This material is separated from the main continuity, usually in the form of special episodes or even BonusMaterial. It's not out of {{canon}}, but it's not treated as if it was fully in canon either. Its continuity status is "NoExceptYes": not quite accepted, and not quite rejected. None of this will be referenced in canon, but it will not be contradicted outright either.

As opposed to the CanonDiscontinuity which was explicitly removed from {{Canon}} later, this "Optional Continuity" implicitly was not firmly tied into {{Canon}} to begin with. Unlike BigLippedAlligatorMoment, it's not just a random throwaway gag that pops up unexpectedly only to sink forever, it's a complete piece of continuity not thrown away, but still set aside. While it [[ExiledFromContinuity cannot participate]] in [[StoryArc over-arching storylines]], it serves to highlight characters or setting that ''do'' belong to the {{Canon}}ical continuity without interrupting the main story flow with {{exposition}}s, up to becoming dedicated {{Exposition}} BonusMaterial.

If the events are not inconsequential, such an episode may contain ResetButton, OrWasItADream or PerspectiveFlip to UnreliableNarrator, forming a weakened link with the {{Canon}}. Compare BroadStrokes. Unrelated to CowboyCop.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'': OVA is a DeconstructiveParody on the series... with a ResetButton at the end.
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' has an ongoing {{spinoff}} manga series called ''DetectiveConan Special Edition'' that is going on on a children's manga magazine. While it agrees with most canon elements of the main series, it's not drawn by the original mangaka (and hence has some OffModel issues) and TheSyndicate never appeared outside of the FirstEpisodeSpoiler. It's lack of firm link with the canon can be demonstrated by how, despite being a LongRunner itself (>30 volumes), its story were very seldomly adapted into the {{anime}}, even though such a thing would be very helpful in preventing OvertookTheManga.
* Many ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' movies - while a few of them are shown to be part of the canon, one wonders how the Victini movies would fit in, due to them being the same movie, but with different twists.

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[[folder: Collectible Card Games ]]

* In the early days of ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', a number tie-in novels were published by [=HarperPrism=] and a comic series was published by Armada. When the Weatherlight saga began and WizardsOfTheCoast started its own novel line, the continuity was revised (This is commonly referred to as [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "The Revision"]]). Any material in the old publications is considered {{Canon}} unless new material directly contradicts it.

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* This is the status of the VertigoComics line of DCComics: it started as part of the DCUniverse, with most if not all characters simply being mature readers takes on existing characters, but has grown progressively more separate (and also began introducing new titles with no connection to the DC Universe). Basically, a Vertigo story featuring a DC character ''only'' applies to the main universe IF a story in a DC comics says it did. For example, we know that [[ComicBook/TheSandman Dream of the Endless]] exists in the DC Universe because he (or rather [[LegacyCharacter his replacement]]) has appeared in issues of ''JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' and ''JusticeSocietyOfAmerica''. However the versions of Hell from those universes do not match.
** Though even those interpretations of hell remain as LooseCanon due to the fact that the Sandman series posits that there are multiple parallel afterlifes. In addition, for the most part, Vertigo depicts Hell as subjective; DC depicts Hell as objective.
* Given how most ''SamAndMax'' comics usually only last three pages and how most stories (including the cartoon and video games as well) are mostly standalone, an official canon for the overall franchise is a really hard thing to decipher. The only time continuity really comes into play these days is in the TelltaleGames ''Sam & Max'' series and tiny references to past cases (like Jesse James' severed hand from ''Sam & Max: Hit The Road'' appearing in recent episodes of the Telltale Games ''Sam & Max''.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* The 2003 film ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' essentially is this to the 2008 film ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk''. The latter picks up with the hero where we left off with him at the end of the previous film, but 'adjusts' certain elements of the back-story...although the specifics of that back-story have very little bearing on the plot of the film itself.
* ''SupermanReturns'' also uses this regarding the first two ''Film/{{Superman}}'' films, particularly as despite being set a few years after ''SupermanII'', it is seemingly set in contemporary times instead of during the eighties.
* It could be said that the ''EvilDead'' films have this relationship. Each film streamlines and slightly alters the general events of the previous film before continuing the story from where it ended. ''Army of Darkness'' even replaces the closure of ''Evil Dead 2'' to make its plot work better.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works ]]

