You know your favorite episode of your favorite TV series by heart. You especially liked the scene in which Alice and Bob are arguing and Alice brings up that birthday party with the pink and green emu. Although they've never shown what happened at that party, you chuckle at the thought of what crazy stuff might have been going on at that point.
Time goes on. Your show progresses through the years. That birthday party dialogue gets referenced as a Noodle Incident in the show's trope page. Then one day, as you're watching the latest episode, you realize, hey, they're doing a flashback to a birthday party. And wow, an emu just burst out of a giant cake. Wait... is that pink and green paint all over it???
That's what a Resolved Noodle Incident essentially is: an incident that was brought up once, only to never be mentioned or depicted again... until many years later, as part of either a Flashback Episode or a Prequel.
Sometimes it can come about as a result of Writer's Block: desperate for ideas to build a story on, a writer may do an Archive Binge of the series, and come across an interesting reference to a story that never got its due... and there go those creative juices flowing! Also common with Long Runner franchises, when Ascended Fans finally get the opportunity to resolve the cryptic references they mythologized as a child. Consequently, an Expanded Universe is fertile ground for these, sometimes leading to a nasty Continuity Snarl as different authors offer different "takes" on the Noodle Incident.
There must be a minimum of one television season, one movie sequel installment or one book volume for a Noodle Incident to become Resolved, otherwise it's little more than Foreshadowing. A Resolved Noodle Incident may contain any number of Chekhov's Whatevers, but these do not make the trope. It may also be a very elaborate Call-Back.
This is, in short, when a reference to some past event that had been made finally gets its story told.
Can lead to Doing In the Wizard.
- In one episode of Code Geass Kallen and C.C. mention how once at Aomori they had an incident involving everyone lacking clothes. Other media showed that the Black Knights were almost caught by Britannia while they were at a hot springs. They had to run away in Modesty Towels.
- The original seven chapters of Kara no Kyoukai contain multiple offhand references to Shizune Seo and her prophecy that Mikiya will come to great harm if he continues dating Shiki, but the character herself (and the whole prophecy episode) wasn't properly introduced until the author wrote the bonus chapter Mirai Fukuin ten years after the original novel's publication.
- Naruto: Suigetsu once tried to mention a past incident between Karin and Sasuke but the former punches him beforehand. Later on it's revealed to be not quite as embarrassing as she makes it out to be, with the incident being Sasuke saving her from a bear during the Chunin Exams.
- Pokémon: In the Pokemon anime, Dawn's childhood friend Kenny likes to call her "Dee Dee", which makes her angry. In the episode "Yes, In Dee Dee, It's Dawn!", it is explained that "Dee Dee" stands for "Diamond Dandruff". This nickname comes from a childhood incident where a Plusle and a Minun (electric Pokemon) shocked her, causing her hair to stand on end and sparkle due to the static. In the Japanese version, Kenny simply made up the nickname Pikari to tease her (her Japanese name is Hikari) — it really is a Lucky Translation both ways.
- Big Finish Doctor Who:
- "Quinnis" resolved a TV Noodle Incident from the First Doctor serial "The Edge of Destruction", where Susan recognises a photograph on the screen as Quinnis, a planet in the fourth universe where they nearly lost the TARDIS. As revealed in the audio play, it was almost carried away by a flood when the Doctor was posing as a rainmaker.
- "Battle Scars" expands on a mention from "Rose" of the Ninth Doctor saving a family from the Titanic.
- Short Trips story "Her Own Bootstraps", meanwhile, explains why the Ninth Doctor was in the vicinity of Krakatoa around the time of its cataclysmic 1883 eruption, a picture of which also appeared in "Rose".
- Asterix: The series has made a Running Gag of Getafix reminding Obelix he's not allowed to have any magic potion because he fell into a cauldron full of the stuff when he was little. They eventually released a story detailing this event, "How Obelix Fell into the Cauldron of Magic Potion When He Was a Little Boy".
