Gundam Wing wrapped up its run on Japanese television in March of 1996, bowing out amid big explosions, memorable quotes, and a whole lot of death. And for a time it seemed like that would be the end of Wing’s alternate universe. The next spinoff series, After War Gundam X, was scheduled to hit airwaves the next month. But reception of the series had been good, model kit sales were strong, and Bandai sensed that the Wing cash cow was still alive and kicking. So less than a year later, in January of 1997, the series got a combination sequel/prequel in the form of Endless Waltz. Originally released as a three-episode miniseries, Endless Waltz provided additional backstory on the five main pilots and also introduced a new conflict in the form of Mariemaia Khushrenada, the illegitimate daughter of the TV series’ main villain.
In 1994, the Gundam metaverse got a new lease on life with Mobile Fighter G Gundam – the first time an installment in the super-robot franchise deviated from the universe established in the 1979 original, Mobile Suit Gundam. The series took the venerable Gundam name and turned it on its head. G Gundam centered on gladitatorial bravado instead of political intrigue, and showcased mechs with names like ‘Tequila Gundam’. The series was a hit in Japan, and sparked a transition from the UC (Universal Century – the timeline for the original Gundam show) to self-contained ‘spinoff’ universes connected by only one thread: big stompy robots. After G Gundam came Gundam Wing, Turn A Gundam, Gundam X, Gundam Seed, and most recently Gundam 00. But only one of those series ever made it big in the United States, and that series is Gundam Wing.