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Stealth Sequel

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When a Sequel or Prequel to a work isn't actually stated or advertised as a sequel/prequel. At first, it looks like a Spiritual Successor, Continuity Reboot, Alternate Universe, or some other closely related universe tie-in but it turns out to be a direct sequel. This might just be hinted at, or expressed outright near the end. Canon Welding often uses this to tie multiple formerly independent franchises together. The work may have a Recycled Title. See also Broad Strokes.


As you might guess, there will be SPOILERS.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tite Kubo's Burn The Witch seems to take place in a fantastical Harry Potter-like universe, featuring the titular witches as well as wizards and dragons. Taking place in "Reverse London", while it may seem detached from any of his previous works, the last panel reveals that the organization of 'West Bind', which has been tasked with the protection and domestication of dragons, takes its name from the two remaining letters of the emblem that adorns the organization's recently destroyed front gates, it's shortly after revealed that the destroyed gate's emblem read 'SSWB', with the words "Soul Society West Branch" boldly engraved above, implying that the manga had been taking place in the same universe as Kubo's Bleach.
  • Rozen Maiden Tale started out as a What If? manga that shows what would happen if Jun decided not to wind. Then the story transitioned into where the original continuity left off.
  • Devilman Lady at first seems like an Alternate Continuity retelling of Devilman with a Genderflipped protagonist, but it is revealed late in the story that the events of the original Devilman and Violence Jack are canon, but nobody remembers this thanks to a Cosmic Retcon that rebooted history. Devilman himself even makes an appearance to explain this to Jun.
  • Shin Mazinger Zero seems like an alternate universe or retelling of the original Mazinger Z... until Kouji starts to have visions of events that happened in the original series, including a flashback of the death of Minerva-X, and it is revealed that this series is a sequel to the original anime, in the which the characters are locked in a perpetual time loop.
  • ∀ Gundam takes this a step further: though in-story it doesn't state that much, it's out-and-out obvious that the Black History is comprised of the events of all previous Gundam shows. Official material draws the timelines as parallel lines with individual events of all the other Gundam series until finally merging to form the Correct Century (Turn A's universe) circle (Fridge Logic meaning it will never proceed any further) meaning Turn A is the Sequel to all of them because it has the power to merge timelines.
  • The twist ending to the 2007 anime adaptation of Skull Man revealed that the series was a Stealth Prequel to Cyborg 009, and that Skull Man would later become Skull, the Big Bad of that series.
  • Mai-Otome in the beginning seemed like a spin-off series and Transplanted Character Series to Mai-HiME, only with Magical Girls instead of Mons. But as the story progressed, maddeningly vague hints began insinuating that Otome is in fact set in a far future of HiME, and that the Otome and SLAVES themselves descendant technology of the HiME and Orphans. The manga (which is a separate continuity from the anime) explicitly confirms it's the future, with what is heavily implied to be the Mashiro from the original series serving as the true Big Bad.
  • For most of its run Stitch! seemed like an Alternate Universe to Lilo & Stitch, where Stitch landed in Japan instead of Hawaii. However, in the third season it was revealed that it takes place after a Time Skip. The duo went their separate ways when Lilo began college, and an attempted reunion failed due to Nani giving birth, causing Lilo to miss Stitch and make the alien think he was unwanted. She pops up in this episode as an adult with her identical-looking six-year-old daughter in tow. Similarly, Stitch & Ai, partly made by the same crew as the original series, takes place between the two shows.
  • While not advertised as such, UQ Holder! makes it obvious in literally the first couple pages that it's a sequel to Mahou Sensei Negima!. This is likely because Negima was ended by an especially bad case of Executive Meddling. Later parts of UQ Holder drop the "Stealth" aspect entirely, with the series subtitled as "Mahou Sensei Negima 2". This gets played with however as it turns out it's more an alternate timeline of Negima then a straight sequel to the first series.
  • Blood-C at first appears to be unrelated to Blood: The Last Vampire but is later revealed to be a sequel.
  • Accel World is set in the far future of Sword Art Online. Although this is known to most fans of the author, it's not obvious until a later episode of Accel World, where the main character directly refers to the main Virtual Reality of SAO.
  • Jaco the Galactic Patrolman turns out to be a prequel to Dragon Ball. Jaco's mission was to stop Kakarot/Goku's pod from landing on Earth. He fails, obviously. Also, Tights is Bulma's older sister. Ultimately subverted as the publisher couldn't resist using this fact for marketing and directly calling out the series that Jaco is a prequel to, several issues before it's revealed in the manga itself.
  • Adolescence of Utena, the movie successor to Revolutionary Girl Utena, appears to take place in an Alternate Continuity. But there are certain hints, such as personality changes and song lyrics, that seem to be saying that this is actually an extremely metaphorical true ending to the series.
    • The manga is also an Alternate Continuity, but its ending points towards a much bigger story happening in the future, making it seem like a prequel to the show and movie. Also, clothing changes that happen during the manga (Utena's black uniform, Chu-chu's tie) carry over to the show.
  • The 2014 Lupin III anime movie, Gravestone of Daisuke Jigen, in its final scene, turns out to be a prequel to The Mystery of Mamo.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation quickly drops Foreshadowing about it being set in the same universe its accompanying video game is based on, set seven months prior to the story of "Reborn:EPISODE 4".
