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The Shelf of Movie Languishment

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The movie is finished. The cast and crew have been paid, post-production is done. All it needs is an advertising campaign and to be sent to the theaters. Except it isn't, at least not at the speed most of its completed brethren do.

The act of being "shelved" is one of the oddities of the movie business. There are many reasons that a completed movie is set aside: a matter of timing, Executive Meddling, dissatisfaction with the result, corporate restructuring, unexpected copyright problems, etc. It can last anywhere from a couple months to forever.

Compare Keep Circulating the Tapes (where the rights holders don't release copies for purchase after broadcast), Ashcan Copy (where the work was produced only to maintain the rights and was never intended for wide publication), Development Hell (where the work is never completed or takes an extraordinarily long time to complete), Missing Episode (where the work is released, but lost afterwards) and Sequel Gap (where the movie takes a normal time to make but it has been a long time since the last installment). See also Release Date Change, though that one doesn't have only delays.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Castle in the Sky was originally dubbed and prepared for a home video release in the US in 1998, and trailers for it appeared on various Disney VHS tapes. However, because of the surprise success of Kiki's Delivery Service on video, Disney decided to rethink their plan for the film. They planned on releasing it in theaters first, and they re-recorded the film's musical score with the original composer. However, after the disappointment of Princess Mononoke's theatrical release, Disney once again decided to rethink how to release Castle in the Sky, and put it on hold again. The film sat on the shelf until 2003 when it was finally released by Disney on video and DVD after only being screened at a few children's festivals.
  • The North American license for InuYasha: The Final Act was originally announced by Viz Media in mid-2009, around the time the anime began airing in Japan. The English dub was completed by the end of 2010, according to the actors in it. However, it didn't see a home video release until the end of 2012, over three years after its initial announcement.
  • The third Rebuild of Evangelion movie was screened in some theaters by Funimation in 2013, and was slated to be released to DVD/Blu-ray in February 2014, with pre-orders going up. However, the release was indefinitely put on hold, with widely varying explanations (from the booking of more screenings, to Studio Khara wanting more involvement), and the English voice actors discussed coming back to re-record some of their lines. There were even rumors of the film being snatched from Funimation and given to someone else with a completely new dub. The film came out on Blu-ray in February 2016 from Funimation, two years after its original release date, with an entirely redone English dub and two different subtitle translations. It was later revealed that a representative from Khara had attended the dub's premiere at Otakon, and was horrified at the audience's amused reaction to the film, and blamed it on the localization. Funimation tried explaining to them that anime convention crowds are usually very energetic, but Khara still forced them to redo the localization from scratch. This may have played a part in Funimation eventually losing the license to the franchise, and new dub with a new script and cast being commissioned for both the original Evangelion series on Netflix, and the Rebuild series on Amazon Prime Video.
  • Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty were adapted into comic books and those comic book adaptations would see Digital Graphic Novel film adaptations in 2008 which would be exclusive to Japan for five years. English dubs for the movies were recorded back in 2008 but they wouldn't see the light of day until 2013 as part of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection.
  • 009 RE:Cyborg was announced by Anime Limited for a release in the UK in 2013. The release kept getting delayed, with the English dub having to be completely redone at least once at the request of Production I.G. It finally came out in 2015, and was picked up for US distribution by FUNimation that same year.
  • Around 1968, TMS Entertainment made a 26-episode show called Chingo Muchabei (The Extravagant Muchabei), but it did not air until 1971, where it was burned through by airing the episodes daily during weekdays for over six weeks. The reason for the delay was because the show was filmed in black and white, and Japanese television has been heavily transitioning to color by then (even though TMS made at least two more black and white shows after this, both of which aired on schedule). Because of the delay, this show ended up being the last black and white anime to air on television.
  • The Funimation dub for the Buu saga of Dragon Ball Z Kai began recording in 2013, with plans to release it in 2014 alongside the Japanese airing. Come 2014, however, and there were no signs of the dub's release. Even the dub's cast was confused, stating that they had already recorded all their lines. The dub wouldn't see a release for a few more years, eventually premiering on Toonami at the start of 2017. Many have speculated as a result that Toei Animation was simply withholding the dub's release until the previous three arcs finished airing on Toonami. It's especially confusing though, since it was being put together specifically for overseas broadcasts (it only aired in Japan because of the unexpected cancellation of Toriko opening a timeslot), since the first four arcs did better outside of Japan than in, Sean Schemmel and Kyle Hebert announced they'd started recording the dub in 2014, and seeing as how the Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’ movies came out in the meantime, you'd assume that they'd air, or release it on home media, to tie in, but nope.
  • Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland was released in Japan in 1989 but even though it was an U.S. co-production intended for Western audiences from the beginning — and the Nintendo game adaptation made it to the United States on time — it would not be released in that country until 1992 as one of several foreign and/or shelved animated features that were rushed to that market to capitalize on the success of Beauty and the Beast the previous winter.
  • The Funimation dub for the Punk Hazard and Dressrosa arcs of One Piece suffered from languishment in different ways. Interviews conducted in 2017 showed evidence they were working on Punk Hazard (Luci Christian mentioned body swapping), the credits for Punk Hazard episodes list Joel McDonald as director (he stepped down in 2018) and Kellen Goff mentioned on Twitter that he recorded lines for Blue Gilly the same time he first recorded lines for Overhaul in My Hero Academia (in 2018). Punk Hazard and Dressrosa dubs didn't come out until 2020. Though evidence also exists that Dressrosa was only partly done, most evident in Johnny Yong Bosch taking over as Sabo following Vic Mignogna's termination.
    • This may have also been the case for the TV Specials 3D2Y and Episode of Sabo (both seeing release in 2019). The former featured Grant James as Zeff (he retired from voice acting in 2018) and the latter featured Ed Blaylock as Sengoku (he passed away in 2017).
  • The anime adaptation of Sin-Ichi Hiromoto's Hell's Angels was produced in 2008 and screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival note . However, it wouldn't be released on Blu-ray until 2012.

    Comic Books 
  • Going Steady with Peggy, the first comic drawn by Al Feldstein for EC Comics, was canceled prior to publication because of a sudden plunge in demand for Follow the Leader imitations of Archie Comics.

    Live-Action TV — Fiction 
  • Immortality is currently languishing on the shelf due to Executive Meddling on a governmental level. Filming was completed in 2020, it passed censorship and was set for an April 2021 release date... and then the Chinese government cracked down on adaptations of danmei novels.
  • The Wolf is an especially odd case even by the Chinese censors' standards. The series was filmed in 2017, but the censors refused to pass it. It was shelved for three years before they finally agreed to let it air. After all that, many viewers watched it mainly out of curiosity to see what the censors found so objectionable... and were bewildered to discover it contained nothing that could possibly have offended even the most hypercritical censor. It remains a mystery why this show was delayed for so long.
