the most famous one?
  • Tag Team's first single "Whoomp! (There It Is)" (which was also the first track from their first album) has the line "Tag Team back again".
  • Vanilla Ice's first hit "Ice Ice Baby" has the line "Ice is back with my brand new invention". Somewhat justified in that the song was originally the B-side to "Play That Funky Music" (so he was "back" from the A-side).
  • The Backstreet Boys' "We've Got It Goin' On" derives its title from a line in the chorus, "We've got it goin' on for years". While this line would definitely ring true over 20 years later, when it was released that wasn't quite the case, as it was their debut single.

  • Edith invokes this in Interstitial: Actual Play episode 2, where the party has to pretend to be students in High School Musical. When Ms. Darbis asks her to introduce herself to the class, she just claims that she's been going to the school for the past four years. Everyone buys it.
  • On episodes of Shuffle Quest featuring a guest game master, regular GM Tom Harrison plays as Tasha. She has always been part of the team and is in no way a stand-in for Terok (who does not exist.)

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A characteristic of TNA, particularly whenever Russo has the book, especially in 2007. The most obvious cases being Samoa Joe's girlfriend, the entire Latino Nation, SoCal Val, Matt Morgan, PAC and Peyton Banks. A sufficiently hardcore pro wrestling fan might have known a few of these people already, indeed many of the live audience members seemed to, but to those who only watched TNA they just showed up with no fanfare yet were put into positions of focus.
  • When CMLL's deal with Ring of Honor became official, three luchadors were sent by the former to compete in the latter's World Six Man Tag Tournament, the legendary Último Guerrero, the up and coming Hechicero and, as Kevin Kelly called him, "our old pal Okumura". Again, a hardcore pro wrestling fan probably did know Shigeo Okumura, but there wasn't any reason for anyone just watching ROH to know who he was.
  • Kane was introduced as The Undertaker's heretofore unknown brother along with the backstory that one of them was responsible for the fire that killed their parents.

  • Adventures in Odyssey introduced the eccentric mailman Wooton Bassett this way in "Welcoming Wooton," and to a certain extent, the entire Washington family (most notably Ed) in "The Toy Man." The latter was a little jarring, given that Ed Washington went from not being a character to the conveniently dilemma-solving manager of the new Whit's End in a single episode.
  • In The Men from the Ministry's first series the General Assistance Department had a second secretary called April Adams, who was quickly forgotten in series 2 and in the Finnish version had her role replaced by other characters such as Mr. Wilkins. However, when the Finnish run adapted the episode "The War with the Isle of Wight" in 1998, the creators apparently couldn't find a way to replace her role adequately with another character, leading to Ms. Adams popping into the office for one episode, and then never to be heard from again.
  • Parodied in one episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, in a Yet Another Christmas Carol parody. Christopher Muscheer has been established as having a wife and son, but in the future scene, when his son is berating him for neglecting his family, he asks "And what of your sister?" and gets the reply "My sister? You cared so little for my sister you didn't even bother setting her up earlier in the story!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a rather extreme example with the Necrons and their C'Tan masters, who when introduced were not only major parts of the galaxy's backstory and indirectly responsible for some pretty significant things (namely the transformation of the Warp and its denizens from pure Chaotic Neutral to malicious Chaotic Evil, and the creation of the Orks and the Eldar), but had managed to hide on numerous planets undetected and undiscovered for approximately sixty million years. They are also apparently ancient enemies of the Eldar, despite no Eldar ever mentioning them before.
    • Also standard procedure whenever new characters and units get added to the game. Some of them manage to avert it, particularly in the case of new Tau units (as they, unlike most other factions, are still regularly producing new technology), but it's more common for the trope to be played straight instead. When this happens, expect older pieces of lore to receive a Rewrite in order to include them. Probably the most dramatic is the Swarmlord, who when introduced was suddenly present and in command for every decisive battle in the Tyranid wars.

  • In Henry IV, Part 2, Pistol is introduced as a long-established member of Falstaff's criminal/military crew, despite not having even been mentioned in Part 1.
  • In Macbeth, Macbeth hires two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance, but three show up to do the deed. Since the Third Murderer is of no real consequence, this may be a case of textual corruption. Alternately, Shakespeare just needed a reason for the murderers to talk about what they're doing rather than just doing it, and a new guy who doesn't know what's happening is a convenient device. Another reading of it is that the third murderer is Macbeth himself in disguise, as he is so paranoid he has to see the act being done before his own eyes. Finally, there is at least one performing group whose interpretation of the above is to have the third murderer kill off the first two. Dead men tell no tales.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The Night's Watch arc from the original story is covered by two songs, the first taking place before Jon Snow's Fake Defector stint with the wildlings and making no mention of it, the second long after he's done the stint and returned to the Night's Watch. Because of this, Jon is never seen properly meeting Mance Rayder as he was in the original story, with the two instead turning out to already know each other in "Sword in the Darkness".

