Occasionally a company creates a fake 'legacy' for a character, and uses that as a basis for the character: Essentially a {{Retcon}}, introducing their past adventures into ''real life''. By combining {{Retraux}} with ShowWithinAShow, the creators engineer a 'return' for a new character.

A specific form of NewerThanTheyThink. See also BeenThereShapedHistory for when the constructed legacy involves events "originally" performed by other characters. Compare and contrast UnInstallment, where a single installment is "missing" from the midst of a series, and NoodleIncident, where small isolated past offscreen events are referenced.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''KujibikiUnbalance'' (the first iteration) only had three episodes produced, spaced at random points along the nonexistant series. Despite that, there was a clip show back to episodes that never happened and next episode previews for episodes that also didn't happen.
* The DVD bonus specials for ''PrincessLover!'' have episode previews for ''[[MagicalGirl Magical Knight Maria-chan]]'' starring Silvie's kid sister. These include previews for episode 25 even though the first 24 don't exist, and previews for a ''sequel'' series.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* TheSentry from MarvelComics was a character "introduced in the '60s", and was so powerful that knowledge of his existence threatened the universe. So, he made everyone: even himself, even Marvel Comics, and even ''[[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou the readers]]'' forget he existed, until he "returned" in 2000.
* Orson Randall, another Marvel character who wielded the power of the ''ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist'' in the '20s, supposedly passed into obscurity, completely unknown to Danny Rand, the modern Iron Fist, until he "reappeared" in 2007. The series delves into the histories of the Iron Fists that held the title before Orson, which go back for over a thousand years.
** A side story even shows the Iron Fist from 1000 years in the future.
** The ''Comicbook/NewAvengers'' tie-in to ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen'' revolved around Fongji Wu, a female, [[SignificantGreenEyedRedHead mixed-race]] Iron Fist that had managed to harness the [[DarkPhoenixSaga Phoenix Force]] long before Jean Grey was even born.
* Circa 2009, writer Jason Aaron revealed that the Comicbook/{{Ghost Rider}}s aren't the only Spirits of Vengeance. The British model draws from Spring-Heeled Jack, the German model closely resembles [[Literature/DerStruwwelpeter Shock-Headed Peter]], and the Japanese one is a ''bosozoku'' with an oni-like appearance. There have been Spirits of Vengeance for every culture and every era; the American Spirits alone number in the dozens (which explains the original GR being a cowboy all clad in white), and when the Vikings first landed in North America they found a Spirit of Vengeance protecting the shore.
* A classic example from Marvel is ComicBook/{{Cable}}, who was created in the 1980s, but as soon as he was introduced he was written into history and characters acted like they had known him forever. TimeTravel was heavily involved, explaining why this was the case for him.
* In the 70's, it was stated that the Human Torch from the ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' had taken his name from the original [[GoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Human Torch, whom he was a big fan of. This had never been brought up before in any other comic, and in fact, when the Human Torch met his Golden Age counterpart back in the 60's, he seemed to have absolutely no idea that there was another Human Torch before him.
* Marvel again: The series ''ComicBook/{{Alias}}'' introduced Comicbook/JessicaJones, who had a backstory of being a C- or D-list superhero before retiring as a private detective. As with Cable, she's now treated as if she was active back in TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks -- and indeed [[Comicbook/SpiderMan Peter Parker's]] high school classmate in TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks.[[note]]According to {{Retcon}}, her first appearance is in ''Amazing Spider-Man'' #4, as a random student appearing in one panel.[[/note]] Interestingly, the original plan was to have ''Alias'' feature an existing heroine, Comicbook/SpiderWoman.
* The ''Widowmaker'' series established that the Ronin [[LegacyCharacter identity previously held]] by Maya Lopez and [[Comicbook/{{Hawkeye}} Clint Barton]] was originated by a Japanese nationalist during World War 2. [[PlotHole Exactly how nobody knew this is never actually explained....]]
* TheDCU had Triumph, a hero who was supposedly a founding member of the JusticeLeagueOfAmerica but a HeroicSacrifice involving the timestream removed him from history and dumped him in the present day.
** They did the exact same thing ''again'' with Moon Maiden, who was basically a cross between Franchise/SailorMoon [[XMeetsY and]] Franchise/{{Superman}}.
* Meanwhile, both DC and Marvel put up a lot of thought in the "retroactive continuity" in the [[ComicBook/AmalgamUniverse Amalgam comics]] event, with fake creators, fake letters and fake notes from the editor for each book.