  • At Last the 1948 Show (1967) was so-called because ITV supposedly kept shows sitting on shelves for months or years before finally deciding to air them. (Not to mention the fact that ITV didn't actually go on air until 1955.)
  • A remake of the miniseries Sybil was filmed in 2007 and got an European release that year, but it wasn't aired in the US until it was burned off one Saturday night in June 2008.
  • NBC picked up Day One, a show that involves apartment residents banding together after an unknown cataclysm destroys the world. It was supposed to air in 2010 with 13 episodes, but was cut to four episodes, then turned into a TV movie (the NBC head said that they would make a TV series if the movie did well). Eventually NBC lost hope in the series/movie and never aired it. The only footage people can see is the trailer.
  • One of the most extreme cases ever: The Frankie Howerd-starring BBC sitcom When Churchill Said to Me, set during the Second World War, was made in 1982. Various reasons, notably the Falklands War, saw it shelved. It eventually turned up on satellite in 1992 and wasn't shown by the BBC until 2000, long after Howerd's death. (Even then, they cut the six-episode season in half with a six month gap in the middle.)
  • The Muppets: A short pilot revival was filmed, but nothing ever came out of it due to the 2007 writers' strike. However, the mockumentary concept of that pilot was reformatted into an ABC show simply titled The Muppets (2015), which lasted one season.
  • Us & Them was an American remake of Gavin & Stacey to be aired on Fox in 2013/2014. It originally was supposed to have 13 episodes before getting cut to 7 episodes. Fox decided to not air it at all, and it wouldn't be until 2018 when Crackle added the series that the show would even be seen in the US.
  • The third season of MTV's Scream: TV Series, a reboot with a new cast, was entirely filmed in late 2017 and was supposed to premiere in the spring of 2018, but was delayed following the disgrace of producer Harvey Weinstein, whose name wound up removed from the project. It finally saw a release in July of 2019 as a Mini Series titled Scream: Resurrection, after a Channel Hop to VH1.
  • Heathers was set to debut on the Paramount Network in 2018, but was shelved indefinitely after the February 2018 Florida school shooting (though some speculated that the actual reason for the delay was due to the negative reviews by critics who had previewed the show and that Paramount was only using the tragedy as a convenient excuse to delay the show) due to its Black Comedy take on socially progressive and liberal topics, teen bullying, violence, and murder. Paramount Network later burned off the series, heavily edited, over five nights beginning October 25, 2018, though the unedited versions did air overseas on HBO and were leaked to file-sharing sites months before the U.S. airings.
  • According to this article, A Year at the Top was filmed in 1974 but didn't air until 1977. In the meantime, Greg Evigan had to turn down a role in Welcome Back, Kotter because he was contractually tied to A Year at the Top.
  • The Blackish episode "Please, Baby, Please" was filmed in November 2017 and ultimately shelved by ABC. The episode, which condemned Donald Trump's attacks on critics of racism and police brutality in the wake of the NFL "kneeling" controversy, was shelved for allegedly being too "politically charged." However, critics of the shelving, including Blackish showrunner Kenya Barris, felt that ABC was becoming too sympathetic to Republicans and less sympathetic towards Democrats (the network had allowed Roseanne Barr to write her Republican affiliation into the Roseanne revival), and such indignation led to Barris leaving the show at the end of the season. Ultimately, Hulu streamed the episode in August 2020, in which by that point anti-racism protests had become widespread in the wake of several high-profile murders of black people by cops.
  • The Disney Channel series The Jersey wrapped up filming in April 2001, but it took over 2 years for the final season to air with the final episode airing in March of 2004, almost 3 years after wrapping production.
  • The Irwin Allen Made-for-TV Movie The Night The Bridge Fell Down was completed in 1980, and had been aired by the BBC in the UK that year, but wasn't shown in the United States until 1983, when NBC aired it as a No-Hoper Repeat against the final episode of M*A*S*H (ironically, the BBC, which aired the film first, also used it to counter-program against the 1982 UK TV premiere of Star Wars on ITV).
  • The final episode of Brum's second season "Brum Goes House Painting" was recorded on the 23 May 1994, but strangely did not air on The BBC until the 5th of March 1998, largely as a result of this during the gap, VCI (who held to license to release the show on home media at the time) did not release the episode on VHS at all.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba! wrapped production on its fourth and final season in 2012, but it took three years for the season to finish airing, with the final episode not airing until November 2015.
  • Season 9 of the Danish series Klovn was filmed in the early summer of 2021 and post-production finished in the late summer same year, yet it didn't air until July 2022. Season 8 was filmed in late winter/early spring of 2021, but aired already in May 2021, and in the general the seasons of the series have aired only a few months after production. No official reason for the delay has been given.

    Live-Action TV — Non-Fiction 
  • All My Babies' Mamas was set to premiere on Oxygen in early 2013, but was cancelled in the wake of public outcry and a subsequent petition. The lead and baby papa, Atlanta-native rapper Shawty Lo, would ultimately die in a single-person car accident in 2016, his show never seeing the light of day before or after.
  • CBS ordered Arranged Marriage in mid-2009, but for unknown reasons, it never aired. Come 2012, and a similar show named 3 debuts; that series nonetheless bombed in the ratings and was axed after two airings.
  • Beyond Tomorrow, the documentary about The Tomorrow People (1973), was completed in 1997, but didn't see release until 2005.
  • Blonde Charity Mafia, a docusoap about three charity organizers in Washington, D.C., was originally developed at Lifetime before ending up on The CW. It was originally scheduled to air in summer 2009, but delayed to early 2010 before being shelved permanently. However, it did air on MTV channels in Australia and New Zealand in its entirety.
  • Buy It Now was originally slated to be part of ABC's summer 2006 lineup; however, eBay pulled out of the series' participation before it debuted, resulting in its cancellation.
  • Do You Trust Me?, a CBS game show hosted by Tucker Carlson, shot six episodes in 2007, but didn't make it to the air at all.
  • In the Dark, a game show produced by Meridian and hosted by Julian Clary, was set to run on The WB in 1996. Although a promo was aired (as was an affiliate primer on the show, the show itself was abruptly replaced by a rerun of The Wayans Bros.. UKGameShows claims that a whole series was made for The WB, but that might be false info. It was remade for Germany the following year as the one-off Zappenduster.
  • ABC announced Let's Dance in 2009, only to cancel it in November due to casting difficulties.
  • Marie, a syndicated talk show hosted by Marie Osmond, was scheduled to debut in the fall of 2009. However, despite being cleared in 80% of the country, it was withdrawn by Program Partners over a month before it even debuted, leading to several affiliates dropping the series as well. However, in 2012, it finally made it to air on the Hallmark Channel.
