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He's just become the strongest man on Earth, defeated the King of Demons (twice), turned down a God Job and gotten married. And it's not even the halfway point...
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A Series Fauxnale is an installment of a work that was originally planned to serve as its conclusion, but ultimately becomes known as just another (if particularly impressive) episode.

Perhaps the creators were uncertain of the future, so they produce something that can quickly tie up the big loose ends in the event they aren't able to continue, but then they were told they could. Perhaps they actually did complete the Myth Arc and this was the Grand Finale they always planned, but the work's immense popularity has the powers that be demand for them to continue onwards. Whatever the reason, a series finale of some kind was created, but the series went on after that, making that previous series finale a "fake" one.

It is likely to have all the attributes of Stock Series Finales. The natural result of a Post-Script Season, though some shows last for many, many years thereafter. If the following years of the work are considered lackluster, there'll be more than a couple of fans that claim Fanon Discontinuity on it, and say that this was when it really ended.

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Can overlap with Status Quo Is God if the new season, book, or film downplays, reverses, or just plain attempts to ignore anything done in the series fauxnale that would prevent the characters from engaging in their usual hijinxs.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • A strange example in the Black Cat anime, which reaches the end of the manga with Train defeating Creed and foiling his plans. Then suddenly, with only a single minor scene of Foreshadowing (and an entire story arc revolving around Eve's creator and her origins being strangely absent), several members of the Numbers are revealed to be The Mole for a whole other organization, and the series ends in a four-episode anime-only story arc instead that changes Eve's origins entirely. It can't even be explained away as a Gecko Ending, since the anime started a whole year after the manga ended.
  • Cyborg 009:
    • At first, fans assumed that the Mythos Cyborg arc might have also been intended as a finale. The arc ends very abruptly, with an explosion destroying everything and the narrator noting that there were no traces of any of the cyborgs left behind (leaving viewers to assume they'd died). However, the reality is that Ishinomori had trouble with the editorial department in Weekly Shonen King, who decided to drop the series as they felt the Mythos arc was too confusing and complicated for children to understand. Thus when given the final chapter, he ended things off in a rushed and ambiguous manner.
    • The actual original ending was the Underground Empire arc in 1967; however, fans did not take very well to the bittersweet (yet now considered iconic) finale in which Cyborgs 002 and 009 fall to Earth, dying upon re-entry and becoming a "shooting star" seen by two children. The brother wishes for a toy gun, but the sister wishes for peace. Fan outcry convinced Shotaro Ishinomori to resume the series soon enough, and he threw in a retcon for that ending. Although, as far as the Sega CD game in the '90s goes, this moment is where the series ends, and although the 2001 anime also loosely adapted the prologue of "Conclusion: God's War" as a post-series OVA, this moment was also intended to end the series.
  • Dragon Ball had multiple instances where the series might have ended, but didn't. Here are some of the better known cases:
  • Durarara!! ended in 2010 but was surprisingly renewed for another season in 2014. It helped that the first season only adapted the first 3 books of the series, and that it ended with a few lingering plot threads to be potentially explored in future episodes.
  • The Southern Cross story arc of Fist of the North Star (the first ten chapters of the manga and the first 22 episodes of the anime) was written so that it could stand on its own in case the manga wasn't picked up. Shin's status as Kenshiro's Token Motivational Nemesis (being the guy who engraved Ken's seven scars and stole his girlfriend) is cemented afterward when the manga continued beyond his death.
  • Fushigi Yuugi gives us an epic battle between Nakago and the Suzaku Seishi (and Seiryuu and Suzaku themselves!) in Tokyo before fast-forwarding to three and a half months later to symbolically wrap things up with Cherry Blossoms. This was supposed to be the Grand Finale for both the anime and the manga, but... y'know.
  • GaoGaiGar has a similar example to that of Pretty Cure's, with Big Bad Pasder being defeated for good in episode 30. Then the Primevals happened. This one's entirely a case of Your Princess Is in Another Castle!. It had only filled out half the episodes of any Brave Series and made it known by revealing King J-der's lovingly animated design and Stock Footage.
  • The second season of Hell Girl ultimately became this due to a third season coming along.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was the very first TV anime of Seven Arcs and was The Anime of the Game to boot, so it ends in a rather final way with the Big Bad dead, the MacGuffins safely secured, Fate having a tearful farewell with Nanoha, the last scenes showing everything going back to the way they were, and... whoops, looks like Seven Arcs' first attempt at a series was successful enough to kickstart a franchise! Contrast the finales of the subsequent seasons, whose Where Are They Now Epilogues are unambiguous in its intent of setting things up for the next season.
  • The Pain arc from Naruto which ended with Naruto returning to the village as a beloved hero, considering his beginnings as a lonely outcast, it feels conclusive to his character as a whole and the series could've ended there perfectly (for some fans they wish that was the case), if it wasn't for the dangling threads of a still missing Sasuke, Tsunade being put in a coma and Danzo taking control of Konoha, and Tobi's evil plot. But barring that, there's the Fourth Shinobi World War which serves as a very definite Final Battle for all involved and the Final Battle ends with Naruto and Sasuke finally reconciling, aside from a few loose ends being left unwrapped, like the fates of Orochimaru and Team Taka, there was the Distant Finale which felt like the definitive conclusion and finally answered which were the Official Couples. This of course was just the platform for the New Era Project consisting of Naruto Gaiden, Boruto: Naruto the Movie and Boruto: Naruto Next Generation.
  • The Pokémon anime:
    • It was originally supposed to end with the Indigo League, as that was Ash's ultimate destination. Plus, no one quite knew quite how popular the franchise would turn out to be. While he didn't win or even fight Gary, the last episode of the arc still gave off a finale-like kind of feel.
    • The end of the XY series also gives off a feel of finality, as for the first time a series ended with a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue sequence (featuring Ash's Rivals no less) and Montages of the highlight moments of the (human) party members, with Ash's being is a full-fledged Credits Montage. The episode even ends with "And to each [their] own way" rather than the usual "Next Time - A New Beginning!" However, this was not because this was the end of the animenote , but because much of the staff who had been on the anime for years were leaving at once.note 
  • Pretty Cure:
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica ended with Madoka becoming a goddess, and rewriting the laws of the universe so that magical girls wouldn't become witches. Thanks to runaway popularity, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion appeared, introducing new conflict between Madoka and Homura, and ending on a Sequel Hook. Several years on, though, it seems likely that the sequel movie itself was an inversion, since nothing more than vague implications that a followup might eventually come out have been produced.
  • Sailor Moon (both the manga and original anime) was supposed to have ended with original Big Bad Queen Metalia's defeat, but everyone knows that didn't happen....
  • The sports fest arc of School Rumble ends with Harima and Eri dancing together and it even says "THE END" (well, not really).
  • Sgt. Frog sort of does this in episode 51. In this episode, the Keroro ("A.R.M.P.I.T.") Platoonnote  receives a message from headquarters ordering them to return to Keron...or they will die. There are even scenes that show them packing everything up, and erasing everyone's memories (including the Hinatas'). It turns out though, that they only had to return for a regular medical checkup, and as a result they never really had to leave "Pekopon" after all.
  • Parodied in the first episode of Space Dandy, which ends with almost the entire main cast dying when Dandy's ship explodes and takes out an entire nearby planet, complete with "The End". Then the next episode preview happens, with QT asking "Didn't we all just die?", and the second episode continues on as if it didn't happen. This actually becomes plot important in the actual finale, as it foreshadowed Dandy's timeline hopping nature long before it was revealed
  • Episode 52 of Voltron (which is where the original source material of GoLion, which they dubbed over to make Voltron ran out) has the Voltron Force successfully attack Planet Doom, defeating Zarkon and Lotor, destroying their armies, and freeing all the slaves. Then the American studio that did the dubbing commissioned twenty more episodes, which had Planet Doom suddenly become a threat again, featured very bad writing, and ended on an episode that didn't really resolve anything.

    Comic Books 
  • Deliberately invoked with the Superman books during "The Death of Superman" storyline. The last issue of the second arc, "Funeral for a Friend," ends with Superman's body being returned to its final resting place, Lois accepting that her fiancee is gone now, Luthor getting past being unable to be the one to kill Superman himself, and Jonathan Kent apparently succumbing to a grief-induced heart attack as the last page shows him flatlining. The title of the story was even called "The End," and both the title and issue credits came at the end of the comic, and the issue was filled with tons of Continuity Porn flashing back to key events from Superman comics since the Post-Crisis reboot began. After that all the main Superman books went on hiatus for a couple months, with only a few specials and one-shots getting published during that period, before the books finally came back and began the "Reign of the Supermen" arc. In reality, DC was never intending to end Superman for good, and only put the books on hold to help build up the hype for Superman's eventual return.
  • The Final Night miniseries, which ends with Hal Jordan as Parallax sacrificing himself to relight the sun, was meant to be the final fate of the beloved Green Lantern after the "Emerald Twilight" and "Zero Hour" events turned him evil. The fans demanded Hal back, so he came back first as the new Spectre and then as Green Lantern in a major retcon.
  • A company-wide version of this happened just before the New 52, with all the characters with running series "signing off" In-Universe at the end.
  • The intended finale of Milligan's Shade, the Changing Man was supposed to be a Downer Ending, at the end of 'A Season In Hell' arc. Executive Meddling forced the creator's hand, and what followed may have made a better story under a different title (as Milligan probably intended.)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog issue 50 certainly has that final issue feel to it — Dr. Robotnik was dead, Sally (who was thought to be dead) was alive, everyone was safe from Robotnik's tyranny and, if the series stopped there, things wouldn't have felt off. Granted, though, this was probably due to Executive Meddling forcing them to alter the comic.