* Creator/AlanMoore's first issue of ''{{Supreme}}'' was a tribute to the many versions of the character who had been published since his first appearance in the 1930s, all of which Moore had just made, save the Grim [[TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]] Supreme RobLiefeld had originally created.
* Creator/AlanMoore also wrote the ''Judgment Day'' mini-series for AwesomeComics. The series deals with a metacommentary of the notion of retcons to super-hero histories as Alan Moore himself creates a new backstory for the characters of Awesome Comics, to replace the shared universe they left when Rob Liefeld left Image several years earlier.
* Greg Rucka's 2000s ''ComicBook/{{Checkmate}}'' series introduced a legacy character of the World War II heroine Mademoiselle Marie, and revealed that the original Marie was in fact just one in a long long of Maries dating back to at least the French Revolution.
* Volton was an obscure hero from the GoldenAgeOfComicBooks who never had a clear origin. After becoming a PublicDomainCharacter, Marvel included him in the 90's ''[[Comicbook/TheInvaders Invaders]]'' mini-series, where it was established that Volton was an android created by the same inventor responsible for the Human Torch and TheVision.
* Creator/NeilGaiman's [[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]], Dream of the Endless, was introduced in the 1980s as the original from which the previous Sandmen had derived.
* ''Young ComicBook/XMen'' introduced [[AffirmativeActionLegacy the new Cipher]], Alisa Tager. A retcon establishes that she's been present at the Xavier Institute since way back in Creator/GrantMorrison's ''New X-Men'' run, but thanks to her [[IntangibleMan intangibility and invisibility]], the readers simply hadn't noticed her.
* Creator/GrantMorrison introduced a new Shining Knight in ''Comicbook/SevenSoldiers'', Sir Ystin, who heralded from the ur-Camelot that would establish the recurring cycle of Arthurian legend, and became the template for Sir Justin, the Shining Knight of a later era.
* ''ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist'' established that Amazing-Man ([[IHaveManyNames AKA the Prince of Orphans]]), a GoldenAge superhero who had previously been owned by a rival company, was one of the Immortal Weapons.
** Similar to the Red Circle examples below, Creator/EdBrubaker's ''Comicbook/SecretAvengers'' run established that the Prince of Orphans had been one of CaptainAmerica's allies during WorldWar2.
* Happened to Comicbook/TheSpectre in the John Ostrander series, who was given a history that stretched back into Literature/TheBible and the earliest days of Creation.
* DCComics occasionally assembles a legacy from previously-unrelated characters.
** E.g., when a minor [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] ''ComicBook/TheFlash'' villain called "Rival" retroactively became the first Reverse Flash.
** Or when Western heroes Nighthawk and Cinnamon became previous incarnations of ComicBook/{{Hawkman}} and Hawkgirl.
** When James Robinson wrote ''Comicbook/{{Starman}}'', DC had six characters by that name, only two of whom had any connection: Ted Knight; the 1950s Starman (who was actually Batman in a story that had been {{Retcon}}ned away); Mikaal Tomas; Prince Gavyn of Throneworld; Will Peyton; and Ted's son David Knight. Robinson created Ted's younger son Jack as "his" Starman, and forged connections between all the above characters, some of whom turned out to be the same people.
** There was also the original Comicbook/{{Manhunter}}, who thanks to a retcon, first became a superhero after encountering the Manhunter androids (who in real life had been introduced four decades after Kirk initally debuted). Later, it was established those androids took their name from the Manhunters from Mars, as seen in the pages of MartianManhunter.
* The Golden Age heroine Golden Girl was retconned into being the aunt of the Hulk foe [[RedHulk Thunderbolt Ross]], based pretty much entirely on the fact that they happened to have the same last name.
* During the 80's, the villain Arthur Light was retroactively established as having been the [[LegacyCharacter second Dr. Light]], with the original being a man named Jacob Finlay. ''Another'' retcon was later introduced to tie Doctor Light to his [[AffirmativeActionLegacy female, Japanese replacement]], Kimiyo Hoshi. It was stated that Kimiyo's father had developed the Doctor Light suit with Finlay, before Arthur Light stole it in the first place.
* When DC licensed the Red Circle heroes from ArchieComics, they retroactively inserted the Hangman into DC's GoldenAge during the 1940's. In his backup feature, it was established that Hangman had shared adventures with [[Comicbook/SandmanMysteryTheatre Wesley Dodds' Sandman]].
