[[quoteright:320:[[VideoGame/BioShockInfinite http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Theater_2493.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:Don't think we have an article for that.]]

-->''You're just like Indiana Jones; a role played by Richard Dreyfuss in ''our'' universe!''
-->--'''Alternate History Artie Ziff''', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', "Treehouse of Horror XXIII"

This is a fictional counterpart of RichardNixonTheUsedCarSalesman -- in {{Alternate Universe}}s, your favorite books, movies or music might have never been created or may be different, sometimes even beyond recognition.

When the creators actually [[ShownTheirWork did the research]], this may be based on WhatCouldHaveBeen. It may also be related to CelebrityParadox: In the fictional universe, actors who play the main characters usually don't exist, so other people took their other roles.

Or sometimes it's just done for sake of making a funny pun on a popular real-life work's title.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''ComicBook/ExMachina'', created by Creator/BrianKVaughan and Tony Harris, the main character considers hiring Vaughan and Harris to make a graphic novel based on his life, but decides to go with GarthEnnis and JimLee instead.
** Also, one of the first major clues as to where the protagonist's strange powers come from? [[spoiler:A [[TheReveal reveal]] that there have been radio transmissions received that feature unreleased/unproduced B-sides of famous musicians]].
* Creator/AlanMoore likes playing with this trope. The existence of superheroes in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' and ''TopTen'' leads to superhero comics never gaining popularity; instead, pirate and SliceOfLife stories take their place. In particular, the pirate comic that features prominently in ''Watchmen'' is meant to represent what Moore himself imagined he'd be writing in this universe instead of ''Watchmen''.
* In the Marvel Universe, MarvelComics had lost the rights to CaptainAmerica comics, which are now owned by a small company which gets bought by one of Cap's big fans.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works ]]

* In the nuclear-powered future of ''Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space'' there's an advertised {{kaiju}} movie ''[[Franchise/{{Godzilla}} Greenzilla]]'' (created by the evils of alternative energy) and a documentary ''Who Stole The Gasoline Powered Car?'' A popular weekly serial ''[[Series/TheXFiles The Y-Not Files]]'' has two stalwart G-Men seeking to debunk the lunatic conspiracy theories spread by the evil Marijuana-Smoking Man. A PettingZooPerson is writing a sci-fi story about a shapeshifting alien disguised as a man who stumbles into a camp of huskies in Antarctica and starts taking them over one by one; it's called ''[[Literature/WhoGoesThere Who Grows Hair]]?''
* The objective of [[http://mediavengers.tumblr.com/ MediAvengers]], especially with the [[http://www.mediavengers.com/2014/07/bony-movies-too-soon-guys-too-soon.html two very different movies]] covering the same Battle of New York. One is a big action movie directed by Michael Bay with Nicolas Cage as Iron Man (a role he actually had considered in our universe), the other is an indie thriller by David Fincher ironically casting Edward Norton as Bruce Banner (reversing TheOtherDarrin Mark Ruffalo).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film -- Animated ]]

* The car-ified versions of earlier {{Pixar}} movies appear in the end credits of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'', including ''[[ToyStory Toy Car Story]]'', ''[[MonstersInc Monster Trucks, Inc.]]'', and ''ABugsLife''.
** The sequel actually combined this with EarlyBirdCameo for ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}''.
* As discussed [[http://www.toonhound.com/th56.htm here]], as a FreezeFrameBonus in ''FlushedAway'', Roddy's DVD case has along with actual DreamWorks and Aardman movies many pun-based titles - the one taken out for the BondGunBarrel parody that follows references ''Film/JamesBond'' films, ''Die Again Tomorrow''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film -- Live Action ]]

* Mixed with CelebrityParadox in ''Film/LastActionHero'', in which a boy travels to a world of an action movie. Because the movie's main character is played by Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger, in this world such a person doesn't exist and the main character of ''Film/TheTerminator'' is played by SylvesterStallone.
* ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'' has a poster for a film version of ''Theatre/KingLear'' starring Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger. In addition, There's an poster of ''Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk'' which stars Creator/RobinWilliams and could be made as a TakeThat or a In-Joke to [[Film/{{Jack|1996}} a certain movie]] directed by Creator/FrancisFordCoppola.
