[[quoteright:240:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Error_Message2_5536.png]]
[[caption-width-right:240:The eternal temptation...]]
->''"These two methods clearly do not agree with one another, which means one of two things: either I'm terribly over-analyzing the content of the illustrations of a beloved children's book, or the bunny's bedroom is moving at extremely high velocity relative to the earth, so that relativistic time dilation makes the six-minute rise of the moon appear to take an hour and ten minutes. Calculating the necessary velocity is left as an exercise for the interested reader."''[[note]]It's 0.9963 ''c'', or roughly 668 million miles per hour.[[/note]]
-->-- '''Chad Orzel''' [[http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2010/10/12/the-astrophysics-of-bedtime-st/ tries to make sense of ''Goodnight, Moon!"]]

The ''[[RuleThirtyFour other]]'' reason you should use [[MST3KMantra protection]] when reading {{Fanfic}}.

{{Fanfic}} comes in many varieties, but many stories fall into the major categories of "more of the Same" (also called "OriginalFlavour"), which attempts to tell a new story using the setup and style of its source material, and "Mythos Building", which tries to cement the writer's personal theories into the [[{{Fanon}} pseudocanon]] of the source (and usually getting a [[MarySue Sue]] laid in the process). The latter tend to be more memorable, but at a price.

Many of the fan theories which make their way into {{Fanfic}} seek to "[[FixFic fix]]" something the writer believes to be wrong with the source. The fans usually put a lot more thought into this than the show's writers ever did (though show writers have gotten a lot more attentive in recent years, primarily ''because'' of the growth of this kind of fan activity). They often come up with answers to questions that either make not a whit of difference in the end, or are more fun ''without'' an answer than with.

Naturally, these theories often venture way out into fantasyland. When the theory makes you say, "Oh come on!", the fanfic author has stepped over the line into FanWank.

When the show itself canonizes such a theory, it's a {{Retcon}} or a ReVision or one of the two varieties of ContinuityPorn. When a fan does, it's {{Fanwank}}. Note, however, that {{Retcon}} is a value-neutral word, while fanwank definitely carries a connotation of crap. On the other hand, theories that get popular can become {{fanon}}.

The etymology of 'wank' shows that it means 'indulgence', particularly any kind of major self-indulgence. Not surprisingly, this leads to it being British slang for [[ADateWithRosiePalms masturbation]], though it's mostly just their own egos that such writers are stroking. [[{{Lemon}} Mostly]]. The term was coined by ''Series/DoctorWho'' fan and ''Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse'' writer Craig Hinton, who was no stranger to it himself, and applied it to his own work.

Particular common triggers for fanwank include:
* Linking stories to justify an unexplained {{Retool}}.
* What various bits of {{Technobabble}} really mean
* [[{{Continuation}} What exactly happened]] after the show ended (see ''{{Firefly}}'' and ''MySoCalledLife'').
* In MerchandiseDriven fandoms, singling out anything that never got a turn in the official fictions as something that needs to be featured.
* [[EnsembleDarkhorse Characters]] who were [[DemotedToExtra left out of]] a new [[ContinuityReboot reboot]] or [[DerivativeWorks adaptation]].
* {{Crossover}} versus arguments between two or more major sci-fi franchises. ''[[InternetBackdraft Good]] [[SeriousBusiness gravy]]'', the fanwank.
* The [[{{Shipping}} romantic and sexual relationships]] between various characters, especially those for whom there is little to no evidence in the {{canon}}, and the resolution of {{Love Triangle}}s (or {{Love Dodecahedron}}s) in a way other than the canon provides. This often goes as far as rewriting canon relationships to make preferred pairings more plausible. eg. Two characters shown in love in series canon portrayed as hating each other in the story, or two confirmed heterosexual characters [[IfItsYouItsOkay suddenly being gay for each other]].
* Justifying HollywoodTactics or anything done for [[RuleOf Rule Of X]] as being appropriate in-universe.

Compare with EpilepticTrees, ContinuityPorn (the {{canon}} variety of this), and of course, the TV Tropes WildMassGuessing. ShrugOfGod and (even more so) AscendedFanon will, at least in theory, validate FanWank theories.

TropesAreNotBad, however; if nothing else, FanWank can be immensely enjoyable, particularly if it's coupled with a self-awareness about how ludicrously over-the-top and ultimately futile it is.

See also UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny, an entire trope driven by FanWank.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' gets a lot of it even ignoring the shipping and endless debates about CharacterAlignment. A good portion comes from all the questions left unanswered by the staff either by choice or as a result of being ScrewedByTheNetwork. This includes things like C.C.'s real name, the true nature of Geass, the origin of Suzaku's superhuman abilities (and their suggested connection to Geass), the true fate of Kallen's supposedly dead brother Naoto and countless other potential topics.
** As new works or WordOfGod statements get released, fans try to figure out how it all fits into the ''Anime/CodeGeass'' [[AlternateHistory timeline]]. The timeline itself is sometimes subject to justification by fans, who seek to explain how the [[http://codegeass.wikia.com/wiki/World_History various points of divergence]] lead to [[http://codegeass.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Nations the Geassverse]].
** And let's not even get started on [[BrokenBase all the fans who'd just rather pretend R2 never even existed]].
* What gender the main character's Anime/{{Pokemon}} are in the anime.