  • IDW's Transformers comic recently had a deliberate example. Issue 31 of the ongoing series is purposely written so that it can be used as the final issue for the entire IDW continuity. As such, exactly what's happened between the previous issues and issue 31 is unclear. It takes place hundreds of years in the future, Ironhide and Alpha Trion are some of the few remaining members of the original Autobots, the Transformers live on Gorlam Prime instead of Cyberton, and Megatron and Optimus Prime have disappeared. This has now been Jossed. Transformers: Dark Cybertron saw Gorlam Prime destroyed and left Ironhide concerned and suffered with depression that the happy ending he saw will not come to pass.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Just in case editorial had the series cut short, James Roberts, the author, did script a finale to conclude the series, but since he was given the go ahead for season 2, this all got released during the season's second arc. It has all the signs of "finality" in it, as the mysteries set up in the very first issue of season 1 (Brainstorm's briefcase, how the Sparkeater got into the ship, who sent the foreboding message from the future) are answered in a time travel plot that also details the start of the war (notably Megatron's birth), and we even learn how the ship the series takes place on, the Lost Light, was created. It also closes out the trilogy of Flashback arcs that were sporadically told throughout Roberts's and Costa's runs.
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    Fan Works 
  • The Halloween Unspectacular series was supposed to end with the conclusion of its Myth Arc in its fifth volume in 2014, due to the author getting tired of coming up with new entries each year. This seemed to hold up as 2015 came and went with no sixth volume, only for said sixth volume to come out in 2016, kickstarting a new Myth Arc and effectively serving as a Continuity Reboot, all thanks to the author getting back into the swing of things.

    Film — Animated 
  • Shrek Forever After was supposed to be the final Shrek film, but then it was followed by the Spin-Off movie Puss in Boots. In 2014, a fifth movie in the main series was announced.
  • Toy Story 3 was clearly meant to be the series finale. It takes place a full ten years after the first two films, is full of Calls-Back to the first two, ends with the grown-up Andy passing his toys on to another child, and has a shot of a cloud-filled sky as its final image, recreating the shot of Andy's sky-and-cloud wallpaper that opened the first film. But then came the announcement that Toy Story 4 was in the works.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • The Alex Rider series ended pretty conclusively in Scorpia Rising, with Alex losing Jack, the closest thing he had to a living parental figure and moving to America, seemingly done with adventuring for good. To drive the point home, the next book was a prequel. Then Horowitz decided to continue the series anyway. By the end of Never Say Die, Jack has turned out to be alive after all and Alex is back in England, the status quo restored.
  • The Harry Potter series was supposed to end definitively with Deathly Hallows. Then came a sequel, not in book form, but in theater: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a Spin-Offspring that deals with the aftermath of the "happy ending" of the last book, which turns out to be not that happy. And of course, there is no shortage of post-series supplementary materials churned out regularly by the author, many of which were released before Cursed Child was even a thing.
  • An in-universe example in Misery, where Annie forces Paul to write a sequel to Misery's Child, even though he had intended it to be the last of the series, and had gleefully killed off the main character.
  • Mog: "Goodbye, Mog" was initially meant to be the last book in the series and Mog appeared to be dead, but then "Mog's Christmas Calamity" got written and she was alive and well again.
  • The The Mortal Instruments series seemingly ended with City of Glass...which marked the end of the "first" trilogy and was followed by the first book in the "second" trilogy.
  • When, after five books, L. Frank Baum grew tired of writing Oz novels despite their popularity, he issued The Emerald City of Oz (1910) as a finale to the series, going so far as to state in the final chapter that with Oz now magically cut off from the rest of the world, there would be no further installments, as Dorothy could no longer communicate with him. Three years later, the financially struggling Baum, finding that his non-Oz books weren't selling, resumed the series with The Patchwork Girl of Oz, offering the in-universe explanation that the "wireless telegraph" enabled further communication between him and Dorothy. Thereafter Baum published seven more Oz volumes before his death, and the official series, under various writers, continued until 1963.
  • Many Rainbow Magic books were written this way. It's still ongoing.
  • Most famously, "The Final Problem" for Sherlock Holmes, in which Arthur Conan Doyle killed Holmes off in a struggle with Professor Moriarty. Because of public outcry, he eventually retconned the death and resumed the series.
  • The third book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series finished off all the content from the web comics, with a big "THE END" at the end of the book, but because the series became more popular in book form, the books continued for more installments.
  • Ramona Quimby: Ramona Forever definitely reads as if it were meant to be the last book of the series, ending with the birth of a new Quimby sister and with Ramona reflecting on all the past misadventures of her young life, with subtle shout outs to events from the previous books. But fifteen years later, Beverly Cleary followed it up with the true series finale, Ramona's World.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
  • The half season episode of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. titled "Crystal Hawks" was structured in case the series wasn't extended for a full season: Brisco catches John Bly, forms a partnership with Lord Bowler, resolves a No One Could Survive That! moment from the pilot, and finally gets some vague information on the series MacGuffin, the Orb. The final scene where Socrates tells Brisco that Bly had escaped Diabolus ex Machina style was put in once the full season order had come through.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't renewed for a Season 6 until about a week before the Season 5 finale aired. Thus, said finale is designed very much like an ending (even being titled "The End"), and wraps up with Coulson and May leaving the team and going to Tahiti in order to spend Coulson's last days in peace. Meanwhile, the rest of the team flies off on another mission.
  • All in the Family:
    • "The Stivics Go West", which wrapped up season 8 with Mike, Gloria, and Joey bidding a tearful goodbye to Archie and Edith and moving to California. Norman Lear had indeed intended for this to be the show's finale, but CBS executives (along with Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton) convinced him to let the show continue for another season without his participation.
    • It can be argued that the show's actual finale, "Too Good Edith", was this as well, since All in the Family was then Retooled into Archie Bunker's Place, which lasted for four more seasons. Ironically enough, that show - and thus the entire 13-year story of Archie Bunker - never got a proper finale.
  • Arrested Development: Season 1 finale, "Let 'Em Eat Cake", which ends with George Bluth escaping prison, Tobias and Lindsay reconciled, George Michael deciding not to pursue Maeby, and Michael Bluth deciding to let the family fend for themselves.
  • Arrow
    • If it weren't for confirmation of a season 4 literally right as it ended, you'd be certain that Season 3 was its last. Oliver retires to live a life with Felicity knowing that the city is in safe hands with the other superheroes around in Black Canary and Speedy, Diggle is hinted at becoming the new Green Arrow, Ray gets plenty of set-up for his spin-off show, Malcolm becomes the new Ra's Al-Ghul thanks to his deal with Oliver, and Nyssa returns to the League of Assassins in order to bide her time until she can avenge Sara's murder. Even in the flashbacks, Oliver is show to be capable of returning to Starling City when he wants but holds it off for his own reasons. Essentially all the major players and plots are accounted for in a fashion that doesn't leave viewers hanging in case the show couldn't have gotten renewed.
    • Similarly, despite already being renewed for Season 6, the Season 5 finale also has all the markings of a Grand Finale — it returns to Lian Yu, Where It All Began for both the show and the Arrowverse in general and which ends up entirely destroyed, has a Rogues Gallery Showcase of many of the series' most popular antagonists, and features a Final Battle with a Big Bad whose origins trace all the way back to Oliver's actions as the Hood back in Season 1. Plus, the Myth Arc of having flashbacks depicting Oliver's "five years in hell" backstory finally come to a conclusion, bringing the series full circle as it revisits the show's opening scene of Oliver being rescued from the island.
  • Happened to Babylon 5 when it appeared that it was going to be canceled at the end of its fourth season (five seasons had been planned). So J. Michael Straczynski (the show's creator and writer) squeezed the first half of the fifth season's plot into the three penultimate episodes at the end of season four in order to resolve most of the major story arcs, resulting in season four's second half containing nothing but Wham Episodes. Then the show got Uncanceled, season five happened on schedule, and JMS had to scramble to fill the gap in season five's plot by stretching out what was planned as a minor continuing storyline into a half-season-long arc. Most fans agree that the first half of season five is the weakest stretch of the entire show. It's worth noting that they filmed the last episode of the fourth season as the series-ending finale, but rather than run it there it was pushed to the actual end of the series.
  • The season 4 mid-season premiere of Battlestar Galactica, "Sometimes a Great Notion", was written with the intent of serving as a finale in the event that the 2007 writer's strike prevented the remaining episodes from being made. It would have been quite the cliffhanger.
  • Blake's 7: the third season ends with the destruction of the protagonists' almost-magical spaceship, the Liberator. It also kills off both chief villain Servalan and (off screen) original series lead Blake, leading to hasty resurrections when the show came back. In the 4th season, the actual series finale very strongly suggested the protagonists were all killed, but left a little wiggle room in case there was a fifth season. (There wasn't.)
  • The Season 10 finale of Bones ended this way, with Angela and Hodgins deciding not to move to Paris after all but to stay in DC, Booth recovering from his lapse into his old gambling addiction and reconciling with Brennan, and the two of them deciding to leave DC for a quieter life in Kansas, in order to protect both Christine and their as-yet-unborn second child. The show was still on the bubble at the time, so the producers wanted to end on a quieter And the Adventure Continues note in case this was the last season, but the show was renewed shortly before the finale aired.
