Created By: PrimoVictoria on January 29, 2012 Last Edited By: Halen on July 20, 2013

Schizo Continuity

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When two or more works, be they books, movies or comics or two completely different media altogether, exist in Shared Universe or Expanded Universe, you are expecting them to be bound to the rules that come with this fact - when something big, involving all known worlds happens, you are expecting this event to be referred to in several titles. For example, when somebody dies in one work, he wouldn't appear in another, and internal rules like magic apply no matter which work you are reading, watching, playing, or listening to.

Well, this isn't always the case. Maybe the writer decided that Canon Welding was a bad idea in retrospect. Or he/she didn't want to feel limited by what happened in another title. As well as the possibility of the writer wanting to take the works in a different direction, or that the writer was afraid being too continuity-heavy would discourage assorted potential readers. Whatever the reason may have been, the writer doesn't really act like the titles currently are in one continuity.

In order to avoid several kinds of problems that could come from not sticking to one continuity, some writers may decide to announce that two or more works are still in continuity and are not, From a Certain Point of View.

There are a few varieties of this trope:
  • One-Sided Continuity: Work A is in continuity with Work B, but Work B is not in continuity with Work A. So works from one title are still canonical and its characters may show up in the other, but not the opposite. It might be explained that characters from Work A exist in their own, separated world, and Work B is an Alternate Universe, where their counterparts exist, but their adventures may go different ways and they may meet characters that may not even exist in title they originate from.
    • Alternate Timeline Continuity: Work A was always in Alternate Continuity for Work B, but the timelines were identical until a certain point, at which point they diverged. Sub-Variant of One-Sided Continuity, chances are, this will be used either when two or more titles start going in two or more different ways, or in case at least one of them is set in a different time from others. Going from this, it would be that one or more of the works happening later on the timeline are a possible future and things don't have to turn out like they did in it.
  • Bait-And-Switch Continuity: Work A and Work B don't take place in one continuity, unless said otherwise. In other words, two titles have their own, separate settings, but whenever the writer wants to, they can meet and the crossover in question will act as if and were always set in one continuity. Canon Welding is however averted, because once the Crossover is over, assorted characters act like it never happened. Needless to say, this is can be extremely jarring for more continuity interested fans, who wouldn't accept that and will try to explain how two titles can exist in one world, even if several works aside from crossovers contradicts that.
  • Divorced Continuity: Work A and Work B existed in the same world, but something split it in two. This variant is similar to Alternate Timeline, but there was an event in-universe that had resulted in separating two worlds - all the history from one work has been removed from the history of another and vice versa, the characters never existed in one world and nobody remembers them as their stories exist and always existed separately. Alternatively, in order to avoid creating Continuity Snarl, a bunch of Expies are created to fill the roles of deleted characters.

Compare and contrast Canon Discontinuity, Alternate Timeline and The Multiverse, Exiled from Continuity and Canon Welding

Examples of One-Sided Continuity:

  • The My Little Pony G4 cartoons, Friendship Is Magic and Equestria Girls. The same characters appear in both, and the plot of Equestria Girls is heavily dependent on the events of Friendship Is Magic, season three. However, the showrunners have stated that the events of EQG won't be referenced in the upcoming fourth season of FIM.
  • Star Wars and its Expanded Universe have this relationship - movies are in canon with all books, comics and games, but George Lucas refuses to acknowledge the opposite.
  • In a similiar manner for Sunrise, for the Gundam franchise only the animated works are considered part of the various continuities and works such as the novels written by Gundam's creator Yoshiki Tomino are not acknowledged as part of the continuities of the shows. This especially includes Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam, despite it also being written by Tomino.
  • Webcomics Acrobat has been a part of Heroes Unite until the former's creator announced that his characters appearing in latter and related titles are not the originals, but their alternate counterparts.
  • Webcomics Sugar Bits and Everafter had a crossover within the pages of the former, but Bleedman has let the latter's creator decide if he wants them to share The 'Verse. It's hard to ignore all pages with Red and Big Bad Wolf in Sugar Bits, so it's safe to say that 'Everafter exist in Sugar Bits world, but the opposite may be not true.
  • Mindmistress and Zebra Girl were established as existing in one Universe, but Word of God from the creator of Mindmistress is that the Zebra Girl from her world may not be the original one, but an alternate version.
  • In similar manner, two webcomics that established large Multiverse did it - The Crossoverlord and Crossoverkill both potray The Order of the Stick as existing in that multiverse, but Word of God says that unless Rich Burlew will agree with that, it's only "one of many worlds working on similar rules and laws physics as The Order of The Stick". In general Canon Welding done by the two series may result in it if creators of comics dragged into The Multiverse don't want them to be in it.

Examples of Alternate Timeline Continuity:

Examples of Bait-And-Switch Continuity:

  • Image Comics operates on this rule - their comics exist in one world only when crossovers takes place and events from one series may be referenced in another only if the creators wish it. It's especially visible in Invincible #60 - comics that featured appearances of probably every single Image Comics hero aside from Bomb Queen and you won't find a single reference to those events (including the destruction of several cities) anywhere but in Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man.

Examples of Divorced Continuity:

  • Image Comics separated their original Universe into a bunch of lesser ones in the Shattered Image event. Since then, each sub-publisher has it's own Universe, that coexists with others in Bait-And-Switch continuity, with exception of the Wildstorm Universe, which was bought by DC Comics, and Rob Liefeld's Universe, for the period of time that he left Image.