** How old starting Pokémon trainers ''[[ComicBookTime should]]'' be.
* ''[[Manga/RanmaOneHalf Ranma ˝]]'' is notorious among the fans for having an open ending. This leads shippers to writing piles upon piles of fanfiction hooking up the main characters with each other, [[FanPreferredCouple especially Ranma with someone who isn't]] [[BaseBreaker Akane]] [[{{Tsundere}} Tendo]], despite Ranma/Akane being the series' OfficialCouple. The ShipToShipCombat that developed between various factions was bloody - in fact, this very entry was changed to stop a FlameWar from starting.
** The exact laws and origins of the Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo -- how much water is needed, what the exact temperature is, how much of your body has to be splashed, what sort of liquids would qualify, why drinking ''doesn't'' trigger it, whether the original victim drowned to death or was merely submerged (thanks to an early translation error and the Guide's insistence that the stories are all "tragic"), whether the springs confer any aspect of the original creature's personality, and whether the curses are age-specific.
*** Another common fan wank on the Jusenkyo Curses is adding the secondary effect of actively attempting to induce the transformation rather than simply making it possible. Typically by making the victim a [[KryptoniteIsEverywhere water magnet]] and [[InvokedTrope invoking]] ContrivedCoincidence to wet the victim if they haven't changed for too long. This idea is often used either (or both) to avoid RuleOfFunny explanation of where the convenient buckets/thrown water comes from in more [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructive works]], or to explain why Ranma [[VoluntaryShapeshifter gaining partial control]] over his curse doesn't simply turn into an effective cure due to the canonical {{Aversion}} of the SecondLawOfGenderBending: even if the water trigger of his curse is removed, and replaced with a voluntary mental triggering or other far more controllable trigger, the curse still forces Ranma to spend some time in his cursed form.
*** A gag scene in the Herb saga led to one of Ranma 1/2s most enduring fan wanks. In the story, Herb mentions he hates female Ranma because she resembles a monkey he threw into the Spring of Drowned Girl - a monkey, who in turn caused him to be cursed. As a result, the idea spread that anyone who falls into the Spring of Drowned Girl ends up looking like the [[CanonFodder original girl who drowned there]]. The creation of the Spring of Drowned Akane, introduced into the manga long after this piece of fan wank was created, just made matters even worse.
** Psychological diagnoses of the cast's various mental issues, often [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation interpreting them as actual illnesses or neuroses]].
** And the biggest FanWank of all: whether Ranma could get pregnant. Often followed up by what would happen if [[MisterSeahorse a pregnant Ranma turned back into a man]]. WordOfGod says "I don't want to think about that and neither should you."
** Some fans wonder if maybe Happosai deliberately drank the Nanniichuan water that was supposed to be Ranma's cure in the final manga chapters, as it's a bit hard to mistake spring water for sake on first taste and Happosai is both extremely selfish and fixated on Ranma's [[AttractiveBentGender sexy female body]].
** KiAttacks get a lot of this. Everything which isn't explained in-universe tends to be attributed to Ki manipulation. Mousse having a HyperspaceArsenal up his sleeves? He's using Ki to compress space. The Happo Fire Burst explosives? Conjured from Ki. Akane's "signature" HyperspaceMallet (which she doesn't even use that often)? Obviously a Ki construct. Kuno's [[WoodenKatanasAreEvenBetter implausible use of his Bokken?]] Clearly, it's reinforced with his Ki!
*** This probably in part comes retroactively from Manga/{{Naruto}}, as such HandWaving is ''canon'' in Naruto; everything out of the ordinary is done with Chakra.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' fanwank has an EpilepticTrees theory which suggests that Sailor Pluto is deliberately engineering a timeline where 95% of the Earth's population is killed off in a thousand-year glaciation period [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans in order to produce Crystal Tokyo]]. At ''no point'' does the [[Anime/SailorMoon anime]] ever say anything along the lines of 95% of the population dying in a disaster. The anime notes that Usagi awoke a frozen world from slumber in the 30th century and ascended, whereas in the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], there was no disaster at all and the utopia evolved naturally. So the entire theory is FanWank piled upon FanWank.
** Sailors Uranus and Neptune are lesbian lovers. Fans more familiar with the [[{{Macekre}} censored English dub]] are often uncomfortable with this and have produced multiple stories that usually involve Uranus becoming a man or being a man in a former life and getting this "corrected", usually by magic. This was ''not'' helped by the bizarre Save Our Sailors website promoting the idea of a male "Prince of Uranus" being accidentally reincarnated as a female Sailor Uranus as canon. In their eyes, that removed the homosexuality of the pair.
* The so-called Turn A Bang theory from the Gundamverse. After a scene in ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' depicting a period of history that was made up of clips from various other Gundam shows--shows that were originally toted as alternate universes--fans began trying to construct a timeline that would justify having all the shows in a single universe.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' fanfiction is very nearly the most written anime fanfiction on ffnet, mostly due to what Kishimoto decided to wait to reveal: the name of the Fourth... Fans thought his name was "Arashi ___" with the common idea being "Arashi Uzumaki" because everyone thought he was Naruto's father. In truth, his name is [[spoiler: Minato Namikaze]], his actual situation (reincarnated as Naruto after sealing the Kyuubi in himself?), village laws (the idea of "Clan Restoration Act" for a dying clan), the concept of a council (sometimes split into a Shinobi Council and a Civilian Council), shipping of characters, Naruto's mother, bloodlines, members of Akatsuki, and even now, there is plenty to speculate about, like whether or not Madara is actually immortal.
