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Sequel Displacement

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Street Fighter II: Known for defining the genre of Fighting Games.
Street Fighter: Known for being the reason Street Fighter II has the number 2 in its title.
"And for that matter, why is this game called Street Fighter II? What the hell happened to Street Fighter?"
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Basically when a series is rolling along, and doing decent, if a bit obscure. Then one installment is released, and that installment takes over the series. Occasionally, a fan might go back and look at the obscure earlier entries, but within the general fanbase, this entry is the series from the moment of its release.

Often caused by a Surprisingly Improved Sequel, and related to Adaptation Displacement, More Popular Spin-Off, and Older Than They Think. The aforementioned hardcore fans sometimes declare that It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. Usually happens with video games, but can apply to series in other media.

This does not count series which simply avert First Installment Wins by having a non-iconic first installment that was never displaced from popular consciousness.

Exceptionally likely in video games when an old series, beloved by those who remember it but well vanished from the public consciousness, gets a new installment. See Metal Gear Solid and Street Fighter II.

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Contrast It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. The exact opposite of this is First Installment Wins.

Obligatory Tropes Are Tools note: please don't call people stupid for finding out late and starting with a sequel in the middle of the series, therefore not knowing the previous ones, especially if there are no numbers in the title. If they refuse to acknowledge what came before, then you have a case of Fan Dumb. Starting with a sequel might lead to Early Installment Weirdness.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • GaoGaiGar is well-known amongst anime fans for restarting the Super Robot Genre to the Hot-Blooded days of yore and is one of the most popular Humongous Mecha series out there. It also happens to be the eighth and last (not counting GaoGaiGar FINAL or the Vaporware Baan Gaan) installment of the Brave Series. Much of this is due to being the only show in the series to be released in Western countries - the previous seven installments were only exported to South and East Asian countries - as well as the only one to appear in the Super Robot Wars series until 2017's Super Robot Wars V.
  • The Parts of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure everyone remembers are from Stardust Crusaders onward. Part 1 and Part 2 are a lot more like Fist of the North Star than what the series later became. It's to the point that, in America at least, early attempts to localize the series started with Part 3 and ended halfway through Part 4. This leads to a lot of Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros." in some discussion forums.
    • The video game adaptations have it even worse: the first two games were adaptations of Stardust Crusaders (though young Joseph from Battle Tendency was playable in the latter), then came an adaptation of Golden Wind, and then in 2006, there was finally an adaptation of Phantom Blood.
    • Since then, the games have usually featured a variety of characters from the different installments, albeit with Jotaro usually still being the central protagonist. Case in point: Eyes of Heaven features all eight JoJos up to that point (as well as a huge number of villains and supporting characters) as playable fighters, but the final showdown in Story Mode still comes down to Jotaro and DIO.
    • Also notable on Jump Super Stars: The first game had Jotaro and DIO (The Hero and Big Bad of Stardust Crusaders, respectively) as playable and nobody else. The sequel promised including all the chapters, and they delivered... by making the other mains Assist Characters, but DIO and Jotaro still as the only playables. While Dio is also the Big Bad of Phantom Blood, it is his Stardust Crusaders incarnation that is most... iconic. In fact, every one of his panels and almost all of his moves come from Part 3.
    • Somewhat alleviated by the 2012-onward anime adaptation, which finally adapts the series in its proper order. Due to its surprising popularity in the west, most new fans are more likely to know of the earlier parts first. In fact, Viz released Parts 1 and 2. J-Stars Victory VS averts this by including Jonathan and Joseph, the protagonists of Parts 1 and 2, as the representatives of the whole franchise (which presumably ties into the anime adaptations mentioned above). There were apparently plans to include Jotaro and Dionote  as DLC, but they never materialized.
  • UFO Robo Grendizer: In France and Italy, Grendizer was aired before its predecessor series, Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger. It became phenomenally popular in that country, but almost nobody knew it was the third part of a trilogy, to the point that, when Mazinger-Z was broadcast in France ten years later, people accused it of being a Grendizer rip-off.
  • In Case Closed, what many don't know is that Kaito Kid originally appeared in a short-lived manga, Magic Kaito, written by Aoyama. His appearance is just a mere Crossover. He was so popular that he eventually became a main character and recurring nemesis of Conan.