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • May 27, 2013
    How is this distinct from Loose Canon?
  • May 28, 2013
    I think a link to Continuity Snarl is relevant.
  • June 6, 2013
    "doesn't not exist"?
  • June 6, 2013
    • Madeleine L Engle has her "Kairos" and "Chronos" series. (Although both sequences contain speculative elements, the Chronos sequence is primarily realistic, while the Kairos sequence, which includes A Wrinkle In Time, is clearly sf/fantasy.) Some minor characters such as Canon Tallis can bridge the gap.
  • June 6, 2013
    Note for the explanation of One-Sided Continuity: This is seen fairly regularly with Expanded Universes, as the original work is often considered the only canon but the EU is expected to stay true to it.

    • Star Trek only considers the TV shows (TAS was recently included in this) and movies to be canonical, but since the rise of the Star Trek Novel Verse the EU writers have maintained a stable, separate continuity that obeys the live-action canon.
  • June 6, 2013
    "Divorced Continuity" would make more sense than "Retconned Continuity."
  • June 6, 2013
    I don't know if it's strictly relevant, but One-Sided Continuity is also the standard reader assumption for (non-AU) fanfic.
  • June 6, 2013
    "Retconned Continuity" also suffers from something like RAS syndrome, since "retcon" is short for "retroactive continuity".
  • June 6, 2013
    ^^Probably not relevant. Ascended Fanon is the exception, not the rule.
  • June 15, 2013
    Not sure which secion this would go into:
    • Dallas and its Spin Off Knots Landing had a shared continuity until Bobby's death on Dallas (Bobby's brother Gary was the main character on Knots Landing). Gary gets the news and it affects him; latr in the season Gary's son is born and he names him Bobby. Come the beginning of the next season of Dallas we learn that Bobby's death (and the enitre previous season) was All Just A Dream; but Knots Landing kept the plot point, and the two shows never interacted again.
    • Series.MASH was the canonical basis of Trapper John MD, but only for the first episode. (The opening scene shows Trapper having a dream Flash Back to the 4077th using footage from the series.) But when the series people claimed that they were owed royalites for the use of the character, Trapper John suddenly became a spinoff of the film instead.
  • June 22, 2013
    "Schizo Continuity" is not a good name. agree with the "Divorced Continuity" idea.
  • June 22, 2013
    Looking at the description, I am seeing grammar and punctuation problems that make it hard to read. Please be sure to correct these.
  • June 25, 2013
    One Sided Continuity:

    Alternate Timeline:

    Bait-and-Switch Continuity:
    • The Doctor Who New Adventures novels, the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels and the Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas aren't in continuity with each other except when they are (although they are all in continuity with the TV series). Lawrence Miles tried to make it a Divorced Continuity with his "Universe in a bottle" stories, but the other writers all ignored it. In addition, the Big Finish Bernice Summerfield audios seem to be in continuity with the New Adventures that star Benny, but not necessarily with the Doctor Who ones (since she had some of the same adventures without the Doctor in Big Finish continuity, before BF got the Doctor Who licence).
  • June 25, 2013
    The Star Wars situation as described here is outdated. And we do not yet know Disney's official stance on SWEU.
  • June 28, 2013
    What about situations where, say, a tv show is based on a book series? At first the show follows the book's same plot, thus they could be said to be the same continuity, but at some point they split apart and the show begins to do it's own thing. I guess that'd be "Alternate Timeline Continuity", according to the definitions above.

    I believe this is the case with True Blood, which started off following the Sookie Stackhouse books but then started coming up with it's own plots, thus separating from the book's continuity.

    Another example (though this technically hasn't happened yet) would be the Game Of Thrones tv show, based on the A Song Of Ice And Fire book series. So far, the show has very closely followed the books, with each season covering a book. The book series is still being written, but the show is rapidly catching up. The show's producers have stated that if the show overtakes the books, they'll come up with their own plot.

    One final example: there's a new tv show based on Stephen King's Under The Dome novel. The producers of the show say they intend to closely follow the book, at first. Unforunately, the book is rather self-contained, meaning if they were 'too' faithful, the series would only last a season, so the producers intend to change the plot towards the end to open it up for multiple seasons.
  • July 3, 2013
  • July 3, 2013
    One Sided Continuity:
    • The My Little Pony G4 cartoons, Friendship Is Magic and Equestria Girls. The same characters appear in both, and the plot of Equestria Girls is heavily dependent on the events of Friendship Is Magic, season three. However, the showrunners have stated that the events of EQG won't be referenced in the upcoming fourth season of FIM.
  • July 4, 2013
    Anachronic Order is related.
  • July 4, 2013
    Divorced Continuity:
    • For the whole Mega Man games, the 2 metaseries depends on what Dr. Light excels upon: robotics (Classic Timeline) or internet technology (Network Timeline).

    On a second thought, it sounds like For Want Of A Nail...
  • July 12, 2013
    Non Serial Movies often follow One Sided Continuity.
  • July 14, 2013
    Fixed a spelling mistake (added the missing x to "Examples of Alternate Timeline Continuity").
  • July 16, 2013
    Super Sentai uses Bait-And-Switch continuity, as the settings of the various series can be wildly incompatible, but they'll still get together for a crossover every year. A common fan theory to explain this is that each individual series takes place in its own world, but that there is another world, in which all the crossovers take place, in which every team coexists and the events of their series all took place, at least in Broad Strokes. (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger is usually considered to take place in this world, given its numerous references to previous crossovers, including one arc in which the Gokaigers actually go back in time to the previous year's crossover movie.)
  • July 19, 2013
    Is it just me or this YKTTW is slow on updates?