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What would have happened next if these TV shows weren't canceled

Untimely cancellation is the worst fate that can befall a television series. They set out with grand stories to tell, carefully plotted and pitched ... only to end abruptly, leaving story arcs, plot lines, and character journeys forever unfinished. In the age of streaming, a show might have a shot at being picked up elsewhere, a la Lucifer and Arrested Development. But alas, most shows don't get a shot at resurrection. Fans will always wonder what the characters would have done next if the show had just gotten a few more episodes to conclude its stories.

In many instances, the creators of the show know exactly what happens next — they just never get the chance to actually make it happen. All they can do is unveil their plans in interviews, at conventions, and on panels: A small comfort for fans, but a comfort nonetheless. From pregnancies to explosions, we're here to take a look at what would have happened next on these abruptly canceled shows.

Sleepy Hollow would've finished that kraken storyline

Sleepy Hollow, a supernatural television series that ran for four seasons between 2013 and 2017, is a loose adaptation of Washington Irving's legendarily spooky 1820 short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." While the show's fourth season wrapped things up pretty nicely, actress Janina Gavankar revealed in an interview that there were big plans for further seasons that never saw the light of day.

The series finale ends with a big reveal: A kraken, that legendary monster of the ocean depths. According to Gavankar, season five would have featured the beast in a major way. She stated, "Crane is off in DC. He's really found his footing. Jenny and he have found a new home there. He and Diana are going off strong, taking down a kraken, of all things!" The monster would have been a "big, big" part of the story, had further seasons been greenlit.

Gavankar discussed a few other story ideas that might have come to fruition as well, including the return of Diana's daughter. Despite the might-have-beens that hover over the series' end, Gavankar is proud of the work she did on the show, and grateful to have been part of such a beloved mythos. "Everywhere you looked, there was some badas** girl running around, taking down monsters," she remarked. "I loved that about that show and I hope many, many more follow suit."

Castle would've had to explain Stana Katic's absence

When Nathan Fillion is in your show, you can be reasonably certain it's going to develop a fervent fan base. While he's likely best known for his role on Firefly, he had a chance to be on a show that lasted more than one season with Castle. The comedy-drama series follows Richard Castle, a mystery novelist, and Kate Beckett, a homicide detective, as they solve unusual crimes, conquer Castle's writer's block, and eventually develop feelings for each other.

Castle ended its eight-season run in 2016. It was a rather abrupt cancellation, considering the show pulled in solid ratings. Plus, Fillion had already signed a deal to return for a ninth season. It seems as though the cancellation is all due to the departure of Stana Katic, who played Kate Beckett. Her exit didn't have to mean the show's end, however — in fact, a plot had been developed to cut her out of the picture while ensuring Castle's future. Allegedly, the plan was for Kate to survive the series finale's shootout. However, everyone close to her, including Castle, would believe she was dead. This would give her a reason to be absent from the series, but also give her the potential to return later if she wanted. Sadly, it just wasn't meant to be — the show simply got the ax. 

Constantine would've run into an old friend

John Constantine is a supernatural detective who deals with all things occult on a regular basis. Once a cult favorite DC Comics character, his NBC series, Constantine, introduced him to an all-new audience. Sadly, he never really got the chance to shine on the small screen, as the series was canceled after just 13 episodes

Showrunner Daniel Cerone already had a script for what Constantine's next adventure would have been, had the series been able to continue. The villain would have been a reanimated corpse that becomes a "meat cutter," a type of monster known for its chopped-up victims. The episode also would've seen Constantine hook up with Judith, an old friend with a punk rock aesthetic, a katana, and a steely attitude.

While we may never see this particular script come to life, fans didn't have to wait long to see Constantine again in live-action. He went on to become a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow, securing John Constantine as part of the CW's sprawling Arrowverse.

