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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.

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When the fandom considers a work as this to another unrelated work, see Fanon Welding.

As you might guess, there will be SPOILERS.


Examples:

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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 'Wing 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. It was later confirmed in an interview, where it was stated it takes place 12 years after the final main arc of 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. Akira (The original 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.
  • My-Otome in the beginning seemed like a spin-off series and Transplanted Character Series to My-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 are descendants 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, also takes place after Leroy & Stitch.
  • While not advertised as such, UQ Holder! makes it obvious in literally the first couple pages that it's a sequel to Negima! Magister Negi Magi. 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 set in the Bad Future of Negima than a straight sequel to the main timeline.
  • 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 Haru 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.
  • Played with in Space Patrol Luluco. There are episodes that act as epilogues to both Kill la Kill (the cast visits the home planet of the life fibers and destroys it) and Inferno Cop (Luluco meets him in Hell), but these are mostly treated as jokes, as all three shows were made by Studio TRIGGER and Luluco was created to be the company's Milestone Celebration. Somewhat more seriously, at the end of the series, Luluco is revealed to be Trigger-chan, 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."
  • SSSS.GRIDMAN initially seems like an Alternate Continuity to Denkou Choujin Gridman, with a different Gridman who uses similar powers and weapons fighting monsters that appear in the virtual world instead of the real world. Then Hibiki meets Anosillus the 2nd, meaning she is the daughter of the kind monster from the original series. Then it's revealed that the whole world is really a computer simulation. It all ends with Hibiki, the Neon Genesis Junior High students, and even Anti donning Gran Acceptors so they can all Access Flash into the original Gridman, his true form.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry - Gou at first seems to be a remake/readaptation, and was marketed as such, but at the start of episode 2 the plot is revealed to actually be set after the events of the original Higurashi.
  • While the movie Yo-kai Watch Jam The Movie: Yo-kai Academy Y - Can a Cat be a Hero? initially seemed like an Alternate Continuity for the Yo-Kai Watch anime, the sequel Yo-kai Watch Jam - Yo-kai Academy Y: Close Encounters of the N Kind reveals that the ominous threat seen in the final scene of Yo-kai Watch! was an alien entity who decimated the Yo-kai World, releasing the Yo-kai criminal Mikettio and splitting him into three Yo-kai (Bakera, Goromi, and Bluepon) in the process, forcing Enma and Zazel to flee to the Y-Gakuen universe and Enma to keep himself dormant within Emma Daiouji (daugher of Kinya Daiouji, Lord Enma Gouen's own reincarnation). Also, some Classic Yo-kai managed to survive, keeping themselves safe within Earth Walker. Likewise, Episode 53 reveals that Jinpei, Jibanyan's reincarnation, is Amy's grandson and Miho's son, setting both the series and the movie as sequels to Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside as well.
  • A common theory was that Rebuild of Evangelion would turn out to be some kind of Alternate Timeline to the original series rather than a straightforward remake/reboot; aside from the trippy nature of the franchise in generalnote , the idea was bolstered by Kaworu already knowing who Shinji is and commenting that "this time" he'll make him happy. The final movie confirms the theory, with Kaworu admitting that he's relived different versions of the story many times, and Shinji seeing visions of the original show.
  • Fire Force seemed like a self-contained story, with little winks and nods to the author's prior work Soul Eater. By the endgame, however, it's outright shown that Fire Force was a prequel all along, with the final chapters making it blatantly obvious as the sun seen in Soul Eater was the "old world" in the Fire Force, destroyed due to the Cataclysm, and that Lord Death created the "new world" the Soul Eater series is set in.
  • D.Y.N. Freaks by Demonbane's writer Haganeya Jin at first seems like it is just a separate manga which just also happens to draw inspiration from Cthulhu Mythos. And then one of the characters summons the severed arm of Demonbane itself. It turns out that the manga is a sequel to a concept idea for a sequel called "D2 Project" which ends with Demonbane managing to destroy Azathoth, leading to a omniversal Dream Apocalypse, with the world of D.Y.N. Freaks being the last bastion to stop the destruction of everything. Nitroplus Blasterz Heroines Infinite Duel is notably an Interquel to all of this, explaining how Mugen AKA Yog-Sothoth was able to create the world in the first place.
