Remember Fiore? Sailor Moon:
Yes! Yes I do! And I seem to be the only one who does! Queen Serenity:
Well you see, there's the series
, and then there's the movies
and the movies are a whole other continuity, honey. Sailor Moon:
W-what?! What are you talking about? Queen Serenity:
The movies. The whole thing with the Kissenian Blossom, and Fiore, and your future child? It's all just a whole other continuity.
Continuity is a confusing thing. Sometimes when adapting a work, writers will scrap previous continuity and write a new continuity either disregarding the old one, or painting continuity in Broad Strokes
. The result is an Alternate Continuity
— a story that is no less "official" than the original, but which cannot be reconciled with it with regards to backstory
. It effectively lives in a different universe. Sometimes this forms the basis of a Series Franchise
in particular has several diverse distribution paths in Japan, depending on its format — motion pictures in theaters, OVAs
in direct-to-consumer sales, and 26+ episode-long series on television. It is not uncommon for an anime to transfer from one distribution path/format to another. This is most frequently seen in shows that enjoy great success as OVAs; they jump to broadcast, and what was once effectively a miniseries becomes a story it takes an entire season to tell. Alternately, a successful series can become a movie.
When such a move is made, it's common for the story to simply be retold in the new medium, often with radical changes in both plot and characterization, creating an Alternate Continuity.
Oftentimes, an Alternate Continuity is unintentionally started when a show based on an unfinished series of a different medium runs out of material, as in Overtook the Manga
Be warned, though: sometimes an Alternate Continuity is the occasion for Adaptation Decay
. See also Elseworld
and Canon Discontinuity
One of the meta-causes of Alternate Universe
When a show's writers make the Alternate Continuity their new "main" Continuity while discarding the old one, it becomes a Continuity Reboot
. If the Alternate Continuity and the regular one share backstory and diverge from each other at some point, that's generally an Alternate Timeline
Note that this trope is specifically about changes in continuity moving from medium to medium, or after a Continuity Reboot
. See also The Movie
, Ultimate Universe
of this), Canon Immigrant
and Series Franchise
. When Fan Fic
attempts to weld two or more of these into a single story, it's called Patchwork Fic
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Anime & Manga
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World was an OVA series that became El-Hazard: Wanderers on TV. In the process, most of the relationships Makoto had with the women in his life were altered dramatically, with his primary romantic interest shifting from Ifurita (who has only an In Name Only counterpart in the TV continuity) to Princess Rune Venus (who's significantly younger than in the OVA so as to match Makoto's age). Later, a second OVA series based on the first was produced that continued the plot, but introduced several new characters and a new "ultimate weapon of doom". That success was then followed with a 12-episode TV series which pulled a Or Was It a Dream?? at the end. A final special was released for the TV series, the required Beach Episode.
- Haou Airen: The CD drama, where Hakuron survives. Apparently, had he lived, he and Kurumi would've been Happily Married and had a daughter.
- The TV series Revolutionary Girl Utena was turned into a movie, Adolescence of Utena, which attempted to retell the 39-episode story in 100 minutes by filtering it through the hindbrain of Salvador Dali and lacing it with LSD.
- Mazinger Z: It started as a manga. Then it was adapted into an anime. Then it got another manga at the same time the first manga and the anime were being published and aired respectively. Then both manga versions and the anime version got sequels, each one developping its own continuity and in some cases adding more backstory to the characters. Then more manga and anime were made, each one telling the story its way until the last iterations Mazinkaiser and Shin Mazinger.
- RahXephon also made the leap to a movie from TV, attempting to cram its extensive and complex storyline into less than 2 hours while at the same time providing new Back Story. In the process, one character was completely eliminated, and several others rewritten dramatically (including putting one to sleep for most of the film).
- A television series of Ah! My Goddess (which had been made into a 5-episode OVA in the early-middle 1990s) premiered in Japan in January 2005. The first episode alone makes it clear that it is an Alternate Continuity.
- Tenchi Muyo! is perhaps the king of alternate continuities, with at least eight different alternate "worlds" (some, such as Pretty Sammy, have more than one continuity themselves). Oddly enough, the Tenchi movies are not separate continuities in and of themselves, but dovetail into one or the other of the TV series. A few of the spinoffs of the original OVA are canon to the series, including Tenchi Muyo GXP and Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar. Dual! is the first real alternate universe to the OVA series.
For bonus fun, one of the Pretty Sammy series has a minor character who is a cousin on Nanami and Jinnai from El-Hazard linking both meta-series together. Mr. Fujisawa from the same series also happens to be the teacher of Tenchi's class in Tenchi in Tokyo.