  • Dragon Ball: While Dragon Ball Z is actually more of a rebrand than an actual sequel, it is indisputable that it's more popular than the first third covered by Dragon Ball, thanks to a strong focus on titanic fights that destroy mountains and shake the very planet, and plenty of "get hype" character power-ups and transformations along the way. This isn't exclusive to the USA: Z is more popular everywhere, even in Japan, where most memes, shout outs and merchandise come from Z. It's also very telling that almost all video games and Toei's two sequel series, GT and Super, take the most inspiration from Zs material, and most anniversary celebrations such as Dragon Ball Z Kai focus on it.
    • Dragon Ball Zs introduction in the West also contributed to its success over the first third. The first series had several false starts in the United States, after Harmony Gold took a crack at it in 1990, though this iteration lasted five episodes due to only airing on two local East Coast channels during school hours. Later, U.S. licensee Funimation bought the rights to all three shows at once with syndication plans. FUNimation's CEO Gen Fukanaga wanted to adapt Dragon Ball Z first as that's what he saw while in Japan, but Toei insisted he start from the beginning of the story with Dragon Ball. Gen did so by adapting only the first arc before skipping to Dragon Ball Z like he wanted. The rest, as they say, is history: Z's compelling action catapulted it to success and left the original Dragon Ball in the dust.
  • Sailor Moon is a spinoff of an earlier manga titled Codename: Sailor V, which stars Minako during her days as Sailor V. The creator was asked to expand it into a team format, which led to Sailor Moon. Codename: Sailor V was initially only released in a handful of countries outside of Japan, and never in North America outside of Quebec. Codename: Sailor V eventually got an official English release in September 2011 alongside a new translation of Sailor Moon; though it is doubtful it will ever become more popular, at least people know it exists.
  • Tekkaman Blade (a.k.a. Teknoman) is a sequel to an earlier Tatsunoko anime, Tekkaman. Barely anyone knows this. It doesn't help that Tekkaman Blade is practically a sequel In Name Only, much less a remake. The presence of both in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom helped remedy this, to an extent. Blade is still more popular, but the original now has SPACE LANCE for people to remember him for...
  • While obscure, the OVA Twinkle Nora Rock Me! is a cult classic among certain groups of anime fans because of its infamously Limited Animation, but very few people are even aware that it's a sequel. The original series, simply titled Nora, remains even more obscure, likely because the animation isn't anywhere near as bad.
  • When you think of the character Casshern nowadays, you probably think of Casshern Sins before Neo Human Casshern. In fact, you'd be lucky if you found every episode of the latter before Sentai Filmworks released Neo Human Casshern on DVD.
  • Outside of Japan, the first season of Jewelpet is frequently ignored by anime watchers due to the lack of a complete subbed version. Some sites even mistakenly replace videos from the first season with videos from the second season.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has an in-universe example with the Second and Third Impacts. The First Impact is the meteor impact that killed the dinosaurs off way back when, which actually isn't the case. First Impact is when the Black Moon struck the Earth, far before the time of the dinosaurs. The only reason the K-T meteor impact is linked to First Impact is because of the cover story for Second Impact also being a meteor impact.
  • Yatterman managed to do this to Time Bokan, its predecessor in a meta-series. In fact, there are some fans that don't have any idea it was part of a series at all. This came to a head in the 40th anniversary anime for the franchise, which mainly takes its inspiration from Yatterman. Yatterman has eclipsed the entire Time Bokan franchise to such a point where people are surprised that a non-Yatterman Time Bokan protagonist (Ippatsuman) managed to be featured in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. It's been dialed back a bit with the release of Time Bokan 24, though.
  • Outside of Japan, this occurred to Osomatsu-san. It's a sequel series to the classic series Osomatsu-kun meant to celebrate the mangaka's 80th birthday. It ended up a Sleeper Hit both internationally and in Japan. Most countries didn't get exports of any Osomatsu-kun series until after Osomatsu-san, and even if they did it's unlikely most fans remember it as much as Japanese viewers. The first episode makes it clear that the series is a sequel, however many non-Japanese fans simply think they're making fun of 1960s anime in general. Many jokes go over peoples heads because they aren't acquainted with the older series (Osomatsu-san is essentially what Dog Sees God is to Peanuts—a sequel of a family friendly work where everyone is older and the jokes are more adult oriented).
