Created By: PaulA on November 12, 2012 Last Edited By: PaulA on August 15, 2017

Meta Sequel

In the world of the sequel, the original is only fiction.

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Usually, a sequel shows what happened next in the world of the original work. This trope is when a sequel or spinoff shows what happened next in a world where the original work is only fiction.

A common aspect is that although the sequel is generally constrained to be the same genre as the original (otherwise, why make it a sequel?), setting it in a different world allows the creators to go as Broad Strokes as they like, and play with things not working according to the rules viewers would expect from the original.

May include an invocation of The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You, especially if it's in the horror genre.

Compare Recursive Canon, where an earlier work in the series is real but also has a fictional work based on it.




Comic Books
  • The Flash (1950s reboot): The Flash is only a comic book. A fan of the comic book gains similar powers in a Freak Lab Accident, and decides to base his superhero identity on the comic book character.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • November 12, 2012
    Would this include sequels which are set a long time after the original to the point it's considered a legend?
  • November 12, 2012
    • The third Digimon series, Digimon Tamers, is one of these. It's set in a world where Digimon exists as a computer game and card game and then become real.

    (although if someone else could elaborate on how this relates to the previous two cartoons... I don't remember.)
  • November 12, 2012
    ^ Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 were nothing more than cartoons in the world of Digimon Tamers. This idea was never worked into the original Japanese version of the show, but made it into the American dub (such as some boys comparing Rika to Kari).
  • November 12, 2012
    A rather ambiguous example, but...

    • The protagonist of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni once or twice quotes "his favorite novel, Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni", which is the first part of the When They Cry series. However, some elements seem to indicate that the events of Higurashi really did happen. So like... pretty much everything in the series, it's up to the reader to decide whether Higurashi was real or if it was a novel in the world of Umineko.
  • November 12, 2012
    • In the play A Madhouse in Goa by Martin Sherman, the second act reveals that the first act was a fictionalized account of events written by a character in the second act; in the second act a Corrupt Corporate Executive wants to make the story into a movie musical. (Production notes say that the first act may be performed separately, under a different name).
  • November 12, 2012
    What I'm aiming for is "only fiction" -- not "true, but so long ago everyone thinks it's just a legend", nor "a fiction based on true events". I think we already have trope pages for those, anyway.
  • November 12, 2012
    Macross Do You Remember Love is considered a movie in the main Macross series continuity.
  • November 12, 2012
    I believe the third Halloween film had one of the characters watch the first one in order to find out how to stop those commercials that would eventually doom the world. Don't quote me on this, though.
  • November 14, 2012
    @PaulA: The trope page you may be looking for is Recursive Canon. The examples for this should not duplicate that trope.
  • December 26, 2012
    In Return Of The Living Dead, Night Of The Living Dead was Very Loosely Based On A True Story, with many facts changed in order to facilitate the Cover Up.