- The Slayers franchise is right up there with Tenchi Muyo! in its own right. It originated as a 15-book Light Novel series, which has over 30 prequel novels (Slayers Special/Smash/Delicious). From there...
- 1. A 5-season anime series: The first two are based on the first eight novels, the remaining three are original stories. Tends to heavily contradict itself, especially considering that the fourth and fifth seasons came eleven years after the third.
- 2. The Non Serial Movies, all based on the Slayers Special novels. While the first four (chronicling the protagonists' early adventures with a flaky sorceress who just so happens to be the long lost sister of one of her later allies) is a plausible start before the anime, the fifth is problematic, as it involves the four main characters from the tv series set in a way that could be after seasons 2 or 3.
- 3. Most of the manga made are of their own continuity; Super Explosive Demon Story is its own interpretation of the first 8 novels/seasons 1 and 2, and there is an alternative manga to the fifth Non-Serial Movie (Slayers Premium). In addition to these, there are wholly different mangas set elsewhere, such as Slayers Light Magic (set in the future) and The Hourglass of Falces, which is the only manga featuring all six core characters (mainstays Lina and Gourry, Zelgadis and Amelia from the first novel arc, and Luke and Millina from the second novel arc) together.
- 4. Five video games, all their own stories and officially non-canon.
- Futakoi and the second TV series, Futakoi Alternative are a quite obvious example. The first being a fairly normal harem-type anime, while the second was much more madcap comedy.
- Mai-HiME branches off into a few distinct alternate continuities (and the plots of its anime and manga are distinctly different from one another). There's the Mai-Otome anime and manga-verse, where most of the characters from the previous series are rewritten and placed in a different universe and mixed in with a slew of new characters; and there's the Mai-HiME Destiny light novel series, which does the same thing, but simply moves the girls to a different part of the country. Mai-Otome also hints, but never directly states, that it's actually a far-flung future Earth; there's a little bit of evidence of such, but it's never extremely touched upon.
- Rockman EXE, also known as Mega Man Battle Network (games' title in English-speaking areas) or Mega Man NT Warrior (anime dub) is essentially an alternate version of the regular Mega Man (Classic) universe, with the major change being that the Robot Masters and other major characters are sentient programs instead of robots. Meanwhile, the games, anime, and manga of EXE are all separate continuities.
- Also, every game since 3 has been One Game for the Price of Two. Lan seems to remember any experiences he has in either version, even when they're inconsistent; it's as if he personally experienced not one version or the other, but some quantum superposition of the two. (For instance, he remembers both Shuko and Raika after BN4.) The most jarring example is Colonel: MegaMan remembers him well in both versions of BN6, but he only met him briefly in the Team ProtoMan version of 5.
- Interestingly, the Battle Network/NT Warrior universes and the Classic universe share a common source: Doctor Light and Doctor Wily. They branch off when the Doctor Light of the BN/NTW universe(s) went with Network Technology instead of Robotics, as happened in the Classic universe. Also interestingly, it is because of this that Wily became evil in the first place- he had a degree in Robotics, and in a world about computers and networks, nobody cared about his inventions.
- What this means is that Wily and Light are the most significant people in the Mega Man Multiverse. What they choose as their discipline ends up revolutionizing the world and completely changing society. It would be interesting to see what would happen if they were geneticists or rocket scientists....wait. No it wouldn't. You'd either get Warp Drive or Ricardo MontalBan.
- The anime adaptation of Rozen Maiden differs significantly from the manga - to the point that none of the events in the second season even happened in the original.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is an Alternate Continuity of the game and OVA Triangle Heart where her brother and sister are ninja-like bodyguards battling a terrorist group that killed their father (who is alive in Nanoha). The Nanoha franchise had since gained several of its own Alternate Continuities, such as The Movie continuity, The Movie manga continuity (which started like mere supplementary material until it veered off in its own direction), the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable continuity (an Alternate Timeline based on Nanoha A's having a different conclusion), and the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT continuity (A completely different setting where instead of fighting with magic, Nanoha and friends challenge each other to a Card Battle Game)
- The Digimon series had at least six continuities.
- While Digimon Adventure and Adventure 02 shared a continuity, one of the minor characters from 02, Ryou Akiyama, is also a prominent character in Digimon Tamers, which does not share a continuity with the two Adventure seasons. The continuity disconnect is not addressed in the English dub or even in the anime, but it is somewhat explained in the video games made for the Wonderswan in Japan (which never made their way stateside).