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion initially plays out like a Fix Fic Alternate Continuity of the franchise: everybody is alive and human, the new Eldritch Abominations can be defeated through cheery songs, and Charlotte is the Team Pet. Then Homura realizes that this is wrong and begins to remember the actual events of the show. And then things get worse, naturally.
  • Killer Killer waits until the third chapter to reveal itself as a Danganronpa spin-off.
  • Space Patrol Luluco is a stealth sequel to both Kill la Kill (the cast visits the home planet of the life fibers) and Inferno Cop (Luluco meets him in Hell), but these are mostly treated as jokes, as all three shows were made by Studio Trigger. Somewhat more seriously, at the end of the series, Luluco is revealed to be Lady Trigger, one of Studio Trigger's three mascots.
  • The Kemono Friends anime series is eventually revealed to be one to the mobile game it was based on, with "Kaban", the main protagonist of the anime, being revealed to be a clone of Mirai, the previous protagonist, created after a piece of the latter's hair was exposed to the Sand Star and the current friends are actually a new (possibly related) generation.
  • Word of God says that FLCL Alternative was designed as a stealth prequel to the original series, which is why Haruko doesn't have her bracelet or Vespa yet. However, other staff members say that it's supposed to be an Alternate Universe (hence the title). Really, the whole thing is so vague that either explanation seems plausible. The Gainax Ending has her get the Vespa and see something that could be Atomsk, and also features visions of the first series appearing in her silhouette. This was a reference to an unused idea from the original OVA that the town of Mabase was actually on Mars all along.
  • W'z reveals in its first episode that it's a sequel to an earlier GoHands production with this line...
    "By continuing to achieve victory, a Handshaker will eventually reach God."

    Comic Books 
  • As Cracked pointed out, Jack Kirby threw in some subtle hints that his New Gods series for DC Comics was actually a Distant Sequel to his run on The Mighty Thor over at Marvel. And his later, creator-owned series Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers was clearly a lawyer-friendly sequel to the Fourth World books.
  • When Peter David first began work on Fallen Angel, there were some strong hints that it was actually a sequel to his previous Supergirl series, and that the heroine, "Lee," was actually Supergirl herself. This was changed when the series was moved from DC to IDW, preventing any such revelation from ever occurring. A character named Lin was later introduced, and Word of God is that she's essentially a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo from the Linda Danvers version of Supergirl.
  • Rebirth reveals that The New 52 is one to Watchmen, since the New 52 is a case of Dr. Manhattan pulling a Cosmic Retcon on the main DCU by messing with the timeline and people's memories.
  • Jeph Loeb's final arc on Superman/Batman, "With a Vengeance" wasn't just a cap to his run on the book, but it also turned out to be as a sequel to Emperor Joker as the villains of the arc ultimately turn out to be The Joker and Mr. Mxzytplk.
  • At first, it seemed like Gerard Way's run on Doom Patrol would be a reboot of the franchise, especially since it was the debut title of the Young Animal imprint and does not acknowledge the team's then-most-recent appearance in Geoff Johns' Justice League run. However, issue 3 makes it clear that both Grant Morrison and Keith Giffen's runs did indeed happen, by having Robotman reference events within those series.
  • Trouble was marketed as Marvel's attempted Genre Relaunch of romance comics. Then you notice the names of the main characters—brothers Richard and Ben, with their girlfriends Mary and May—and you realize this is actually a bizarre, Hotter and Sexier prequel to Spider-Man, centered around his family's dysfunctional love lives instead of superheroes. It made some pretty big Ret Cons, mostly notably May sleeping with Richard and being Peter's birth mother, and thus quickly became Canon Discontinuity.
  • While not solicited as such, Batman: Damned is a sequel to Joker. Not only is it by the same team, Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, by they confirmed it to be a "quasi-sequel" and the story does feature a number of design elements and lines returning, as well revealing the body seen falling at the end of Joker wasn't POV character Jonny Frost, but the Clown Prince himself.

    Fan Works 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction:
    • In Pony POV Series, it's eventually revealed that the Dark World Arc was a prequel to the main series the entire time. It's the original timeline where Twilight, after defeating an evil future version of herself and ascending into an Alicorn, eventually sacrificed herself to create Shining Armor and the Interviewers, which split off the timeline and created an alternate universe where Discord was defeated a thousand years before he was in the Bad Future.
    • In Ruin Value, it is revealed at the end of the story that it is a stealth prequel to the entire canon series; the story is set millenia before the present in the show, when Luna, Celestia, and Discord were all young, and the ponies were the product of genetic engineering.
  • At first glance, Touhou A Live appears to be no more than Live A Live with the Touhou girls instead, especially if one happens to start with either Ponga or Youmu, whose chapters are almost identical to their counterparts’. As it progresses, however, more and more Live A Live characters appear, as Moribe is one of Cirno’s opponents and Masaru challenges her at the end, the Xin Shan Quan successor is revealed to have trained Hong Meiling, Cindelman is the Arc Villain of Mokou’s chapter, Gibson founded his own Old West town after Dio’s defeat, and, in the final chapter, Makai turns out to be none other than Lucretia after Odio destroyed it. The game is therefore this trope, not to Touhou, but to Live A Live.
