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Sequel Non-Entity

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"In the sequel, it's like I never existed."
Heather the One-Dimensional Female Character From a Male-Driven Comedy, Saturday Night Live

Sometimes a character from a movie doesn't appear in the sequel. They might get a brief Hand Wave explaining their absence, or they might not be mentioned at all.

Several things can cause a character's disappearance — maybe the actor has died, didn't want to return, or couldn't for scheduling reasons. Maybe the writers couldn't figure out how to fit the character into the story. Or the producers may feel the character just wasn't popular enough to make a return, or they may have lost the rights to use the character in future projects.

If the disappeared character had a major role in the previous movie, the lack of resolution for their personal story can be jarring. Even a minor character's absence can be notable if they ended up connected to the major characters in an important way. For example, the character may have appeared as a minor joke character early in the previous film, but then returned at the end as the main character's new mother-in-law. Logically they'd now be important to the main character's future, but by the time the sequel rolls around, the mother-in-law has been forgotten.

If the missing character was more important as a plot device than as a person — maybe they were a token love interest or Living MacGuffin — then they stand a good chance of being not just dropped but replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute come the sequel.

If the character's absence extends past the immediate sequel to all material in the series following it, you've got Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.

See also Demoted to Extra, Put on a Bus, Estranged Soap Family, Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, What Happened to the Mouse?.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure tri.:
    • The four Digidestined of Digimon Adventure 02 appear in the opening scene of the first movie after apparently being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle, and... that's it for the rest of the movie. The other characters never once mention them, or even seem to notice their absence. The following two movies only barely hint that they're missing at all, even when it appears Ken's turned evil again. It's not until the final movie when anything substantial is given about what the heck happened. This is still better than what happened to their families, who seem to have just vanished from existence.
    • Meanwhile, the wealth of other Digidestined 02 established as existing across the world are entirely gone, including Mimi's friend Michael, along with their partners. Their existence is alluded, since Movie 1 shown a worldwide Digidestined blog, but they still don't appear. Movie number five indicates there are Digimon rampaging across the world, but where these guys are during all this goes completely unmentioned.
  • Launch from Dragon Ball doesn't appear at all in Dragon Ball Z, as according to Akira Toriyama he simply forgot about her. The anime adaptations averted this, albeit minorly, with a couple of quick flashbacks and a couple of brief scenes including her.

    Fan Works 
  • None of the secondary characters from With Strings Attached return in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, though Brox and Grunnel are briefly mentioned as not having been seen in over a year (the implication is that they're out adventuring). The explanation for this is that the Pyar gods took all the Ketafans and tirin (and, presumably, the Thirders and Jim Hunter) to a more compatible location.

    Films — Animation 
  • All the ship's crew from the first Pocahontas apart from John Smith, Governor Ratcliffe, and Percy.
  • Bo Peep, who was Woody's love interest in the first two Toy Story films, was given only a brief, yet sad, mention in Toy Story 3, where it was indicated she had been either given away or sold off, along with a few other toys. Averted in Toy Story 4, wherein Bo goes from having almost no presence in the plot at all to being one of the movie's central characters along with Woody and Buzz.
  • Roxanne, Max's girlfriend in A Goofy Movie, is neither seen nor referenced to in the sequel. Debates rage on about whether this was an okay change or not. In addition, Peg and Pistol from Goof Troop don't appear in either movie. Plus, PJ, Bobby, Stacey, Sylvia, the Beret Girl, Bradley Uppercrust III and the Gammas don't appear and/or referenced in the House of Mouse, neither does Peg, Pistol, Waffles and Chainsaw.
  • Outside a few mentions, King Louie doesn't appear in The Jungle Book 2 due to a legal debacle with Louis Prima's estate over the imitation of his voice.
  • After Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa spends its entire plot reuniting Alex with his birth pride in Africa, there is zero mention of them in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which simply opens with the the four friends in Africa as they figure out a way to return to New York. Apparently, the filmmakers did have plans to fit in Alex's pride to the plot, but the death of Bernie Mac (who voiced Alex's father, Zuba) convinced them to write them out of the film.
  • The Indians in Return To Never Land, presumably due to how they would be perceived in the modern day. Their camp is briefly seen (twice, if you count the Creative Closing Credits) but is completely empty.
  • Vitruvius only appears in the very beginning of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, in the scene that recreates the first film's ending, getting instantly knocked out; when the movie proper skips to five years later, he's never seen again and other characters never mention him.