- The Authority: Kev. We know Kev is forced to perform menial Black Ops jobs for his hateful boss because of "that thing with the tiger". It turns out a mission to escort a government official with a prostitute went very wrong, because to keep him from the press they shoved him into a cellar, which turned out to contain a tiger, which belonged to the squadmate whose apartment they were using. Everything was hushed up, but Kev's career was ruined.
- Doctor Who (Titan):
- "The Whole Thing's Bananas" reveals the circumstances of the destruction of Villengard's weapons factories and subsequent replacement with a banana grove as mentioned in "The Doctor Dances": It was actually the War Doctor's doing, with the help of Dorium Maldovar, and he did it to prevent the Daleks from using the factories in the Time War.
- "Return of the Volsci" depicts the cryptic escape from 1336 Kyoto mentioned in "Bad Wolf".
- Harley Quinn:
- In one issue during the New 52 era, Harley and Power Girl were sent through a dimensional portal, and returned in the next panel, with Kara mysteriously wearing a wedding dress. Their trip was later covered in the whole of the spin-off Harley Quinn & Power Girl miniseries.
- One story in the 25th Anniversary special depicted Harley, Ivy and Selena throwing a wild party in Las Vegas, which had previously been a Gilligan Cut Noodle Incident in the Road Trip special.
- The early appearances of John Constantine were riddled with references to a big screw-up he made in a Newcastle exorcism. The details of this weren't revealed until issue 13 of Constantine's solo book.
- The Harry Potter novels mention Dumbledore's defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald, but only bits and pieces in passing. The film series started by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, however, seem to be building to that very event.
- Star Wars:
- For years, the Clone Wars were just a mention in a recollection of Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. It would be a quarter-century before we actually saw in Attack of the Clones the clones being produced, and Yoda declaring that the Clone Wars have begun. Star Wars: The Clone Wars would then depict the wars, and Revenge of the Sith would show the resolution.
- In the Opening Crawl of A New Hope, it is mentioned that rebels had managed to get the the secret plans to Princess Leia's ship, where the movie starts. For forty years, that was all the movies said on the subject... then came Rogue One, which is pretty much telling the story of the people who did just that. The discontinued Legends Expanded Universe, meanwhile, had the opposite problem: multiple authors and video game developers created about six different explanations for it, to the point it had to be retconned as six different groups stealing fragments of the plans.
- In The Empire Strikes Back C-3PO complains that the Millennium Falcon's computer speaks with "a most peculiar dialect". We learn in Solo that the computer is, in part, the memories and experiences of Lando's former pilot droid L3.
- Solo "explains" the circumstances behind the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, which baffled many since parsecs are a unit of distance and not time.note It also showcases Han winning the Falcon "fair and square" from Lando, which turns out to be literal rather than coy. And the moment Han inherited the life debt from Chewie. The only major unseen incident from Han's past not featured in the movie is dropping Jabba's cargo at the first sign of trouble, though they imply he's about to join up with Jabba in the Sequel Hook.
- Michael Moorcock's works left it unclear for decades what, exactly, recurring villain Gaynor the Damned had done to get horribly cursed. It was finally revealed in the 2000s novel The Dreamthief's Daughter aka Daughter of Dreams, and boiled down to successively betraying a Lord of Law and a Lord of Chaos, in hope of gaining personal power, leading to both of them briefly ganging up and making an example of him.
- In Reaper Man, there's reference to "the Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents", who ran a bogus plague of rats scam all across the Sto Plains. In The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents the story focuses on these rodents (and Maurice, who is a talking cat and not the "stupid-looking kid" who serves as the faux Pied Piper), who've had to move their scheme to the Uberwald area.
- For several books, the battle of Koom Valley was an ancient battle between dwarves and trolls, the only one where "both sides ambushed each other". In Thud!, we finally see it being used as a selling point by dwarves and trolls alike to keep the enmity strong. In fact, it was a peace meeting that went wrong when everyone attacked each other, thinking themselves under attack.
- Doctor Who Expanded Universe: The short story "Picnic at Asgard" depicts, appropriately enough, the picnic mentioned by River Song in "Silence in the Library" and "The Husbands of River Song".