* Years after DC gained the characters Judomaster and Tiger thanks to a buy-out of CharltonComics, the two were retconned into being members of the ComicBook/AllStarSquadron, despite never actually appearing in that series.
* When the [[MilestoneComics Milestone]] heroes were integrated into DC's continuity, it was established that ComicBook/{{Icon}} was now an old friend of ComicBook/{{Superman}}. It was also mentioned that Comicbook/{{Hardware}} knew Comicbook/BlueBeetle, and this throwaway line would later form the basis for an issue of ''ComicBook/TheBraveAndTheBold''. ''Milestone Forever'' took this a step further, hinting at past team-ups between Comicbook/{{Static}} and ComicBook/WonderWoman and Blitzen and Comicbook/TheFlash.
* ''Comicbook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' often features this, but the most obvious example is Campion Bond, who is introduced as a heretofore unknown ancestor of Franchise/JamesBond, demonstrating that careers are genetically transmitted in the LOEG-verse.
* In story, this was what the military told the public CaptainAtom was in his Post-Crisis series.
* The ImageComics character {{Shadowhawk}} named himself after the SilverAge Shadow-Hawk, a parody of SilverAge Franchise/{{Batman}}, whose [[KidSidekick teenaged son]] Squirrel would [[FaceHeelTurn go on to become]] Shadowhawk's EvilCounterpart, Hawk's Shadow. Eventually it would be revealed that there was a line of Shadowhawks going back to AncientEgypt.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/LeonardPart6'' supposedly followed five earlier adventures of the protagonist that had been suppressed in the interest of national security.
* ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace'' depicts the same alien race's ninth attempt to invade Earth.
* The first three ''StarWars'' films began with Episode IV-VI, suggesting an epic series. It wasn't until much later that episodes I through III were created.
** The first prints of Episode IV, however, did not have the "Episode IV" in the opening title crawl.
* ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'' established Woody as a valuable antique cowboy doll who used to be the star of an old merchandise driven show called Woody's Roundup.
* ''WreckItRalph'' follows two characters of that (fictional) smash-hit arcade game from 1983, "Fix-It Felix Jr.". Apparently the game was so legendary, [[PacManFever Buckner & Garcia]] made a song about it. Also, the fact that there's a "Jr." in the name can lead one to assume there was a more primitive "Fix-It Felix" game that predated this one.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The book ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'' pretends to be an abridgement of an older book of the same name written by the fictitious author "S. Morgenstern". Remember those parts in the movie where they cut back to the grandpa reading the book to his grandson Fred Savage? WilliamGoldman, the writer, "abridged" the book [[BlatantLies based on memories of being read the original by his father]], and equivalents to those scenes are present in the real life novel as footnotes and forewords. The book actually had its roots in something Goldman made up for his two daughters as a bed time story.
* The novelization of the 1984 movie ''TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossTheEighthDimension'' presents itself as merely the latest in a long series of "Buckaroo Banzai" books, and makes [[ContinuityNod frequent reference]] to the titles and events of the alleged previous volumes, such as ''Bastardy Proved a Spur''.
* ''Trent's Last Case'' is actually the first novel featuring PhilipTrent.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' had two infamous [[ClipShow Clip Shows]]...that consisted entirely of footage from past episodes that ''didn't actually exist''.
* ''Jimmy [=MacDonald's=] Canada'' is a {{Mockumentary}} about a [[NewsParody Fake Pundit Show]] that took place back in the 60's, and starred a stereotypical ultra-conserative man, who was railing against technological innovation and youth culture. The show ended when [=MacDonald=] had a nervous breakdown on TV, made off with all the tapes from the episodes, flew off to parts unknown, but died in a plane crash. Some of the episodes have recently turned up, and the mockumentary features eight episodes of what was supposedly a weekly program that ran for years.
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[[folder:Music]]
* BruceWillis's ''The Return of Bruno'' was his debut album.
* Music/TheAquabats' first album was called ''Return of the Aquabats''. They're [[RuleOfFunny that sort of band]].
* British wigger-rap parody act Goldie-Lookin' Chain called their first album "Greatest Hits", accompanied by an album cover showing the participants sat in shop doorways holding cardboard signs saying "Will Rap For Food" to imply that they'd been spectacularly famous and successful before a CreatorBreakdown and/or massive substance abuse. This turned out to be rather prophetic in a meta sort of way, because after releasing three singles and [[OneHitWonder getting one of them into the Top 40]] they sank without a trace.
