Chuck Cunningham Syndrome

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"Let us contemplate the mystery of Richie's older brother Chuck, who ascended the stairs with his basketball at the end of the first season and never came down again."
Peter Griffin, Family Guy, "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz"

Generally, if writers want to remove a character from their ensemble, they will either kill that character off or put him on a bus (or both) to explain their absence. Sufferers of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, on the other hand, simply disappear into limbo. They will often be retconned right out of the story's history, while, of course, everyone still left on-screen will simply carry on as if, as in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

This is sometimes caused by the writers gradually losing interest in the character and, without making a conscious decision to remove them, eventually forgetting about them entirely. More often, complications behind the scenes drive the decision to remove a character.

The Trope Namer is Chuck, who was actually Richie Cunningham's older brother for two seasons on Happy Days. Remember him? No?

Exactly.

In recent years, though, as media has become more meta, playful references to the ignominiously departed have become common, either as lampshades within the series itself or in parodies or satires of it.

A subtrope of Unperson. Similar in spirit to The Other Darrin. Also see Out of Focus, when a character is gone but not quite forgotten; and Shoo Out the New Guy, who gets at least an excuse in the show for disappearing. Contrast with Remember the New Guy?. For characters who are written out of the main story but are still hanging around in view, see Demoted to Extra. For characters who are specifically brought in for a one-shot purpose, see Long-Lost Uncle Aesop. Compare Forgotten Fallen Friend and What Happened to the Mouse?. See also Absentee Actor.

Note when adding examples, this trope is specifically about characters who disappear entirely without explanation. If they reappear even briefly, or if their absence is explained in-show even flimsily, it is more likely one of the alternate tropes listed.

Examples of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Wendell the Baker for Cinnamon Toast Crunch used to have two other unnamed bakers with him (nicknamed Bob and Quello or Quienno by some), but they disappeared for reasons unknown around the early '90s, and were never featured again. Wendell himself seems to have disappeared as well.
  • The vast cast of characters who once existed side-by-side with Ronald McDonald in McDonald's commercials were steadily eliminated from the 1970s onward, until only the "core cast" of Ronald, Grimace, Birdie, and Hamburglar remained. Today, McDonald's ads are almost entirely Ronald-centric.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Sailor Moon started ditching the entire supporting cast of the anime (including Usagi's parents and brother) sometime after the second season. All except Usagi's mother completely disappeared in the fifth and final season, as well as her best friend Naru and classmate Umino, whose final appearances are in the direct to DVD special Ami-chan no Hatsukoi at the end of the 4th season. They actually never appear in the 5th season and were already relegated to extras by the 3rd.
  • Doctor Tofu from Ranma ½, disappeared after the first third of the manga series because his role as Mr. Exposition for weird martial arts was adequately filled by Cologne, one of the Trickster Mentors in the series. Fanfic writers keep using him to provide a second opinion or comedy relief, though there was a joke in the fan community that he had fallen into an open sewer and died. This was only in the manga; he made minor appearances in the anime throughout the series.
  • Rumiko's manga Urusei Yatsura does this with Princess Kurama: after some time, she disappears altogether. She continues to get small cameos in the anime because of the crowd scenes.
  • Happens egregiously in the Slayers novels, moreso the Special series. The most notable example is a mercenary named Lantz, who helps with the fight against Copy Rezo in lieu of Amelia in the third novel. He literally runs off, never to be heard of again. The only novel-exclusive character who is returned and remembered is the swordswoman Lemmy, who manages to make it to Amelia's side story and a radio drama. In the anime, similarly, Amelia's uncle, Christopher, doesn't get a single mention again after Slayers Next.
  • El Hazard: The Alternative World introduced a (seemingly nameless) farmer as a love interest for princess Rune Venus. One episode ended, for him, on a Literal Cliff Hanger, about to fall to his doom. However, the cliffhanger was never resolved and the character was never seen (or even mentioned) again. Presumably one of the consequences of the series being half as long as originally planned.
  • The Steel Saints from Saint Seiya, characters original to the anime's first season, completely disappeared before the 12 Zodiac Temples Arc. A common joke among the fandom was that they took the wrong plane from Japan to the Sanctuary.
  • Shamal from Katekyo Hitman Reborn. He got a passing mention in the beginning of Future Arc and is never seen or mentioned anymore.
  • Several major characters in Medabots, such as Dr. Aki's niece Karin, never showed up in the second season.
  • In Onani Master Kurosawa, the unnamed younger sister of the protagonist appears in some boxes trying to talk to Kurosawa, only to be solemnly ignored (even by the author, after some chapters).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Manga:
    • A character named Hanasaki appears. The characters become friends with him, he's around for some chapters, but after the Death-T arc, he disappears and is never mentioned again.
    • Miho Nosaka. She was a very minor character and Honda's love interest in the manga. She gets promoted as a main character in the first anime series, but is not in the second series Duel Monsters. But she was referenced in GX when she was listed among the missing Domino residents who are sent to the World of Darkness.
  • For a Hentai with so few characters, it's quite noticeable when Io Azuma in Moonlight Lady simply vanishes.
  • This happens a lot in car racing manga. In Wangan Midnight, literally dozens of minor characters, including Rumi Aikawa, Ma, Kochan, Yoshiaki Ishida, Harada, and Makoto Morishita, have been dropped without so much as a footnote.
  • Kimi Toudou, Kawaiiko and shameless Gold Digger from Fruits Basket. The last scene we see with her is her interrupting a love confession between Yuki Sohma and Machi Kuragi while looking for her missing hair brush. She never appears again. This is somewhat surprising as virtually every other minor character in the series makes some sort of appearance for a Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends chapter at the end. (Even Naohito Sakuragi, equal to Kimi in terms of importance, gets paired off with Motoko Minagawa [the Yuki Sohma Fan Club President] at the end.)
  • Klaus in Hayate the Combat Butler disappeared for around two hundred chapters with absolutely no explanation. Once or twice, it was helpfully noted that yes, he's still alive.
  • This happens to Yuuno in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. He was basically Demoted to Extra in Striker S, and then he vanished completely by the time of Vivid and Force.
  • The Hentai anime Boku no Pico has a character called Tomotsu who only appears in the first OAV. After that, he's never seen again...

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • King Muskar XII of the fictional Balkan kingdom Syldavia was a major character in the Tintin story King Ottokar's Sceptre (written in 1938), and ends up a close ally of Tintin. Yet he is completely absent for the post war stories dealing with Syldavia - in fact it is even unclear whether Syldavia is still a monarchy. Possibly a case of Reality Subtext: Muskar was based mostly on King Zog of Albania, and after World War Two almost every all Balkan kingdom was replaced by a communist dictatorships. (The exception being Greece).
  • Famously done to Rikki in the Belgian comic epic Suske en Wiske (Spike And Suzy). Rikki was Wiske's brother, and a main character for the singular issue the comic was still called "Rikki En Wiske". He was never heard from again until after the author passed away, and the new writers decided to bring him back briefly after 254 (!) issues. The explanation? Rikki had gone out to buy shoes and somehow got stuck in Ruritania.
  • Something like this was attempted with Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man comic books. In 1978 Marv Wolfman, writer and editor of The Amazing Spider-Man, decided to end the romance between her and Peter Parker by having her reject his proposal of marriage and then immediately involving him in an affair with his old flame Betty Brant Leeds. This was to pave the way to let Peter explore different romantic avenues with newly-created characters (the Black Cat, Debra Whitman etc.). Unfortunately it turned out that despite the breakup Mary Jane was far from ready to let go of Peter entirely and he felt strongly attracted and attached to her, especially in the secondary books Marvel Team-Up and Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man, which were written and edited by other people. And even in some ASM stories the two still got along so well as to make some readers hope the split would only be temporary. Then in 1980, after Denny O'Neil took over Wolfman's double position MJ abruptly dropped from sight without so much as a goodbye and was not mentioned in-story again, until Roger Stern decided to bring her back in 1983, explaining that she had been to Florida to help her Aunt Anna settle down there. (MJ was however not entirely gone in the intervening three years, as Marvel still put out a reprint series, Marvel Tales, and Stan Lee continued to use MJ as a recurring character in the Spider-Man newspaper strip).
  • What exactly happened to Toxin in Marvel Comics is a topic that will likely never be resolved; Even guys like Gravity and Sleepwalker get cameos now and then, but Toxin has plainly been abandoned entirely.
    • Toxin isn't the first symbiote character to disappear either, joining fellow heroic symbiote Hybrid and the female symbiote Donna/Scream.
    • A 2012 Carnage miniseries has the Toxin symbiote, but no sign or explanation (as of the second to the last issue) of what happened to Patrick Mulligan, the host.
  • In current Superhero comics every time that either writer or status quo changes, most of supporting cast and villains with exception of Ensemble Darkhorses (and sometimes even them) are put at risk of suffering from that. If there's no place for them in hero's new life situation it can be justified. If they are gone, because writer didn't have an idea what to do with them, not so much.
    • When Brian Bendis left Daredevil, the titular character has been imprisoned in one cell block with Kingpin, Owl and Jigsaw. New writer Ed Brubaker removed Jigsaw without any explanation.
    • Often happens to Spider-Man's supporting cast after all bigger changes of status quo.
    • Superman's post-Crisis supporting cast is notable because they were built up over such a long stretch of time, and then summarily jettisoned in 1999 when the Dan Jurgens/Louise Simonson era ended. Perry White's family, Bibbo and the other characters from Suicide Slum and the Bottle City characters introduced during the '90s all vanished abruptly never to return and characters like Emil Hamilton got thrust deep into the background overnight.
    • One of the most popular features of Bill Messner-Loebs' run on Flash was the large supporting cast—they even carried the book without Wally for a couple of issues. When Mark Waid took over, all of these characters except Linda Park faded into the distant background. Piper showed up sometimes, and Chunk got the occasional cameo, but the new "Flash family" that Waid proceeded to assemble replaced everyone else (including Wally's real family). Waid's run was wildly successful, but longtime readers still regret the loss of those characters.
    • In the 90s, Lex Luthor was a prominent businessman who was ruthless but maintained occasional Pet the Dog moments. Among these was the fact that he had an infant daughter named Lena Luthor, who he loved very deeply but nonetheless got roped into his life as a supervillain against his wishes. After 2004 though, Luthor became a Mad Scientist for a little while and with Dan Didio and Geoff Johns at the helm of the DC, his character was sent into a different direction. In the midst it all, Lena just disappeared and it was never explained what happened to her or where she is now. At the moment, Lex Luthor's only biological child is Superboy.
    • Happens with ridiculous regularity in the X-Men books, especially once Xavier's Institute became a full-fledged school with a student body beyond the active team members, only getting worse after the "Decimation" event reduced the mutant population to around 200 (prompting the X-Men to try to get literally every mutant on Earth to live at the X-Mansion and, later, Utopia). Whenever a new writer takes over, you can count on at least half the extended cast quietly vanishing. Sometimes a later writer will remember them and either mention where they got off to or reveal that they've been there all along never really doing anything.
    • Dana Drake, the stepmother of Tim Drake the thrid Robin is a particularly Egregious example. When Tim's father Jack was killed off in Identity Crisis, it was done so Tim could be tied more closely to Bruce, who would formally adopt him. The problem is though, that Jack had remarried to Dana, who'd been a major supporting character all through Robin's own series. Dana would have a mental breakdown over Jack's death and be sent to a sanitarium to recover...in Bludhaven, which would soon be completely destroyed in Infinite Crisis. One could assume Dana died along with everybody else in Bludhaven, but it was never explicitly stated she did. Instead, she has simply never been mentioned again. Evidently, DC editors wanted to get rid of her, but realized having Tim Angst over losing both his father and stepmother in 2 close together yet completely isolated incidents was too much even for DC. She'd be a Forgotten Fallen Friend except it was never confirmed she'd fallen. So instead, she's this trope.
  • Post-Crisis Wonder Woman's adoptive mother Julia Kapelitis. When George Perez was removed from the series, she vanished.
    • This is pretty much true for most Wonder Woman characters not created by Perez or the original Golden Age creators. There are tons of love interests, supporting cast members and villains who simply never appeared again after their respective creator left the series. The few exceptions would be characters like Phillipus and Artemis, and even they seem to have been dropped as of the New 52 revamp.
  • A mid-story issue of the Super Mario Adventures comic strip, which ran in Nintendo Power during 1992, featured this. Toad uses a Cape Feather to fly up to a pipe sticking out of a cloud (allegedly the one Mario and Luigi entered at the beginning of the story to unknowingly wind up in Dinosaur Land), and gets "help" - which is actually Bowser's Koopa Troop in disguise (the cloud was actually an airship of sorts in disguise). After the Princess gets kidnapped, Toad is shown being held hostage by two Koopas, delivers one line about the Koopas "taking control of the Mushroom Kingdom", and is then never seen or mentioned again for the remainder of the comic. (So they just left Toad in the Koopa Castle dungeons.)
  • In Strontium Dog, as the series got progressively darker and more serious, the Gronk just sort of faded away.
  • In the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi comics, main characters included Nomi and Vima Sunrider, the latter of which was going to be in Knights of the Old Republic. However, due to unclear trademark restrictions involving the name "Sunrider" (speculated to be from either a brand of convertible tops for Jeeps or some kind of corporation that makes herbal products, neither of which is very easy to mistake for a comic character), the characters stopped appearing at all in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, aside from an accidental anecdote in the first KOTOR game and an item description that didn't mention the last name in the second. However, Lucasfilm Licensing has apparently gotten past the worst of it, and can now create products and media featuring the characters, provided the name "Sunrider" isn't mentioned on the external packaging, and a book about Nomi Sunrider is due out in 2011. (See Wookiepedia.)
  • Blackhawk: The early stories in the 1940s featured three squadron members named Zeg (Polish), Boris (Russian) and Baker (English). They all vanished without trace after their initial appearances.
    • Boris DID return briefly in the short-lived mid-1970s revival.
  • When the Micronauts began appearing starting in 1996 issues of Cable, not only was their reappearance due to a very apparent Retcon, but no mention was made of Acroyear or Huntarr. Acroyear's absence is most likely due to the fact that Marvel no longer has the rights to any of the Micronaut characters derived from the old-school toyline. It doesn't explain why Huntarr is not there, as he was created by Marvel writer Bill Mantlo.
  • Wayne's in Pain a character put into The Bash Street Kids (a comic strip in the Anthology Comic The Beano) after a Blue Peter competition disappeared after being in the strip for only a short while.
  • One of the signs that 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures had dropped all pretense of being a Recursive Adaptation of the original cartoon series was that Channel 6 and April's co-workers from the station disappeared without explanation; by the time April gets her own mini-series and we get an update on her job situation, she's being fired from her job at WRTL by her boss Murdoch Maxwell.
  • The Mighty Thor: Remember Sigyn? Loki's wife (like in mythology)? Neither does anyone else, except as an Author Avatar in some Loki fanfics.
    • Sigyn is presumed to have died in Ragnarok, but so did all the other Asgardians. Everybody else reincarnated, so the reincarned Sigyn should be around somewhere. But nope, still no mention of her.
    • See here.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In the Disney movie A Goofy Movie, Roxanne is shown to be Goofy's son Max's love interest. On the sequel, Xtremely Goofy, Roxanne and her best friend Stacy (Max's friend Bobby's love interest) never appear and are not mentioned, despite all the trouble Max went on that summer. Although Roxanne does appear in an episode of House of Mouse.
  • The the sequel of the 2007 Transformers the Autobot twins, Skids and Mudflap have this happen in the sequel. After the fight with Devastator, you don't see them again for the rest of the film. They don't even return in Dark of the Moon. Probably for the better.
  • The original Transformers: The Movie does this to some of the surviving cast members of the cast up to that point, as nearly anyone who didn't die or was implicitly shown to have survived is never mentioned again.
    • Shortly after Unicron transforms Megatron into Galvatron, Bombshell and Skywarp are transformed into "Cyclonus and his Armada," however, the "Armada" (which is just one guy) is never seen or mentioned after this scene. ** If you look closely, whenever Snarl is present, one of the other Dinobots is missing. And the script even refers to "the four Dinobots". It's like the entire production team thought there were only four of them and couldn't decide which four there were.
  • Nightcrawler was a major character and love interest for Storm in X 2 X Men United, but didn't even appear in the third movie because actor Alan Cumming found the make-up and prosthetics process gruelling and refused to return to it. Cumming can be seen in the behind-the-scenes footage for X2 already stating that he never wants to go through the ordeal again. The video game based on the films which takes place between 2 and 3 explains that Nightcrawler, a peaceful man, went abroad to distance himself from the X-Men's violent lifestyle, at least for now.
