• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
"Buckaroo Banzai will return in.... 'The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Against the World Crime League!'"
—a promise made in 1984
"Probably the most damning evidence against this movie is that they're going right to rebooting the film franchise. It committed movie-suicide in only one installment."
—from The Agony Booth's Hulk recap

So the Hollywood marketing machine is hyping that movie as the next big thing in the industry. The producers are so confident that they have already announced the comic-book adaptation, action figures and the plan to make a trilogy.

However, when the work is actually released, it flops and kills the plan to make more out of it. This can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • An adaptation that pisses off the fans of the original source and fails to capture mainstream interest.
  • A niche property being shotgunned into a multimedia cash-cow even though not many are interested in it.
  • Something that just plain sucks due to the negative reception it receives.

On top of the actual Word of God from the creators about their plans and the natural law that forces executives to milk anything they spent a lot of money on, there are also several common hints to their intentions that affect the work in various places:

  • An orphaned Sequel Hook.
  • A surprisingly quality actor in a bit part being saved for later.
  • Colon Cancer riddled titles to set up a series name.

Compare and contrast with Franchise Killer where an already vibrant franchise is ended by a later bad entry. Another installment might be planned but end up being a victim of Development Hell. See also Genre Killer, Creator Killer and Stillborn Serial.

Examples of Stillborn Franchise include:

Anime & Manga


  • Marvel Comics had a slew of new characters in the 90's which were supposed to be the next generation of heroes. Among them Sleepwalker, Darkhawk, Super Pro, and Slapstick. None of them lasted long, although there have been many attempts to bring them back after years in Comic Book Limbo.

Eastern Animation

  • David Hand's Animaland series, a lushly animated series of Golden Age shorts, was supposed to be a full fledged series. But since it was unable to find a distributor in the US, it died after just nine shorts. David Hand's son has tried to revive the series, but nothing ever came from that.
  • The 1999-2000 Russian animated series Adventures in the Emerald City was supposed to be an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz novels. They only got to producing four episodes, adapting the first two books, before the budget ran out and they were unable to secure more funding.


