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The Resolution Will Not Be Televised

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"Wonder what will happen next...on the Internet?"
Gerald Bald Z, Perfect Hair Forever

A show that's just unfortunate enough to get canceled before its writers' creative juices have dried up (or the network decided to can their show out of spite, content complaints, or low ratings) will sometimes get a televised epilogue to Wrap It Up.

But some aren't that lucky. Sometimes the show's creator or the company that owns the character has to go elsewhere to continue the story. Sometimes that means "downgrading" to comics or novels. Sometimes they can wrangle straight-to-DVD movies or an episode of another related show or even more rarely they get a shot at the big screen.


A recent trend has seen many upcoming summer blockbusters receive comics preceding their release that serve to introduce the film's characters or villains.

Things can get more complicated if the author dies before finishing his work, because (obviously) he won't continue the story anywhere. A Posthumous Collaboration may attempt to fill the void, by calling some new author to finish the story.

Contrast Post-Script Season, Un-Canceled. See also All There in the Manual. If it's intentional, then there's No Ending. If it's a made-for-TV movie or miniseries, see Wrap It Up. Contrast Expanded Universe, where a show that did get a resolution is continued in other media anyway. The Resolution Will Not Be Identified is what happens when a deliberately-written series finale is not identified as such in advertising or on screen.


Note that, with this trope, the resolution may not be televised, but it does exist in some medium. If the work is left without any resolution at all, it's Cut Short.

The trope was named after The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron.

Examples (by medium of origin):

    open/close all folders 

  • Cap'n Crunch commercial "Tidal Sog" has the Sogmaster cause a soggy wave to push the Captain and his ship behind one of three doors which close and lock behind him, trapping him inside. The ad shows two kids who were passengers on board peering over a rock, about to attempt a rescue, before ending with To Be Continued... Then, the "Free The Cap'n Sweepstakes" ad urges viewers to send in three correct answers on specially marked boxes to release the Captain from the Soggy jail. We never see a follow-up ad where the Captain is released from imprisonment. We are left to assume the sweepstakes did its work and some kid got a letter saying "the Captain has been freed". As for the Soggies and the Sogmaster, their crimes are never addressed, except for a brief confrontation with Spider-Man in the comic book ad "The Amazing Spider-Man in the Free the Cap'n Mystery."
  • One Trix Rabbit commercial had him hide some Trix Yogurt from the kids in a jungle, and jumble the ensuing hiding spot. The final commerical saw the jumble mostly fixed and him give a final clue in that he said it backwards, but the resolving commercial never came to pass. (If you’re curious, he hid it in an elephant's trunk).