  • At the end of The Addams Family (2019), Uncle Fester hooks up with the villainous Margaux Needler. In the sequel The Addams Family 2 Needler, along with her daughter Parker and all the new characters introduced in the first movie, is never seen or mentioned again.
  • In the second BIONICLE film, the real Turaga Dume is found in a stasis capsule while his impostor rules over the city. The heroes vow to return for him. In the sequel, Dume is not mentioned, not even once the city has been liberated, and a different wise, old, short, red colored mentor character is introduced instead. The real life reason for his absence is LEGO wanted to tell Dume's escape in a side story outside of the movies that never materialized.
  • Cathy the kitten from Cat City was the only cat not to be evil by nature. She is absent from the late sequel where the race war between cats and mice threatens to restart. Although the sequel has a twist reveal related to the daughter of the original movie's characters, it turns out to be a new character. As Cathy existed purely due to executive demands, the writers wanted nothing to do with her.
  • In Shrek the Third, Artie, Fiona's cousin, is brought by Shrek to Far Far Away so he can succeed the late King Harold as king. Come the events of Shrek Forever After, he is nowhere to be seen. The events of the film make it convenient for Artie not to appear, however, so he still presumably rules Far Far Away offscreen.
  • Despite the other main pets returning, Tiberius the hawk is absent from The Secret Life of Pets 2
  • Sarabi does not appear in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, most likely due to her voice actor Madge Sinclair passing away.
  • Despite appearing only in flashbacks and being mentioned, The Great Owl is absent from The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, because his voice actor John Carradine died back in 1988 before it was released.
  • Despite most of the side characters from Finding Nemo returning for cameos in Finding Dory (including The Tank Gang in The Stinger.), a few notable exceptions are the sharks: Bruce, Anchor and Chum and Nigel the pelican. Dr. Philip Sherman and Darla also don't appear. The sharks are at least indirectly mentioned and a photo of Darla can be seen in the background of one scene.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American Pie Presents: Band Camp, arguably the series' first foray into hardcore Sequelitis, had a line about why the main characters from the previous films weren't around.
  • Chris Klein was the only dude from the original five guys not included in the third American Pie movie, American Wedding. Word of God says they simply had nothing for him to do, so the character just wasn't included.
  • The Austin Powers films gleefully embraced this trope in its mockery of James Bond film clichés. The love interest from the first film is retconned as always having been a fembot in the second just to get rid of her, and Heather Graham's character from the second film doesn't even get that much acknowledgement in the third. (Graham did shoot a scene for Goldmember which presumably would have explained her disappearance, but it was deleted from the final cut and has yet to resurface.)
  • The titular St. Bernard of the Beethoven movies gets given away to the brother "temporarily" (and permanently) in the third movie (and first Direct to Video one), allowing to replace the whole family cast with a new one.
  • Ivy does not appear in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore. None of the characters from the first 2 movies appear in Cats and Dogs 3: Paws Unite.
  • Bill Murray's Bosley is conspiciously absent (save for a photo on his family's wall) in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, having been replaced by his adoptive brother, played by Bernie Mac. Despite the fact that Bosley appeared to be beloved by the Angels in the first film, here they never seem to miss him for even a moment - nor is his absence (and current whereabouts) ever explained. Murray was unhappy during shooting of the original, and the actresses were apparently not themselves sad to see him go.
  • Galleria (Raven-Symone) in the third The Cheetah Girls "goes to college." In reality, backstage catfights between Raven-Symone and the rest of the cast led to her leaving the defictionalized band and the movie, and for Adrienne Bailon's character leaving That's So Raven.
  • Coming 2 America: Darryl Jenks and Patrice McDowell appear in photographs, but do not make any physical appearances, nor is it mentioned what happened to them after the first film.
  • Thanks to the death of Heath Ledger, The Joker doesn't appear in The Dark Knight Rises. But despite being seen alive and taken into custody at the end of the previous film, his fate isn't alluded to at all, and the other characters go out of their way to not mention him.
  • DC Extended Universe:
  • All the principals from Every Which Way but Loose are back for the sequel, Any Which Way You Can—except Echo, Orville's love interest, played by Beverly D'Angelo. No mention is made of her at all, and Orv has a new girlfriend at the end of AWWYC.
  • Happens a few times throughout The Expendables franchise. Mickey Rourke's character, Tool, is not mentioned after the first movie, since he took the role in the first movie as a favour to Sylvester Stallone, and Mr. Church, played by Bruce Willis, is not shown in the third movie due to Willis wanting $4 million for four days' worth of work.