  • Half-Life: Full Life Consequences has Half-Life: Hero Beggining, the only installment without "Full Life Consequences" in its title. Unlike the first two installments, which focus on Gordon Freeman's brother, John Freeman, this instead stars Henry Freeman and shows him rebelling against the "Combines." At the very end of the fic, when Henry Freeman is about to be killed, John Freeman suddenly reappears and says, "Combines leave my son alone," revealing that he is Henry Freeman's father and this is part of this Full Life Consequences series.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) isn't too stealthy about it since Alice is older, but she starts off her adventure in nearly the same way as the original book. A viewer could assume it's a Hotter and Sexier version until a scene where, while Alice is struggling with changing size, the Dodo remarks, "You'd think she'd remember all of this from the first time."
  • Star Trek (2009) functions as both this and a reboot with Spock having arrived from the original timeline to provide continuity. The main stealth part comes from the fact that the movie is not a full reboot, but rather an Alternate Timeline created by the Big Bad's accidental alteration of the past, generating a new parallel space-time continuum that bypasses each of the preceding movies and shows except for one. It also offers a conclusion to the Federation's conflict with the Romulan Empire, which had been gradually developing for over 40 years since Star Trek: The Original Series. 8 years after Star Trek: Nemesis, just as the Federation is finally on the verge of peace with the Romulans, their home planet's star goes supernova and almost the entire species is wiped out.
    • In some foreign markets, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was released as The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV, with "The Voyage Home" written in larger letters than "Star Trek IV". They were downplaying the fact that it was Star Trek film as Trek films were considered to perform badly overseas. There was also a prologue added (you can see it here) to explain the events of Star Trek III as it was felt that not enough people outside the U.S. had seen it.
  • Catwoman is a stealth sequel to the Batman films, notably, Batman Returns. Her origin is identical to the one played by Michelle Pfeiffer, the Catwoman persona is said to be a Legacy Character, and in the pictures of former "Catwomen", we see Michelle Pfeiffer's.
  • Basement Jack is a loose sequel to Evilution, the two film featuring the same old apartment building and creepy manager and his equally creepy display room of murderous artifacts, which he adds more weapons to at the end of both films (a vial of alien virus in Evilution, and the eponymous character's sword in Basement Jack).
  • The 21 Jump Street film is actually a sequel to the original TV series inducing Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome on Hanson and Penhall. Also, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) turns out to be the son of the late Capt. Richard Jenko from the show's first season.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000) is implied to be a sequel to the show by having the same person play Charlie and by the sequel showing that these were not the first Angels. It is confirmed in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle when Jaclyn Smith reprises her role as Kelly Garrett.
  • The Scooby-Doo live-action movie takes place after the original series, as most of those villains re-appear in the sequel.
  • The version of Shaft (2000) played by Samuel L. Jackson is the original Shaft's nephew. And while we're talkin' 'bout Shaft, according to Word of God, Django and Broomhilda are ancestors of both of them.
  • Lots of weird behind-the-scenes drama resulted in Savage Vengeance being this to I Spit on Your Grave.
  • Likewise, Evil Dead (2013) was advertised as a remake of The Evil Dead (1981), but The Stinger shows an aged version of Ash Williams, the protagonist of the original trilogy.
    • Originally there was going to be a different post-credits scene which would have made this more explicit. The original idea was that Mia, the Final Girl, would be walking alone down a road while covered in blood from the encounter with the Deadites, only for an S-Mart truck to pull over next to her. The window would then roll down to reveal Ash, who would ask Mia if she needed help.
  • The film version of The Dark Tower is one to the books themselves, first hinted at when Stephen King tweeted an image of the Horn of Gilead, which Roland gained in the final chapter of the final novel.
  • The Twist Ending of Split reveals it to be a a stealth sequel to Unbreakable.
  • While it was never officially announced as a sequel, Kung Fu Yoga appears to be one to The Myth, both movies starring Jackie Chan and directed by Stanley Tong. This is further supported that Chan's character in both films having the same name and profession, along with the presence of the painting of Princess Ok-soo in his office. In fact, Chan himself has stated that Kung Fu Yoga is basically The Myth 2.
  • A variation: while Blair Witch was quite obviously a sequel to The Blair Witch Project, it was initially marketed as a standalone horror film titled The Woods, with no indication that it was part of that franchise. Its actual title and connection to the original were only revealed less than two months before it premiered, at an early screening at San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Danny Boyle implied in the commentary for Trainspotting that Keith Allen's drug dealer character is the same one he played in Shallow Grave, making Trainspotting a prequel.
  • Joanna Barnes, who played the dad's girlfriend Vicki in The Parent Trap, played the girlfriend's mother in the remake, also named Vicki. Implying the remake could actually be a sequel.
  • After discussing a fan theory that Get Out was a sequel to Being John Malkovich with Catherine Keener playing the same character in both movies, directors Spike Jonze and Jordan Peele decided it was canon.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu is revealed to take place 20 years after the events of Pokémon: The First Movie, which features the very same Mewtwo who escaped from a Kanto lab and was taught by a boy and his Pikachu that not all humans are bad.
  • The Crimson Bolt from Super cameos during a Post Credits Scene in Brightburn.