  • Not explicitly, but the season 4 finale of Breaking Bad was written to invoke a feeling of And the Adventure Continues, since Vince Gilligan was not sure about a 5th season due to struggles between AMC and Sony.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: For its first five seasons on the WB network, every season finale was designed to serve as a satisfying series finale in case the show wasn't renewed. Sometimes that meant a triumphant Grand Finale, sometimes a tragic Bittersweet Ending, and sometimes an offbeat Dénouement Episode, but the season's Story Arc was always resolved (in fact, Buffy was one of the pioneers on American television of giving each season its own, specific Story Arc) and the characters brought to a satisfying (if occasionally depressing) point in their personal journies. The show changed networks from the WB to UPN starting with the sixth season, and UPN signed a contract guaranteeing the show two seasons on the air. Since Season Six was the only season filmed without worries about whether the show would be renewed, the Season Six finale is the only one in the series to end on a Cliffhanger.
  • Castle ended its seventh season on a quieter note without any glaring cliffhangers, unless you count whether Beckett will decide to accept the rank of Captain or take Kaufmann up on his suggestion to run for State Senate, and ended with Castle and his family and friends having dinner together and looking forward to the future. As with the Arrow and Bones examples cited above, the series was on the bubble at the time the finale was produced, but renewed around the time it aired and lasted one more season.
  • Central Park West's first season concluded with an episode that functioned as this, given the show was in danger of being cancelled due to middling ratings. Lead character Stephanie Wells returns to her publisher job (having been shuffled off to a retreat in the previous episode) and reasserts her dominance at Communique, humiliating her managing editor in the process, before she and her husband decide to leave New York and take their chances back in Seattle, having had enough of the politics and backstabbing and wanting to save their marriage. Despite this feeling of finality, the episode did set up additional storyarcs, including newspaper columnist Alex deciding to fake her pregnancy so she can marry Peter Fairchild, and a media tycoon comes to New York and enlists stock broker Gil to help him take over Rush Media.
  • Charmed:
    • In season 1 the episode "Wicca Envy" was meant to act as the finale should the show not get renewed for more episodes. It features the closure of the Rex/Hannah story arc and features a nice uplifting ending where the sisters proclaim themselves "witches for life".
    • The seventh season ended with the gals forsaking magic and assuming new identities, due to the possibility that the show might not be renewed.
  • Chuck: Since the show lived in a state of perpetual doubt, it was peppered with a good number of them.
    • Season 2 had "Chuck Versus the Ring", with Chuck and Morgan both quitting the Buy-More only to return the very next season, Chuck's nemesis dying a Heroic Death, and Chuck losing the Intersect only to get a new, more powerful one.
    • Season 3 had "Chuck Versus the Other Guy", in which Chuck's nemesis died and Chuck and Sarah resolve their Unresolved Sexual Tension, and "Chuck Versus the Ring, Part II" has the Buy-More destroyed only to be rebuilt by the CIA in time for the next season.
    • Season 4 was originally planned as a 13-episode season, before being extended to 24; and the show's future was still in doubt. The mid-season one was "Chuck Versus the Push Mix", where Ellie gives birth to Clara and Chuck and Sarah get engaged. Episode 24 ended with Chuck and Sarah getting married, Vivian happily reunited with her father (and leaving the newlyweds Volkoff Industries), Chuck and Sarah getting the team back together for their own private spy venture... and Morgan becoming the Intersect. The title? Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger.
  • The intended finale of Citizen Smith got turned into a Fauxnale due to Executive Meddling. Originally, the series was going to end with Wolfie Smith being chased out of Tooting by an irate local gangster. The BBC decided that they didn't want the series to have a Downer Ending though, and so they took an episode that was originally intended for the middle of the final season and repurposed it as a Christmas Special, implying that the whole mess seen in the finale blew over and Smith's life went back to normal.
  • Community:
    • With its lagging ratings and mid-season hiatus, the series' continuation into a fourth season was uncertain. The third season finale ended with a Last Episode Theme Reprise, a relatively happy ending for the main characters, and a sense that "if it ends here... that's not too bad."
    • The fourth season had one of these as well, since they didn't expect the last second renewal for a fifth season. The finale ends with Jeff and Pierce finally graduating from Greendale and Jeff giving a touching speech about how his friends have changed him and made him a better person throughout the course of the series. He then states that even though he's leaving, he'll still pop in from time to time to hang out with his old friends. It's ambiguous enough to both serve as a Grand Finale moment (but not as blatant as the season 3 finale) and open the door for future episodes.
    • The fifth season also has one of these, since nobody involved could have predicted that the series would be picked up by Yahoo Screen. This finale involved the discovery of the original founder of Greendale and his massive wealth, allowing the study group to prevent Greendale from being turned into a Subway Sandwich University, only for Chang to take all the money and spend it on replacing his teeth with diamonds without anyone (apart from a concerned Abed) noticing. The ending also had Abed commenting that, if they weren't coming back the following year, it would be because an asteroid has destroyed human civilization. ("And that's canon.")
  • Corner Gas' Season 4 finale "Gopher It", where Hank pitches an idea that takes off, eventually leading to Corner Gas and the Ruby getting bought out by a large chain gas station, Emma being elected mayor, and Lacey leaving Dog River to open up a restaurant in Toronto (among other things). At the end of the episode, it is all revealed to be one giant Imagine Spot by Hank after Brent, Wanda, and Lacey told him to think about his idea before pitching it. It was actually a parody of grand finales; the show's creator did end it on his own terms two years later, with a much more subdued finale.
  • CSI: New York did this in its seventh season with 'Exit Strategy', which had Mac leave the NY crime lab to work on identifying the remains of 9/11 victims. It turned into a 10-Minute Retirement, and he came back in season 8. In season 8's finale, Mac was shot by a drug store robber and spent the episode in a Near-Death Experience, in another finale. The show was renewed for a 9th season, which ended up being the last.
  • The second season of the Dallas 2012 Revival ended with a plot that more-or-less wrapped up the overarching storyline that stretched back all the way to the beginning of the original series, as the showrunners didn't know if they'd be renewed for a third season. The Ewings finally beat Cliff Barnes once and for all, by framing him for J.R.'s death, putting him in prison for a life sentence and winning Ewing Oil back in the process. While there were still a couple of lingering plot threads (namely, Elena turning bad and going down to Mexico to ally with a childhood friend, John Ross cheating on Pamela with Emma), the entire plot was resolved and all the characters were happy. Compare this to the third-season ending, which concluded with multiple cliffhangers (Christopher seemingly being blown up in an explosion, Pamela having medical issues, Southfork being set on fire again) that were never resolved due to its cancellation.
  • The Season 1 finale of Dead Like Me was filmed as an adequate ending to the series, with George finally accepting her life as a Reaper and her family reconciling with her death, but the series ultimately got one more season... and then a direct to dvd movie five years after that. Though a lot of fans choose to ignore that last one.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The last episode of "Survival" at the end of season 26 was thought likely to be the last episode ever, so a closing epilogue was added:
      "There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace — we've got work to do!"
    • Death Comes to Time might have been intended as this for Doctor Who. It came out in 2001, when the show had been off-air for 12 years, save a TV movie in 1996, although the huge Expanded Universe was still running. It has a universe where the Time Lords have either been mostly killed off or are withdrawing, possibly tying into the Eighth Doctor Adventures at the time. It also has the Doctor dying in a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy rogue Time Lord Tannis and save his companion Ace, and Ace gaining Time Lord powers, bringing about a new age for the Universe. However it, oddly enough, features the 7th Doctor instead of the 8th, who was the current Doctor, and in many ways feels unlike Doctor Who, with aspects like changing Time Lords from Sufficiently Advanced Aliens to Reality Warpers. Thankfully Doctor Who was revived 4 years later, and "Death comes to Time" is now generally regarded as an Alternate Continuity, though some fans use it to de-canonize the TV Movie and revived series.
    • In a downplayed example that concerned an era rather than the entire show, the two-part Series 10 finale "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls" was supposed to be the Grand Finale for the Twelfth Doctor. It wraps up his Myth Arc, gives definitive fates to both of his companions, his Arch-Enemy Missy, and her previous incarnation Harold Saxon, and has a spectacular Final Battle against several generations of Cybermen which results in the Doctor having to regenerate. However, when incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall informed outgoing Steven Moffat that he didn't want to use the annual Christmas Episode as the Thirteenth Doctor's debut story, and Moffat then learned that there would be no more Christmas episodes if a year was skipped, he rewrote the story to give a Ray of Hope Ending to the Twelfth Doctor that directly led into his actual final episode, "Twice Upon a Time", which wraps up a few more loose ends before he becomes Thirteen.
  • Dollhouse has one of these as its DVD-only 13th episode of the first season, jumping ahead a decade or so and showing that the technology showcased has, not unsurprisingly, been used for terrible purposes. The end result? Worldwide apocalypse! Shockingly, the show was not canceled, but the second (and now final) season moved in a direction that indicates that episode is the likely conclusion. This is a Joss Whedon show, so a happy ending was probably never likely anyway.
  • Downton Abbey season 2 ended with Mary and Matthew getting engaged and Sybil getting pregnant.
  • Due South:
    • The second part of "Victoria's Secret" was intended to be a series finale, since it wasn't known if the show would return after the first season. When it was renewed, "Letting Go" was filmed to give the storyline a happy ending.
    • The second-season finale, "Flashback", is a clip show that was intended to be the final episode (finishing with a "journey continues" ending) after it was cancelled by CBS...then it was picked up by CTV Television and resumed in Canada.
    • The third-season finale, "Mountie On The Bounty," ended with Fraser choosing to stay on with the Chicago Consulate and had a definite finality to it...and then the show was renewed again for a fourth and final season. Though whether MotB is a finale or not depends on your region-some areas air the third and fourth seasons as a single season.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had "Philadelphia Story" which was supposed to be the finale but when NBC brought the show back, they had NBC reps kidnap Will and bring him back to Bel Air in the beginning of the next season.