  • Likely as a result of Real Life Writes the Plot, Luke Hobbs doesn't appear nor is he mentioned in F9. None of the main characters seem to acknowledge his absence either, almost like he never existed or was just never there in the first place. Though it is justified by Dwayne Johnson's feud with Vin Diesel during the filming of The Fateofthe Furious and therefore Johnson ruling out a return to the Fast and Furious franchise outside of a Hobbs and Shaw sequel, hence why we said it was a likely case of Real Life Writes the Plot earlier.
  • Ripcord, Scarlett, and General Hawk, three characters who were an integral part of the G.I. Joes in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, are nowhere to be seen in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and we don't get an explanation as to why. Their absence becomes particularly noticable when it's stated that every Joe (except for Roadblock, Flint, Jaye and Snake Eyes) is supposed to have been killed in the Cobra attack. However, it's possible they retired and therefore were no longer targets, as was the case with Joe Colton.
  • Numerous monsters disappear from the original Showa Godzilla series without in-universe explanations, though in real life, they were abandoned for a host of reasons, including declining budgets, the collapse of Japan's film industry and traditional payroll system during the early 70s, and licencing issues — King Kong couldn't appear because of copyright reasons, while Godzilla's airborne helpers Mothra and Rodan required elaborate wireworks and their suits and models were in a state of disrepair. Even characters like Godzilla's adoptive son Minilla or his close allies Anguirus, Jet Jaguar and King Caesar didn't come back for the last film, leaving him to fight the latest villains alone — although some of them would technically "return" in Destroy All Monsters, a film that was produced in the middle of the series but is chronologically the last. Even so, Mothra in her final appearances is not accompanied by her Shobijin fairies.
  • Myers in the Hellboy movie. In the sequel, he's said to be in Antarctica, as his roles as the Audience Surrogate and Romantic False Lead were deemed no longer necessary.
  • In all sequels and spinoffs of the original Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the Thompsons (who make up one-half of the cast, and whose kids are shrunk alongside the Szalinskis) are completely absent. Amy only makes a brief cameo in the second film before she too disappears (although she returns for the series), and Nick doesn't appear in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, though he will be returning as the lead character in Shrunk.
  • Inspector Gadget 2: Dr. Brenda Bradford, who was Gadget's Creator and Love Interest in the first film disappears from the second film and isn't mentioned at all, with a scientist named Baxter taking on her role as head of the Gadget program and Gadget Model 2 becomes Gadget's new love interest. An early animatic of the opening scene did mention Brenda, indicating that she and Gadget parted ways some time between the two films.
  • After Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), the only actor to return for the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is Josh Hutcherson as Sean Anderson. Nobody else, including Brendan Fraser (Trevor) and Anita Briem (Hannah), return. Even Sean's mother and Trevor's sister-in-law, Liz, who does return, is played by a different actress than the original.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • A famous example is The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It focuses on secondary (and, in the first novel, deceased) character Ian Malcolm; as such, main characters Alan Grant and Sattler are not seen or mentioned, while the kids and Hammond only cameo early on.
    • Jurassic Park III is focused on Grant. He's still good friends with Sattler, so she appears twice in the movie (one of the scenes indirectly leads to The Cavalry's arrival). Malcolm is remembered in one scene. Hammond and inGen are directly mentioned by Grant at the conference at the movie's beginning and later directly or indirectly mentioned in scenes such as when they visit an abandoned facility).
    • Grant himself is absent in Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. In fact, the only characters who do return are Dr. Henry Wu (who plays a more central role in Jurassic World) and Ian Malcolm (for 2 scenes in Fallen Kingdom). However, Grant and Sattler - along with Malcolm - reappear in Jurassic World Dominion.
  • Kaamelott: Premier Volet: Yvain, Ygerne de Tintagel (Arthur's mother), the Weaponmaster and several other recurring characters of the Kaamelott series are noticeably absent.
  • The absence of Tank, who survived The Matrix, is explained away in The Matrix Reloaded by Zee saying she had lost two brothers to the Nebuchadnezzar, implying that Tank had been killed. The actor (or his agent) held out for more money and was simply written out.
  • In Men in Black II, they mention Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino) once just to "explain" why she isn't with them and then drop the whole thing. According to the producers, Fiorentino was too difficult to work with to bring back.