  • The Battlefield Earth movie is an adaptation of the first half of the book. Despite Travolta's (decades-old) claims, it is probably safe to say that the sequel is not forthcoming. Not that a planned sequel would have been very exciting anyway, as the second half of the book basically revolved around getting the paperwork for the first half squared away when the Psychlo's bankers came calling.
    • An animated series was also planned and actually went quite far into production, with voice actors being cast and, according to rumour, the pilot episode was almost fully animated by the time of the film's release. Needless to say, none of the networks were in much of a hurry to pick up the series.
  • Eragon is the only entry in the Inheritance Cycle that has received a film adaptation. Especially ironic since it was specifically marketed as 'The First in the Trilogy.'
  • The Golden Compass was a blockbuster hit overseas, but Misaimed Marketing and some boneheaded decisions by New Line Cinema (which led to their getting absorbed into Warner Bros) ensure that the rest of the trilogy won't see the light of celluloid. Like Eragon above, some of the changes make it hard to figure how they would have finished it anyway. Apparently the filmmakers were quite determined to make the full trilogy work, but it appeared that the late 2000's recession caused New Line to pull the plug. Years later, The BBC and New Line's sister WarnerMedia company HBO did make a tv show called His Dark Materials.
  • Van Helsing was supposed to spin off a TV series, Transylvania, in addition to at least one film sequel. The Direct to Video animated featurette Van Helsing: The London Assignment doesn't count — it was released at the same time the film hit theaters (and explains why Van Helsing was fighting Mr. Hyde at the beginning of the film).
  • All the actors in 1998's Lost in Space adaptation were contracted for a trilogy. When the first one bombed, the rest were canceled. Especially sad is the DVD commentary where Akiva Goldsman still seems optimistic that he has a successful franchise on his hands, and gives a preview of what viewers can look forward to in future films. Basically, he was saving all the good stuff for the sequels, so naturally the first film had little to recommend and killed any chances of seeing it. Lost in Space did get a reboot on Netflix though.
  • It's quite evident by the ending that the Dungeons and Dragons film intended to have more films following it revolving around the same characters. Thankfully for viewing audiences that never came to pass.
  • The animated version of The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi made it halfway through the second volume of the novel (The Two Towers). Due to Executive Meddling, the title did not indicate that it was part I, and a sequel was never produced. Rankin-Bass' The Return of the King is sometimes seen as (and, today, frequently marketed as) a sequel to the Bakshi film, but the two films don't link up perfectly and differ wildly in style and tone. There's no official relation between them.
  • The US Godzilla movie was meant to have a sequel as well, but it never came to fruition (the closest to that was the animated cartoon). There was a 2014 American film, but as a Continuity Reboot that led into the Monsterverse.
  • The film of A Series of Unfortunate Events is an adaptation of the first three books with an ending tacked on, covering 3/13 of the series. The ending doesn't preclude a sequel, but there hasn't been one. A Very Frustrating Development.
    • In 2017, Paramount tried again with a Netflix TV show with Nell Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and unlike the film, the show managed to complete the entire book series.
  • Master and Commander had pretty much the entire cast signed on for multiple sequels AND they bought the actual boat they used to make sure it was going to be available. It made enough money for it to be deemed a financial success, as well as being well received critically, but not enough to make the sequel a sure thing, and in the end it never happened.
    • Master and Commander was even fully titled Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World, taking the titles of two of the books so that the first book's name would work as a series title followed by the particular book that the film was closest to.
      • Well, it hasn't happened yet. The principal cast have all said over and over that they'd love to do more, and so has Peter Weir. Weir just tends to take a long time in between his projects. He's also said that shooting a film on water is the hardest thing a director can do, and thus he'd really need to be sure that it'd be worth it. (He asked the directors of films like Jaws and Waterworld for some advice on how best to make a ship-set film. They all said "Don't".) The rights to the movie are now split between ViacomCBS, Comcast and Disney, so it will be even more impossble now for a sequel to happen.
  • Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts ends with Zeus saying "For Jason there will be other adventures..." which sounds like a sequel hook, but there wasn't one. This is probably for the best, because Jason becomes a total Jerkass in at the actual myth.
  • Ang Lee's Hulk was divisive and dropped off at the box office sharply from its huge opening weekend. Marvel let the would-be franchise wait for a few years before giving it a Continuity Reboot (which suffered the same fate as the previous film right down to the near-70% 2nd weekend drop, but the character will be a part of The Avengers with The Other Darrin #2, Mark Ruffalo.)
    • The positive reaction to Mark Ruffalo's interpretation of the character has already seen him signed on for a stack of entries in the franchise. Whether they'll escape the curse or not is another matter.
  • Inverted in the case of Garth Brooks' alter-ego, Chris Gaines. A movie called The Lamb was planned to chronicle the life and times of the multi-platinum enigmatic recording artist in Brooks' head. Then the preview "Greatest Hits" album bombed. Safe to say, no Lamb will be forthcoming.