  • Adult versions of Jaime and Carlos from The Devil's Backbone appear as soldiers in Pan's Labyrinth.
  • Final Destination 5 is revealed in the ending to take place before Final Destination as the two survivors board the plane where the cast of the first movie were forced out before the plane takes off and blows up.
  • Paul W.S. Anderson says in the commentary for Death Race that he considers it a prequel to Death Race 2000 rather than a remake. There must be Broad Strokes involved as it's set 12 years after the original.
  • Peter Cushing believes that the non-canon Doctor Who movies, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. are set in the same universe as the TV show. He thinks his Doctor Who was a future regeneration of The Doctor from the show after having his memory erased and being made to relive old adventures by the Celestial Toymaker.
  • The climax of Underwater reveals that the film is set in The Cthulhu Mythos, and that Cthulhu himself of the master of the Fish People attacking the drilling station.

  • Brandon Sanderson, in The Cosmere, made a stealth prequel with Warbreaker. The book was published several years before The Stormlight Archive, but in the second book of Stormlight, two Warbreaker characters (Vasher and Nightblood) appeared. Sanderson later said that he plotted out Stormlight first; Warbreaker was primarily written to have a place for those characters to be from. In hindsight, several parts of Warbreaker foreshadow Stormlight, such as the appearance of BioChromatic Breath paralleling Stormlight, and the sentient sword Nightblood being very similar to Shardblades.
  • Although Iain Banks' Surface Detail is set in the same universe as the other Culture novels, it only becomes apparent that it is a Distant Finale to Use of Weapons upon reading the very last word in the book.
  • The Giver has an Ambiguous Ending that leaves us unclear about the fate of Jonas and baby Gabriel. The novel Gathering Blue mentions someone who sounds a lot like him, though. Word of God originally said that it was up to the reader to decide if they were the same character, but it's heavily suggested in Messenger and confirmed in Son that they are. The four books are now marketed as The Giver Quartet.
  • Peter S. Beagle's The Innkeepers Song includes an elderly wizard that in many ways seems to be an extremely old version of Schmendrick from Beagle's earlier (and more famous) book The Last Unicorn. This is never explicitly confirmed or denied, and when asked in person Beagle responds with a smile: "I don't know; what do you think?"
  • Diana Wynne Jones' The Merlin Conspiracy is described on its own jacket blurb as being a stand-alone book, and its plot is not immediately familiar. However, reading further reveals that its main protagonist, Nick, is the same Nick from Jones' Deep Secret. However, while The Merlin Conspiracy is a young adult book, Deep Secret was written for a more adult audience.
  • Skyward takes place in the same universe as Brandon Sanderson's short story/novella Defending Elysium.
  • The Star Wars Legends YA book series Rebel Force can be considered this for the earlier Jedi Apprentice, Jedi Quest, and Last of the Jedi series. The two books share such characters as Ferus Olin, Lune Divinian, and possibly Trever Flume. It also ends the long-standing rivalry between Ferus and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader that had been going on since Jedi Quest.
  • The Boy With The Chainsaw Heart is set in the same universe as I Knocked Up Satan's Daughter, but wasn't advertised as such since the two novels otherwise have very little in common - they share no characters, take place in very different parts of the setting, and have markedly different tones with the latter being an Affectionate Parody of a romantic comedy while the former is a brutal, gory war story about fanaticism and injustice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The last episode of Newhart revealed that the entire series was the dream of the protagonist from The Bob Newhart Show.
  • The protagonist of the Knight Rider remake is the son of the protagonist of the original show.note 
  • Fargo appears to merely be a Spiritual Successor to the film of the same name until we see a flashback wherein a character discovers the money that was hidden in the snow at the end of the film.
  • Tin Man intentionally fools viewers into believing that it's a Darker and Edgier science fiction retelling of The Wizard of Oz, with each of the main characters being a clear stand-in for a character in the original (the Scarecrow is a lobotomized Mad Scientist, the Tin Man is an ex-cop with a tin badge, Toto is a shapeshifting magician, etc.). After The Reveal, though, we learn that the siblings DG and Azkadelia are actually Dorothy Gale's great-grandchildren, and that Azkadelia turned to the dark side after being possessed by the spirit of the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • The final episode of Harry's Law has Lisa Nicole Carson reprise her role as Renee Raddick from Ally McBeal, placing the show in the same continuity as most of creator David E. Kelley's other shows, which most viewers had assumed it wasn't, given that several regulars from those shows (Mark Valley, Camryn Manheim, Christian Clemenson) appear as different characters on this one.
  • Done humorously at the DVD alternate ending to Breaking Bad, which implied the entire series was the dream of Hal from Malcolm in the Middle.
  • The Exorcist doesn't seem to have ties with the films until episode five where Angela Rance, the mother of the possessed girl, reveals she is Regan MacNeil.
  • The Prisoner (1967) may or may not have been a follow-up to Danger Man - there are certain hints that Number 6 is John Drake from Danger Man, and one actor appears in both series playing characters with the same name. As one would expect with The Prisoner, though, any connection is kept as ambiguous as possible.
  • Kamen Rider Agito was supposed to be a sequel to Kamen Rider Kuuga, but the team behind it felt that it would have made Kuuga's struggles meaningless if the Grongis were still around, so changes were made. Some ideas did remain though, like G3's armor being based on Kuuga.