  • The 2007 Skull Man anime appears to be its own self-contained reboot at first, but midway through characters from one of Shotaro Ishinomori's other works, Cyborg 009, start appearing. It's eventually revealed in the finale that Skull Man is a full-on prequel to Cyborg 009, with the protagonist becoming the Big Bad of the manga, Skull.
  • Manga/X1999 serves as a resolution to Seishirou and Subaru's rivalry from Tokyo Babylon given their stories are self-contained.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
    • While Kirby was working for DC on the Super Powers toyline and animated series, he was invited back to work on the tie-in comics. The second volume of Super Powers acts as a direct sequel to the "Hunger Dogs" story that was the then-finale of New Gods, starting with Darkseid, Dessad, and Kalibak escaping Apokolips as the masses rise in rebellion to overthrow Darkseid's regime.
  • 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 (Marvel Comics) 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 Retcons, most 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, but they confirmed it to be a "quasi-sequel" and the story does feature a number of design elements and lines returning, as well revealing that the body seen falling at the end of Joker wasn't POV character Jonny Frost, but the Clown Prince himself.
  • The Donald Duck comic The Seven Sands of Cibola was originally presented as a remake of Carl Barks's Seven Cities of Cibola, adding to the original story a search for seven kinds of magic sand that the inhabitants of the lost cities originally made. When they finally find them, Huey, Dewey and Louie discover that one of the sands have the power to restore lost memories... and soon they remember everything about the first time they came there, but sadly they can't stop in time the Beagle Boys before they accidentally destroy everything and make everyone forget everything again.
  • The Adventures of the X-Men #12 reveals the series had been this to the entire Marvel Universe as we know it. These stories you had been reading, that were based on Marvel's nineties cartoons? They were actually set in the Sixth Infinity, the multiverse that existed before the Seventh Infinity of which Earth-616 is a part. Over the course of the story (which naturally serves as a Grand Finale to the comic), the X-Men attempt to repair the M'Kraan crystal, the Nexus of All Realities, but fail, while a bold explorer named Galan merges with the sentience of the universe and survives to become Galactus, and the Living Tribunal releases two brothers who will shepherd the creation of the new DC and Marvel multiverses in the future. And as this new age dawns, we see Professor X call his X-Men to him to introduce them to his latest student, a young girl named Jean Grey... And the Adventure Continues!
  • The Great Power of Chninkel is a deconstruction of the story of Jesus and the nature of an almighty God, as a nobody called J'on is tasked with a Mission from God and given a "great power" to help him liberate the Chninkel from their suffering by ending the Forever War. God, i.e. O'ne, takes the form of a giant monolith. Indeed, the ending scene leads directly into the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey and puts a very sad twist on that film.
  • Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again features another reality where Deadpool is, like the original story, brainwashed by a villainous party into killing heroes. Near the end, Deadpool discovers that the X-Men have been massacred and soon finds evidence it wasn't him, but Wolverine, who did it, suggesting Again is a prequel of Old Man Logan, though it does raise some Continuity Snarls with some of the characters.
  • My Little Pony Generations is this to the 1986 My Little Pony Movie. The villains are the granddaughters of Hydia, the Big Bad of the film and they are tasked by their mothers to get revenge for their defeat years ago.
  • Judge Dredd Spin-Off Lawless centres around colonial Judge Marshall Metta Lawson who has taken up the post of Marshall of a township named Badrock. There are questions raised regarding Lawson being a judge, especially since she eschews using her Lawgiver in favour of a pulse rifle. As it turns out, she is a judge, albeit one who changed her identity, since she is really Zia Freely from a prior Spin-Off, Insurrection.

    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 millennia 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.
  • The Redemption of Harley Quinn: A few story elements reveal this to be a precursor to the author's previous work New Tamaran, most notably Batman and the Justice League being off-planet and Lyle Bolton accepting a position at Belle Reeve.