  • Although Gracie and Eric appeared to be starting a relationship at the end of Miss Congeniality, Eric is nowhere to be seen in the sequel. He did however, break up with her over the phone (without his voice being heard), and said breakup is a large part of Gracie's character throughout the film, even made into Gracie's personal Berserk Button.
  • Mission: Impossible Film Series:
    • Ethan goes on a vacation with Nyah at the end of the second film. The third opens with him about to marry a different woman, Julia Meade, meaning he broke up with Nyah sometime between the films.
    • Agent Jane Carter is inexplicably absent from Rogue Nation onward, despite being an important member of Ethan's team in Ghost Protocol.
    • Ethan's wife, Julia, also doesn't appear in Rogue Nation, though Ghost Protocol (where she only makes a cameo) gives a reason why she can't appear. She finally returns in Fallout.
    • William Brandt is absent without explanation in Fallout, after having been a major character for two films. This is because Jeremy Renner was busy filming Avengers: Endgame at the time.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • All but a few of the characters from Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island are completely absent from the following two films (Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong). This is especially jarring with Weaver and Conrad from Kong: Skull Island — the ending of that film set them up to join the fledgling Monarch, but neither of them have been seen nor mentioned in any form since.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong pulls this further. All of the awakened Titans from Godzilla: King of the Monsters except Godzilla, Kong, and Ghidorah's undead skull are completely absent, as are the top Monarch brass from the same film, and also Dr. Houston Brooks (who was one of the most recurring humans across the MonsterVerse overall). The film's tie-in graphic novels and the novelization state Godzilla sent the Titans back into hibernation instead of ushering in the Dawn of an Era, while Dr. Brooks retired from Monarch after the Perpetual Storm closed in over Skull Island.
  • Rebecca from Night at the Museum doesn't appear or get mentioned in the sequel, despite starting a relationship with Larry at the end of the first film, because Carla Gugino was busy filming Race to Witch Mountain. And it'd be weird to have her along with Larry's relationship with Amelia Earhart. The nerdy Identical Stranger seen at the sequel's end, played yet again by Amy Adams (and lightly implied to begin a relationship with Larry) is nowhere to be seen in the third movie either.
  • Carla Purdy from The Nutty Professor (1996) doesn't appear in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. She and Sherman broke up some time between the two films.
  • Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones don't appear in Ocean's Thirteen. This is explained at the beginning of the movie with about two lines, the main one of which is "it's not their fight." However, given the nature of the motivation for the Ocean crew, this makes at least a little bit of sense.
  • Dan Cain, the nominal hero of Re-Animator and Bride of Re-Animator, is nowhere to be seen by the time the third movie rolls around. This is handwaved away by West remarking that his "last assistant turned state's evidence on [him]".
  • Resident Evil Film Series:
    • At the end of Apocalypse, Jill, Carlos, L.J., and Angela rescue Alice before driving away from the Umbrella facility. In Extinction, Alice, Carlos, and L.J. return, but not Jill and Angela, whose whereabouts are unknown. That is, unless you read the novelization, where it is revealed that a mind-controlled Alice was forced to kill Angela by Umbrella. Jill finally returns in The Stinger of Afterlife and becomes a major player in Retribution.
    • K-Mart and Chris and Claire Redfield were there in the ending of Afterlife but are completely absent from Retribution. Even though both movies end and start with the same showdown on the battleship Arcadia, the reverse-action in the opening scene glosses over it enough to hope you don't notice, and no-one seems to mention them again. Claire eventually returns in the final film, The Final Chapter, but she doesn't say anything about Chris or K-Mart. The novelization states that Claire lost contact with Chris because he was taken in a different helicopter during the attack on the Arcadia, though she believes that he is still alive. K-Mart, though, seems to have disappeared from the faces of the earth.
    • In fact, The Final Chapter only features Alice and Claire among the returning characters last seen alive. The badass Last Stand that the characters from the games were about to make in the ending of Retribution is quickly resolved in the sixth film, which opens with a ruined Washington D.C.. Again, this is explained in the novelization: Jill, Leon, and Ada all bit the dust during the last stand, while Alice managed to save Becky and take her to a safe place.
  • Rush Hour
    • Officer Tania Johnson doesn't appear in either of the sequels.
    • Consul Han and Soo Yung do not appear in Rush Hour 2. They both return in Rush Hour 3.
    • Captain Diel did appear in 2, but his scene was deleted. He returned in 3 as well.
    • Isabella Molina, Lee's Secret Service girlfriend from 2 doesn't appear in 3. It's because Carter accidentally shot her in the neck, and she broke up with Lee because of it.