* The ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'' has several chapters which WordOfGod has specifically said are optional for readers to consider canon or not, depending on their personal preference. This includes Luna's sidestory and the "Battle Pros" chapter. The former is refrenced somewhat in the actual canon, but never truly confirmed.
** [[spoiler:Pinkie Pie's Side Story, detailing the end of the G3 universe through her witnessing the CosmicRetcon that must be done or the universe ends. WordOfGod has pretty much left it up to the readers rather it's a prequel, a non-canon standalone story, or just a fever dream of Pinkie Pie.]]
* The ''Fanfic/GettingBackOnYourHooves'' sidestory "Another Happy Mother's Day" is said to be this by WordOfGod, being one valid possibility as to the fate of [[spoiler:[[BigBad Checker Monarch]]]]. Ironically, it's actually a RecursiveFanfiction written by Alexwarlorn, the writer of the above ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'', the two authors being good friends.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' spin-off materials (diaries, maps, ''Nanny Ogg's Cookbook'' etc) are generally loosely canonical.
** Hell, earlier Discworld books are this to later ones, because [[WordOfGod Terry Pratchett]] has admitted he wasn't an as good a writer back then as he is nowadays. In his own words (paraphrased):
--> Was the Patrician a fat man, or was I just not as good a writer as I am now?
* ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' has ''Gilden-Fire'', a novella consisting of material cut from ''The Illearth War''. It gives information about the Haruchai (the people that the Bloodguard come from) which is found nowhere else in the books. However, the details of the storyline don't quite mesh with the version of events given in ''The Illearth War''.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The ''Series/{{Lost}}'' tie-in books and video game aren't canon (except for the Incident Room in the game...) but they don't interfere with canon by involving background characters and just mentioning the canon events as happening elsewhere. (The one trip-up spot here is really the part right before the end of the video game where you have to [[spoiler:save Jack and Kate from the Others]]. There's no reason why ''that'' wouldn't come up again in the series...)
* Very common with TV series tie-ins in general. Most of the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'' tie-in novels are this way, as are the ''Series/{{CSI}}'' franchise tie-ins.
* The third-season ''Series/TheWestWing'' episode "Isaac and Ishmael" was specifically intended to be canonically vague - it opens with the actors telling us not to worry about where it fits into the show's chronology (which is wise, given that it falls in the middle of a cliffhanger and its resolution), but no one ever actually says that it isn't canonical.
* ''Series/{{Doctor Who}}'' is often this, but most of these cases during the '60s and early '70s were due to the BBC wiping most of their tapes for storage - In short, from their view, the storylines they created were [[TheyJustDidntCare just as disposable as the episodes]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz1-aHL82Cs The Last Revolver]] of the ''Franchise/EvilliousChronicles'' spent four years in Loose Canon Limbo. A FandomBerserkButton was to say that it was the song that represented [[SevenDeadlySins Wrath]]. As it turns out, it isn't, but it ''does'' provide the backstory for the song that ultimately did, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGFeL7Az0J8 The Muzzle of Nemesis]].

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' and ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Warhammer 40,000]]'' have this for almost everything. Major events get {{retcon}}ned all the time, and it's up to individual writers what they consider canon for their story. Due to the sheer size of the setting and suspect in-universe sources of background info (which is generally presented as propaganda for one faction or another, making its reliability conveniently dubious) things they don't like can usually just be ignored and left ambiguous.