  • HoloFunk, a Game Mod for Friday Night Funkin', was initially released and is still billed as a mod replacing the game's characters with the talents from hololive. Gameplay-wise, it is just that, to the point where Shishiro Botan's songs are just remixes of Pico's own songs and some other songs incorporate elements of their counterparts in the base game. Look deeper into the story, however, and it becomes a double subversion: Most of the original cast (barring Senpai) is still around, but implied to be sufficiently different people brought together by Contrived Coincidences since "Boyfriend" (named Kenji Tensei) is merely emulating the FNF protagonist (with the game having been demoted to a Show Within a Show) and the Dearests were ripped off to create the FNF antagonists, much to their chagrin. Then it's heavily implied that Kenji experienced all the trials and tribulations of the Boyfriend from our world's FNF (dating and leaving Pico, falling in love with Girlfriend, repeatedly being hounded by the Dearests, etc.) that do not happen in his world's version of the game, showing that they are indeed this continuity's counterparts to the originals in a way that HoloFunk, despite some use of Adaptation Tropes and a setting change, becomes a fan sequel to the base game's events.
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    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 Darker and Edgier 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.
  • The Thing (2011) is both a prequel and a veeerrry subtle remake of the original 1982 film. It was initially advertised as a remake until viewers saw that the plot points indicated that this took place prior to the events of the 1982 film and it's mostly confirmed by the ending.
  • Catwoman (2004) 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 films featuring the same old apartment building and creepy manager and his equally creepy display room full 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 (2017) 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.
  • The Ninth Configuration is William Peter Blatty 's stealth sequel to The Exorcist. The main character is astronaut Captain Cutshaw, who (without being named) appears as minor character in The Exorcist (i.e. as the astronaut who is told that he's going to die alone in space by the possessed Regan McNeill).
  • Final Destination:
    • Supposed to happen in Final Destination 3. The original script had Wendy meeting with Kimberly and Officer Burke, the survivors from Final Destination 2, in the epilogue, where they all meet their end during the train accident. This was scrapped in favor of a newspaper showing that the two died in an offscreen woodchipper accident. Which was also scrapped in the theatrical cut, as the scene where the newspaper is shown exists only in the director's cut.
    • An interesting variation with Final Destination 5, as there was no question about it being directly linked with the rest of the franchise. What the filmmakers managed to conceal until the ending of this film, however, is that it actually is a prequel to the entire franchise and not a sequel to its preceding installment as could be logically assumed. It is revealed 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.
  • 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.
  • The final scene of the 2019 film The Dawn reveals that it is a prequel to The Amityville Horror.
  • Due to creative trailers, it was initially believed that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was going to be an updated reboot of the Robin Williams' classic, with the premise of a magical board game being replaced with a video game that sucked in the players and made them into their character avatars. The first few minutes of the movie established that it actually takes place some time after the first film, with the game, having realized that people had grown out of interest with board games in favor of game consoles, transformed itself into a game cartridge in order to continue drawing people in. To further establish this, at one point in the movie, the characters came upon a hut where it was inscribed "Alan Perish was here".
  • At first glance, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones doesn't seem to be connected to the mainline films beyond brand name. Until young Katie and Kristi from the third film make a surprising cameo, while Ali Rey, a character from the second film, appears later on to warn the main characters about Jesse's condition. The ending reveals that the demon can create a time travel portal, which is how Katie and Kristi appeared in the present as children, while Hector unwittingly goes back in time to 2006 San Diego, where he witnesses Katie's possession and Micah's murder, meaning he is present in the first film's climax, but offscreen.
  • The Conjuring Universe:
    • Annabelle: Creation doesn't specify its place in the timeline until near the end. Janice, by now possessed by the demon, gets adopted by a couple from California and becomes Annabelle Higgins.
    • The Curse of La Llorona seems like a standalone film until Father Perez appears and advises Anna about his experiences in the supernatural (namely, Annabelle). According to Warner Bros. itself, the connection merely serves as an easter egg, as it doesn't consider the film to be a proper installment in the franchise.
  • As shown in The Reveal, half of Jigsaw is a prequel to the previous Saw films. The game and the investigation are separated by ten years, and the former predates John Kramer's game with Adam Stanheight and Lawrence Gordon, which is why he is still alive.
  • Unforgiven: William Munny is the Man with No Name, according to Word of God. It may be hard to believe that the fastest gunman in the west eventually ran out of baddies to kill, settled down and ended up as an arthritic old pig farmer who can barely shoot straight anymore. Until a stupid, fat town sheriff named Bill makes the mistake of crossing him.

    Literature 
  • 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 and a third (Vivenna) shows up in Oathbringer. 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.