  • Friday Night Lights: "State", the season one finale, where the Panthers go to the state championship. The third season finale "Tomorrow Blues" also served as this in case the move to Direc Tv didn't work.
  • The writers of Glee weren't sure the show was going to be picked up for a full first season. The 13th episode (which was as many as they had confirmed at first) was specifically written to be decent enough series finale if they got cancelled. (Glee club won their competition and the major plots of the first 13 were adequately wrapped up) However, the show ended up being a hit and got picked up for at least three seasons before the first season was finished.
  • As Gotham is an origin story for the familiar Batman mythos we all know and love, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Season 3 finale is the final episode of the series — all the Canon Foreigners are Killed Off for Real or revealed to have been a Canon Character All Along, Penguin not only retakes his spot as Gotham's top crime boss but also opens his famous Iceberg Lounge, Gordon is more determined than ever to be the cop Gotham needs (setting him up for his role as The Commissioner), Selina is taking her first steps towards becoming Catwoman, and in the final scene, Bruce is on his first outing as a vigilante (complete with proto-Batsuit). However, the show had already been renewed for a fourth season by the time the episode aired.
  • Strangely, the Volume 4 finale to Heroes feels like one of these. Sylar is seemingly defeated once and for all, and all the Heroes come together to contemplate the future and start "a new beginning". There's just two little hitches in the plan...
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • The first 13 episodes ended with "Drumroll Please" in which Victoria would be the mother. When more episodes were ordered, Victoria was Retconned into being just another of Ted's girlfriends. Similarly the last episode of season 3 was created with the idea that Stella would be the mother if the show didn't get renewed.
    • The season four episode "The Leap" was also written as a possible send off for the characters which could easily function as a series finale.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O ends on a satisfactory note, but was so popular movies were made to follow it. Then there was "Farewell, Kamen Rider Den-O: The Final Countdown." That sounds like a done deal, right? Nope, then came The Onigashima Warship, and the Super Den-O Trilogy. The name "trilogy" makes the third of those films final-sounding... but then came "OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go, Kamen Rider!" And so, the climax goes on.
  • The first two season finales of Leverage were written to be possible series finales. "The Second David Job" (season 1) ends with Nate getting Blackpoole ousted from IYS and the team splitting up. "The Maltese Falcon Job" (season 2) ends with Nate shot and about to be arrested while the team escapes. The show ended up running five seasons.
  • Little House on the Prairie wraps up things at the end of season four. Mary comes to terms with her blindness and the entire citizenship of the now financially crippled town of Walnut Grove gather at the church one last time to say goodbye. The show was then picked up for a fifth season.
  • Magnum, P.I.'s episode "Limbo" in which Magnum walked off into the sunset - after having been shot and in a coma, visiting his friends one last time as a spirit.
  • The third-season finale of The Mentalist would have been the big finish if they hadn't been renewed, given that it ended with Jane finally killing Red John. Then season four happened after all, and the first episode hastily re-establishes the status quo by revealing it wasn't him after all, and letting Jane off with the murder.
  • Miami Vice features a very interesting example of this. The show, which premiered in 1985, faced dismal ratings when it aired and was in danger of being canceled. To that end, the producers Retooled the series with a two-part episode that also served as a finale if the show was canned. The 2-parter, "Calderone's Return", killed off Crockett and Tubbs' commanding officer, resolved Crockett's relationship with his ex-wife Caroline and completed Tubbs' quest for vengeance against the man who killed his brother...then the series was renewed for a second season, and the show continued.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Season 7 finale, the last on Comedy Central, where Mike and the Bots escape the SOL and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, and Dr. Forrester is transformed into a baby.
    • Season 10 ended with Pearl accidentally sending the SOL crashing down to Earth, and Mike and the Bots living in an apartment. This was the ending for 15 years, before Joel Hodgson brought the show to Kickstarter, where it was successfully funded for a full new season.
    • Season 11 ends with Jonah eaten by Reptilicus Metallicus during his forced wedding to Kinga Forrester, as there was no guarantee of Netflix greenlighting another season when it was shot. Season 12 was announced a few months later (during the Turkey Day marathon).
  • Word of God says that the episodes of NewsRadio at the end of seasons two, three, and four were made with the expectation that they would be the finale. The actual finale was also made with enough wiggle room in case the show could continue.
  • Night Court: Season 8 is over. Dan quits his job and loses the Phil Foundation fortune. More importantly, Harry and Christine have professed their love to one another. OK, that's the end. What's that? We've been renewed? Oh, crap!
  • Northern Exposure: "The Quest", where the show's main character finishes his work in Alaska.
  • While the seventh-season episode of The Office (US), "Goodbye, Michael", is not technically an instance of this trope (as the show was always intended to continue past the departure of Steve Carrell's Michael Scott), it certainly feels like it could have brought a serviceable end to the series. Interestingly, for such a major change in the show's history, "Goodbye, Michael" wasn't even the season finale, there was still three more episodes left.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • "Going Home", where the entire plot of the series is wrapped up completely in a Bittersweet Ending up until a very literal Sequel Hook shows up at the last minute. A strange case of this trope since it was only the midseason finale, with another eleven episodes already in production when it aired, so the makers of the show obviously already knew it wasn't going to be the end when making it.
    • "The Final Battle" in Season 6 is a more straight example, as it once again wraps up the series' plot and gave sendoffs to most of the main cast, but the creators did not know for sure if there would be another season afterward. As it turns out, there was, and it would be that following season's finale that was the ending of the series.
  • One Tree Hill had many of these:
    • First, with the gang graduating high school and then Lucas and Peyton driving away with their baby.
    • Then at the end of season 7, the cast is shown playing on a snowy hill, and the parting shot was to have been all of them walking up the hill. When a renewal was assured, a cliffhanger scene was tacked on after that.
    • The final scene in Season 8 recreates the first scene of the series, with Jamie replacing Lucas as he dribbles a basketball across the bridge.
  • Only Fools and Horses: The December 1996 trilogy of Heroes and Villains, Modern Men, and Time On Our Hands were originally intended to be the Grand Finale for the show (the final episode pulling 24.1 million viewers), but another trilogy broadcast between 2001 and 2003 soon came.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): The Season Six finale "Final Appeal" was intended as the final episode as the series had been cancelled by Showtime but it was picked up for a seventh and final season by the Sci-Fi Channel.
  • Parks and Recreation, according to co-creator Mike Schur, has done this several times, due to the show's shaky ratings.
    • The showrunners were worried that, since Parks was a midseason replacement in season 3, that it would be cancelled soon after. So they wrote the season 3 finale, "Lil Sebastian", as a possible series finale.
    • The season 4 finale, "Win, Lose or Draw" was also written as a respectable finale with Leslie winning the city council election.
    • The season 5 episode "Leslie and Ben" was also written as a series finale because it was the last episode of the front 13 produced.
    • A unique case with the Season 6 episode "Moving Up" with Leslie accepting a new job with the National Parks Department, the Unity Concert, and a 3-year time skip. The show had already been renewed but the storylines of Season 6 were well in place pre-renewal. So they just went with it and Season 7 was a Post-Script Season.
  • Planet Ajay's finale episode, "Highlights Show", is set up to be like this, and likely would have been a straight example if the show went on any longer after its only 13-episode season. The episode is a Clip Show where Chips the robot is trying to remind Ajay, who is packing up to go on a 2,517-year-long trip around the universe, of all that his friends did for him on Planet Ajay, but he fails to persuade him not to take the trip. Ajay decides against going on the trip at the last second, however, and he instead decides to throw a party for everyone on Planet Ajay... but he makes this decision right around the end of his 30-minute stay on Planet Ajay (Ajay travels to the planet via a magic ring whose magic wears out after 30 minutes), and he has to travel back to Earth.
  • Police, Camera, Action! has had this trope four times.
  • Power Rangers has had a bunch of these; even if you don't consider the Super Sentai formula was adopted after Season 6, making every season finale a series finale, because of the amount of times it has been Un-Canceled:
    • Due to a lack of understanding and faith in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers for long-term survival by the various networks, when it was finally given its chance by Fox it was only meant to last for one season of 40 episodes total, only to be replaced by a more suitable long-term show once found. The show's intended series finale would have been the two-part episode "Doomsday" in which Rita Repulsa would have been permanently defeated in a similar manner as her counterpart in Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Due to the show's unforeseen popularity however, the ending of "Doomsday" was changed at the last minute to leave open the possibility of future episodes. In addition, new suits and footage were quickly and specially commissioned from Toei by Saban to expand the first season to 60 episodes total, as Saban had only minimal usable footage of Zyuranger left after the first 40 episodes. At the same time Saban also secured the rights to use footage from subsequent Super Sentai shows for future Power Rangers seasons.
    • The finale of Power Rangers in Space, "Countdown to Destruction," was also made to end the series, with almost all the villains of the past and present launching a full-scale conquest of the universe, only for Zordon's death being required for his power to spread through the universe, reducing the overwhelming majority of the villains to dust and purifying a small handful of fan-favorites into non-evil humans.
    • Wild Force was also meant to serve as the last season for the series, as the plan was for Disney (who'd bought out the series) to end it and put it into syndication. The seasonal content reflected this; in addition to featuring a 10th anniversary special that had every Red Ranger ever return, the two-parter finale was tellingly named "The End of the Power Rangers." And then someone convinced Disney to move filming to New Zealand and cut costs by a third.
    • The season finale of Power Rangers RPM was supposed to be the series finale until Saban picked up the rights to the franchise again. It is the finale for Disney's ownership of the show, for better or worse. Its predecessor, Power Rangers Jungle Fury, was also intended to be the last season, but the toy company begged them into one more season - RPM.
  • Prison Break: "Sona", the second season finale.