    • Kiss's Music from "The Elder" was a similar failure; it was supposed to be the springboard for a high fantasy film they would have starred in.
  • A strange variation of this was done for Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes. While he himself had no intentions of doing any more movies, he deliberately left a Sequel Hook in case another filmmaker decided to do more.
  • Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory leaves off with Wonka telling Charlie that he inherited the factory. Any plans for this to be followed up with Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator were scrapped when Dahl was so upset about the film adaptation of his book (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) that he left it in his will that Elevator could not be used for making adaptations. This explains why Tim Burton's version 30 years later lacks any Sequel Hook.
  • The Super Mario Bros movie left on a Sequel Hook, with Daisy finding Luigi and Mario and shouting "You're never going to believe this!" We'll never find out what they'll never believe, since the planned sequels never saw the light of day. The franchise would not get another film adaptaion until Universal and Illumination announced an animated adaptation slated for a 2022 release.
  • Disney started work on a TV spinoff of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, but when the movie bombed they canned it and edited the completed episodes into a direct-to-video movie. This one is of special note to Gargoyles fans, as Greg Weisman was the producer on both shows and one of the unfinished episodes was to be a Cross Through between the two.
    • In fact, every single animated Disney movie that failed at the box office starting with The Great Mouse Detective will always be a stillborn franchise. You can easily tell by which characters from those films were added into the merchandise: if a film succeeds at the box office, then the hero/ine will be marketed very greatly, but if the movie fails, then the villain will be marketed instead.
    • A couple of notable live-action stillborn franchises for Disney in the last twenty years include Dick Tracy (1990), The Rocketeer (1991), Prince of Persia the Sands of Time (2010), and John Carter (2012).
    • The failure of DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp actually prevented the making of any sequels to the DuckTales film series as well as the making of a Darkwing Duck movie and a Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers movie.
    • The Failure of Treasure Planet canned plans of a sequel where Jim goes to school, finds love with a student named Kate and they fight a new villain who was supposed to be voiced by William Defoe.
  • There were several attempts to extend The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension into a franchise; all of which failed. The movie ended in a Sequel Hook, and a TV spinoff was attempted by ABC; but the rights got locked up for nearly a decade by a nutcase studio executive whose paranoia made him believe the filmmakers had tried to rip him off. It wasn't until his suicide that the rights were released. Several attempts were made to create both a movie sequel and a television series spinoff; but studio expectations, combined with conflict over character and story continuity, effectively killed the projects.
  • The Last Airbender is another example. While in July 2010 M. Night Shyamalan was convinced the planned sequels will be made there's a noticeable lack of talk about them from anyone else involved since the film's release.
  • Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins... and then immediately stops. The book series, on the other hand, had a long and very healthy franchise life.
  • The last forty years have seen several examples of attempted hard-boiled detective/police/private eye films series that never reached more than one film.
    • Larry Cohen intended to make a few sequels to his 1982 remake of I, the Jury. The script for one of them served as the basis for 1987's Deadly Illusion, but as of 2010 no further Spillane based films have reached theaters.
    • Kathleen Turner bought options on many of the VI Warshawski books. Only one film came out.
    • Darker Than Amber was the only film based on John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books.
    • Devil in a Blue Dress was the only adaptation of Walter Mosely's Easy Rawlins books.
    • Eight Million Ways to Die adapted Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder character.
    • James Lee Burke's Heaven's Prisoners featuring Dave Robicheaux only had a direct-to-DVD follow-up, In the Electric Mist, with Tommy Lee Jones taking over from Alec Baldwin.
    • The first book in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, One For The Money, was released in 2012; it bombed at the box office and was ripped apart by the critics.
  • The Road to El Dorado was supposed to be the beginning of a film franchise about Miguel and Tulio going on different adventures in search of gold.
  • The end of the film version of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy left a Sequel Hook that the characters would be going to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in the next film. The first film was somewhat successful (grossing $104 million worldwide on a $50 million budget) and the actors and the director were signed on for a sequel, but Disney decided against making it, claiming the film wasn't profitable enough.
  • The adaptation of Royal Flash in 1975 did not lead to other adaptations of the Flashman novels.
  • Gorky Park did not lead to other adaptations of the Arkady Renko novels by Martin Cruz Smith.
  • The Empty Beach did not lead to other adaptations of the Cliff Hardy novels.
  • The Bone Collector did not lead to other Lincoln Rhyme films.
  • Clive Cussler has seen two attempts to start film franchises based on his novels about Dirk Pitt, Raise the Titanic and Sahara. Neither produced sequels and received negative fan reactions — Cussler disowned both movies.
  • Just as Doc Savage served as a partial template for Buckaroo Banzai, his 1975 film announced a sequel which never appeared.