    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens all too often with anime adaptations that overtake the manga, or only cover the first two or three books in a Light Novel series.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Because Gainax ran out of money, the original series had an ending that resolved nothing aside from the main character's personal issues. Eventually, a more definitive ending was released in movie form, as "The End of Evangelion".
  • Martian Successor Nadesico's story was meant to be concluded in a sequence of novels and a trilogy of movies. However, due to unknown disagreements among the people involved in the production, the audience was still Left Hanging. There were a few supplementary materials (two video games and the Gekiganger 3 OVA) that did at least wrap up the main story of the show. However, few outside of Japan have ever seen the video games - most annoyingly, the second one, which was supposed to conclude the series once and for all.
  • Though each individual series in Gundam's Universal Century continuity is fairly self-contained, the story of the original characters of Mobile Suit Gundam got a final wrap-up in The Movie Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
  • The 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist was concluded by the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, which wraps up many of the plot threads left dangling by the series. The same director did the same trick with Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • The original Inuyasha anime ran for 167 episodes before it was taken off the air. The manga however kept going along, making the anime an example of this trope. However, years later, after the manga had ended, the anime was revived and given 26 episodes to pick up where it left off and adapt the rest of the manga, which it did, finally wrapping up all the major plot points and giving an ending.
  • Wolf's Rain ended inconclusively after 26 episodes. The story was concluded by 4 OVA episodes, which bring closure to the plot. Unfortunately some networks (like the UK's Anime Central) omit the OVA episodes from the show's run and leave the story hanging.
  • The Big Bad of Dancougar was finally defeated in the OAV Requiem for Victims.
  • .hack//Roots is an interesting example of this, in that its 26-episode run was intended as a lead-in to the three part .hack//G.U. video game series from the very beginning. Unless you were already intending to play the games to begin with, the anime's Sequel Hook, Reset Button ending might leave you wondering where the heck the resolution was...
  • The anime adaptation of Star Ocean: The Second Story, Star Ocean EX, ended at what was half-point of the game's scenario when Claude, Rena and co leave Expel and go to Energy Nede. The second half of the story, the Energy Nede saga, was completed, but in a series of Drama CDs instead of an anime.
  • The anime adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin was actually canceled due to how low the quality of the Filler arcs had became. Shougo was good, Daigoro was all right, Black Knights was bland, and Feng Shui was the reason the show was canceled, what with the hard-to-follow plot, boring characters, almost no action, and random events. Because of this, the last arc of the manga was adapted as an OVA.
    • ...which didn't even adapt that right either, instead going in its own direction from the manga. To this day the "Revenge" arc had never been animated as intended, not even when the series got a brief revival as live action movies.
  • Studio Shaft couldn't get airtime for the last three episodes of Bakemonogatari, so they were released as a webcast.
  • A semi-example with Puella Magi Madoka Magica. While the Twelve Episode Anime finished as intended, the sequel was released as The Movie. Word Of God explains it wasn't long enough to be a complete second season. (In fact, the sequel was released after a pair of Compilation Movies that retold the anime's story.)
  • The Reborn! (2004) anime ended its adaptation at the end of the Future arc with Tsuna and company returning to the past. The manga, however, continued on with the Inheritance Ceremony arc in which the Vongola Guardians go on to battle against the Simon Family, and would eventually lead into the Curse of the Rainbow arc; a battle royale amongst teams led by the Arcobaleno. Low ratings, atrocious Padding during the Future arc, and dangerously closing the gap to the current manga chapter all took part in the anime's cancellation, which is a shame since the Curse of the Rainbow arc is considered to be, overall, Reborn's best arc. It most likely won't be animated anytime soon.
  • Persona 4: The Animation ends after the defeat of Ameno-Sagiri with Narukami leaving aboard the train, and never touches upon the events of the game's True Ending. The real last episode was released with the last volume of the anime, and reveals that the fake ending was part of a Lotus-Eater Machine created by Izanami.
  • Oreimo did this twice. The first season had a Gecko Ending, the second had No Ending, and both were properly concluded with a series of un-televised OVAs. The second season's "true" ending found its way to Crunchyroll, but the first season's did not, causing much confusion.
  • The final four episodes of Kokoro Connect were released as OVAs. There are two possible reasons for this. Either they couldn't get airtime due to the odd number of episodes (like Bakemonogatari above), or they wanted to provide a good incentive to buy the DVDs after Auditiongate led to a boycott.