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* ''TheDrowsyChaperone'': InUniverse, Man-in-Chair never elaborates on the actors playing George and Trix. However, the booklet that comes with the 2006 Cast Recording contains fake liner notes from the record of the ShowWithinAShow, naming both of them.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''Franchise/MetalGear'':
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidMobile''. It hits the ResetButton at the end by erasing Snake's memory so it doesn't interfere with canon. (Though that doesn't explain why Otacon doesn't remember any of the events either...) It doesn't help that it's so hard to get hold of that it's virtually a MissingEpisode.
** ''In The Darkness Of Shadow Moses'' and ''The Shocking Conspiracy Behind Shadow Moses'', in-universe backstory documents included with ''Metal Gear Solid 2'', were both intended to be canon at the time, but have been ignored for convenience (particularly the plot point regarding Metal Gear possessing only a dummy warhead, the background information about "the real Naomi" who went missing in the Middle East and the fate of the main Naomi). That said, not much is specifically contradicted between the games and the books and some of the things that are contradicted are likely intentional. The stuff that isn't contradicted (like the background details of Nastasha and Ames' relationship) is presumably canon.
** Some of the "Snake Tales" shorts included with ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2Substance'' - the stories are certainly not part of the main continuity, but some fill in background information that is probably canon:
*** "Confidential Legacy" is the most obvious one - the story about Meryl working with Gurlukovich is definitely non-canon, but it also goes into a lot of detail about Meryl's family situation which is regarded as canonical, [[NamedByTheAdaptation naming Meryl's legal father for the first time]] and delving into his military position and job. It also contains the only explanation thus far for [[DisposableLoveInterest why Snake and Meryl are not a couple in]] ''Metal Gear Solid 2''.
*** "Big Shell Evil" shows Snake demonstrating a photographic memory talent to memorise a long computer password. He never actually uses this ability in the canon, but there is still a very sad CallBack to it in ''Series/MetalGearSolid 4'' in a sequence where the player may have him forget a computer password, demonstrating he has lost this ability. In addition to this, it elaborates on Snake and Otacon's friendship circumstances and interpersonal quirks, along with "External Gazer".
*** "Dead Man Whispers" fills in a lot of detail about Vamp and Scott Dolph's relationship. The canon has Snake mention in an optional radio conversation that "rumour has it" that they were lovers. "Dead Man Whispers" makes it very clear that they both deeply loved each other, as Vamp is shown to sacrifice himself in order to protect Dolph. It also gives some characterisation to Jackson, the original leader of Dead Cell and Fortune's husband, and goes into detail about what exactly the financial corruption scandal he was involved in was.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps'', not being made by Kojima, is canon only insofar as it doesn't contradict anything else.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearGhostBabel'' adds some detail to Big Boss's backstory (such as his student Augustine Eguabon) that was presumably supposed to be canon at the time, and gives a lot of background information and worldbuilding to Galzburg/[[AdaptationNameChange Gindra]], the country where Outer Heaven was located.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1: Opposing Force'' (note that the expansions were made by a different company than original producers {{Valve}}) introduced the main character (marine Adrian Shepard) who proved quite popular among the fanbase; and the mysterious "Race X" from another, unknown world who happened to arrive at Black Mesa during the events of ''Half-Life'' and made a weak attempt to conquer Earth. Their canonicity is pretty much a gray area: it was never completely exiled from canon, but they did not appear in the series again. Same goes for ''Blue Shift''; though Barney Calhoun made his way into ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', the supporting characters (Dr. Rosenberg) and the exact events are semi-canon at best.
** A generic, unnamed guard in ''Half-Life'' offers to buy Gordon Freeman a beer if they leave Black Mesa alive. While Barney Calhoun appears in ''Blue Shift'', he comments in ''Half-Life 2'' that he still owes Gordon that beer. Calhoun never directly encounters Freeman during the course of ''Blue Shift'', though it is conceivable that many guards (perhaps even all guards) owe Gordon Freeman a beer for some reason or other.
** The only detail from expansions that Half-Life's writer, Marc Laidlaw, has explicitly declared canon is Black Mesa's nuclear destruction in ''Opposing Force'''s ending.
* [[http://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=4013 It is somewhat unclearly stated]] whether the ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' tie-in comic [[http://www.teamfortress.com/loosecanon/ Loose Canon]] is in fact LooseCanon or not.
** Later comics and in-game updates build off of this comic as though it was canon, so it's only an example of InNameOnly.
* In the ''TalesSeries'', the Tales of Fandom games are treated this way, at least by the parts of their audience that don't speak Japanese, due to NoExportForYou. Details may gradually trickle through the fandoms as [[FanTranslation Fan Translations]] are made, but since these can be unreliable, most fanfic writers consider them optional at best.