- The Digimon franchise has five mangas, and one of them, V-Tamer has crossover specials with Adventure 02, Frontier and Ryo of the Digimon games.
- Pretty Cure has Eight continuities and counting, with a couple of Bat Family Crossover movies (Pretty Cure All Stars DX). Each one follows the same basic plot, but changes up a few elements (besides using different characters and settings) each time, in particular the number of heroines and how their powers affect each other, going from two girls with Wonder Twin Powers to several relying on The Power of Friendship and back to two whose powers are mostly not connected and several other, currently inactive Cures.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!, consists of the original manga continuity which includes a Side Story Yu-Gi-Oh! R (which is of disputed canon); the Toei series continuity; the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters and GX continuity; and an alternate manga retelling of GX. There are also two Non Serial Movies (one for each anime) and the non-canonical Capsule Monsters mini-series. Then there is 5D's, which might be an Alternate Universe.
- The Tenth Anniversary special places 5Ds Twenty Minutes into the Future of GX, but the plot involves the villain trying to make a Split Timeline, so...
- X/1999 was released first as a movie, then again as a TV series five years later. The movie, for reasons of length and limited information, had an extremely simplified plotline. Also, both were finished before the manga, and all three killed different characters and resolved the plot in different ways.
- Kujibiki Unbalance has the OVAs included in Genshiken (consisting of episodes 1, 21, and 25 of an imaginary TV series); a radio drama based on this series; and a TV reimagining of the concept, which features very different character designs.
- The mangaka gave a nod to this difference in the manga, in which the original Kujibiki Unbalance is discussed as though it were also a manga. The changes made in the Kujibiki Unbalance TV series is discussed by the characters in the manga as though it were the first adaptation of "Kuji-an" to video, rather than the second, as it is in our world.
- Bubblegum Crisis does this with its sequel Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. Ironically, while the initial hardsuit designs were more or less lifted directly off the end of The Original Series, of the characters, only Big Bad Brian J. Mason has any resemblance to his OVA counterpart. This was done for legal reasons: the team making 2040 had the rights to the hardsuit designs, but not the character designs.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: Subverted/parodied in the first episode of season 2. The episode initially sets itself up as an Alternate Continuity, but switches right back to normal half way through the episode.
- Gravitation has some major differences between the manga (that came first) and the anime adaptation. Because the anime series was only 13 episodes long, one character (Maiko) is completely written out. Also, in the anime, Shuichi is already out of high school and signed to NG when he meets Eiri, but in the manga he is still a high school student whose talents are undiscovered.
- The three manga adaptations of Code Geass are all Alternate Continuities of varying degrees. Lelouch of the Rebellion is mostly a straight adaptation of the show, but with no Humongous Mecha and a greater focus on humor. Suzaku of the Counterattack focuses on the Forgotten Childhood Friend to the point of combining three of the Anime's characters into a single new one to better suit the plot. Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally is a completely alternate take where The Hero's Ill Girl little sister becomes a super-powered Loli with a mystical mecha fighting other super-powered Lolis with mystical mecha. The fourth manga is even more bizarre. Lelouch leads the Shinsengumi and the "Black Revolutionaries" in the midst of the Bakamatsu and Geass is the power to summon Knightmare Frames.
- Interestingly enough, at the end of Nightmare of Nunnally, Nunnally says that while touching Heaven's Door as part of Charles' god-killing ritual, she saw several different realities. One of these realities is the anime continuity, and a montage of Euphemia killing the Japanese, Suzaku in his standoff with Lelouch at the end of R1, and Lelouch's death are shown, none of which happen in Nightmare of Nunnally.
- Gundam tends to spawn a lot of these, given how many versions of the same story they have (TV series, movie trilogy, manga, novel, video game...) in addition to the seven different Alternate Universes the franchise has created.
- The Death Note live-action films eventually veer away from the plot as seen in the Manga and Anime versions. Rumor has it that an American live-action Adaptation is in the works with Light Yagami being played by Zac Efron. There's already a petition against it.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion's last episode, Shinji has a vision of his life as a typical high school comedy anime (except, you know, it still has Humongous Mecha) during a Mind Rape. This concept was so popular as to spawn several Dating Sim games and the manga Angelic Days.
- Another Alternate Continuity titled Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse goes way farther in its differences: NERV is a Catholic boarding school; EVAs are actually unique conventional weapons (i.e., Asuka wields a whip while Shinji has a handgun, etc.); Angels are instead disembodied consciousnesses that can kill and take over any body they choose; and the motivation for killing the Angels is to collect their Cores so Yggdrasil won't collapse, destroying all realities.