  • Cujo is gradually shown to be a sequel to The Dead Zone. They both take place in Castle Rock (which became a recurring location in Stephen King's books), and feature some of the same characters, like Sheriff George Bannerman and a few of his deputies. The Villainous Legacy of Frank Dodd serves as a subplot, with his ghost possibly showing up, and Johnny Smith is mentioned a few times in Bannerman's narration.
  • 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 as a homage to the Newhart example.
  • 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 is an unusual case. The staff originally intended it to be a direct sequel to Kamen Rider Kuuga and put threads in place like the G3 Powered Armor being made from the data the Metro PD gathered from studying Kuuga, as well as the Lords and Grongi being mortal enemies. However, the writers of Kuuga complained that introducing more monsters would render Yusuke's efforts meaningless and asked the Agito staff to reconsider. Eventually they decided to just leave it up to the viewer, letting them decide if the two shows are connected or if the references are just a Mythology Gag. Later works like Kamen Rider Decade and the 2015 manga version of Kuuga, however, are much more explicit that the two series are connected, to the point where the manga actually has Agito characters like Shoichi himself join the cast in later chapters.
  • 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.
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is an In Name Only adaptation of the Dirk Gently books but in the first episode, Dirk mentions dealing with a sofa and the Norse God, Thor — implying that the books happened in the show's backstory, albeit in Broad Strokes. (The tie-in comics would later reveal that the show is an Alternate Universe to the books' timeline.)
  • Power Rangers: Beast Morphers was originally billed as a Spiritual Successor to Power Rangers RPM. However, the "spiritual" part went out the window in the finale when it was revealed that Big Bad Evox was actually Venjix, the Big Bad of RPM, unwittingly freed from Ranger Red's morpher by the Gold Ranger (Nate Silva) when he was younger. They even brought back RPM's mentor Doctor K to help Grid Battleforce figure out a way to defeat Venjix/Evox permanently.
  • The Mandalorian is a special case. While it's stated to take place after Return of the Jedi, for the most part, the show was rather self-contained with no ties to any previous Star Wars material. Once Gideon revealed to have the Darksaber, however, it became clear that this was a live-action sequel to Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, especially once Bo-Katan and Ahsoka appear in Season 2. Boba Fett also appears in the same season, following up on his "death" in Jedi and Luke Skywalker makes a brief appearance as well. However, it may be subverted as a number of other Star Wars shows were announced around the end of the season featuring these elements; it remains to be seen whether The Mandalorian will continue to involve these plotlines or was just setting up other, less stealthy sequel series.
  • One episode of Murder, She Wrote served as a sequel to the obscure Film Noir Strange Bargain, complete with several of the actors reprising their roles.
  • The 2019 TV show The Demon Headmaster initially appears to be a reboot and modern update of the 1996 show, both based on the book series of the same name. But in a later episode the kids discover a spooky abandoned school which turns out to be the setting of the previous show, and find a note from Dinah Hunter, a former student now grown up and working for the secret service. This comes to a head in the finale when the original Demon Headmaster turns up, revealing the Demon Headmaster from the 2019 show to not only be a different character, but a mere minion rather than the Big Bad.

    Music 
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    Theatre 
  • 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 is 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.
    • Final Fight itself is one to the original Street Fighter, as Mike Haggar is mentioned in the intro as being a former Street Fighter, and it was going to be called Street Fighter '89 until people noticed it was nothing like the first game.
  • 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:
    • Dragon Quest III looks like a Continuity Reboot, but late in the game you find yourself on a very familiar world map, and the ending names you as the famed ancestor of the first two games' heroes.
    • Dragon Quest VI has thematic links to the other "Zenithian Trilogy" games (IV and V), but there are hints that it's actually a prequel.
    • Dragon Quest VIII is implicitly a distant sequel to the Erdrick Trilogy, with Empyrea's backstory involving assisting the seven Sages to seal away the demon Rhapthorne in the past, and her true name being revealed as Ramia in the ending.
    • Dragon Quest XI is a prequel to III, especially after defeating the True Final Boss. The Luminary (the game's hero) is given the name of Erdrick, and The Stinger is a recreation of III's opening cutscene where the hero gets waken up.
  • Some things in the game hint 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 have 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: 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 and various other similarities, Bungie's subsequent series Halo is also part of the same universenote , though the direct references have largely ceased since 343 Industries took over the franchise.