  • Free! is actually a Time Skip series meant to take place years after the plot of the KA Bunko novel High☆Speed! (2013). It's not as noticeable since the story focused on most of the cast in middle school rather than in high school, but Haruka and Rin do make references to some plot points in the book. The success of the first season led to KA Bunko trying to mitigate this by rereleasing the the first book and releasing a second volume detailing more about what happened since the first's end, with them integrating some of the show-only characters into the plot. The second book was even made into a film— High★Speed! - Free! Starting Days, though it came at the cost of Free! veterans wondering why the film was about middle schoolers rather than the characters they've grown accustomed to.
  • Many people may not realize that Great Teacher Onizuka was an almost direct sequel to a lesser-known manga series, Shonan Jun'ai Gumi! (likely thinking that one was a prequel since it was released overseas as GTO: The Early Years after GTO was). They most likely assumed that GTO started In Medias Res, though it could just be the fault of Tokyopop for Americans.

    Comic Books 
  • The second volume of Doom Patrol wasn't popular at all until Grant Morrison took over, and the title subsequently became one of the most iconic comics of the '80s and early '90s. Today, few people remember the initial 18 issues that preceded Morrison's run.
  • Naturally, most people are unaware of the 1986 Superman reboot Man of Steel or anything that continues from it. When The Death of Superman was released after a flurry of media coverage unheard of for a comic book saga, some more familiar with earlier comics or the character's various film and TV incarnations may have been confused to learn that Ma & Pa Kent were alive or that Superman and Lois were officially a couple with her knowing his secret identity or that Supergirl wasn't Superman's cousin but a shape-shifting life-form who was dating long-haired redhead Lex Luthor. New and returning fans may have been even more confused by subplots born of elements introduced in the period between 1986 and 1992.
  • Initially played straight regarding Hawkman, then subverted. Thanks to Hawkgirl's popularity from Justice League (and previously, the Silver and Bronze Age comic book Hawks), a lot of mainstream audiences were far more familiar with the space cop, Thanagarian concept of the Hawks than the original Golden Age reincarnating Hawks. While Smallville would use Carter Hall instead of Katar Hol, that didn't really do much, since it was a relatively minor role, and Justice League was just more popular in the long run. Then the Arrowverse used the reincarnating Hawks, and people became much more familiar with that version of them than the space cops.
  • The Belgian comic Johan and Peewit is not very famous around the world. However, everybody knows its spin-off The Smurfs.
  • Dan Garrett is known for being the original Blue Beetle, but much like Alan Scott and Jay Garricknote , he's been completely overshadowed by his successor Ted Kord, who in turn has been overshadowed by his successor Jaime Reyes. The general audiences know them far more than the original.
  • Like the X-Men example below, nobody really cared much about Supreme until Alan Moore came along. Many modern readers are unaware that there were already 40 issues prior the start to Moore's run.
  • The original run of Teen Titans - starring Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, and later Speedy - has largely been displaced by The '80s The New Teen Titans (which got rid of several of the previous Titans and introduced Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, and also added former Doom Patrol member Beast Boy to the cast), though many comic fans know that the group were True Companions pre-New 52. This became even worse when the Teen Titans (2003) animated series came out and it was based on The New Teen Titans. Aqualad and Speedy were included in the cartoon but are Titans East members, while Kid Flash appeared in one episode but never even interacted with the Titans. Wonder Girl was planned to appear but was banned due to the Wonder Woman embargo, though she did appear in the Teen Titans Go! comic spinoff.
  • Ask someone about X-Force and you'll generally get descriptions of two books; Peter Milligan's humorous and satirical X-Force/X-Statix run and Rick Remender's seminal Uncanny X-Force run. There's been multiple X-Force comics before, between, and after said books, but they tend to ignored or quickly forgotten. Fans generally know of those other series — mainly because Cable played a big role in them — but not many care to know much about them.
