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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Ununnilium: So why is that an exception?

Janitor: pulled this out, because it really doesn't illustrate anything about a ret-con. Calls for one, maybe...

  • Exception: 24 , "Episode 1.23". This first season episode caused fans to question why, after it is revealed that she has been working for the main enemy (the Drazen brothers) all along, she would be almost assassinated by Ira Gaines in the early part of the season. The plausible explanation is that Gaines never had any idea what Myers' true allegiances were, and simply saw her as a distraction.

  • Star Trek: Voyager: This is a correction, although I'll let a regular contributor edit the actual page. Tim Russ did not appear in Star Trek VI as a Vulcan OR Human, so there was no Ret Con in "Flashback." Tim Russ in fact appeared as a Human in Star Trek Generations (a.k.a. Star Trek VII). His character appeared the bridge of an Excelsior-class starship, which is where the confusion has likely occurred. This would in fact be an example of a You Look Familiar. (Tim Russ also guested in Star Trek: The Next Generation as a human terrorist/smuggler in "Starship Mine." In other trivia, Russ was considered to play the TNG regular role of Geordi La Forge, which was given to Levar Burton.)

Tanto: Ugh, those Warcraft paragraphs give me a headache. I started to clean 'em up, but gave up halfway through.

Charred Knight: Is it my bad grammar or was it the sheer size of the thing? The grammar needs to be worked on, but if its the size I will just explain that Warcraft's lore is a complete mess, and that's why I wrote it like I did.
Was the glowing spine ever established as happening to male-form Cylons? Also, did the crew ever actually learn about it. —Document N


I cut out this:

  • One of the worst video game ret cons in recent years occurs in Mega Man Zero 4. In this ret con, everything that occured after the Copy X fight in Mega Man Zero 3 never happened and Weil rose to power unopposed. This creates several conflicts with the continuity, such as Weil rising to power without Omega (as stated in MMZ 3, he was powerless without him and the Dark Elf) and the lack of opposition by the guardians, who hated Weil (Harpuia hated him the most). Ironically, Mega Man Zero 3 suffers from Nightmare on Elm Street syndrome since Inafune intended Zero 3 to be the final chapter in the series, as seen with every plot hole in the previous games being fully resolved by the end, but Capcom decided for another game anyway.

Wow. I don't know how anyone could possibly think this. Seriously, this isn't one of those hot-spots of interpretation that every series has, it's just craziness. If you watched the end of Star Wars and said "well CLEARLY Luke Skywalker is Darth Vader's mother," you'd still have a better understanding of SW than this person does of MMZ.

I'm cutting the bit addition at the end too:

  • Speaking of bad Mega Man retcons, Mega Man ZX Advent ret cons the story of how Model W was created, claiming that the villain from ZX Advent created model W as opposed to Weil creating it after Mega Man Zero 4.

It's still drastically wrong, but not quite as ridiculous. Close, though.


fleb: Cut the Lost example, because no, Ben the Manipulative Bastard lying does not "smack" of a Retcon anymore than his reveal as King of the Others, plus the setup and reveal both happened in season 3—and I'm pretty sure they plan important things like that in advance.
Qit el-Remel: Good, someone nuked the Wrath spoilers.
HeartBurn Kid: Moving this here before the Natter and Justifying Edits consume us all:

