Created By: dentris on June 12, 2012 Last Edited By: dentris on July 27, 2013

Alternate Twistory

The work of fiction appears to be historical in nature, but the plot twist at the end actually derives into Alternate History

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The work of fiction appears to be historical in nature, but the plot twist at the end actually derives into Alternate History. This is the important part: if the story is clearly not historically accurate, this is not this trope.

Since this is a plot twist trope, expect unmarked spoilers.

Examples

Comic Books
  • In an odd example, the old [DC Universe DC Multiverse]] started out with Earth-1 (the Silver Age) and Earth-2 (the Golden Age) as basically exact duplicates of the real world timeline for major historical events, but with added superheroes. Later on, though, writers introduced casual historical divergences in stories set on Earth-2, such as a single panel rather pointlessly revealing that its South Africa had ended apartheid in the 1970s. At the time the story was published, this hadn't happened in the real world or on Earth-1.

Live Action TV
  • Blackadder did this occasionally. In one episode, Baldrick accidentally burns the manuscript of Dr Johnson's dictionary, realises he's actually burnt something else, then ends up deliberately burning the real manuscript anyway. In fact, every series of Blackadder uses this, usually in the finale, as a major plot point.
    • The first episode of ''Blackadder' starts out as a humorous version of the Battle of Bosworth field, but then has Richard III actually win only to die when the title character accidentally kills him. The finale of the first season then explains how the historical record we have was actually created.
    • The second Season Finale has a tag in which the evil Prince Ludwig returns and kills the entire cast, including Queen Elizabeth, and then rules England for the rest of Elizabeth's recorded reign while disguised as her.
    • Blackadder III ends with Edmund Blackadder replacing the now-dead Prince Regent, George IV, The imposture is aided greatly by the madness of George III and the episode's successful Zany Scheme to deceive the Duke of Wellington.
    • Blackadder Goes Forth shockingly ends by averting the twist from previous seasons after teasing it. For a moment, it looks as if the cast are to be spared, because the First World War has ended. Then Percy gives the date, a year before the actual armistice, and the viewer realizes that no twist is coming. instead, the characters are all killed when they are sent "over the top."

Film
  • In the film Inglourious Basterds, we're led to believe that the Basterds' attack on the Nazi high command, including Adolf Hitler, will ultimately fail, because in the actual historical record, Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Germany. But in the climax of the movie, Omar and Donny ultimately kill both Hitler and Goebbels as the theater burns down.
  • An in-universe example in Star Trek: Enterprise: one episode begins with a flashback to the scene in First Contact where a Vulcan spaceship first lands on earth. However, instead of the peaceful greeting that happened in the film, the humans shoot the Vulcan and storm the ship. The episode is set in the Mirror Universe.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • June 12, 2012
    Duncan
    Since this is a plot twist trope, expect unmarked spoilers.

    Nation has this. Hinted at throughout, but never clearly stated till the end.
  • June 12, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Unmarked spoilers in the article are one thing; unmarked spoilers in the title are another. I hadn't seen Inglorious Basterds. Bah.

    History Twist? Twistory?

    Series/Blackadder did this occasionally. In one episode, Baldrick accidentally burns the manuscript of Dr Johnson's dictionary, realises he's actually burnt something else, then ends up deliberately burning the real manuscript anyway.
  • June 12, 2012
    TompaDompa
    I would suggest calling it Alternate Twistory; that way, we can use Twistory for a plot twist that reveals something to be part of history (such as Remember Me).
  • June 12, 2012
    OmarKarindu
    Suddenly Alternate History? Alternate History Twist Ending?

    Comic Books
    • In an odd example, the old [DC Universe DC Multiverse]] started out with Earth-1 (the Silver Age) and Earth-2 (the Golden Age) as basically exact duplicates of the real world timeline for major historical events, but with added superheroes. Later on, though, writers introduced casual historical divergences in stories set on Earth-2, such as a single panel rather pointlessly revealing that its South Africa had ended apartheid in the 1970s. At the time the story was published, this hadn't happened in the real world or on Earth-1.

    Live Action TV
    • Blackadder did this occasionally. In one episode, Baldrick accidentally burns the manuscript of Dr Johnson's dictionary, realises he's actually burnt something else, then ends up deliberately burning the real manuscript anyway. In fact, every series of Blackadder uses this, usually in the finale, as a major plot point. (Just formatting your suggestion and expanding on some sub-examples, robinjohnson. Hope you aren't offended. Blackadder really plays with this trope.)
      • The first episode of ''Blackadder' starts out as a humorous version of the Battle of Bosworth field, but then has Richard III actually win only to die when the title character accidentally kills him. The finale of the first season then explains how the historical record we have was actually created.
      • The second Season Finale has a tag in which the evil Prince Ludwig returns and kills the entire cast, including Queen Elizabeth, and then rules England for the rest of Elizabeth's recorded reign while disguised as her.
      • Blackadder III ends with Edmund Blackadder replacing the now-dead Prince Regent, George IV, The imposture is aided greatly by the madness of George III and the episode's successful Zany Scheme to deceive the Duke of Wellington.
      • Blackadder Goes Forth shockingly ends by averting the twist from previous seasons after teasing it. For a moment, it looks as if the cast are to be spared, because the First World War has ended. Then Percy gives the date, a year before the actual armistice, and the viewer realizes that no twist is coming. instead, the characters are all killed when they are sent "over the top."

  • June 12, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Film
    • In the film Inglourious Basterds, we're led to believe that the Basterds' attack on the Nazi high command, including Adolf Hitler, will ultimately fail, because in the actual historical record, Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Germany. But in the climax of the movie, Omar and Donny ultimately kill both Hitler and Goebbels as the theater burns down.
  • June 12, 2012
    Earnest
  • June 12, 2012
    MorganWick
    Arg, more Copy And Paste Examples. We don't need the message to robinjohnson to be in the actual draft.
  • June 13, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • An in-universe example in Star Trek: Enterprise: one episode begins with a flashback to the scene in First Contact where a Vulcan spaceship first lands on earth. However, instead of the peaceful greeting that happened in the film, the humans shoot the Vulcan and storm the ship. The episode is set in the Mirror Universe.
  • June 13, 2012
    arromdee
    The first episode of Blackadder' starts out as a humorous version of the Battle of Bosworth field, but then has Richard III actually win only to die when the title character accidentally kills him. The finale of the first season then explains how the historical record we have was actually created. ''

    If in the world of the story a historical event didn't happen as it did in the real world, but they explain that the records are just like in the real world, I don't think this is an alternate history at all, it's more like a Secret History. So it shouldn't be eligible for the trope.
  • June 13, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • The game Bioshock, which takes place during The Sixties, is set in a city that was built in The Forties...yet features technology ahead of what we even have currently. During the game it's hand-waved that the advanced technology was developed and lost within the city (meaning no contradiction with real history). However, the ending Bioshock 2 to shows a powerful character with advanced biotechnology escaping out into the world, revealing the game to be an alternate history.
      • Furthermore, the "bad" ending of the game shows that character planning to take over the world, and with their power, they're fully capable of doing just that.

    • The end of the fourth IndianaJones movie shows a very-blatantly revealed alien spaceship.
  • June 13, 2012
    Koveras
    • The first Modern Warfare looked rather plausible within the context of then-current global politics. However, with part two, the series veered far off into Alternate History.
  • June 14, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • July 27, 2013
    TompaDompa
    • The Eagle Has Landed is a subversion. The Germans manage to kill Churchill, who then turns out to have been a decoy, and the real one wasn't even in the country.
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