* In ''Film/IAmLegend'', one of the billboards in the abandoned Times Square is for a ''ComicBook/SupermanBatman'' movie. Which is now almost a accurate prediction as there is soon to be a ComicBook/SupermanBatman movie.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Regularly played with in the ''{{Nightside}}'' series, where many stores offer items from alternate histories. This includes alt-history media works, such as Beatles rap albums, pornographic versions of Creator/AgathaChristie mysteries, and OrsonWelles' epic Franchise/{{Batman}} movie ''Citizen Wayne''.
* In "Literature/{{Swellhead}}", one of the signs that the characters are slipping into an alternate universe is that the hero finds a copy of ''TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' written by RayBradbury.
* ''Idlewild'' by Mark Lawson has JohnFKennedy surviving his assassination attempt in Dallas and winning a second term as President. Thirty years later, there's a mention of Creator/OliverStone making a movie titled ''UsefulNotes/{{L|yndonJohnson}}BJ'', about "The best President we never had".
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures, Fitz has assembled a collection of parallel universe Beatles records, including "Feel the Love", their Live Aid song.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** ''Discworld/MovingPictures'' has CMOT Dibbler get the idea for a romance movie he intends to call [[GoneWithTheWind Blown Away]]. It also features a movie-in-making where a man in a lion costume is telling another character the movie is about following a yellow sick toad.
** A recurring theme in the second and third ''Discworld/TheScienceOfDiscworld'' books is making sure the ''right'' works get written, because otherwise humans don't make it off Roundworld before it's "snowball time". In the second book, humans suffered a lack of imagination because Creator/WilliamShakespeare never existed, and stunted versions of his plays were instead written by Arthur J. Nightingale ("I'm nae listening to them, they've got warts!" - ''The Short Comedy of {{Macbeth}}''). In the third, scientific progress was halted to some extent when CharlesDarwin wrote ''Theology of Species''. (Or when Charles Darwin never went on the ''Beagle'' at all, and his place was taken by Preserved J. Nightingale, who went on to write ''Watches Abroad''.)
** While talking about the development of life on Earth in ''Discworld/TheScienceOfDiscworld'', they also say that intelligence appears to be a useful enough trick that something would develop it sooner or later, they speculate that if sentient crabs had evolved on the Earth in humans' place, three of them might be writing 'The Science of Dishworld'', about a bowl-shaped world that's carried on the backs of gigantic marine invertebrates.
* In HarryTurtledove's {{Timeline-191}}, [[MarkTwain Sam Clemen's]] daughter is reading LouisaMayAlcott's ''After the War Was Lost''.
** In another, Armstrong Grimes mentions HumphreyBogart starring in a movie called ''[[Film/TheMalteseFalcon The Maltese Elephant]]''. [[note]]This one also doubles as a subtle MythologyGag: ''The Maltese Elephant'' was the title of a short story that Turtledove released in a previous collection, presenting a WhatIf scenario for ''The Maltese Falcon'' where Sam Spade and his partner Miles Archer (renamed "Tom Trencher" and "Miles Bowman") have their fates reversed, with Spade/Trencher dying early on and Archer/Bowman becoming the protagonist.[[/note]]
* In HarryTurtledove's ''RuledBritannia'', some of Shakespeare's plays got different titles, at least. One of his major hits there was ''[[{{Hamlet}} Prince of Denmark]]''. He's also noted to be working on ''[[LovesLaboursLost Love's Labours Won]]'', whose plot is notably changed to accommodate the Catholic hegemony. [[spoiler:The plot centers around two new plays he writes: ''King Philip'', a tribute to the late King of Spain who conquered England, and ''Boudicca'', which sparks a rebellion that drives the Spanish out of England. While he wrote ''King Philip'' more or less under orders from the Spanish authorities, he did put his full energies into it, and later asks that it be performed.]]