- Then there's Evangelion ANIMA, published in Hobby Japan Magazine and specifically made out of Anno's desire to do a "Gundam-style" Alternate Continuity. In it, NERV made peace with the JSSDF and fought off SEELE, with the story picking up three years later and dealing with things like multiple Rei clones, space-use Evas, and other fun oddities.
- In addition, both the manga version of Evangelion and the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series are standard alternate continuities that retain the core elements of the story, but change a number of significant details along the way. Especially the latter which goes completely Off the Rails a bit into the story.
- Ai Yori Aoshi started as a manga (now concluded after 17 volumes) that became the anime. The anime rearranged the order and details of some events, but maintained much of the same storyline. It ran for two seasons, but ended before the manga, leaving unresolved the primary Story Arc of whether Kaoru and Aoi will ever be able to publicly get together. Very roughly speaking, the anime covers much of the events from volumes 1 to 12 of the manga.
- The Fullmetal Alchemist manga and its 2003 anime adaptation start off fairly similar, but begin to diverge more and more as they progress. Do not ask people which one is better. There is also a second anime adaptation that follows the manga's continuity much closer than the first, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
- The first half of the Magic Knight Rayearth anime and manga are almost identical (barring a couple of Schrodinger's Cats.) The second halves for each follow the same basic premise, but diverge wildly by the inclusion of a Big Bad to the TV series, and the elimination of a minor character's true form.
- However, the Rayearth OVA, is an entirely separate continuity: the characters are all (mostly) there, and a few of the relationships survived, but aside from their names, their Elemental Powers, and the existence of Cephiro and Rune Gods, the OVA has nothing to do with The Original Series. Not even the protagonists' personalities are the same.
- Ghost in the Shell has three alternate continuities: the original manga; the first movie and its sequel; and the Stand Alone Complex television series, with its own sequel movie.
- Hell Girl is most famous as an anime, but there's also a manga and a short-lived live-action show. The manga can more or less coexist with the anime, but the live-action show definitely can't — Hajime and Tsugumi have a different backstory and a very different ending to their storyline.
- Record of Lodoss War has three alternate continuities: the original novel series, the anime OVA, and the manga version of Chronicles of Heroic Knights. While the anime OVA compresses the material down and is usually suggested to be treated as if it ended about halfway in, it contains numerous continuity errors with the original novel and the manga adaptation of that part of the story. Most other manga fit into the core timeline, along with the anime series of Chronicles of Heroic Knights. The manga of Chronicles, however, inexplicably rewrites the second half of the plot completely, reaching a separate but equal Crowning Moment Of Awesome, and is notable for developing secondary characters much more than the series. It's still a separate canon though. Rune Soldier Louie, since it is set on a separate continent and features no returning characters, disregards the differences between the alternate continuities. As for Legend Of Crystania, it fits into the core timeline (non-OVA), but since it came out when most people in the west didn't know of any other Lodoss continuities than the OVA, it propagated the confusion with its differences.
- The various versions of the series starting with the Blood: The Last Vampire OVA. There were several manga adaptions of the original concept, each with varying storylines, then the Blood+ anime took some of the basic character templates and ideas and made a series that bears only a slight resemblance to the original. This again also has several manga adaptions that take different paths.
- Black Butler has two different continuities: the ongoing manga and the 24-episode anime. The anime not only featured a few differences in the plotlines it took from the manga (such as certain key characters appearing earlier than they were supposed to), but had new plotlines, supporting characters, and main villains when it Overtook the Manga after the 6th episode. Even the supporting characters that had originally appeared in the manga had their long-term roles (Soma and Agni being reoccurring characters in the manga as opposed to simply disappearing at the end of their arc in the anime) and appearances (Aberline) and personality (both, in the case of Queen Victoria) changed in the anime.
- Most visual novels adapted into anime have the tendency to have many different continuities. Case in point: CLANNAD: The TV anime follows the game's True End: Nagisa wins and she and Ushio both do not die, and two OVA productions featuring the two most popular girls winning (Tomoyo's OVA and the to-be-released OVA for Kyou) exist, as well as the Toei movie leaves Nagisa dead and instead focuses on Tomoya's post-traumatic-stress-disorder and his relationship with Ushio.
- Fate/stay night (as stated below) is another example, with the anime following Fate, and the manga following Unlimited Blade Works. Heaven's Feel makes up for it's lack of exposure with the fan theory that it is the canonical route in the franchise. Supported by Wild Mass Guessing.
- Archer's very existence is this, as his life is said to have followed the events of the Fate route; however, where his life and the Fate route's canon end diverged is unknown.