Dallas would've shown the aftermath of that car explosion

Dallas was a prime time soap opera than ran from 1978 until 1991, making it one of the longest-running shows of its kind. A revival, also called Dallas, debuted in 2012, but lasted significantly less time than its predecessor. After three seasons and 40 episodes, TNT canceled the series

As with all good soap operas, the show's third and final season ends on a major cliffhanger. Christopher Ewing, the series' protagonist, is apparently killed by a car bomb, completely taking fans by surprise. A fourth season would have picked up six months after the fatal explosion took place. The events of those six months would have been revealed through flashbacks, which would have culminated in Christopher's funeral. Plenty of other plotlines would have popped up throughout the season as well, including the reveal of the father of Elena's child. Tracey would have been a thorn in Ann's side while John Ross would have reconnected with his sister, only to realize how different she is from the woman he'd imagined her to be. There was no shortage of scandalous and surprising plot twists in the making — but there was a lack of interest from the network.

The Exorcist would have seen the priest get in touch with other faiths

The Exorcist ran from 2016 to 2017. It serves as a direct sequel to the iconic 1973 film of the same name. The series was canceled by Fox after two seasons, despite the fact that the show was bursting with storytelling promise — a fact series creator Jeremy Slater later made clear in a revealing interview.

Apparently, the third season would have seen Marcus attempt to locate Tomas and Mouse by using his connections in the religious underworld and going "outside the bounds of the Church." Fans were going to get a glimpse of how other faiths handle exorcisms, using "different terminology and different methodology" to "[fight] the same evil." Season three also would have used flashbacks to fill in certain gaps in the story. Specifically, flashbacks would address the final scene of season two, which takes place six months in the future. Filling audiences in on all that happened within that time was very much part of the plan.

It's hard not to be disappointed by the fact that none of these tantalizing story ideas ever came to be. But even with only two seasons, The Exorcist still managed to become a truly terrifying work of serialized horror.

God Friended Me would've continued exploring faith

God Friended Me lasted for two seasons on CBS, from 2018 to 2020. It tells the story of Miles Finer, an atheist podcast host who receives a friend request from God. God sends friend suggestions, catapulting Miles onto a spiritual journey to help those most in need.

The show's season two finale actually did pull off the ending the creators wanted, broadly speaking. The show ends with Miles ascending a Himalayan mountaintop to see who is, in fact, in control of God's account. He meets a young monk who knows his name, and tells him that "she" is waiting for him. Smiling, Miles and the monk leave to meet the mysterious master of the account. If the show had been allowed to continue, it would have had to follow Miles' individual growth. Eventually, though, it would have ended up in the same place: Miles on the mountaintop, waiting to meet whoever "God" truly is. "The spirit of the ending was always to put Miles in that position and put the audience in his point of view," executive producer Bryan Wynbrandt remarked. "Who is that person who is waiting for him? Is it God? Is it his mother? That was the journey we were going for, and we were able to get there sooner than we had hoped for." The show might have ended early, but its story still managed to land in its rightful place.

Hannibal would've explored the central relationship even more

Hannibal developed a fervent fanbase, and it's no secret as to how: It's a brilliant, queasy masterpiece of horror unlike anything else on TV, before or since. Accolades and word of mouth weren't enough to ensure the series' longevity, however: Hannibal was canceled after three seasons. Various campaigns have emerged to revive the show, but nothing has stuck so far. Thus, the fans have been left with a few precious morsels about what direction the series would have gone in. 

Executive producer Bryan Fuller has discussed potential ideas for a fourth season at length. Hannibal would have continued to explore the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter even further — a relationship that is difficult to define, in ways that made it the beating, bloody heart of the show. "There is love between these two men," Fuller remarked, "and confusion between these two men. We had to articulate it, and the idea for a [potential] season four was an interesting continuation of that, as well as a subversion of it at the same time." Fans of the "murder husbands" will just have to keep the faith and pray for a return of the show in all its gory glory.

Happy Endings would have gotten characters out of their comfort zones

Happy Endings chronicled the lives of a group of friends in Chicago with warm wittiness, earning it solid reviews. The network gave the series the ax, however, after three seasons. The show was apparently "too narrow" to be entirely representative of ABC's brand — a statement many have interpreted as meaning the show received poor ratings. Whatever killed the show, it certainly wasn't a lack of creative spark — the Happy Endings team had plenty of ideas for future episodes viewers will never get the chance to see.