Genesis Chapter One
God creates man and woman on the sixth day, then rests on the seventh. Genesis Chapter Two: God rests on the seventh day, then goes and makes Adam a mate from his rib. Thus, it's Older Than Dirt.
  • Also, in Genesis, "God created man ... male and female he created them" on the Fourth Day. But, it was after the Seventh Day that God created Adam, and even later that He created Eve. This contributor interprets this to be that God created humans on the Fourth Day, but created the Jewish people with Adam and Eve. Some people interpret this to mean that the events that happened to Adam happened on the Fourth through Seventh Days. Most people simply ignore it, or never notice it.
  • An alternate explanation which apparently appears in the Talmud (and an issue of "The Sandman") is that the first woman mentioned is in fact Lilith, not Eve, who was thrown out of the Garden for wanting equality. Then another woman as made for Adam, but he saw her being fashioned from the inside out, and he was disgusted. Then God put Adam to sleep and made Eve out of his rib. It's quite a Retcon, all in all.
  • Again in Genesis, along with the more familiar "Two by Two" bit of loading animals in Noah's Ark, other passages instead have at least some animals loaded in groups of seven.
    • Averted: "Unclean" animals were brought in two by two, others were brought in between 4 and 8 depending on the animal.
    • In some places, it specified "two of unclean animals, between 4 and 8 of clean ones," in other places it specifies "two of all animals, no exceptions." So still a Retcon.
  • Biblical scholars have generally accepted that there were at least 4 "writers" (or groups of writers) of the Old Testament, all of whom had different agendas and backgrounds, which led to assorted retcons such as the two creation stories. A similar thing happened in the New Testament with the Gospels, leading to different stories about Jesus such as the two totally different genealogies which claim his descent from David.
    • A commonly-accepted interpretation for the latter is that one details his descent from Joseph's side of the family while the other details it from Mary's.
    • Except that Mary wasn't of David's genealogy, at all. Which incidentally is a bit troublesome for the whole Messiah-prophecy, since Joseph only fulfilled the duty of a divine cucold.
    • Both genealogies have David in... unless you were referring to another Mary.
  • There is nothing that says that Adam was made on the 4th day. Also, some commentators say that the Bible isn't meant as a history book, it is meant as a guide to live our lives. Thus, it isn't always in chronological order, it is thematic order. Also, the loading animals, it was 2 for each non-kosher animal, 7 for each kosher animal, so they could make ritual sacrifices without dooming an entire species to extinction.
  • This troper has never been able to understand why this passage would confuse anyone. The opening narrative of Genesis broadly describes the seven-day creation, and the following text goes back to give a far more detailed account concerning Man. Is it really that baffling, considering we're capable of watching Memento without confusion? (And "fourth day?" What?)
  • Oh, absolutely, considering that the two chapters give two different time frames for when Man was first created. And I have no idea where that guy back there is getting the "fourth day" stuff either. It's clearly the sixth day. It says right there in the text it's the sixth day.


KJMackley: I pulled this out of the Smallville example because while the show has plenty of its own shares of problems, the example was ranting about hair color as a retcon. I cleaned it up with a more solid example from the disasterous season 7.
  • For example, Lex Luthor's mother was established quite a clearly as a redhead - which would make sense, as it's highly unlikely Lex got his red hair from two brunette parents. This character trait was enforced to the extent that, during the first few seasons, the producers were going around explaining that Lionel had a "thing" for Martha Kent because Martha was a redhead, and Lillian Luthor was a redhead... But then in "Bound" this was retconned into Lex's mother being a tall brunette for the sake of the plot, which turned really confusing as, several episodes later in "Lexmas," she was a redhead again. Theories are that the description of Lex's mother as a brunette were made to keep viewers from jumping to Clark as the focus of Lex's misguided affections in the "Bound" episode.
    • It didn't work.
    • Oh come on, This is easily explianed with a little thing called hair dye.


I recall there are two types of retcon mentioned in the Usenet newsgroups (circa 1992):

Soft Retcon: New information is revealed about an event that already occurred, changing how the original story could be interpreted. An example would be Kurt Busiek's retelling of Spider-man's origin in "Untold Tales of Spider-man". Mary Jane had already revealed to Peter Parker she knew he was Spider-man during the "Alien Costume" arc, printed years earlier. However, Busiek included a scene where MJ saw Peter change into Spider-man on the same night Uncle Ben was shot, establishing she had known he was Spider-man from the very start of his crime-fighting career, even before having been properly introduced to him by their aunts. The origin itself is still basically intact, as told in 1965. Characters admitting they lied about something are also common, but these affect events that were never depicted in print. The point is there is no in-print paper trail to get the writer in trouble.

Hard Retcon: Throw out your old issues, the story as originally told is now wrong. New information is revealed that directly contradicts a previous issue, altering or even invalidating it. The important thing is the evidence is there, in-print. This can happen in-continuity, for various reasons. A character admits to lying about something the characters and reader had long accepted as true, even though the reader saw it with their own eyes. Time travel changes the way events had originally occurred. A god or powerful character alters reality. Spider-man "One More Day" had the demon Mephisto change 20 years of printed Spider-man stories at the snap of his finger. However, the most egregious examples occur out of continuity. A major change occurs that only the reader notices. However, all the characters, and even the writer, act like the new status quo has always been there, forcing the reader to except a bizarre, Orwellian form of Double-Think to enjoy the story. The most visible example would be Marvel's sliding time scale, which retcons important events to keep the characters contemporary. For example, Punisher was retconned into being a Gulf War vet, even though, according to the issue that introduced him and several flashbacks, he had originally served in Vietnam.

Document N: A 1992 Usenet post made reference to One More Day?