    • And because, in the video game, they had to pretty much kill Stryker's crazy wheelchair-bound mutant son.
  • Doctor Dolittle: Rodney the guinea pig is nowhere to be found come the sequel, probably because his voice actor, Chris Rock, declined to return. While Rodney may likely have died of age by Dr. Dolittle 2, this is never addressed at any point.
  • In the early Olsen-Banden movies, Kjeld and Yvonne had two children: A son Børge and a smaller daughter. As the series went on Børge became an important regular while his sister vanished into thin air.
    • At least in the Norwegian versions, Kjell had two sons and a baby daughter in the first movie, and while the middle son Basse becomes a regular character, the other two have disappeared completely by the second one. Likewise, Benny ends up fathering a kid during the first movie, but both kid and fiance are never again referred to, and the only supporting cast member to reappear is Hansen the bartender. After movie 2, he's gone too.
  • In the animated version of Charlotte's Web Jeffrey the gosling, Wilbur's best friend besides Charlotte, is never seen again after he attempts to join Wilbur, Charlotte, and Templeton in the crate and is taken out.
  • Anamaria is never seen or heard from again after the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Interestingly, the cast was told in Dead Man's Chest that Anamaria would appear at the ending of the film, so the shock and surprise of Captain Barbossa greeting them was genuine.
  • Halloween: John Tate and Molly Cartwell were last seen "driving down to the Becker's" at the end of H20, and are nowhere to be found or mentioned in Resurrection. And we will almost certainly never know, as the series producer suffered Author Existence Failure, then Rob Zombie rebooted the series.
  • In Jackie Chan's Mr Nice Guy, whatever happened to Tara and Diana? The latter was last seen getting punched in the face by one of the bad guys, but we can't tell whether she was killed.
  • Pyramid Head was a pretty major villain for the first half of the Silent Hill movie. Then he kills off a side character, goes away, and is never seen or mentioned again for the rest of the film.
  • In Pocahontas: Journey to a New World, John Smith's friend Thomas and Ratcliffe's valet Wiggins are nowhere to be seen. Of course, Ratcliffe DID swear in the previous movie that he'd see them all hang...
  • In The Neverending Story III, Atreyu—who the co-protagonist of the first film and a major character as Bastian's best friend in the second—is nowhere to be seen. The very noticeable actor changes for both Atreyu and Bastian between each film create a lot of dissonance anyway.
  • American Pie and American Pie 2 center around four friends; Jim, Kevin, Finch, and Oz. In American Wedding, Oz is completely left out. You'd think they'd at least mention why one of Jim's best friends didn't attend his wedding.
  • In Eddie and the Cruisers, Frank Ridgeway plays a key role in the band and the story. When the sequel comes out, there's no mention of Ridgeway at all. They even go so far as to replace Frank's image with Sal in recycled footage from the first film.
  • In Legally Blonde, Elle became best friends with Vivan Kensington, her rival for her boyfriend at the end of the movie. However, in the sequel, she never shows up at all, or is even mentioned, even at her wedding.
  • In Halloweentown, Luke was a fairly important character, and he became even more important in the first sequel. He disappears completely in the third and fourth films, just in time for Marnie to get a cuter, human Love Interest instead.
  • In the second Weekend at Bernie's movie, Catherine Mary Stewart's character disappears without a mention, even after one of the heroes spent the entire first movie romantically obsessing over her.
  • In The Lion King 2, Sarabi, Simba's own mother no less, is never seen and no dialogue mentions her. Aparently, Sarabi's voice actress died before the sequel was made, and it's possible a replacement could not be found.
  • In the Direct to Video sequels to An American Tail, Bridget, the love interest of Fievel's older friend Tony Toponi, vanishes without even a mention and Tony starts lusting after other women. This could possibly be because, similarly to The Lion King 2 example, Bridget's voice actress was terminally ill when the movies were made and died soon after (for their faults, the 3rd and 4th films did manage to get most of the original voice talents from the first two movies). It could also have been because the writers wanted Tony to be single so he could interact with Fievel more.
  • In Batman Returns, Catwoman, Batman's love interest and villain throughout most of the movie, is last seen on the roof of a building before the movie ends, and is never seen again in the two subsequent films (and is only mentioned once, and in a subtle way, when Chase Meridian says "Or do I need skintight vinyl and a whip?"). Michelle Pfeiffer was meant to get her own film as Catwoman, but the project fell into Development Hell and eventually crawled out in 2004 with Halle Berry as the star and nothing to do with the Burton films.
  • In the film series of Harry Potter, Crabbe disappears from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, when he always appeared alongside Goyle in all of the first six films. Although the filmmakers had a reason for cutting him out (his actor was arrested for drug possession), no mention is given to him at all, Harry never asks where he is, and Malfoy doesn't seem to notice, as he specifically gets Goyle and Blaise Zabini (another Slytherin ally in the books) when he Apparates into the dungeons. Crabbe was supposed to die in this movie too, but due to the character omission they killed off Goyle instead.
    • A little harder to notice is Parvati Patil, who does not appear in the last film alongside her sister Padma (who was seen less in the series than Parvati).
    • Some of the Hogwarts ghosts didn't make it past the first film, including Peeves. Nearly Headless Nick managed to stick around a little bit longer and was last seen in the second film. Moaning Myrtle disappears after the fourth film.
    • Colin Creevey has a sizable role in the second film and is then never seen again. He's sort-of replaced by Canon Foreigner Nigel.
    • Madam Hooch is only in the first movie.
    • The Fat Lady is never seen after the third movie and that appearance was a case of The Other Darrin.
  • Blade gave us Karen Jenson, a haematologist who develops a biochemical weapon against vampires and even finds a freakin' cure for vampirism. The movie ends on the note that, if she wants to be useful, she'll have to make Blade a better serum to suppress his bloodthirst. The sequels play out as though she never existed.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In "Cheaper By the Dozen", Mary, the second eldest child dies at age 6. This isn't mentioned in the book. She simply stops appearing.
  • In The Babysitters Club, this was the eventual fate of most of the girls' non-club friends, fuelling speculation that the girls were disturbingly cult-like...
  • Don Quixote: In Chapter I, Part I, Cervantes mentions the people who lived in Don Quixote’s house: his niece, his housekeeper and a lad who helps them with the field and the marketplace... whom we'll never see or hear of again. Obviously, Cervantes had completely forgotten about this character, and didn't want to write him even in the Second Part of the novel, but in his defense, one of Don Quixote's themes is about how silly it is to detect errors of continuity in a literary work silly fictional tale...
    • Except for the end, when Don Quixote dies and leaves the housekeeper and the niece each something, with the caveat that the niece will lose her inheritance if she marries a man who reads books about knights like he did.
  • Rodolphus Lestrange was introduced in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, got a brief cameo in Order of the Phoenix and... was then never mentioned again. Meanwhile, his wife Bellatrix was established as a Dark Action Girl, became a major villain, and eventually ended up as Voldemort's right-hand woman. You would be forgiven if, by the end of the series, you'd forgotten Bellatrix had a husband altogether. Tellingly in the movies, Bellatrix is played by Helena Bonham Carter and Rodolphus is played by... well, he's presumably one of the random Death Eater extras who never get lines.
    • In Deathly Hallows, Tonks mentions that she and Ron injured Rodolphus during the Battle over Little Whinging.
    • Arguably justified. Word of God has stated that Bellatrix never loved her husband at all, only marrying him because of expectations. Stands to reason she wouldn't want to hang around him, and presumably she's in better favor with Voldemort than he is.
    • Rabastan Lestrange. Introduced at the same time as his brother Rodolphus in Goblet of Fire, he is never heard of again except for when Lucius is rattling off names directing the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries battle.
    • Cornelius Fudge could fall into this as well. He was a fairly important player in Order of the Phoenix, got a couple cameos in Half-Blood Prince, and then completely vanished. Semi-justified in that he was ousted from office and unpopular politicians seem to fade from the limelight fairly quickly in Real Life.
    • Justin Finch-Fletchley, Hannah Abbot, Susan Bones, but after all they were Hufflepuff House. Ernie Macmillian was given a couple of appearances here and there, but otherwise was delegated to the Redshirt Army.
      • Harry encounters them fairly prominently in the Battle Of Hogwarts, and Word of God says Hannah Abbot marries Neville!
  • In the early Discworld novels Unseen University had a different Archancellor in book with the previous Archancellor never getting a mention. As the position appears to be held for life and the Klingon Promotion nature of wizardry was established early on it can be safely assumed why they are missing, but it is still a little strange and irritating that a major character like Cutangle (from Equal Rites) vanishes without a word.
  • In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor once in a while mentions his brother Ernest, but by the end of the story, every one of Victor's loved ones except for Ernest is dead, but Victor insists that his entire family is dead. Essentially, the fate of Ernest is left entirely unaccounted for by Mary Shelley, and he appears to have mysteriously disappeared from the story altogether.
  • Rifleman, mentor to and important ally of Stile's in the first Apprentice Adept trilogy. When the second trilogy starts up, he's nowhere to be found or mentioned.
  • Tobias Gregson, the only member of the main cast from the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, to never become a regular. There are mentions of "Gregsons" in later stories, but they are very few, only sharp eyes will catch them, and there is no indication that any of them refer to Tobias.
  • In the Artemis Fowl series, Doodah Day. At the end of Lost Colony, he is mentioned as having started working as a private detective along with Mulch Diggums. The Time Paradox takes place mostly in the past, so it's understandable that he wouldn't appear, but Mulch is actively involved in The Atlantis Complex and not only does he not seem to be working as a detective, there is absolutely no mention of what Doodah is doing.
    • Minerva Paradizo. At the end of book 5, she is stated to have spent 3 years obsessing over Artemis, waiting for him to return, and she was set up as a very obvious Love Interest. Two books later, and she hasn't been mentioned once since then.
  • The 19th-century penny dreadful Varney the Vampire began with three children in the Bannerworth family—Henry, Flora, and George—but George is never mentioned again after Chapter 36.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: This has happened to some characters. Private Detective (former FBI agent) Mark Lane seems to pretty much vanish off the face of Earth by the book Final Justice. It might be due to the fact that he acts as a source of information for Jack Emery, who by then is getting information before Lane does, and Jack doesn't really need him anymore!
  • In Breaking Dawn, Leah is a fairly prominent character throughout all of part two. In part three, she makes one appearance to talk to Jacob, and sinks in with the rest of the werewolves for the rest of the book. This could be justified though, seeing as the third part is Bella's point of view, and Leah doesn't like Bella.
  • There were two sequels to Harriet the Spy. Sport and Janie, Harriet's best friends, get not a single mention in either of them.
  • As the Moomimtroll series progresses, the Moomins keep acquiring new house-guests, until the second-to-last novel Moomimpappa At Sea, where, with the exception of Little My, they all vanish without a word. Particularly jarring is the Snork Maiden, who up until this point has been Mooomintroll's G-rated love interest.
  • Happens to the wizard Radagast the Brown in The Lord of the Rings. Messengers are sent to his house mid-way through the first book, but find it deserted. His absence is never explained, and he is never mentioned again. When asked about this in a letter, Tolkien said that even he wasn't sure of Radagast's fate.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 24 has no qualms about having characters cease to exist once their purpose has been served, even though its high body count means you'd think someone could spare a bullet for any of them. Worse, many of them were last seen in situations where death is likely but not a given. In some circles, this is called "Behroozing," after Behrooz Araz, a character who vanished in such a manner. Most notably:
    • The unnamed Eastern European assassin from the first half of season 1, who pretends to be an American photographer named Martin Belkin. The assassin plays a major role in the first half of the season, as he gets a face transplant and attempts to kill Palmer at a rally in downtown Los Angeles. After he is foiled by Jack Bauer, he flees and is never seen again (even though the other assassin hired to off Palmer, Mandy, is seen in several more episodes in different seasons afterwards).
    • Lynne Kresge (an assistant to President Palmer) is pushed down a flight of stairs late in the second season. Even though she's badly injured, she doesn't seem to be in danger of dying (and she's loaded into an ambulance, knowing damaging information about Mike Novick). Strangely, she's never referenced again, even when Palmer returns to the White House and talks at length with Novick.
    • John Keeler and Wayne Palmer both exited the show this way. While a reference to Wayne dying is made in a prop newspaper from Redemption (albeit, never shown on-screen), Keeler is never mentioned again after being listed in critical condition after Air Force One crashes. This actually has a justification—the writers were explicitly told that they weren't allowed to kill off a sitting president on-screen. Presumably since Daniels had already taken over and served out the rest of Wayne's term, it was okay for them to let it be known that Wayne was dead, and David Palmer's death happened long after he left office. This may not have been restricted to United States presidents, either. In Season 8, Omar Hassan, the president of a fictional Middle Eastern nation, is killed, but his death is not actually shown on screen; while CTU is trying to rescue him, the internet video feed that the terrorists have set up is shown, and then when Jack gets there and finds Hassan's dead body and realizes that the video was pre-taped, we aren't shown the conclusion.
    • Karen Hayes, the wife of long running character Bill Buchanan, who is sort of put on a bus with her husband at the end of Season 6 as they are both forced to resign. However, Bill is a main character for most of Season 7 and his wife is never mentioned not even after his death.
  • On The 4400, Dennis Ryland was a prominent character for the first three seasons of the show (though he did experience a brief absence), first as the head of NTAC, then as a notably more antagonistic character in a higher level of government. However, he disappeared entirely, and without explanation, for the show's fourth and final season, with only a single, fleeting reference being made to him as one of the people who exploited Isabelle Tyler. This despite the fact that the project he was working on (the development of promicin-enhanced soldiers) was at its height at the end of the third season.
    • Similarly, Nina Jarvis, the head of NTAC for the second and third seasons, disappeared with no further mention in the fourth season, her role being filled by new character Meghan Doyle. It can be presumed she quit, though no explanation is given.
    • Then there's Diana's boyfriend, Ben, introduced near the end of the third season and disappearing mid-way through the fourth with no further mention. The implication is that they broke up, though this is quite surprising considering how well they'd been doing as a couple... and the fact that this contradicts one of Maia's infallible prophecies.
  • In a 1970 episode of the soap All My Children, a teen named Bobby Martin goes up in his family's attic to wax his skis. The actor was then abruptly fired and so Bobby was never seen again. Years later, the show lampshaded this by having a character go into the same attic and find a skeleton with a pair of skis, wearing a ski hat with "Bobby" on it - a comedic example of a Bus Crash.
  • Similar to the Wings example would be Jack Burns' character of Warren Ferguson on The Andy Griffith Show, who was brought in to replace Barney Fife as Mayberry's overzealous deputy. He lasted one season before being quietly dropped from the show and never mentioned again. (Even the '80s Reunion Movie forgot about him.) Another example would be Ellie Walker, the town pharmacist and Andy's first-season girlfriend.
  • Detective Kate Lockley, Angel's Agent Mulder-esque contact with the LAPD in the series Angel, made her last appearance fairly early in the series, when she hit a Despair Event Horizon and was barely saved from a suicide attempt by Angel. She completely vanished from the story after that, partly because the actress moved on to Law and Order and partly because the show had already begun to drop the idea of Angel as an Occult Detective who'd need to work with the police in favor of a broader Urban Fantasy story. She did return, though, in the comic-book series that continued the storyline after the show ended.
  • Are You Being Served had a few regular characters vanish without mention, with the most memorable being Mr. Grainger and Mr. Lucas (actor left to pursue other interests).
  • Babylon 5: G'Kar's assistant Na'Toth only appeared twice in the second season (after an unsuccessful recasting and didn't appear at all in that season's second half. A third season episode mentioned that she'd been on Narn when the planet was bombed into submission by the Centauri and was presumed dead. Finally in an season 5 she reappeared for one episode as a P.O.W. on Centauri Prime and was sneaked onto a transport home. Interestingly, G'Kar's first assistant Ko'Dath also disappeared off-screen (though this was explicitly mentioned on screen as death due to an "unfortunate airlock accident"). Is it any wonder why G'Kar becomes something of a loner for most of the series?
  • Boxey in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica completely vanished without explanation after a relatively prominent role in the miniseries and a smaller scene in one regular episode. He was meant to be a kid that the pilots had adopted, but the writers couldn't come up with uses for his character. It could be justified as Commander Adama may have decided that a military ship in a time of war was no place for a child and sent him to live with a foster family in The Fleet. It should be noted that he was featured in several episodes in Season One, but all of his scenes were cut out due to timing constraints or pacing.
