Follow TV Tropes


Ship Tease
aka: Ship Teasing

Go To

"Hold on, I have to appease the shippers now."
Tommy Oliver, Truncated Power Rangers

Many fans 'ship. These fans often do it all the time (context or no) especially in certain demographics. Producers, especially those who keep their finger on the pulse of the audience, not to mention their eye on the fan fora, know this. So, they decide to tease the fans with hints about possible romantic entanglements, and thereby build that emotional attachment between the show and the audience as much as they can. If the writers are particularly impish, they'll tease a relationship that either never comes up or takes a hard right just as it gets going. Like a sudden death. Sometimes, however, ship teases evolve out of the teasing stage.


See also: Will They or Won't They?, Subtext, Fanservice, Never Trust a Trailer, Tonight, Someone Kisses, Literally Falling in Love, Implied Love Interest. Can end up as a Romantic False Lead. A best-case scenario is for a pairing to undergo a (canonical) Relationship Upgrade. Occasionally cheated by way of All Just a Dream or Alternate Reality Episode. Probably the cruelest method of Ship Tease is the Moment Killer. Contrast Ship Sinking.

Not to be confused with Striptease (heh heh, it sounds like "strip").


Examples with sub-pages

Examples without sub-pages

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Superman:
      • There was considerable Clark Kent - Lois Lane teasing in Krypton No More. Lois is jealous when a co-worker flirts with Clark and decides to pursue him aggressively. She even calls him her man.
      • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. As usual in a Gerry Conway story, there's Spider-Man/Mary Jane Watson and Lois Lane/Clark Kent teasing. At the end, both couples have dinner together.
      • In Greg Pak's Action Comics arc, "What Lies Beneath", there's quite a lot of hinting that Clark and Lana Lang are still in love with each other. to the point that Ukur even lampshades it, claiming they smell like a mated pair.
      • In For the Man Who Has Everything, Alan Moore has Wonder Woman kiss Superman, with this exchange:
        Superman: Mmmm. Why don't we do that more often?
        Wonder Woman: I don't know. Too predictable?
      • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, it's heavily implied that Clark and Lois slept together when she stayed the night at his apartment.
      • Supergirl (2005) Annual 2 was full of Belligerent Sexual Tension between Supergirl and Brainiac 5, culminating with Kara kissing him and Querl vowing he wouldn't let her die alone during her final battle.
      • Jonathan Samuel Kent has been teased with Kathy, his only friend in Hamilton after the Kent family move there. He trusts her enough to be his secret keeper and they frequently hang out, clearly enjoying their time with each other. Even after it was revealed that she was deceiving him the whole time, she cherished Jon enough to ultimately try to defend him from Manchester Black, later going so far as to forcibly remove Manchester's consciousness from his body. Afterwards, they part on amicable terms and are implied to talk to each other on the phone from time to time.
    • Batman:
      • Batgirl (Rebirth): Although they haven't gotten back together, Batgirl and Nightwing are teased heavily, to the point Black Canary says Babs unconsciously thinks no man other than Dick is good enough for her.
      • Batman Family started the idea of the Dick/Barbara pairing... although it was pointed out both in the comic and the letters page that Barb was older than Dick by a good 7 years.
      • In Batgirl (2009), Damian Wayne comments that he was "really hoping to meet Cassandra. She sounds wonderful." Steph immediately worries what will happen when Damian hits puberty.
      • In Streets of Gotham, Damian asks Dick if Katana is seeing anyone. When Dick points out that Katana is a grown woman while Damian is only a child, he shrugs it off.
      • Dick Grayson generates this every time he shows up in a book that stars a female character. His appearances in Supergirl and Power Girl are very notable among the shipping fandom.
    • In Wonder Woman: The Contest, Hippolyta and Philippus have an intimate meeting to talk over strategy, at night in lingerie, decades and several continuity reboots before their relationship became canon.
    • Green Lantern: Between Hal Jordan and Pengowirr, who is actually the AI of his power ring, in The Green Lantern. Morrison and Sharp even describe her as Hal's true love.