* Never has an anime inspired more FanWank and EpilepticTrees than ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' - a practical inevitability when you consider [[MindScrew just how weird the story is]], the [[GainaxEnding sheer number of things that go unexplained]], and the fact that [[TeasingCreator the creators]] [[ShrugOfGod keep invoking post-modernism and refuse to explain any of it!]] Faced with this insanity, fans have proceeded to FanWank all over everything, theorizing that Yui Ikari was the mastermind behind everything, that Unit-00 [[spoiler: kept going berserk]] because Naoko Akagi was the soul inside it, whether or not Rei is [[spoiler: technically related to Shinji]], whether or not Rei [[spoiler: as an Angel/Human hybrid]] can have children, that Misato was [[spoiler: the one who shot Kaji]] (though that is one of the rare examples of a fan theory that [[WordOfGod Anno himself]] has outright {{Jossed}}), and that only children can sync with the Eva because it's fueled by teenage angst to name just a few.
* In the [[SgtFrog Sgt. Frog]] Western fandom, there is a lot of [[FanWank Fan Wank]] debates of whether or not the alien frogs, known as kerons, can have hair or not, some fans going as far as to saying their all wigs and or cannot have hair because they are 'frogs' and label any keron with hair, as a [[MarySue Mary sue]]. This originally started on Website/DeviantArt and then Tumblr, on a fandom confession blog which has since been deleted.
** Which is taken to extreme amounts of stupid given the sheer number of characters with facial hair, and head hair that have appeared in both show and manga, but these fans will not accept it unless they are seen brushing, washing, or any other kind of hair care treatment.
*** [[spoiler: Which gets even more stupid, when in one episode, Keroro ends up with a mutant mole hair on his forehead that grows to a extreme length.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain of the ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' family being either in UsefulNotes/HongKong or at various beach resorts and probably on a variety of recreational drugs, following the New52 reboot. Neither have been acknowledged on panel as existing.
** Stephanie Brown is coming back in the weekly comic, ''Batman Eternal''. Cassandra is still MIA, but due to some changes made to the canon, would have to have some radical changes made to her backstory[[note]]Lady Shiva, her mother, was de-aged into being around the same age as Nightwing, so Cass would either have to be a child, or have a completely different mother[[/note]].
* V from ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'''s gender. It's pure fan wank in both the graphic novel and film that V, a person consistently referred to in both the novel and movie as "he" and "the ''man'' from room five" is [[spoiler:Valerie, a female character we only see in flashback, presumably after some serious surgery.]]
* When a mini-series pitted roughly-analogous Marvel and DC characters against each other with the winners determined by fan vote, Wolverine [[PopularityPower unsurprisingly]] got more votes than Lobo. Since even comic book artists don't have enough imagination to figure out how Wolverine could actually beat someone who's fought Superman to a standstill (and this was back when Wolverine just healed pretty fast, and wasn't functionally immortal ... but Lobo ''was'') the fight took place entirely [[TakeOurWordForIt offscreen]], which lead to a common fan explanation that Wolverine bribed Lobo to take a dive.
** Later made canon in an issue of Lobo. Except it was implied that Professor X paid Lobo to take the dive as to spare Wolverine's ego and reputation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The ending of ''Film/{{Inception}}'' was intended to be an open ending, with the viewer left to decide if it was a dream or real. This has not stopped fans from finding "evidence" that suggests the director intended it to be one or the other.
* Due to its rather simplistic storyline, ''{{Enchanted}}'' fans have been left with the task of interpreting several plot threads left at the end, including the rhyme and reason behind [[spoiler: [[PairTheSpares Edward and Nancy]]'s last-minute hookup]] and how someone as naive as Giselle would react when she learns about sex.
* In-universe fans of ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' have constructed a whole map of the ship and worked out explanations for everything on it - which pays off when the actors need that kind of knowledge aboard the real ship.
** Which is some subtle FridgeBrilliance as the Aliens who built the ship must have done the same thing from watching the same "Historical Documents"
* Events in ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'' and ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions''. The plot is so impenetrable that it has actually spawned a cottage industry of books seeking to explain it. The content of these books ranges from cutting-edge philosophy to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke some nonsense about space lizards]], suggesting that Lovecraftian madness awaits any mortal who should happen to solve the mystery.
* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' franchise is rife with fan explanations and justifications. For example, the Kessel Run being made in a ''unit of distance'':
** The Kessel Run involves ferrying goods between two ships moving away from each other. The faster a ship, the less distance it has to travel to catch up.
** The Kessel Run involves navigating through or around a dangerous [[AsteroidThicket asteroid field]]. Less maneuverable ships have to take a long, circuitous route around the most dangerous areas; better ships can take a shorter path right through the dangerous middle.
** Han was testing Luke and Ben, to see if they would correct him, thus proving they knew a thing or two about space travel. Luke didn't catch the mistake, and Ben was fine with Han thinking they were both rubes. The last revision of the original script (previous versions didn't notice the problem) had Han making inaccurate boasts and "Ben reacts to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation."
*** The official story as set down in the Han Solo Trilogy is that the Kessel run is dangerously close to a black hole and the closer you're able to fly to the black hole the shorter the distance and the faster the run. This was a major FanWank before it was retconned into the actual story.
*** This was later retconned in the novelization of the film credited to George Lucas (although written by Creator/AlanDeanFoster), where Han states that the ship made the run in less than 12 "standard time units".
** Luke uses the Force to choke a Gammorean in ''ReturnOfTheJedi'' ... but isn't that using the Dark Side of the Force? Not if he only used the Jedi Mind Trick to make the Gammorean ''think'' he was choking! Or maybe it's only considered truly dark if you use the Force choke with intent to ''kill'' someone, as opposed to just staggering them.