    • His photo does appear on the Wall of Remembrance in later seasons, implying his death sometime between Ragnar Anchorage and Earth. It gets expanded upon in one of the tie-in novels, which has him living in fosterage in the fleet, and getting fatally shot helping Helo and Starbuck stop an attack by an apocalyptic religious cult in the fleet (the novel also pins down his death as occurring during Commander Fisk's tenure in command of the Pegasus).
    • Prominent Quorum members such as Marshall Bagot and Sarah Porter simply disappear after the second season. It is possible that they died during the explosion of Cloud Nine or the Cylon Occupation or were simply not voted back into office in the new administration and thus lost their relevance, but it is never addressed.
    • Another character, Bulldog, was given an entire episode's focus when he was introduced, then was never heard from or mentioned again. The story is that he was intended to be a recurring character afterwards, but the actor playing him couldn't work out his schedule to fit the show. Word of God says in the podcast for Bulldog's lone episode, "Hero", that they decided to wrap up the character's arc within a single episode because Carl Lumbly was an "expensive actor".
  • Detectives on ‘’Barney Miller’’ could be dropped with little or no explanation. One notable example was Eric Dorsey, the abrasive newcomer introduced in the last season. When they knew for certain it ‘’was’’ the last season he was dropped in the buildup to the Series Finale.
  • Bob from Becker was said to be "on vacation" in the first episode of Season 6, and never returned.
  • Big Bang Theory had new upstairs neighbor Alicia, the driving force behind a season two episode. She's never seen or heard from again, although one assumes she still lives upstairs (unless Sheldon managed to get her evicted for being too noisy).
    • Similarly, Leonard got a love interest, Dr. Stephanie Barnett (Sara Rue) in Season 2. Fearing they're moving too fast, he tries to break up, but she keeps luring him back with sex. At the end of their third episode, he heads off for another booty call. Presumably he grew a spine between that and the next episode, when she's just gone.
  • The first season of The Bob Newhart Show had Margaret Hoover, a neighbor in the Hartleys' apartment building and friend of Emily's. She appeared in a handful of episodes before being quietly dropped.
  • During the first season of Bones, Jonathan Adams plays Dr. Goodman, the head of the Jeffersonian Institute, who is Bones's direct superior and takes an active role in many of the cases. In the first episode of season two, Cam is head of forensics, and Goodman is said to be on a "two month sabbatical"; four years later, he's yet to be seen or mentioned again. (Word of God is that he may eventually pop up in guest appearances, however.)
    • This trope was even applied retroactively, as Dr. Goodman is never even mentioned during a flashback episode set before the pilot.
  • In an early Boy Meets World episode we see Topanga's older sister, Nebula. She is never referred to again and indeed Topanga is later stated to be an only child.
    • In earlier seasons, Shawn had at least two siblings before Jack came into the picture. There was an older brother who Cory caught stealing or something on video, and an older sister he called after Cory had him help straighten his hair.
    • Minkus, a recurring character from the first season, also disappears without a trace. Later, when the show became more meta, they had him return for their high school graduation, pointing off-stage and saying that all his classes had been down the other hallway. The kids wave down the hall, shouting hello to their old teacher Mr. Turner, who had also been Chucked. (Ironically, the actor playing Mingus had been one of the two Torkelsons to survive the Retool into Almost Home.)
    • Cory's sister, Morgan, almost got the Chuck treatment. She disappears entirely at the end of season 2. Her character is brought back in the middle of season 3 (as a different actress), and remarks, on her first appearance, "That was the longest time out I've ever had!"
  • Tiger, the family dog, on The Brady Bunch. Lampshaded in The Brady Bunch Movie. (A case of Actor Existence Failure according to Barry Williams; the dog was run over by a car early in the first season.)
    • For that matter, the girls' cat, Fluffy, didn't make it past the pilot episode.
  • The first series of The Brittas Empire features pretty secretary Angie as a main character in all episodes. She vanishes without a trace from series 2 onwards, replaced with a brand new secretary, Julie, who is merrily treated as if she's been there since the beginning by all the other staff.
    • Of course, the whole thing did turn out to be a dream, so...
  • Holly Ellenbogen was a main character on The Class who is last seen in the twelfth episode receiving a threat from Richie's wife Fern, who is also never seen again. There is no explanation given for her disappearance, leading to the unfortunate possibility that she may have been hurt in some way by Fern.
  • Professor Slater in Community. A recurring love interest for Jeff throughout the first season, she was involved in a competition with Britta for Jeff's affections in the season finale and hasn't been sighted since. Lampshaded in the second season episode "Intro to Political Science": one of the news ticker headlines on Troy and Abed's election coverage reads "Professor Slater still missing".
  • On The Cosby Show Theo's best friend Walter "Cockroach" Bradley appeared frequently during the first half of the series, was very close to the family, and even started to get some individual development ("An Early Spring"), then abruptly stopped appearing without explanation. The episode after his final appearance is even focused on Theo and Cockroach's gang of friends' locker room antics, which Cockroach would normally have been present for. Word still has it that his actor, Carl Anthony Payne II, refused to cut his hair as per Bill Cosby's wishes (the kids all changed hairstyles regularly throughout the series) and was eventually fired or left the show as a result. Sad stuff. And the haircut in question, that was apparently worth leaving the cast of what was currently the most beloved and popular show on television? Snip.
  • A weird and infamous example is the handyman Benny in the 1970s ITV soap opera Crossroads. He climbed up a ladder to fix the lights on a Christmas tree, and was never seen again.
  • From the first season up to the eighth season, the original CSI had a ballistics expert named Bobby Dawson. However, he disappeared about halfway through the eighth season with no explanation.
    • CSI has Catherine's sister appearing at the very beginning of the pilot... only to never be mentioned or appear again.
    • Also, the CSI-turned-Detective Sofia Curtis, who for two seasons was at least a somewhat frequently-featured character, is last seen in the first episode of season eight, and is never seen or mentioned again for the rest of that season (except for a brief explanation about how she hated her (new) boss and left for another office).
      • She's back as of April 2011 (having apparently been promoted to Deputy Chief in the interim), but who knows how long that will last...
  • CSI: NY had this happen with two characters: Det. Kaile Maka (who appeared in season 1 and 2) and coroner Evan Zao (who appeared in season 2). .
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm's pilot episode had the main character as a father. The kids were never mentioned again.
  • Dad's Army had Miss King, a sexy female clerk at Mainwaring's bank whom the writers admit was introduced solely for the purpose of being Ms. Fanservice. She disappears after series two and is never heard from again, although she did play a very small role in The Movie.
    • A couple of platoon members also disappeared with no explanation: Private Bracewell, who appears in the first episode only (Word of God states he was cut because the writers felt his character was too much like Godfrey's) and Private Desmond, an Ascended Extra who goes on a mission with the main cast in the episode "Sons of the Sea", then is never heard from again.
  • Bizarrely, recurring character Dusty Farlow suffered this fate by accident on Dallas: He appeared in a few episodes at the end of the 7th Season, then left town a few episodes into the 8th. Unfortunately the 8th Season was also the infamous Dream Season and the producers apparently forgot about Dusty (despite his father being a main character), so that per canon he simply vanishes without explanation.
    • If a house counts, Dallas also did this with Southfork itself. In the pilot miniseries, Southfork is a huge mansion with two smaller houses attached by a breezeway. It is discussed in great detail in the first episode that J.R. and Sue Ellen live in their own little house, and the other house was built for Gary and Valene, and that that is where Bobby and Pam will live. After the first season, they switched to a different real life ranch for the exterior sets, and suddenly the Ewings were all living under one roof in a much smaller house.
  • Kendra on Degrassi the Next Generation was a recurring character in many second and third season episodes but vanished without a trace in the fourth season. This was particularly strange because her brother and (ex-)boyfriend were still on the show. One wonders why she wasn't there to react when her brother got expelled and re-admitted, found religion and abandoned it, got married, etc.
    • To a lesser extent, Chester, who was introduced as a new main character and vanished after about three episodes. Oddly enough, Chester and Kendra were both the show's only Asian characters.
    • Chris Sharpe, Emma's love interest in season 3; Derek Haig, a notable character until season 9 when he mysteriously disappears; Terri Mcgregor, whose sendoff is only explained in a deleted scene; and Principal Shepherd, former Lakehurst principal becomes acting principal of Degrassi after the merger, is fired due to an outburst at Claire, returns briefly after attending anger management classes, but is suddenly written off and replaced without explanation by old Degrassi principal Ms. Hatzilakos.
    • Ms. H herself vanishes without a word the following season, with Mr. Simpson, the Media Immersion teacher, being bumped up to the top spot.
  • Delores Mitchell and Norman Briggs on Diagnosis: Murder.
  • When Lisa Bonet left A Different World, several characters disappeared with her: most notably Marissa Tomei's Maggie and Whitley's Girl Friday Millie.
    • There were also Glen Brachston, the lazy marina owner; Garth Harble, the first animal control officer before Ed Frid; Earl Battersby, the bait shop owner; Dwight Cardiff, the other lazy marina owner; Dougie Franklin's brother, Benjamin; Bob Stuyvesant, golfer/ministry of natural resources worker; Arnie Dogan, accident-prone roofer/aspiring country singer; Young Walter, who substituted for Bill in the later Adventures With Bill segments; Dale, a teenaged boy who worked at a local gas station; Kevin Black, a Yuppie cottager; Brian Jacobs, funeral parlor owner; etc. At least one was justified, as Red mentions in one segment that Garth got bit by a toad and "lost his nerve," and thus was replaced by Ed.
  • The first season of The Drew Carey Show had Drew's Wacky Neighbors, who vanished when it became more of a workplace sitcom and focused on Drew's Wacky Friends.
    • Drew's brother Steve vanishes during the final season after his character-180 caused him to cheat on his wife. The natural step was to abandon Mimi and their toddler.
  • Bob the receptionist on ER, to the extent that some people now call this trope "being Bobbed". The thing about "being Bobbed" is the character has to have just become interesting when they vanished. In Bob's case the County staff had recently discovered the "simple" foreign janitor rather patronizingly nicknamed "Bob" because Doug couldn't be bothered to learn to pronounce her real name was actually a vascular surgeon in her native Poland. Also Maggie Doyle, who would disappear for long periods of time before reappearing, to the extent that this trend was called "being Doyled". Ironically, Doyle herself was eventually "Bobbed".
  • Eureka:
    • Whatever happened to Spenser, Henry's assistant? (Possibly he was fired for hijacking an experimental satellite to watch pirated movies, and for nearly causing impromptu surgery on a visiting political figure, but it's never mentioned.)
    • Ditto Greg Germann's character from the pilot, who suddenly vanishes in the second episode and remains forgotten, even though his obnoxious assistant, Fargo, remains.
  • Judy Winslow, the youngest daughter on Family Matters, simply vanished after the fourth season. Several minor characters also disappeared with no on-screen explanation: Laura's best friend Penny, Eddie's sleazy best friend Rodney, and Carl's boss Murtaugh.
  • The youth TV series Fire by Nite had a serial sitcom embedded, entitled Family First. The family originally had two boys and a girl. When the actor who played the younger son moved, and the parents were replaced by a different couple, the younger son, Robert, disappears. They refer to him as if he's off camera for a couple of episodes, but eventually, through the 3-year run of the show after that, he is never mentioned again.
  • Santiago on Friday Night Lights just seems to have disappeared from existence between season 2 and 3. Ditto Waverly from season 1.
  • Friends. After Emma was born, Ross seems to forget he has a son and Ben is last seen in Season Eight, and even then with Phoebe rather than Ross. Carol is last seen in Season Seven, and Susan disappears in Season Six. Ben's disappearance was Lampshaded in 'The One Where No One Proposes': Ross' father, Jack, is looking at Emma and says "look at her, my first grandchild", when Ross asks about Ben, he says "Well of course Ben, I meant my first granddaughter!" then turn to Monica making a "I totally forgot about him!" face. The fact that they never show or address Ben meeting his new sister is pretty egregious.
  • Agent Amy Jessup appeared in the first two episodes of season two of ‘’Fringe’’, and hasn’t been seen or mentioned since. This could be attributed to fan anxiety that Jessup would replace Olivia Dunham, who started the season comatose.
  • On The George Lopez Show, this fate befell many characters including their dog Mr. Needles, Accident Amy, and George's long lost sister Linda.
    • Linda most likely stayed away from George due to the revelations of how she was put up for adoption and how her birth family is, mixed with George's father-in-law's failed attempt at romancing her.
    • Possibly justified with Amy, since she was played by Sandra Bullock, who possibly wouldn't have had time to appear consistently. Amy only appears periodically anyway.
  • Glee had a character, Matt Ruthford, who was more or less background, serving only as the required 12th member of the group in Season 1. However, at the beginning of Season 2 he disappears with only a 5 second explanation that he "transferred schools". Coach Tanaka, who'd been a major character for the first half of season 1, also disappeared with the explanation that seeing his ex-fiancee Emma was too emotionally painful for him to stay. And recently, Word of God has said he died of cancer.
  • If you happened to see the pilot episode of The Golden Girls, you may recall that the roommates had a live-in cook, a flamboyantly gay man named Coco. The character of Sophia, who was only supposed to have appeared periodically throughout the series, turned out to be so popular with test audiences that she was moved into the house to be a permanent part of the cast, and Coco got puffed.
  • Good Times: Esther Rolle left (temporarily) the series at the end of the 1976-1977 season, with her final storyline being her character Florida's wedding to Carl Dixon, an avowed atheist, and the new couple moving to Arizona (to allow Carl to tend to his failing health). Rolle—already upset about the perceived over-emphasis on Jimmie Walker's J.J. character, strongly objected to the storyline, contending that Florida was an affirmed Christian was now being expected to live with someone with whom her religious beliefs would conflict. When Rolle agreed to return to the show in 1978, one of her demands was that there would be no mention of Carl or her ever marrying or even meeting him, period. The writers agreed.
  • Aaron, Serena's boyfriend and Cyrus' son on Gossip Girl. Aaron and Serena were heading off on holiday to Argentina, but you find out the next episode that they broke up on the flight so that Serena and Dan could get back together.
    • Pretty glaring, considering that he's Blair's stepbrother and appears to be close with his father, yet he never shows up for family events.
  • In The Greatest American Hero, Ralph's son Kevin disappears after the first season. He is mentioned in the the second season episode "Operation: Spoilsport", but not seen.
  • The dog in Grounded for Life was tied to a fence in the first episode and then seemed to vanish.
  • In H₂O: Just Add Water a few characters from season 1 disappeared with no explanation in season 2, such as Miriam and Emma's love interest Byron.
  • In Hannah Montana Mikayla's (Selena Gomez) last full appearance has her becoming friends with Miley despite her hatred of Miley's alter ego Hannah Montana which she was unaware of. This could have easily been played with after Miley outs herself as Hannah Montana. Mikayla is last referred to on a tv show using likely archive footage from her earlier two appearances and is never mentioned again. Behind The scenes Selena Gomez had been cast as Alex in Wizards of Waverly Place.
    • Her role as Mikayla could explain why Alex and Hannah/Miley are never really seen together on The SS Tipton during the Suite Life On Deck, Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana crossover episodes, (although Gomez had had played a a character on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody show, as well). It could also be that the crossovers between Suite Life On Deck and Hannah Montana didn't really feature any characters from Wizards of Waverly Place and vice versa with Wizards of Waverly Place and Suite Life On Deck with On Deck serving as a middle ground just like its predecessor did with Disney Channels previous three show crossover which also didn't have any of the bookend show characters interacting with each other: Hannah Montana and That's So Raven.
    • Hannah Montana was filled with this trope. In addition to Mikayla, there were also these characters:
      • Roxy, Miley/Hannah's bodyguard, who disappeared after season 2.
      • Traci van Horn, Hannah's very nasal sounding heiress friend, who did not appear and was not mentioned in season 4, despite the fact that she would have had a very comedic reaction to The Reveal.
      • Jackson's best friend Cooper, who was gone after season 1.
      • The Stewart's obnoxious neighbor, Dontzig, who stopped appearing after season 1, except for one episode in season 3.
      • Thor, the transfer student from Minnesota who was begrudgingly befriended by Jackson, who stopped being mentioned after season 2 .