- Yet another example is the SHUFFLE! TV anime, which ended with the winning girl being Asa Shigure, and the manga, Shuffle!: Days in the Bloom, which had Sia as the winning girl.
- While sequel games have been made following paths of if Nerine or Kaede won out. And the Kaede-centric game further snarls itself up, by showing Asa with long hair, which implies her ending being canon anyway for that branch.
- The only connection between the visual novel and anime versions of Popotan is its cast, and some of the game characters were dropped for the transition (including the protagonist), while others were added.
- Though not as broken up as some others, Hellsing began as a manga and was made into a TV series. This ran for thirteen episodes and was a victim of Overtook the Manga, so the plot began just as the Manga's did, but halfway through a new Big Bad was introduced and half the characters of the original plot never got animated. (It ended on with a Cliff Hanger and left a lot of loose ends.) The OVAs, on the other hand, follow the manga very closely. (And despite some rumors, there is no live-action movie being made.)
- Project A-Ko has two continuities; the main set of OVAs, and the "Vs." OVAs, which take place in some sort of parallel dimension. In "Vs.", A-ko and B-ko are best friends instead of being arch-enemies, A-ko outright dislikes C-ko after meeting her (rather than being childhood friends), and they are both space mercenaries/treasure hunters instead of being an "ordinary" girl and a Psycho Lesbian rich genius.
- Sailor Moon - The Queen of the Continuities! With a manga series, a 200-episode anime series, a live-action series, and twenty-five stage productions, with only 3 occurring in the same continuity! That makes twenty-five separate continuities! And that's not counting the video games or the possible splits within the same continuities, or the 2014 anime. The idea of a Sailor Moon "canon" has become humorous to some folks.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a set of movies that follow the plotline similarly, with different ways of major events happening. There are also a set of Parallel Works that have all the main characters in entirely different situations and plotlines.
- Negima! has seven separate continuities: the manga Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negima! (first TV series), Negima!? (the second TV series), Negima!! (the live-action TV series), Negima!? Neo (manga which combines the first manga and the second TV series), Negima (Ito) Bun (manga that has Negi as a young man teacher and the girls as his kindergarten class) and the OVAs that show parts of Magic World arc of the manga and conclude with a movie that pulls a Gecko Ending. Confused yet? You bet. Especially because the only differences among the names are exclamation and question marks.
- The Macross franchise does this in a really confusing manner:
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross has its movie, Do You Remember Love?. The movie tells basically the same story but with some major differences from the canon, along with redesigning the look of many things in the series. Later stories take elements from both versions as canon. Word of God is that both the series and the movie are after-the-fact retellings, and the true story of what happened was somewhere in between them; the details are unimportant, only the major events should be considered when speaking of the backstory.
- Macross Frontier adds itself to the list when it went from series to movies. The movies retell the story but the plot diverges heavily with the second film, leading to an entirely different concluding act (although the conclusion itself is quite similar between the two versions). It mainly gets confusing as to who survived the events (Mikhail Blanc and Grace O'Connor die in the series but survive the movies, while Brera Sterne gets the opposite treatment).
- And finally, there is Macross II, a distant sequel that had no input from the original writers. Despite this, most fans feel it isn't a bad film, though not particularly outstanding either (it gets more attention in America because it was one of the few Macross products actually released there). Officially, the writers have declared it alternate continuity.
- Hanaukyō Maid Tai. The first and second series cover slightly different ground.
- Kimba the White Lion has the 2009 TV special that takes place in a future where man has screwed up the world's ecosystems to the point where people had to make an artificial environment for animals.
- A lot of Go Nagai's works have been revisioned for quite awhile. Among the notables include the three Getter Robo OVAs (Armageddon, Shin vs. Neo, and New), the Mazinkaiser OVAs, Kotetsushin Jeeg, Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu and more recently Shin Mazinger. And that's just the mecha stuff! There's also series like Re: Cutey Honey and Devil Lady
- Dragon Ball has quite a few. First, there's the manga itself (considered the "core" or "actual" continuity), followed by the anime continuity, which covers the manga's events and includes additional material (such as Filler, new bit-part characters, slightly different fights and some character-building moments). Each of these has its own continuation of the franchise that can actually be taken as their own continuity, to boot: the anime has Dragon Ball GT (often considered a "splinter timeline" that could occur), while the manga has the recent Dragon Ball Online.
- There's also a couple of the Dragon Ball movies, which are very much an "alternate reality" affair.
- The Idolm@ster - The Anime is based mostly on the plot of the game Idolm@ster 2, but it tweaks it a lot and uses several elements of the other games too.