** All Force users have high Midichlorian counts!? They ''have'' to have meant to say that Midichlorians are ''attracted'' to high concentrations of the Force; they're a result of Force use, not the cause, right? RIGHT!?
*** Alternately, the ability to use the Force could be the result of a genetic kink, and Midichlorians are proteins produced as a by-product. This may be a case of YouFailBiologyForever, but it's a better explanation than the one in the prequel trilogy, right? And as a bonus, it explains why Force-sensitivity can be inherited and why there aren't all that many Jedi even at the height of the Old Republic.
** The Jedi thought "bringing balance to the Force" was a good thing, but it ''actually'' meant that Anakin would kill all but two Jedi, so there'd be the same number of Jedi as Sith (never mind that WordOfGod says "bringing balance to the Force" meant destroying the Sith, and Anakin just did it much later than the Jedi expected).
*** There are also some interpretations suggesting that what originally unbalanced the force was Anakin's creation; Darth Plagueis manipulated the midichlorians to create life, which wasn't supposed to happen, and so the only way the force could be 'balanced' was Anakin's death, which would by its nature defeat the Sith.
** Why didn't Chewie get a medal at the end of ''ANewHope''? You see, Wookiees don't believe in medals and awards. The Rebels wanted to give him one, but he refused. So instead they made a contribution to his family back on Kashyyyk.
*** However, in the comic book version continuance, Han and Luke put Leia up on a table to give Chewie a medal since it would have looked "undignified" for her to attempt it during the previous ceremony.
** Yet another fan theory, this one started on Website/StarDestroyerDotNet, stated that the AT-AT was originally meant as an artillery piece to be used under heavy escort rather than the supposed juggernaut of a MilitaryMashupMachine it was portrayed as, but ExecutiveMeddling ensued (think UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler and the Me-262).
* ''{{Film/Enemy}}'': There are ''many'' theories about "what it all means." Here's the take from ''Slate''.[[http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/03/14/enemy_movie_ending_explained_the_meaning_of_the_jake_gyllenhaal_and_denis.html]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Literature/{{Discworld}} fandom's big issues:-
** Havelock Vetinari's sexuality - which way does he bend? (To extrapolate from the canon that the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork is naturally self-sufficient, austere and celibate is ''way'' too boring.)
*** If Vetinari is gay, which recurring male characters would he get off with?
** In the unlikely but rescuable situation of Vetinari being straight, which ''female'' characters would he seek to have a scene with? - averted in later books which refer to a generally rumoured past relationship with Lady Margolotta, which survives in some form to the present continuity.
** The girls in the ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'''s Last Detail. Gay or what? (Well, almost certainly [[OfficialCouple Tonker and Lofty]]...) And who in this troupe of military lesbians is doing what to whom and with what implements?
** Susan Sto Helit and Jonathan Teatime. Given time, or an alternative universe, would they have got it on?
** On a more intellectual level, the issue of the much-mangled and twisted Discworld timeline - which was eventually explained ''in universe'' as the History Monks having to repair the timeline, twice, after some idiot human broke it into little pieces.
*** And the meta-wank thrown in that the History Monks to exist because of continuity errors that Terry Pratchett makes when he writes the books.
* The big issue in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' fandom (and quite possibly ''the'' fanwank debate to rule them all) is the question of whether or not the Balrog had wings. Other, smaller debates include whether or not Tolkien's elves have PointedEars and what color Legolas' hair was in the book.
** Or the true nature of Tom Bombadil - was he a random nature spirit, or the avatar of the world? [[GodWasMyCopilot One of the Valar or Ilúvatar in disguise?]]
** Why didn't the Eagles simply fly the ring to Mount Doom? Choose from corruption by the Ring, corresponding evil aerial units, Eagles are ChaoticGood and don't answer to orders, can't intervene, or it just would have forshortened the series.
* Ever since the first ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' stories were published, many learned writers have tried to figure out why Dr Watson's old war wound was in the shoulder in ''A Study In Scarlet'' and in the leg in ''The Sign of Four''. Answers range from "He was actually shot in the buttocks and was too embarrassed to say this" to "He was shot on two separate occasions." There's an organization called The Baker Street Irregulars (it's been around since the 1930's) who devote a great deal of time and effort to filling in all the gaps and resolving all the discrepancies they can, including "Exactly where was 221B Baker Street?" "Why was Dr Watson sometimes James and sometimes John?" and "Was Holmes' dressing-gown purple or mouse-coloured?" (Some of these essays have been published in the book ''17 Steps To Baker Street.'')
** Interestingly enough, the James / John discord was made fun of in the film ''Young Sherlock Holmes'' and the Leg/Arm discord was made fun of in the BBC's modern reboot ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'', in the first episode "A Study in Pink" where Watson limps as though he were shot in the leg, but the limp is in fact a psychosomatic reaction to the real wound in his shoulder.
* Much of [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Star Wars EU]], ''especially'' post-EII ICS, is this; thought not only technical details are wanked up - Force powers are too.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The backstory of the main character in ''Series/DoctorWho'', specifically:
** {{Retcon}}ning away the revelation of the Doctor's half-human lineage from the 1996 MadeForTVMovie.[[note]]River Song said it best: "Rule One: The Doctor lies."[[/note]]
** Explaining how the Doctor has a granddaughter in light of the vehement insistence by many fans that no character on the show (and most especially not the Doctor) can ever, ''ever'', be suggested to [[NoHuggingNoKissing engage in a certain physical activity]] often responsible for producing parents of grandchildren.