- Foundation Series: Harry Turtledove's "Trantor Falls" describes the "Great Sack", mentioned by Dagobert IX and the Encyclopedia Galactica in "The Mule".
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: In the first book, an atomic warhead headed for the Heart of Gold becomes a potted petunia, which thinks "oh no, not again" before plummeting to the ground. Two books later it is revealed that the petunia was Agrajag, who is (per the other wiki) "a piteous creature that is continually reincarnated and subsequently killed, each time unknowingly, by Arthur Dent." Agrajag mentions one death at Stavromula Beta, which Arthur has never been to. Two books after that, it turns out that Arthur is at a night club owned by one Stavro Mueller, it being the second of his nightclubs it is called "Stavro Mueller Beta".
- Septimus Heap: The Great Fire in the Castle was mentioned a few times before the seventh and final book, Fyre, revealed what happened. Julius Pike, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, was showing a visiting wizard the alchemie Fyre, and to impress him, threw the Two-Faced Ring into it. The ring settled on the bottom of the cauldron holding the Fyre and Migrated through it, cracking the cauldron and causing a disaster. Flames reached up through the Fyre venting system and started the Great Fire.
- The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr which expand upon the Noodle Incidents from various canon stories.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe: The climax of Queen's Shadow clarifies a noodle incident from The Clone Wars episode "The Rise of Clovis", where Padmé and Clovis reminisced about having to work hard for three days to save the aqueduct system of the planet Bromlarch.
- Tortall Universe: In Trickster's Choice, it's mentioned that George took a young Aly on a mission to meet with an informant that went bad, leading him to not allow her to do fieldwork anymore. A Spy's Guide includes a report written by Aly about the incident that fills out all the details of what happened.
- Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain:
- (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) repeatedly makes references to having cleared a Space Hulk and having spent time with the Reclaimers chapter of Space Marines, but not until The Emperor's Finest do we get to see it.
- Several of the short stories from the omnibus editions of the novels expand on the Noodle Incidents from the stories;
- "Echoes of the Tomb" explains the encounter he had with necrons (and why he's so terrified of them) in "Caves of Ice". It's also the story of why he has two augmetic fingers (Which TEF expounds on, since it starts immediately after).
- "The Beguiling" gives the story of Cain's encounter with a Slaaneshi cult which is mentioned and has a returning villain in "The Traitor's Hand".
- "Sector 13" is about Cain's first encounter with genestealer infiltrators (which is mentioned in pretty much every book where it comes up).
- The very first book notes how he was reactivated and brought back into service shortly after writing it (since he mentioned enjoying his retirement) thanks to the beginning of the Black Crusade. Six books later, "Cain's Last Stand" is about how this happened.
- In addition to following immediately on from the events of "Echoes of the Tomb", "The Emperor's Finest" is about the time he spent acting as Imperial Guard liaison to some Space Marines (not to mention his often brought up memories of their armour being sliced open like butter by purebreed genestealers every time he fights them).
- Warlock of Gramarye: Christopher Stasheff wrote 27 novels in the series from 1983-2004, which had "Saint Vidicon of Cathode" mentioned as the Patron Saint of computers. Only in 2005 did he decide to actually write Saint Vidicon's story.
- Arrow, owing to its heavy reliance on flashbacks, has a number of examples of this.
- In a Season 1 episode, Diggle tells Felicity about an incident from his tour in Afghanistan, in which he killed a Child Soldier while protecting a surrendered terrorist leader, Gholem Khadeer. The flashback sequence of the Season 2 episode "Suicide Squad" depicts this incident.
- Also, in Season 1, when Diggle questions Oliver about his father's List, Oliver tells him that he discovered a message from his father "a few years ago" explaining who the people on the List were and why they needed to be brought to justice. He further clarifies that he didn't find the List on the island where he was supposedly stranded for five years. Two seasons later, a flashback reveals how Oliver found Robert's message on a covert trip to Starling City.