    • JSA Classified: Alan Scott and Jimmy exchange what can be oh so easily taken as a flirtatious exchange while leaving their shared sleeper room aboard a train, right before Jimmy was killed in an explosion. This romantic relationship was eventually revealed to be cannon, but hidden given the time period, following DC Rebirth bringing both characters back into continuity.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Nico and Karolina from Runaways, especially in the first issue after Terry Moore's run ended. After a game of "truth or dare" leads to Karolina stealing a magic staff from a bunch of white supremacists. Nico tells her "You pretty much always amaze me" with the two of them staring at each other. When pressed on whether Karolina, Victor or Chase is the better kisser, she eventually snaps and admits "Karolina". This is despite that they never actually got beyond Almost Kiss... as far as we know. Oh, and it ends with her chiding the boys for being "such 'phobes" while she and K have Intertwined Fingers.
    • Uncanny Avengers has Rogue and Deadpool playing this trope big time. Rogue couldn't stand him at first, but they slowly developed a genuine bond -enough so that Wade takes Rogue to see his daughter, whom he asks Rogue to watch over if she becomes a mutant. Rogue readily agrees to have Ellie's back. In addition to shared moments here and there between the two that hint at deeper feelings. It finally comes to a head in chapter 22, when Rogue gives him The Big Damn Kiss. Afterwards, Deadpool tells her that she deserves better, and that she only likes him because she doesn't fully know him. Rogue kisses him again -unmoving in her feelings. She tells him that the stuff in his head is a relief after having Red Skull in her's. He notes that as the most romantic thing anyone's said to him. In the next panel we see them continuing their kissing elsewhere.
      • Word of God states that the two seem very lonely, and admits that while the majority were rooting for Rogue and Gambit, he wanted to try something new and unexpected. Chapter 23's recap classifies Rogue and Deadpool's evening previous chapter as their first date.
      • However it doesn't last as Rogue goes back to Gambit when Kitty and Colossus are unable to go though with their wedding and Gambit proposes to her. They are Happily Married and Deadpool shows up on their honeymoon, being a bit jealous of Gambit.
    • In Marvel 100th Anniversary Special, Kirby and Victoria apparently shared a kiss on a previous mission, and seem pretty bashful around each other. Interestingly, Kirby is the grandson of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, while Victoria is the granddaughter of Doctor Doom.
    • Prior to the Ship Sinking with the former's reversion to his evil self, Sabretooth & Monet had it for two books, starting in Cullen Bunn's Uncanny X-Men and continuing into Greg Pak's Weapon X. For now, the ship's biggest fuel is Everyone Can See It, with six characters commenting on them having feelings for each other. Other examples include.
    • Runaways and Young Avengers both do this pretty often, but their Civil War crossover really went crazy with it. Tommy calls Nico hot, Nico calls Eli cute, and Victor calls Cassie an angel after she saves his life (he didn't think people actually did that). On top of that, the Tommy/Kate/Eli Love Triangle and the Vision's crush on Cassie are more apparent than ever.
    • In the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill and Mantis have several moments, starting from early on. However, since the series was cut short, and the change of writers with the next series, nothing came of it.
    • In Uncanny X-Men, Magik is one of the three people who still trusts Cyclops as a leader, and there are plenty of moments where he comforts her during the resurgence of her Limbo trauma. She later expresses relief upon finding out that he hasn't gotten back together with Emma. note 
    • Happened constantly between Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson during Dan Slott's 2010-2018 run. They remained for the most part Amicable Exes, but it was made clear multiple time that there were still unresolved feelings on both sides. They finally got back together at the end of the very first issue of Nick Spencer's run when he took over in 2018.
  • The title character and Michelle in Cerebus the Aardvark. They get along reasonably well, and there are mild implications that something intimate may have happened, but nothing comes of it and they eventually part on cool-but-not-completely-unfriendly terms.
  • Demon Knights does this relentlessly with Exoristos and Shining Knight.
  • Donald Duck get several in European comics.
    • In Paperinik New Adventures despite Donald supposedly being in a relationship with Daisy (not that she ever appears), he has several seemingly romantic moments with Xadhoom and Lyla Lay. In the sequel Pk 2, he has this with co-worker Tempest Gale.
