Created By: Anura on November 12, 2016 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 22, 2017

Apocrypha

Not canon, but not pure fanon either.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
An extension of the use of biblical canon as a metaphor, apocrypha is that which is not truly part of the Canon, but is nonetheless useful information for fans of the subject, and are valid when used to support an argument. What is canon and what is apocrypha (and for that matter what is just Fanon) can be a hard line to draw; subscribers to the Death of the Author theory would discount as canon everything that is not in a primary source (i.e. the finished work as presented), and declare any Word of God or secondary sources, even author-approved ones, to be apocrypha. Others may consider Word of God to be just as canon as the work itself, and only start calling apocrypha at Word of Saint Paul. Word of Dante adds another complication; if a lot of people accept something as essentially canon it could potentially be regarded as Apocrypha, although others would say that because God Never Said That it is, and can only be, fanon.

Some works, such as the old Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends), adopted a model of "tiered canon". The work itself is always considered "top level" canon, sometimes including Word of God in there as well, and then working its way down through various types of secondary and tertiary sources. Anything within a work is considered canon unless it is contradicted by something in a higher tier. Thus, all tiers below the first would be considered apocrypha with regards to any tiers above them, and canon to those below.

Super Trope to Word of God, Word of Saint Paul and Word of Dante, Expanded Universe, Dummied Out and Deleted Scene, and all adaptation tropes such as Novelization and Licensed Game (since an adaptation is Apocrypha to the original work). Related to Death of the Author.


Examples

Comic Books
  • Don Rosa originally wanted to do a prologue to The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck that would show the whole history of the Clan McDuck. His editor had it cut while it was still in sketch form, and Don has since changed a few things, making the sketched pages not quite fit with his timeline anymore. However, they are still considered a "semi-official" source in the Disney comics fandom.

Film

Mythology
  • The Apocrypha or the Deuterocanon The Bible is the Trope Namer for this, although in the Catholic Bible, some books such as Tobit, Judith, and the Maccabees are considered canon.

Literature
  • Opinion is divided as to the status of Discworld ephemera such as the yearly Diaries and Guild yearbooks: some fans see it as canonical and others as merely optional.

Live-Action TV
  • Memory Alpha, the fan-run wiki for Star Trek, uses this term as a section header for information on canon items' appearances in Expanded Universe materials (e.g. Pocket Books' novels and Star Trek Online), which IP owners CBS and Paramount do not consider canon. The wiki for those materials, Memory Beta, in turn uses it for a group of Tabletop RPG supplements that were in the process of being published by Last Unicorn Games when they lost their Star Trek license.

Tabletop Games
  • Warhammer 40K: It is heavily hinted that the Omnissiah worshipped by the Adeptus Mechanicus on Mars is the C'tan Void Dragon, trapped there after its defeat by the Emperor (incidentally giving rise to the legend of Saint George and the Dragon). Fans go right ahead and make the higher-ups perfectly aware of this, deliberately sending Mechanicus expeditions to their doom to wake up more Necron tomb worlds.

Video Games
  • In Pokémon games, the names for the protagonists used in promotional material are never official, and the Canon Name for each playable character is only revealed when you meet them as an NPC while playing as the opposite gender. However, in Pokémon Sun and Moon the opposite-gender character never appears, so the promotional placeholder names of "Elio" and "Selene" are considered to be the closest to canon we have.

Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • November 12, 2016
    MonaNaito
    Presumably this would also be the super trope to Word Of Dante?
  • November 12, 2016
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: It is heavily hinted that the Omnissiah worshipped by the Adeptus Mechanicus on Mars is the C'tan Void Dragon, trapped there after its defeat by the Emperor (incidentally giving rise to the legend of Saint George and the Dragon). Fans go right ahead and make the higher-ups perfectly aware of this, deliberately sending Mechanicus expeditions to their doom to wake up more Necron tomb worlds.
  • November 13, 2016
    alnair20aug93
    The Apocrypha or the Deuterocanon The Bible is the Trope Namer for this, although in the Catholic Bible, some books such as Tobit, Judith, and the Maccabees are considered canon.
  • November 20, 2016
    ScroogeMacDuck
    • Don Rosa originally wanted to do a prologue to The Life And Times Of Scrooge Mc Duck that would show the whole history of the Clan Mc Duck. His editor had it cut while it was still in sketch form, and Don has since changed a few things, making the sketched pages not quite fit with his timeline anymore. However, they are still considered a "semi-official" source in the Disney comics fandom.
  • November 21, 2016
    IniuriaTalis
    • In Pokemon games, the names for the protagonists used in promotional material are never official, and the Canon Name for each playable character is only revealed when you meet them as an NPC while playing as the opposite gender. However, in Pokemon Sun And Moon the opposite-gender character never appears, so the promotional placeholder names of "Elio" and "Selene" are considered to be the closest to canon we have.
  • November 25, 2016
    AgProv
    Opinion is divided as to the status of Discworld ephemera such as the yearly Diaries and Guild yearbooks: some fans see it as canonical and others as merely optional.
  • November 21, 2016
    StarSword
    Web Original:
  • November 21, 2016
    Aubren
    Does the human form of Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls), as created by Alex Hirsch, count?
  • January 16, 2017
    Anura
    I've added the examples. Having seen that we use Word of Dante to mean Deuterocanon, I'm wondering whether this might be more applicable. What do you guys think?
  • March 19, 2017
    Getta
    • The existence of "Alpha-01 -A-Pocalypse" in Blaz Blue is attributed to this. She's a character created by Mori Toshimichi (the producer) himself, who looks like a fusion of Ragna and Nu-13. This character never appears in the story, only in Mori's twitter account (where he makes concept arts) and the Calamity Trigger Material Book where she first "appeared". The Stinger for the final game, however, teases about this.
  • March 19, 2017
    Chabal2
    Berserk: One published chapter was later removed as the author felt it revealed too much too early. In it, Griffith meets the Idea of Evil, the master of the God Hand and the entity responsible for Berserk being such a Crapsack World, who explains that it exists because humans desperately want something to be be the cause of all their suffering, and it responds by making the world a worse place.
  • March 20, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Bump.
  • March 22, 2017
    Chabal2
    • Touhou canon tends to be very vague, especially since fanwork proliferates to the point where fan portrayals are usually taken as canon (and Word Of God officially denying one aspect does nothing to prevent the fan-preferred version).
      • Maribel Hearn is a girl with a striking resemblance to the near-omnipotent Time Abyss and Reality Warper youkai Yukari Yakumo, with the ability to see boundaries (while Yukari can do whatever the hell she feels like doing with them). While most fans assume Maribel is a younger Yukari, the creator's answer was "How should I say this? In the past, there was this Lafcadio Hearn....Don't think too much about this." Hearn was an Irishman who took on Japanese citizenship under the name Koizumi Yakumo, famous for collecting Japanese ghost stories.
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