      • Johnny Collins, Miley's crush in the pilot who was set up to be in the main cast, but then never appeared again, except for one late season 2 episode
      • Trey, who was set up to be a major love interest for Miley in a late season 2 episode but never appeared again
  • Happy Days, in addition to being the Trope Namer, also Lampshaded this trope in an outtake from the finale:

Howard Cunningham: "...So thank you all for being part of our family. To Happy Days." (Spit Take) "Wait, where's Chuck?!"

    • Also Lampshaded in commercials run by Nick at Nite after they started airing Happy Days. The commercials featured the narrator talking about Chuck's disappearance and treating it as a great mystery/conspiracy, showing a clip of Chuck's last appearance followed by a clip from a much later episode of Howard saying, "I have a lovely daughter and a loudmouth son."
  • In The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Hardy Boys' best friend Chet Morton & their gal friday Callie never appear again after the first season. Nothing's mentioned, nothing's said...
  • Heroes: No one's seen, heard of or even mentioned Monica since the season 2 finale. Doesn't look like anyone's missing her either. Although What she did during season 3 is being revealed in some graphic novels following Micah.
    • Let's not forget Hana Gitelman - though the graphic novels are doing their best to explain what happened to her.
    • Zach, Claire's friend in Season 1, also caught this syndrome. Admittedly, Claire permanently left his town 4 episodes after his last appearance, and his actor had other commitments, but it's still a little jarring how he's never even mentioned again.
    • There's also Caitlin, who is never mentioned again past season 2.
    • Anyone remember Lyle, Claire's brother? Don't worry, neither do her parents. When Claire's in college, her mother, mother's boyfriend, and HRG, and HRG's sort of mistress, all have a Thanksgiving with Claire, but there's no Lyle in sight.
  • In the last season of Hogan's Heroes, Sgt. Kinchloe abruptly disappears. His role as radio man is taken over by Sgt. Baker (who previously had been one of many prisoners who basically loitered around in the background during scenes to show that there were more than five people in the whole camp) and no one even mentions him again
  • On Home Improvement, during the first season, Jill has a friend named Maria who shows up quite a bit, the next season, Maria has vanished and is never mentioned again.
  • Hustle: Billy vanishes between seasons 4 and 5.
  • iCarly: Many minor characters from the first season have never come back again like the mean popular girl from Nevel's intro episode and "Germy" Jeremy. Though since in-show he was sick all the time there might be another reason why.
    • Not just first season characters either. Wendy, a popular minor Ensemble Darkhorse character simply vanished as well after her last appearance in the final episode of Season 2.
    • Tasha, Gibby's recurring girlfriend from a handful of episodes in Season 3, appears to have suffered this fate along with a breakup, only in the 8th episode did a reference to her come, and it was that Gibby and her were no longer 'exclusive' in his words.
    • Brad, who was implied to have transferred to Ridgeway school with Carly, Sam and Freddie wasn't referenced in the first episode of the second half of season 4, despite it taking place in-universe only three days after iOMG which was the last episode of the 1st half. He doesn't show up in the second episode either, despite them doing a webshow in their usual time and place, which he was explicitly recruited to help with. In the third episode, Carly has to cancel a webshow broadcast specifically because Freddie and Sam aren't there. This is the exact thing Brad would be useful for, and specifically what he was hired for. So he's gone.
    • Basically, if your name is not Carly, Sam, Freddie, Spencer, Mrs. Benson or Gibby, you will not be coming back, especially if you aren't a villain. Only a handful of characters have even made second appearances, and three of them are Nevel, Nora and Chuck, who are all villains. The only other prominent one to come back was Griffin, who showed up in a second episode, Justified because he lives in the same building, and vanished again.
  • Imagination Movers: Nina's very boring (but oh so funny and entertaining) uncle Knit Knots: a beloved character who owned a business next door to the Imagination Movers' "Idea Warehouse" that created boring items and services for “boring” people. He appeared in every episode in the first season of the show, but completely disappeared, with no explanation for seasons 2 and 3.
    • He did make one other appearance in the Imagination Movers' concert special, which aired on Disney during season 3, however, this was a live event, which was not intended to be canon with the series.
  • The Invisible Man was forced by the network in Season Two to add a new, attractive-to-males character played by Brandy Ledford. The fans didn't like her very much, and there were numerous complaints about how she ruined the Fawkes and Hobbes dynamic. So when the show's cancellation was announced, the writers took advantage of the fact that they had nothing to lose anyway, and just left the character out of the last few episodes with no explanation.
  • In the first season of the NBC sitcom Jesse, the title character and her son are seen living with her two brothers, while she works at her father's bar. However, for the second season, the network retooled the series. While Jesse is shown getting a new job, her father and brothers are treated as if they had never been there.
  • Wally, Maya's roommate in the first season of Just Shoot Me.
  • Kids Incorporated references missing characters from previous seasons through season 5 -- Mickey moves away after season 1, Gloria goes to music school after season 3, Renee and The Kid become exchange students after season 4. Even the characters dropped after the original pilot episode are said to have moved away in a scene added at the end of the VHS release. On top of that, each new character is introduced and has to audition for the band. However, when season 6 begins, Ryan and Connie have been replaced by Robin and no one mentions their absence or where Robin came from, then Stacy, Richie, and Devyn are replaced by Eric, Ana, and Haylie for season 7. At this point, more than half the cast is new this season, and only one of them has been on the show for more than a season. And yet we have not a word about this (they do mention, several episodes later, that Ana had only recently moved in with Robin's family after her parents' divorce). As Stacy was the last of the original cast, that her departure doesn't even get a mention is a little grating especially considering who she'd grow up to become—the departure of Mario Lopez got more notice, and he didn't even have a speaking part. Strangely, Riley, a secondary character, also leaves in season 6, and his departure is a plot point.
  • Sara Spooner, the younger sister of Carrie, from The King of Queens only appeared in about five episodes of season one and disappeared from the show without an explanation. It was later revealed in an interview with show star Kevin James that the writers had no idea how to develop her character so they just decided to write her out.
    • Doug's sister Stephanie and his friend Richie, both of them vanished without a trace. Doug and Carrie also had two dogs in the first few episodes which disappeared without an explanation.
  • More often than not, Kyle XY averted this in favour of putting people on a bus or killing them off-screen. In the second season, however, there is a glaring example of this trope. After the Madacorp plot is defeated, Julian Ballantine is demoted and replaced by The Dragon, Emily Hollander. The scene in which this happens has suitably ominous overtones, suggesting that the viewer hasn't seen the last of Madacorp. And then Hollander appears in one further episode, attending her company's stand at Kyle's school, and is never seen again.
  • Sarasvati in Las Vegas had been built up in Season 3 as a potential love interest for Mike. The last we see of her is the final episode of the season at Delinda's bachelorette party, where she asks Mike to come to her room. Mike never makes it, and the next we hear Sarasvati had gone home with all of the male strippers. She appears for about five seconds in one episode of Season 4, but other than that is never heard or seen from again.
  • Edna De Fazio, the girls' landlady and later Laverne's stepmom on’’ Laverne and Shirley’’ vanished sometime after the characters all moved to California.
  • Law & Order: A few characters:
    • Donald Cragen (though he later resurfaced in a TV movie and then Law and Order Special Victims Unit).
    • Paul Robinette. A deleted scene has Stone telling Van Buren that Robinette quit and joined a private firm, but this scene wasn't aired. Robinette resurfaces for a few guest appearances, though.
    • Nina Cassidy. Considering her performance/Van Buren's reaction to her through the entire season, including her final episode, it's heavily implied she was transferred if not fired. Unlike the others, though, she never shows up again after her disappearance.
    • Alfred Wentworth, the DA in the unaired pilot.
    • D.A. Nora Lewin after the end of season 12.
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit: Two of Elliot's daughters haven't been seen since season eight, with a picture reference in season ten. All the more jarring because one of them has a twin brother who recently had a Day in The Limelight episode.
    • In the episode 'Totems', Elliot said he has five kids, so they still exist. The other two apparently have normal, uneventful lives.
  • Samantha Molloy, from Life With Bonnie, flat-out vanished between Season 1 and Season 2. Especially disconcerting since she was the main character's 12-year-old daughter in a show that had many, many "family at home" scenes.
  • Life with Derek, where Noel only had three appearances that were rather influential (i.e. he was partially the reason why Casey broke up with Max in the episode "Allergy Season"). It was even set up in the episode "Just Friends" where Casey and Noel would become a couple... except not, apparently.
  • Cat Grant on Lois and Clark disappears without a trace after the first season, ostensibly because the network thought she was too risque. Increasingly important character Jack, who'd been the focus of some serious character development over the course of the season, showing Clark's positive influence on people, disappeared with Cat. Disappointing to say the least.
    • Lois also had an on-camera sister, Lucy, for three episodes, who never appeared again—even for Lane family events and crises.
  • Fox comedy The Loop is a particularly bad example of this. Between the first and second season, both female leads simply disappeared without a trace. The reason this is so unnerving is one of the female leads was the main character's love interest, and their relationship was left completely unresolved.
  • The character Isabel in Lost is introduced as "the sheriff" of The Others in a season 3 episode. She investigates Juliet after Danny's death, and seems to be a high-ranking member of The Others' hierarchy. She is never seen or mentioned again, and producer Damon Lindelof said without explanation that she was dead.
    • It was once mentioned by Word of God that she was killed when the Others attacked the beach in the Season 3 finale, despite neither the actress nor the character appearing or being mentioned during the attack. Many feel that fan backlash over the only episode she appeared in, often referred to by fans as the worst episode of the show, contributed to this.
  • What ever happened to Spearchucker Jones or Ugly John in M*A*S*H?
  • Mad About You had Paul's friend Selby vanish, last seen at the end of season 1 (Lampshade hung in one episode when Paul, complaining about their lack of friends, yelled, "Like Selby, what the hell happened to him?"), and later Jamie's sister Lisa also vanishes and is never mentioned again, largely due to Paul and Jamie having become parents, and Mabel took up more screentime.
  • Cynthia, a recurring character in Malcolm in the Middle, originally has a one-sided crush towards Malcolm. She goes to Europe and when she comes back, is all grown up. Malcolm eventually re-considers her as a potential love interest. In her final episode, she loudly proclaims in front of the whole school that they had previously been intimate. And then, without explanation, she never appears again.
    • Some of the Krelboynes that appear early in series aren't seen again later, though a few of Malcolm's closer circle (Stevie, Dabney, etc.) remain.
  • Seven, a Cousin Oliver introduced in Season 7 of Married... with Children, was written out without explanation when he proved unpopular with the fans. Lampshaded in one episode when his face was seen on a milk carton and no one in the Bundy family noticed or cared. Another episode, "Kelly Knows Something", showed that Kelly could learn things, but for every new fact she learned, another fact would be forgotten. While cramming for a quiz show, a visual gag shows new facts going into her head as old ones exit... including the existence of Seven, apparently.
  • On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda has a sister Debbie who is not seen at all when Rhoda got her own series. Debbie appears on an episode where Rhoda and Mary go to New York for Debbie's wedding. Furthermore, Rhoda's sister Brenda is nowhere to be seen.
    • Rhoda also mentions once, on The MTM Show, that she has a brother, and therefore does not need to have the purpose of a bar mitzvah explained to her. It's one line, but her brother is never mentioned again. This could be explained as Rhoda lying, just so a person who tends to ramble on, doesn't go on and on explaining bar mitzvahs, but it doesn't sound that way.
    • Likewise, The MTM Show has possibly TV's first blatant, non-judgmental, declaration of a character as "gay," using that exact word; it's a punch-line that is built through an entire episode, in that Phyllis is horrified that her wonderful brother is spending time with Rhoda, whom she can't stand, and not with Mary, in spite of Phyllis's efforts to set up Mary with her brother. At the the end Rhoda tells Phyllis she isn't interested in her brother because "He's gay," and Phyllis says "Thank God!" When Chloris Leachman gets her spin-off, Phyllis, the brother is never mentioned.
  • On Matlock, Ben has a daughter, Charlene, played by Linda Purl, during the first season, who leaves to marry some prosecutor. He occasionally refers to "my daughter." Later in the series, Brynn Thayer comes on as his daughter, Le Ann, who just divorced a prosecutor she was married to whom Ben didn't approve of.
  • It's how every cast change on Mission: Impossible was done. With the exception of the switch from Terry Markwell's Casey Randall to Jane Badler's Shannon Reed in the revival, when poor Casey is caught and killed. Needless to say, the Secretary disavows all knowledge of her actions.
  • One of the early television masters of this art was My Three Sons. It happened more than once, and in a deliberate fashion. First, William Frawley, veteran comedic actor (I Love Lucy's Fred Mertz) played Fred MacMurray's father-in-law, Bub O'Casey, the boys' grandfather and housekeeper. When Frawley (very grudgingly) left the show when his poor health meant he could no longer be insured, that was when William Demarest's Uncle Charlie was brought on, with Bub sent home to Ireland. Eventually, any and all references to Bub simply vanished. When the show moved from ABC to CBS and started color episodes, eldest son Mike married his sweetheart and moved away. Orphaned neighbor Ernie was adopted after some wackiness - and again eventually both Mike and the fact of the adoption vanished from mention. Steve's new wife and her daughter joined late in the show's run - but the signs were already there and references to a pre-Douglas life dried up for the two. So : Uncle Charlie was always their housemaid/gruff mentor, Ernie was always the third of three sons and no more, and the new Mrs. Douglas and child had always been there as well. This is the word of Fred MacMurray.
    • Not quite. Once, post-Ernie, Steve shows someone Mike's diploma, framed on the wall, along with Robbie's. Another time, when Steve is about to remarry, Robbie tells his wife that he doesn't remember his mother very well, and he doesn't think Chip remembers her at all. He doesn't mention Ernie, in a nod to the fact that she isn't Ernie's mother, because Ernie was adopted by Steve after Robbie and Chip's mother had already died.
      • Mike's vanishing was slower than all that - on one episode, when it seemed Steve might end up in a circumstance where he couldn't have them around, the younger boys discussed possibly living with Mike. As to Ernie in that later sequence, it could be a nod to his adoption, or it could be a way of saying, 'If the older Chip doesn't recall their mother, then Ernie has no chance at all'. No one ever states that Bub/Mike/the adoption never happened. They just avoid all instances in which it might be brought up, to the point where certain Bub flashbacks now have Uncle Charlie edited in.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, the actor who played Dr. Erhardt left the show after the first broadcast season over creative differences. His disappearance was simply explained with his replacement, TV's Frank, holding up a milk carton and stating "He's missing." His disappearance was the butt of a joke in Earth vs. the Spider, when a policeman who looked similar to the missing Erhardt was eaten by the titular spider. Joel and the Bots joked that this was the true fate of their former captor.
  • Most of the people on the show MythBusters are referred to in later episodes, even after they've left. The exception to this? Folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham, who disappeared a few episodes into the second season. Likely, she was removed because she was redundant; she wasn't really doing anything that The Narrator or the MythBusters themselves couldn't do.
  • On Naturally, Sadie, Tad, a friend of Ron Yuma and Rain is a recurring character during season 1; he's never seen or heard from after the Retool.
  • During the first two seasons of Night Court, this happened several times - starting with the second episode. The original public defender, Sheila, vanished from the show and even failed to make the listing for the show on IMDB!
  • This happens a lot with pilots that get picked up, like for instance Numb3rs. Originally, the Rob Morrow character wasn't Charlie's brother, nor was he Rob Morrow.
  • A few extras from the pilot of The Office disappeared after the cast began to fill out the workplace...
  • In the first episode of The Paper Chase, the study group included a woman (Asheley) who never appeared again - although for some reason Deka Beaudine, who played her, was not only listed in the opening credits of every season one episode but also received an "And" billing. In the second episode, she was replaced without explanation by a different woman, Logan, a major character throughout Season One. When, after cancellation on its original network, the series returned for Season Two on a cable network, Logan had inexplicably vanished, never to be mentioned again.
  • In Poirot, Chief Inspector Japp, Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon, who had previously been the show regulars, disappeared at the time of Poirot's Ten-Minute Retirement at the start of Season Nine. Since these characters were often used for comic relief, that was a sign that the show started to take itself more seriously.
  • Power Rangers had a couple of these during the early years:
    • Scorpina, double subverts this trope, disappears the moment Lord Zedd shows up, only to appear in one episode fights the rangers, survives, and is never seen or heard from again. Behind the scenes, she had been scripted to return, but Saban could not get the American actress back, so the plotline was dropped instead.
    • Not to mention Angela, Zack's love interest, who disappeared after the first season, as well as Richie, Trini's love interest, and Curtis, Zack's cousin, who both disappeared after Trini and Zack were written off the show.
