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Sequel Gap

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"Welcome to Team Fortress 2. After 9 years in development, hopefully it will have been worth the wait."
Gabe Newell

A film or other literary work where a sequel is released long, long after the original work. May sometimes be a Trilogy Creep, very often related to Development Hell. In order to qualify as this trope, the sequel in question must have been released no less than five years after the previous installment.

Does not apply to Sequels In-Name-Only, Sequel Series, or Franchise Reboots. This Trope is for honest-to-goodness sequels, prequels, and midquels. See also Capcom Sequel Stagnation, and a related Webcomic trope, Schedule Slip.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Isaac Asimov
    • The third book in his "Robot Trilogy", The Robots of Dawn was published in 1983, 26 years after the second.
    • The fourth book in his Foundation series, Foundation's Edge, was published in 1982, 29 years after the original trilogy.
    • Asimov invoked this deliberately with his first published short story Marooned off Vesta. The sequel was written 20 years later, was called Anniversary, and dealt with events 20 years after the original story.
  • Solar Queen series by Andre Norton. 3rd novel Voodoo Planet appeared in 1959, then Postmarked the Stars in 1969, then Redline the Stars in 1993. That's 10 and 24 years. Granted, some of her other novels seem to be set in the same universe, but there are no direct connections.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books: 8 years between So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984) and Mostly Harmless (1992), and 17 years between Mostly Harmless and And Another Thing... (2009). Though the latter was due to Author Existence Failure.
  • There's a five-year gap between the third (2000) and fourth books (2005) of A Song of Ice and Fire, and a six year gap between the fourth and fifth (2011), after the first books came out in 1996, 1999, and 2000. Oddly, originally the fourth book was going to be a five-year timeskip in-universe before it was delayed, then after not coming out for five actual years, the action picks up immediately where it left off.
  • The first four Harry Potter books came out on a yearly basis from 1997-2000. However, Rowling, probably kept busy managing the sudden expansion of the franchise that came with the film series, took three years to write the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), a gap fans dubbed "the three year summer". After that, Rowling stuck to a two year interval between books, releasing Half-Blood Prince in 2005 and Deathly Hallows in 2007. If you thought that was bad, the next installments in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did not come out until 2016, a gap of nine years.
  • Anne Rice did twice with The Vampire Chronicles. She published The Vampire Lestat in 1985, 9 years after Interview With the Vampire (1976) then Prince Lestat in 2014, 11 years after Blood Canticle (2003).
  • The Unicorn Chronicles had something like almost 10 years between the 2nd book and the 3rd book being published.
  • Fans of Isobelle Carmody's The Obernewtyn Chronicles waited 10 years for the fifth book in the sequence; the fourth book, The Keeping Place was originally published in 1998, The Stone Key in 2008.
  • There was a 12-year gap between the third and fourth book in The Demon Princes series. The series was always planned to have 5 books.
  • The Earth's Children series had a 12 year gap between The Plains of Passage (1990) and The Shelters of Stone (2002). The Land of the Painted Caves came out in 2011, making another 9 year gap.
  • In the Magic Kingdom of Landover series, there was a fourteen year gap between the fifth book, Witches' Brew, and the sixth, A Princess of Landover (for reference, there were nine years between the release of the first book and the fifth).
  • The Book of the Dun Cow came out in 1978. Its sequel, The Book of Sorrows, came out in 1985. A final sequel, Peace at the Last, came out in 2013, a 23-year gap, alongside a rewrite of Sorrows.
  • Magicians of Gor (book 25 in the series): 1988 — Witness of Gor (book 26): 2001. 13 years.
  • Thieves' World. The last original series anthology Stealers' Sky came out in 1989. The next one, Turning Points, was published in 2002, 13 years later.
  • The first Alex Benedict book, A Talent for War, came out in 1989. The second, Polaris, came out in 2004, 15 years later (after that, there has been no gap larger than three years).
  • Peter David's Knight Life (1987) and One Knight Only (2003) — 16 years (the original did get an Updated Re-release in 2002.)
  • In Clare Bell's The Named series, the release of the first four books was spread between 1983 and 1991. Seventeen years later, the series started its re-issue because of its new fifth book, Ratha's Courage (2008). The next year also saw a novelette written on Twitter and a short story in an anthology of speculative fiction.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (1937), followed by The Lord of the Rings (three volumes, 1954-1955) — 17 years.
  • Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth (1954) was followed by five sequels in nine years. Two later Interquels, Frontier Wolf (1980) and Sword Song (1997), were each preceded by a 17-year gap.
  • Philip Pullman wrote the sequel to The Amber Spyglass (2000) titled The Book of Dust (2017) 17 years after.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin published the 3rd and 4th books of the Earthsea series, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, in 1972 and 1990. 18 years.
  • Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep came out in 1992; the sequel, The Children Of The Sky, was released in 2011 (19 years). A Deepness in the Sky — set in the same universe but not a direct sequel — came out in the interim.
  • The Blackcollar (1983), The Backlash Mission (1986) and The Judas Solution (2006). — 20-23 years.
  • Another Timothy Zahn example is The Cobra Trilogy: original trilogy released 1985-1988, two new trilogies released from 2009 onwards.
  • C. J. Cherryh's Cyteen and Regenesis (1988/2009) — 21 years. Similar to the Vinge example above, Cherryh had other Alliance/Union books come out between the two.
  • Julie of the Wolves (1972) by Jean Craighead George got its sequels Julie and Julie's Wolf Pack in 1994 and 1997, respectively (22 and 25 years).
  • The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen was originally a trilogy that was published 1982-1987. The fourth book came out in 2009 — 22 years.
  • Psycho, the original Robert Bloch novel (1959), and Psycho II also by Bloch (1982), which was totally unrelated to the film sequel — 23 years.
  • The Seventh Sword was written by Dave Duncan in 1984 and published as a trilogy in 1988. The 4th novel The Death of Nnanji appeared in 2012. 24 (or 28) years.
  • Part I of Goethe's Faust was first published in 1808. Part II (a sequel in all but name) was released in 1832 (24 years).
  • The Egypt Game (1967) and The Gypsy Game (1997) — 30 years. Both are set in The Present Day through the use of Comic-Book Time.
  • My Side of the Mountain (1959) by Jean Craighead George had its sequel On the Far Side of the Mountain published in 1990, leaving a gap of 31 years. The third book, Frightful's Mountain, came nine years after that.
  • Closing Time, the sequel to Catch-22, was published in 1994; 33 years after the original novel.
  • Stephen King got The Shining released in 1977. Its sequel, Doctor Sleep, was released in 2013... 36 years later.
  • P. G. Wodehouse wrote The Luck of the Bodkins in 1935 and its sequel, Pearls, Girls, and Monty Bodkin in 1972 — 37 years.
  • Gone with the Wind (1936) and its authorised sequel Scarlett (1991) have a gap of 55 years (coincidentally, so do the films based on both of them (1939/1994) and then an officially authorized P.O.V. Sequel Rhett Butler's People (2007) 16 years later.
  • Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and Go Set a Watchman (2015), 55 years apart, though the latter was originally a draft of the former.
  • Peter and Wendy (1911) and its authorised sequel Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006) — 95 years.
  • The Time Ships, an official sequel to The Time Machine was published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the first book (1895/1995).
  • The Iliad and The Odyssey were likely composed some time around 850 BC. The Aeneid, a Continuation Fic, was finished in 19 BC. If both are taken as part of Classical Mythology, that's a gap of over 800 years.
  • Alan Garner's 2013 novel Boneland is the continuation of his 1960 and 1963 novels The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath - some fifty years after the original books.
  • The Ice Limit (2000) and its sequel Beyond the Ice Limit (2016) — 16 years. The protagonist Eli Glinn has appeared in writer duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs' other books however.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Elton John released a Concept Album in 1975 called Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, chronicling his and lyricist Bernie Taupin's rise to fame, at the height of Elton's success. In 2006, 26 years later, Elton released a sequel album, The Captain And The Kid, chronicling the duo's success and personal issues.
  • Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson released a followup to Tull's 1972 Concept Album, Thick As A Brick 2, during the 30th anniversary of Thick As A Brick's release (2012).
  • Boston was notorious for this, to the point where Boston's record label actually sued the band because they were taking too long to record Third Stage.
  • The Bat Out Of Hell trilogy by Meat Loaf. Bat Out Of Hell was released in 1977; Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell came out 16 years later in 1993, and Bat Out Of Hell 3: The Monster Is Loose rounded it off 13 years after that, in 2006.
  • Metallica has fallen into this for their most recent albums. It first happened with the five year gap between Metallica and Load. Then there was a six year gap between ReLoad and St. Anger. Their next album Death Magnetic (2008) took five years to come out. They've taken enough time making Death Magnetic's successor to create a third Sequel Gap, if one discounts their Lou Reed collaboration Lulu (2012) (most fans would definitely prefer to).
  • Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder had a 30 year gap between Innovisions (1985) and Déjà Vu (2015).
  • Dr. Dre's three albums have this. His debut album The Chronic came out in 1992, while it's sequel 2001 took seven years until it was finally released in 1999. Then, his third and final album Compton took sixteen years when it was finally released in 2015.
  • Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP was released in 2000. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released in 2013.
  • American Football's debut Self-Titled Album was released in 1999. Their next album was released in 2016.
  • The Braxtons went 19 years between So Many Ways (1996) and Braxton Family Christmas (2015).
  • Face the Promise (2006) was Bob Seger's first non compilation album since It's a Mystery (1995), an 11 year gap. His next album, Ride Out was released eight years later in 2014.
  • There was a 11-year gap from Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen's solo debut, The Nightfly, to 1993's followup Kamikiriad, partly a result of Fagen's Writer's Block. He would follow that up with the first Steely Dan album since 1980's Gaucho, Two Against Nature, in 2000, bridging a 20-year gap. Fagen's third solo album, Morph The Cat, would be released in 2006, bridging a 13-year gap between solo albums.
  • The Sonics recorded three albums in the mid-60s, before splitting up after Introducing The Sonics in 1967. They reformed in The New '10s and released This Is The Sonics in 2015 - a gap of forty-eight years.
  • An example about songs: King Crimson's "Larks Tongues in Aspic" had Parts 1 and 2 included on the titular album (1973). After that, you have "Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part 3" from Three of a Perfect Pair (1984) — an 11-year gap. After that is Part 4 from The ConstruKction of Light (2000) for a 16-year gap. Curiously, "Level Five" from 2003's The Power to Believe makes for the shortest gap in the series, at just three years. note 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chess (modern variant came to be around 1475) and Chess 2: The Sequel (2014) - 500+ years.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Pie Guy Rulz
    • His review of SpongeBob Season 1 was released to YouTube on June 20, 2013. His review of SpongeBob Season 2 was released on July 23, 2013, a little over one month later. His SpongeBob Season 3 review, however, was released on September 23, which was two months later. An even bigger gap formed with the SpongeBob Movie Review, which came out on January 30, 2014. Then came the Season 4 review four months later on June 6, 2014, followed by a relatively short two month wait for August 18, 2014's Season 5 review. After that, fans had to wait five and a half months for the Season 6 review which was uploaded on Ebruary 4, 2015. Then came what remains as (as of June 12, 2017) the biggest hiatus in the history of the season reviews, as the Season 7 review did not come out until December 18, 2015 which was a ten month wait. The Season 8 review, whike not nearly as long a wait, came out on October 8th of the following year which is a ten month gap. The Season 9A review came out a relatively short time later on December 23, 2016 and four months later came the SpongeBob Movie 2 review on April 6, 2017. The Season 9B review came out May 29, 2017.
    • His first two Disney Rants were uploaded on March 1st 2009 and April 18th 2009, respectively. His third Disney Rant was supposed to be about the Jonas Brothers, but was delayed until September 5th 2010, and by that time the Jonas Brothers had just about fallen off the face of the Earth.
  • With Yuriofwind, there was a ten month gap between the upload of this episode and the upload of this episode, because Yuri kept forgetting to upload it. The second episode lampshades it with onscreen text.
  • The original first "season" of the Garfield parodying series, Lasagna Cat, came out in January 2008. It would take a little over 9 years for a second "season" to manifest in February 2017.

    Western Animation 
  • The My Little Pony franchise had a gap without an Animated Adaptation television series that lasted 18 years between 1992's My Little Pony Tales and 2010's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The toy line did exist as Generation 3 and 3.5 between 1997-99 and 2003-09 respectively, but the only animated works between these periods were direct-to-video films and shorts.
  • After the Nelvana-produced Care Bears series ended in 1988, the franchise went 16 years without an Animated Adaptation until 2004's Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot. If their first animated series since 1988 is to be considered, then it's 19 years with Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot (2007) closing the gap.
  • Samurai Jack's last season was in 2004 and it wouldn't be until 2017 that the series would conclude its story. That was a twelve and a half year wait in the meantime (not counting the IDW comic book in 2013 which per Word of God, isn't canon).
    • Though given the IDW comic was its own continuation, it's still 9 years between it and season 4, taking season 5 out of the equation.