** [[http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Season_6B Season 6B]].
** One ''Series/DoctorWho'' website actually features "Plugging the Holes: Fan-Wank Explanations for Continuity Errors" in the novels.
** The Dalek vs. Cybermen battle of Army of Ghosts and Doomsday.
** Exactly what the nature of the Doctordonna and Tentoo were from Journey's End.
** Various inconsistencies regarding the Doctor's age, such as:
*** How the First Doctor could leave Gallifrey at 200ish, still be clearly quite new to time travel in "An Unearthly Child", constantly travelling with humans until his regeneration, after which he gives his age as 450;
*** What the Third Doctor meant when he mentioned being thousands of years old a few times;
*** Why the Doctor gave his age as 953 in his Seventh incarnation but dated himself consistently from 900 in the new series starting from his Ninth incarnation - vanity, or having portions of his own timeline deleted in the Time War;
*** Various incidents which presumably took extremely long times but are not factored into the Doctor's age, like the Eighth Doctor being stranded on Orbis for 600 years in one of the audio dramas, Season 6B, and the life of the War Doctor;
*** When exactly the time skips can happen when the Doctor has human companions with him most of the time - for instance, how long was the Fourth Doctor travelling alone before and after "The Deadly Assassin" (which the numbers given suggest is less than a year but provides a really convenient opening), or was it after "The Invasion of Time", or even in the middle of "Robot"? Did he spend 200-or-so years travelling with Romana between "Shada" and "The Leisure Hive" (between which his physical appearance and personality dramatically alters, possibly implying a timeskip), "The Leisure Hive" and "Meglos" (widest open point in continuity), or the ''Fifth'' Doctor and HumanAlien Nyssa between "Time Flight" and "Arc of Infinity"? Or even all of these?
** Who were the faces shown to the Doctor by Morbius in "The Brain of Morbius"? Previous incarnations of the Doctor (as intended by the production team but {{Retcon}}ned basically impossible), or incarnations of Morbius?
** Did "Shada" actually happen, and if so, what version? The Shada audio drama takes the view that it was {{Cosmic Retcon}}ned out by "The Five Doctors" and shoehorns the Eighth Doctor into the story, but the novelisation presents it with the Fourth Doctor as originally intended.
** As a NecessaryWeasel resulting from [[MostWritersAreHuman the actors playing the Doctor all being human mortals]], the ageing of the Doctor's individual faces is inconsistent - the Doctor can take TheSlowPath for 400 years and not age a day in one story, but look visibly older after only five years in another. This has received an attempted HandWave by River Song in "Let's Kill Hitler" where she suggests that Time Lords can control their ageing and even age backwards if they want to (possibly used by the Tenth Doctor to reverse his age between his courtship with Queen Elizabeth in "Day of the Doctor" and his death in the Specials), but there's points where the Doctor is physically ageing, getting only drawbacks from doing so and clearly ''doesn't'' want to...
** How does regeneration work? How can someone regenerate with [[ImprobableHairstyle gelled hair]]? And ''what'' was going on with Romana having a CostumeTestMontage with bodies after regenerating apparently only for vanity?
** Anything involving the frequent use of YouLookFamiliar - IdenticalGrandson? [[{{Technobabble}} Spacio-genetic multiplicity]]? The ''Series/DoctorWho'' universe just happens to have OnlySixFaces? Some weird phenomenon resulting from the constant time travelling?
** Much of the EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
*** In "The Edge of Destruction", Ian uses a stethoscope on the Doctor without noting anything unusual and "The Sensorites", the First Doctor casually mentions his 'heart', singular. But during the Third Doctor's tenure, we discover the Doctor has the BizarreAlienBiology quirk of having two hearts, easily detected by a casual stethoscope use in the Fourth Doctor story "Robot". One novel came up with the explanation that the Doctor only gained a second heart after his first regeneration, although Troughton mentions his 'heart', singular, too. Strangely, the Doctor being AmbiguouslyHuman in Hartnell and Troughton's eras is almost never a target for this sort of thing.
*** The AlternateCharacterInterpretation that the First Doctor is ''not'' the elderly, SeenItAll patriarch that the writers of the time obviously intended, but the equivalent of a teenager with NoSocialSkills who feigns age and wisdom so other people will think that he is important became a pretty convenient theory around the time the Doctor's backstory, culture and imagined lifespan got a lot more development. (Fortunately, due to the character's ManChild qualities, this interpretation is easily supported by picking bits of Hartnell stories like "The Romans", "The Myth Makers", "The Space Museum", "The Time Meddler"... among several others, and makes for a very entertaining alternative reading.) It was eventually canonised in "Time Crash", although the Tenth Doctor's assertion that he tried to look old and important 'like you do when you're young' until the ''Fifth'' Doctor seems to skip over the young and childish Fourth Doctor to a jarring extent. Maybe it also explains why the Fourth Doctor visibly aged so much.
*** Why does WOTAN call the Doctor "[[IAmNotShazam Doctor Who]]"?
** The [[AnachronicOrder Dalek timeline]], why [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness the Daleks in the first story were so different in personality and power level to later ones]] and why their precursor race is given as "Dals" at first and then (more memorably) as "Kaleds". (Some novels suggest that the early Daleks were a prototypical race of Dalek sent to live in the city on their own as an experiment, who then disowned the inferior beings who created them. Others suggest that the Dals were a race wiped out by the Kaleds, and a Dalish word was used to name the race ("Dal-ek" being Dalish for "God" or "{{Ubermensch}}"), leading to the early Daleks to mistakenly assume they were descended from the Dals.)