  • Bernard the Head Elf from The Santa Clause inexplicably vanished when the third movie rolled around. He returns in The Santa Clauses, where it is revealed he left the North Pole and fell in love with a human woman.
  • Shanghai Knights, sequel to Shanghai Noon, didn't feature Princess Pei-Pei or Falling Leaves (the Indian woman who was betrothed to Chon Wang and later ditched him for Roy). Pei-Pei is at least referenced, but Falling Leaves is not.
  • Short Circuit 2 didn't have Steve Guttenberg and only had a brief voice-only cameo from Ally Sheedy, despite them being the main characters of the previous film (aside from the robot, obviously). The movie instead promotes Steve Guttenberg's comic relief sidekick Ben to co-lead with Johnny 5.
  • Smokey And The Bandit Part 3 lacks The Bandit as main character. It focuses more on Sheriff Justice and Bandit's sidekick Snowman posing as The Bandit for most of the film. Burt Reynolds does appear in one sequence, but it's still technically not the real Bandit. It's Cledus playing the role so well the Buford sees him as the Bandit. Sally Field's character, Frog, was neither seen nor mentioned.
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control: They briefly explain that the Keanu character from Speed broke up with her because of how their relationship started.
  • Thor: Ragnarok:
    • Jane Foster, Thor's girlfriend from the first two films, is absent. A single line of dialogue handwaves this by indicating that she and Thor had broken up some time after Avengers: Age of Ultron. The real reason is because Natalie Portman had openly voiced her displeasure of working in the previous films and didn't want to appear in a MCU film ever again. Her appearance in Avengers: Endgame was created from archival and unused footage from The Dark World. However, Portman eventually reconciled with Marvel and co-starred in the fourth film, Love and Thunder.
    • As a result of Jane’s absence, none of her fellow Midgardians - Erik Selvig, Darcy Lewis, and Ian Boothby - are mentioned either. According to a Freeze-Frame Bonus, Erik is one of the casualties of Thanos' Snap during Avengers: Infinity War, while Darcy appears in WandaVision.
    • Sif also doesn't appear or mentioned. According to Word of God, she was banished from Asgard between films and became a casualty of Thanos' Snap. The real reason is probably Jaimie Alexander busy filming the Blindspot series at the time.
  • The live-action Transformers Film Series has plenty of these.
    • For starters, there are several secondary human characters from the first film who are never seen or mentioned in either sequel. Nobody really cared about them, though, since one of the most common complaints that the hardcore fans had about all three films (and especially the first one) was that the secondary human characters were given far too much screen time.
    • As for the Transformers themselves, this was averted with the surviving Autobots from the first film, all four of whom returned for both sequels. On the Decepticon side, however, Barricade was not shown to be killed in the first film, yet despite one of the writers claiming that his fate had been intentionally left unresolved as a Sequel Hook, he was a no-show in the second film and only received a brief uncredited cameo in the third film.
    • Sideswipe and Wheelie were the only two new Autobots introduced in the second film who returned for the third film. Skids, Mudflap, Jolt, and at least one of the Arcee sisters survived the second film, but were absent for the third film. The Decepticons, however, averted this going from the second to the third film as Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave were the three Decepticon survivors from the second film and all three returned with significant roles in the third film.
    • This even happens mid-movie in these films. Remember Miles? Neither does anybody else.
    • In the third film, Mikaela and Sam apparently broke up off-screen. This was due to Megan Fox getting fired, having insulted Michael Bay in the press.
    • Sam himself becomes this in the fourth movie, with not even a mention despite Bumblebee still playing a huge role.
  • Yori's rather conspicious absence from TRON: Legacy has been the source of plenty of speculation. The Betrayal comic shoves Dr. Baines-Bradley on a bus to Washington DC, but no mention at all is made of what became of her program, most likely due to the fact the sequel doesn't take place in the same computer system as the first.
  • Weekend At Bernie's II: Despite one of Our Heroes living only to snag her as his girlfriend in the first movie, Catherine Mary Stewart's character is nowhere to be seen in the second movie.
  • Wrath of the Titans opens with Perseus standing over the grave of Io, his love interest from the first film.
  • Nightcrawler's absence in X-Men: The Last Stand was because Alan Cumming hated the painful make-up process and was already vowing never to return to the role in the making-of footage.