    • With the superpsy Kay K in Double Duck. often seems very affectionate to Donald and sometimes flirt with him. Especially after her Heel–Face Turn with she become one of the heroes working often with Donald, her official "partner". Naturally she claim with Daisy that are Just Friends, but again she is a good liar.
  • The final page of the final story in Volume 5 of Empowered shows the scantily-clad eponymous character giving the likewise scantily-clad Sister Spooky a big hug. She also appears to be stroking Spooky's hair.
  • In Kick-Ass, for better or for worse, a lot of the scenes between Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are framed from an odd angle where it looks like one is kissing the other (the dialogue bubbles dispel the notion, but the imagery is there), in addition to the two being about as close as anyone in the comic can be. The very large age difference may put it into No Yay territory, but Hit-Girl being both more mature and more experienced may not, so it's a YMMV/perception thing.
  • My Little Pony Micro Series:
    • In Issue #3 Rarity brought a picture of Spike with her to sleep with... and of Applejack as well, leading to this interesting Twitter conversation with Price and Cook, unaware of the fandom's fascination with shipping.
    • The Nightmare Arc might as well be called "Secret of My Excess, Part 2" for all the Spike X Rarity moments. For one thing, Spike brings the Fire Ruby, plus Spike is one of the only two characters who could cause a reaction on Nightmare Rarity (the other is her sister Sweetie Belle) and it's Spike who delivers the final line that releases Rarity from the Nightmare's grip. The last panel of the arc's final page also speaks volumes.
    • In Issue 9, Big Macintosh practically has to fend off all of his female admirers— Sweetcream Scoops (who has been stalking him for several issues), Bon Bon, Fleetfoot (who gets an entire splash page and an alternate cover featuring her marriage fantasy about him), and even Princess Luna practically throw themselves at him. Zecora also follows him around, although if she's actually interested in him, she's at least more subtle about it than the other girls.
  • Not even going over the amount of Ho Yay in Sam And Max, the titular duo is constantly a: being "mistaken" for a couple, or b: having a character trying to get them dating, or c: being told that they are destined to be together.
  • Star Wars: Kanan: In Issue #6, Kanan's words to Hera over the transmission before he collaspses sounds like an implicit Anguished Declaration of Love to shipper's ears.
    Hera: Aw, what's the matter, luv? Miss me?
    Kanan: Always, and more than you'll ever know.
  • Usagi Yojimbo:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): In issue 17 Antoine goes to retrieve a lost power ring for Tails in Robotropolis seemingly oblivious to all the danger there. He retrieves it and Bunnie is revealed to have been secretly tailing him and fighting off anything that tried attacking him. The comic ends with Antoine implying that he knew she was doing it and kissing her on the cheek. Nothing comes of it immediately afterwards but it's easy to see it as a precursor to their relationship later on.
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars: Both the comic and the cartoon strongly tease at a possible relationship between Jenny and Willy DuWitt, and the cartoon also teases at a romance between Bucky O'Hare and Mimi LaFloo. That said, due to the comic lasting only five issues, and the cartoon's short time on the air, nothing is developed in any concrete way.
  • In Warlord of Mars, an attraction between Carthoris and Linea is hinted mixed with some intense UST. It ends in tears when she dies.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Peanuts, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty are often shipped. To make things better in the cartoon and theater adaption, Peppermint Patty sings a song to Charlie when he asks what is love. The title? "Poor Sweet Baby."
  • The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story Mistress of Chaos ever so slightly broke the No Hugging, No Kissing rules of the television show when The Thirteenth Doctor, in a moment of vulnerability, finds solace in her companion Graham's arms. The concluding chapter of the strip adventure sees The Doctor almost sacrifice herself to defeat The Herald and The Sanity (two unhinged halves of herself) in the dimension known as The Castastrophea, and it describes Graham's fears for her safety as a "great weight pressing against his heart", when The Doctor and Graham choose to depart The Catastrophea, they do so whilst holding hands!!