** The podcast [=DWO WHOcast=] spent one episode pondering why it was that the Doctor's boots changed into brogue shoes when he regenerated from the Fourth into the Fifth Doctor (which out-of-universe was just a straight {{Blooper}}). [[http://archiveofourown.org/works/161802 At least one fanfiction has been written about it.]]
* ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'' is a short television series that [[{{Crossover}} crosses over]] into {{alternate universe}}s of the nine ''Kamen Rider'' shows that preceeded it and then brings back the leads for ALL of the shows in ''All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker'' (albeit as {{Fake Shemp}}s; [[Series/KamenRiderDouble one of the few who isn't a Shemp]] is an EarlyBirdCameo) with numerous references abound, especially for ''Series/KamenRiderDenO''. It's fanwank to the nth degree.
* The Klingon Forehead Problem in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' - Klingons from the original series had smooth foreheads, while in every other work, they have ridges. Roddenberry initially said Klingons always had the ridges but [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis TOS just lacked the makeup budget to show them]], while it was later acknowledged in ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' as their having had smooth foreheads when the crew meet 23rd-century Klingons. In ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'', this retcon was given a canon explanation as Genetic Engineering GoneHorriblyWrong resulting in a virus that infected a significant proportion of the population.[[note]]Going into non-canon works, this was shown in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' to have been cured some time in the late 23rd century by an unaffected HalfHumanHybrid from the 24th/25th century in a StableTimeLoop.[[/note]] Before this became the canon explanation, there were various fan theories such as cosmetic surgery to pass as other species for covert operations, to being a single group not representative of their species as a whole.
** Adding to the confusion is when Klingons from TOS appeared on [=DS9=] and suddenly had ridged foreheads. One theory regarding this is that those Klingons got cosmetic surgery to make themselves look like "normal" Klingons.
* ''ICarly'': Copious amounts related to shipping. One large pro-Seddie group interpret any form of communication or interaction as supporting their ship.
** The "Seddie is going to happen because Dan said so" shippers. See ShrugOfGod for why they can never actually back their claim up with any evidence.
* In ''Franchise/{{Stargate|Verse}}'' fandom, one of the most obvious and yet never directly addressed questions is why all the aliens speak English. Various theories have emerged, the most popular being that the stargates themselves act as translators.
** Though at some point the producers do mention that they elected to ignore the language barrier for the sake of efficiency and a less contrived feel.
** Some have speculated that the travel through the Stargate somehow implants individuals with foreign languages and the reason why this didn't originally manifest is because the Earth Stargate uses a haphazard jerry-rigged control system. [=McKay=] complains that the Earth gate ignores ''hundreds'' of important commands that normal gates use.
* The penchant ''{{Skins}}'' has for ambiguous series endings leads to lots of this.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' is specifically designed to spawn this, with fans spending pages of threads on TelevisionWithoutPity and other sites guessing who the mother is, how the many events Future!Ted says are important to the story with factor into the story of the mother, what is the significance and context of many orphaned, NoodleIncident-like flashforwards that Future!Ted promises to explain later and how they will fit into the future storyarcs. There has also been constant wank trying to justify how one of Ted's previous girlfriends might be the mother, as well as speculation about how Ted will meet the Mother (it was finally revealed that he met her at Barney's wedding), and theories about what the goat in Ted's bathroom on his birthday was about (it was part of a multi-sided KudzuPlot and wound up putting Ted in the hospital) and the most recent topic of wank is who Barney's bride is from the flashforward to his wedding (the main argument is between Robin or a new love interest), and what the reason for the Mother's presence there is.
* On ''Series/{{Merlin}}'', Morgana and Morgause are established as half-sisters, though it's never definitively said whether they share a mother or a father. There's evidence for either Vivienne or Gorlois as the shared parent, but in series 3 it's [[TheReveal revealed]] that Morgana's father is not Gorlois at all, but Uther (making her half-sister to Arthur). Since Morgana and Morgause continue to refer to each other as "sister" after this, most fans assume that Vivienne is the shared parent. Added confusion comes out of the fact that Gaius initially called them "half-sisters" (long before he knew that Uther was Morgana's true father), a statement that doesn't make sense unless you assume that Morgause had a father who ''wasn't'' Gorlois (otherwise they would have been assumed to be ''full'' sisters).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* [[http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19527098/The_Dungeonomicon?post_id=331878594#331878594 The Dungeonomicon]] is a pretty massive Fan Wank trying to justify (among many other things) the economics, social structures and fantastic locales of D&D.
* A common form of FanWank in ''DungeonsAndDragons'' 4th Edition is "refluffling," or using the mechanics of a power as written but changing the explanation of how the power works to better fit a character concept. It's commonly done with characters using the Martial (non-magical, weapons and skill-based) power source, to explain how someone with no magical powers can turn invisible (you see, he's really just hiding so well he'd might as well be invisible), control an enemy's actions (you're not making them jump off a cliff, you're staggering them, and it's just dumb luck that they happen to stagger 20 feet straight toward a cliff edge), etc.
** Recently officially sanctioned on the ''D&D'' website; there was an Insider article both describing the practice an encouraging it.
** Earlier than this, it was specifically mentioned as something that should be done with Warlock powers so that they fit your character's contract, and used to explain why the contract labels for powers were dropped after the ''Player's Handbook'' -- the labels led people to an attitude that they could only pick appropriately-labeled powers for their warlock, when they had only been intended as a guide and if you really wanted a power that wasn't appropriately labeled, you could just change the fluff to match.