** Their gimmick (as seen in interviews, and on their pre-fame demo CDs) was that they had apparently been going since 1983 - ie, over 20 years. It's true that they'd released 6 albums (starting in 2001) before their major label album in 2004, but that's only 3 years. It didn't help that their follow up album was called Safe As F**k, meaning that it got no radio or TV promotion.
* Alien Ant Farm also called their first album Greatest Hits, although the strange thing is that it includes early versions of Smooth Criminal (called Slick Thief), Movies and These Days, all of which were singles when re-recorded for the albums ANThology and TruANT respectively. The former two were their biggest hits, and (outside of fans), Alien Ant Farm are basically only remembered for them these days.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* D3 Publisher and Monolith's ''EatLeadTheReturnOfMattHazard'' has been given an entire backstory of games (including that he was the "first character to crouch" although it was "removed at the last moment" before release of "The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land" in 1983). They put up a [[http://therealmatthazard.wordpress.com/ blog]] about it, and a [[http://www.weaponsofmattdestruction.com/ fake fansite]] complete with pointless animated gifs and one of those Java "lake reflection" headers.
* ''RetroGameChallenge'' presents an entire alternate 1980s game industry, complete with magazines.
* ''BeatMania IIDX'' has a classical song called "Piano Concerto No. 1 'Anti-Ares'", supposedly written by one Virkato Wakhmaninov between 1893 and 1974. In actuality Virakato Wakhmaniov is a pseudonym of Jun Wakita, one of Konami's in-house composers, and he composed the song in 2004.
* The DS game ''DarkVoid Zero'' claims in its promotional material to be a game developed in the 80s by Capcom for a "revolutionary" yet ultimately scrapped arcade system with two screens. The game then eventually was used as the basis of the upcoming PC and console game ''DarkVoid'' and thus Capcom has decided to "re-release" the "original" as a DS title.
** The arcade system in question is a Playchoice-10, a Nintendo arcade machine with 10 different NES games inside it as the name suggests, and instead of lives/continues, feeding coins/tokens into it instead grants more playing time. And yes, it did have 2 screens, although since the games in question were NES games, the only purpose the second screen had was providing game hints and info. But after they released new info on the game, not only does the supposed backstory for the game contain tons of speculation, but the supposed promotional image for the game is blantantly photoshopped as well.
* In ''MerryGearSolid 2'', the synopsis of the game ''Merry Gear'' is available in the Previous Operations section of the menu, and the plot is referenced in the game's story. The game never actually existed.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'': The Blitzball player Jecht's famous "Sublimely Magnificent Jecht Shot Mark III" move isn't actually the third iteration -- he just called it the Mark III because it sounded more interesting. As his son Tidus relates it was also a bit of a marketing ploy. Fans would show up to every game hoping to one day see Marks I & II.
* ''VideoGame/FurFighters'' starts with the return of BigBad General Viggo. Apparently the Fur Fighters stopped him in an earlier game but of course no such game was released.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the 200th ''WebOriginal/StrongBadEmail'' "email thunder", Strong Bad is shocked to discover that Homestar Runner has his own email show, several episodes of which are [[SynchronousEpisodes synchronous with previous SBEmails]]. The Brothers Chaps would eventually do a few more "[=HREmails=]", one of which COMPLETELY retconned the [=SBEmail=] lore, before going back to Strong Bad.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' episode "Back in Style."
** The [[IAmNotShazam Warner Brothers and Warner Sister]] ''themselves'', as well- they were old-timey cartoon characters locked up because they were too wacky.
** ''Animaniacs'' character Slappy Squirrel was supposed to be a cranky old semi-retired cartoon character from Bugs Bunny's heyday. Why the Warners hadn't aged a day since their supposed debut in the 20s while Slappy had aged considerably since her supposed debut in the 40s ... um, [[FridgeLogic clean living]]?
*** [[RuleOfFunny Because it's]] [[GenreSavvy funnier that way.]]
*** It may also be a nod to a ''TinyToonAdventures'' episode exploring the nature of toons ala Roger Rabbit. It was an episode where Babs Bunny was seeking out old cartoon stars Bosco and Honey so they could be her mentors, and in the process learned that laughter is what keeps a toon young. The Slappy Squirrel episode "Critical Condition" suggests that no one has laughed at Slappy in a long time.
* The second episode of ''WesternAnimation/ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'' was the locked-in-a-freezer clip show - they had trouble remembering, at first, anything that didn't happen the previous week, but eventually started talking about previous adventures they had.
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