* Pretty much everything written by Michael Kirkbride for ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' lore outside of Bethesda is this. It's essentially treated as canon by most of the fanbase, but Bethesda has no official stance either way. Most of what he writes about is the more obscure aspects of the cosmology that doesn't get expanded on in the games, and lore figures the games never touch upon or that Bethesda is simply finished with (like Vivec).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* The ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' bonus pages at the end of every chapter represent two different varieties. Some of the pages just show brief scenes which are [[WordOfGod officially]] canon, but are rarely ever mentioned again. Other pages feature a white-haired girl named Tea who pops in to [[{{narrator}} describe background details to the audience]]. The contents of her exposition are canon, but Tea has yet to appear in the comic proper, and she has interacted with [[AuthorAvatar a cartoon representation of Tom Siddell]] (a character that the real Mr Siddell insists is non-canon).
* The ''[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Order of the Stick]]'' comics that appeared in ''DragonMagazine'' might fall into this. In one online strip where Haley mentions Belkar claiming to be a gourmet chef, he responds that it was in ''Dragon'' so he's not even sure if it's the same continuity.
* ''TemplarArizona'': Bonus comics.
* ''UnwindersTallComics'':
** TheRant below [[http://tallcomics.com/?id=32 page 32]] specified that "It's not ''Tall Comics'' canon, but it IS ''{{Marmaduke}}'' canon." But fallout from the events of that page pop up again [[http://tallcomics.com/?id=62 thirty pages later]], anyway.
** [[http://tallcomics.com/?id=97 Page 97]] gives information about the in-universe authors of ''PowerupComics''. The rant below is quick to point out that this shouldn't be taken as absolute canon for ''Powerup Comics'': "I mean, I consider it canon personally, and it's definitely ''Tall Comics'' canon that these are the real people behind ''Powerup Comics'', but at the same time, I don't want to invalidate any fan theories about ''Powerup''."
* After ''{{Homestuck}}'' ran an intermission featuring the Midnight Crew from ''ProblemSleuth'', one member of the ''MSPaintAdventures'' forums began a forum-based adventure serving as a prequel to the intermission and starring the Midnight Crew's rival gang, the Felt. Although the author was eventually forced to cancel it due to accusations of forcing his fan fiction into canon, it was generally seen as this, especially due to the author getting permission from Andrew Hussie to use plot points and character designs that hadn't yet been featured in the main comic, and it was even given a ShoutOut by having Hussie slip a necklace resembling one worn by an OriginalCharacter from the forum adventure into the actual intermission. Andrew eventually declared it to be non-canon, however.
* ''[[http://slapappverb.tumblr.com/ Slapdash Application of Verbiage]]'' alternates between regular comics and [[http://slapappverb.tumblr.com/tagged/todc "Tales of Dubious Canonicity"]], pieced together from previously-drawn artwork. Whether the events and dialogue of these comics have any bearing on the plot or characterization in the main comic is unclear.
* ''QuestionableContent'' has a handful of characters who show up only in filler strips that the author writes when he doesn't have time to do a regular strip. However, he did write a multi-part New Year's comic with them, and one of them had [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2031 a cameo]] in the comic proper. Oh, and there was also [[http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1690 the birthday comic]].
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', according to [[http://www.egscomics.com/faq.page#general_sections the FAQ page]] EGS:NP stories "generally don't have continuity unless referred to in a later story, and aren't a part of the main storyline unless referred to in the story section." This means unless they involve things that obviously would not fit in continuity (like gratuitous [[BreakingTheFourthWall Fourth Wall breaking]]) or explicitly say they are out of continuity (the [[http://www.egscomics.com/egsnp/?date=2004-06-22 Goonmanji]] storyline is a prime example) the EGS:NP storylines can be considered Optional Canon.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* The ''Literature/FineStructure'' story "Marooned" is Optional Canon by WordOfGod. A number of details, mostly AlternateCharacterInterpretation on the BigGood, are left to the opinion of the reader.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''Zuko's Story'' is a tie-in {{Prequel}} comic to ''TheLastAirbender'', the live-action film adaptation of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. However, the writers went out of their way to incorporate details from the animated series. Except for Zuko and Iroh being drawn as their movie counterparts, the story would fit right in with the animated series, [[http://splashpage.mtv.com/2010/05/17/the-last-airbender-qa-exploring-zukos-story-with-co-writer-dave-roman/ which was in fact the authors' intent.]] There is however no word on whether the series considers it to be canon.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has the [[ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW Comic Book spinoff]] which is of ambiguous continuity. As of yet, none of them flatly contradict the tvshow, but at the same time very little of what happens in the comics is referenced in the tv show, leaving it ambiguous whether the events of the comics are considered to have happened.
** WordOfGod from Hasbro states that the comic is considered canon until the cartoon says otherwise, such is the case with Daring Do. The comic started to hint that Daring was actually Twilight's mother. The episode "Daring Don't" revealed differently.
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