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O was originally presented as a Spiritual Successor to Kamen Rider Decade, being a Milestone Celebration Crisis Crossover with the rest of the Kamen Rider franchise. But while most Rider series had cast members make guest appearances in Zi-O, Decade's Riders Tsukasa and Kaito got far more involved in the plot and were fully-fledged supporting characters by the final arc.

  • Reynaldo Hahn's 1926 French operetta Ciboulette turns out to be a Stealth Sequel to La Bohème. Duparquet, the middle-aged man who plays matchmaker to the principle young lovers, is eventually revealed to be Rodolfo; he helps the lovers so they won't have to lose each other the way he lost Mimí.

    Video Games 
  • Planetfall has a few references to Infocom's previous sci-fi work Starcross that imply that it is set within the same universe several centuries later. And a grue appears, implying it is in the Zork universe as well.
  • Narcolepsy by Adam Cadre isn't advertised as a sequel to Adam Cadre's previous work I-0, but it isn't long before you run across a place mentioned in the prior game. Also, I-0's protagonist Tracy Valencia makes a somewhat in-joky cameo.
  • Dinner with Andre by Liza Daly has a twist ending where the PC turns out to be the same character from Liza's previous IF work Bloodline several years later and sees someone she knows from that time.
  • Masquerade by Kathleen Fischer has a number of endings, one of them causing the game to become a prequel to her other work, The Cove.
  • Shadow Hearts wasn't advertised as a sequel to Koudelka, and indeed some people still claim that they don't have any real story links, despite the recurring theme of the Emigre Document, the villain impersonating a character from Koudelka, the real version of that character turning up later, Koudelka herself playing a significant role, Koudelka's son being a party member, and the last chapter of Shadow Hearts taking place in the monastery Koudelka was set in.
  • Shadow of the Colossus was a prequel to ICO, but you'd never realize until the very end. And even then you might not realize unless you were a big fan of Ico.
  • Captain Commando is a futuristic sequel to Final Fight. The game is set in Metro City, Ginzu the Ninja is Guy's future successor in the ways of the Bushin school, and a bust of Mike Haggar can be obtained as a power-up.
  • Code Vein: Mention is made of "horrors" that ravaged the world following the Great Collapse. It was these creatures that the revenants were created to fight. Near the end of the game, it is revealed that the horrors are in fact Aragami, meaning the game is either a distant prequel or sequel to God Eater. The Aragami still prowl the outskirts of the city ruins and are only kept at bay by the Gaol of the Mist.
  • Dragon Quest:
  • Some things in the game hints that Hellsinker is this to Radio Zonde.
  • Snatcher, being the second game directed by Hideo Kojima following the original Metal Gear, features several references to his previous work. Most notably Gillian Seed's robotic sidekick, who was modeled by his creator after the "Metal Gear menace from the late 20th century." Other references include Junker chief Benson Cunningham being a former FOXHOUND strategist and the head of the Snatcher project being none other than Dr. Pettrovich Madnar, the creator of the original Metal Gear. However, numerous inconsistencies introduced in later Metal Gear sequels has made it difficult to fit Snatcher into the Metal Gear continuity anymore.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert was revealed to be a prequel to the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series when Kane appears at the end of the Soviet campaign, revealing himself as the mastermind of the war. This is somewhat complicated by the rather odd nature of the series timeline, but at least within Red Alert itself, it works.
    • This was later Jossed by EA after they took over the franchise and stated that the Red Alert series and the Tiberian series took place in two universes... Yet they still made an ambiguous reference to Kane being Stalin's advisor in an obscure piece of promotional material for Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.
  • The sci-fi FPS series Marathon takes place in the far future of the horror-adventure-FPS Pathways into Darkness; the Jjaro and W'rkncacnter play a key role in both, and some even theorize that the protagonist of Marathon is literally Pathways's hero rebuilt as a cyborg. There's also a theory that, given the Theme Naming in place, Halo is also part of the same universenote , though this seems to have become far less likely now that Bungie no longer owns the franchise.
    • Of course, Marathon: Infinity features both alternate universes and the death of a universe, with the implication that there's something after said death (since one can potentially escape it). Considering the similarities in both verses, particularly how AIs work, Halo may have been intended as an Alternate Universe of Marathon, or even its successor after Marathon's universe "died". Yes, they might have pulled a BioShock a decade before BioShock did it.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has a couple of examples:
  • BioShock Infinite has story-wise no connection with the earlier BioShock games whatsoever for most of the game, until at the very end it's revealed to be a prequel/sequel/taking place on an alternate timeline when the player character is teleported to Rapture, the setting of the first two games.
    • The Burial at Sea DLC affirms this trope further, alternating between timelines of both the main campaign but also of the first BioShock.
  • Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 are implied to be a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, taking place centuries, or maybe even millenia, before VII, with the suggestion that Shinra from X-2 is a far off ancestor of President Shinra and Rufus.