    • During the transition between Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers in Space, Lt. Jerome Stone, as well as the Angel Grove Youth Center and Juice Bar, disappeared and was replaced with Adelle and the Surf Spot. However, as the Surf Spot is the same set as the Juice Bar, it's often assumed that the new owner simply did some redecorating. (Note the Rangers' impressed reaction to the Surf Spot, as if it they were expecting something else to be there.) However Lt. Stone is never seen or mentioned again.
      • It was previously averted with the previous Juice Bar owner Ernie who is given a throw away line that explains his disappearance.
    • Sometimes, Bulk and Skull would occasionally be seen with certain nameless thugs, as part of what we are led to presume is their 'gang'. They only appear for certain early season 1 episodes, and then seem to disappear forever.
    • Richie and Curtis, two extras in the second season who act as Trini's love interest and Zack's cousin respectively, vanish without a trace once Trini and Zack depart halfway through. In fairness though, both of them were just a Satellite Character that only were who they were while Trini and Zack where there. With the 2 former rangers gone, there was no need for them anymore.
    • When Jason returned in Zeo, he met Emily who become his love interest. Jason departed at the end of Zeo, going off with Emily. Jason appeared in the transitional Turbo movie (connecting Zeo with Turbo), but Emily is no where to be seen. Jason himself, from then on, becomes absent right until the 10th anniversary reunion, with no explanation why he had departed. That's not even the true mystery. It's his girlfriend Emily that's the mystery. She has one more on-screened named appearance in Turbo, which lasts for one episode for about a few seconds, without Jason, then she's never seen again, at all. With the major cast change half way through Turbo, no one around (save for Bulk and Skull) would know who she even was.
    • Squatt and Baboo, where are they in Zeo? They used to cling onto Rita, and yet when herself, Zedd, Finster, Rito and Goldar are forced out of their home, and made to travel around in their caravan, it seems Squatt and Baboo just kinda... vanished. Unless they were destroyed by the machine empire off screen.
  • In Reaper, Sam's brother appears in the first two episodes and then is never seen or mentioned again for the rest of the show's two-year run.
  • The second season of The Red Green Show introduced a host of new characters, none of whom were ever seen again afterwards, save for the odd reference here and there.
  • Happened repeatedly over the course of Roseanne with family friends and neighbours. The most egregious example was easily Roseanne and Jackie's best friend Crystal Anderson, whom they'd known since childhood and was an official main character for the first few seasons, appearing in the opening credits and everything(a rank never even granted to the Healy brothers, despite them living with the Conners and appearing prominently in almost every episode in the second half of the series). After she marries Dan's father Ed(a recurring character played by Ned Beatty) and bears two children with him, they all vanish for a season or two before prominently appearing again in a two-episode arc about Dan reconciling with his father. After that, Dan's father did not appear again and Crystal returned for one last appearance at Roseanne's baby shower at the beginning of the 8th season. Neither of them appeared after that, even at extremely notable events such as Darlene's wedding, or in the final season when the Conners won a hundred and eight million dollars in the lottery.
    • One neighbouring family introduced a few seasons into the series got tons of episodes and development, including one daughter pursuing main character David Healy and her overweight wallflower sister catching Roseanne's attention as somebody who needed support and guidance. The Conners even all traveled to California with them in an RV at one point. Unlike their previous sets of neighbours who'd had proper send-offs, they eventually just stopped appearing.
    • Jackie's husband/ex-husband Fred stopped appearing altogether a couple episodes after they divorced, although was occasionally referenced as taking care of their infant son in various episodes. Like other characters, his absence in the face of the Conners winning the lottery(including his best friend and boss Dan, his ex-wife Jackie and his infant *son* Andy) is nigh-inexplicable.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch had two characters at the end of season 1 who disappeared without explanation: Sabrina's supposed "best friend" Jenny (who might have been referred to in passing as "Jennifer" in a later episode) and Mr. Poole, the science teacher.
    • Mr. Poole may have a bit of an excuse, as he wouldn't be Sabrina's teacher due to her moving up in the grades.
    • It's also never mentioned what happened to Dreama, the girl Sabrina was supposed to be coaching for her Witches' License.
    • The character of Miles also vanishes quite suddenly.
  • Too many students to be named in Saved by the Bell: The New Class
    • It happened in the original Saved by the Bell too, but to a lesser extent. The most egregious example was the replacement of Jessie and Kelly with Tori for the last season. That is, until the graduation finale, where the process was reversed. Neither was given any explanation. What really happened was after the series finished production, the network ordered more episodes. The actresses declined to return for them, thus necessitating Tori. The finale was filmed before this happened.
    • Saved by the Bell is actually one of very few shows where the MAIN CHARACTER got Chucked. In its first season, the show focused on the kids' teacher, Miss Bliss, and the school faculty in general; the kids were meant to be supporting characters. This setup was quickly abandoned once it became obvious that the students had a lot more potential for comedy and stories than the teachers. Miss Bliss vanished from the show between seasons one and two. Even the SCHOOL ITSELF fell victim to this trope—in season one, it's a junior high school in Indiana. From season two on, the same cast is attending a high school in California. No explanation is ever given.
      • Saved by the Bell is sort of an re-imagining of a different show, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was then shown in later syndication as though it were the first season of Saved, despite the resulting oddities in continuity.
  • Dr. Grace Miller, on Scrubs, was introduced with much fanfare in season 3, then promptly vanished off the face of the earth. Series creator Bill Lawrence later explained that this was because Miller had been a failed attempt to create a female Dr. Cox character. This didn't work because A) it was redundant, as Jordan more than adequately fulfils that role, and B) Dr. Miller was an unfunny, unlikeable shrew.
  • Oddly enough, given the show's notable sensitivity to such subjects, when Northern Calloway (David, then owner of Hooper's Store) left Sesame Street due to illness and died a few months later, no explanation for the character's absence was ever given on-screen then or since. He seems to simply have been deleted from Street memory.
    • Word of God has it that it was too soon after the death of Mr. Hooper (in a memorable Tear Jerker, the adults had to tell Big Bird Mr. Hooper had died, some time after his actor Will Lee died) for there to be another death. And apparently they didn't really feel like coming up with some other explanation for David's departure, so his disappearance was never explained and the show just moved on.
    • Another explanation that has appeared in published accounts was that Calloway had become involved with drugs and was involved in several instances of inappropriate behavior, run-ins with the law, and repeated conflicts with the production staff and cast. These accounts sometime contend that David simply had (off-screen) moved to Florida to care for his grandmother, with no other explanation or reference given; David's grandmother had appeared several times from the late 1970s through mid-1980s.
    • Additionally, numerous Muppet characters have come and gone for various reasons and are now no longer on the show. One was Don Music, a piano player who bangs his head against the piano in frustration, who was dropped from the show when kids at home started doing the same thing. Another was Harvey Kneeslapper, who was let go because his signature laugh was too much of a strain on Frank Oz's vocal cords. Then there was Roosevelt Franklin, who was arguably one of the first breakthrough Sesame Street Muppets, but who was dropped since he was considered to be a negative cultural stereotype (he was the only African-American Muppet at the time and was seen mostly in detention after school). Finally, Professor Hastings, a teacher whose lectures were so dull that he would put himself to sleep while giving them, was discontinued because he was too dull.
  • British ensemble dramas are rather notorious for this, with regular characters vanishing in between seasons. Casualty and Holby City were noted for it in the days before they were on all year round. (Between the eighth and ninth seasons, a massive cull saw Casualty lose seven main characters, one of whom had been on the show four seasons.) But perhaps one of the most prominent cases was in ITV's military drama Soldier Soldier: Dave Tucker, played by Robson Green, was the only remaining original cast member and practically synonymous with the series. The last scene of the fifth season has him and his wife breaking up. He is never seen or mentioned again. (Neither is his wife.)
  • The Mayor Anita Massengil character had to be dropped when Jaime Bergman became pregnant on Son of the Beach. There was even a Lampshade Hanging moment in one of the episodes showing the character on posters as a missing person.
  • Space: 1999 had quite a few characters disappear between its first and second season. From the regular cast, Paul Morrow, David Kano and Victor Bergman were suddenly gone without explanation. The Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook explains that all three died... and apparently lines of dialogue were written to that effect but never used, making their absence all the more glaring as there was nowhere they could have gone. (Not quite. Morrow and Kano's absences are never explained, but the Season 2 opener "The Metamorph" confirms in dialogue between Verdeschi and Sandra Benes that Victor Bergman died due to a malfunctioning spacesuit.)A recurring character, Tanya Alexander, also went missing. Dr. Robert Mathias, Helena's assistant in the medical center, was briefly used in a much smaller role but then disappeared (again, the tech notebook "explains" that he changed sections). This was compounded when Tony Verdeschi started in like he'd always been there in their place at the beginning of the season.
  • Spin City was well known for this—of all the characters who left, only Mike (Michael J Fox) actually had an exit storyline. This meant that, over the course of the series, Stacy, James, Nikki, Janelle and Angie all disappeared without trace, often with only the barest of mentions (Catlin: I fired James.).
  • Dr. Ben Samuels was a major character in the first season of St. Elsewhere who simply stopped appearing. His plot arc was never resolved, and none of the other characters mention him again. This makes sense, considering he only existed in the mind of Tommy Westphall.
    • Dr. Hugh Beale suffered this fate as well.
  • Stargate Atlantis has Hermiod, a recurring Asgard on the Daedalus introduced in Series 2. He later vanishes without explanation, though Word of God claims that he died in the Asgard mass-suicide in the SG-1 finale.
  • Several in Stargate SG-1:
    • Re'tu Charlie is never seen after going to live with the Tok'ra in "Show and Tell", despite his closeness to Jack and despite many further Tok'ra episodes.
    • Nyan is never seen after being becoming Daniel's research assistant in "New Ground".
    • Teal'c's love interest, T-Pol Ishta vanishes after season 8 and is never mentioned again.
      • She does come back for another episode when Teal'C's son gets married, but goes back to her home planet after.
  • The Andorians can be seen as an entire Chuck Cunningham species in the Star Trek universe - Star Trek: The Original Series set them up as an important member of the Federation... by The Next Generation, they're all gone. The Word of God explanation was that they were just too silly-looking (blue skin and antennae...).
    • In "The Offspring", Data's Truly Single Parent daughter, while choosing an appearance, narrows down the list to a few choices, one of which is an Andorian female. It's mentioned that if that appearance, she would be the only Andorian on the Enterprise. And that was the only Andorian appearance in the 24th century shows... they got a few other off-screen mentions, mostly in Deep Space Nine since some they seem to have done trade there. But off-screen.
    • The Tellarites were also important in TOS, but don't appear in the 24th century—unless you count background appearances from recycled footage.
      • The fun thing is, Star Trek: Enterprise (a prequel series) set these two up as the third and fourth most important species in the Federation. On one hand, it compensates for their non-appearances. On the other hand, it makes their apparent disappearance all the more puzzling.
    • Also the Orions, the race the original Green-Skinned Space Babe belonged to. ( Well, it was an illusion, but anyway...) Like the Andorians and Tellarites, Deep Space Nine had a lot of fun with keeping them a just-offscreen big deal. In fact, an episode had Ezri's family involved with the Orion Syndicate. All dealings with them are through their non-Orion enforcers. Also like the Andorians and Tellarites, Enterprise brought them back in full.
    • Both the Andorians and the Orions also play very large roles in the MMO, Star Trek Online.
    • In the Original Series, Yeoman Rand was set up in the first dozen or so episodes as a regular love interest for Kirk and then disappeared without explanation. No one seems to be quite sure of the reason (several seemingly contradictory explanations have been given by people involved in the show), but it's usually claimed either that the writers decided Kirk shouldn't be held down by a steady girlfriend and should have Girls of The Week instead. She did, however, return in the films, ending up as Sulu's first officer on the Excelsior.
  • Star Trek examples:
    • An odd case from Star Trek: Voyager: Samantha Wildman, whose daughter Naomi remained on the show with Seven of Nine basically taking over the mother role for her. Word of God is that the writers somehow got the idea that they'd killed Samantha in an episode where she almost dies but pulls through.
    • Sonya Gomez, an enthusiastic engineer in The Next Generation who clearly seemed to be featured prominently for some kind of recurring role... for all of two episodes before she vanished without a trace. Well, vanished into the Starfleet Corps of Engineers Expanded Universe, anyway.
    • Deep Space Nine: Remember T'Rul, the Romulan who was part of the command staff of the Defiant as a stipulation of the Romulan Empire's agreement to let Starfleet use one of their cloaking devices? No? No surprise. (The rules T'Rul was there to enforce also conveniently disappeared without a comment, other than one episode where they simply remembered one of the rules, then broke it.)
  • Used in Step by Step when Frank's youngest son was completely written out, replaced by the new baby (who became a talking youngster within one season.
  • The writers of Supernatural managed to do this in the span of a single episode in season 5. It introduced Jesse Turner, a young boy explicitly identified as the Anti-Christ. This resulted from a union between a demon and a human, which somehow imbued him with high-level Reality Warper powers, an ability neither species displayed in any way. Possibly realizing how little sense it made that this would result in the most powerful character depicted in the show up to that point (with the possible exception of God) and the Story-Breaker Power it entailed, the writers immediately sent the character off to nowhere, and he's never mentioned afterwards.
  • Taxi, in which John Burns disappears after the first season without on-screen explanation (though he may have been fired for crashing the beloved Cab 804 beyond repair; Word of God is that he was just too boring a character.)
  • In the fifth episode of That '70s Show Donna's sister Tina is introduced... only to never be seen again. Later in the series Donna is referred to as being an only child. Tina's disappearance is Lampshaded at the end of a season two episode called "Vanstock." A narrator announces a bunch of character questions in a dramatic fashion, such as "Will Donna and Eric ever consummate their relationship?" The final question is "And whatever happened to Midge's other daughter, Tina? Find out next time on That 70s Show!" However, this is the last time Tina is ever mentioned.
    • Donna's older sister Valerie was mentioned as being at college, and then was never mentioned again. Considering That '70s Show gave many nods to Happy Days, Tina and Valerie may have been intentionally introduced just to have this happen.
    • The most prominent semi-example is Laurie, Eric's older sister. She was a recurring character in season one, and then a regular in season two and three. Her actress then left the show, and Laurie wasn't mentioned at all.(At least not by name, though Red mentioned having "kids"). Laurie came back (played by a different actress) for recurring appearances in season five and six before disappearing again, though she was mentioned in passing several times. When Kitty considers Donna part of the family at the end of the series, they lampshade on Laurie's disappearance, wondering where she is.
  • On 'Til Death, Jeff and Steph Woodcock (Eddie Kaye Thomas and Kat Thomas) were lead characters, on equal footing with Eddie and Joy Stark (Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher), and the whole basis of the show seemed to be about contrasting a newly-wed couple and a long-time married couple. After the first 2 seasons, however, they vanished without a trace, and Jeff's sidekick role was taken by Kenny, played by J.B. Smoove. This was further confused when unaired episodes from Season 2 aired in the middle of Season 3.
  • British sci-fi series The Tomorrow People had Stephen, one of the original cast members, just disappear from the series without explanation after the fourth season. According to some sources, Executive Meddling was the reason for his departure, and writer Roger Price didn't feel like writing the character out... so Stephen is gone from the series without any sort of explanation or acknowledgement that he ever existed. Very jarring, considering he was one of the first people we were introduced to, and was one of the two longest-serving cast members up to that point.
    • Tyso disappeared at the same time as Stephen (also with no explanation). However, during the fourth season Tyso had been Demoted to Extra due to confusion over whether he'd be returning to the series.
      • In the remake, Lisa disappeared after the first season and Kevin vanished after the second, with no mention made of either of them by anyone.
  • Torchwood had Detective Kathy Swanson, whom the team reach out to when locked in their Elaborate Underground Base. She disappears after the first series and is never mentioned again, even in episodes that involve the police or take place in the police station (although she does make it into the Tie In Novels.)
  • The short-lived sitcom The Torkelsons was completely retooled as Almost Home for its second season, famously losing two of the family's younger siblings in the process.
  • Whatever happened to Trina on Trailer Park Boys? She and her mom, Barb, were staying with Lahey over the summer, but then Barb was made a recurring character, and Trina drops of the face of the earth.
  • The short-lived television Tru Calling initially had both of Tru's siblings as members of the main cast. While her brother Harrison remained on the show to its final episode, her sister Meredith disappeared midway through season 1 and was never seen or heard from again.