- When Kyoto Animation adopted the light novel Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! into an anime, the resulting adaptation is practically this towards the original.
- The anime adaptation of Blue Dragon all but ignores the plot of the game it was based on, only keeping the most basic elements of it intact.
- Pick any major comic book series; you'll find at least two conflicting storylines and a movie or two for good measure. Both DC and Marvel also use actual Alternate Universes. Also see Ultimate Marvel, the original Ultimate Universe. Now that both the mainstream Marvel reality and the Ultimate Marvel reality have (indirectly) interacted with the same Alternate Universe (Marvel Zombies - the original Squadron Supreme also make an appearance in Ultimate Power), you could say that they are a part of the same Alternate Universe "network" rather than two separate Alternate Continuities (indeed, it's been designated as Earth-1610, where the main universe is Earth-616).
- The Spider-Man comic books and newspaper comics suffer from Alternate Continuity in many ways. For instance, in 2009 Spider-Man was reintroduced as a single man for reasons unconnected with events in the comic book universe — the writer did a reverse Funky Winkerbean and went back ten years in time. A few months later it turned out to be All Just a Dream. The newspaper Peter Parker is also much more handsome than the comic book one, although why that should be so is a good question.
- The Disney Ducks Comic Universe works like this: There is no ongoing continuity, but occasionally one specific story will reference another specific story. There are comic books and pocket books, and each have their own continuity. There are many characters that only appear in the pocket books. In the pocket books, Uncle Scrooge's rival is named John Rockerduck, while in the comic books he has no rival except for Flintheart Glomgold, who appears very rarely. In the pocket books, Donald has a secret superhero identity by the name of Duck Avenger or Paperinik, but this is only ever mentioned in stories specifically about his adventures as Duck Avenger.
- The comic mini-series, Star Trek: Countdown bridges the continuity gap between Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek (2009), depicting Spock Prime along with a partial TNG cast reunion helping Nero trying to prevent Romulas' imminent destruction in the prime reality. Though Word of God decanonizes the comics, the film doesn't explicitly ignore them either leaving its canonicity up to the readers, thus rendering the mini-series' continuity ambiguous. Although it should be noted the graphic novelization of the 2009 movie officially integrates and features the events of Countdown in the scene where Spock Prime mind-melds with New Kirk on Delta Vega.
- The Smurfs has currently three different continuities: the comic books, the cartoon show, and Sony Pictures' film series, which will be getting a reboot in 2016. To tell apart the continuities, Greedy is the village chef in the cartoon show, while in the comic books and the movie Chef, Baker, and Greedy are separate characters. For other notable differences, read these three pages at the Smurfs Wiki. (Their stories in the Johan and Peewit series could be considered a fourth continuity, since their Smurf Village is located in the Cursed Land instead of the Smurf Forest.) Sometimes for the sake of merchandise like the Smurfs Village game app, there would be mixing of characters from all three continuities.
- Depending on how you look at it, there are either two Alternate Continuities of Highlander (each with Retcons) — the first three movies and everything else — or there are a lot of them. Let's go through it step-by-step:
- The original movie Highlander.
- Highlander II: The Quickening, which considers the original movie canon. Notably, the theatrical version and the "Renegade Version" Director's Cut are quite different, so could count as two separate continuities in and of themselves.
- Highlander: The Series comes later. The series is in an Alternate Continuity to the movies (as there are still Immortals alive all over the world). It does consider the original film canon in Broad Strokes, but not the sequel.
- Highlander III: The Sorcerer (or The Final Dimension, depending on your area), released during the series' run, which considers only the original film canon. Not Highlander 2 or the TV series.
- Highlander: The Raven, a short-lived Spin-off from the TV series which followed the TV series' continuity.
- Then a fourth movie Highlander: Endgame which follows the continuity of the TV series (but retcons the last season of the show) rather than that of the previous films.
- Then a fifth movie called Highlander: The Source which follows on from Endgame.
- Then a short film called Highlander: Reunion which accepts the canon of the TV series and Endgame, but not The Source.
- There is a remake of the original in the works as well.
- The anime Highlander: The Search for Vengeance.
- The Highlander comic books published by Dynamite
- The Big Finish Productions audio dramas.
- Five video games which either have little plot or were cancelled due to Development Hell and budget concerns.
- Ten novels that consist of a novelization of the original film and tie-ins to the original series.
- The low budget 17 minute reunion special that was made to repair the damage of The Source. There's a link to it on Hulu on the Other Wiki if you haven't given up on this franchise yet.
- The Animated Series is set into the far future and operates differently enough to be considered its own continuity, immortals giving up their immortality at will and all.