  • They briefly mention in xXx: State of the Union that Xander Cage from the first movie was (allegedly) killed and that's why there's a new xXx. There was even a scene filmed with Cage being blown up in an attack by the sequel's villains, resulting in the tattooed chunk on his neck landing in front of the camera, just to thoroughly avert He's Just Hiding. Smart choice not to include that in the final cut, since they brought Xander back for another movie.

  • Vittoria Vetra from Angels & Demons doesn't appear in The Da Vinci Code—the last time Langdon saw her is mentioned vaguely, but after that she's just plain forgotten. And Sophie Neveu didn't even get a mention in The Lost Symbol. Care to guess how many mentions the Solomon siblings get in Inferno?
  • The novella "Angels of Music" by Kim Newman recounts an investigation by a 19th-century version of Charlie's Angels, and ends with a scene in which an unexpected new character is recruited as an Angel. It was originally intended as just a flourish on the end of a stand-alone story, and when Newman went on to write further adventures of the team (collected in a book also titled Angels of Music), he found that the new character didn't work well as an Angel, so the second novella in the series has a brief mention that she didn't last long and then she's not mentioned again until everyone comes Back for the Finale (and even then she only appears briefly and doesn't do much).
  • The mage Victarion was an important character in Mercedes Lackey's The Black Gryphon. He receives one brief mention in the sequel The White Gryphon and no mention at all in the final book of the trilogy, The Silver Gryphon.
  • Kirsty doesn't appear or get mentioned in the second book of the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. She returns in the third book, which if anything, makes her absence weirder, since it's not like she and Johnny stopped being friends.
  • Dora Paule in The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School. Paule was a significant character in The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, and at the end of the novel she joined the school staff as a teacher's assistant, with a Flash Forward showing her still working at the school decades later. When Haunting starts, a couple of terms after the end of Secrets, she's nowhere to be seen, even though Haunting revolves around the class that she was going to be assisting the teaching of; her name is mentioned once, without any context hinting what has become of her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • iCarly: Sam Puckett is absent from the revival series due to Jennette McCurdy's retirement from acting. Carly and Freddie mentioned that she joined a biker gang. Gibby is also absent due to Noah Munck also declining to return, but unlike Sam, Gibby's absence is not explained.
  • The character of Miranda is missing from several of the last episodes of Lizzie McGuire, and is only mentioned in passing as being "in Mexico with her family"; same goes for the theatrical film.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Zeo: Jason the original Red Ranger from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers returns as the Sixth Ranger. However, his teammates Zack and Trini are not present nor are their whereabouts expanded upon.
    • Lieutenant Stone was a supporting character from MMPR to Turbo, the latter of which had him taking over the Juice Bar which was a regular hangout spot for the Rangers. He is absent in the next season, In Space; the Juice Bar gets replaced by the nigh-identical Surf Spot, run by Adele.
    • When the Power Rangers in Space appeared in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Zhane the Silver Space Ranger was missing.
    • The 10th anniversary show "Forever Red" boasted a teamup of every Red Ranger up to that point — except Rocky, the second Red Ranger. Admittedly, including Rocky would have been a little awkward since he shared his powerset and suit with Jason, the first Red Ranger (though Rocky could've simply used his distinct Red Ninja Ranger powerset to circumvent this), but it's still odd. Real Life Writes the Plot, as Rocky's actor, Steve Cardenas, was in the process of moving and the producers couldn't get a hold of him in time. In order to get ten Red Rangers, they included Eric the Quantum Ranger (also colored red) instead.
  • Psych: Joon from "High Top Fade Out" didn't appear in the second episode featuring Blackapella/Quarterblack, "Let's Doo-Wop It Again". Tony and Drake complained that they moved their schedules around just to accomodate him and he still didn't show.
  • In Series X of Red Dwarf both Holly and Kochanski were missing. Holly was explained as being offline as the result of a bath being left on for several decades and needing to dry out. Kochanski was initially believed to have died but was eventually revealed to have left and still been alive. The entire rest of the Red Dwarf crew who'd been resurrected in Series 8 were also missing (with their fate never confirmed) but they'd never been part of the main cast.
  • That '90s Show brings back most of That '70s Show's original cast except Steven Hyde, who isn't mentioned or referred to even once, most likely due to Hyde's actor, Danny Masterson, being on trial at the time of the show’s production, but it remains unclear as to his current whereabouts in-universe. Kitty doesn't mention Hyde when explaining to Leia who Leo is, despite Leo's original role in the parent series as Hyde's cool boss/father figure/Satellite Character and the gang (as well as the adults) having met Leo through Hyde, and during Fez's flashback/hallucination in the season finale, Hyde is noticeably not included.