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Secret of the Wings, Periwinkle asks Tinkerbell (speaking of Terrence), "So is he your boyfriend?" "Uuuuhhhhh..." Cut to next scene without finishing sentence.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Po and Tigress. It is said in the commentary for the first movie that Tigress is Po's favorite of the Furious Five, even though throughout most of the film, she's the one in the group who is the most vocal about her disdain for him. It takes until the end of the movie for her to respect him. In the sequel, while not romantic, the two share a lot of moments. When Po describes how confused he is about his past, and how Tigress wouldn't get something like that, she suddenly hugs him, much to the shock of the other Furious Five, and tells him she does understand. She then tells him that she can't watch her friend die, and to stay with Masters Storming Ox and Croc for his own protection. She also seems to be the most distraught out of the Five when Po is hit by Lord Shen's cannon. Later, when Po returns and is about to get hit by another cannon, she pushes him out of the way. In the wreckage of the cannon-burst, Po finds Tigress drifting and holds her hand briefly before pushing her out of harms way. After Po defeats Shen, he hugs her, with Tigress initially frozen in shock before a smile grows on her face, while everyone else looks on in shock.
    • Viper kisses the Po-doll during the credits.
    • To a lesser extent, Crane and Mei Ling in Secrets of the Furious Five, where the feline Action Girl is so nice and loyal to the bird in the All of the Other Reindeer situation that many fans like to imagine them having a romantic relationship while they are at it.
  • Rise of the Guardians teases plenty of Jack x Tooth - especially their hug at the end, and the little bit where they just stare at each other before Baby Tooth interrupts.
  • In 9, the title character appears to have a Love at First Sight moment when he first meets 7.
  • There were a few moments teased between Dory and Marlin in Finding Nemo.
  • In the ending of Wreck-It Ralph, Rancis Fluggerbutter is seen checking out Vanellope von Schweetz with interest several times after his memories, along with those of the other racers, have been restored and it's revealed that Vanellope is the true and real ruler of Sugar Rush. The animators went so far to write a book about it, called One Sweet Race, in which Rancis - sick of losing and never winning a Sugar Rush cup - gets Vanellope to help him build a kart to win a race for once.
  • In The Secret of NIMH, the heroine Mrs. Brisby and the Captain of the Guard, Justin, flirt a few times, but both have more important things on their minds (not to mention that Mrs. Brisby is the widow of one of Justin's old friends).
    Mrs. Brisby: [looking directly at Justin] Beautiful!
    Justin: [blushes] Oh?
    Mrs. Brisby: [giggling] The lights!
  • Zootopia: A favorite activity of the fandom is speculation on whether the relationship between Judy and Nick will remain as best friends or evolve into a romantic relationship. Word of God confirms that they have a very deep friendship and their final exchange onscreen leaves the state of their relationship open-ended...
    Nick: You know you love me.
    Judy: Do I know that...? Yes. Yes, I do.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spider-Gwen is the Implied Love Interest of protagonist Miles and has multiple tender moments with him, in the ending Gwen even opens a portal to see Miles again they were separated. In the comics Spider Gwen and Miles were a couple so it’s not surprising.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • NXT season 3 had two sets of male pros with female rookies. The first set Goldust and Aksana were given a storyline involving a Citizenship Marriage while the second set AJ Lee and Primo got a more subtle tease. One episode had them trying to find a private place for an unrevealed reason, AJ loved to celebrate winning matches by jumping on Primo's shoulders, when she was eliminated from NXT she broke down crying in his arms and they finally kissed on the last episode.
    • Similarly from the second season there was Layla and Kaval who also had an onscreen kiss.
  • Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo teased a gay relationship with each other, going so far as to declare each other "life partners" and showering each other with affection.
  • Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle were involved as Just Friends in a love triangle with Stephanie's husband Triple H. Steph was originally planned to leave Triple H for Angle, but Trips used his creative control to stop it.
  • Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bischoff initially were duelling General Managers of Raw and SmackDown in 2002 and got an onscreen kiss during a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment of a Halloween party. There had always been a bit of friendly Foe Yay between them.