  • Played straight and subverted with the 1999 adaptation of Hunterx Hunter. The series originally overtook the source material before the York Shin Arc was even finished, but resolved the story with an OVA and moved on to the Greed Island arc before overtaking the manga again, which finally resulted in the original anime being Cut Short. Fortunately it was rebooted in 2011 by Mad House. However, due to the author's frequent breaks, the 2nd anime ended with Gon finally finding his father and continuing on with his adventures.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi had a resolution in the manga, but not in the anime. People who watched the anime will need to read the last few tankobon to get a finale.
  • Due to the closure of Manglobe, The World God Only Knows only has three animated seasons covering majority of the first 189 chapters (not counting the skipped capture arcs between Seasons 2 and 3). The rest of the manga stretches out towards chapters 190 to 268, covering one final arc in total.
  • The Rave Master anime ended with the heroes fending off the Oracion Seis and finding that Lucia is the former Big Bad King's son who intends to take his place and destroy the world. The crew resolve to find the remaining Rave stones and Elie's past and head off for their next adventure. The anime was cancelled after that, and what happens afterward is revealed only in the pages of the manga.
  • Zatch Bell! had its anime end with the Zeno arc, even though by that point it already Overtook the Manga by a significant amount because the author broke his hand. Though considering that the Clear Note arc is contemptuous at best and the long-awaited fight against Zeno feels like a proper climax, this is arguably a good thing.
  • The anime adaptation of Slam Dunk only covers the first 22 volumes of the manga, leaving the National Tournament out. To compensate, the anime's last five episodes has team Shohoku having a friendly match with the star players of Shoyo and Ryonan before they depart for the nationals.
  • While Zoids: Chaotic Century aired in its entirety in Japan, the anime almost became an example of this with the English dub on Cartoon Network. The show used to air in the early morning hours, but the last four episodes of the series were never broadcasted. Fan demand was strong enough that the Toonami block aired the remaining episodes as “The Final Four.”
  • The Eyeshield 21 anime ends during the semifinals of the Kanto Tournament, when the Deimon Devilbats defeat the Ojou White Knights. That leaves not only the final match against the Hakushu Dinosaurs and the Christmas Bowl against the Teikkoku Alexanders out (this one being the protagonists' goal from the beginning), but also the follow-up World Cup arc.
  • Despite its huge popularity, the anime adaptations of Captain Tsubasa rarely cover the arcs beyond the middle school nationals. The original 1987 anime adapts the elementary and middle school nationals, then follows with a series of OV As titled Shin Captain Tsubasa that covers the Sub-15 World Cup. Captain Tsubasa J starts with a retelling of the first arc, before skipping to show the characters during their time overseas, ending with the Asian preliminaries before the World Youth. Road to 2002 adapts part of the characters' story when they finally enter the professional stage, but again, it ends when Japan is about to start its final match against Brazil in the World Youth (and skipping huge chunks of other arcs in the process). Lastly, the 2018-2019 is a remake of the original series, covering only the elementary and middle schools arcs. Only time will tell if this will remain the case.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jason X ends with a Sequel Hook. The story's continuation is found in comics and novels.
  • Star Wars:
    • The earliest of Star Wars Legends was the Star Wars (Marvel 1977) comic, which once it serialized A New Hope made up new stuff until such time as there was another movie to adapt.
    • The first Legends novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, was intended to be a possible version of this if A New Hope wasn't successful enough for a proper sequel. Only featuring Luke and Leia, it was a story in which the two of them fought Darth Vader over a Force crystal. In hindsight, the attraction between the two is rather creepy; though a lightsaber duel in which Luke and Leia both fight Vader is somewhat interesting.
    • In general, Legends filled in gaps between the movies.
  • While several proposals for a third Ghostbusters movie fell through, Ghostbusters: The Video Game continued the story of the original Ghostbusters team with the original cast and the involvement of the original writers.
  • While the Men in Black film was successful and would later release a theatrical sequel, Sony still contracted series creator Lowell Cunningham to script the Men in Black: Retribution comic sequel. The storyline similarly focuses on K returning to the MIB organization.
  • The Super Mario Bros. film ended on a Sequel Hook that was left hanging for 20 years before it was picked up in the form of a webcomic by the original screenwriter and several fans.
  • Dredd 3D did poorly at the box office, but due to a massive fan petition for a film sequel 2000AD announced a comic sequel entitled Dredd: Underbelly. A true film sequel is still being pushed.
  • Good Burger received a sequel in the form of the novel Good Burger 2 Go.
  • Writer Bob Gale has stated that Back to the Future: The Game is the closest thing fans of the Back to the Future franchise will get to having a fourth film in the franchise.