** Incidentally, Shakespeare apparently ''did'' write "Love's Labours Won", though it was lost.
* In HarryTurtledove's {{Worldwar}} series, we have ''Rescuing Private Renfall'', a reference and homage to the movie ''SavingPrivateRyan'' starring JamesDean. Dean also starred in ''The Battle of Chicago'' a depiction of an in-universe battle between the US Army and invading Space Lizards paralleling Stalingrad.
* Done in a very meta way in StephenKing's ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series. Eddie Dean mentions ''Film/TheShining'' as a film, which is initially a bit of a internal joke, as Stephen King wrote that too. It becomes much more significant later as Stephen King appears as a character within the story (in a different universe), along with the presence of characters from other Stephen King novels (which may also come from different universes). In the case of the ''Shining'' example, Eddie doesn't make a connection between it and meeting Stephen King later.
* In one of the many parallel universes featured in ''Outrageous Fortunes: A Novel of Alternate Histories'' by Steven W. White, ''ReturnOfTheJedi'' was still entitled ''Revenge of the Jedi'' and George Lucas based much of its action on Kashyyyk rather than Endor and had the Wookies rather than the Ewoks help the rebels destroy the second Death Star. Chewbacca even had a love interest! It seems these were part of Lucas' original plan for the film.
* ''Literature/AnnoDracula'':
** ''Johnny Alucard'' opens in TheSeventies with Francis Ford Coppola in Transylvania, shooting a TroubledProduction of ''Dracula'' that stars [[Film/ApocalypseNow Marlon Brando as Dracula and Martin Sheen as Jonathan Harker]]. Other movies are mentioned throughout the book, often bankrolled by Alucard: ''Film/{{Bat 21}}'' and ''Film/TopGun'' are both about the US Army's vampire soldier project; ''Film/TheRock'' has a completely different story because Alcatraz is still operational as a vampire prison, and so on. The sixties ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series [[InSpiteOfANail is unchanged]], although reference is made to the fact it pretends the very real Batman isn't a vampire.
** Earlier, ''Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha'' included a section about the phenomenon of AlternateHistory novels, popularised by Bram Stoker's famous book where the Count lost. ''Literature/IAmLegend'' is about Dracula settling in America instead of Britain; ''[[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Big Brother]]'' is about the Communists taking over the UK in Dracula's wake; and ''Literature/ADanceToTheMusicOfTime'' is a very subtle one; it takes some reading before you realise it's set in a universe where ''[[AllohistoricalAllusion there aren't any vampires at all]]!''
* In ''Literature/TheYiddishPolicemensUnion'', OrsonWelles succeeded in making his film adaptation of ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness''.
* Another take on this trope is alternate histories with their own alternate fiction.
** ''Literature/TheManInTheHighCastle'' by Creator/PhilipKDick contains an alternate 1960s California controlled by the Japanese after a defeat of the Allies during WWII. There is mention of another alternate reality, apparently revealed to an author who writes a book about such an alternate in which the US does not lose WWII. This is slowly revealed not to be "our" alternate, but one dreamed up by the writer, and of no special significance.
** ''Resurrection Day'', by Brendan [=DuBois=], is set in a United States that has become a military dictatorship after the Cuban Missile Crisis turned hot. JFK is blamed for having started the war, but at one point an alternate history fiction is mentioned that proposed what would have happened to US history if he'd evaded the crisis. Needless to say, there's no out-of-the-blue event involving him being assassinated by a lone gunman.
* ''Literature/SmallChange''. Several references are made to a science fiction novel titled ''[[Literature/NineteenEightyFour 1974]]''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''{{Fringe}}'''s featured alternate universe, there's quite a bit of this.
** Many DCComics properties are slightly different - GreenLantern and GreenArrow are [[HilariousInHindsight Red Lantern and Red Arrow]], ComicBook/JonahHex is a member of ComicBook/JusticeLeagueInternational instead of Guy Gardner, {{Superman}} died in ''CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' instead of {{Supergirl}} and, apparently, ''TheDarkKnightReturns'' and ''TheDeathOfSuperman'' have switched their main stars, becoming ''The Man of Steel Returns'' And ''The Death of Batman''.
** In Season 4's version of the alternate universe, a character called "[[AnimalThemedSuperbeing The Mantis]]" fills the same role in pop culture that Batman does.