  • 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:
    • 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.
    • Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 are vaguely implied to be a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, taking place centuries, or maybe even millennia, before VII, with the suggestion that Shinra from X-2 is a far off ancestor of President Shinra and Rufus; Shinra mentions using the Farplane as a power source, similar to how in VII, the Mako energy that Shinra Electric Power Company produces is made using the planet's Lifestream. Word of God also confirmed the writer "liked the idea" of them being connected.
    • Initially rumored by fans before being more or less confirmed by the Ultimania companion book, Final Fantasy VII Remake is this to the original game. Throughout the plot, several characters experience visions of events that occurred in the original "timeline" of the franchise, including visions of Aerith's death, Cloud using the Omnislash on Sephiroth, a retelling of the climactic final fight of Crisis Core and a scene from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, among others. A trio of Whispers (Rubrum, Viridi and Croceo) battled late-game are also revealed in the Ultimania book to be Yazoo, Loz and Kadaj, the "Remnants of Sephiroth" from the same anime film. (The Japanese version goes one further, with one of Croceo's moves directly referencing Yazoo's primary weapon.) The Big Bad, Sephiroth, is heavily suggested to be a future version from after the events of the original game, who has been going around screwing with the timeline in hopes of undoing his original defeat at the hands of Cloud and company, while the Ultimania book goes one further and suggests that the Sephiroth the party encounters from the highway battle onwards is not the same version as all the previous times Cloud either had a vision or hallucination of him. The Whispers/Arbiters of Fate are also suggested as a form of the Time Police trying to correct the changes, but with their defeat, the entire "Remake" series is now free to go Off the Rails into an entirely new Alternate Timeline.
      • With the release of the Intergrade DLC, Crisis Core lead character Zack's storyline has become this, functioning as an Alternate Timeline to the events of that game (and possibly VII itself, depending on where the creators take it). As a result of the player party's machinations at the end of the Remake, Zack (who normally would have died outside Midgar and urged Cloud to be his "living legacy"), not only survives his Last Stand against a large contingent of Shinra forces, but completes his mission to bring Cloud back to Midgar, with the DLC showing him stop at Aerith's church to reunite with her... only to discover that she's missing and that no one seems to know who she is.
    • Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin was initially described as a Dark Fantasy take on the first game, but late in the game, it was revealed that the Amnesiac Heroes, who initially thought themselves to be the Warriors of Light, were actually the titular Strangers, tasked with destroying excess darkness in other worlds, only to be trapped in a cycle where the world is reset by their superiors due to their failure to complete their task. Following this revelation, Jack's love for Princess Sarah gets him corrupted by the darkness, leading to him becoming the avatar of Chaos, and by extension the original game's Garland, while Ash, Jed, Neon, and Sophia die and reincarnate as the Four Fiends as seen in the first game in the franchise. On the upside, Jack's actions result in the cycle finally being broken, leaving Garland and the Four Fiends free to facilitate the rise of the true Warriors of Light so the world would be protected.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Jugdral games are implied to be a distant prequel to the Archanea games, taking place many years earlier on a different continent. Loptous, the games' Big Bad, is implied to be a member of the Earth Dragon tribe like the Archanea 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 Archanea 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.
    • Downplayed by Fire Emblem Fates; three apparent Captain Ersatz characters named Odin, Laslow, and Selena are revealed in support dialogue and DLC to actually be Owain, Inigo, and Severa from Fire Emblem Awakening, and they travelled from Ylisse to Nohr after defeating Grima to participate in the game's plot.
    • 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 3-D, 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 Doom³ 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.
    • And then DOOM Eternal strongly implies the Doom Slayer is the original Doomguy, including by referencing the famously memey Doom comic book of all things. Time shenanigans and alternate universes are almost certainly at play, especially when the DLC reveals the Dark Lord looks an awful lot like the Slayer. More in the Doom entry below.
  • Project X Zone is this to Namco × Capcom, especially (and pragmatically) in areas that never got Namco × 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 an 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 suggests a more solid connection. The Post-Final Boss features the Stone-Like from Silvergun putting in an appearance, thus indicating that Ikaruga is an iteration (specifically, the last one) of the "Groundhog Day" Loop from Silvergun where things have, after countless repetitions, finally gone through a drastic change. This is shown in the Central Themes of enlightenment and ascendance for Ikaruga, which ultimately lead the protagonists to victory, contrasting sharply with Radiant Silvergun and its extremely depressing story and reinforcing the fact that the Downer Ending of the latter 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 and 3DS ports, among a few other minor changes, swap the scene out for one that ties into the Switch'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.