  • Flash Gordon ended with a sequel hook, with someone taking Ming's ring.
  • Flight of the Intruder did not lead to adaptations of the other Jake Grafton novels.
  • The Specialist did not lead to other adaptations of the Specialist novels.
  • While Firefox, Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the novel by the same name, resulted in novelist Craig Thomas writing additional stories about Mitchell Gant, it didn't lead to any other film adaptations.
  • The Russian adventure film Mongol was originally planned as a trilogy depicting the rise and fall of Genghis Khan. After difficulties on the first film, production on the sequels were stalled. A brief glimmer of hope occurred when it was announced that the sequels would become one large-scale film but production was canceled again in late 2010.
  • The film Devil was intended to be the beginning of a new anthology series called "The Night Chronicles" based on stories by M. Night Shyamalan. The film even has the number one showed after the label's logo. However, its disappointing box office combined with Shyamalan's Hatedom among audiences (the film, not directed by him, had mixed reviews) led future installments to be canceled.
  • Remakes usually result in this, kind of defeating the purpose of restarting a franchise in the first place.
  • Subverted, after a number of years, with Dario Argento's Three Mothers trilogy. Suspiria was produced in 1977, and the sequel, Inferno, followed in 1980. The third film was to have immediately followed Inferno but wound up in Development Hell due to Inferno's delayed release and mixed critical response in the United States. The trilogy was finally completed with Mother of Tears in 2007.
  • The Punisher film franchise is a unique example, as different filmmakers have tried (to date) three times to start a series, and in all three cases have failed. 1989's The Punisher starred Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle and focused heavily on the Yakuza, and went Direct to Video in the States. 2004's Punisher reboot starred Thomas Jane as Castle, and adapted the "Welcome Back, Frank" storyline, but was panned by reviewers who said it was boring, and a Sequel Hook (where Frank intends to drive to New York) never panned out. The series was rebooted once again with Punisher: War Zone (part of the then newly-launched Marvel Knights film franchise) an intended sequel that became a second reboot, and cast Ray Stevenson as a much more gritty, morose version of the character - with plenty of nods to the comics and R-rated violence to boot. War Zone received middling reviews and bombed at the theaters, scuttling any plans for future installments. Disney later regained the rights to The Punisher through Marvel.
  • The Tim Burton Batman has "a quality actor in a bit part being saved for later", but it turned out to be a stillborn part for Billy Dee Williams, who knew Harvey Dent would become Two-Face. He lobbied to get the relatively small part with the idea he would be a villain in a sequel, but when Batman Forever was made, Tommy Lee Jones was cast.
  • In his review of Nintendo Power, The Angry Video Game Nerd notes a contest to appear as an extra in The Mask 2; the 1994 laserdisc commentary with director Chuck Russell (ported over to the DVD releases) also mentions plans for a sequel. But because star Jim Carrey decided to move on, no sequel was made until Son of the Mask over a decade later, and it has only vague connections to the original. Because of its failure, Dark Horse cancelled The Mask series until the Itty Bitty Mask comic in 2014
  • Hal Warren intended Manos: The Hands of Fate to have a sequel due to a Sequel Hook. However, the movie was notoriously bad that even the original film was barely seen until it showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Nearly 40 years after the film was made, some people are trying to actually make a sequel to it!
  • Sin City was a very successful movie with both Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller wanting to make more films. Somehow or another, they always ended up wrapped up in new projects, that pushed production back farther and farther. Since two major stars are both dead (Brittany Murphy, who played Shellie, and Michael Clarke Duncan who was Manute). It did get a sequel in 2014 known as A Dame To Kill For, with Dennis Haysbert replacing Duncan.
  • The 1996 film adaption of The Phantom, starring Billy Zane, was to have been followed by two sequels. Instead, it under-performed at the box office and no further films were made, despite subsequent redemption through rental sales.
  • Interview with the Vampire is a curious example that did well on the box office. Notice that the complete title of the film was Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Queen of the Damned, a sequel of sorts, was eventually made, but several years too late and made by different people (including the not-Tom Cruise actor Stuart Townsend as Lestat.)
  • 1994's The Shadow movie was intended to be the beginning of a franchise, but the movie bombed at the box office.
  • The disappointing box office of One For The Money (it grossed just $25 million on a $42 million budget) has more or less killed any chance of further Stephanie Plum movies.
  • The 1990 Dick Tracy is an interesting case. The movie didn't reach the Batman level box office Disney hoped for, but was still successful, and a sequel was planned. The problem was a dispute between Warren Beatty and the Tribune Co. over who owned the rights to the Dick Tracy franchise. The dispute didn't end until over 20 years later, in March of 2011. Beatty won the lawsuit and has plans for a sequel, but it's currently in Development Hell.
  • Very narrowly averted with the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Spider-Man, which was in serious risk of becoming this as Sony and Disney had trouble reaching another deal due to a financial dispute after the massive success of Into the Spider-Verse. Though Sony and Disney did manage to make a deal about a month later, so the MCU Spider-Man still appeared in a couple more MCU films afterward.