  • The first eight books of the H.I.V.E. series were published through Bloomsbury with reasonable regularity between 2005 and 2012, but the final installment wasn't published until 2021, and it wasn't published by Bloomsbury at all. Author Mark Walden founded his own publishing company, Noodle Fuel, and broke contract in order to produce a volume that wrapped up the story. It's unknown what Creative Differences or Executive Meddling made the ending impossible to publish in the first place, but due to the fact that it started out as a children's series, it's almost certainly because it became clear around the halfway mark of the series that the protagonist was headed towards a Heroic Suicide. The final traditionally published installment, book eight, gave a partial ending to some plots and character arcs and Cut Short the series. Book nine, the ending the series was apparently always meant to have, deals primarily with Otto's mental health, which has been atrocious for most of the series, as he contemplates and ultimately goes through with a Heroic Sacrifice. Despite the fact that his consciousness is able to be saved and regrown into a new body at the very end, most of his narration is incredibly dark, and it's easy to see why it wouldn't be published in a middle-grade series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Grand Finale for Our Miss Brooks appeared on neither radio nor television, but instead took the form of a feature film. Miss Brooks finally achieves her Series Goal and marries Love Interest Mr. Boynton.
  • Although it was originally intended to be the start of a movie franchise, Serenity did a good job of wrapping up one of the larger plot threads from the Firefly TV show — at least, as good a job as one can do when one has to introduce, elaborate, and wrap up a plot element that was originally supposed to take several seasons.
    • Darkhorse has also been sporadically publishing comics taking place after Serenity, with the 6-issue mini-series "Leaves On The Wind" being the most notable example.
  • Dollhouse is getting an interesting version of this: although the series finale "Epitaph Two" resolved pretty much everything, a comic series is being put out called Dollhouse: Epitaphs which takes place before it, just as it becomes After the End, and it shows what happens to several characters that we never see again in the series (like Ivy). We already know how everything ends, but now we can see how it got there.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In 1987, the Sixth Doctor never received a proper sendoff story in the TV series because Colin Baker was fired from the role. Almost 30 years later, he finally got one in the form of an expansive audio play.
    • The Doctor Who New Adventures series of books directly followed on from Doctor Who's cancellation in 1989, continuing the adventures of the Seventh Doctor (the last to be seen on TV until the TV movie in 1996) and his companion Ace. (They also introduced several new companions, one of whom received her own continuing Spin-Off series.) It subsequently gained a sister series of "Missing Adventures" revisiting earlier Doctors and companions. The BBC would eventually pick up the series after the TV Movie, publishing the adventures of the 8th Doctor and his companions.
    • The Eighth Doctor's regeneration was finally shown in 2013, in a webcast.
  • Dark Angel's follow-up novels.
  • The 4400 has two novels set after its TV run.
  • Space: 1999 had a wrap-up released in 1999, Message from Moonbase Alpha. Although fan-made, it had the involvement of one of the original scriptwriters and had Zienia Merton reprise her role as Sandra Benes.
  • Heroes season four (Volume Five) ended with a shocking turn and the promise of another volume titled Brave New World which would've focused on norms learning about the specials and how the world dealt with it. However, the show wasn't picked up for another season. A thirteen episode follow-up miniseries, Heroes: Reborn, aired in 2015.
  • The series finale of ALF sees ALF about to be rescued by survivors of his home planet, Melmac. ALF is then captured by the Alien Task Force. The original airing actually even ended with a "To Be Continued." ALF was subsequently canceled, and the result was never seen. Years later, a TV Movie, Project ALF, was aired in an effort to tie things up.
  • Stargate SG-1 ended with no resolution to the current plot and only later got a direct to video release, The Ark of Truth, that wrapped up the current plot. It was not a case of being cancelled too soon, it was a case of writers not knowing when to stop. Ironically, the main plot that started the show off did not get wrapped up within its own show and also saw a single one shot direct to video affair, Continuum, that wrapped up the massive loose ends of the story.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series has Season 4, a direct continuation of the original series. The first issue, in fact, picks up immediately after the last televised episode with them transferring the (imprisoned) antagonist to another ship.
  • The final The Middleman graphic novel acted as a season finale for the canceled TV series, being set in the continuity of the show rather than the previous graphic novels. Just to make things complicated, the previous (pre-TV) run of comics ended on a massive cliffhanger, which has itself never been resolved.
  • Jericho (2006) had a season 3 comic book.
  • Pushing Daisies received a comic book series in early 2011.
  • Similarly, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was a film which was originally supposed to tie up the then-canceled Twin Peaks series. But this being a David Lynch flick it actually just raised about a million more questions.
  • Police Squad! was canceled after just six episodes, but made millions in the cinema in the form of the Naked Gun trilogy.
  • While the first Star Trek movie wasn't intended to wrap up the Original Series storyline, later movies did eventually finish it pretty much conclusively, particularly Star Trek: Generations.
    • This is actually the case for many TV series. Back in the early days, the concept of a series finale was not that popular. Shows tended to keep running until the network canceled them.
  • Dead Like Me had a Direct-to-DVD film that tied up some of the lingering plot threads.
  • Kamen Rider Decade is a rare deliberate example of this trope, with the Grand Finale being a movie so that Toei could make way for Kamen Rider Double.
    • This actually caused Toei some problems, since PTA groups complained that Decade's final episode was nothing but a 30-minute advertisement for The Movie, forcing them to completely redo the movie and resulting in it bearing absolutely no resemblance to the trailer at the end of the series.
    • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight was pulled from The CW's lineup with only two episodes to go: the finale occurs in the penultimate episode, while the last episode was mostly a Clip Show recapping everything. Contrary to popular belief, the show was taken off because it ran long and would have interfered with the next season's schedule, and not because it was cancelled (despite its pulling down low ratings). The two "missing" episodes were made available for free on The CW's website to address the issue.
  • After Traveler was canceled, the series' creator, David DiGilio, posted the outline of the rest of the story in his blog.
  • Marry Me (2014) was cancelled before its first season finished. Even though the episodes were finished, they never aired in the USA, even on Hulu. Overseas viewers did get all the episodes, and they did get married.
  • Revolution got a comic on Facebook wrapping up what would've been the series's 3rd season. "See it here."