  • 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 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.
  • Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is, obviously, a continuation of No More Heroes. At the same time, however, other Grasshopper Manufacture games are folded into this game's narrative:
    • Badman is a character from a Killer7 side-story novel. The tie to killer7 is made all the stronger with the post-launch intro cutscene featuring a fully voiced appearance by Dan Smith.
    • The Travis Strikes Back visual novel segments are a continuation of The 25th Ward, featuring Kamui Uehara as a recurring character.
    • The Death Drive game Serious Moonlight is a continuation of Shadows of the Damned, with the actual title of Damned: Dark Knight, centered around Johnson as he is reborn as the hero "Eight Hearts".
  • 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 Garrett's mechanical eye being a collectible artifact in the game, and the existence of 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, etc... Whether 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 a 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.
    • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is implied (though not outright stated) to be a prequel of Breath of the Wild. However, it is actually an alternate timeline created by a time travelling mini guardian and even has several other characters who time traveled from after the events of Breath of the Wild.
  • Doom:
    • DOOM (2016) was advertised as a Continuity Reboot of the Doom franchise, like with Doom³, but certain lore tidbits imply that it's a canonical sequel to the original series, with the Doom Slayer being the same Doomguy from Doom, Doom II: Hell on Earth, and Doom 64. Specifically, 64 ends with Doomguy electing to stay in Hell in order to make sure the Legions of Hell will never be a threat to Earth again, while 2016 notes that the Slayer has been rampaging through Hell for countless eons. Direct sequel DOOM Eternal (and the 2020 re-release of 64) confirms that this is indeed the case: sometime after the ending of 64, Doomguy stumbles onto the Night Sentinels' homeworld of Argent D'Nur and rises through their ranks until he becomes the legendary Doom Slayer.
    • In addition, several objects appear to tie modern Doom in with Doom 3, such as the inert Soul Cube being in both Olivia Pierce's office in 2016 and the Doom Slayer's "office" aboard the Fortress of Doom in Eternal, 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 2016. There is also a wall relief of the Martian Hero using the Soul Cube against a group of demons in the 2016 Argent D'nur level, which is highly similar to the aforementioned tablet. Additionally, Eternal reveals that the Argenta created "Hebeth", a lost settlement of theirs located deep beneath Mars.
  • Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare takes place in the far future of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare trilogy, but apart from some minor nods (such as the hull designation of the Retribution, the SWC-141 sniper rifle, 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 Golden Ending to Blaster Master Zero reveals that it was the protagonists of MetaFight, the original Japanese version of Blaster Master, who sent Sophia the 3rd and Eve to Earth. They show up in Blaster Master Zero III, 10 years after their events.
  • The good ending of Sonic Mania hints that the Phantom Ruby, 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, set after Classic Sonic's return to his era/world.
  • It was assumed that all Animal Crossing games took place in Alternate Continuities, however Animal Crossing: New Leaf broke from that tradition. Events from previous games are 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 name-drops someone very significant from Xenoblade: Professor Klaus, the scientist who would go on to become a god and the first game's Big Bad, thus implying Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a distant Prequel. The truth is more complicated: 2 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. Both titles are happening simultaneously in parallel; Rex's party in 2 are on a short timer to save their world, as The Architect knows that his time is running short because Shulk's party is about to kill Zanza. The ending of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 implies that The Architect uses the last of his power to send Rex's party and the survivors of their world to the new world Shulk created at the end of Xenoblade, merging both universes as one.
  • 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. They even made finding the sequel into the objective of an Alternate Reality Game. 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. Except the credits revealed this sequel was actually Frog Fractions 3. The devs confirmed that the real Frog Fractions 2 was the ARG to find the sequel—technically making Glittermitten Grove a stealth sequel to a stealth sequel.