  • Everyone knows about the first Venom, Eddie Brock, and a decent number know about the third and fourth ones, Mac Gargan and Flash Thompson. However very few are aware that there was a second Venom, a mobster's son who got the symbiote. This is understandable, as the second Venom was a total pushover who only lasted a few issues at best, so many just plain forget he existed.
  • Thanks to a number of factors, including the beloved movie adaptation, the second Guardians of the Galaxy team (Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Drax, Gamora, etc.) is iconic and extremely well-known, while many forget or don't know that the original Silver Age team even existed. The only members of that team that are really remembered are the ones with links to the newer team, like Yondu.
  • Although created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, X-Men didn't take off as a franchise until its relaunch by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum with the addition of new and highly popular characters like Storm, Nightcrawler, and especially Wolverine. Today, most people remember that particular team when asked to describe the X-Men and their ensuing adventures written by Chris Claremont. Adaptation Displacement is also in effect here, as the later additions to the team became far better known thanks to the movies and the various animated series. Characters like Wolverine and Storm are now largely recognizable, while far fewer people would be likely to identify someone like Polaris. Cyclops and Beast were in both, but while the original Cyclops would be instantly recognizable to modern fans, fans who only know the furry blue version of Beast introduced later might be puzzled by Hank's original (human except for large hands and feet) appearance.
  • The original Suicide Squad team introduced in 1959 has been completely overshadowed by the retooled team introduced in the 80's, a team of supervillains kept on a government leash and assigned to do covert missions that would be too dangerous for regular soldiers. This is a stark contrast to the original team, who were just a regular band of adventurers, and with the exception of Rick Flag, Jr, contained none of the familiar faces from the better known lineup. Original team members Jess Bright, Dr. Hugh Evans, and Karin Grace will get a resounding "who?" when brought up to non-comics fans, while most of them have heard of the retooled lineup's members such as Amanda Waller, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, or Harley Quinn.
  • The Charlton heroes Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and The Question were relatively successful, though none of them are A-listers or that prominent in public consciousness. No, people are much more likely to know the characters created to be their expies for Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl and Rorschach.
  • If you use the name "Baron Zemo", you're most likely referring to Helmut, who didn't appear until nearly a decade after his father and didn't actually become Baron Zemo nearly two decades after. If you refer to Heinrich, you're going to have to specify his name to avoid confusion.
  • Most of people who have heard about Batgirl and Supergirl are only aware of Barbara Gordon and Kara Zor-El, and they completely ignore the existence of older characters with similar codenames (Bette Kane and Lucy of Borgonia/Super-Girl, respectively). Related to Batgirl, Huntress and Batwoman probably bring to mind Helena Bertinelli and Kate Kane rather than the first two women who used said codenames.
  • Likewise, nowadays, if someone is talking about "Captain Marvel," they're usually referring to Carol Danvers, who is actually just the most recent character at Marvel to use the name. Far fewer people in the mainstream are aware of Mar-Vell, the Silver Age superhero she got the name from, and whose book she actually originated in. Even fewer people know about Monica Rambeau, the Captain Marvel after Mar-Vell and before Carol.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield is based on a smaller newspaper comic called Jon, a prototypical version of the strip only run in one paper. While Garfield quickly became one of the most popular comic strips of all time (with Peanuts being the only one to rival its success), Jon was almost completely undocumented for decades and was considered lost media until 2020.
  • The Hungarian Jucika ran for two years in the obscure paper Érdekes Újság before transferring to the hugely popular adult satire magazine Ludas Matyi in 1959. Since then, both the strip and character have been seen as near-exclusive Ludas staples and the original hundred or so strips from the first magazine faded into oblivion for over half a century. Even after the strips became popular on the net, her initial design was barely recognized anymore.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Three Caballeros, despite usually being considered a one-off film, is actually the sequel to a film called Saludos Amigos. In this case, people can be forgiven for thinking that the sequel was a stand-alone film, because the first movie wasn't shown in any capacity between its 1942 premiere and its 1995 limited-run Laserdisc release. Even after a much wider DVD release in 2000, it's still relatively unknown.