  • There have been two versions of Match Game that were picked up but not aired:
    • In 2004, Fox ordered What the Blank!, which was more faithful to the 1970s version but added a "interview on the street" segments, therefore making it Match Game meets Street Smarts. It was scrapped not long thereafter, and it's unknown how many episodes were actually made.
    • Another revival was announced by TBS in 2008, but beyond being mentioning in subsequent press conferences, nothing has been heard of that series ever since. Match Game was finally revived for ABC in 2016.
  • Our Little Genius was a game show produced by Mark Burnett and hosted by Kevin Pollak, that was supposed to premiere in January 2010 with American Idol as a lead-in. However, a week before its debut, it was pulled at Burnett's request due to concerns about integrity (specifically, it was reported, and later confirmed in 2021 by an article in the Arizona Republic, that at least one contestant had received answers to the questions they would be asked on the show- a big no-no on any game show, as such a blatant Loophole Abuse nearly destroyed audience faith in game shows, and nearly killed the genre entirely, after the infamous "Twenty-One" rigging in the late '50s- the only other show cancelled due to even being rumored of rigging since was the short-lived UPN series "Manhunt" in 2001note ); Fox would replace the show with an extended-at-the-last-minute episode of American Idol and an episode of The Simpsons, and would eventually shelve the series for good by the end of the month.
  • Police, Camera, Action! had episodes produced in May/June 2002 meant for airing in 2002-2003, but with the show's host, Alastair Stewart, the host being convicted of drink-driving in July 2003 the episodes didn't air until January 2006.
    • The episodes "ASBO Drivers" and "Two Wheel Terror" were produced prior to the new Title Sequence launched on the episode "Inexperienced Drivers" but didn't air until 16th January and 17th January 2008, but as this is an episodic show, it didn't matter that much.
  • Surprise with Jenny McCarthy was announced in May 2012, only to be scrapped in January 2013.
  • The CW ordered the reality game series The Frame in late 2010, and nothing has been heard of it since.
  • After being picked up by Fox in 2007, When Women Rule the World got delayed three times; it was planned to debut that summer, then pushed back to early 2008, then to June 2008, before the network ended up pulling the plug on the series for good. However, the United Kingdom did get their own version of the show on Channel 4 in September 2008.
  • ABC axed Welcome to the Neighborhood before it aired in the summer of 2005, likely due to its inappropriate subject matter.
  • Who's Your Daddy?, another Fox reality show that involved an adopted woman trying to identify her biological father among a group of impostors, technically did air once, but was shown as a "special", not a "series premiere". The 90-minute episode tanked in the ratings, causing Fox to shelve the remaining five episodes, though they did later air on FOX's Reality TV spin-off cable channel FOX Reality. Not helping matters was that WRAZ, Raleigh's Fox affiliate, refused to air it at all due to the controversy from adoption rights organizations.
  • GSN original Winsanity was greenlit for a second season in March 2017, and filmed 40 episodes not long after. One episode aired that June as a sneak preview, then the debut was set for November 27...then GSN inexplicably pulled it just weeks before it was to air. The episodes would finally begin airing in the wee morning hours in April 2018; all still carry a 2017 copyright.

  • Error from The Warning was recorded in 2020 but wasn't released in full until 2022 because of COVID-19 related complications.
  • The Beatles recorded the songs which became the album Let It Be in 1969 but then shelved the whole thing and went back to the studio, producing and releasing Abbey Road in 1969. After Phil Spector dug through the tapes and finished the songs, Let It Be (along with its accompanying film) was released in 1970.
  • When Willie Nelson signed with Atlantic Records in 1973 he recorded two albums worth of material at the same sessions. One was his first "outlaw country" album Shotgun Willie, the other was a gospel album called The Troublemaker. Nelson actually thought The Troublemaker turned out the better of the two, but Atlantic didn't think a gospel album would sell so they shelved it. After releasing one more album on Atlantic (Phases & Stages) he moved to Columbia Records, and Atlantic let him have the master tapes for The Troublemaker, which he finally released on Columbia in 1976.
  • It's common for an artist to record an album for one label, have it go unreleased due to poor performance of its singles, then finally have the album come out once the artist makes it big on another label. Examples:
    • Both Big Kenny and John Rich (then-recently fired from Lonestar) recorded solo albums in the late 1990s. Neither was released until 2005, after the two had become famous as Big & Rich.
    • Due to poor performance of its singles, Marty Stuart's 1988 album Let There Be Country was not released by Columbia Records until he had a few hits under his belt over at MCA in the early 90s.
    • David Ball recorded an album for RCA Records in the 80s, but it wasn't released at the time. After he had a big hit with Thinkin' Problem on Warner (Bros.) Records in 1994, RCA released the album they were holding onto.
    • Motörhead recorded their first album for United Artists, who refused to release it because they considered it poor quality. After the band rose to fame (with a different record company and everyone other than Lemmy replaced), UA released it as On Parole.
  • Sarah Buxton released her debut single "Innocence" in 2006. It and her next two singles didn't do very well, so her album sat for four years before it was released (although she did put out an EP in the interim). Then her label closed right after the album finally got out.
  • Elvis Costello recorded the Cover Album Kojak Variety in 1990 but didn't release it until 1995.
  • Elton John recorded a 10-song album in 2012 with producer T-Bone Burnett, as the followup to 2010's critically acclaimed, Burnett-produced collaboration with Leon Russell, The Union. It was made as a lean, "back-to-basics" work with emphasis on his piano-playing, largely built around the piano-bass-drums sound Elton adopted in concert in the early 1970's, prior to his successful "glam period". After attempting a May 2012 release date, it was moved to 2013 to allow for better promotional potential. In the meantime, he and lyricist Bernie Taupin noticed a thematic continuity running through most of the songs, wrote a few new songs and discarded one of the originals. The album title was changed to Voyeur, then back to its original title, The Diving Board. It was released in September 2013, and peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200.
  • The Beach Boys' career-defining masterpiece Smile, in probably the most famous example of this trope in music history, sat around for nearly forty-five years past its intended release date of January 1967, always in different states of completion due to Brian Wilson's obsessive tinkering. The album was finally released to mark the band's fiftieth anniversary in a massive 5 CDs + 2 45s + 2 LPs box. (Seven years prior, Wilson had done a solo version of Smile that greatly influenced the eventual Beach Boys release).
  • Eleven years after Chumbawamba's 1992 album Jesus H. Christ was buried by a mountain of legal issues, the band announced on their website that they would be releasing it in some form or another in the near future. This never happened. (Given that it likely would've been shorn of its samples — and thus would've resembled the Shhh album again — this was probably for the best.)
  • Black Bastards by KMD, a group featuring a young MF Doom as Zev Love X, was ready for release in 1993, but was shelved until 2001 due to the label's fear of the album's racial content. By the time it was finally released, DOOM's brother Subroc was dead and DOOM had begun his more well-known solo career.