  • The frequent uncertainty over the future of Red Dwarf since it was Un-Cancelled in 2009 means that each series finale has had to be written bearing in mind that it might be the last ever (excluding the eleventh series, as it was filmed back-to-back with the twelfth series). Including the original 1988-99 run, there are five different episodes that could have served as the last ever. The more recent ones have more consciously tried to serve as potential last ever episodes; "The Beginning" provides a Bookend to the very first episode, and "Skipper" is largely based around Continuity Porn.
  • Saturday Night Live has several:
    • The last episode of season five hosted by Buck Henry with musical guests Andrew Gold, Andrae Crouch, and Voices of Unity. It even ended with the remnants of the original "Not Ready for Primetime" cast running out of the studio as the "ON AIR" light flashed off for (what seemed like it would be) the final time.
    • ...Then along came NBC's decision to continue the show, which, at first with Jean Doumanian and her cast (save for Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo), was a bad idea. The last Doumanian-produced episode hosted by Bill Murray was also written as the last one...until Dick Ebersol stepped in as Doumanian's replacement.
    • The last episode of season 11 (hosted by Anjelica Huston and Billy Martin with musical guest George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic) was written as the series finale as well, due to the low ratings and terrible reviews the show had gotten during the season. The final scene had everyone in the cast (except for Jon Lovitz) locked in a room that Lorne had set on fire. When the show was given a second chance at life, the final scene (and everything about season 11) was written off as All Just a Dream ("...a horrible, horrible dream").
    • The last episode of season 20 (hosted by David Duchovny), much like season 11, was also a series fauxnale that had a large majority of cast members killed off (as seen in the "Beastman" cold opening and the last sketch where the popular male cast members all throw themselves in a polar bear cage exhibit at the zoo).
  • Scrubs was intended at least two years beforehand to end with its eighth season. It almost didn't get an eighth season due to the TV Strikes, but Channel Hopped from NBC to ABC (who owned the show) and ended with a Grand Finale that both poked fun and emulated most series finales... before being picked up for its ninth season, with a mostly new cast.
  • seaQuest DSV:
    • "An Ocean on Fire", where the titular sub is destroyed.
    • Happened the following season: "Splashdown", where the titular sub is abducted by aliens, brought to an alien planet to save one faction from the genocidal evil faction, realize they're actually working for the evil faction and try to stop the evil faction, have most of the main cast trapped in an underwater facility which they blow up (either being incinerated or drowned), the sub being sunk in combat with a huge hole punched through the ship, and only Lucas (a boy genius), Dagwood (a genetically engineered gentlegiant), and Darwin (a regular dolphin) having escaped. Episode ends with Lucas promising Dagwood they'd somehow find a way back to earth and make sure the seaQuest's fate wasn't forgotten... followed up with the caption "seaQuest DSV will return..."
  • 7th Heaven is a weird case, as they weren't told to wrap it up because they were being canceled—they were intending to end the show after 10 seasons. Then The CW told the writers that they wanted the show around to help with the transitional period after the merger, so make an eleventh season. It... wasn't as well-received as the previous seasons.
  • Season 1 of Sledge Hammer! ended with a very large bang, as Inspector Sledge "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" Hammer attempted to disarm a nuke... and failed. When the show got picked up for a second season, the cliffhanger was handwaved away by setting the new episodes "five years earlier", while continuing all ongoing story elements and character development unchanged. More precisely, they explained that the Season 1 finale took place five years later.
  • Stargate SG-1 had four of these throughout its run: the finales of seasons 5, 6, 7 and 8:
    • The first two came when the writers were almost sure the network would end the series, and both ended on cliffhangers that were intended to lead up to a follow-up theatrical movie, which in turn would set up the spinoff series Stargate Atlantis; both times, the series got renewed for a new season after all.
    • For season 7, the planned theatrical movie was reworked into a two-episode Grand Finale that would lead directly into Atlantis — but the series was renewed yet again, resulting in the finale's ending being rewritten so that Atlantis would be set in a different galaxy (to limit crossovers, as it was going to be contemporary with SG-1 rather than replacing it).
    • Season 8 had a full-blown multi-part Grand Finale that ended with an epic battle, the defeat of every major antagonist in the series, and the resolution of 8 years worth of character threads and plotlines. In fact, it wrapped things up so completely that the next season necessitated a complete Retool of the show. Ironically, when the series was actually cancelled after season 10 the writers were expecting an extra year, so they weren't able to make a proper Grand Finale — instead, the series ended with most major storylines unresolved, and the planned arc for season 11 was reworked into a direct-to-DVD movie follow-up Stargate: The Ark of Truth.
  • Supernatural:
    • The second season finale saw the Winchester brothers finally defeat the enemy they'd been pursuing since the first episode, as due to the series not quite yet being one of the iconic shows on the CW and renewal had yet to be confirmed, which is one reason that plotline was wrapped up so in case the show didn't return it at least would have an acceptable ending. Although there was a slight cliffhanger with Dean selling his soul and only having a year to live, it wasn't as in your face about it as most other cliffhangers, having more of a "just business as usual" feeling rather than a big Oh, Crap! moment like the others.
    • The fifth season is a pretty good example, even with the Sequel Hook at the very end. The story that had been building for the past 5 seasons had finally been resolved, the Big Bad was defeated, series creator Kripke stopped writing the show, and it could have all been over. Except it wasn't, it wasn't even at the half way point!
  • When Super Sentai suffered its lowest ratings with Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman to the point that it was facing cancellation, it was ultimately decided that Choujin Sentai Jetman (inspired by Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, which was one of the major influences for the franchise itself) would be the final season. Jetman's finale ended with a bittersweet "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue taking place three years after the show in which Gai (now a businessman) gets stabbed by a mugger after saving a woman who got mugged by him and spending his last dying moments sitting on a bench, but on a happier note, Ryu and Kaori get married, Ako becomes an idol singer and Raita is now a farmer. The good response actually saved the show from being cancelled and the show has continued airing since then.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth, the third series of Torchwood was written with the possibility of it being the final series in mind, as the BBC seemed very unlikely to renew it for a fourth series, despite higher than ever viewership. So to make it conclusive, Ianto is Killed Off for Real, Torchwood as we know it is wiped from the records, and Jack leaves Earth forever, too plagued by the guilt of his grandson's murder to stay. Oh, and Gwen is pregnant. However, the series was picked up by Starz and BBC Worldwide, and a fourth series, Torchwood: Miracle Day was aired two years later.
  • Season 5 of Veep ends with Selina leaving office without any chance of taking part in the new administration, while her staff all go their separate ways onto new things. However, by the time this episode aired, the series had already been renewed for a sixth season.
  • Wheel of Fortune: Happened twice in the summer of 1980, as Fred Silverman was desperately trying to retool his daytime schedule to get rid of all game shows. The first time, a mock-up schedule scrubbed Wheel in favor of a 90-minute (and, some claim two hour) daytime talkfest hosted by David Letterman. Although Silverman was prepared to give Chuck Woolery time to say goodbye for the June 20, 1980 program, Wheel ultimately was spared, but almost wasn't as lucky later in the summer when Silverman ordered an hour-long version of Another World and a new soap opera called Texas. In this latter case, a finale was ordered for August 1, 1980, with host Chuck Woolery inviting then-wife Jo Ann Pflug onstage to thank the viewers for "5-1/2 wonderful years," and kissing both her and hostess Susan Stafford on the lips after Stafford said her farewells. The show was completed sometime in early July 1980 ... but then NBC decided instead to trim Letterman's struggling show to 60 minutes, meaning Wheel again was spared. That meant a hastily edited program airing on Friday, August 1, editing out Woolery's farewell speech (although an extended full-length closing credits was still shown); on the following Monday, Woolery laughedly explains why they were back so soon.
  • The finales to seasons 1 and 3 of The Wire were written as potential series finales, wrapping up all existing plot threads and concluding with a distinct air of finality, because in both instances the creators didn't know whether the series would be renewed for additional seasons.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place wrapped up nicely with an hour-long last episode in which Justin wins the Wizard Competition but decides to hand the baton to Alex. Then comes the second movie in 2013.
  • The X-Files:
    • The Movie was meant to be the ending of the show, then Fox decided to hang onto their cash cow a while longer. The film's third act shows definite signs of being hastily rewritten to leave things open enough for the series to continue (Cigarette Smoking Man showing up in Antarctica and then leaving without actually doing anything being the most obvious).
    • Word of God says that "Requiem", the last episode of season seven, was written to serve as a series finale if they didn't get picked up again. Some X-Philes actually use it that way.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The 2015 revival of Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling could have ended after a year with FMW For Whom the Glory is Final ~ FMW Disbands Immediately If it Doesn't Become a Full House Special. The turnout was apparently adequate, though, as it kept going.
  • As it wasn't clear if Lucha Underground would get picked up for a second season, the first season ended with Catrina, Mil Muertes, and the Disciples of Death capturing most of the championships and taking control of the Temple, while Dario Cueto had to go on the run.

    Puppet Shows 
  • According to this Defunctland podcast, the final episode of Bear in the Big Blue House was going to be "And To All A Good Night", which had several signs of it being a finale, with the most notable being the scene where every character who ever appeared on the show sang the Goodbye Song together. This was because the cast was not sure if the show would be renewed for a third season.

    Toys 
  • LEGO Ninjago was originally intended to end in the first half of 2013, with the sets' boxes even being labeled as "The Final Battle", not to mention that the storyline in the TV series was also wrapped up with a series finale depicting the events of said Final Battle. And then? LEGO releases this teaser image, signalling the toy series' comeback and the announcement of a season 3 for the TV series.