Series creator David Caspe has talked about various storylines the show could have gotten into, had there been another season. Some ideas that were thrown out include Jane and Brad looking into getting new jobs and possibly starting a family. Alex would have gotten back into the dating scene. Dave, in the wake of his break-up, would have enjoyed more "serious" stories — possibly involving Penny.

Hope for a revival may not be extinguished. Actress Eliza Coupe told Us Weekly in 2020 that there were plans for a short revival at one point, but those discussions have stalled. According to Coupe, everyone in the cast would definitely be down to come back to give the series some closure — the stars just need to align.

Hawaii Five-0 would have shaken things up

Most shows would consider reaching 10 seasons a major triumph, and probably encompassing every story worth telling. However, Hawaii Five-0 still had gas in the tank when it was abruptly canceled in 2020, leaving fans behind with a two-hour series finale. 

What could fans have enjoyed in an eleventh season and beyond? The series finale actually contains moments that would have set up plotlines for season 11, written before the news of the series' cancellation hit. According to Hawaii Five-0's showrunner, Peter M. Lenkov, the series finale was supposed to set up a relationship between Junior and Tani that would have been explored in greater detail later on. The show would have also upgraded Lincoln Cole to a series regular, appearing more often to help check in on things. Moreover, Adam would have been visited by the Japanese Yakuza, who would have rescinded their protection following Kenji's set-up. All in all, It seems like the show wouldn't have slowed down in the slightest, had it not been canceled.

Kyle XY would have had the protagonist go public

Kyle XY, a sci-fi series about a mysterious boy lacking a belly button, who wakes up naked in a forest with total amnesia, aired on ABC Family in 2006. The show ran for three seasons before finally being axed by the network in 2009. As with most science fiction stories, there were still plenty of mysteries for Kyle XY to explore.

The show's producers went into detail regarding some of these unplumbed depths in a bonus feature on the third season's DVD. Future seasons would have included keeping Cassidy as Kyle's main antagonist, Kyle's struggles with his family, and, most intriguingly, Kyle's plans to go public. As he discovers over the course of the series, he is the result of extensive scientific experimentation — and that many clones of him exist. This would have set the stage for him to become a spiritual leader for ordinary people all over the globe. Alas, it was not to be.

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger would've seen the two heroes take more action

Many Marvel TV shows received grim news in 2019 when it was announced that pretty much every series was getting canceled. This included the popular Freeform Marvel series, Cloak & Dagger. Fortunately, it wouldn't be the last time fans had a chance to see the two young heroes in action: Cloak and Dagger make an appearance on the Hulu  series, Runaways. Still, the end had come — but not for lack of ideas.

Cloak & Dagger explores the titular characters' newfound powers, burgeoning relationship, and travels around the world. Season three would have seen them become more proactive, seeking out danger instead of waiting for it to come to them. Romance-minded fans who noted that the series ends with Cloak and Dagger holding hands would also have had stories to look forward to: While showrunner Joe Pokaski wouldn't say anything definitive about that moment, it seems as though a romance between the two would have blossomed in later seasons. At least there's always the comics.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager would've followed up on all those cliffhangers

The Secret Life of the American Teenager follows the story of 15-year old Amy, who must navigate high school and deal with being a pregnant teenager at the same time. The series was canceled after five seasons, but judging from the series finale, the creators still had plenty of ideas of what to do for future episodes. 

When we left Amy, she'd called off her wedding and was heading to New York for college. According to series creator Brenda Hampton, traveling to and from college to see John, her young son, would have become too stressful for Amy to handle. This would have led to John, Ricky, and Grandpa George moving into a New York apartment together, in order to make things easier for Amy. Meanwhile, Jack would have ended up marrying Madison, and Grace would also have ended up moving to New York to go to medical school. It would seem as though everyone ended up exactly where they needed to be ... even though nobody ever got to see it happen.