- This tends to happen frequently on the show owing to the ongoing flashback narrative of the first five seasons. A Noodle Incident from Oliver's five years away is brought up in the present-day, and at some later point, the flashback narrative resolves it. One of the most notable examples is Oliver's past association with the Bratva, and his friendship with Bratva boss Anatoly Knyazev, both of which were alluded to heavily in the first season of the show. Flashbacks in Season 2 reveal the beginnings of Oliver's friendship with Anatoly, while the flashback narrative of Season 5 deals Oliver's initiation into the Bratva.
- Early in Better Call Saul, Jimmy's brother, Chuck, mentions having to bail him out of an Illinois jail after Jimmy performed an unidentified act called a "Chicago Sunroof". Chuck also comments that Jimmy narrowly avoided being labeled a sex-offender. The final episode of the first season explains what a "Chicago Sunroof" is/what the incident involved: A drunken Jimmy saw someone he disliked parking their car and so Jimmy climbed on top of the car and defecated through the sunroof. Unbeknownst to Jimmy, the owner's children were in the back seat (which is why he was almost tried for a sex crime).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Vampire William the Bloody is better known as Spike because he likes to use railroad spikes as a torture device, even though we never see that happen. Eventually, in the fifth season episode "Fool for Love", this is revealed as an Embarrassing Nickname; we discover that before he was turned he was William the "bloody awful" poet, and one person says he'd rather have a railroad spike driven through his head than hear any more.
- Doctor Who:
- In "Doomsday", when he confronts the Cult of Skaro, the Doctor mentions that he was at the "fall of Arcadia". In "The Day of the Doctor" and its prequel "The Last Day", it's revealed that Arcadia was Gallifrey's "second city", and that the Daleks overran it on the last day of the Time War.
- At the end of "The Shakespeare Code", Queen Elizabeth I arrives and declares the Tenth Doctor her "sworn enemy", forcing him and Martha to leg it back to the TARDIS as he wonders what exactly it is he's going to do to make her angry. Later, at the beginning of "The End of Time", he mentions to Ood Sigma that he married her, calling it a "mistake" and implying that Elizabeth's nicknamenote is no longer... ahem. It's brought up a few more times by Liz 10 and the Dream Lord, and in "The Wedding of River Song" the Eleventh Doctor says that "Elizabeth the First is still waiting in a glade to elope with me!" The 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" finally shows the wedding, revealing that Ten asked Elizabeth to marry him because he thought she was being impersonated by a Zygon and was trying to expose the "imposter", not taking into account why exactly a Chick Magnet should never try to entrap someone this way. He was quite embarrassed when he realized he was engaged to the real deal, and after the wedding he ran off, apparently never to return.
- In "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", River Song brings up a couple incidents in her past with the Doctor, which he hasn't done yet because, from his perspective, this is the first time he's met her. Three of them would later be resolved:
- The crash of the Byzantium appeared in "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone".
- River claims that she's been to the end of the universe with the Doctor: namely, the events of "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang".
- The last time River saw the Doctor before coming to the Library was at the Singing Towers of Darillium, finally seen in "The Husbands of River Song".
- At the end of "The Big Bang", the Doctor receives a phone call about "an Egyptian goddess on the Orient Express... IN SPACE!" "Mummy on the Orient Express" would later reveal what actually happened.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- The montage of five-word sentences containing bad ideas includes a shot of Marshall standing on a roof, saying "I can jump that far". The incident forms a central plot point in that season's finale.
- Another one involves Ted telling a strange story to his kids and constantly forgetting the details, before eventually remembering that the events took place much later and dropping the story altogether. The last we see of it is a shot of Ted walking into the bar wearing a green dress. Sure enough, Ted eventually does get around to explaining these events properly- just not during that particular season.
- "The Pineapple Incident". There are so many noodle incidents in this episode that get resolved (after a The Hangover-style night), except for the appearance of a pineapple in Ted's room. There's a scene included in the box set that tells us how the pineapple got there: The Captain would place a pineapple on the porch as a sign of hospitality. The night when Ted was super drunk, he grabbed it, thinking it was funny to have a pineapple on the porch.
- In Hustle, Ashley Morgan is nicknamed "Three-Socks", a nickname indicated to have been picked up in the prison showers. For several series, this is unexplained and the viewer is fairly likely to suspect it involves some method of escaping Prison Rape. However, it eventually turns out to be a reference to a physical characteristic of Ash.