  • Neil Young
    • Tonight's the Night was recorded in 1973, but shelved by the record label because they thought it was too uncommercial. It was eventually released as submitted to the label two years later, and while it didn't sell well to begin with, it was almost immediately canonised as a masterpiece.
    • Homegrown, the follow-up to Tonight's the Night, spent 45 years after its 1975 recording kicking around in stasis (due to the raw honesty of its recounting of Neil Young's separation from Carrie Snodgrass making the executives uncertain about its sales potential) before finally being released in 2020.
    • Toast was recorded in 2001, but was shelved because Young thought it was "too sad". It wasn't released until 2022.
  • The first Mahavishnu Orchestra's third album was recorded in 1973, but languished in a vault because the band couldn't agree on the value of the album (band leader John McLaughlin always maintained it was the best thing they ever recorded). It was finally released in 1999.
  • Frank Zappa's Läther was submitted to Warner Brothers in 1977, but due to Executive Meddling, was not released as submitted until 1996. The material intended to be released on the four-LP set was instead divided between four albums (Zappa in New York, Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, and Orchestral Favorites), one of them itself a double LP set.
  • Johnny Cash's Out Among the Stars was recorded in 1981 and 1984, but the material was shelved by Columbia Records. A small handful of additional recordings were done in 2013 after Cash's death and the album was finally released in 2014.
  • Diana Ross recorded an album titled Diana Ross Sings Songs From The Wiz, after landing the role of Dorothy in the 1978 movie version of the musical. Motown originally intended to release the album about a year after the movie's premiere, but decided against it after the film flopped. It finally saw a digital release in November 2015, exactly one week before NBC televised a new adaptation of The Wiz (which Diana Ross didn't participate in, for the record).
  • The Kentucky Headhunters recorded Meet Me in Bluesland with blues pianist Johnnie Johnson (their second collaboration with him) in 2003, but did not release it until 2015.
  • Prince:
    • In 1987, Prince put together a deliberately nameless album (colloquially known as The Black Cover after its all-black sleeve) as a follow-up to Sign o' the Times, but shelved it at the last minute after apparently becoming convinced that its content was spiritually evil, putting together the Lighter and Softer album Lovesexy in its place. As some copies had already been sent out to press reviewers, the album ended up getting bootlegged on a massive scale. Eventually, Prince allowed Warner (Bros.) Records to release it in 1994 in an attempt to fulfil his contract with the label sooner; he would still disown the album, however, and it went out of print shortly after.
    • Welcome 2 America was originally recorded in 2010, only for Prince to inexplicably shelve it, with nobody else on the project knowing why he did so. Prince allowed a few tracks from the sessions to go public via radio broadcasts, official YouTube uploads, and a re-recording on Hit n Run Phase Two before the full record eventually saw release in 2021, five years after his death, as his first posthumous studio album.
    • According to Kevin Smith, Prince had completed over fifty fully-produced music videos with sets and costumes that have never the light of day.
  • British Power Pop group Tonight had their first single "Drummerman" reach number 14 on the British singles charts — they completed an album in 1978, but it was shelved (perhaps because subsequent singles weren't as successful). The album, also titled Drummerman, finally saw release on an independent label in 2010.
  • Fear Factory completed what was meant to be their first album in 1991, and its release was meant to launch a record label founded by its Record Producer, Ross Robinson — the band didn't like the details of their record contract and wouldn't sign it, so the album was shelved. Robinson kept the commercial rights to the recording, but the band were still allowed to send it out to prospective labels as a demo tape, which got them signed by Roadrunner Records, for whom they re-recorded eight of its songs for their proper debut, Soul Of A New Machine. Eleven years later, the recordings came out on Roadrunner, unsanctioned by the band, and given the new title Concrete — according to Burton C. Bell, Robinson had sold the album rights to Roadrunner, who in turn released it when the band broke up one album short of their contractual obligation with the label.
  • Meat Puppets had a few. When Curt Kirkwood announced a solo record in 2004, there were a few tracks listed in a Rolling Stone article. Of the three, only Golden Lies ended up being on the album. Of the others, Enemy Love Song was recorded and released on Kirkwood's website as a single, but was rerecorded by the reunited Meat Puppets in 2007. The other two songs, I'm Not You and Nursery Rhyhm, wouldn't get released until 2009. Golden Lies itself is an example, as it was originally the Title Track to the 2000 era group's debut.
  • Necromandus' debut Orexis Of Death, boasting production by Tony Iommi, was recorded in 1973. The album was shelved when their lead guitarist left the group, only to eventually get an official release in 1999.
  • A pretty tragic example happened to Florida based Alternative Metal band Cinder. They were signed to Geffen Records, had an album all set and ready to be released in 2001 and were even touring to promote it. The problem? Geffen got bought out by Universal, which caused Break Your Silence to suffer continuous delays and eventually not be released (helps that while Cinder got some compensation from the label once they decided to terminate their contract, they did not want to buy the master tapes for $250,000). To add insult to injury, they DID end up releasing one song off the album called "Soul Creation" which ended up charting and having a fairly popular video. Almost two decades later in 2020 the entire album would finally be released digitally.
  • Nine Inch Nails' long form music video for their EP Broken (called The Broken Movie) was shelved as Trent Reznor didn't want the extreme graphic content overshadowing the music itself; the individual music videos aside from 'Gave Up' (which is apart of the plotline of the video's wraparound segments) were later made available on the second tape of the Closure video album. As for The Broken Movie itself, Reznor gave copies of the video to various friends, albiet with certain sections missing, with one copy in particular being circulated in bootleg form for years before a DVD-quality leak was uploaded to the internet (which Reznor implied to have done himself in a blogpost around the time). The movie was also briefly uploaded to NIN's official Vimeo account in both 2013 and 2014, but both times it was removed. In any case, the NIN website has a link to an Internet Archive backup of The Broken Movie.
  • Can's Delay 1968 is so-called because it was recorded in 1968 and would have been their debut (going by the title Welcome to Thy Pnoom) had it not been for the fact that no label had been willing to release it. Parts of it ended up on bootlegs, but it wasn't released in its entirety until 1981.
  • The Foo Fighters' tenth album Medicine at Midnight was supposed to kick off a celebration of the band's 25th anniversary. Then the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, delaying the album for about a year.
  • David Bowie:
    • Low was completed in time for its planned release date of November 1976 but was put on hold by RCA Records thanks to its bleak, experimental sound. Not only were the label baffled by it, seeing it as unsuitable for the Christmas season and unsuccessfully pushing Bowie to record another Young Americans instead, but ex-manager and partial rightsholder Tony Defries also attempted to block the record's release. It ultimately hit store shelves on January 14, 1977.
    • In 2000, Bowie recorded Toy, a collection of re-recorded tracks from early in his career (mostly the non-album singles put out before his first album) plus a few new songs. However, when he submitted the album to Virgin Records with the intent of releasing it in 2001, they put it on hold due to his planned surprise release being infeasible at the time before rejecting it outright due to it being seen as too uncommercial in the wake of various financial hardships the label was experiencing. It was eventually completed after Bowie's death and released in 2021.