    • Comics could not cover material that was to be made into DVD movies or video games. The original comic run of 2001 thus ended with the heroes achieving a small victory, but not fighting the main villain or any of the other hinted-at threats, because LEGO wanted to tell the story via a video game... which got canceled just before release. The story was then wrapped up in the Mata Nui Online Game the same year, save for one fight scene. This got included in the first 2003 novel, Tale of the Toa, and later retconned and rewritten by the 2005 encyclopedia.
    • The movie The Legend Reborn ended on a Sequel Hook. When LEGO decided to ax the series, along with the sequel, the story quickly got told in the comics, a novel (published online for free) and an illustrated web-story narrated by Michael Dorn, who had voiced the movie's main character. A rough draft of the canceled sequel's story was also shared, though it was branded non-canon.
    • The plot threads were far from tied up when the series got canceled. LEGO allowed the writer to keep continuing the story in online serials, which he didn't get paid for. Sadly, he had to quit after just managing a few chapters due to personal matters and his paying job. The amount of plot-lines that were still waiting to be resolved are painful.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Epithet Erased, a loose adaptation of the creator's Roll20 Tabletop RPG campaign Anime Campaign, had a single season that adapted only two of the source material's ten story arcs. Due to the steep cost of making an animated show and VRV's lack of interest in funding further seasons, the series would continue on as a series of novels and audiobooks instead, with the first of these being Epithet Erased: Prison Of Plastic.