Live Action TV

  • Saban's Masked Rider. It's painfully clear that Saban intended to bring over the Kamen Rider series from Japan the same way they turned Super Sentai into Power Rangers. When that... didn't work, it kept the Kamen Rider franchise off American TVs for over a decade until Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, which did the same thing (although Dragon Knight did fare better.)
    • As of 2011, it is rumored that Saban may indeed be attempting to bring Kamen Rider back to American shores. The company has trademarked the title "Power Rider," which some suspect is this.
  • After having a semi-successful series in the seventies, there have been multiple attempts to adapt the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series onto the screen, often as a TV series. Both had a limited 13-episode Canadian adaptation in 1995, but both were quickly cancelled (many feel the biggest factor working against them was the half-hour format, which just doesn't give enough space to set up a good mystery.) This happened to Nancy again in 2002, with a made-for-TV movie that would function as a backdoor pilot if ratings were good enough. It wasn't, and after the flop of the 2007 Nancy Drew movie starting Emma Roberts, it might be safe to say that live-action adaptations of both series are pretty much dead in the water for the foreseeable future.
  • Every so often, the BBC releases a set of pilots all at once to see what's what. One of the pilots in 2008, The Things I Haven't Told You, was supposed to, unsurprisingly, contain lots of secrets and stuff that would be released throughout the show's entire prospective run. As an episode in its own right, it made very little sense, but the viewers that found it compelling were very disappointed (not to mention confused/angry/frustrated) when Being Human was made into a series instead.


  • Mid-to-late 90s hip hop supergroup The Firm - consisting of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Cormega (who was later ousted and replaced with Nature) - was hyped as one of the hottest new groups in hip-hop after their formation, appearance on Nas' It Was Written album, and signing to Dr. Dre's record label. In 1997, they released their debut album... which got such a lackluster reception by both consumers and critics that any interest in more music from the group was nixed, and they went their separate ways the year after. While Foxy has mentioned that there have been discussions of The Firm reuniting, the project seems to be an Old Shame for nearly everyone involved.
    • Arguably this could be a case of Critical Dissonance, with a touch of Hype Backlash. At the time Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ wasn't that popular outside of new york and was never really heavy sellers to begin with. Basically they were a precursor to another hip-hop super group by the name of Slaughter House. Essentially only appealing to the most hardcore hip-hop fanbase.
    • This was not the first time a band called The Firm had failed to proceed; in the mid-80s Jimmy Page formed a miniature supergroup with himself on guitar, and Paul Rodgers, formerly of Free and Bad Company, on vocals. The original plan was to fill the band out with former Yes percussionist Bill Bruford, plus ubiquitous 80s fretless bassist Pino Palladino, but this didn't pan out. Despite being Jimmy Page's first band project since Led Zeppelin, the group's debut album met with lackluster reviews and poor sales. Surprisingly there was a second album - shades of Tin Machine - after which the group disbanded.
  • In 1993 The Sisters of Mercy released Greatest Hits Volume 1: A Slight Case of Overbombing. It was the last album they released.
  • George Michael failed to release a followup to his Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 album of 1990.
  • The full title of Michael Jackson's 1995 Distinct Double Album was HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. There never was a Book II, though there was Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix in 1997 (which was mostly remixes).
  • Limp Bizkit's The Unquestionable Truth, Part 1 never had its sequel.