** Eric Stoltz is Marty [=McFly=] in ''Film/BackToTheFuture'', obviously based on the fact that [[TheOtherMarty Stoltz was the second choice to play Marty]] in RealLife. (Michael J. Fox was the original choice, but was unavailable because of ''FamilyTies''. Stoltz was lined up for the part but a few weeks of filming showed he wasn't right for it, so they tried even harder for Fox.)
** At one point, Broadway is shown in the alternate universe, complete with a poster for the musical ''[[{{Cats}} Dogs]]''.
** One character mentions offhandedly that ''Film/TaxiDriver'' was directed by Creator/FrancisFordCoppola.
** There is mention of ''Series/TheWestWing'' continuing several years longer than in our world, apparently with President Matthew Santos as the new protagonist.
** In one episode Lee uses the phrase "[[TheMalteseFalcon The stuff that dreams are made of]]" and claims to be quoting CaryGrant; in another Fauxlivia thinks ''{{Casablanca}}'' starred RonaldReagan. Apparently, Over There's HumphreyBogart just didn't have a career.
* Given that every episode of ''{{Sliders}}'' featured at least two or three parallel universes, this trope comes up occasionally. In a universe where the traditional gender roles were reversed, TV shows included ''[[TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir The Fresh Princess of Bel-Air]]'' and ''[[HanginWithMrCooper Hangin' with Mrs Cooper]]'' while another episode mentioned ''[[GilligansIsland Skipper's Island]]''. In terms of films, one episode referred to ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part IV'' while another showed Quinn, Rembrandt and Maggie outside of an cinema advertising ''TheManWhoWouldBeKing'' starring Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart. This was based on the fact that John Huston had tried, unsuccessfully, to make a version of the film with those iconic Golden Age stars in the 1950s. A DeletedScene from the pilot mentioned that Ronald Reagan was the Mayor of San Francisco in 1995 and that he was best known as an actor for playing the first Howard "Mr. C" Cunningham in ''HappyDays''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''{{GURPS}} Infinite Worlds'', set in a world with regular cross-dimensional travel, includes a list of "alternate bestsellers" that were brought home from other Earths. These include a complete ''Mystery of Edwin Drood'' by [[AuthorExistenceFailure Charles Dickens]], an account of the WWII invasion of Japan by [[RichardNixonTheUsedCarSalesman Admiral Robert Heinlein]], and a biography of Fidel Castro's years as a pitcher in the American League.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'' and ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'', you can find posters that advertise the movie ''[[http://gta.wikia.com/Badfellas BadFellas]]'', which is an obvious parody of ''{{Goodfellas}}''.
* ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' shows Elizabeth opening a dimensional "tear" to a 1980s street with a theater showing ''Revenge of the Jedi'' (the original proposed title for ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''). In the game proper, it's ''La Revanche du Jedi''.
** Similarly, Columbia's liberal use of space-time anomalies means they have access to many songs well before their invention, leading to strange, 1912-esque versions of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and others.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''DarthsAndDroids'' has an extended gag about this, in TheRant to [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0050.html comic #50]]. ''StarWars'' doesn't exist in the players' universe, because the comic wouldn't make sense if it did. So various other ''Star Wars''-influenced things are also different, including ''Darths and Droids'' itself, which has become ''[[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/wandsandwarts/episodes/0050.html Wands and Warts]]'', a ''Literature/HarryPotter'' comic. There's a link to a mockup of a ''Wands and Warts'' page, with a similar rant at the bottom, except that it links to a comic based on ''TheSoundOfMusic'' (''Notes And Nazis''), and so on and so on.
** In fact, ''all'' {{Campaign Comic}}s wouldn't make sense if their source material existed.
** This goes through several more steps and comes around full circle in the ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' comic, ''Barnacles & Bilgewater'', where TheRant actually makes reference to ''Franchise/StarWars''.
*** It's since continued past that, unabated, with 22 levels of it thus far.
** It also comes full circle in a different way in [[http://www.mezzacotta.net/postcard/?comic=121 the rant of this strip]] of ''[[Webcomic/{{Mezzacotta}} Comments On a Postcard]]''.