  • Abstract Gender finally laid down and died despite multiple attempts by the author to revive it. He was originally going to create a second webcomic that would feature older versions of the characters and wrap up the various story lines, but it never happened. He was then going to just post the remaining scripts but stopped part way through the last chapter when life got in the way.
  • Avalon ended three years of Schedule Slip with a synoptic prose epilogue.
  • Chainmail Bikini was finished up with a prose outline after it was discontinued.
  • RPG World was orphaned by creator Ian Jones-Quartey during its final story arc. Over a decade later, Ian found himself with his own animated series, OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, and used the episode "A Hero's Fate" as a Fully Absorbed Finale to complete the story. His blog post discussing the episode has him admit that he only wanted to reuse the character of Hero as an in-joke, until some of the writers pushed for this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons (1983) Saturday morning cartoon had its unproduced final episode script released to the internet; it was later performed as a "radio play" on the series DVD set. And no, it's not the script passed around on the Internet where they found out they were dead and the world of Dungeons & Dragons is the afterlife.
  • Winx Club actually got to make their movie and wrap up some outstanding plot lines after season 3. Thanks to its Cash-Cow Franchise status, though, that movie didn't exactly end up being the end.
  • Following its cancellation by Disney, Gargoyles received a licensed comic continuation with input from series creator Greg Weisman. The series was notable for ignoring the third season produced without his direction and exploring a different story arc. Licensing fees eventually led to the series being left unfinished.
  • ReBoot was canceled at a cliffhanger in 2001 before finally coming back in 2008 in the webcomic ReBoot: Code of Honor.
  • The finale of season 3 of Dragon Booster promised that the adventures of Artha and Moordryd (and everyone else) will continue in Dragon Booster: Academy, which would also presumably wrap up loose ends such as Moordryd's betrayal of his father and Armageddon. The new season never appeared, so the producers gave a major DB fansite an overview of the Academy. It's more of a "this is how the Academy works", rather than "this is what happens to Artha and Moordryd at the Academy", though.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes was canceled after two seasons when 4Kids took over its airing block in 2008. It even had a fairly archetypal Season Finale Sequel Hook of the "villain's hand claws its way up from the bottomless pit" variety. It was to have the story of the third season told in the (cumbersome-named) comic book tie-in Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, which was itself canceled a few months after the show (the 20th and last issue was in November 2008).
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes fans who want to see final battles against certain villains have to read the tie-in comics to do so. Most of the comics are written by the show's original head writer, Christopher Yost.
  • After Recess was cancelled, it was given a theatrical finale, Recess: School's Out. The show was subsequently renewed, then quickly cancelled again, thanks to Disney's 65-episode limit. ABC actually wanted to uncancel the show again when they noticed how high the reruns for the sixty-five were, and ordered another season, but Disney declined and three of the episodes were made into the direct-to-video Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade.
  • King Arthur & the Knights of Justice was cancelled after only two seasons with No Ending, but the SNES Licensed Game continued the Knights' mission beyond the series' endpoint.
  • Wakfu found itself with a "conclusion" of sorts on Steam, with The Quest for the Six Eliatrope Dofus, which is followed by a MMORPG.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars was canceled when Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise, in favour of a new Star Wars series known as Star Wars: Rebels for Disney XD''. At this point, Season 5 just ended and multiple episodes up to a seventh and possibly even an eighth season were in different stages of production. Much of that material was released in different forms:
    • Thirteen episodes that were already finished would compose Season 6, which aired on Netflix and were released on DVD/Blu-Ray.
    • Two story arcs of four episodes each ("Crystal Crisis" and "Bad Batch") were released on with incomplete animation, but finished voice-over and sound effects.
    • Eight finished episode scripts were adapted into the Dark Disciple novel.
    • Another four-episode arc was adapted into Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic mini-series.
    • The series was Un-Canceled for a seventh season released in 2020, with the "Bad Batch" arc seeing completed animation completed and the show getting a real Series Finale.
  • Brickleberry ended its run on a cliffhanger where humanity was taken over by alien cows. The conflict was resolved in a four-issue miniseries by Dynamite Comics.
  • Metalocalypse concluded with "The Doomstar Requiem", a one hour special that was meant to conclude the fourth season and lead into the fifth and final one. But the creator, Brendon Small, got into a disagreement with Adult Swim over budget and ultimately broke ties with them leading the series to be cancelled. He did vow to get the rest of the story told and fulfilled it with his second Galaktikon album, Galaktikon II: Become The Storm. While it doesn't call the characters from the show by name, it does allude to who is who. note