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Theme Music Abandonment

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Theme tunes are a very important component to films, TV shows and video games. Many iconic works are easily identifiable with their themes. Sometimes to change stuff up, a work's familiar theme music is missing from its latest franchise entry. This is often polarizing. Why it's done can usually be blamed on either creative or legal reasons. The appearance of this trope can make many people decry the work as Ruined FOREVER.

Compare with Theme Music Withholding. See also Special Edition Title, which often comes without the standard theme tune.


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It's somewhat common for the final episode of an anime to not include the opening theme:


    Live-Action TV 
  • Law & Order: UK is the only off-shoot of the franchise that doesn't has a variation of the original Law & Order theme.
  • Starting with season three, Happy Days dispensed with Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock around the Clock" in favor of an original song called "Happy Days" by Pratt & McClain which had previously been played over the closing credits and which had become a hit in its own right. (Haley likely had no cause to complain, as the use of his song on "Happy Days" had helped return it to the Billboard charts in 1974, 20 years after it was first recorded.)
  • Due to copyright and licensing issues, this trope occasionally occurs with DVD releases of TV series when a theme song has to be removed and replaced with generic music (most notably the original DVD releases of Married... with Children, for which the studio were unable to obtain the rights for "Love and Marriage" past the first two seasons, and had to substitute a lame generic piece of music). Public domain releases of shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction have also run into this.
  • John Sullivan wrote the theme music for Only Fools and Horses when he wrote the first series, but the BBC decided to go with a different theme composed by Ronnie Hazelhurst. Sullivan disliked the new theme, and before the second series aired he persuaded the producers to use his own compostions instead.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer uses an alternate theme tune for the musical episode Once More, With Feeling.
  • Community occasionally replaces or abandons its theme music for specific episodes (e.g. the Western version of the theme in A Fistful of Paintballs or the dropping of the theme entirely for Geothermal Escapism).

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey'' (the season 5 Rock Opera episode) eschews the opening theme and goes right to the title card, episode title and writers/director bylines. This is most likely due to it being considered as the show's Grand Finale.
  • The Wander over Yonder episode "My Fairy Hatey" lacks the theme song, likely due to it already being a Musical Episode with a large focus on the Story Arc.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars drops its usual upbeat Star Wars credits music in two episodes: the season 5 finale "The Wrong Jedi" and the series finale "Sacrifice"; it is replaced with more solemn music to be more consistent with the tone of the episodes' endings, specifically Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order in "The Wrong Jedi" and Yoda realizing the Jedi will likely lose the Clone Wars in "Sacrifice".
  • The Animaniacs episode "The Warners' 65 Anniversary Special" does not use the regular intro due to it being the season finale.
  • While early installments featured it noticeably, later entries in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls series largely eschews the classic My Little Pony theme as the spinoff takes on its own identity and makes fewer references to Friendship is Magic and its characters. The theme does appear for a brief Mythology Gag in the web series episode “Festival Filters” when the characters use a G1-inspired pony filter on themselves.