* A ''VGCats'' [[http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=243 comic]] shows a world where Aerith and Leo are dogs who play games such as ''[[MortalKombat Minor Konflict]]'' and the ''ShadowTheHedgehog''-esque ''Yoshi the Dinosaur''.
** More specifically, the setting of that strip is an alternate universe where {{Nintendo}} dropped out of the console market in 2001 instead of {{Sega}}.
* In ''{{Catena}}'', the characters (who are anthropomorphic cats) go to see the musical ''[[{{Cats}} People]]''.
* In ''ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'', Commander Badass [[http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/284 claims]] that he was once sent back in time to [[MakeWrongWhatOnceWentRight win the Vietnam War for America]]...only to then be sent back again to [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong undo his actions]] because a world without the {{Rambo}} movies was too bizarre.
* In ''{{Rhapsodies}}'' Creator/DavidLean's {{Dune}} [[http://rhapsodies.wpmorse.com/06282010/ is mentioned.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''Literature/FearLoathingAndGumboOnTheCampaignTrailSeventyTwo'': The timeline periodically refers to which films won that year's Academy Awards. At first they're mostly the same films as our timeline, but as the years go on and changes accumulate, more and more different films appear--often reflecting the different influences from the changes in the global situation. The timeline also mentions changes in television: for example, Creator/GeneRoddenberry made ''Franchise/StarTrek: Phase II'', ''Franchise/StarWars'' was never made after Creator/GeorgeLucas died in a car crash, and ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' had a different arc based on the increased poverty in this world's version of the United States. According to Roger Ebert, the fourth DirtyHarry movie featured "A washed up old quarterback who couldn't act," because Creator/ClintEastwood was sick and tired of creating racist propaganda. There's also an in-universe 1984 film.
** Film/WallStreet also changes drastically. Film/BackToTheFuture is also heavily changed by the political climate and various other butterflies-for starters, Biff and George work at the local telephone company, (which is important later) but besides that, everything goes as planned, [[ForWantOfANail save for a 1980s "brick box" cell phone hidden in Doc's car, which is a Camaro this time]]. However the movie has a ''very'' tragic ending-[[spoiler: George ends up with the phone, and the timeline's communication technology advances ridiculously fast, making the McFlys incredibly rich-but at the cost of Marty not existing. The filmmakers confirm that it was a dig at the current political climate, especially its historical revisionism.]] Film/PaleRider is different as well, as is The Coca-Cola Kid, which, in the American cut, features the protagonist getting the local eccentric committed to a psychiatric institution and claiming his current assistant is a Communist spy. Someone was trying to write a message about the current political climate there...
* ''Literature/LookToTheWest'': No media after about the 1760s is the same as our timeline's. Periodically examples of literature, art and music are discussed. One major change is that, because WolfgangAmadeusMozart became a military leader rather than a musician, classical music has not had the influence of his works. Architecture is also very different: the alternate French Revolution favoured utilitarian buildings rather than neoclassicism like OTL, so neoclassical architecture is less discredited, and increased trade with India and China means there is a fashion in Europe in the 1820s for emulating Oriental styles of architecture. SpeculativeFiction, here known as paracthonic romance, has different traditional tropes and genre boundaries. For instance, what OTL would consider [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness "hard" sci-fi]] is instead considered a branch of speculative romance (i.e. alternate history) rather than scientific romance (i.e. science fiction).
* ''Literature/AWorldOfLaughterAWorldOfTears'': Due to the increasing conservatism of President Disney's America, many filmmakers and musicians flee to Europe, leading to a much different pop-cultural development. Creator/OrsonWelles encounters Creator/EdWood, hires and befriends him, and films a version of ''Faust'', which becomes a massive success; [[Music/TheBeatles the Quarrymen]] are a jazz-fusion combo; Creator/{{Motown}} takes off in England...
* ''Literature/ThatWackyRedhead'' has this as its ''main'' focus -- it starts with Creator/LucilleBall not selling Creator/DesiluStudios to Creator/{{Paramount}}, and continues with the accumulating changes from there. They naturally start out in television.

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