  • The 2008 Hank Thompson album Treasures consists of 20 previously-unreleased song recordings from the 1950's.
  • In October 2011, MGMT had a pair of live performances (on the 10th and 11th) in the Guggenheim Museum, opening Maurizio Cattelan's All exhibit. The event involved a 45 minute performance of original music, and the only recordings available were bootlegs. An official live album of the event, 11•11•11, was finally released on the event's 11th anniversary.
  • Def Leppard recorded an iTunes session in 2006, but due to the same music rights issues that prevented most of their other albums from digital release, it wasn't released until 2018, fittingly titled The Lost Session.

  • Krull, based on the 1983 Cult Classic Science Fantasy movie, was a completed game, with full playfield designs, artwork, and sound effects completed. However, the high cost of the game (due to its use of a second, full-sized playfield underneath the main level) and the box-office failure of the movie caused Gottlieb management to get cold feet and kill the project. Only 10 prototypes exist, and are highly sought after by collectors.
  • Similar to Big Bang Bar, Capcom's Kingpin was nearly completed and slated to begin production, only for those plans to be derailed when Capcom closed its pinball division. Unlike BBB, however, attempts to license or remake the game have (so far) failed to borne fruit.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The matches for the first season of Wrestlicious were filmed in 2008, but the show did not air until 2010.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash was a victim of COVID; originally intended to open on March 27th, 2020, and staff previews were already occurring in the weeks prior to it. California's strict lockdowns meant the ride didn't open until over a year later on April 16th, 2021 alongside the rest of Universal Studios Hollywood, even as the ride was basically finished.

    Video Games 
  • Blaster Master: Blasting Again for the PS1 completed development in 1999, but Sunsoft's U.S. division closed down around the time and the game wasn't released until it was picked up by Crave Entertainment in 2001.
  • The Red Star, a PS2 shoot-'em-up based on the comic book of the same name (which was also scheduled for the Xbox, but never released), was finished in 2004, but was canceled when its original publisher (Acclaim) went out of business. It was later picked up by XS Games and released in 2007.
  • The Dead of The Brain 1 & 2, a PC Engine port of two visual novels originally released for the PC-98, was initially scheduled to be released in 1994, but shelved due to the declining support for the PC Engine in Japan. Dead of the Brain was eventually released in 1999 in limited quantities, more than two years after the previous PC Engine release (Hataraku Shojo), giving it the distinction of being the final official game for the system. It also came out a year after the final PC-FX game, which meant that the PC-Engine technically outlived its successor.
  • Archaic Sealed Heat, a visually stunning strategy RPG for the Nintendo DS developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi's studio Mistwalker. An ESRB rating was filed, and an English voice actor for lead character Aisya was cast (Sabra May), but the game flopped hard in Japan, prompting Nintendo to shelve its Western release for good.
  • Sega have a very bad habit of doing this with localized games in order to buff up their financial years.
    • Anarchy Reigns was suffering majorly from this due to Sega incessantly pushing back the release date due to their financial troubles brought on by their long-standing history of bad marketing decisions, delaying the initial Summer 2012 release all the way back to January 2013. This is not the first time they've done this to PlatinumGames, but this time it's especially noticeable due to the game's heavy emphasis on online multiplayer. Naturally, this doesn't apply to Japan.
    • Bayonetta was released in North America and Europe months after Japan despite all three versions being identical.
    • Persona 5's localization was set for February 2017, which is already well after its September 2016 release in Japan. It was delayed one more time to April 2017 with the dev team claiming it was in part in order to record previously unvoiced lines. Eyebrows were raised when reviews started coming out in March, reviewers implied they actually had the game for weeks, and said unvoiced lines were still unvoiced...
    • Persona 5's localized situation happened again with Yakuza 6, which was planned for March 2018 and then delayed until April. This wasn't a big deal in itself, and a demo came out in February that let everyone enjoy a taste of the game. It then turned out that the demo actually was an accidental upload of the complete game, and the game was just delayed in order to buff the start of Sega's next financial year instead of legitimately not being ready — which is probably what happened to P5 too. Reviews even still came out in March!
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the 3D Sam & Max game from LucasArts, was planned for a 2004 release. The game was estimated to be two-thirds to three-fourths finished and it was even rated by the ESRB, but LucasArts chose to cancel it because they didn't think the interest was large enough, and they fired a great majority of their "creative division" as a result.
  • Half-Life's Sega Dreamcast port was cancelled because of the Dreamcast's diminishing sales in America, even though the port was completed. ISOs of the port have been leaked on the Internet, however, and what were to be exclusive addons to that version, Blue Shift and the High-Definition Pack, were released for PC.
  • Rayman Legends was set for a Spring 2013 release as a Wii U exclusive, but after the poor sales of the Wii U exclusive launch title ZombiU, Ubisoft decided that it should be Multi-Platform instead. Instead of releasing the Wii U version for the Spring and the other versions for September, they released the Wii U version alongside the other versions in September.
  • The Neo Geo game Zupapa was all set to be released in 1994, but publisher Face went bankrupt, delaying the game's release for seven years. Another unreleased Neo Geo game from the same year, Visco Games' Bang Bang Busters, finally had an authorized release by Neo Conception International in 2011.note 
  • Putty Squad was to have been released in 1994 first for the Amiga 1200, with versions for the SNES and other platforms to follow. The SNES version was the only one released (not counting playable demos), despite nine magazines giving the apparently finished Amiga 1200 version favorable reviews. After nearly two decades of rumors, System 3 finally released the Amiga version at the end of 2013.
  • Hostile Breed, an ambitious Bug War game for the Amiga, was finished and reviewed in several gaming magazines in mid-1992 shortly before its developer, Palace Software, went bankrupt. A copy of the full game was found in 2010 and released by Amiga Games That Weren't.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game was only a few months from its release date of October 2008 when Activision, who had acquired the game's originally slated publisher, decided against releasing it. Atari picked up the publishing rights and released the game in June 2009.
  • Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons: A 3D remake of the arcade version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge (albeit it only resembles the arcade original in a vague sense) developed by Baruson Interactive was scheduled to be released through the Xbox 360 marketplace in 2011, but had trouble getting approval from Microsoft's quality assurance division (and for good reasons). It was eventually released in early 2013, a few months after the release of the much better received Double Dragon Neon, becoming the most critically panned digital only release on the 360.
  • GoldenEye (1997): Rare completed or almost completed an HD remaster for the Xbox Live Arcade, but intellectual property issues prevented them from releasing it. In 2021, a near-final build leaked onto the Internet, allowing people to see What Could Have Been. Eventually, GoldenEye was released in January 2023 on Xbox Game Pass and for those with Rare Replay digital copies.