  • BIONICLE was supposedly originally planned to only last for three years, hence why 2003 ended with the Big Bad Makuta seemingly defeated by Takanuva. In spite of this sense of finality, there's still The Reveal of Metru Nui and behind the scenes concept art that show that the twist of the Matoran Universe actually being within Mata Nui who is a giant robot was planned from the very beginning.
    • This eventually expanded even to the actual Grand Finale of the toyline, as the storyline continued in the form of online serials...that were ultimately Left Hanging.

    Video Games 
  • The first five games of Assassin's Creed were focused on the story of Desmond Miles and his ancestors, with Assassin's Creed III set up as the Grand Finale of his exploits; The franchise was followed immediately with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and the subsequent games now follow the consequences of Desmond's adventures and are more Myth Arc driven than actually following a single storyline.
  • beatmania IIDX 16 EMPRESS + PREMIUM BEST was intended to be the final consumer version of beatmania IIDX, featuring the usual bells and whistles of an arcade-to-PS2 port as well as a PREMIUM BEST disc that features a compilation of songs from the original IIDX to beatmania IIDX 15 DJ TROOPERS, with 198 playable songs between both discs. However, beatmania IIDX INFINITAS would come along for PC six years later.
  • The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ was intended by Edmund Mcmillen to be the final DLC for the remake, with its new ending clarifying several plot points established by previous endings. But a popular Game Mod, Antibirth, was released just a couple weeks earlier, and Edmund liked it so much that he decided to officially re-release it as part of the upcoming Repentance expansion.
  • Dead Space 3 seems to end on a decisively final conclusion for Isaac, the Markers, and the Necromorphs. Then the Awakening DLC comes along to continue the story, ending on a grim cliffhanger. Shortly afterwards the series was put on indefinite hiatus due to "poor" sales performance, leaving the plot hanging on a very dark note.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 had an air of finality to it, with the game taking place 30 years after the demise of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza and the fate of the original animatronics, the murdered children and their killer being revealed. Overall, it felt like a fitting end to the series... and then the actual Grand Finale was announced. Then even that turned out to be not-so-final after all! And 3 isn't even the last game chronologically anymore.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: BioWare fully admits they didn't know if the game would sell well enough to launch a franchise, so they added more detailed player choices, lasting consequences, and epilogue slides detailing the fates of each character and location for decades to come to wrap things up. When Origins sold well enough to launch the Dragon Age franchise, BioWare gently retconed the end slides to be in-universe "rumors", and avoided adding too detailed player choices and end slides for subsequent games, to keep future stories open.
  • Gothic IIIs Golden Ending not only solves the main conflict of the series (the proxy war between the gods), it also places the Nameless Hero into an entirely new world with no return. It's directly stated that peace will ensue and that there is no way this happy ending could be reversed. However, thanks to Executive Meddling by the publisher, the infamous Gothic III: Forsaken Gods was made, in which the war didn't end, so the Nameless Hero had to return to Morgrad, which turns the original Gothic III into this.
  • Halo 3 was meant to be the conclusion to the Halo series. It was even marketed with the tagline, "Finish the Fight". But seeing as how Halo is Microsoft's main series, they couldn't stop making Halo games, so they made some spin-offs, and then a direct sequel to 3. To be fair, the new saga does deal with a different fight.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series have not only one, but two fake grand finales:
  • The Mass Effect games followed the adventures of Commander Shepard against the Reapers and Mass Effect 3 was the conclusion to the "Shepard Saga"; however the franchise will continue with Mass Effect: Andromeda.
  • Most Mega Man subseries have had this at least once:
    • The classic Mega Man games were evidently intended to wrap up with Mega Man 6; this is apparent in the tone of the music, particularly the songs used for the title screen, final stages and final boss, and after the final boss Mega Man arrests Dr. Wily.note  Mega Man 7 came along and opens with Wily escaping from prison, then 8 came along and became another Series Fauxnale before 9.
    • The Mega Man X games were intended to end with Mega Man X5 then segue into the Mega Man Zero series, until they made X6 without Keiji Inafune's involvement and the series continued with X7, X8 and Command Mission.
    • Mega Man Zero 3 would have concluded the trilogy if Zero 4 wasn't made.
    • Mega Man Battle Network was evidently intended to end with 3, but still continued for three more games and several spin-offs.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is this after the announcement of Metroid Prime 4.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver were designed with the assumption they would be the last installments in the franchise, as nobody at Game Freak was certain at how long the series' popularity would last. The main story features the dissolution of Team Rocket, and the second half of the game focuses on the player revisiting the Kanto region and challenging the old Gym Leaders. The game climaxes with a fight against Red, the player character from Red & Blue and the True Final Boss. Ultimately, Gold & Silver were wildly successful and proved that Pokémon had enough staying power to continue work on the franchise.
  • The Professor Layton series was initially planned to be a trilogy (and was announced in Japan as such), which is why Professor Layton and the Unwound Future wrapped everything up. But neither the fans nor the staff wanted the series to stop at three games, and Level-5 continued the series by announcing a trilogy of prequels (similar to Star Wars minus the giant gap in release dates).
  • Resident Evil 5 seems like it was designed to be the finale of the series. Original protagonists Chris and Jill reunite (under some very unique circumstances) and series Big Bad Wesker finally takes direct action after several games of plotting from behind the scenes. The game also brings the Umbrella Corporation to a final end with the death of founder Oswell E. Spencer, and reveals the true origins and motives of the evil pharmaceutical company. In the end only a few plot threads were still left hanging, mostly involving Sherry and Ada Wong. Subsequent games have either been interquels or had the feel of a post-script game (or a post-script interquel).
  • R-Type Final was supposed to be the last of the series. However, it was soon followed by R-Type Tactics in 2007 and R-Type Tactics II: Operation Bitter Chocolate in 2009, and recently, a sequel to Final has been announced.
  • The endings of both the second and third Sly Cooper games were designed so the series could feasibly end there. Then came Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time in 2013.
  • Traveller's Tales wanted to end Crash Bandicoot with The Wrath of Cortex, which billed itself as the game where Crash defeats Cortex for good and seemingly makes good on its promise in the real ending where Cortex and Uka Uka are banished to the arctic. Vicarious Visions then got hold of the series, releasing Crash Nitro Kart, The Huge Adventure and N-Tranced, which are set in VV's own timeline and give Cortex a Snap Back, before TT continued the series from the latter with Crash Twinsanity, which is set 3 years after Wrath and starts with Cortex escaping his banishment.

    Webcomics 
  • Back when the Mega Man Sprite Comic was just a series of Filler Strips, Bob and George ended the sprite comic in September 2000 by having Dr. Wily kidnap the Author and kill him, paving the way for the intended real comic (a hand-drawn one) to be launched the following month. After more than a week of the hand-drawn comic, the Author felt it wasn't working out, so he abruptly brought the sprite comic back for good and had the storyline be about the title characters stuck the Mega Man universe.

    Web Original 
  • Death Battle's hosts had to release a video soon after the season one finale battle between Goku and Superman ended with the Earth being destroyed, letting fans know that there's going to be more Death Battle - this was just a Season Finale, not the Series Finale.
  • Eddsworld's final Legacy episode "The End" was originally intended to be the series finale, as it was the last full-length eddisode produced with Thomas Ridgewell as showrunner. However, shortly after the release of "The End (Part 1)", Edd's mother Sue Gould revealed on twitter that she would be taking over as showrunner, which was later confirmed by Edd's sister Vicky Gould.
  • The end of each story arc of Red vs. Blue, especially Episode 100, which actually served as a Grand Finale when it was released. Notably, it had multiple endings thanks to the magic of the internet, and wrapped up the five seasons of the Blood Gulch Chronicles and could easily have ended the series. The endings of Season 8, 10 and 13 are all deliberately poignant and could serve as series finales.
  • The Spoony Experiment nearly ended with the Final Fantasy VIII series. Noah was having camera issues, and was about to move out of his parents' house, and didn't know whether or not he'd be able to pick up where he left off so he killed off :"The Spoony One" leaving in a Sequel Hook by a Linkara cameo.
  • To Boldly Flee was intended to be the end of The Nostalgia Critic, as Doug Walker felt he had exhausted any new ideas for the character. However, in "The Review Must Go On", it was announced that the Critic would be coming back due to Doug coming up with more ideas to do with the character. The show also underwent a slight Retool to aid in relieving production stress; reviews were scaled back from weekly to bi-weekly, with editorials from the Critic filling the gaps. note 
  • Translations Gone Wrong: The translation-gone-wrong for "I'll Fly" has a montage of previous translations and the words "The end", because Nevel the creator wouldn't have enough time on his hands to make more videos for a while...but when that while ended, he started making more translations.
  • Ultra Fast Pony's season one finale, "The Longest Episode", plays out like an ending for the entire series. It ends with an oddly sincere Friendship Moment between the main cast, and is followed by a text "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. Then the end credits are extended, with the series creator Wacarb thanking everyone who's helped or inspired him. However, in his notes on the video, Wacarb states that he fully intends to continue with a season two. Sure enough, the second season followed, a few months later.
  • Video Game Legends was supposed to end in January 2014 with its 14th episode. There was even an in-episode montage of the series up to that point. Cue 'Reunion' not even five months later.
  • I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC: After ten years of Marvel and DC butting heads and comparing their movies, the failure of Justice League (2017) and the hype behind Avengers: Infinity War has pretty much made the DC heroes disillusioned as hell about their franchise and the vitriol their arguments set off. Fed up with how their cinematic universe has been mocked to hell and back, the DC heroes concede that Marvel has won the debate. Both sides shake hands and head out to see Infinity War as friends, with Spider-Man telling a customer that Stan's Bar is closed...Then Deadpool appears and reveals he's hatching a plan with Rorschach to get the heroes to complain about each other again.