* [[http://farcastblog.com Farcast]] for {{Eclipse Phase}} is an entire year of fanwank, where the author set out to see if he could produce a year's worth of material for the setting just to see if he can.
* In the backstory of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', there were 20 Space Marine Legions before the Horus Heresy, where 10 of said Legions rebelled. In order prevent another organized revolt in the future, the remaining Legions were split into much smaller Chapters. Two of the original twenty Legions--and whether these Legions stayed loyal or rebelled--were intentionally left blank, so Space Marine (both loyalist and Chaos) players could fill in the details themselves when making their own Chapter/Legion, if none of the established lore fit the tone they were going for. The explanation for the identities and fates of these two blank Legions has caused no end of FanWank.
** Later novels set during the Horus Heresy expanded considerably on the time of the Space Marine Legions, including many previously unknown (and not a few retconned!) aspects of, for example, the Alpha Legion. But all in all, they do touch about the "Lost Legions", and while they are never named nor their Primarchs brought up, dialogue suggests they did, in fact, go with Horus--and were wiped out for it. A rather chilling line refers specifically to either Primarch Russ, the Space Wolves or both being their "executioner" because (according to a guy in the story who would know these things) Russ was chosen by the Emperor to deal with such matters within the Legions and the Wolves were the Emperor's personal death squad. It should be noted much earlier short stories and novels inferred similarly that the Lost Legions:
*** A--Were lost to Chaos.
*** B--Were promptly exterminated.
*** C--And it was Russ that pulled the trigger.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* The ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' fandom was very weird about this. Pretty much all forums, the most prominent being Website/BZPower, had or have entire sub-forums dedicated to storyline-discussion and theorizing. On one hand, the amount of fanwank that built up during the toy-line's run is incredible. On the other, most of the fandom is very strict about adhering to canon, creating a sort of vicious circle that only the toughest fanwank survive. This eventually lead to the fans bombarding the official writer with their own ideas to canonize them. [[AscendedFanon Some]] [[PanderingToTheBase made it through]], but after a while, he had to leave the online forums due to LEGO's policies. Even after the toys were canceled, the fanwankery just kept on going. Fans are trying to explain the ludicrous powers through real-life physics (despite the wirter's insistence that they don't apply here), bringing back romance after the NoHuggingNoKissing rule, and declaring fan fictions as canonical alternate universes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Why, exactly, we have never seen a male Mithra in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI''. The official explanation for a lack of male Mithra [[PlayerCharacter PCs]] was originally simply that they're unadventurous and so never leave home, to the consternation of those who are uncomfortable with the concept of the NonActionGuy or just of not being able to play a cute catboy. With the release of the first expansion, we see our first truly wholly Mithra town and still no men (due to early fears of running into the [=PS2=]'s technical limitations), the explanation was elaborated as the slightly less plausible "they never leave the Mithra homeland" without clarifying that Kazham wasn't it, and thus the FanWank engine got the push start it needed. The most popular fan explanation is that they're too rare for use as anything but dedicated breeding stock, and [[AManIsNotAVirgin what man would complain about that job]], up to and including being [[FetishFuel chained up in the shadows]]? ''Wings of the Goddess'' does finally show ''one'' male Mithra in a cutscene (clothed, no less), but this may be too little, too late. Similar questions exist for the "all-female" Viera race found in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'', ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' and other [[TheVerse Ivalice]] - bound games.
** "What would [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII Rinoa]] be like if she was in ''KingdomHearts''?", a question that resulted in a [[http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Dion_Roger%27s_Rinoa cosplay firestorm]].
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series is inspiring quite a bit of timeline fanwankery. Also, the Shipping Industry is quite profitable in that area. There's a huge debate about Link/Zelda or Link/Midna.
** The many, many, many efforts to make a coherent timeline out of the series. Furthering this endless FanWank is the infuriating fact that Aonuma and Miyamoto have ''confirmed'' the existence of a timeline, and made the placement of a few games WordOfGod, but refuse to reveal the document itself to anyone not working with the games.
*** ...until the release of the 2011 artbook/encyclopedia ''Hyrule Historia'', which contained the entire timeline.
** The epic Sheik question: Is Sheik [[WholesomeCrossdresser just Zelda crossdressing]] or [[GenderBender did she actually use magic to turn herself male?]] That one should have been resolved through WordOfGod- Sheik is, officially, canonically, absolutely a WholesomeCrossdresser. But, for various reasons, some fans simply refuse to accept this as canon.
** The theory that ''Ocarina of Time'' split the timeline in two started out as fanwank, until it was confirmed by WordOfGod. Happened the same with the fact that Link and Zelda are [[LegacyCharacter different people in most of the games]]. ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'' settled it... just to open up a new fanwanky question: Which exactly is the relationship between them? Descendants? Reincarnations? Both? Different people altogether?
*** Again, ''Hyrule Historia'' reveals that ''Ocarina'' actually split the timeline in ''three'', and that a few of the Links and all of the Zeldas are related, though it doesn't even touch on the whole reincarnation issue (although it was strongly hinted in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'', specially in Zelda's case).
*** Which opened up ''more'' wank, since one of the timeline splits hinged on Link dying before Ganondorf could be defeated.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' has enough fan wank going about Nobodies and all associated {{mind screw}}s that they've caused multiple spoogenamis.
** The AnotherSideAnotherStory special ending from the first game deserves a special mention. The quantity of FanWank that single video originated rivaled all the ''Series/{{Lost}}'' and ''Zelda'' timeline theories.