  • Ubisoft currently has a Wii U-exclusive party game that they have already completed, but refuse to release, most likely owing to the complete failure of the Wii U in the marketplace; short of Ubisoft porting the game to the Nintendo Switch, it's unlikely that this game will ever see a release.
  • Chantze's Stone, a LaserDisc-based arcade game by Data East that was scheduled to be released in 1985, but was shelved once the popularity of FMV-based games started dying off. When the genre saw a brief resurgence during the early '90s, once optical media started taking off as a home media, it saw a release on the LaserActive as Triad Stone and on the 3DO and Sega Saturn (with the latter version being exclusive to Japan) as Strahl.
  • Gravity Rush 2 lost its December 2016 release date because of a domino effect from other PS4 games hitting speedbumps. First, Final Fantasy XV got pushed from September 2016 to the end of November, which was already a week away from Yakuza 6. Finally, Sony's own The Last Guardian had a last minute delay and took GR2's release date, bumping it to January 2017 despite development being complete on schedule. FFXV getting bumped caused Square Enix to push Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 from December to January too.
  • The sequel to the cell phone game Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile! titled Clone Home was set to be released in 2006, however Sony decided to cancel the game at the last minute for seemingly no reason. According to an employee at Javaground the game was fully finished and ready to release. Unless someone who worked on the game ends up leaking it online, it's unlikely the game will ever see the light of day.
  • Nintendo does this regularly, with many of their titles being fully completed several months before release, whereas most developers see their games "go gold" only a month or two prior. The reason for this is simply to spread out their game lineup more evenly throughout the year and also allow them to make quick release schedule changes if any given title needs for time for development or debugging (e.g. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is thought to have been moved from a September 2022 release to July 2022 as part of quietly swapping months with Splatoon 3). They do have their fair share of games that sit on the shelf for much longer, though:
    • Mother: The English localization of the first game, titled Earth Bound (a title Nintendo later reused for Mother 2), had a finished translation and marketing strategy, with a planned Fall 1991 release. The game never came out due to a variety of factors, namely the impending release of the Super NES. The localized prototype ROM would make its way online years later under the fan name EarthBound Zero, with Nintendo officially releasing the game as EarthBound Beginnings in 2015 through their Virtual Console service.
    • Star Fox 2 was set for release in 1996, but was delayed and eventually cancelled due to the upcoming release of the Nintendo 64. A near-finished prototype ROM from 1995 was leaked online in 1999, with the game finally getting an official release as part of the SNES Classic plug-n'-play microconsole in 2017.
    • Nintendo Puzzle League for the Nintendo GameCube. It was going to be the first time Panel de Pon would hit the States without having been rebranded as a different property, and the game got as far as getting an ESRB rating, but Nintendo chose to scrap the Western release for whatever reason.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD was spotted on Nintendo eShop servers in October 2015. It came out in March 2016 in order to celebrate the game's 10th anniversary and the series' 30th.
    • Yoshi's Woolly World was notoriously delayed in North America until October 2015. Europe and Australia got the game in June, four months earlier, and the two versions are virtually identical.
    • Super Mario 3D All-Stars (a compilation rerelease of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy), Super Mario 3D World, and Pikmin 3 were all rumored for rereleases on the Nintendo Switch early on in in 2020, but the COVID-19 Pandemic resulted in all of them being pushed back to fill in gaps caused by the delay of original Nintendo software (such as New Pokémon Snap) and third-party timed exclusives (namely Monster Hunter: Rise and ''No More Heroes III).
    • Fire Emblem Engage was intended to be a Milestone Celebration for the Fire Emblem series, releasing in 2020 for the 30th anniversary. Schedule Slip meant that the game ultimately didn't come out until January 2023, but it had already been classified by the German and Australian game rating boards in mid-2021, meaning if it was ready to ship by year's end. The game was likely shelved for over a year to avoid releasing two Fire Emblem titles in the same year, as it would have overshadowed 2022's Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes as well as clashed with Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which was also an example of this trope.
    • Similarly to the above, Metroid Prime Remastered had been classified by the German and Australian game rating boards in mid-2021, but was shelved until early 2023, presumably to release in closer proximity to Metroid Prime 4.
    • A remake of the first two Advance Wars games, Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp, was announced in 2021 for a December release. It was later pushed back to April 2022 for extra development time, before the completed game was shelved due to the escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war a month prior. A few players who pre-loaded the game had their copies accidentally unlocked in April, however, giving them temporary access to the full game. The game is currently slated to release in April 2023, one year after its (second) planned release.
  • Final Fantasy Type-0 had a full localization, complete with English voice recording, underway in late 2011/early 2012. The PSP version never saw the light of day outside Japan, but the localized script and English VA track were used for Type-0 HD in 2015.
  • Atlus's lack of a dedicated European branch or partner caused this to happen to their games for a long time. Shin Megami Tensei IV is the most notorious example. It had the fastest turnaround of any Atlus game from Japan to NA, coming out only two months apart. The European release took well over a year with no information, and finally came out in October 2014. Using the exact same English localization as NA with no other language options added in the wait, and digital only.
  • Vanillaware's debut game, Odin Sphere, was completed in 2006, but publisher Atlus chose not to release it until spring 2007 because Persona 3 was such a breakout hit for them that they didn't want to compete with its sales. As a result, Vanillaware's second game, GrimGrimoire, which was instead published by Nippon Ichi, actually came out first.
  • The aggressive inline skating game Rolling ended up in limbo for several months after developer Rage Software went defunct in early 2003, when the game was nearing completion. It took publisher SCi assembling a team of former Rage devs to finish off the game (under the name "Indy Games") for it to finally release in October that year.
  • The development team for Devil Engine has said that the the Devil Engine Ignition Expansion Pack (which includes, among other things, a completely new campaign) is completed, and it was supposed to be released in winter of 2019 (i.e. December 2019). Unfortunately, with publisher Dangen Entertainment taking the rights to the game away from developer Protoculture Games, it remains to be seen when and if Ignition will finally get released.
  • Rodea: The Sky Soldier was completed by developer Prope for the Wii in 2011, but publisher Kadokawa Games did not release it for over four years in order to create a Nintendo 3DS tie-in, which promptly entered Development Hell. When it finally finished development in 2015, the Wii U had long since superseded the Wii, leading Kadokawa to port the 3DS version to the Wii U, and leave Prope's original version only as a bonus feature for first-run copies.
  • Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was a LucasArts-style adventure game created by Blizzard Entertainment and Animation Magic (mostly infamous for being the guys behind the cutscenes for The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games) that was meant to be an official sequel to Warcraft II. The game was around 90% complete and set for a release date in late 1997 when Blizzard decided it wasn't up to their standards, and ordered the game to be reworked. Conflict between the two companies meant even further delays, leading to its cancelation in 1998. The plot was instead reworked into a book, and the game was mostly forgotten until it was publicly released in 2016 by a former Animation Magic employee.