  • On Welcome Back, Kotter, Gabe's wife was pregnant, but then it was suddenly forgotten; apparently they were trying to write the actress's pregnancy into the script, and it became a running gag for some time—until the actress had a miscarriage. A year later however, they repeated the same gag, and she had twins.
  • Mandy on The West Wing was a publicity relations manager for the first season, who disappeared after it. According to Rob Lowe, the writers referred to any character who had disappeared and not been used when they seemed they'd be more important as having 'gone to Mandyville.' Not only did she disappear between season one and two (despite the opener of season two following directly on from the end of the first) but she does not appear in any flashbacks to Bartlett's initial campaign, despite having been established as both working on it and being involved with Josh at the time. Even during Leo's funeral, when a number of old characters showed up, she was neither seen nor mentioned.
  • A bizarre case on White Collar. The pilot features Diana, a lesbian FBI agent who works with Neal and Peter. She vanishes for the rest of the series, replaced by another female FBI agent, Lauren Cruz. Then, it becomes a Subverted Trope in the first season finale, when she reappears, having been transferred to Washington, and provides Peter with crucial information. Then, the Big Bad catches her and is about to kill her when Peter shoots him. Diana joins the cast full time in Season 2, and NOW Lauren Cruz is nowhere to be found.
    • They did it again with Agent Garrett Fowler. He was a major villain in Season 1 and the first half of Season 2. He and Neal face off in the mid-season finale, he gives them all the information he has, Peter brings him back to the Bureau, and... nothing. Absolutely nothing. We never find out what happened to him. He gets a passing reference at the beginning of Season 3, but it's only a mention of his and Neal's confrontation. Word of God doesn't even seem to know. When asked, Jeff Eastin replied, "Peter killed him and buried him in the backyard." Needless to say, this inspired a lot of fan fiction...
  • After Thomas Haden Church left Wings, Brian Haley was brought in to play Budd Bronski, the replacement character for Church's Lowell. However, Budd's personality was neither as memorable nor as well-defined as Lowell's had been, so after a few appearances, he disappeared from the series without explanation, and the writers decided to build up the show's other supporting characters (chiefly Antonio and Casey) instead.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place , anyone remember Alex's rival Gigi? Because neither her nor her Girl Posse are seen or mentioned again after season two.
  • In The X-Files, we are given the example of Scully's invisible brother, Charlie. He is seen once in a flashback to when they were children, mentioned perhaps twice, and then never again. And though we see Scully's other siblings: older sister Melissa and older brother Bill who have a moderate impact on the plot, Charlie is never seen as an adult in the show's nine year run.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Garfield, Lyman was a black-haired guy with a bushy moustache who originally owned Odie. He later disappeared from the strip with no explanation. His dog Odie remained a regular, and is ostensibly owned by Jon. Rumor has it that you really don't want to look in Jon's basement (either that or he died in the Peace Corp).
    • Originally, Jim Davis created Lyman so that Jon would have someone to talk to, a sort of sounding board. As Garfield evolved into a more human-like character and began taking over that role, Lyman became redundant.
    • Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt on the official website features Lyman trapped in the dungeon, and in the shower (the sequel replaces him with Jon) of a Haunted House. After feeding him a muffin he mysteriously vanishes. He also runs the bookstore on the site.
    • Garfield has, in fact, become steadily less reliant on its supporting cast overall, a far cry from the days of the 80's and 90's when Jon and Garfield were depicted as having fairly active lives outside of the home. Characters such as Jon's family, Irma at the diner, and Garfield's girlfriend Arlene have all steadily phased into near-obscurity. Even Odie's appearances are now noteworthy events. The spiders Garfield harasses (and vice versa) have strangely emerged as the strip's most dominant supporting characters in the 2000s.
  • The titular character of Cathy originally had a doggedly determined boyfriend, Emerson, who pursued Cathy with the same hopeless determination as she gave to Irving. He faded away after the first year or so.
  • In FoxTrot, Peter's girlfriend, Denise Russo, whom he met in the first year of the comic strip. She suddenly disappeared in the middle of the decade (a couple years before it went Sundays-only), but he didn't seem to break up with her (one could say it happened off screen, but at the same time we never see Peter trying to date any other girls).
  • Shermy from Peanuts was the first character to get a speaking line in the strip, and Charlie Brown's best friend early on, but then vanished without a trace sometime in the 60's.
    • Mad Magazine pointed out Shermy's disappearance with a feature they ran several years later in which he comes back to the strip and finds everyone in it has let stardom go to their heads.
    • Several other Peanuts characters disappeared for the same reason, as creator Charles Schulz has admitted - they just weren't that interesting. The roster of the eventually-missing also includes Violet and the first Patty (the two random Mean Girls in the early strips) - in other words, all the initial characters except Charlie Brown and Snoopy - as well as one-note types like Frieda. Shermy was explicitly replaced by Franklin, the strip's first black kid.
    • After appearing in about two strips, Charlotte vanished due to all the criticism she got for going too far in her cruelty. Unlike Shermy, Patty and Violet, who at least were Demoted to Extra for awhile, Charlotte never appeared again at all. Charlotte had a lot of potential, too; her full name was "Charlotte Braun," and, as that might suggest, she was created as a female counterpoint to Charlie Brown. She was basically the opposite of him: abrasive instead of timid, over-confident instead of self-loathing, convinced the world owed her instead of convinced the world hated her. Schulz quickly learned that people liked Charlie Brown for the same reasons they hated Charlotte. He replied to one letter writer who asked him to take her out of the comic, "I will remove her, but how do you feel about causing the death of an innocent child?" (the letter included a picture of Charlotte with an axe in her head). Ouch.
    • Freida (apart from being an example herself) also had a cat named Faron who was featured prominently for a few months and then disappeared forever. Word of God says this was because it wouldn't make any sense for her and Snoopy to interact as they could only communicate through thought bubbles. Charles Schulz apparently got over this as Snoopy's siblings made later appearances and he communicated with them through thought bubbles.
      • Although, after Faron's disappearance, no cats were drawn for the remainder of the comic's original run. Even the dreaded "cat next door" that would literally destroy Snoopy's doghouse with one single swipe was only referenced and interacted with off-panel - he (or she?) was never drawn.
  • Just about every other character in the Prickly City strip besides Carmen and Winslow was a victim of this.
  • This was the case with the main characters in Out Of The Gene Pool. The strip was originally about Rufus and his friends and families. Later in the run the cartoonist switched focus to Rufus's brother-in-law and changed the title to Single And Looking. Rufus was never heard of again until a year later when he appeared in the very last strip, snarking about how he never had a proper closure.
  • In the comic strip Robotman, the titular character got abducted by aliens, and was never mentioned again. Eventually, the comic strip got renamed to Monty, one of the other characters who became the new main character.
    • Also, the strip was first about him staying with a traditional family, and much of the comedy was based on "weird urban alien hijinks" similar to E.T. or Alf. They vanished with no explanation. This was later Lampshaded.
  • Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes was introduced to an Uncle Max, his father's younger brother, fairly early on in the comic strip's run. Max's single visit to Calvin's home was also his last, and as Watterson put it, "Max is gone." He's said that he thought inventing Max would offer new story opportunities, but realized that introducing an extra adult just intruded upon the strip's childhood setting; it'd be difficult to have Max and Calvin's parents interact without branching them off into more grown-up stories, and having Max never refer to Calvin's parents by name (a cardinal rule for the strip) felt too contrived.
  • Chip Dunham's Overboard had several pirate characters early on that just sort of disappeared over time. To replace them, he's increasingly relied on Talking Animal characters (dogs, mice, and rabbits) to serve as foils to lead character Captain Crow and remaining shipmates Charley and Nate.
  • Cindy, the Dumb Blonde Naive Newcomer from the early days of The Boondocks, disappeared with no explanation almost a decade ago, and was never mentioned again. She did pop up in the TV series, however.
  • Pretty much every character from the early days of Bloom County. Milo was the only character to last the entire run, and before it was over, even he was Demoted to Extra. Notable vanishings were Milo's grandfather and Cutter John's girlfriend Bobbi Harlow.
    • Which is weird because Bobbi was already well established as a foil for Steve Dallas when Cutter John was introduced to be her boyfriend.
    • The original premise of the strip was about Milo living in a large boarding house full of quirky residents. ALL of these people ended up vanishing, and eventually, so did the house itself.
      • Berke Breathed admitted that he hadn't found the strip's "center" in early comics; when Opus emerged as that center, he took focus and there was no longer a need to "try people out". The boarding house stayed around (it was where Opus and the Binkleys lived), but it wasn't given any more relevance after the early years.
  • Shallow Love Interest Sylvia was written out of Baldo when the titular character started dating a Girl Next Door named Smiley... who later broke up with Baldo and was never heard from again herself.
  • In Beetle Bailey, Beetle had a steady girlfriend named Bunny, and they had been together as the comic progressed all the way up until the turn of the century, when Bunny vanished without any explanation. It took a few years but Beetle got a new girlfriend, the famous Miss Buxley.
    • Before he joined the army, his girlfriend was Buzz. In 2010, a strip revealed that she was now dating his old friend Bill, another character who disappeared when it switched from college humor to army humor.
  • There was a homeless match seller who appeared in a number of early Alex strips. He vanished a few years into the run without explanation.
  • Barney Google. The star of his own comic strip from its creation in 1919, he gradually faded out in the 1950's and hasn't been seen in over half a century - but STILL gets top billing in the Artifact Title of the strip, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith. Most people just know the strip as Snuffy Smith nowadays. Oddly, the strip also went through a stretch where it was entitled Barney Google and Spark Plug, the latter being a racehorse who was also dropped in the transition to Snuffy Smith.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man, Maria Lopez was a professional rival and potential romantic interest for J Jonah Jameson. After a reboot storyline that was later retconned into a dream sequence, Maria had vanished without explanation and has never been seen since.
  • Early on in Pearls Before Swine, Pig and Rat got a new roommate, Leonard. The creator of the strip was hoping he'd make for some good material, but it didn't work out and he was rarely seen. Eventually he WAS killed off screen, getting his head stuck in the toilet and drowning.
  • In Piranha Club Ernie was going to Doris Husselmeyer's house to meet her for the first time. Another man was there too, and Ernie asked if he was going to meet Doris as well. The man said that he wouldn't, and that he was going to meet "the pretty sister," who, at the end of the strip, turned out to be horribly ugly. She was never seen again.
  • There was once a strip called Thimble Theater, about a woman named Olive Oyl, her equally punny named family, and her boyfriend, Harold Hamgravy. Ten years in, it introduced a sailor named Popeye who proved to be an Ensemble Darkhorse, and shortly after that most of Olive's original supporting cast disappeared.
  • In the comic Sally Forth, Alice points out every character who has vanished suddenly from their lives, further noting how they're replaced by nameless, forgettable coworkers. Alice then goes to say how she stays near Sally to avoid being replaced by a younger frenemy, work spouse, or robot.
  • Nancy is an interesting case, where Nancy was a Breakout Character in Fritzi Ritz that eventually took over the daily strip. But the Sunday Fritzi Ritz strips continued well into 1968, often focusing on Fritzi and her boyfriend, Phil Fumble (in some ways an Author Avatar for lead artist Ernie Bushmiller). Bushmiller gave up the Sunday Fritzi Ritz strip to focus specifically on Nancy, and while Fritzi remained as Nancy's aunt and caretaker, Phil vanished without a trace. Then, one year after Bushmiller passed away, the strip was taken over by Jerry Scott, and anyone who wasn't Nancy, Sluggo or Fritzi literally disappeared - and Fritzi was even reduced to being an off-panel character. After Guy Gilchrist took over the strip in 1995, the original artwork style and supporting characters were restored. Moreover, Gilchrist even revived Phil Fumble in late 2012 - after a 44-year absence - once again cast as Fritzi's love interest.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • A particularly egregious example was when Hulk Hogan left the WWF in 1993. After losing the WWF title to Yokozuna at King of Ring, Hogan was never mentioned again until wrestling started taking on more 'realistic' storylines.
  • This happens regularly. Wrestlers leave the company, which is very rarely acknowledged on the air. Or they will be taken off the air prior to leaving to lower their drawing value. Usually this happens to guys who work the lower matches and flies under the radar, but occasionally a big name will simply vanish. For example, Sable, who was extremely popular in the late 90s, abruptly vanished from programming. This of course was because she sued the company. Similarly, Eric Bischoff was taken off the air in WCW for his inept management, and his on-air departure was never acknowledged.
  • One of the worst examples of this happening was the managers of "Stunning" Steve Austin after he first entered WCW. When he debuted, he was accompanied by a brunette named Vivacious Veronica, however after a few weeks she was replaced without explanation by a blond called Lady Blossom (who was Austin's then wife and former WCCW valet, Jennie Clark), about a year later she disappeared and Paul E. Dangerously (AKA Paul Heyman) took over the job of managing Austin.
    • Col. Robert Parker fits in there somewhere too.
  • When Berlyn (WCW mainstay Alex Wright, repackaged) debuted, he originally came out accompanied by two bodyguards and a pretty female interpreter named Uta who was getting surprisingly popular fairly quickly. Then Uta and the second bodyguard disappeared about a month into the character's run with absolutely no acknowledgement.
  • A recent example; in late 2010, after his Face Heel Turn, Tyson Kidd appeared on RAW with a new bodyguard, 7-foot developmental talent Jackson Andrews. Andrews, for all of his size and intimidation, was as green as grass, and after about 4 weeks, following Kidd losing a match to Mark Henry, Andrews sustained a World's Strongest Slam and returned to developmental limbo, where he would be released soon after, never to be mentioned or talked about again.
    • Happens a lot with valets, for instance, Carlito's temporary bodyguard-or-something, Jesus (as in "Hey-suess"), who, in Kayfabe, stabbed John Cena in a night club. He then faced Cena in a street fight at a PPV, which resulted in Jesus getting beaten within an inch of his life and never being mentioned afterwards.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle has entire races that silently disappear between editions. What happened to the Fimir?
    • They made a recent appearance in the Graham McNeill Sigmar-era novel Empire. The 'mist daemons' are never definitively labelled as Fimir but it is very clear what they are supposed to be.
    • The Chaos Dwarfs in the Warhammer Fantasy world have also simply disappeared. To the point that even though they are still included in the last official Blood Bowl rulebook, they are the only official race not in the computer game.
      • They were mentioned, repeatedly, in the second edition of the role-playing game.
      • They are still mentioned quite a bit, both as a source of equipment for the other chaos factions and Ogres and as the origin story of the Black Orcs.
      • It seems likely, in-universe anyway, that there's simply too few Chaos Dwarfs to make a full army out of them, even with Hobgoblin and Orc slaves supplementing them, as the scarcity of their race was something mentioned repeatedly.
      • Chaos Dwarves have seen a resurgence, given that Forge World has started producing a line of them in Warhammer Forge. Whether or not they'll return to being a mainstream army is yet to be seen.
    • Bull Centaurs have it even worse. Chaos Dwarfs have three models being consistently produced as Hellcannon crew (admittedly without the stylish headgear of the classic Chaos Dwarf range). Bull Centaurs have vanished entirely.
    • The Squats vanished as well, likely because in addition to not selling terribly well they were too silly/campy in a setting that was becoming Darker and Edgier. Word of God has been less than consistent with excuses ranging from "the Tyranids ate them all" to "they never existed".
    • This is a setting with Chaos permeating literally everything and trying to undo the orderly universe. It happens.
    • This previously happened to several models in the 40k range with the simplification that happened in the 3rd and 4th editions. However some of them have been making a comeback in recent editions, most notably Bjorn the Fell-handed and the infamous Jokaero.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: Paris is killed in the original play, but in the Baz Luhrmann film, he just disappears with no explanation.
  • Reynaldo, in Hamlet, appears in one scene being given detailed instructions to watch Laertes and report his habits and misdeeds. He leaves and is never heard from again, even after Laertes comes back.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Poochy had an entire level designed around him in Yoshi's Island, but has been absent since Yoshi's Story. (He remained in the remake of Yoshi's Island, but was absent from the new levels.)
  • While Mario and Donkey Kong have both ascended to stardom since their debut game, Pauline, the girl they fought each other for the first place faded into obscurity as Princess Peach took over her role as Damsel in Distress in the Super Mario Bros. games. She did reappear in Donkey Kong 94, only to disappear for another decade until Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2, in which Pauline's relationship status to Mario was demoted from "girlfriend" to "friend".