- The web series Highlander: The Methos Chronicles, which ties into the series canon as part of Methos's backstory.
- Each of these continuities operate by their own sets of rules. Thus something that is portrayed as Word of God in one continuity may not happen the same way in another. This only serves to further irritate fans and causes them to hate each other and fight more and more over which version of Highlander they think is best. There can be only one! note
- Star Wars: A famous example of this is that the extensive Expanded Universe, which spans over 30 years of literature, has now been placed into one thanks to the upcoming Sequel Trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII & IX) as well as any stand-alone film in that continuity.
- Superman Returns, while set within the universe of the Christopher Reeve movies, takes place five years after the second movie and uses Canon Discontinuity to ignore the third and fourth films. Although it's been five years since the events of Superman II, which takes place between 1978 and 1981, a newspaper◊ clearly indicates that Returns is set in 2006. Please don't think about this too hard.
- Men In Black had at least two continuities. The first movie ends with J neuralizing K and taking L as a new partner. At the beginning of the second, we find L quit between movies, and the first third of the movie follows J trying to restore K's memories. In The Animated Series, however, J, K, and L are all agents at the same time. There were a series of tie-in novels with J and L, but these could be slotted into the timespan between movies.
- The Daniel Craig incarnation of James Bond in Casino Royale portrays him as a new and inexperienced agent. However, it is set in modern times, and therefore after every previous Bond film, and includes several characters that were later additions to the series of films, such as the female M. This, however, ignores the theory that "James Bond" is a title that is passed down to the next 007. Perhaps there is one continuity.
- The direct-to-DVD Tinker Bell movie is almost a different continuity from the Disney Fairies series of books, with only a handful of characters and some concepts in common.
- Star Trek (2009): Explicitly set in an Alternate Timeline that exists parallel to the TV shows and previous ten films, so it could be a prequel without being Continuity Porn or getting hated like Star Trek: Enterprise. Nero and his Narada crew as well as Old Spock are from the original timeline. An Admiral Archer is also mentioned in passing.
- The Godzilla series has the Showa, Heisei, and Millenium series, each a separate continuity with the original 1954 film being the only thing shared between them. In addition, each film in the Millennium series is itself a separate continuity (except for Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla Tokyo SOS).
- The Halloween movies were rebooted twice (or possibly three times) and taking the whole franchise into account, there are, at least, potentially 4 timelines.
- The first being the "Original Timeline" aka the "Thorn Timeline" which is Halloweens 1-6, excluding 3.
- Then there's the "H20 Timeline" with Halloweens 1, 2, H20 and Resurrection since Halloween H20 ignores 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- While they may be in Broad Strokes, certain aspects of Halloween H20 such as Laurie's fake death and the photos of (presumably) Michael's killings in Loomis' office vaguely add credence to a connection between Halloween 6 and H20. The powers-that-be probably considered canonizing the last three films, but ultimately decided to drop them to restore the franchise to form. A draft of H20 even featured a scene with Laurie vomiting after hearing the news of her daughter, Jamie Llyod's death. One of the comics did actually attempt to bridge the events of The Curse of Michael Myers and H20, but doing so would've have rendered what happened in Resurrection to be impossible.
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which abandons the Myers storyline, would probably be it's own independent timeline as it references certain thematic elements seen in the first two movies despite being put into discontinuity from the rest of the series. Also, a Mythology Gag briefly shows a TV commercial of the second movie playing within this one, making the first two movies as Type 2 films within a film.
- And last but not least, we have the "Reboot Timeline" with Rob Zombie's 2007 Re-imagining and it's sequel, completely separate from all previous entries.
- There are also the Halloween comics◊, which may or may not canonize the movies or each other for that matter, creating multiple, ambiguous, self-contained continuities.
- The Cub raised at the end of The Lion King is purported to be male, as opposed to the female Kiara at the start Simba's Pride. The idea that the first cub was male was supported by a series of books released soon after the first movie, which includes Simba's son Kopa. The series wasn't written by Disney though.
- Some fans theorise that the male cub from the books was killed by the antagonists of Simba's Pride, which does solve a couple of other discrepancies like Simba's overprotectiveness.
- Though it doesn't explain why Nala is not in the least overprotective and chastises Simba for thinking things are going to happen to their daughter, which brings up quite a lot of Fridge Logic if they'd lost a cub beforehand. Simba's overprotectiveness could simply stem from losing his father and being banished, and Nala doesn't have the same problem because she never went through that.