  • Although Mask of Light was the first BIONICLE movie, it was really a sequel to two and a half year's worth of comics, online stories and novels. Purely by virtue of being a widely released children's movie made to appeal to casual people, most average viewers are more familiar with its plot and characters than the stories that took place prior to the film. You can find plenty of online posts, video reviews and memes about the film, but only a small number of hardcore fans still talk about the stories that came before, or after.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When most people think of Rambo, they picture the character shirtless in the jungle, slaying hundreds of mooks with machineguns and explosive arrows. In Rambo's first film, First Blood, he's fighting American lawmen and only kills one in self-defense with a rock (and the man's death wasn't even intentional, or even really directly caused by Rambo). And it's also a relatively anti-war movie, though not nearly so much as the original book, focusing on the shameful reception of Vietnam veterans upon their return home. The film ends with Rambo crying his heart out over the injustice of war and those who wage it, and in the original cut and novel's ending, being Driven to Suicide. The sequels are pure war porn.
  • Partially because of its title and partially because it came out literally months after the first, only diehard Pink Panther fans realize that the first sequel was not The Return of the Pink Panther, but the less well-known A Shot in the Dark. Ironically, it's Shot that brought in many of the elements (Clouseau's karate "prowess", the increasing tomfoolery of his accent) and characters (Dreyfus and Cato) who are key to the later films; it's also commonly regarded as the best film of the series.
  • The original Mad Max (which was only given limited release in America) is far more obscure than its sequels Mad Max 2 (renamed The Road Warrior in America), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and especially Mad Max: Fury Road. Notably, while the sequels became highly influential visions of an After the End world in their depictions of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the original film is set in a pre-apocalyptic civilization that is on the verge of/in the process of falling apart.
  • While all James Bond films have recognition, it tends to happen with third installments that gain both critical acclaim and massive success:
  • Many people have no idea that Robert Rodriguez's Desperado is actually the second film of a trilogy, the first being El Mariachi, which was made on a shoestring budget and never received a wide release.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the third installment of Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy, is even more famous than A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More.
  • In the Evil Dead series, most people remember the ass-kicking character of Ash, toting a shotgun and sporting a chainsaw for a hand. The first film of the series, however, is a more straight horror film with an ensemble cast. Ash is just a regular college kid who happens to make it to the end. Producers were even reluctant to call the second film Evil Dead 2 out of the belief that few people had even heard of the first film. Taken up to 11 with Army of Darkness, which totally dropped the Evil Dead name as well as most of the gore to make it more marketable to mainstream audiences and got so popular as a stand-alone movie that it's not uncommon to find fans of it who don't even know the rest of the franchise exists.
  • The cult classic kung fu flick Master of the Flying Guillotine is actually a sequel to the little-remembered film One-Armed Boxer.
  • Although it works fine as a stand-alone film, Another Time, Another Place is actually a sequel to a Made-for-TV Movie based on another Jessie Kesson novel called The White Bird Passes, which deals with the protagonist's childhood.
  • Tom Laughlin directed and produced (using assumed names) The Born Losers in 1967, a typical American International Pictures biker flick featuring Laughlin as a half-breed Indian ex-Green Beret named Billy Jack. The movie proved a surprise success and Laughlin made an even more successful sequel, Billy Jack, three years later. These days Born Losers is fairly obscure while Billy Jack has a massive cult following, followed by two sequels of its own.
  • Two strange examples with Troll 2 and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. Both of these sequels are considered worse than the original movies, but have overshadowed them precisely because they're so bad and over-the-top. The first Troll film is primarily remembered, if at all, for having a lead character named "Harry Potter" who predated the famous one by over a decade. Silent Night, Deadly Night in turn is better known for the controversy it caused for having killers dressed as Santa Claus.
  • Shark Attack 3: Megalodon is the most infamous of the series. Though the previous two are not great, this one has the most special effect failures and John Barrowman's infamous adlib "what do you say I take you home and eat your pussy?".

    Literature 
  • James Branch Cabell wrote 20-odd books set in his "Poictesme" universe. They were little-read until the 7th one, Jurgen, appeared in 1919: that one inspired the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice to attempt to prosecute Cabell for obscenity, naturally giving the book great publicity. Afterwards, Cabell went right back to obscurity. Jurgen is still by far the best known book in the series, although in the author's own opinion and that of some fans, it's not the best. (One reprinted edition of his works gave a collection of pans from the critics... then after 1919, he issued book after book to be told that it was "not nearly as good as Jurgen.") Lampshaded in his later novel Smirt, where the author Author Avatar protagonist talks God out of writing a sequel to the Bible, knowing how critics would treat it.