HeartBurn Kid: Cut due to Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment:

  • The whole idea of classifying fascism (and Nazism in particular) as being a "far-right" philosophy is one massive historical retcon. Hitler and Mussolini's policies promoting socialism, environmentalism, vegetarianism, anti-smoking campaigns, abortion and euthanasia of the sick and elderly would be much more associated with the left side side of the modern political spectrum. Many progressives in America and elsewhere applauded the rise of fascism in Europe and Hitler got at least some of his ideas about eugenics from the American Left. It was only when fascism became unpopular that the "far right" description was tacked on. So the next time you hear someone call someone call George W. Bush a fascist, you can correct them.

ninjacrat: Just when you think Wacky America couldn't get any wackier...

Danel: It returned, and I deleted it once again. The clue is kind of the name - Nazism, or National Socialism, is a crazy mix of populist ideas from all over the political spectrum.

  • Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan begins with Chekov claiming that "Kirk showed Khan hospitality," which Khan supposedly "repaid by trying to steal Kirk's ship and murder him," and calling Khan a "criminal" who had been marooned on the planet. In the original episode Space Seed, the events were not so simplistic: Rather, Khan was a very complex character who represented strong, pragmatic rulers from Earth history, but who was phsycially evolved to superiority; meanwhile Kirk was more of a socially-evolved human. Out of fear of this, Kirk held Khan as prisoner, long before Khan tried to commandeer the ship; likewise, Khan did not try to "murder" Kirk, but was simply using him as a hostage to recruit Kirk's crew, and would spare Kirk's life if a single crew-member joined him— the fact that they didn't, simply proved that while Man himself did not change, Mankind had advanced quite a bit. Finally, Khan was not trying to steal the ship per se or "murder" Kirk, but was mounting a revolution, and was seeking followers; Khan simply felt that mankind had failed as a race by becoming weak and stagnant, and o he was trying to save humanity. In the end, Kirk did not "exile" Khan on the planet of Ceti Alpha V, but rather dropped all charges in order to grant Khan his original wish: a new world of his own to rule. In short, Khan was a Worthy Opponent / complex Retro stereotype of Earth's violent and competitive history, presented as a foil to Kirk's more evolved example against the 20th century Neitzchean "Man vs. Superman." In contrast, movie-Khan became a one-dimensional Big Bad Vengeance-trope; and so the events of Space Seed were Ret Conned in order to suit this plot.
    • Not to mention Chekov wasn't even there at the time (he was introduced in the second season). Maybe that's why he's a bit hazy on the details...
      • Chekhov might have been on the Enterprise, just not on the Bridge Crew. A joke at conventions is that Chekhov and Khan met in the bathroom on board the Enterprise.
      • Chekov could have easily been assigned to the Enterprise before "Space Seed;" the Enterprise is a big ship, with over 400 people onboard: so it would be easy for a starting-Ensign to be onboard, without being seen in the few places of the ship shown after "Space Seed."
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  • This was glaring because prior to the reveal at the end of Empire Strikes Back, Vader did not appear to be aware he was a Skywalker himself whenever the name was mentioned.
    • Um, when did Vader ever hear the name Skywalker mentioned when he was in a place that he could react appropriately to it? (As in, not surrounded by Imperial officers who don't need to know that?)
      • When he was talking to the Emperor by hologram in private in his secret chamber. You know, when he had the huge hologram head. The Emperor mentions the "son of Skywalker." While later sources have established that the Emperor does this to screw with Vader's head and/or remind him to forget his past (if that makes sense), it originally seemed like the Emperor wasn't aware that Vader was the same person as Luke's father.
      • George Lucas has stated many times the the basic familial relationship (Vader-Luke-Leia) had been there from the very beginning. If you look at Episode IV, when Luke asks Obi-Wan how his father died, Obi-Wan gives a bit of an "er..." look as if trying to think of some lie Jedi Truth to tell him.
  • At the end of The Lion King there is a cub. The cub was originally meant to be male, many sources state so. While making the sequel, they planned twin cubs. They eventually chose to change the cub to female, and Kiara was born. However, that still doesn't explain the differences. Disney says the cub at the end of the movie was Kopa, but most fans don't believe that.

Okay, for the Star Wars one, it's talking about two scenes from the same movie, so that wouldn't be a Retcon. Taking it at total face value, as Lucas not catching the inconsistency, it'd be a Plot Hole. However, I don't think it's even that: it's been twenty years, Palpatine assumes Vader has buried his former identity as Anakin once and for all, and expects him to react to "Anakin had a son, and I'm sending you to kill him" with detatched obedience. And the way Vader brings up "if he could be turned" and the Emperor agreeing could definitely be seen as Vader offering an understated Take Me Instead choice to save Luke, and Palpatine agreeing.

As for the second one, while many "sources" may have said so, the movie itself never offered any hint of the cub's name or gender; there's no real Retcon going on, just a Flip Flop of God.
  • That is a retcon: i.e. a change of a fact after it's published