    Theme Parks 
  • Disney Theme Parks:
    • Walt Disney World's 2010-2014 expansion of Fantasyland (aptly dubbed New Fantasyland) is treated this way in the official tie-in material, explained as always having been there, though unbeknownst to us due to a recently-broken curse placed upon it.
    • A similar mythology was used for the opening of Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland: the "neighborhood" had been there since before the opening of the park, but humans weren't allowed in until 1993.

    Web Animation 
  • Battle for Dream Island: Profily is introduced late in Season 4 and claims that they have "been part of the gang" forever. Flashbacks are shown where they are in previous episodes.
  • Dingo Doodles: Dingo heavily lampshades this when introducing the character Sneeze, who is one of the most important NPC characters in the campaign but didn't show up in the first episode of Fool's Gold and so the audience would have no idea why he is so important due to the story being in Anachronic Order and the first episode being the middle of the campaign.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Carol was previously known only as a reporter, but she was revealed in the New and Old Flames storyline to be Sarah's sister, which was understandably already known by all of the main characters, but the reveal itself was sloppily lampshaded.
  • Most secondary characters in Frivolesque are introduced in this fashion, most notably Delphine, Marie-Neige roommate, who is mentioned for the first time in chapter 4 but has been supposedly living with her for years.
  • The first chapter of Gaia spends most of its time setting up the five main student character, Ilias, Lilith, Alissa, Ryn, and Sandril, before the Red Hall attack kicks off the main plot. At the start of the second, Ilias gets a missive from the other four, and asks his mother about a "Zoltan," who decided to move, and "Aaret," killed in the attack. There was no mention of either in the first chapter, in which the main five seem a fairly tight-knit clique, nor are there any obvious candidates among the miscellaneous students.
  • Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy was well into its second story arc when the character of Cheesecake Saint Cherrywell was introduced. Played for laugh, since she explained being disguised as someone else and having the flu during her earlier appearances, which is why we've never seen her at all before.
  • Happens quite a bit in Joe vs. Elan School. Specifically, later chapters introduce staff members at the titular school that had apparently been around for a while and made Joe's life hell, and the graduation chapter introduces a hitherto unmentioned teacher who had shown kindness and helped make the school a tiny bit more bearable. Not long after Joe leaves the school, the comic introduces a Girl Next Door character that Joe had apparently known his entire life up until the night he was taken to Elan.
  • A particularly poignant example can be found in Least I Could Do, when a guy named Noel knocks on Rayne's door. Noel, as the audience is told, is actually Rayne's best bud and wingman from years back, despite never being mentioned prior in the comic's run. Rayne initially acts grumpy about the sudden reappearance, but it doesn't take long at all for Noel to replace John as the number-two character in the strip.
  • Parodied in Penny Arcade with Jim, who was apparently part of a Power Trio with Gabe and Tycho (complete with being The Kirk to Gabe and Tycho's McCoy and Spock). Unfortunately they never really mentioned him before (or since!) and by the point he's first mentioned, he'd been dead for six years.
  • Dale in Questionable Content was established as a regular at Coffee of Doom in his first appearance. This one feels much more natural than other examples of the trope can be, though, as the fact that actual customers are rarely shown in scenes set at Coffee of Doom despite the business being fairly successful had previously been lampshaded and most of his subsequent appearances involve interactions with a character who explicitly didn't know the main cast beforehand.
  • Justified in Schlock Mercenary. The Toughs are a mercenary company anywhere between several dozen and a few hundred strong, not all of them identified. Introducing a new character can and has been as simple as giving one of them a name and a job that lets the audience know what he does.
  • Joan from Namir Deiter was introduced as already being friends with main character Tipper and her best friend Gabby. Within ten strips, she was Gabby's live-in lover and the newest cast regular.
  • Cosmic Dash: Chapter 4 marks the first appearance of a crew of Space Pirates with a long-standing grudge on the Lucky Strike Transport Company. Played with in that the main characters practically forget they exist when not confronted by them.
  • Weak Hero:
    • Rowan is the best friend of one of the protagonists that ends up being integrated into the main group. That said, he didn't actually show up until Episode 47, explained as him having temporarily moved to Australia prior to the start of the story.
    • Eunchan is a close friend to Jake Ji, who is effectively The Dragon (albeit a nice one) to the main antagonist. However, Eunchan doesn't show up until a good 110 episodes into the webcomic, long after Jake and his friend group have been established. This is explained as Eunchan having been suspended from school for reasons that are never stated.
  • Parodied with Trevor from Sam & Fuzzy, who similarly to Larry is lazily written into the comic at one point and Fuzzy is the only one who notices that he wasn't there before. It turns out his appearance was a Dream Sequence and Trevor is a Loony Fan who used a memory-alting machine to insert himself into Fuzzy's memories. In his subsequent appearances in the real world he keeps acting like he's been a member of the cast all along, while no-one knows who he is.