    Then in 2020, the devs ported the original game to Steam as Frog Fractions: Game of the Decade Edition. The one addition was DLC where you could replay the game wearing a nice hat. However, Frog Fractions with a Hat quickly diverges from the original game and turns into a completely new story set some months after the first game's ending. And unlike the ARG or Glittermitten Grove, Frog Fractions with a Hat is a more direct continuation of the first game, continuing the original characters' stories.
  • 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... Until the AWE DLC, which continues Alan's story, and implies that all of Control is simply his latest work, an attempt to write into existence a hero capable of freeing him from the Dark Presence.
  • 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.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 starts off as a soft reboot with the Raiden at the end of Armageddon losing to Shao Khan who's set to take over the realms. Raiden sends a message back to his past self which undoes that timeline and sets up for a new continuity. After X continues the story in this new timeline, 11 comes along and brings back past versions of the cast due to the machinations of the Big Bad, Kronika. As the story proceeds, it's revealed that Kronika was actually behind the events of the original timeline from the original game all the way to Armageddon... and several unseen timelines before that, making this an outright continuation to the original series.
  • Half-Life: Alyx initially seems like an Interquel for the Half-Life series, showing Alyx going on a relatively unimportant adventure between the events of the first and second game. It's actually an odd sort of sequel that finally resolves the infamous Cliffhanger ending of the second game (while replacing it with an entirely different cliffhanger); Alyx is manipulated by the G-Man into using his Time Master abilities to alter the timeline so Eli survives at the price of becoming his new asset. We then cut to the ending of Episode 2, only this time the Advisor that would've killed Eli drops dead and G-Man snatches Alyx away, leaving Gordon, Eli, and D0G in the wind.
  • Epileptic Trees states that Déraciné is actually a prequel to Bloodborne. The setting could easily pass for the Byrgenwerth institute in its prime, and several of the characters share names and characteristics with important characters from Bloodborne. And, of course, unseen entities that move about and influence the world from beyond the veil. Who's to say Oedon isn't a stronger version of the Kind Faerie?
  • Soulcalibur VI initially seems to be a straightforward remake of Soulcalibur, following its and Soul Edge's events faithfully. Then comes the secret chapter of Zasalamel's Soul Chronicle, where he receives a vision of the future from an anonymous person (highly implied to be the Zasalamel from the original timeline) which makes him reconsider his pursuit of death much earlier. However, Cassandra's last Soul Chronicle chapter is the most blatant evidence proving the game's status as a sequel, as she actually meets her alternate self who was corrupted by her time in Astral Chaos (as stated in the fifth game's artbook) and is warned to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, confirming once and for all that SCVI is set in a timeline parallel to the previous six games.
  • Sakuna Of Rice And Ruin may be part of the Fairy Bloom series from the same developer, Edelweiss, as Lady Kamuhitsuki is secretly revealed (by a mere little item description) to be the protagonist, Freesia from Fairy Bloom Freesia all grown up and ascended to godhood. Adding to this implication is the fact that the minigame that gives the item, "Sakuna the Efflorescent," involves protecting a giant plant from waves of invaders (and the premise of Fairy Bloom 1 involved a fairy protecting a flower from invaders). In addition to this, Myrthe explicitly mentions meeting King Listine "and a beautiful fairy" during her travels in a dinner cutscene.
  • Kuukiyomi 3: Consider It More and More!! -Father to Son-: This game seems to be a completely different story in the same universe, until the 100th situation reveals that this game takes place before Kuukiyomi: Consider It. The player controls the son of the player character (who has become a mother) so unknown train passengers, who happen to be a father and a daughter, can sit down together. Their son and daughter are heavily implied to be younger versions of the player protagonist and his girlfriend C-Ko (or C.C. in the global version), respectively, from the first two games.
  • DoDonPachi Resurrection BLACK LABEL has an Arrange Mode that's a crossover with Ketsui. At first it seems like a plotless crossover made in the name of Rule of Cool, but then it turns out the game is a Stealth Prequel to Ketsui; the ending reveals that the events of the game are actually a simulation "based on an ancient battle" in order to prepare the Ketsui pilots for their assault on EVAC Industry.
  • Super Robot Wars 30 seems like a standard, standalone entry in the franchise, even with the sweeping changes to narrative structure and some insight on what actually happened to the True Final Boss of the Super Robot Wars Z trilogy. Beat the game, though, and it's revealed that the tritagonist faction responsible for giving the Dreikreuz the Dreisstrager and the impetus to raise up the protagonist reached into The Multiverse a long time ago and fetched some robots from what remained of the world(s) containing the Z trilogy. And they're coming back.