    • This isn't shown in game, however, but from an interview with a writer who said he "liked the idea" of them being connected. No actual evidence has ever shown this to be true, however.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Jugdral games are implied to be a distant prequel to the Akaneia games, taking place many years earlier on a different continent. Loptyr, the games' Big Bad, is implied to be a member of the Earth Dragon tribe like the Akaneia games' villain Medeus, and the deity Naga is the same in both games. Likewise, while Fire Emblem Awakening is directly stated to be a distant sequel to the Akaneia games, the existence of Priam, who claims to be a descendant of Ike, also implicitly puts it as a sequel to the Tellius games as well, though how distant is uncertain.
    • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia's post-game content proves to be a distant prequel to Awakening, as the Bonus Dungeon explains Big Bad Grima's origins and has his younger self show up as the Bonus Boss.
  • The Williams Electronics game Blaster is suggested to be a sequel to Robotron: 2084. The arcade games attract mode mentions something about the Robotrons having destroyed humanity. Given this much, it indicates that the player ultimately failed in their mission (or just ran out of quarters, the game got too fast, or the player got tired of playing. It would have to be one of these since games of this era had no ending except for you losing all of your lives). Incidentally, according to Electronic Games magazine, Robotron 2084 was a sequel to Defender and Defender II.
  • The hero of Wolfenstein 3D, BJ Blazkowicz, is revealed to be the grandfather of Commander Keen in the hint book for the former. There's also a persistent theory that the protagonist of Doom is also a descendant of BJ; the mobile RPGs go with this, where the final boss of Wolfenstein RPG is the Cyberdemon minus cybernetic parts (complete with those parts being destroyed when you defeat it) and the protagonist of Doom RPG is given the name "Stan Blazkowicz". A later timeline by Bethesda after the release of DOOM (2016) confirms that the classic Doomguy is, in fact, a descendant of Commander Keen - though how truthful this is is up for debate, since this timeline seems to forget to account for several things, including, most ironically, the passage of time, and tries to suggest the Classic Doomguy (who now officially did his thing in 2022), the Doom 3 Doomguy (whose really bad day was more than a hundred years later in 2145), and the combat engineer from Resurrection of Evil (who was clearly shown to be a different Marine) are all somehow the same person.
  • Project X Zone is this to Namco × Capcom, especially (and pragmatically) in areas that never got Namco X Capcom. It's no secret in-game, though, just outside of it.
  • Tales of Symphonia turns out to be set in the same world as Tales of Phantasia. Just... back when it was two worlds instead of one.
  • EXA_PICO: When Ciel nosurge, the first game in the Surge Concerto series, came out, it was believed to be a Spiritual Successor to the Ar tonelico games. Then Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star came and confirmed Surge Concerto to be a prequel series.
  • Nier is a unusual example: It is hinted to be a sequel to Ending E of Drakengard, which in turn already had an official sequel based on Ending A. Thus, Nier is an alternate timeline to Drakengard 2. Until the Drakengard 3 promotional booklet explained that both timelines merged long after the end of 2, meaning Ending E wasn't an alternate universe, but simply the future.
  • Art of Fighting 2 turns out to be a Stealth Prequel to Fatal Fury, with the hidden final boss being a younger version of Geese Howard. After being defeated, Geese orders the murder of Terry and Andy's father, thus setting up the events of Fatal Fury.
  • Ikaruga is generally thought of as a Spiritual Successor to Radiant Silvergun, but several aspects of Ikaruga suggest a solid connection; in particular, the end of Chapter 5 features the Stone-Like from RSG putting in an appearance. This indicates that Ikaruga is the iteration of Radiant Silvergun's "Groundhog Day" Loop where things have, after countless repetitions, finally gone through a drastic change. This is shown in Ikaruga's themes of enlightenment and ascendance, which ultimately lead the protagonists to victory, contrasting sharply with Radiant Silvergun's extremely depressing story and reinforcing the fact that the Downer Ending has been averted.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 2 doesn't look like this since it's a Numbered Sequel to the first game. Until Nights 5 and 6 reveal that it's actually a prequel. You can also notice by the lower pay, the fact that the Phone Guy is still alive, and the fact that animatronics used to walk around in the day in the first game, while they currently do in the second.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 has cutscenes in between nights that hint towards this trope, but the true reveal that 4 is a stealth prequel for the entire franchise doesn't come until the cutscene of Night 5, where an event plays out that is heavily implied to be either the infamous "Bite of '87" or an even earlier event.
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator is marketed as what the title suggests, a pizzeria simulator. Then after the first five minutes, the extremely homicidal animatronics show up.
  • Silent Hill 3 appears unconnected to earlier games at first, with a new protagonist named Heather and a different location. Heather spends the first half of the game trying to get home, and when she does she finds the corpse of her father... Harry Mason, the protagonist of Silent Hill. And then it turns out Heather is partially Alessa from the first game. It's complicated.
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was billed a Mario Spinoff based on the Captain Toad levels of Super Mario 3D World. However, The Stinger depicts a modified opening of 3D World, showing Captain Toad was chasing a green star into the Sprixie Kingdom Pipe moments after Mario and co. went in there to chase after Bowser, making Treasure Tracker a prequel. The Nintendo Switch port, among a few other minor changes, swaps the scene out for one that ties into that console's flagship Mario title, Super Mario Odyssey, instead.