  • Veronica Mars: The 'reboot' 4th season that aired in 2019 did not include Mac, due to her actress feeling that the character would just end up being marginalised just like in the 3rd season during the original run.

    Video Games 
  • The epilogue of The Incredibles shows the whole Super Family Team preparing to take on the Underminer, but the video game based on this scenario, Rise of the Underminer, quickly sidelines Elastigirl and the kids, leaving the actual adventure to Mr. Incredible and Frozone.
  • Rebecca Chambers in post-Resident Evil 2 sequels. She was one of the surviving S.T.A.R.S. members in the original Resident Evil and was the protagonist of Resident Evil 0, but not much is mentioned about her in games set after the Mansion Incident other than she survived.
    • As a rule, any peripheral character introduced in a new Resident Evil game who survives to the end has a 90% chance of ending up as this. So far there's Billy from 0; the aforementioned Rebecca and Barry from 1; Carlos and Nicholai from 3; possibly Steve from Code: Veronica (his survival is implied in the Updated Re-release, but of course the matter was never revisited again); Sheva and Josh from 5; Helena and Jake from 6; a half-dozen more in Revelations; and the Big Bad from the CG film Damnation. All either alive or suggested to be, many with dangling plot threads left behind. Some of them have been given mention in later titles, but — barring any examples that rehash earlier plot points — only Barry Burton made a second appearance in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 note , which was released almost twenty years since the original game.
    • Rebecca finally made a return to the franchise in late 2015, not in a video game, but in of all things, as part of a theatrical production called Biohazard: The Stage that takes place between RE5 and RE6. She makes further appearances in the third and fourth CGI films, Vendetta and Death Island, both of which are set between RE6 and RE7.
    • Speaking of Revelations 2, the game had this fate seemingly befall not only Barry's daughter Moira but Natalia as well. Both the regular Natalia and her Alex Wesker-possessed "Dark Natalia" identity.
    • Every character from the Gun Survivor gaiden games has been ignored, despite Resident Evil 0 making a point of mentioning Sheena Island from the first Survivor. As of Resident Evil 7: biohazard, the franchise has oddly started throwing bones to the Outbreak games, with Alyssa writing an article in that game and Rita Phillips of File #2 being name-dropped in the remake of Resident Evil 2.
  • Despite the Minimalist Cast the Kirby series generally has, even some of its Main Characters can wind up inexplicably absent for certain installments:
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the third Metal Gear game starring the young Big Boss, barely acknowledges anything from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (the previous game with Big Boss), other than a discontinuity nod by Miller (Big Boss' second-in-command in Peace Walker) about "leaving all the crap in San Hieronymo behind." This is likely the result of Portable Ops being the only canonical MGS game not directed by Kojima and none of its plot elements are ever brought up in Peace Walker.
  • Happens occasionally in several The King of Fighters installments: Goro Daimon (one third of the series' first main Power Trio) missed out on '99, 2000, XI and XV for example, and Sie Kensou likewise skipped 2003 and XV. XV was also the first mainline installment in which series mainstay Kim Kaphwan was absent at launch, though he would later be added as Downloadable Content.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! sees the conspicuous absence of a few major supporting characters, with varying degrees of justification.
    • Marcus apparently has the same monopoly on weapons distribution on Elpis that he does on Pandora, since all of the weapon and ammo vending machines still have his branding, but the man himself is nowhere to be seen. He's most likely still on Pandora running his business like always, but there's never any explicit confirmation of his whereabouts.
    • Dr. Zed, Pandora's resident Back-Alley Doctor, gets off even worse than Marcus; not even his vending machines stuck around, being administrated by Elpis's own Nurse Nina (although "Claptastic Voyage" includes some digitized reproductions of the ones from the first game in one of Claptrap's memories). Unlike Marcus, however, he already had an excuse carried over from the previous game: until Handsome Jack razed the town, he had no interest in living anywhere but Fyrestone.
    • Apparently Elpis is outside Scooter's jurisdiction, since his signature Catch-A-Ride stations are nowhere to be seen, leaving the niche to be filled by Janey Springs and her Moon Zoomies. While he's probably still on Pandora like Marcus and Zed, it seems odd that his own mother never even mentions him.