- Smallville: people kept holding an unexplained incident at Club Zero over Lex Luthor's head and pointed it as a prime example of his money getting him out of trouble. A later episode (appropriately titled "Zero") showed a flashback to what happened there, and the Villain of the Week was relative of someone who died in the incident trying to kill Lex for revenge.
- Star Trek:
- The discrepancy between the smooth-forehead Klingons foreheads in Star Trek: The Original Series and the ridgy foreheads in all subsequent series was acknowledged in Deep Space Nine when Worf said "We do not discuss it with outsiders!" The writers in prequel series Enterprise decided to explain it as a genetic engineering experiment gone wrong.
- The main plot of the Deep Space Nine episode "Facets". Jadzia Dax hosts a symbiont who has been in 7 other hosts before her. As a result she shares their memories and personalities. Throughout the series, she keeps dropping Noodles about what her previous hosts were like. In this episode, she goes through a ritual that transfers the memories and personality of each host into another person. This allows her to interact with each host, and the viewers get to meet each host. Most noatable was Curzon Dax, who was the host right before Jadzia, and also the main characters Sisko's best friend. Curzon transfers into a shapeshifter, who shapeshifts to look like Curzon. In this episode we see Curzon Dax in the flesh, and also get to see Sisko interact with Curzon.
- Captain Kirk's "solution" to the Kobyashi Maru no-win test was a long standing noodle incident in Star Trek lore. Though it was known that Kirk "cheated", this was just the Noodle Incident, and his actual method wasn't known.The 2009 movie shows us what happened: he hacked the test so the Klingon ships' shields would fail and he could destroy them easily. It also shows that he was originally admonished for his defiant behavior, rather than congratulated for thinking outside of the box, although since the movie is an alternate universe, it's possible that things in the original universe went differently.
- Mass Effect 2: An alien scientist you recruit, who happens to be ex-Special Forces, will mention that once he killed with a piece of farming equipment. In the DLC that revolves around fighting a shadowy figure that has records of nearly everything and everyone, it's revealed that he stabbed a krogan — notoriously hard-to-kill aliens — through the eye with a pitchfork, during a clandestine mission.
- Night in the Woods:
- Mae doesn't like to talk about the time she went with Cole to their high school senior prom and it ended in disaster. If you go with Bea to the graveyard in Act III and tell the Goth Teens an embarrassing story from high school, Mae will reveal all the gruesome, humiliating details: Mae went in for a kiss but somehow screwed up and bit Cole on the lip. She dragged Cole into the bathroom and stuffed his mouth with paper towels to stop the bleeding, while nervously eating candied almonds she'd stolen from the refreshments table. Then she nearly choked on an almond and puked while trying to give herself the Heimlich maneuver. Then someone came in and, in a moment of panic, Mae tried to flush the paper towels she'd shoved in Cole's mouth down the toilet, causing it to overflow. Cole left early, and Mae was forced to get a ride home from Josh, a kid who rode to prom on a tractor.
- There are repeated references to Mae putting another kid in the hospital when she was younger, an incident she doesn't like to talk about. Near the end of the game we get the whole story: Mae had a nasty dissociative episode during a softball game that lead to her lashing out.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: In the climax of the first game, Manfred von Karma is exposed as the true culprit in the unsolved DL-6 Incident, which Miles Edgeworth's father Gregory was murdered in the courthouse elevator. Von Karma's motive? Gregory, a defense attorney, had revealed von Karma's use of faulty evidence in a trial that took place immediately before the incident, for which von Karma got a penalty for on his otherwise perfect record. Other than the fact that Gregory's client was still found guilty, the full details of his final case were left to the player's imagination. Then ten years later, the second Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Gaiden Game was released, in which a major part of the game's story revolves around finally solving Gregory's final case, which includes a playable flashback as Gregory.