  • Dan Brown's runaway success The Da Vinci Code was a sequel to the much less known Angels & Demons. This was retroactively countered by publishers and filmmakers, who hoped to take advantage of lingering Dan Brown fever by snapping up Angels and Demons and marketing it aggressively. Most people probably think Angels and Demons is the sequel; certainly this is the case for the movie.
  • The Silence of the Lambs is the second part in a series, though it's an easy mistake to make. As protagonist Clarice Starling is investigating her first case during the said book, and due to the movie adaptation's huge popularity, many fail to realize there was a first book; Red Dragon covers the last case of Will Graham, and is connected through later-recurring characters like Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford. Following a proper film remake of Red Dragon and a prequel series, however, the series has become better known.
  • Last of the Mohicans is far more well known than The Pioneers, to which it was written as a prequel.
  • Dune provides an In-Universe example. Duke Leto, a charismatic and powerful leader that purchased one of the most important planets in the political system and created the second-best army in the universe, is completely overshadowed by his son, Paul.
  • H. G. Wells' The Crystal Egg, a short story about an alien artifact sent to Earth to spy on it in preparation for a coming invasion isn't remembered very well by most, especially compared to the story of said invasion.
  • Little House in the Big Woods was Laura Ingalls Wilder's first book, but it is the second in the series, Little House on the Prairie, that is better known, to the extent that it is the name by which the whole series is now known.
  • While The Hobbit is by no means obscure, it's not as well-known as The Lord of the Rings. With The Lord of the Rings getting a film adaptation before The Hobbit, some people now believe that The Hobbit was written as a prequel after LotR.
  • A rare case of the Spiritual Successor overtaking the original. Hitomi Fujimoto's shoujo mystery Light Novel KZ Shonen Shoujo Seminar was Cut Short after a year. Its official Spiritual Successor, the tween novel Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, however, spans more than thirty books, two spinoff series (including several full-length novels), and was adapted into both manga and anime.
  • Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris was the second book in a tetralogy. Thanks to well-received TV and film adaptations, it is much more famous than its predecessor, The Southpaw.
  • Madeleine L'Engle's second most famous work is arguably A Ring of Endless Light, which is actually the fourth in a five book series about the Austen family.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Saved by the Bell is a half-sequel, half-Retool successor to a series titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss.
  • In today's world, many people remember that sitcom about a short sassy black kid and another one about a quartet of girls in a school for girls. Not many realize that The Facts of Life is a spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes.
  • Fans of the Canadian teen drama franchise Degrassi to this day are unaware that Degrassi: The Next Generation was actually a reboot. The history of the series dates back to 1979, but it was Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High during the late eighties and early nineties that cemented its status as a cult classic and eventually led to its creators rejuvenating it for the new millennium. It may be worth noting that Degrassi: The Next Generation did have a commercial/promotional advantage when it aired in the United States; it aired on Nickelodeon's The N, whereas Degrassi Junior High/High aired on low-rated PBS stations. These days, 80s Degrassi is extremely obscure and mentioning it will probably bewilder someone that there was a Degrassi before Drake.
  • In-universe example: In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, it's revealed that the aliens' favorite film is Arthur 2: On The Rocks. One day, Harry discovers the original Arthur:
    Harry: There's a prequel!
    Sally: Well, who knew? This is going to answer so many questions about Arthur 2.
    Harry: Yeah, like the "2".
  • Many modern fans are unaware that Ultraman was a follow-up to a lesser-known show called Ultra Q. And with good reason, as Q took place before the Ultra Series made a Genre Shift into straight-up Superhero action, and as such comes across closer in tone to The Outer Limits or The X-Files.
  • Red Dwarf. For many fans, the show doesn't really establish its status quo until the third series (Red Dwarf III).
  • Doctor Who: Most viewers nowadays are more likely to have seen the 2005 relaunch than the original series. Memories of the Classic Series are dominated by the third and fourth Doctor eras, when the show was at the height of its popularity. (With the Third Doctor era onward the program also shifted to color and was fully preserved in the archives, unlike the first two eras.)