    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Bus doesn't appear in the show proper until episode 7, and when he does, Koden, Amber, and Frog treat him as a longtime friend despite his existince barely hintend at prior.
  • JonTron has Rockington (a large rock with a face drawn on it), who appears briefly in the intro to one episode, with Jon talking to him like they're well acquainted. The next time he's mentioned, Jon somehow managed to lose him.
  • Princess Amira was introduced in the Neopets Lost Desert Plot as being the eldest daughter of the late King Coltzan III, who inherited the throne of Sakhmet after his murder. But previously, Princess Vyssa was his only child and according to her Neopedia article (written prior to the Lost Desert Plot), she was his heir. Amira's sudden appearance was explained by her having been away on official business before.
  • The writer of the Noob is trying to have the different media both complementary and potentially independent from each other. One of the consequences is that a medium sometimes has a character formally introduced in another just appear with everyone already knowing them.
  • Parodied in Ultra Fast Pony. After the girls get invited to Twilight's brother's wedding, Applejack actually interrupts the theme song to complain about how he's never been mentioned before.
    Rarity: Twilight, you can't just randomly decide that you've always had a brother!
    Twilight: What?! I have always had a brother, I just haven't talked about him until now.
  • Sailor Moon Abridged lampshades this with Serena's friend Molly's friend Katie, the Victim of the Week when Nephlite is first introduced.
    Molly: I'm really worried about Katie. She's just not the same person as before. Even though she's never been mentioned before, and will never be mentioned again, she's really important to me now.
  • forgot to formally introduce Robert Edward O. Speedwagon during the Phantom Blood spoofs in Vaguely Recalling JoJo. In-universe, Dio, Jonathan and George question Speedwagon after he shows up.
  • In-Universe, Paul Pasadena's appearance is this to Again A Fanfic Critic and RegretfullyYours when he suddenly appears out of nowhere in the middle of Benny Leo Johnny And Rae Meet The Slender Man.
  • Invoked and parodied in "Film Riot" when its revealed that stark has been hiding in the attic for the years he was absent. we are then treated to a series of shots from past episodes with him greenscreened in.
  • Parodied in Half in the Bag's episode reviewing Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4, where Mr. Plinkett claims he's always had the ghost of a murder victim living with him. When Mike and Jay express confusion, scenes from past reviews are played with the character spliced in, never interacting with anyone else.
    Mike: Wow. I need to stop drinking.
    Jay: And I need to stop snorting Comet.
  • Parodied by Homestar Runner in their 2015 fan Halloween costumes round-up, with Strong Bad "recognizing" a humidifier in the background as "a dead-on Humidibot costume", and we're treated to a brief scene with Strong Bad interacting with a talking humidifier named Humidibot.
    Humidibot: Hey, Strong Bad! I'm Humidibot!
    Strong Bad: Yeah, I'm aware of that, Humidibot.
  • Pokémon's extreme usage of this trope is parodied in the Solid jj video "The Curse of the Pokémon Master", where Ash Ketchum laments over how he was lied to about there only being 150 Pokémon and he can't realistically catch 'em all due to the fact that there's over 1000 and counting.
    Ash: And again, this is not being presented as new information, this has been known! And you're telling me now that God is a fucking Pokémon?! Like, every religion is wrong? We- we celebrated Christmas! Who the fuck is Jesus?! Are you saying this whole time Jesus has just been completely non-canon?
  • Parodied in an episode of SMOSH that revolves around Anthony and Ian discovering the dead body of Anthony's cousin under a rug. As a joke, they remember a montage of scenes from previous episodes with Anthony's cousin awkwardly edited into the background.
  • Survival of the Fittest has regular occurrences of this due to the extended pregame prologues prior to the students going into the death game. Characters who joined the cast far later in real time are treated as if they were there all along. This was much more pronounced in earlier versions, where new characters could join midway through the game and as a result, would appear on the island on Day 6 with the narrative brushing it off with a 'they were hiding'. Humorously played with in 'I Was There Too!' as Darlene Sylvia relates various high profile events in V7 pregame which she was supposedly around for, in the background and unnoticed.
  • Episode 15 of Sublo and Tangy Mustard has the main duo having picnic with previously-seen characters, with the exception of Mandrell, who has never appeared before. When Sublo finally asks who he is, he admits he just happened to wander into the picnic and stuck around since nobody seemed to mind.
  • Bored: Played with. Byron is introduced out of nowhere as a long-time coworker of the cast in what initially looks like a prank. Then a montage of Byron digitally inserted into older episodes is played and it turns out that Byron has been there all this time: Alan just can't remember him. He then becomes a proper recurring character.


Alternative Title(s): Remember The New Girl



As a parody of this trope, The Simpsons suddenly introduce a new character to the family and treat him like he was always there.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / RememberTheNewGuy

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