- Best Friends Forever: Teddy and Vincent act weird about each other and it's only ever referenced that something happened over the summer they spent together. It turns out that during that summer, Vincent got drunk and attempted to kiss Teddy, who turned out to be his Closet Key. Teddy thought Vincent was messing with him due to the fact other football players called him girly. Even further, when Vincent tells the story to Louis, he reveals that that time was simply the only one Teddy noticed, but he actually tried to kiss him several times during the summer.
- Sequential Art: Early in the series, when Kat asks Art if he did anything crazy in college, he gets a flashback to him and Pip frantically burying something in an open grave. A series of strips years later gives us the full context (better buckle up for this one). During college, Art and Pip decided to play a prank on a fashion student, Rebecca Mace, who they saw talking to a mannequin she named Vanessa by stealing the mannequin and then sending a series of postcards making it seem as if Vanessa had run away to a new life, with one picture giving her a "boob job". Unfortunately, Rebecca showed this postcard to one of her classmates, who immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was some misogynistic attack on female beauty standards and organized a protest with her classmates which somehow snowballed into three-day long riots. Art and Pip, rightfully freaked out at how quickly and severely things escalated, decided to cut their losses and bury Vanessa before they could be implicated.
- Some noodle incidents from the Whateley Universe have been explained in the Hank stories:
- They have a literal Noodle Incident that Generator was behind. It's Generator strangling Hank by blocking his windpipe with a noodle.
- Three new noodle incidents appeared recently: Team Kimba faced an Unwinnable Training Simulation and got their asses handed to them the first time that term (the Grunts, the supposedly the best team in the Sims, needed three or four tries). Generator proposes a strategy that includes a Radioactive Condor Girl and scares the crap out of battle-hardened combat teachers. After the weekend, they (apparently) try this scenario thrice more, ending with the Radioactive Condor Girl strategy. And win. We don't have any details, however.
- Adventure Time: In the Season 2 episode "It Came From the Nightosphere", Marceline sings a surprisingly touching song about her neglectful father, with a childhood incident where he callously ate her fries as a example.note In the Season 3 episode "Memory of a Memory", Finn encounters a flash-back to this incident while travelling through Marceline's memories.
- DuckTales (2017): In the series premiere, Donald compares Scrooge's latest misadventure (with which the nephews have gotten themselves involved) to "the Spear of Selene all over again". Throughout the series, Dewey tries to find out what "the Spear of Selene" is and how it relates to his Missing Mom Della Duck. Near the end of the first season, we find out the Spear of Selene was an experimental spacecraft that Della tested when Huey, Dewey, and Louie were still in their eggs, only for her to get lost in space.
- The first half-season of Milo Murphy's Law repeatedly alludes to "The Llama Incident"; eventually we get an episode with that name, during which Milo and Melissa finally tell Zack exactly what it was. This explaination happens while they're all hanging off a cliff in the aftermath of something they refer to as "the Woodpecker Incident" to a nearby character, which we only see snapshots of.
- Moral Orel: The infamous episode "Nature" starts with Clay spanking Orel for some unspecified wrongdoing, with Orel only vaguely stating what it is. "Innocence" reveals Orel apparently bled out several of his friends in the bathtub so he could bathe in their blood. Why? Because Coach Stopframe claimed it would make him young forever (citing Gothic erotica as his source, no less) and Orel believed the only way to stay perfectly innocent was to remain a child forever.
- OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: "Let's Take a Moment" finally reveals the full story of the "sandwich incident" that lead to Mr. Gar leaving P.O.I.N.T., which had only been hinted at in previous episodes.
- The Penguins of Madagascar: In early episodes there are mentions of a villainous dolphin named Dr. Blowhole, which were implied to be one of Skipper's delusions. Come the end of the first season, Blowhole is introduced as a real character.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Siege of Mandalore was intended as the Grand Finale, but it didn't happen at first due to the series' initial cancellation in 2013. Later on, it was first mentioned in canon by Captain Rex in the Rebels season 2 episode "The Lost Commanders", and more details of the Siege were revealed by Dave Filoni at Star Wars Celebration 2016 and in the novel Ahsoka, published later that year. The seventh season, announced in 2018 and released in 2020, finally showed the Siege unfold in its final arc.