  • Chip's Challenge 2 was completed way back in 1999. However, because Epyx, the studio that developed the original game, had been sold prior to the sequel's completion, it couldn't be released due to copyright entanglements. For nearly two decades, the only visible proof of the game's existence was a single low-quality gameplay video and a still image of the game in the background of a magazine photo. It wasn't until 2015, sixteen years later, that the issues were finally resolved and Chip's Challenge 2 was released to the world, alongside a remake of the first game in the CC2 engine, at long last.
  • Night Trap and Sewer Shark were created for the Nemo, a cancelled 1989 videotape-based Hasbro console. In 1990, they were then moved to the also cancelled Sony add-on for the Super Nintendo. They were finally released on the Sega CD in 1992.
  • Bōken Jidai Katsugeki Goemon for Playstation 2 has a complete English localization by Working Designs and was meant to be released stateside in 2002. It remained on the studio's release list until its closing in 2005. Rumours say that Sony stonewalled the release due to subpar graphics.
  • M2 actually had porting work for Dangun Feveron done with the intention of an Xbox 360 release, but they delayed releasing the port by one console generation, releasing it for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One instead.
  • All of Indivisible's DLCs were cancelled, following a lawsuit filed against Lab Zero Games' CEO, Mike Zaimont, and the company's subsequent closure. Several artists have mentioned many of the assets were already complete with some of them ready to go.
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 was gearing up to release the Heart of Russia Expansion Pack in early 2022, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February suddenly made doing so tricky. As a result its release has been put on hold despite being essentially complete.

    Web Original 
  • In June 2013, Brad Jones announced his upcoming film Shot on Shitteo, a No Budget tribute to 80's exploitation films made on VHS tapes. However, over the course of production in 2015, Jones discovered that the film's lead actor, Jake Norvell, was having an affair with Jones's girlfriend. When Norvell pompously bragged about it, Jones promptly fired him from the film, which became unreleaseable both due to Norvell's contract and the fact that about 5% of his scenes were not completed. Despite an attempt to resume production, which included a teaser trailer promising a 2017 release, Jones later announced that the film was no longer in active development and he had no plans one way or the other regarding its release. He has since referred to Shitteo as his personal The Day the Clown Cried, suggesting he's settled on never releasing it.

    Western Animation 
  • The final episodes produced of Arthur have a 2019 copyright date, but wound up airing from 2020 to 2022.
  • Baby Blues:
    • The last five episodes of Season 1 were held over for two years, not releasing until [adult swim] obtained the rights to rerun the series in 2002.
    • The show has a second season, but The WB claimed it as a tax write-off due to it getting low ratings and mixed-to-negative reviews. As a result, it was never aired and is unlikely to ever see a release.
  • The Animated Adaptation of The Blues Brothers was cancelled by UPN a few months before it would have aired in the fall of 1998, due to the box office failure of Blues Brothers 2000.
  • Cartoon Network abruptly yanked Beware the Batman off the air without explanation after a mere eleven episodes and sat on the remaining fifteen (all of which were already completed). Eventually, Toonami aired every episode during the summer of 2014. New Zealand managed to air every episode in the intended timeframe, though.
  • Bob's Beach. This rather obscure German-Luxembourgish series was already finished and ready to be released in 2005, but for unknown reasons it would never see the light of day until 2012 when Oznoz hosted the two seasons of the show, and it aired on German TV in 2014. The outdated CGI and the 4:3 format of the show (as opposed to 16:9) practically prove that the show was supposed to air in the 2000's.
  • A Captain America cartoon was scheduled to premiere on Fox Kids in the fall of 1998, but the bankruptcy of Marvel Comics meant it was not to be.
  • ChalkZone:
    • The first season was completed in 1999 and was set for a Fall 2000 premiere date (all of season one's episodes have a copyright notice of 2000). Besides the first episode premiering as a sneak peek on December 31, 1999, Nickelodeon held it off until 2002.
    • The fourth (and final) season stopped premiering in June 2005 with six episodes left. It wasn't until June 2008 that Nick decided to burn-off the remaining episodes at six in the morning on Saturdays without any advertisement. This only applies to the US airings — the remaining six season four episodes aired with the rest of the season overseas.
  • TBS ordered an animated Buddy Cop Show entitled The Cops, starring Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks, as a 2018 midseason replacement. Like I Love You, Daddy, the show was yanked before its release after C.K.'s sexual misconduct came to light. Close Enough, an unrelated show meant to premiere in the same block as a companion series, never made it to TV, being held back to become HBO Max's first original adult animated series two years later (and surprisingly had more episodes greenlit afterward; ironically, it proved successful enough that TBS would add the show anyway, though the corporate synergy of TBS and HBO Max being co-owned may have also contributed to that).
  • The last six episodes of Dora the Explorer were completed sometime in 2014, but didn't air in the United States until 2019, due to the show's waning popularity and the rise of PAW Patrol's own popularity. This is made more awkward thanks to some of these episodes being intended as the set up to the spin-off show Dora and Friends: Into the City!... with that show having ended its own run in 2017. Hell, it even managed to release after the character's live-action film.
    • Season 2 was intended to premiere in Fall 2001, given by the copyright date in the credits, but due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Season 2 didn't debut until Spring 2002.
  • All of the Season 2 episodes of The Fairly OddParents! were produced in 2001 and were planned to start airing in the United States that autumn, but the September 11th terrorist attacks caused them to be delayed well until early spring of 2002 (though in Australia, they aired in the original timeframe as planned). This also led to Seasons 3 and 4, and the TV movies Abra-Catastrophe! (produced in 2002) and Channel Chasers (produced in 2003) to air a whole year after being produced in its own country!
  • The planned Garbage Pail Kids Saturday Morning Cartoon, 13 episodes of which were actually made, was cancelled by CBS before it premiered in 1987. It was released Direct to Video in 2006.
  • Hey Arnold!
    • "Parents Day", a season 3 episode that aired in the UK in late 1998, didn't end up airing in the US until May 2000, as part of season 5.
    • Season 1 had 26 episodes produced for it, but only 20 were actually used. Out of the remaining six episodes, five aired at the end of season 2, and one aired in late season 3. This created some continuity errors, since Arnold's teacher Miss Slovak was Put on a Bus and replaced at the beginning of season 2, meaning Slovak was still appearing after Mr. Simmons stepped in.
    • Copyright dates indicate season 5 had most of its episodes completed in 2000, and the final two episodes "April Fool's Day" and "The Journal" (an hour-long special) in 2001. Eight aired in Spring 2000 (not counting the aforementioned "Parents Day"), three in January 2001, five plus "The Journal" in 2002, three in 2003, and the final episode was not aired until June 2004. The commercial failure of the Hey Arnold! The Movie in 2002 may have contributed to this.
