It's a fact that many franchises, especially Long Runners
, are not entirely written and produced by a single creator. Eventually, a franchise might find itself being run by new people.
Fear of this happening to their franchise by the original creator may lead said creator to Torch the Franchise and Run
. They write one last story that wrecks everything so much that it'd be difficult (if not impossible) to return to the status quo or main premise of the show.
Occasionally, however, the reverse can happen. The previous creators leave, and one of the first things the new
creators do is to write a story that wrecks everything. They kill off many of the characters, they trash the setting, and they alter the basic premise. They make all the characters' lives a living hell before killing many of them. They make sure that those who aren't dead have no way of returning to the status quo or the main premise of the show.
This is done so that the new creators can then re-create the franchise in their own image. They will bring in new characters, and begin with a new premise. They're not particularly concerned that many of the fans will be outraged at seeing their favorite characters get bridges dropped on them
and the series generally being altered beyond recognition. They figure that new fans will come along to replace those who've been alienated.
Fan backlash can cause this to backfire, especially if the old version's fans are vocal enough and refuse to follow the new version, and the new version doesn't have enough of a following to make the torching worth it in the long run. This will almost certainly lead to Fanon Discontinuity
Like Torch the Franchise and Run
, it doesn't always work. If the changes prove unpopular enough, they might be undone anyway, causing the creators (or the new creators who replace them
) to jump through all sorts of hoops to repair all the damage. If editors or publishers want it undone badly enough, they'll find a way to push the Reset Button
or otherwise retcon the whole thing.
- Avengers Disassembled. Brian Michael Bendis took over the Avengers titles at Marvel, and one of the first things he did was Avengers Disassembled. In this story, Hawkeye, the Vision, and the second Ant-Man were killed off, Avengers Mansion was destroyed, the Scarlet Witch went insane, and the Avengers as they were before disbanded. They were replaced by an almost completely different team.
- New X-Men, formerly New X-Men:Academy X, started out as a series about young mutants being taught by the X-Men at Xavier's School, while dealing with their own personal problems and conflicts with the other characters. But then the editorially-mandated House of M/Decimation happened, depowering most of the mutants in the Marvel Universe and banishing several potential stories to What Could Have Been Land. The original creative team was booted from the book, replaced by a new creative team. The new creative team teased us that most of the now-depowered mutant characters would only be Put on a Bus, thus leaving things open for them to return. Instead, some were literally put on a bus ... and then the bus blew up, killing them all. And then two of the main characters from the series were killed in similiarly mean-spirited ways, to make it clear that the series had been more or less irrevocably changed from being about a mutant school to being a violent action series where Anyone Can Die.
- The most notorious example in comic books would be Emerald Twilight, where, under a new editor and a new writer, Green Lantern Hal Jordan went crazy, brutally beat and maimed several fellow Green Lanterns (and directly KILLED one of his closest friends in the Corps), killed most of the Guardians, and de-powered all Green Lanterns outside himself. The last surviving Guardian Ganthet then gave a power ring to a completely new character, Kyle Rayner. This outraged many fans, who came up with all sorts of possible retcons to explain away Hal Jordan's Face-Heel Turn. It was not until many years later, under a different editorial regime, that Hal Jordan's actions were revealed to have been caused by 'a yellow fear monster', and the Green Lantern Corps were restored.
- This was attempted by one of the writers of Novas Aventuras de Megaman, but in the end was averted. One of the writers created the character Princess in an attempt to kill everyone there and use it to make it her own series. Thankfully, someone caught him before it could happen and Princess was Put on a Bus.