** The thing about ''Kingdom Hearts'' is that there is an abundance of rules and guidelines within out-of-the-way sources or bits of dialogue in-game. After the first six games, there was enough canonical information to demystify many of the more confusing parts of the series. It's just that there are ''a lot'' of seemingly arbitrary rules that can be hard to keep track of, even if they do make things make sense. Hence, fan-wank.
* A particular Fan Wank from the [[SuperMarioBros Koopaling]] [[EnsembleDarkhorse fansite]] [[http://www.lemmykoopa.com/ Lemmy's Land]] considered Bowser Jr. to be Baby Ludwig Von Koopa under a different name and appearance, which was finally {{Jossed}} with ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBrosWii''.
* In the ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' games, whether Raikou, Entei, and Suicune are cats, dogs, or whatever. Many forums moderators decided that people are free to call them whatever, but if there's any argument they are "officially" the three legendary ''gerbils''.
** The arguments are stupid anyway because they're all based on various mythological creatures. Entei is based on one of the Lions of Foo, Suicune on the Qilin and Raikou on Raiju. Really just calling them 'beasts' would've saved a lot of time.
* This is what happens when you base an extremely popular FPS on an ExcusePlot. Fans of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' have been going mad over various details about the world of the game: the characters' background, the in-universe mechanics (respawn or replace?), etc. However, Valve is slowly giving the players breadcrumbs through comics and videos.
* The ''SilentHill'' series by its nature encourages this in their Fandom; GameFAQS is filled with exhaustive plot and character analyses. A sure way to troll any fan forum is to cut down EpilepticTrees with the insistence that it's all just deliberately Invoked MindScrew on Konami's part.
* The popular ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' fan theory of Cesare Borgia being the creator or inspiration for Abstergo Industries... because he said the word "cleanse" once.
* The ending of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' has inspired FanWank that is enveloping the entire series. This is one of the reasons that Bioware released an extended ending DLC. Allegedly it was the intended effect, if the head writer really did write "LOTS OF SPECULATION FROM EVERYONE" in his notes on the ending. [[DownerEnding Most fans took this in a direction he didn't intend.]]
* Some fans of the ''NinjaGaiden'' series try to fit in the events of the original arcade game (which is largely unconnected to the NES version and its later sequels, save for a few superficial similarities) into the continuity of the later console games by claiming that the two player characters (a pair of ninjas, one in blue and another one in red) are actually Ryu Hayabusa and his father Joe (or [[DubNameChange Ken]], depending on the version) undergoing a mission that they went through before the events of the Xbox and NES games (despite the fact that the player characters in the arcade version were never given identities).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' [[http://www.explosm.net/comics/1819/ mocked this]] once.
* ''WebComic/AxeCop'' - Read through all the paragraph-length commentary on [[http://axecop.com/index.php/acepisodes/read/episode_60/ episode 60.]] And this is just one of the more egregious examples, for the Axe Cop fans.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Shego's plasma power in ''KimPossible'': if she can blast through metal, why didn't she burn up a cheerleader? (Besides the [[FoeYay most popular answer]].)
* There was a {{Transformers}} fan-author named Stormcloud, who seemed bound and determined to use every Beast Wars character not in the show in his 'fics. The end result was fight scenes that were so step-by-step and plotted out that they resembled a pre-publishing RA Salvatore, with character names made up of bad animal puns.
** Go to the Website/YouTube clip about the creation of the Transformers taken directly from the G1 cartoon it came from. Behold the number of comic fans trying to explain to innocent viewers how it fits into the Transformer God Primus origin from the comics, despite the fact the G1 Transformers cartoon made no reference to Primus, and as far as the TV producers were concerned, this was the intended origin for the show. However, Primus having created Cybertron before the Quintessons' arrival was canonized by the [[TransformersExpandedUniverse Wreckers]] comic.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'' never got a [[ExecutiveMeddling "true ending"]] and left a LOT of things unexplained by the creators, prompting a lot of fanwank about the purpose of the villains, where they came from, why they do the things they do and what drives them. Some people [[{{Fanon}} have their own little universe]] where everything is explained.
* A rather interesting example occurred with ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''. Fans theorized that Terry and Matt's lack of resemblence to their father, specifically their black hair, genetically improbable given their parents' hair colors (red and brown respectively for Mary and Warren), had a role in the divorce. Flash forward to the ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' FullyAbsorbedFinale "Epilogue," and guess what? [[spoiler: Bruce Wayne is revealed to have been the boys' biological father, with Warren's genetic material having been, unbeknownst to anyone but CADMUS, overwritten with his. According to [[WordOfGod the series' writers]], this decision was influenced by the realization of said improbability.]]
* Aside from the two CareBears movie continuities, as the [[Headscratchers/CareBears Headscratchers]] mentioned, what happened to Dark Heart after he turned human, and for that matter, why did he attack them, why did he [[IncrediblyLamePun care]] about a girl that saved his life once? What was his backstory, and speaking of which, the backstory of all of the villains and the pre-Wishing Star bears and cousins?
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Let's just say that the fans put a ''lot'' of thought into analyzing the physics, economics, politics, and magic of the setting. In particular, discussions of exactly how powerful Celestia and Luna are, both in the physical and political sense, crop up a ''lot''. Entire fanfics have been written primarily for the authors to explain and justify why their particular set of Fanon makes the most sense.
** In "Daring Don't", Twilight and Rainbow Dash briefly engage in this InUniverse concerning the DaringDo series.

[[/folder]]

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