  • The original Law & Order is largely unknown in Spain. But put on TV any day, at any hour. Chances are, one channel will be broadcasting an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit under the label "Law and Order".
  • The BattleBots robots Dr. Inferno Jr. and Son of Whyachi are named after their predecessors, hence their names. However, the original Dr. Inferno and the original Whyachi failed to defeat anythingnote  and were never shown on TV, while Dr. Inferno Jr. and Son of Whyachi proceeded to become champions and wound up being a lot more recognizable among fans of combat robotics.

    Music 
  • Three of Imagine Dragons' first four hit songs - "Radioactive", "Demons", and "On Top of the World" - premiered on an EP titled, Continued Silence. Its name sets it up as the follow-up to Imagine Dragons' second independently-released EP, Hell and Silence. None of the songs featured there charted as highly as the most popular tunes from Continued Silence. Additionally, only one song from Hell and Silence made it onto the original releases of the band's first studio album, Night Visions, while all but two of the tracks from Continued Silence earned inclusion. Consequently, only the most hardcore Firebreathers remember it (as well as the other two independent EPs), for now.
  • Usher's song "Confession, Pt. I" is not nearly as popular as its hit sequel "Confessions, Pt. II". It doesn't help that only the second part has a music video.
  • The Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" is one of their most famous songs. However, very few people know that it is a Sequel Song to Sammy Kershaw's 1993 hit "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The first WWE Diva Search was a rather forgettable contest held in 2003 on WWE.com and the winner went on to appear in a photoshoot for WWE Magazine. The next year, the contest was held as weekly segments on WWE Raw and the winner was awarded a quarter-million dollar WWE contract. This contest was not remembered in a good way however.
  • AJ Styles appeared in WCW and WWF prior to becoming the face of TNA. His WCW and WWF runs are widely forgotten as due to company politics, he could not compete with established stars for a push (and his signing with WCW happened only a couple months before they were bought out). When TNA wanted to set itself apart from WWE, he seized the opportunity. Even after returning to WWE to great acclaim at the end of his career, WWE itself chooses to ignore his previous time in the company, in addition to choosing not to name any other company that he was a part of (again, due to company politics), including TNA and NJPW.
  • Nowadays everyone knows that NXT is the WWE brand where you can find the closest thing to an actual wrestling show (as opposed to 'sports entertainment') inside WWE with many of it's wrestlers and matches being highly regarded among critics. However, not many will know the current NXT is actually the third iteration of the show. With the second one being a developmental brand made exclusively to showcase wrestlers training in the performance center. And before this, it was a wrestling reality show. Yes, NXT's first iteration was a show where developmental wrestlers competed with each other in a series of contests that had little to do with wrestling. Although occasionally you got actual matches, the focus was more on the weird challenges and the drama between mentors, who belonged to the main roster, and rookies. This era of NXT is mostly ignored by WWE with the exception of two things: first, this was the show where The Miz got to "mentor" Daniel Bryan kicking off their long rivalry that lasted over a decade. Secondly, the first season of NXT served as the background and foundation for the stable that would become The Nexus, of which all the first season rookies were a part of.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 is a good example, being far more popular outside the UK than Warhammer is. Most people who are not into the tabletop gaming scene will refer to 40k simply as "Warhammer", sometimes to the point of not even realizing that there is a medieval fantasy version.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar has already become this with a significant amount of its fanbase. Large numbers of players are younger people who often got introduced to the franchise by Warhammer 40,000 (if not absolutely started with Ao S first upon seeing it on a store shelf) or even older generations who are completely unfamiliar with Wargaming. To the point that a large percentage of Age of Sigmar fans don't even know the titular God outside of the Realmgate Wars and his origins in Fantasy as a legendary Monarch nevermind his importance to the entire franchise as a whole. Its common to find players in recent days who get surprsed when they discovered an earlier Warhammer game with a fantasy setting had existed from the 80s all the way to early 2010s esp with how 40,000 had become the face of the fictional universe.