  • Phelous's Jacob's Ladder review, which sets up what seems to be Phelous's final death. His living room, usually covered in his toy collection slowly empties, and upon realizing he's pretty much gotten everyone he possibly can to cameo on his show already, he resorts to having his Real Life self cameo instead. By the end of the review, Phelous realizes that he's been dead since the Mac and Me review and exits his house, saying goodbye to his audience. Come the next review, Phelous comes back to life and continues to review things. Though, considering he no longer dies in his videos, the Jacob's Ladder review did serve as a finale of sorts.
  • Fittingly enough considering the source material, Episode 60 of Dragon Ball Z Abridged comes across as one of these, given it covers the same events of Goku sacrificing himself and passing the torch onto Gohan. At the time the script was written it was certainly possible it would be the finale, as Team Four Star wasn't even sure they could continue the series due to time constraints, other projects, and Youtube issues, but the post-stinger blurb confirmed they would eventually do the Buu saga.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has the aptly titled episode "The Finale", which parodied the notion of negative continuity and showed that everything the Wattersons have done in the series has consequences, leading to them being imprisoned and, at the end, mobbed by the entire town who wants them dead. Seems like it would make a nice finale...if you ignore the fact that the show had been publicly renewed for a third season before the second season was halfway done.
  • American Dad!
    • The infamous season 7 opener, "Hot Water", was written to be aired as a finale when the writers weren't certain Fox would renew the show. When it was announced that American Dad! would continue, the episode was turned into a season premiere that was wildly non-canon (since the episode ended with Stan dying and failing to stop the demonic hot tub) and meant to be a special stand-alone episode.
    • "Blagsnarst: A Love Story" is another, with the entire series revealed to be Stan reading a story that chronicles how Kim Kardashian was born and putting a book called American Dad! on FOX on a shelf next to some classic novels (The Brothers Karamazov, Moby Dick, From Whom the Bell Tolls, and War and Peace).
  • Archer: Despite the massive Cliffhanger ending in which the main character is seemingly murdered, the season 7 finale was this. By Word of God, they weren't sure if they were going to get renewed or not, but felt that Archer's death would be a good place to end the series if they didn't. However, they also included a few hints towards ways the Cliffhanger could be resolved if they did get renewed, which, luckily for fans, they did.
  • As Told by Ginger has "Butterflies Are Free". For a show largely centered around the junior high experience, it focuses on graduation from junior high and even contains a retrospective montage with clips from earlier episodes at the very end. Despite this they do not Graduate from the Story. There's another season dealing with the characters in high school, and especially Ginger's maturing love life.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force played with this by naming one Season Finale "Last Last One Forever and Ever" and ending it with the titular trio moving away, with Carl poignantly saying, "Truly, they were an Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Then it was revealed that the producers were already planning new episodes, and the next aired episode revealed that the Aqua Teens moved into the other house next to Carl's. At the end of the episode, the Rabbot from the first episode returns and destroys the house. The Aqua Teens fully expect a Snap Back, but it doesn't happen, so they go back to their old house.
    • The episode "The Last One Forever and Ever (For Real This Time) (We Fucking Mean It)" plays off as a Grand Finale, which ends with Shake and Frylock dead and Meatwad starting a family. Three days later, the real final episode, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" was leaked onto the [adult swim] website (and aired on TV a week later), which was more in line with a typical Aqua Teen episode.
    Shake: Come on, really?
    Carl: So that's it? That's how they end it, the series?
  • According to Bob Forward, the writing staff of Beast Wars didn't know if they were going to get a second season... So at the end of the first, there was a Detonation Moon, Optimus Primal "died", and the Predacons soon would outnumber the heroic Maximals by a game changing margin. A similar thing happened at the end of the second season, which ends with Megatron causing the fabric of time itself to start unraveling. In both cases, this was meant to imply that if there wasn't another season, it meant the world had ended. Of course, over the course of season 2 it was revealed that they were on Earth All Along, and if either Bad Ending was completed it would have meant both the end of the Beast Wars and the Ret Gone obliteration of all of Transformers: Generation 1, so it's a good thing that didn't happen.
    • The original series has one of these as well. The third season finale concluded with "The Return of Optimus Prime" this saw the return of many, many characters as a galaxy wide threat that forced Autobots, Decepticons, and even Quintessons to work together to thwart it. Optimus was returned to life officially, the Autobot Matrix of Leadership depleted, and Galvatron seemingly cured of his madness enough to declare a truce with the Autobots. There was still an entire wave's worth of toys remaining, so an additional shortened Season 4 was released that resumed the war, but saw Cybertron returned to living status.
  • The third season (2010) of The Boondocks ended with the episode "It's Going Down" where Huey foils a fake terrorist attack, and Granddad deciding to move out of his gated community. That was it until the fourth and final season aired in 2014, without Aaron McGruder's involvement (though [adult swim] and most viewers pretend that the fourth season never happened, with [adult swim] only airing Boondocks reruns up to "It's Going Down".
  • The Crumpets: "Sound The Alarm" was the final episode of the second season and the original batch of episodes. It features the developing relationships of the teenagers Caprice and Marylin, and Pfff and Cassandra, then it concludes with a Concert Climax and Pa mentioning a "happy ending". Afterwards, two more seasons were made and also focuses on the teenagers. The episode retrospectively serves as a bridge to the events of the newer episodes; however it is the last episode of the original episodes' English dub which has its own voice cast and due to the show's partial YouTube release and geographic availability it's difficult to find some of these episodes including this one. The newer episodes have probably yet to be released in its entirety in English.
  • Dexter's Laboratory, the show so nice it did it twice! First was the Season 2 closer, "Last But Not Beast", a crossover where Dexter and his family, Monkey, and the Justice Friends battle a Kaiju. Genndy Tartakovsky didn't think this episode was a satisfying conclusion so he made an hour-long TV movie, "Ego Trip", where Dexter teams up with versions of himself from other time periods. Three years later, Cartoon Network noticed the amazing ratings even the reruns were pulling down and produced two more seasons without Tartakovsky's involvement.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy
    • The Season 4 finale, "Take This Ed and Shove It", said that the entire series was all just memories being remembered by Eddy in his old age. Season 5 then came along and retconned this, while also having its own Fauxnale titled "A Fistful of Ed", in which the Eds finally end an episode being fully content. This was followed by two more episodes, before the series was definitively wrapped up in the movie.
    • Another one that almost happened for Ed, Edd, n Eddy was a series finale known as "All's Ed That Ends Ed". It was written specifically to act as the series finale, revolving around the Eds and the rest of the kids trying to stop the cul-de-sac from being demolished for a construction project.
  • The Fairly OddParents! and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius had the final Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, which was the intended finale for both shows. However, both series were renewed and the crossover rewritten as a result.
  • Family Guy's "Meet the Quagmires" (where Peter travels back to the 1980s, kisses Molly Ringwald, and goes back to a reality where Lois is married to Quagmire and Peter is married to Molly Ringwald) and later, the 100th episode "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie". (That explains why the episode ends with a mid-sentence cut-to-black parody of The Sopranos' series finale, just be glad that you don't hear Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" playing in the background.)
  • Futurama has had THREE of these:
    • "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings" rather sweetly concluded the fourth season, and it was canceled for several years...until the straight-to-DVD movies, culminating in the second finale, Into the Wild Green Yonder, which ended with all of the major characters flying into a wormhole, not knowing where in the universe it would bring them, but admitting it didn't matter if they never found their way back to Earth, as long as they had each other. Then the show was completely Un-Canceled, and it was revealed that the wormhole led straight to Earth.
    • Season 6's "Overclockwise" was a third series finale in which Bender overpowers himself and Fry and Leela worry about their future together. The show writers created it in case Comedy Central didn't pick up any more seasons. The network ended up greenlighting two more seasons though, with the actual finale being "Meanwhile".
  • Justice League had two: "Starcrossed", which is the Grand Finale made before the decisions to change it into Justice League Unlimited, and "Epilogue", expected to be the last episode of the DCAU, before another season was ordered.note  It should be mentioned that every Justice League and Justice League Unlimited season ended with a multi-part blowout that would serve as a finale in case they didn't get picked up again. The reason for this is because the previous DCAU series (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Superman: The Animated Series) never got any major pay-offs due to being dropped unexpectedly. When the creators got to do Justice League, they decided to always end each season with a bang, just in case there weren't anymore. That said, Epilogue was the most final of these finales, and it went on one more season after that.
  • Kaeloo: The episode "Let's Play Bye Bye, Yoghurt" was originally intended to be the series finale, and it had the characters re-create moments from past episodes and ended with a Pet the Dog moment between Mr. Cat and Quack Quack. The show wound up getting renewed, but this was the final episode of the English dub.
  • Kim Possible: The Made-for-TV Movie So the Drama was expected to be the end of the show as a result of Disney Channel's then-ironclad 65 episode rule, complete with Last Minute Hookup. Then they got another season due to fan demand. Oddly enough, So the Drama debuted while there were still five unaired episodes (including one Two Shorts episode) that nominally took place before it, and one of those episodes didn't even air until over a year after So the Drama, by which time the Postscript Season was in the works.
  • King of the Hill had the episode "Lucky's Wedding Suit," in which Lucky and Luanne got married (and, in a shining example of Continuity Porn, many single-episode characters showed up). The show was later renewed for three more seasons (with the final episode being "To Sirloin with Love" where Hank finally discovers that Bobby has a talent that doesn't embarrass himnote  and the series ends with everyone gathering for a small, neighborhood barbecue and showing that Kahn can give his daughter a break in studying, Luanne and Lucky are happy together as a married couple and parents, Dale can please his wife better than John Redcorn, and Boomhauer has a job as a member of the Texas Rangers...and then there were the four Missing Episodes only viewable on syndication (both cable and free-to-air TV) and streaming sites, with "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day"note  as the final broadcast episode).