Video Games

  • XIII, based on the first five volumes of the European comic book series, ends with a Cliff Hanger. Poor sales, however, erased hopes of a game continuation of the story. A TV miniseries based on the comic and the game was later produced staring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff, which suffered a similar fate as the game it was based on. It was resurrected a second time as XIII: The Series in 2011 by a Canadian company. The TV series is a direct continuation of the miniseries's plot, though none of the miniseries actors (especially Kilmer and Dorff) reprise their roles.
    • Similarly it burned X-Play, which had done a single preview episode devoted to the game based on that show's editorial staff and Adam Sessler's excitement over the game's cel-shaded graphics and underlying story. When it turned out to be a run-of-the-mill "3...out of 5" shooter featuring bored voice acting by David Duchovny, the show wouldn't do a single game preview episode for another five years.
      • There's a sequel (XIII-2) made for mobile phones and developed by Gameloft.
  • Haven: Call Of The King was supposed to be the first installment in a revolutionary video game trilogy that would defy all genres. What was actually released was mediocre: while it did mix together a lot of genres (action, platforming, RPG, driving) as promised, it didn't do any of them particularly well. The lackluster sales killed the planned trilogy at the first game.
  • Advent Rising was intended to be a trilogy on consoles with a spin-off for the PSP. The poor reception of the original game put a stop to any further prospects, as well as the million-dollar contest promoting it.
    • Advent Rising also reportedly killed off a video game adaptation of the Orson Scott Card book Empire to be done by the same development studio (Card had also penned the plot of Advent Rising and Empire was written to actually promote the game rather than the other way around). What also didn't help was the fact that Empire was mediocre at best and basically a novel-length scathing rant about how liberals are literally destroying the country.
    • Shadow Complex, on which Empire was based, was released on Xbox Live Arcade to glowing reviews. Of course, in order to sell it to people without having a massive backlash strike out, the developers had to entirely ignore the novel Card had written to promote it.
  • Beyond Good and Evil was a commercial bomb, and ruined any chances of a sequel. Several years later Ubisoft has apparently started production on one, but as of 2020, it's still in Development Hell.
    • Similarly Psychonauts and Anachronox, both games that ended with a sequel hook that will probably never be followed-up on due to bad sales.
      • Anachronox is an interesting case, because the Sequel Hook at the end wasn't originally planned to be one. It was supposed to be the halfway point of the game, but due to a whole slew of problems, they ended up having to end the game there.
  • Action 52 had a $199 price tag (in 1991 for a NES game), nearly unplayable games, weak concept, and was horribly and seriously bug-infested, yet for some impossible-to-fathom reason, Active Enterprises believed that its featured title Cheetahmen (which shared many flaws with the other games on the cartridge, including not having an ending) was going to be a huge breakout hit. Plans were made for a Cheetahmen Saturday Morning Cartoon, action figures, and of course a sequel. Their hopes turned out to be waaay premature; the sequel never emerged except as an unfinished, unplayable beta.
  • The commercial failure of action-RPG Too Human might not just kill Silicon Knights' hopes of a trilogy, but also any hopes of an Eternal Darkness followup. Alternatively, the failure of Too Human may actually hasten the development of an Eternal Darkness sequel: Silicon Knights had openly stated they had no intention of doing one until they were done with Too Human. If the proposed trilogy is cancelled, they may just skip to the ED sequel.
  • Pryzm Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn was a Play Station 2 game about Pryzm, a very special young unicorn, and Karrok, a grizzled troll mage, who team up to defeat Zartu the Dark Unicorn. The game was presented as Darker and Edgier than typical fare involving unicorns, and came with a comic expanding on the backstory, but it didn't sell well, so all plans for a sequel quickly evaporated.
  • Perhaps putting overt franchise aspirations in the title of the 1988 game Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic was an act of hubris. No sequel was ever made for this interesting proto-Mass Effect game, though 1990's Hard Nova was a Spiritual Successor.
  • The 2008 Continuity Reboot of Turok, after Evolution killed the original series and its publisher, had the bad luck to be an average shooter when better shooters were glutting the market, thus the planned sequel was canned.
  • Electronic Arts' Auto Destruct ends with the Big Bad escaping in an emergency submarine after you shoot down his helicopter. While not bad by any means, the game was rather obscure and didn't sell well, so no sequel was made.
  • P.N.03 sold barely 20,000 copies, so Capcom aborted the franchise. Some of the developers would later go on to form Platinum Games, makers of Bayonetta and Vanquish.
  • Haze, which also took down its developer.