  • Crunchyroll original series High Guardian Spice was supposed to be released in late 2019 (with production having wrapped up earlier that year); however, behind-the-scenes issues and internal politics at Crunchyroll led to it being delayed until it was quietly released on October 26th, 2021.
  • Hoyt'n Andy's Sportsbender, which was supposed to be ESPN's first animated program, was produced in 1995, but was shelved after Disney bought ABC and ESPN and in the process discovered that Jim Jinkins had been working on this show, leading him to drop the series and join Disney. It wouldn't see the light of day in the United States until it was added to Tubi (long after it aired in overseas countries).
  • Fox ordered an adult comedy series entitled Murder Police for its 2013-2014 season. However, the series was ultimately shelved months before then, with most (if not all) of its episodes fully completed.
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): The first season, despite airing in early 2023, in its entirety was produced in 2022 according to the end credits of every episode.
    • Content leaks were happening as early as December 2021, so the show was gathering dust for quite some time before being released to the public.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot:
    • The copyright dates indicate the entire first season was made in 2002, and the first season also started airing in late 2002 and early 2003 in regions like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Latin America. Despite this, the series didn't debut in its home country until August 1, 2003.
    • The third season was produced between 2005 and 2006, but didn't air in the United States until three years later (from 2008 to 2009). Although, similarly to the first season, it aired in some countries between 2006 and 2007.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The "Friendship is Forever" clip shows. Despite finishing production in 2019, they have never aired on Discovery Family or been released on any streaming service as of May 2023.
  • All episodes of My Little Pony Tell Your Tale to date were produced in 2022, even those released as late as May 2023, due to the show releasing one new episode weekly, then bi-weekly (every two weeks) as of January 2023.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" was supposed to be the season 24 finale, but it got pulled because the production crew felt the episode's plot would be better used for a sequel to The Simpsons Movie. They later changed their mind and it aired in the middle of season 26. (A similar occurrence happened during production of "Kamp Krusty".)
    • "Simpson Tide" and "Lisa's Sax" were written in 1995, produced in 1996, and meant to air in Season 7. For unknown reasons, they were held over and didn't air until Season 9. This explains why Lunchlady Doris had a speaking role in the latter despite her voice actress having died two years prior.
  • Star Wars Detours, a comedic take on the Star Wars universe, with Seth Green as a showrunner. The full series was completed and a trailer was released in 2013, around when Star Wars: The Clone Wars was finishing its run. Unfortunately, that was about the same time Disney bought Lucasfilm. Reportedly, Disney didn't want younger audiences to be introduced to classic Star Wars characters via goofy parodies before seeing them in the new film trilogy. The series was postponed, though the showrunners of Robot Chicken say the series will be released at some point (and Lucasfilm has at least renewed the trademark as of June 2018).
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling was meant to come out in 2018 to commemorate the original show's 25th anniversary. Nickelodeon had shown completed footage at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, and the special itself was completed in early 2018. However, an executive reshuffle at the network, combined with the dismal ratings of another throwback special, Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, caused the channel to postpone both Static Cling and another special (Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus). The airing rights for the Rocko and Zim specials were sold to Netflix in 2019 as part of a larger content deal, and the specials were released in August that year.
  • The Looney Tunes revival short, (blooper) Bunny!, was completed in 1991 but Warner Bros. refused to release it until 1997, reportedly because director Greg Ford refused to cut Daffy's line about WB not having "an original bone in their body," a line which the studio executives were greatly unamused by. It was given a quiet release on Cartoon Network before airing on The WB once one of the network's executives encountered a party guest who had seen the short and loved it.
  • Most of the episodes of Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat were produced in 2000 (hence the 2000 copyright date in the credits) but had their initial airings in 2001 and 2002.
  • It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown was finished in 1992 and was set to premiere on CBS during the late spring season, but the network ended up canceling the potential airing for unspecified reasons. This marked the first Peanuts special not to air in prime-time. Subsequently, Paramount released the special on VHS in 1996 (on a double feature with Charlie Brown's All-Stars) and it finally made its TV debut in 1998 on Nickelodeon.
  • Little-known New Zealand series The Adventures of Voopa the Goolash completed production in 2007 according to creator Craig Whyte, though internal studio politics prevented the series from seeing the light of day for over a decade; the studio held the master tapes and refused to let them go. The show was considered lost media until October 2019 when Whyte uploaded the first episode to YouTube; the second episode was uploaded in November 2019, and the remaining eleven followed suit in April 2021.
  • The 2019 animated film Wonder Park was intended to serve as the Pilot Movie for a Nickelodeon animated series that would air later that same year. However, the film's poor box office performance meant that the only footage that will ever see the light of day is this camrip of a teaser promo for the series. Director Dylan Brown being fired over inappropriate conduct has also likely contributed to the series not being aired.
  • The Prince (2021) was going to be released in late spring 2021, but was delayed following the death of Prince Philip, as the show could be seen as tasteless then. It eventually released on July 29, 2021, after Prince Philip left the American public conscious.
  • Wonderoos was a Preschool Show that was supposed to debut on Netflix in November 2020, complete with a trailer. However, it was mysteriously shelved, and as of 2022, still has not seen the light of day for unknown reasons.
  • Wonder Pets! initially ran from 2006 to 2011, but it turned out that Nickelodeon withheld four episodes and then dumped them randomly from 2013 to 2016. The series finale, "Save the Genie!", has a copyright date of 2010, meaning that Nick sat on it for six years.
  • According to several people who worked on the show, the third season of Little Ellen was completed, but never got released after HBO Max and Cartoonito removed everything related to the show from their platforms.
  • Nick Jr.'s Made By Maddie was initially slated to premiere in September 2020, but was later pulled from the schedule due to allegations that it plagiarized Hair Love. Nearly a year later, in August 2021, it was revealed that Nickelodeon's trademark for the series had expired. At this point, it's unknown if the series will ever see the light of day.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse wrapped production on its fourth and final season in 2013, but the final episode didn't air until November 2016.
  • The final season of Little Bill was completed in 2001 (hence the copyright date during the Nick Jr. Productions Vanity Plate at the end), but the final episode was withheld until February 2004.
  • Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space was originally intended for a 2019 release on VRV that never happened, most likely because Sony bought Crunchyroll, which owns VRV; this resulted in Cartoon Hangover series leaving VRV. Eventually, Netflix picked it up, produced an additional three episodes for viewers who never watched the original, and released it in September 2022.
  • The last-three episodes of The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends were completed in 1995, but not shown on The BBC until 1996 and 1998 respectively.
    • However, all three episodes were released on video by Carlton Video in 1996 two years before the final one aired in 1998.
  • Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up was completed in 2003 and had a clip appear on a Disney Sing-Along Songs video, but was not released until 2006.

Alternative Title(s): Shelved For Release, Zero Episode Wonder