  • Super Mario Land: Tatanga seems to have ceased to exist. He kidnapped Princess Daisy in Super Mario Land, appeared as a boss in Super Mario Land 2, and was never heard from again.
    • Wart similarly disappeared.
      • This one actually makes sense. Wart was nothing but mario's dream...except...so were several enemies who made appearances in later games.........
  • Plum, Charlie, Sonny, Harry, and Maple, human characters who are playable in Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64. They have not made a single appearance in any game since, unless you count Plum's cameos in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl as a trophy and sticker respectively. Not to mention that that's five out of fourteen playable characters.
  • Donkey Kong Junior hasn't appeared since Game and Watch Gallery Advance.
    • Though, this depends on which continuity you subscribe to. According to Rare, the Donkey Kong seen from Donkey Kong Country on forth IS DK Jr., while Cranky Kong is the previous DK. Donkey Kong Country Returns retcons it, however, to current DK being Cranky's grandson, meaning that DK Jr. really has been MIA ever since.
  • Toadette also seemed to be a short-lived character, first appearing in Mario Kart: Double Dash, then making periodic appearances in Mario games until Mario Super Sluggers nearly five years later, then never appearing again. However, inverted, as she started appearing in the spinoff games again in the late Wii/DS/early Wii U/3DS era, before getting a role in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, as Damsel in Distress in the first half of the game and as a playable character in the second half. And in NSMB Deluxe for the Switch, she's playable (and even gets her own powerup that only works on her, transforming her into a Peach-like humanoid form), and apparently, she'll be in Mario Maker 2 as well.
  • Dynamo in Mega Man X 5 and X6. The only antagonist in the series to remain alive and intact (that is, not coming Back from the Dead), he worked for Sigma in X5, returned in an arbitrary cameo in X6, and vanished off the face of the earth.
    • Similarly, Douglas only appears in X5 and X6, then disappears after that. Lifesaver only appears in X5 (granted, he wasn't very popular due to his Nice Job Breaking It, Hero action). Dr Cain was last seen in X3, last mentioned in X4, and gone after that.
    • In the Mega Man Star Force series, Pat Sprigs is a major character in the first game, cameos in the second, and vanish in the third. What's frustrating is that the game itself acknowledges that it still has plot points to wrap up regarding him. Pat also disappears from the anime as well, only to make a very minor cameo at the end of the final episode.
  • In Xenogears, Billy's dad Jessiah disappears (much like most of the game) when Disc 2 starts. At least, from the storyline, technically he is still around as he is is the gun/bullet in one of Billy's gear's special moves. Oh, and Kaiser Sigmund too - despite the fact that an early Disc 2 plot point would probably have him heavily involved. Disc 2 has a much tighter story focus than the first disc, playing more like an interactive novel than a standard RPG, and the planned storylines for both characters may have gotten lost in the same budgetary constraints that are rumored to have caused the gameplay shift.
  • Parodied in Banjo-Tooie, where the face of Tooty, Damsel in Distress of the first game and kid sister of Banjo, appears on a milk carton in Cloud Cuckooland, one of only two appearances of Tooty in the game (the picture of her in Banjo's house from the previous game is still there; in fact it's one of the few things in the house that is not significantly damaged or destroyed).
    • Brentilda completely vanished as well. Her only appearance is in a portrait in Pawno's Emporium in Jolly Roger's Lagoon.
  • Every surviving character from Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 that didn't make the transition into Metal Gear Solid series was forgotten by default: Ellen Madnar, Diane, Jennifer, Holly White, Yozef Norden Johan Jacobsen, George Kasler.
    • Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar is a particularly strange aversion: he is killed in Metal Gear 2, and is naturally not mentioned in the Metal Gear Solid games... up until Guns of the Patriots, when he is inexplicably revealed to be the one who turned Raiden into a cyborg after Metal Gear Solid 2.
  • Many Sonic characters like Ray the Flying Squirrel, Mighty the Armadillo, Bean the Dynamite, Bark the Polar Bear, Nack the Weasel (a.k.a. Fang the Sniper), Tails Doll, G-Mel and Metal Knuckles, have been subject to this.
  • Touhou's transition from PC-98 to Windows is either a Continuity Reboot or the single largest case of this ever. Only four characters ultimately survived the changeover, out of fourty or so, including fairly major characters like Mima and Genjii.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, General Warhaft. Leader of the Imperial Legion, wrote two of the in-game books on armour and fighting, imprisoned along with the Emperor by Jagar Tharn... but he never is mentioned after Arena, except for in the aforementioned books. He goes unheard of in Daggerfall, Battlespire and Morrowind, and when the player visits the Legion headquarters in Oblivion, he's replaced by Commander Adamus Phillida, with no word on what happened to him or where he is now.
    • In a large-scale Chucking, the cities of Sutch, Artemon, and Mir Corrup were mentioned as being in Cyrodiil in several prior games. When Oblivion comes around, and we actually get to visit Cyrodiil, the entire cities are gone. The developers admitted they never had time to add them into the game (a semi-canonical explanation was made for Sutch, though - apparently, the city was ceded to Hammerfell as part of the peace settlement following the events of Redguard. Which only left the problem of why Sutch had been implied to have been a part of Cyrodiil after that point, of course).
  • Almost half the kids in the Backyard Sports series. But the series never explains why anything happens anyway.
  • After Resident Evil 3, what happened to the merc?
  • Simon the Sorcerer 3D has a strange character called Jar Nin whom you accidentally kill at the beginning of the game. Towards the end of the game it turns out that you have to resurrect him because you need him on your team. But when you do, he does exactly nothing and even vanishes shortly after, never to be seen or mentioned again.
  • Not characters per se, but every creature from the Xen borderworld in the first Half Life - apart from the standard headcrabs (and zombies), the barnacles, the Vortigaunts (now as an ally), an ichthyosaur as a cameo, and the leeches (who are now invincible barriers to the ocean) - somehow vanished from the cast list before the start of Half-Life 2.
    • Stranger still, Barney Calhoun seems to be suffering from this as of Episode 2.
    • For that matter, with the exclusion of Barney, pretty much every major character from the first game's expansions (Shephard from Opposing Force, Gina and Colette from Decay, and Rosenberg from Blue Shift) disappeared entirely between the first and second game. Considering the circumstances, this could be justified.
  • Leaf, the female protagonist of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. She was supposed to appear in Red and Green, the first Pokémon games, as a female protagonist, but due to a lack of space, she was taken out. She was then redesigned for FireRed and LeafGreen years later. She was going to be a model for Pokémon Battle Revolution, and has appeared in at least five official artworks, but since has long been forgotten by Game Freak.
    • She also has only had counterparts in two of the many manga, and has not even been referenced in the anime.
    • There's also Lorelei and Agatha, who disappear without a trace in Gold/Silver/Crystal/HeartGold/SoulSilver. This wouldn't be a problem, since you would think that Lorelei is at her home in the Sevii Islands now, and Agatha could have retired, but the games don't make any further reference to them past Red and Blue/FireRed and LeafGreen.
  • Most characters in the Wario Land series just vanished without a trace after the original games they were in. Captain Syrup returned in Shake Dimension, after a ten odd year gap between appearances, but God knows what happened to Rudy the Clown after he returned in Dr. Mario 64...
  • This phenomenon is also seen in Jak and Daxter. Gol and Maia are the duo's first major baddies, and after their defeat in the first game a return is hinted at by the Green Sage. However, the series decided to go Darker and Edgier and thus the rogue Sages were "chucked" out.
    • The second game introduced us to Brutter, the leader of the local Lurkers who befriends Jak and Daxter. At the end of the game, he seems to be working for Ashelin as captain of the New Krimzon Guard, but he is nowhere to be seen in Jak 3. Admittedly, Brutter does make a short appearance in the Daxter spin-off, but since that game is set before Jak II it doesn't explain what happened to him between Jak II and 3.
    • The second game also had the Crocadog, a Mix and Match Critter that Jak seemingly adopts as his pet in the end. He is never seen or referenced after Jak II.
    • Jak's uncle in the first game. While Jak was born in the future and thus he can't be his real uncle it feels a bit weird how after delivering the orbs to him he is never mentioned again. You'd think that he'd care a bit more about Jak's adventuring since he probably raised him.
  • More or less every single non-Swordian user from Tales of Destiny is completely absent from Tales of Destiny 2, except from a brief reference to Mary in one of the first few skits. This was, in retrospect, just a side-effect from what happened to them in the last third of the first game, though.
  • Ys: Lilia, after being Demoted to Extra, disappears from the series after IV, as well as several other major characters from I and II. Subverted with Dogi, who is oddly absent from V, but returns in VI, as does old man Raba. Also, what happened to Terra between VI and Seven?
  • A handful of the characters from the very first Street Fighter are nowhere to be found. At first Ryu, Ken, and Sagat were the only ones to return, then the Alpha series brought back Birdie, Gen, and Adon. Eagle made an appearance in Capcom vs. SNK 2 Mark of the Millennium. To this day, however, Geki, Retsu, Lee, Mike, and Joe are all but disowned from the series (well, maybe not Mike, who is widely hypothesized to be "Mike Bison"/Balrog).
    • The comics have had some fun with these. Lee reappears in the Sakura Ganbaru manga as an opponent for Sakura, and in UDON's comics, reappears to challenge Fei Long and is stated to be the uncle of Yun and Yang. Also in UDON's comics, Geki attempts to assassinate Gen, and in the Ibuki miniseries, "Geki" is retconned to be the name of a ninja clan, not an individual, which has a rivalry with Ibuki's clan.
    • Most of the Street Fighter III cast would qualify, too. The popular ones would go on to appear in other Street Fighter games (Yun, Ibuki, Makoto, Dudley) and crossovers (Alex, Yun, Urien, and Hugo—who is technically not from SF III, but still counts) but most of them were lucky to even appear as cameos or passing mentions in character storylines. Part of the problem, it should be said, is the long lull in Capcom fighting game releases prior to Street Fighter IV.
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, where did all of Phoenix's friends go in the past seven years? The only characters from the first three games that show up are Phoenix, Ema, Payne, and the Judge (and, in flashback, Gumshoe and Mike Meekins).
    • Maya is mentioned, as is Mia, just not by name. Phoenix at one point refers to a "kid" he knows who sends him Samurai series videos tapes and he again mentions a "Girl" he once know who Trucy reminds him of. Guy Eldoon, the noodle saleman, even refers to Maya at one point saying that Phoenix used to frequent his noodle stand with "That assisant girl" back when he was an attorney. Examining "Charley" in the office, prompts Apollo into talking about how Phoenix mentioned his "Chief" once.
  • Mortal Kombat: All of the characters from Special Forces and Mythologies: Sub-Zero who haven't appeared in a Fighting Game before (Sareena had a playable appearance in a portable version of Deadly Alliance called Tournament Edition) didn't made the cut for Armageddon.
    • Except Sareena's two partners in Mythologies; they appear in Konquest Mode of Armageddon as minibosses.
  • In World of Warcraft, Calia Menethil, Heir to the throne of Lordaeron, disappeared without trace shortly before Warcraft III. It is speculated that she has taken the name of Calia Hastings and is currently working for the Stormwind SI:7 spy agency, but this is based solely on the One Steve Limit.
    • In the RPG books, Brann Bronzebeard lampshades this, briefly mentioning that he's not sure where Calia is and that he'll have to look into it.
    • Also a large number of NPCs in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Overlaps with Never Found the Body in some cases.
    • The black dragon Sabellian, as the only one of his race who doesn't seem to have a problem with the player races, is conspicuously absent from all the events surrounding the return of his father Deathwing and the destruction of the rest of the black dragonflight as incurably corrupted. Possibly he decided he wanted no part of the whole thing and just stayed in Outland.
  • Kaya Daidouji is a pretty important character in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army. In the sequel, Raidou Kuzunoha VS King Abaddon, she isn't mentioned once.
    • Believed to have moved away from the family mansion in 'King Abaddon'. It is inhabited by ghosts as a side mission.
  • Magma is the point-of-view character and saves the planet in X-Men Legends but isn't even mentioned in its sequel.
  • Happens to quite a few characters in Vanguard Bandits due to the branching paths in the game. A important ally in one path can disappear into the ether on the next.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Crash's girlfriend Tawna is axed after the first game, replaced instead by hacker sister Coco. Yes, apparently, Crash has a little sister that he was never told about.
    • Though Tawna does reappear as a playable character in the DS game Crash Boom Bang!. The game manual states that she's dumped Crash for Pinstripe Potoroo.
  • Lego Island was hit with this hard. Let's see, we had Captain D. Rom, Enter & Return, the Funbergs, Polly Gone, Studs Linkin, all of the flying Legondos (excluding Jack O'Trades), and the two workers.
  • Dynasty Warriors 6 was notorious for cutting some of the roster and relegating twenty-four of the remaining forty-one characters to "Free Mode only" (having no Musou Mode storyline and cutscenes, though its PlayStation 2 re-release converted six of them to Musou Mode, for a total of twenty-three Musou Mode characters and eighteen Free Mode only), but in Dynasty Warriors 7 when all of them were brought back except Zuo Ci and Pang De. The former was an inconsequential Daoist mystic, but the latter a notable warrior who'd participated in several key battles and brought his own coffin to his final military campaign ("win or die," literally), only to not be mentioned at all in the game, which KOEI explained was due to "certain storyline constraints" (namely, that they didn't have room for him in the direction they were taking the story).
  • The heroes of Might and Magic 3 disappeared without the games ever quite explaining how they went off-course, or even if they did. They just... didn't arrive on XEEN, and when they next showed up (in Might and Magic 7), all they said was that they'd been looking for the Ancients for some time. Of course, they did return, so it isn't a clear-cut example of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
  • General Vladimir, who was an important supporting character in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, is nowhere to be seen in Yuri's Revenge, the game's expansion pack.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Euchre from Twokinds just seemed to be forgotten about. After Traces battle with a Neutal possessed Flora, he is never mentioned again despite him being a rather important and seemingly powerful character who was in leagues with the Master Spy.
    • He might simply Master Strategist in a magical disguise.
  • Sara from Questionable Content was a barrista at the Coffee of Doom who had a crush on Marten for the first few strips. She seemingly disappeared early on, when the focus shifted to Faye and Marten. This has been subject to a Lampshade Hanging on more than one occasion. The 'official' explanation for her disappearance is that she was eaten by an allosaurus, but really she was just a boring character.
    • Is often lampshaded and subverted. Members of the supporting cast regularly disappear - often for extended periods of time - without warning and are later given explanations when another character wonders why they are gone. Most (with Sara being one of the only exceptions) will turn up again up to 500 pages later.
      • Even Pizza Girl reappears after a long absence.
  • In El Goonish Shive, some of the side characters have fallen into this. And of course, let's not forget Lord Tedd, hinted in the past to be the Big Bad of the entire strip, has not been seen in years real-time.
    • Dan Shive said he introduced the character too soon, which is why it vanished. However, it looks like Lord Tedd may be coming back.
  • Queen Jane from 8-Bit Theater. An Only Sane Man to contrast with her husband King Steve (a combination of Cloudcuckoolander, The Caligula and The Ditz, Steve proved so popular that Jane was just never mentioned again after the very first story arc.
  • Wapsi Square lost a few characters in its Cerebus Syndrome, but after a year or two brought back one of them and wrote a concluding plotline for another. Why can't everyone be this diligent?
  • Lie-Bot in Achewood has been pretty much replaced by Vlad, although he returns on occasion to do another "What is the saddest thing?" strip.
  • Early in Kevin and Kell, Lyndesfarne was friends with a turtle and an armadillo, the gag being that they were the only three herbivores who could hang out at the mall food court. Conina the armadillo is also at the school dance, and then we never see either of them again.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Almost all of the original Pre-Daffy Duck Looney Tunes stars (i.e. Bosko, Buddy, Porky Pig's friends) have been missing from the series for decades.
    • Tiny Toon Adventures brought Bosko, Honey, Foxy, Foxy's girlfriend and Goopy Geer back for cameos, in which they were hailed as talented veteran cartoon stars. Later, an episode of Animaniacs had Buddy make an appearance, but it was a lot less complimentary toward the character in question (turns out Yakko, Wakko and Dot were created just to spice up his notoriously boring cartoons).
    • Bosko, the original Looney Tunes star, very rarely makes appearances in modern Looney Tunes artwork, and hasn't appeared in any cartoons since his redesigned cameo in Tiny Toons. Understandably, this is due to his roots as a blackface character making him an unacceptable character to put into the mainstream today. It dosen't help that his esoteric nature compared to the mainstream Looney Tunes (due to his cartoons being off the air since the 80's), not to mention his vague personality, do not make him a popular character among fans.