  • Trish Stratus got this a lot. She had it with Jeff Hardy twice, another time with her bodyguard Tyson Tomko, during a Stalker with a Crush storyline with Mickie James (that one she did kiss) and then there's Viscera.
  • Trish and Lita were involved in some teasing with Christian & Chris Jericho that was ultimately revealed to be an example of The Bet. This lead to an 'intergender' feud between the two pairs, followed by a Heel–Face Turn for Jericho when Trish made her own Face–Heel Turn as Christian betrayed Jericho with her help.
  • Melina and John Morrison got a little tease during a backstage segment in 2010 obviously meant as a Mythology Gag to echo their off screen relationship. They had been an actual on screen couple years before but had been separated onto different brands and this quietly disappeared. So the segment was this trope at the time.
  • Alberto Del Rio and Rosa Mendes got one during a segment at the TLC PPV.
  • Melina and Alicia Fox actually kissed on TV. Ditto for William Regal and Zack Ryder, although that was meant as comedy.
  • Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman's "friendship" on NXT was this at first but they quickly became an Official Couple.
  • Kaitlyn's done this quite a bit. She's had Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes and Hornswoggle. Funnily enough, her BFF AJ locked lips with the last two as well, and AJ is with Dolph Ziggler as of December 2012.
  • LayCool were a lesbian couple for as much as PG television would allow. Getting each other matching necklaces, always hugging each other and attending Couples' Therapy. Then Michelle had to blow it all by saying they weren't a couple.
  • Billy Gunn and Chyna had this going on when the former returned in 2000 to console her after her break-up with Eddie Guerrero. In Kayfabe interviews he would describe Chyna as "absolutely gorgeous" and they were shown to be very close. However whenever asked they would insist they were Just Friends. It never amounted to anything other than a friendship, though the 2001 Royal Rumble did have a very couple-y moment between them when Chyna was getting wheeled out on a stretcher.
  • Maryse and The Miz frequently throughout 2009. Maryse however was clearly just being The Tease, hoping to manipulate him into helping her. Miz sunk the ship at Night of Champions and pretty much told her to go to hell. However in real life the ship is sailing just fine for both of them.
  • Finn Bálor and Bayley since early 2016, when they were co-champions of their respective divisions in WWE NXT. They've done the cutesy Clothing Switch [1][2], the Dirty Dancing homage, and even campaigned on social media to be each other's partner for the Facebook-exclusive Mixed Match Challenge. You can imagine the en masse disappointment when Finn was paired with Bayley's best friend Sasha instead.
  • Speaking of the Mixed Match Challenge, Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair have been in this position since they were paired up. The two are protective of one another and clearly very close, and have had multiple cutesy moments, such as Bobby twirling and dipping Charlotte after their second victory, or Charlotte teaching Bobby the famous Flair Strut. Not to mention they've probably known each other before they even joined WWE, and may have known each other during Ric's TNA run.
  • Another Mixed Match Challenge example: Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman. Widespread shipping was inevitable due to their Huge Guy, Tiny Girl dynamic, but even beyond that, they've had several cute moments together. One of their first promos together involved a Clothing Switch, but they have a vast difference in shirt sizes. Another notable one was Braun catching Alexa in his arms after Naomi enziguri-ed her off of the turnbuckle during their second match. They also publicly called each other 'cute' in an interview following their first match. Then at the 2020 event, The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, Bray Wyatt used a seductive illusion of Alexa to lure Braun into an ambush.

     Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets creators have taken to teasing Bunsen and Beaker. In the web video "Flowers on the Wall", Beaker pretends to be having a fancy dinner with a fake Bunsen, and later makes a card sculpture of Bunsen with hearts in the eyes. In The Muppets episode "Pig Out", Kermit asks why they're wearing each other's clothes, and Bunsen says that if it happened outside work, they don't owe him an explanation.

Alternative Title(s): Ship Teasing, Shipping Fuel


Michelangelo and Kala

They are briefly ship-teased.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / ShipTease

Media sources:

Main / ShipTease