  • Brute Force was a original X Box exclusive which was hyped as doing to TPS what Halo did to console FPS, and just like Halo, was promoted with a prequel novel that expended on the backstory. However, the final product didn't quite live up to the hype and thus Brute Force never became the multimedia juggernaut Halo is. There were rumors of a sequel for the Xbox 360, but Digital Anvil's death in 2006 ensures that it will never happen.
  • Mitsumete Knight is a sad case of this. After the surprise and spectacular success of Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with you, Konami wanted to keep the momentum and create another similar Dating Sim Cash Cow Franchise. Mitsumete Knight was thus planned as such, and lots of efforts were put in it: co-created by Konami and Red Entertainment (the other Dating Sim leader of the time, creator of Sakura Taisen), a spectacular voice cast, deep storyline, solid gameplay, a line of goods, favourable critics, lots of built hype one year before the game's actual release in March 1998 via a Radio Drama and previews... Only to meet average-ish good sales, not the expected killer profit (partially due to the public's vaning interest in Dating Sims which started around that time). Realizing this, and with Tokimeki Memorial 2 around the corner, Konami canned the franchise one year later in 1999.
  • Due to Executive Meddling, the planned sequel to Conkers Bad Fur Day never came to be. What was going to be a sequel for the X Box turned out to just be an enhanced port of the Nintendo 64 game instead, and a censored one at that.
  • The Last Express, despite the sheer quality of everything from the art nouveau style to the intricate storyline, was hit by a perfect financial storm that sank both its production company and the game itself. The ending drops tantalizing hints at a sequel that will most likely never be made.
  • Magical Doropie had plans for a sequel, but making one for the SNES was expensive, so they didn't make it. The developer regrets it.
  • Chrono Cross was not supposed to be the end of the Chrono series. A sequel, Chrono Break, was planned shortly after Cross's completion... and, a decade later, it has yet to materialize.
  • Donald in Maui Mallard had a sequel planned and was made to test the waters for this detective/ninja incarnation of Donald Duck, with even ideas for an animated series. Due to coming at the end of the 16-bit consoles' lifespan and some flawed marketing (Donald's name was dropped from any promotional material), the game bombed and all plans were scrapped.
  • Sin Episodes: Emergence debuted to weak sales and some critical acclaim (for a series that hadn't seen an installment in more than a decade). Plans were made to have several more episodes, and a teaser was released at the end of Emergence that teased plot points from upcoming installments. Then the game's production company, Ritual Entertainment, was sold to a casual game developer, and production was canned - meaning that you'll never get to see any of the last eight(!) installments.
  • The Rising Sun installment of Medal of Honor was originally going to be the first of a series that would have followed a group of brothers through the Pacific War fighting a secret cabal of the Japanese high command. However, it flopped. It was somewhat resolved later on with somebody mentioning that one of the brothers had been planning POW rescues (one of them was in Japanese hands at the end of the game), but we never got to see those rescues.
  • Loom, a 1990 adventure game made by Lucas Arts. The game was well received, sold well and was part of a planned trilogy. However, the game's makers had other commitments and didn't want to work on the sequels.
  • Alpha Protocol was intended by publisher Sega to become part of a greater series. The poor sales killed that, but as Obsidian still maintains all the rights it's possible if a particularly optimistic publisher comes along.
  • Nightshade Part 1: The Claws of Sutekh was not followed by a Part 2.
  • There were two attempts by Capcom at making a Captain Commando franchise (Section Z and, unsurprisingly, Captain Commando), but neither game took off quite as well as expected.
  • The Vin Diesel vehicle Wheelman was supposed to lead up to a film, with the game setting up the backstory and the characters. However, the game's tepid critical and commercial performance very likely scrapped those plans.
  • The instructions and advertising for the ZX Spectrum text adventure Merlock the Mede describe the two games on the tape as the first of a set of eight — and a player who solved all eight could win a digital watch. The first two received far from glowing reviews, and nothing was ever seen of the other six.
  • The Blade Kitten video game ends on a cliffhanger (and is advertised as a "Part 1" on its title screen) that is unlikely to be resolved, due to Krome Studios shutting down shortly after going into administration.
  • In the early 2000's, Microsoft did try to have a cartoon like platformer mascot like Mario, Sonic, Crash, or Spyro called Blinx the Cat. But he didn't last long due to poor sales despite getting a sequel, while Master Chief was the one who became the mascot instead.
  • Fire Emblem almost fell victim to this trope early on, as its first game, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, suffered poor reviews from Japanese publications at the time, and also having initial poor sales in the first two months. It was literally word of mouth that caused it to become successful enough to create a sequel. It was also thanks in part to the initial poor reception that the franchise was initially restricted to Japan until nearly 13 years later when Super Smash Bros. Melee and specifically its inclusion of Marth and Roy.