    • This time around, Angel, your Voice with an Internet Connection from the previous two games, isn't giving you any helpful advice; instead, most of that role goes to Handsome Jack, who hired you to hunt a Vault and now needs your help to defend Helios and Elpis from the Lost Legion. Of course, there's a really good reason for that one: Jack really doesn't want anyone finding out about his daughter. It's heavily implied that Jack has you hunting down ECHO logs in the sidequest "Boarding Party" not because they contain anything particularly incriminating on the Vault Hunters like he claims, but because they all involve him talking with Angel. She does make two brief cameos if you're paying attention, albeit not in "person": the ECHO logs in the aforementioned sidequest, and a photo on Jack's desk of her as a child.
    • Borderlands 3 also has some noticeable absences. The Pre-Sequel's ending sets up Athena and the Watcher as important players in the allegedly approaching war, but neither of them are anywhere to be seen in Borderlands 3.
  • The original LEGO Marvel Super Heroes featured Fantastic Four and X-Men characters quite prominently among both the heroes and the villains. However, by the time the sequel rolled around, Disney and Marvel had decided to avoid using them in any more adaptations because of the issues surrounding their film rights, leaving LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 unable to do much more than awkwardly hint at the events of the previous game. Ironically enough, shortly after the game's release, Disney and Marvel would regain the film rights to both sets of characters, making the entire thing pointless. The same film rights issues also seemingly led to the absence of any X-Men characters from Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, despite them having kicked off the entire series with X-Men vs. Street Fighter and remaining series staples up to that point.
  • Devil May Cry: Lucia was the Deuteragonist of Devil May Cry 2 and the first character other than series protagonist Dante to be playable and the first playable female character in the franchise. Thus far, Lucia is the only playable character of the Devil May Cry games to not appear in any of the following games. She does appear in the Devil May Cry 5 prequel novel Before the Nightmare but she hasn't appeared in any of the games since her debut in Devil May Cry 2.
  • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: None of the enemies, bosses, classes or supporting characters return in this game, nor do they get a nod or mention. Not even classic opponents like the Hex trio of pumpkin-headed FOE or the Elemental Dragons are exempt. There's a reason for that, but it's not revealed until the true ending of the game.
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl saw quite a few cuts from Melee. Dropping Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, Pichu, Roy (in favor of Ike) and Young Link (in favor of Toon Link). Dr. Mario would return in the next game.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U went all over the place with this. In the base game, Mewtwo and Roy were once again absent as was Lucas, but all three were added as DLC. Pichu and Young Link stayed absent. New removals included Squirtle & Ivysaur (with only Charizard going alone), Wolf, Ice Climbers (due to the 3DS unable to handle multiple Ice Climbers on screen) and Snake (due to Konami refusing to license him out).
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was designed to avert this trope. One of the game's taglines is "Everyone is Here!" and they mean it.
  • This was a big criticism of Street Fighter III. The vast majority of the characters from Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha were cut in favor of a new cast. Only Ryu & Ken were there in the base game, with Akuma getting added in Second Impact and Chun-Li added in Third Strike.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Kei Arasaka, who featured prominently in the TTRPG as the dutiful son of Saburo and Foil to Black Sheep Yorinobu, is completely missing and mentioned in passing to have died during the Time Skip between games.
  • Splatoon:
    • Since each game takes place in a new location, be it moving across town or another city altogether, most shopkeepers never return between entries. The only ones that have remained a regular presence across multiple installments are Sheldon (the weapons store owner in all games, justified in-universe by him wanting to headline each new branch of Ammo Knights himself), Crusty Sean (runs the shoe store Shrimp Kicks in 1, the Crust Bucket food truck in 2, and is on a bicycling trip in 3), Annie (runs the headgear store Cooler Heads in 1, before becoming an online merchant selling gear via the SplatNet app in subsequent games), and Murch (offers gear and ability adjustments in 2 and 3).
    • Splatoon 3 has the player characters of Splatoon 2's two single-player campaigns (Agents 4 and 8) completely absent, with them receiving no mention or acknowledgement from the rest of the New Squidbeak Splatoon. This is notable because the group is now headed by the player character of the original Splatoon.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield don't allow many of the older Pokémon to be transferred in, rendering them uncatchable.
  • Uncle Albert's Adventures: Despite being the player's guide in Uncle Albert's Magical Album and Uncle Albert's Fabulous Voyage, Tom seems mysteriously absent in Uncle Albert's Mysterious Island and his role as the guide is fully given to Alberto. It turns out in the end that he was accidentaly turned into a triceratops, the mysterious creatures mentioned throughout the game.

    Web Animation 
  • When Challenge to Win got a second season through Challenge 2 Win, no season one contestant returned.