  • Armored Core V was initially thought of as a Continuity Reboot of the Armored Core series (like the 3 and 4 installments before it), but Verdict Day features several surprise appearances of elements of the 4 universe and the Forgotten Day text story strongly imply the series is actually set in the future of the Armored Core 4 universe.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy is a stealth prequel to the original game, ending where the first one started: a nameless warrior outside Corneria with a crystal in hand. However, due to the Timey-Wimey Ball of the series, it's a sequel from the perspective of Garland.
  • Might and Magic X is set in Ubisoft's rebooted Might and Magic verse called Ashan, and is consequently forbidden from having explicit science fantasy elements. It also drops some heavy hints that Ashan is just one world amongst the many in the old setting, including featuring a character from the mid-90s novels... who in those novels confirmed that the distant place he came from was an interstellar polity he served as an undercover operative for.
  • Mother 3 plays with this, initially appearing to just be a thematic sequel to Mother 2 (known in America as EarthBound). It isn't until the final act that both the player and the characters learn that it takes place in the far future of the previous game.
  • Several of Suda51's games contain small connections to previous ones, but Flower, Sun and Rain is a special case - the final scene contains an Art Shift to The Silver Case, with the character speaking to you seeming to be one from that game instead.
    • Another notable one is Garcian Smith from Killer7 showing up to kill Travis at the end of in No More Heroes only to get killed himself by Henry.
  • Alone in the Dark: Illumination: Ted Carnby is implied to actually be the original Edward Carnby, still alive in the modern era and living under an assumed identity. This suggests the game is actually a sequel to the 2008 Alone in the Dark game.
  • There are some implications that the 2014 installment of Thief, billed as a Continuity Reboot, is actually a continuation of the original trilogy. Cases in point include the factions in the game being stated to have roots in history, the original Garret's mechanical eye being a collectible artifact in the game, and the existence a historical character implied to be the original Garrett.
  • Volume was marketed as a standalone title, but the in-game flavor-text quickly establishes it as a sequel to creator Mike Bithell's earlier game, Thomas Was Alone. It even includes lyrics from a song about the protagonists of the first game.
  • Disgaea 5 seems like another Numbered Sequel in the series, save for a few oddities like relations between the Netherworld and Celestia being non-existent, and Christo (initially) having some rather outdated views on how demons are supposed to behave. This is seemingly explained in the epilogue which implies the game is in fact a prequel to the rest of the franchise, and that Christo will eventually become Seraph Lamington from the first game.
  • Speaking of which, Disgaea and another game, the original Hyperdimension Neptunia, seem to be heavily connected. In Neptunia, there are multiple references to Nippon Ichi Software games, especially the Disgaea franchise. Also, one of the characters, Nisa, appears in multiple games from both franchises as a playable character. Plus, they both feature similar concepts and locations, such as a heavenly place where holy beings gather called Celestia, the main characters have a tendency to break the fourth wall on a daily basis, alternate dimensions/universes, self-awareness, Sci-Fantasy settings, similarities in gameplay, guest star DLC characters from other games/franchises, ect...Wether Neptunia is a stealth sequel, a stealth prequel or if the events of both franchises happen at the same time is unclear. One thing can be said, however: The original Neptunia is definitely the stealth something for Disgaea.
  • Phase Paradox is a sequel to the 1995 space shooter Philosoma. While Philosoma had a slight element of horror, Phase Paradox is a straight survival horror game.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Oracle games are meant to be stealth prequels to Link's Awakening: The ending of a linked game shows Link sailing on a boat that looks a lot like the one at the beginning of LA. It wasn't officially confirmed until years after, in the Hyrule Historia guidebook. Later revisions to the timeline, however, would reverse this and place the Oracle games after Link's Awakening.
    • Tri Force Heroes is a Denser and Wackier Gaiden Game with seemingly no relationship to the rest of the franchise, but Word of God states that it's a direct sequel to A Link Between Worlds, with Green Link being the same one from ALBW, but in disguise.
  • DOOM (2016) was advertised as a Continuity Reboot of the Doom franchise, like with Doom 3, but certain developments in the game imply that it's a sequel to the original series, with the Doomguy being the same as from Doom and Doom 2: Hell on Earth, albeit not as we know it from the actual game. In addition, several objects appear to tie it in with Doom 3 such as the inert Soul Cube in Olivia Pierce's office, a drawing of the Doom Slayer looking almost exactly like a tablet portraying the Martian hero in Doom 3, as well as the Martian Hero being entombed in a sarcophagus in Doom 3 whereas the Doom Slayer wakes up from a (differently designed) sarcophagus in Doom 2016. There is also a wall relief of the Martian Hero using the Soul Cube against a group of demons in the Argent D'nur map which is highly similar to the aforementioned tablet.
    • Another popular theory is how the game directly follows Doom 64's storyline, since that game finished with the Doom Marine staying in hell in order to make sure the demons are contained and will never be a threat to Earth again, but along the way getting trapped by the Hell Priests in a sarcophagus from which a future incarnation of the UAC, led by Dr. Samuel Hayden, later rescues him. Under this theory, there is also a hypothesis that Doom 3 took place immediately before the Hell Wave incident owing to the hints mentioned above, albeit starring completely different Marines.
  • Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare takes place in the far future of the Modern Warfare series, but apart from some minor nods (such as the Retribution's hull designation, SWC-141, being recommended by Russian delegates in remembrance of Task Force 141's rescue of President Vorshevsky back in Modern Warfare 3.), it's not very noticeable and only confirmed by Word of God.
  • The Director's Cut version of Strike Suit Zero eventually reveals that the changes in the mission sequences and plot structure were due to the Mission Control character, Control, being in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and remembering enough from the original game's events to try to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • The good ending to Blaster Master Zero reveals that it was the protagonists of Metafight, the original Japanese game who sent Sophia the 3rd and Eve to Earth.
  • The good ending of Sonic Mania hints that the power source everyone's after is connected to Infinite, the major Big Bad of Sonic Forces and that Classic Sonic, having been pulled into a mysterious purple void at the end of the final boss fight, is being sent to the future.
    • Then the DLC upgrade Mania Plus added "Encore Mode" which is a Stealth Sequel to Forces.
  • It was assumed that all Animal Crossing games took place in Alternate Continuities, however New Leaf broke from that tradition. Events from previous games get noted, Character Development is in place for some NPCs, and the characters seem older (most pronounced with the Tanuki twins and Kapp'n's family).
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 seems like a typical Non-Linear Sequel at first, until a cutscene at the start of the final chapter shows a scene that will be very familiar to anyone who played the first game: a space-station orbiting what looks like a modern-day Earth and namedrops someone very significant from the first game: Professor Klaus, the scientist who would go on to become a god and the first game's Big Bad, implying the game is a distant prequel. The truth is more complicated. The game actually takes place parallel to the first game, in an alternate universe. Professor Klaus' experiment split him in two: one half became the first game's villainous Zanza, while the other became the second game's benevolent Architect. And the two games are happening exactly in parallel, by the end of the game the heroes are on a short timer to save their world, as The Architect knows that his time is running short... because Shulk is about to kill his other half in the first game. The game's ending implies that The Architect uses the last of his power to send the main cast to the new world Shulk created at the end of the first game, merging the two timelines.
  • World Destruction League Thunder Tanks (and by extension WDL War Jetz) are strongly implied to be set some times after the events of Battletanx, what with the presence of several of Battletanx's original tank designs like the Flip-E and Goliath, mentions of the apocalypse, and Griffin being mentioned by the announcer if the players use the M1 Abrams.
  • Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters includes as a playable character a new robot named Duo, who Mega Man and company act as if they already know despite having never met him before in any of the prior games. In his ending, it's revealed that he's a character from the then-unreleased Mega Man 8, and the game takes place sometime after it.
  • Frog Fractions was an absurdist game that started off as a parody Edutainment Game, then went Off the Rails into head-spinning Gameplay Roulette. When the devs raised money for a sequel, they promised that said sequel would be published under a completely different name, by a different company, on an unspecified date—nothing to connect it to the first game except the general theme of an off-the-rails plot and changing gameplay styles. Sure enough, the sequel was eventually published and discovered by fans: it was disguised as Glittermitten Grove, seemingly a fairy-themed town-building sim for children.
  • Girls' Frontline at first appears to be a wholly independent game by Chinese studio Mica Team, but flavor text in Chapter 9 and a booklet bundled with The Art of Girls' Frontline artbook indicate that it is actually a prequel to Codename: Bakery Girl, Mica Team's very first game that takes place almost 30 years later.
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, co-produced by the creators of the Wonder Boy in Monster Land series, is a continuation of said series in all but name (due to Sega retaining the trademark on the Wonder Boy name), as evident by numerous Continuity Nods and reused music pieces.
  • Control focuses on investigators from the Federal Bureau of Control, which is tasked with investigating paranormal events; one type focused on in particular are AWEs, which are supernatural events that affect the nature of the world and are derived from both ancient myths and modern urban legends. Near the end of the game, you find a report about a previous case the Bureau investigated. The name of said case? The "Bright Falls Incident". Yes, that Bright Falls. Turns out our old friend Alan was at the center of an AWE that caused everything he wrote to become true, and the Bureau was never able to recover his body...
  • The Ace Combat series as a whole is a prequel to the UGSF Series. Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere takes place in 2040 and is chronologically the first game in the UGSF timeline.

  • For quite a long time, Black Ops Civil Service webcomic Skin Horse by Jeff Wells and Shaenon Garrity looked to be the spiritual successor to Garrity's earlier Mad Science comic Narbonic, but readers suspected it was actually a sequel. It was three and a half years before the connection was officially made. The actual degree of continued story is pretty marginal, but Word of God confirms the connection was planned from the beginning and not just Ascended Fanon.

    Web Original 
  • After the events of To Boldly Flee, The Nostalgia Critic series ended with the titular character Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence and Doug Walker decided to go on to film new content, including a show called Demo Reel. When the latter proved to be mostly unsuccessful, and Doug decided that he wasn't done with the critic just yet, he made an episode where it was revealed that something went wrong with the Critic's ascent and he ended up being trapped in purgatory as Donnie DuPre, the main character of Demo Reel.
  • "Just Me In The House By Myself", the first episode of the webseries Dryvrs, stars Macauley Culkin. It is a sequel to the two first Home Alone movies, in which Kevin is shown having grown into a very disfunctional adult.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Stealth Prequel


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