  • Though every edition of Dungeons & Dragons has a pretty firm following, the many Newbie Booms over the years mean that the most "iconic" edition can range heavily. But even when there were only a few products available, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was far more popular than Basic, which was a modified version of the oldest ruleset. For a while, it became pretty common for groups to switch up to the newest edition, or at least for new players to prefer the new one—but 2000's 3rd Edition (or more specifically, 3.5) bucked that trend and refused to lose popularity when 4th Edition rolled around, due to 4th being a majorly Contested Sequel, and seemed to be essentially the "default" vision of the game until 5th Edition showed up in 2014.

    Theatre 
  • Richard III is perhaps the most egregious example of all, as throughout history it was often and is often discussed and performed as a stand-alone play, when in fact it is a direct sequel to Henry VI and almost all the characters from Richard were introduced in Henry. It is to the point where entire in-depth analyses of the play completely neglect to mention its context, and whole interpretations of Richard and other characters by actors and critics overlook the events of Henry and how those characters were shaped by it — many events in Richard make a lot more sense in light of what these characters got up to in Henry and the relationships between them are shown as quite a bit more complex and multi-layered than might first appear if Richard is watched solo.

    Visual Novels 
  • Steins;Gate is a sequel to Chaos;Head that ended up being far more popular in the West than its predecessor. In addition to Steins;Gate largely being considered a better story overall, one of the biggest reasons for Chaos;Head's comparative lack of popularity is that its anime adaptation is by and large considered to be subpar, even without the source material taken into account. Most visual novels become popular outside of Japan as a result of people enjoying their anime adaptations, so the fact that Steins;Gate's adaptation is generally very well received gives it a major advantage over Chaos;Head in terms of popularity. Also, since Steins;Gate is only connected to Chaos;Head in the first place due to them taking place in the same world, all of the Continuity Nods made to Chaos;Head in Steins;Gate won't be understood by anyone unfamiliar with the former story, and you don't need to read Chaos;Head first in order to understand Steins;Gate at all, most Steins;Gate fans aren't even aware that the two stories are connected in the first place. Further hurting its accessibility is that, as a direct result of the sequel displacement, Steins;Gate is the only visual novel out of the two to have an official translation note . Further cementing this is the fact that Chaos;Child, a thematic sequel with much stronger narrative ties to Chaos;Head also managed to get localized before the original release.
  • Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever. What little attention it gets over the other two is only because of the poster child for More Popular Spin-Off, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and the only reason it gets any attention is due to its sequel OVA - which, unlike the TH2 anime, is suitable for all audiences, although it still doesn't make any sense unless you play the game first.
  • Tsukihime was the first visual novel to be set in the Nasuverse. While it was popular enough to get various adaptations and its own video game, it has since been eclipsed in popularity by its successor, Fate/stay night, which started a multimedia franchise that makes up the majority of the Nasuverse and gained a mainstream recognition that Tsukihime never came close to achieving.

    Webcomics 
  • MS Paint Adventures offers an internal example with Homestuck, which was the fourth MS Paint Advenutre series. Homestuck was a megahit and is probably one of the most popular webcomics of the late 2000's-mid 2010's. Problem Sleuth, Homestuck's immediate predecessor, had a popular run, but it had nowhere near the insane popularity of Homestuck.
  • Hey, kids! Ever heard about Unsound of Mind? No? Well, how about Heartcore? In fact, many of the characters in Heartcore originated from UoM, which has become the creator's Old Shame.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • The show is a spin-off of The Tracey Ullman Show, where it began as a series of interstitial shorts airing between other skits. The Simpsons would quickly become a worldwide cultural phenomenon, while these days people only talk about The Tracey Ullman Show when discussing early Simpsons cartoons. Tellingly, there are over twice as many tropes catalogued for the Simpsons shorts as there are for the show itself.
    • An In-Universe example: in the episode "Bye Bye Nerdie", Milhouse comments that the present situation is, "like Speed 2, but with a bus instead of a boat." He later refers to the new girl with no friends as being Babe: Pig in the City.
  • Most people who have seen Santa Bear's High Flying Adventure are usually not aware that it's a sequel to Santa Bear's First Christmas.
  • Adventures in Music Duology: "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" is more well-known than "Melody".

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