  • An Easter Egg in Days Gone reveals that it takes place in the same universe as the Syphon Filter games, which were also made by SIE Bend Studio (back when it was called Eidetic). Specifically, The Virus that caused the Zombie Apocalypse is a strain of the Syphon Filter virus, with this being a world where the games' protagonists failed to stop its release.
  • As the game goes on, it becomes clear that Arkane Studios' "DEATHLOOP" takes place in the same universe as Dishonored, albeit at an undetermined point in the future. There are some early hints to this being the case, such as similar abilities, a shared architectural style, the lack of any real-world locations (coupled with Blackreef bearing some similarities to descriptions of Tyvia, an unseen but often-mentioned nation in Dishonored), and documents revealing that years in Deathloop are recorded and named in the same idiosyncratic style as in Dishonored (i.e. "The Year of the Nets", rather than a numbered year). But as the game progresses, the player can locate a shotgun from Dunwall Imperial Armory, a tape recording of whaler song, and ultimately a pair of oil-powered duelling pistols. Moreover, an early design document of the game makes the connection much more overt.

    Webcomics 
  • 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.
  • Jennifer Diane Reitz's Pastel Defender Heliotrope was revealed about halfway through the story to be connected to the author's earlier comic Unicorn Jelly.

    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 dysfunctional adult.
  • In the ending segment of Who Says...?, it is established that Limbo was originally a Truce Zone in the afterlife before "The Dante Incident" started an arms race between Heaven and Hell to produce Innocence to use it as a power source.
  • The Monument Mythos ends up being a prequel to CORNERFOLK, another series on ALEXKANSAS' channel.

    Western Animation 
  • Milo Murphy's Law was regularly stated by Word of God to be one to Phineas and Ferb, with the characters of the two shows living in the same county. After a number of call backs and nods spread throughout the show's first season, the connection became explicit in the season one finale, where Doofenshmirtz is revealed to potentially be the inventor of the Time Travel technology regularly used in Milo Murphy's Law. Following a crossover special that built upon this revelation, the latter show's characters began to make regular appearances.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) is a Soft Reboot of The Powerpuff Girls but also has aspects of being a sequel, albeit with Broad Strokes, such as taking place in the 2010s instead of the 2000s. For example, there are episodes explaining why the girls attend a new elementary school instead of Pokey Oaks and why Ms. Bellum is no longer assisting the Mayor.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated mostly seems to be an Alternate Continuity to any other Scooby-Doo cartoon with some Broad Strokes indicating similar events had happened. Then the series finale has the ancient evil beneath Crystal Cove being Ret-Gone, leaving the gang in an alternate timeline where the only other one who remembers the difference is Harlan Ellison, because he remembers every alternate timeline. He then explains "This has all happened before", it's just unusual for them to remember it, and they end up going on a cross-country mystery-solving roadtrip—complete with Laugh Track. The implication is that every work in the entire franchise has been the result of multiple Cosmic Retcons of the same sort of they had just caused.
  • Star Wars Rebels was originally another mostly self-contained installment of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, in this case showing events in the galaxy in-between the first two trilogies. However, as it went on, it quickly proved to be a direct sequel to previous cartoon Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well, picking up on several hanging plot threads left over from that series, including the fates of Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, and Darth Maul.
  • Infinity Train: The advertising for the fourth season didn't indicate that its story would be a prequel, but it's set in the late 1980s, with Amelia's takeover happening in the background of Ryan and Min-gi's adventure.
  • Adventure Time: Distant Lands: The first special focuses on BMO, and until the very end we don't see any other established charactersnote . When BMO returns to Earth he sees Finn as a kid and a teenage Jake, revealing that this was a prequel.
    • The other three specials are all sequels to Adventure Time, which isn't a surprise, but the Day in the Limelight format with so many unaging characters gave the creators room for surprises. It's only near the end of "Obsidian" that we see Finn as an adult, while "Together Again" is set after he's died as an old man, a fact hidden for the first few minutes.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Stealth Prequel

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Control

While it isn't overt at first, various cameos, notes and the second DLC "AWE" reveal that Control is a sequel to Alan Wake.

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