  • Bimbo the Dog from the Betty Boop cartoons. In the early shorts he was meant to be Betty's boyfriend, but come 1934, and the Hays Office objected to an interspecies relationship, forcing Fleischer Studios to abruptly drop Bimbo. He would never be seen again in the series.
  • After the rights to Thomas the Tank Engine were acquired by HIT Entertainment, and some of the original producers left the show, several semi-regular characters, such as Duck, Oliver, Boco and Daisy, were dropped.
  • Even outside of the many incidental cutaway characters, Family Guy has a few.
    • Brian's gay cousin Jasper, who used to appear a couple of times per season, disappeared after the gay marriage episode.
    • Joe Swanson's own children seem to disappear without a trace. Kevin Swanson appeared in the first 3 seasons, then just disappeared for years, though he had a few non speaking cameos. Years later after his last speaking role Peter questioned about his disappearance out of curiosity. Joe explained Kevin died as a soldier in Iraq with hardly any emotion. Seth MacFarlane felt Kevin was not a very interesting character to write for. Kevin is brought back as MIA in a new episode.
    • Parodied in Spies Reminiscent of Us when Chris enters in an exchange program to be replaced for an Elephant (don't ask). at the end of the episode Brian stated that it was a joke for the episode.
    • In Carol Pewetershmidt's first appearance she had just given birth to a baby boy, in her recent appearance he is nowhere to be seen.
  • Many South Park characters have been Brother Chucked; anyone remember Pip? The creators and animators certainly don't. Half-way through season 11, he's been gone even from the background and crowd shots.
    • In the 201st episode they gave him a cameo, where he was killed by Mecha-Streisand.
      • They hinted on the official site's FAQ that he might have survived that encounter.
    • Much like Pip, Tweek was removed from the classroom in season 15.
  • Lampshaded in the second season of Freakazoid!. Lord Bravery and the Huntsman are upset about their sequences being trimmed down to nothing in the second season and want something to do. Freakazoid makes them wash his car and that's the last we ever see of them.
    • Ironically, Freakazoid's alter ego, Dexter Douglas is only seen twice in the second season and never shows up again.
  • Remy Buxaplenty, rich bastard and Juandissimo's godchild on The Fairly OddParents, is an odd example of this in that he is written out of the show at the end of his first appearance. Three seasons later, apparently due to viewer demand (and because he was one of the creator's personal favorite characters), he returns as a recurring antagonist to Timmy for three more episodes. After the third one, though, he's not mentioned again, not even in Juandissimo's subsequent appearances.
    • Also, back when Mark Chang was Timmy's enemy he had two friends on Yugopotamia named Jeff and Eric. They haven't appeared recently, not even in an episode that had Mark going back to his planet temporarily.
  • On Space Ghost Coast to Coast, much of the Council of Doom disappeared without a trace. The most obvious examples are Metallus and Black Widow. Lokar disappeared after "Waiting for Edward", and after "King Dead", Tansut was never seen again.
  • Django, the artistically-inclined friend of Phineas and Ferb, was originally a member of the kids' close-knit group in the early episodes, but only made sparse background appearances in later episodes, when he showed up at all.
  • The Simpsons: Rainier Wolfcastle (a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been MIA for a long while. Oddly enough, when Schwarzenegger was the president in the movie, he was played by Wolfcastle's voice actor and looked exactly the same as Wolfcastle, if a little older. His more recent episodes mirrored Arnie's later movie career. On top of that, he had only one or two lines in the episode parodying the 2003 California recall election.
    • After The Movie and a brief appearance in the opening of the 19th season premiere, Colin was never seen again and Lisa is back to being single. Lisa's voice actress actually voiced her annoyance at this, arguing that Lisa deserves "to keep this one."
    • Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure were both retired after their voice actor Phil Hartman's untimely death. Since 1998, they've disappeared from Simpsons canon (with the very occasional exception of a crowd scene). Hutz's role as the Simpsons' incompetent family lawyer was taken by 'Old' Gil Gunderson.
    • Early episodes had two - almost identical - characters called the Weasels do Nelson Muntz's bidding. Sometime around the third season, they disappeared and Nelson became friends with the Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney trio. The producers explained on the DVDs that six bullies felt like too many.
    • The secondary Channel 6 newscaster Scott Christian was quietly phased out after Kent Brockman became recognised as the much funnier character. Ironically, a running gag was suggested that Christian would always be covering for a perpetually absent Brockman, despite the Action News show being named after the latter. One instance of this was trialled in season 1's "Krusty Gets Busted", but was soon rejected, and Brockman does actually appear later in the same episode.
  • Several recurring characters in King of the Hill just disappeared over time like Eustace and his geeky son Randy, who were rivals to Hank, Bobby and their friends in the earlier episodes but they vanished over time too. Bill's iguana Lenore only makes a one-episode appearance, and his girlfriend Laoma, who was Kahn's mother. A season finale episode ends with her living with Kahn and her and Bill in a relationship, but come the new season she's inexplicably gone. The writers apparently wanted to keep Bill alone and miserable.
    • In the episode in which Bobby breaks up with Connie, he meets a new girl named Debbie at the mall. They get along fine and are set up to be a couple; come next season she is never seen nor mentioned again and Bobby is back to being single. This happened quite a few times, actually: Bobby would meet a new girl who clearly liked him and they are seen together at the end of an episode. Invariably the girl is never seen or mentioned again.
    • Theres also the blonde kid Garth, who appears in the Straight Arrow episode and is implied to be Boomhauer's illegitimate son.
    • In the pilot episode, Peggy is seen talking to several other women on a bench at a Little League game. Come the next episode, they have vanished and Peggy's only friend is Nancy. This may have been a retcon for later episodes that had Peggy worried that she didn't have enough female friends.
    • Those women do appear in the episode in which Khan and his family move in three episodes later but as mentioned previously they don't appear again after that.
  • In some of the earlier episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob had a pet scallop in a bird cage above his bed. He was never seen interacting with it, though, and during the middle of the second season it vanished. This was referred to in one of the video games when in Spongebob's room when you click on the cage, he says something along the lines of "That's where I kept my pet scallop, I think he ran away".
    • Which is weird, in that it has been seen in later seasons
  • Several characters in Animals of Farthing Wood who weren't killed off simply disappeared in season 3 this includes Fox and Vixen's son Friendly, Kestrel, and the surviving blue foxes aside from Ranger.
    • Friendly made a brief appearance in the second episode of Season 3, then was absent for the rest of the series without explanation. Word has it that the show's producers didn't like him and requested that he be dropped from the show. Kestrel's disappearance is actually consistent with the original novels, in which the character simply stops appearing around the fifth book in the series, with no specific departure arc.
  • Scrappy Doo from Scooby Doo, aside from parodies and the live action movie (which doesn't really count) has not appeared in the series continuity since Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988). This is mainly due to his... well, being The Scrappy.
  • The humans and Sophia Tutu on The Raccoons.
  • In the original run (1991–94) of Rugrats, two slacker teenagers named Larry and Steve were seen from time to time with a different job in every appearance. After the show's hiatus they disappeared, in a much later episode Larry appeared as a doughnut salesman and is never seen again.
  • In the Jumanji cartoon, the villainous "Stalker" character was introduced in the sixth episode, who looked somewhat like the Grim Reaper. The other villains feared and worked for him, which seemed to be setting him up as the main antagonist of the series. Unfortunately, he only appeared in two episodes and never reappeared, despite the ending of both episodes hinting at a reappearance.
  • In Walter Lantz's The Beary Family the family originally consisted of Charlie (father), Bessie (mother), Junior (son), Suzy (daughter), and their pet goose, Goose. Early into the series Goose disappeared, then eventually Suzy was dropped without explanation.
  • In The Blue Racer the main character chased after a racially insensitive Japanese Beetle (yes, a racist Japanese caricature depicted as a beetle). The Beetle character was dropped half-way through the series. Gee, I wonder why...
  • Franklin is rather bad for this, but perhaps the worst example is the character of Moose. An entire story in the first season of the program, based on of the books, was dedicated to introducing this character and his acceptance within the close-knit community. In the episode, he finally joined Franklin's class and became his good buddy, but he was never again seen on the series and no explanation whatsoever was provided for his absence.
  • Popeye had four nephews introduced around 1940 - as the series went on it was knocked down to three, then two. This was probably due to animation cost restraints, but it comes off as pretty creepy.
  • Dora the Explorer showed that Diego had an older sister named Daisy. She was replaced with Alicia once he got his show, even though the episode she was in revolved around her birthday.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Animaniacs, where Rita and Runt are advertised as "Missing" on a milk carton (the "Rita and Runt" segments having been dropped in the latter half of the series' run, after which the characters themselves put in the occasional cameo appearance, but gradually disappeared - though they continued to feature in the opening credits, and were eventually restored for the direct-to-video movie "Wakkos Wish").
    • Minerva Mink's disappearance was more justified. Her cartoons were too risque, even by Animaniacs standards - of the two that actually aired, one had a nerdy werewolf who turned into a hunk under the full moon; the other had Minerva using her sex appeal to dispatch a dachshund named Newt - and the executives were afraid she'd be the object of the Rule34 freaks of the Internet. Despite this, Minerva Mink continued to make cameos and appeared in several of the comics before the series ended.
      • And it still didn't stop the Rule 34 freaks. Or the Furry Fandom.
  • In the final season of Teen Titans the Brotherhood of Evil recruits nearly every villain that ever appeared in the series. While the appearance of some in the initial lineup is a Snap Back from the last time they fought the Titans, some such as the Nufu Source didn't appear in the final battle while Kitten wasn't seen after her encounter with Starfire.
    • Both of which can be easily explained - Kitten was just a spoiled brat, and Cyborg ATE the Nufu Source. However, some of the villains that the Brain called were actually killed somehow.
      • Speaking of the Brotherhood of Evil; the Doom Patrol, who were the Brotherhood of Evil's original enemies in the first place, are basically written out after "Homecoming Part 2". What happened after the Titans intervened? The Brotherhood of Evil basically focused on getting rid of the Titans. The Doom Patrol weren't even there to help, nor they were mentioned.
    • In the first episode, arch-villain Slade is always seen with a silent butler standing at attendance - possibly Wintergreen, Slade's butler in the original Teen Titans comics. He was not used again after this episode.
    • The H.I.V.E. Academy Headmistress was a bizarre example, as her first (and until the series finale, ONLY) appearance, she seemed to be set up as a Big Bad in charge of training teen supervillains. When the H.I.V.E. organization resurfaced in later seasons, she had been usurped by Brother Blood with no real mention of what happened to her. She returned in the series finale as part of the big final showdown but was quickly dispatched. She later appeared in the comic alongside a new trio of teen villains, but was quickly Bound and Gagged by Robin and presumably arrested. In all of this, it was never explained exactly what had happened that lead to her being booted from her position at the academy.
  • In The Critic webisodes, ALL the characters from the TV series have disappeared (save Jay Sherman and a brief appearance by Vlada). The worst of all this is that Jay's girlfriend Alice Tompkins is replaced with a Replacement Scrappy named Jennifer.
  • The Legend of Zelda was based chiefly on the original game in the series, with bits of Zelda II the Adventure of Link. Despite being a prominent part of the backstory for both games (indeed, she was the reason Link took up his famous quest in the first place), Zelda's nursemaid Impa is not included in the cast. She did, however, feature prominently in the comic book series which launched at approximately the same time.
    • Also, the Triforce of Courage is never mentioned in the animated series either (the Triforces of Power and Wisdom can count as characters; they even have voices!). As with Impa, Courage is mentioned in the comics and other books (though never seen; it is said to be "in Link's heart") that were otherwise similar to the cartoon.
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long, Rose was separated at birth from both her parents and her her twin sister to be raised by the Huntsclan. After the Huntsclan is erased from existence (long story) we catch up with Rose who in the revised timeline lives a normal live with her parents...and no twin sister. Apparently the sister's whereabouts would have been a plot point had the series been given another season.
  • In the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon there was an episode involving a female lizard mutant named Mona Lisa. She serves as a potential girlfriend for Raphael and helps him fight off hijackers who were responsible for her mutation (she was originally a human); at the end they say their goodbyes and she secretly follows Raphael and April to the turtle's lair and introduces herself to the rest of them. Despite this being a setup for her being a recurring character and being a fan favorite she is never seen or mentioned again.
    • That cartoon used to pull the same schtick all the time. They'd have an episode that seemed to set up a new cool character, then they'd usually disappear forever. Remember Metalhead? And Muckman and Joe Eyeball?
    • Several notable recurring characters, some of which had been on the show from the beginning, just disappeared during the show's 7th and 8th seasons. Season 7 saw the final appearances of the friendly teenage aliens the Neutrinos and the Turtles' young friend Zach. In season 8, Irma, Vernon, Mr. Thompson, and Casey Jones made their last appearances and then vanished without explanation. Bebop and Rocksteady disappeared after season 8, even failing to appear when Shredder and Krang returned for a story arc in the final season with no explanation for the bumbling duo's absence.
  • On Hurray for Huckle / Busytown Mysteries, the Hilda Hippo character appears in the opening credits and appears in one or two stories as part of the mystery-solving team, but is absent from all other episodes.
  • In a couple of episodes of Arthur, George has a slightly younger sister; she last appeared in the Christmas special and so far has not appeared again.
    • There's also D.W.'s pet toad "Toady Wartface"; after its introduction it made only one other appearance.
  • Eustace's Mother from Courage the Cowardly Dog hasn't shown up in any episode after the coral reef episode.
  • The second episode of Nickelodeon's Doug, 'Doug Can't Dance', had Roger leading a different group of thugs than usual. These thugs appeared only in that episode.
  • X-Men: Evolution: After the rise of Apocalypse, Sabretooth just disappears from the show. While its given a small Hand Wave courtosy of Pyro (claiming he was 'playing with a ball of yarn somewhere'), it's more of just Pyro rambling and doesn't mean a thing. Similarly, Destiny disapears in season 3 without any mention. When she last appeared she tells Mystique that she'll be involved in a plot to bring back an ancient mutant, but by Mystique's next appearence, she's working with Mesmero to bring back Apocalypse without any mention or reason.
  • In the tv series for Barnyard entitled Back at the Barnyard Otis' wife Daisy and their son Ben Jr. are completely absent from the show, Daisy's been replaced by a new female cow named Abby, the strange part is Daisy's best friend Bessie continues to appear on the show.
  • Stereo was written out of the second season of Space Goofs.
  • Citrocette has a "Gorilla Friend" in The Ripping Friends. He wasn't that much of a main character anyway.
  • After the first episode of season six of Recess (the events in said episode were non-canon anyway), Miss Grotke was dropped from the show for unknown reasons. She comes back in Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, but she ends up being Demoted to Extra.
  • In Blazing Dragons, Sir Galahot and Sir Hotbreath, two of the Knights of the Square Table, never appeared in Season 2, in which the main focus was on Flicker, Loungelot, Blaze, and Burnevere, but Allfire, Griddle, Flame, and Count Geoffrey and his minions all had some appearances.
  • DuckTales (1987) notably had quite a few recurring characters disappear without any explanation during its second season, including Doofus, three of the Beagle Boys (Bankjob, Babyface, and Bugle), and Donald Duck and Admiral Grimmitz.
  • Happens frequently Transformers G1 over time several character's from the 1st and 2nd season stop appearing after the movie and later seasons in order to focus more on the new characters. Having Loads and Loads of Characters and the show being Merchandise-Driven its easy to forget and lose tract on who's who.


Other[edit | hide]

  • This is what happened to Dreamfinder as a result of Executive Meddling on Journey Into Imagination at EPCOT.
  • In Jon Buck's Paradise setting CM is mentioned by the cast of sequel series "Paradise:Veil" and is seen in the story Tall Tales, however his best friend Robert Hallman seemingly vanishes after the 9th "CM and Rob" story.
  • Many toy-driven franchises that go on for multiple incarnations would often find many characters dropped from later series. The most notable case is G.I. Joe's Zarana: Mostly seen as an attempt to add a second female to Cobra, but she never made a screen appearance since the DiC-produced episodes. While she DID receive an expanded role in the DDP Joe comics, she is the only 1982-94-originated female character to never even get a mention in any of IDW's new Joe comics! Even Cover Girl and Pythona get odd appearances every now and then! She doesn't even appear in the Larry Hama-penned G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero AT ALL!