  • The final episode of The Legend of Korra's first season, "Endgame". The show was innitially only commisioned for one season. As such, it wrapped up all the major plot points: Amon's true identity is revealed and he is defeated, Korra enters the Avatar State for the first time, the love triangles are resolved by Korra and Mako getting together, and Korra learns how to restore the bending that Amon had taken away from others. However shortly after airing, Nickelodeon commissioned the other three seasons.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had a shorter, 13-episode third season due to the series being intended as a 65-Episode Cartoon. The season finale is a Musical Episode that changed the status quo when main character Twilight Sparkle authors her own magic, Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence, and returns as an alicorn princess. However, the overwhelming popularity of the series resulted in a fourth season of the show and a Spin-Off being ordered, leading to the episode being rewritten to loosely be the first part in a three-episode arc. The show would go on to have nine seasons, while the Equestria Girls spin-off would see several movies, specials, and shorts in its own right.
  • Each season of Littlest Pet Shop (2012) felt like the series could've ended on that point. Season 1 ended with an episode where protagonist Blythe moves away to another state for a few years, only for her to suddenly return in the Season 2 opener because she hated living there so much. Season 2 then ended in a two-parter in which Blythe's amateur fashion design gained international recognition and she was on the fast track to going pro. Nothing really became of that, and Season 3 went on like the other two seasons, then ending with another two-parter with Blythe founding her own convention and becoming a celebrity via the talents her friends and family have demonstrated over the previous two seasons, even ending in a Climactic Music sequence. Then, like with Season 2, life just went back to normal for her. The series ended with Season 4 though, so the finale there was for real.
  • A rather Genre Savvy example: the season one finale of Phineas and Ferb titled "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted" was actually made halfway through the first season; that way the producers had a final episode that they could neatly wrap up the series with all ready to air, in the event that the Disney Channel didn't renew the show for a second season or ended up cancelling it prematurely. The series naturally went on to become one of the longest-running shows in Disney Channel history.
  • The Powerpuff Girls originally ended with the season five episode Musical Episode, "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey" in which the girls make a deal with a reality-altering gnome to rid Townsville of the villains plaguing it in exchange for their powers. Realizing that evil still lurks in Townsville in the form of a cult formed by Gnomey, and that evil will always exist as long as there is good, the deal is broken and they go to stop him. For years, this episode never aired in the United States, only becoming available years after the show's run through the complete series DVD set and digital download.
  • ReBoot ended its third season assuming that there wouldn't be a fourth season. Aside from the Daemon story started in season 3, everything was wrapped up nicely. However, the fourth season ended up being the last one...with a massive cliffhanger ending that was supposed to lead straight into season 5. It wasn't even addressed in the "continuation" of ReBoot: The Guardian Code... but we don't talk about that 'round these parts.
  • Although there aren't many loose ends to tie up, most Robot Chicken season finales involve the show being canceled, should life imitate art. Given the show's high ratings leading to things like two-season orders, at this point, it's purely a Running Gag.
  • The original run of Rugrats ended with an episode where Angelica was moving away, and Tommy told the others he would miss her. When the others asked for clarification, Tommy explained how it was Angelica who made them all friends, complete with a flashback origin story. It turned out Angelica didn't have to move, but it ended up in one of her purest Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments, and because of that the series later got renewed.
  • Samurai Jack had the episode "Aku's Fairy Tales," a largely comedic episode centered around Aku telling fables to a group of young children, altered to feature him as the protagonist and Samurai Jack as the villain. After failing to entertain them, Aku leaves frustrated. The kids tell their own story, wherein Samurai Jack reaches a portal to his own time period after striking down Aku once and for all. This episode, despite taking place in the imagination of children, was meant to provide some semblance of closure if the show were not renewed.
    • The show averted this when it was cancelled after the fourth season. The final episode was another short story like most episodes, involving Jack returning a baby to her mother. Fortunately, Adult Swim did revive the show in 2017, giving it a proper and official ending.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When it first aired in 1999, some fans thought the season 10 finale, "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo", was (or would be) the final episode, since the chalkboard gag showed Bart writing "I am so very tired", which they thought was the writers telling viewers that they were tired of doing the show. This was later Jossed.
    • The season 11 finale, "Behind the Laughter", reveals that the Simpsons are actually Animated Actors and the episode serves as a reflection of the show's own rise to success. The episode finally reveals Where the Hell Is Springfield?, addresses the show's recent decline in quality, deconstructs many of the show's running gags, and ends with Homer stating that this'll be the last season.
    • The season 23 episode "Holidays of Future Passed" was slated to be the final episode, as FOX was having budget issues with the show. Once everyone agreed to take a pay cut in order to keep the show afloat for at least two more seasons, this was re-framed as a Christmas Episode. The show is currently on track for 32 seasons.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Despite the blatant Negative Continuity the show has, the creator made it clear that the first movie will always be the series finale canon-wise, no matter how long the show goes for or how little sense it may make due to material in any given post-movie episodes. Naturally, the series carried on due to Executive Meddling, and even spawned another movie (albeit with no direct link to the first one).
    • "SpongeBob's Last Stand" was thought to be the Grand Finale (and its name also suggests this), with a Near-Villain Victory (Plankton has successfully driven away business from the Krusty Krab, and Mr. Krabs was ready to hand over the Krabby Patty secret formula, until a bunch a jellyfish stopped that from happening by going on a rampage, making it a Didn't Think This Through moment for Plankton).
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: After it was cancelled in 2013, the show's truncated sixth season was released on Netflix, culminating in "Sacrifice", an episode focussing on Yoda that brought the show to something of a conclusion. At the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that a seventh and final season would release in 2019.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The writers admitted season one's "Mirror Gem/Ocean Gem" was approached as though the network would decide not to renew the series for a second season. The episode revealed that the Crystal Gems were aliens rather than mystical beings, that all the monsters they've fought are also Gems, and had Steven successfully use his abilities on command for the first time. The episode's ending conversation between Garnet and Pearl was also originally meant to be more conclusive. The show ended up being renewed for more episodes early enough that it was replaced with a vaguer exchange that would help set up the remainder of a now extended season, with the two-parter now being a midseason finale.
    • The season five finale "Change Your Mind" concludes the show's Myth Arc (the Crystal Gems defeat the Diamonds and convince them of the error of their ways, the Corrupted Gems are cured, Steven makes peace with his mother’s legacy, Homeworld is heading towards a brighter future, the Off Colors make it to Earth, and most of the major plotlines are conclusively wrapped up) and serves as a much stronger example due to a sixth season not being officially confirmed at the time, making parts of the fandom believe this was the finale, barring the TV film.note  The show's creator was upfront about wanting them to end this season on a high note, whether or not it actually became the end of the show.
  • Teen Titans: The three-part finale of the fourth season, meaningfully titled "The End", pitted the Titans against Trigon in a post-apocalyptic wasteland for the sake of the entire universe. Then the show was renewed for a fifth and final season, with two separate endings: a straightforward Grand Finale featuring every major character in the show, and a much more downbeat Dénouement Episode focusing on Beast Boy and a Back from the Dead Terra.
  • The fifth season of Totally Spies! ended with the spies leaving WOOHP and saying their goodbyes to Jerry. This was later followed by the Spin-Off The Amazing Spiez, in which they made occasional cameos, and a proper resurrection of the main series in 2013.
  • The "Contest of Champions" arc from Ultimate Spider-Man was written to serve as a Grand Finale for the show, but at the last second, Disney XD picked up the cartoon for one more season.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: "Defender of All Universes", the Season 6 finale, has a sense of coming full circle in its conclusion that makes it feel a lot like a series finale, even when it was made with the full knowledge that they had two more seasons. If not for the fact that Honerva was still out there, the story could have wrapped up in that episode. There's even a unique credits sequence for it. Quite possibly a Mythology Gag referencing the original Voltron, which as mentioned above, also had a Series Fauxnale as its 52nd episode.
  • The first Winx Club movie was clearly intended to be a proper ending to the series with Bloom finally finding her real parents (after three whole seasons of searching for them), and Sky asking her to marry him, but then we're given a Sequel Hook in which the Trix are possessed by the ancestral witches...and a desire for revenge. Afterwards, the fourth season premiered in Italy...
  • The 1990s X-Men cartoon:
    • Episode 13, "The Final Decision", has a number of arcs cleanly tied up in case the series wasn't renewed: The Sentinels are defeated, Beast is released from prison, Senator Kelly stops his anti-mutant rhetoric, Magneto and Xavier form a truce, Rogue and Gambit share an Indirect Kiss, and Cyclops asks Jean to marry him. It ends with a clearly-tacked-on voice-over by Mr. Sinister (and it sounds nothing like the actor who eventually played Mr. Sinister! It was all very quick-and-dirty.) to set up the next season's arc.
    • There was also "Beyond Good and Evil", written to be the finale. It was a massively massive four-parter where damn near everybody takes part in an epic that crosses time and space, from ancient Egypt to the present to Bishop's future to Cable's future and Deathbird (who was standing in the background when Fabian Cortez met Apocalypse back in "Sanctuary;" you knew there was something to that!) shows up. In the end, Apocalypse appears to be defeated once and for all. And they get renewed. The actual finale was more quiet and emotional than either of the blockbuster epic finales: Professor X is dying, and we get some Tear Jerker moments, character exploration, and one fight that ends when Magneto is told he can help save Xavier's life. As it ends with Xavier leaving for intensive care in the Shi'ar galaxy, with those he taught as the caretakers of his dream, it is named "Graduation Day."

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