- Due to the fact Disney doesn't consider anything but the initial film canon, Simba and Nala have no less than three semi-canon cubs who are supposedly the same indvidual: Kopa from the aforementioned books, Kiara from the sequel, and their new son Kion from The Lion Guard.
- Cited by many with the original Planet of the Apes franchise and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, even though Word of God said it was intened to be a prequel of sorts. They also described it as a reboot, though. There are essentially five timelines:
- The original novel
- The original film franchise of Planet Of The Apes, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Escape From the Planet Of The Apes, Conquest of the Planet Of The Apes, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes and the Planet Of The Apes live action TV series
- It can be debated that the live action TV series is not in the continuity of the films since it's shown to take place in California while the films were near New York City, but both have Dr. Zaius as a character. There's also the implication that Conquest/Battle changed the original timeline where the rebellion was begun by an ape named Aldo (the name of the rebellious gorilla general in Battle). Battle ends with a merged ape/human society and not with humans reduced to animals.
- The animated 'Return To The Planet Of The Apes', which is closer to the original novel (the apes have technology and live much like humans), but not part of it
- The 2001 remake
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes, although this one is debatable, given the comments of the producers and director versus Cornelius's dialogue in the 'Escape' film. It may or may not exist in the original franchise continuity.
- A variety of comics that fit into various continuities. The original franchise spawned a bunch, and the 2001 reboot spawned a few, as did 'Rise'. The original film's comics also crossed with Alien Nation.
- A possible fifth universe is the POTA videogame based on the original novel.
- Granted, some fans do debate what exists where, and there really isn't a clear-clut consensus.
- A lot of the events in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are different from the comic book series, so the movie must take place in an alternate continuity.
- The Universal Soldier films make up three continuities, all springing from the original film.
- 101 Dalmatians has nearly six alternate continuities.
- Dodie Smith's Novels have Pongo married to Missus, Perdita married to Prince, Cruella being married, the Dearly’s having Two Nannies, and the two Badduns being Saul & Jasper.
- Disney’s animated film renamed the Dearly’s to Radcliffe and gave them one Nanny, Missis and Perdita became one character, Cruella isn’t married, and Saul is ranmed; Horace.
- The live action films are closer to the animated films, however Roger designs video games rather than compose songs, and it’s set in the late 1990's rather than the 1960's.
- The TV series proceeds to become a mixture of all of the above.
- The video game, 102 Dalmatians: Puppies To The Rescue, takes place in a completely different continuity to the film it’s supposedly based on.
- The short-lived musical is closer to the novel, but Saul is renamed Jinx, plus there is an alternate climax.
- Dumb and Dumber has 3 continuities all stemming from the original movie.
- Maleficent, despite initially being presented as a Perspective Flip to Disney's Sleeping Beauty, is this regarding the 1959 film. Particularly, the second half of the film alters much of the original's plot, with the film's Narrator outright implying that the original story is something of an In-Universe Historical Villain Upgrade. For one thing, Maleficent survives in the end.
- Animorphs has an Alternamorphs series featured two books, The First Journey and The Next Passage. They were structured in the form of a Choose Your Own Adventure type story. In the first book, the reader became part of the group that gained the morphing power from Elfangor and joined the Animorphs on their first adventure. Upon completion of this, the story continued with an adventure involving a Sario rip (rip in time). The second book involved elements from two different Animorphs stories from around the midpoint. However, the books were structured in such a way that only a single set of possibilities allowed you to continue the story. Perhaps, for this reason, the series never really caught on, has been largely forgotten, and was discontinued after the second book.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was loosely translated into Russian. The translator modified the story as he as saw fit. When the story became popular, he wrote a series of books based on his translation of the first Oz book. Those books went in a different direction than the Oz books written by Baum, effectively making an alternate Oz universe.
- While The Wicked Years may technically follow some of the events in the Oz books and movies, the vast difference between it and the Oz canon makes them another continuity.
- Dexter has so many changes in cast (anywhere from who's alive and who's dead at a given point, to who's doing what job, to gender of Dexter's child with Rita) and storyline it's simpler to treat the novels and the television series as Alternate Continuity with each other. Trying to reconcile the two any other way is impossible.
- Like the Sarah Connor Chronicles example below, the T2: Future War series (written by S.M. Sterling) disregards the events of the third film and places Sarah, John and a German resistance fighter (who evidently was/becomes the base model for the T-800/850 series) fighting T-model endoskeletons in present day America, and hide out while the Future War begins.
- Each of the three books in the Manifold series by Stephen Baxter features three different resolutions to the Fermi Paradox.
- 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, despite their titles, take the original 2001: A Space Odyssey film (but not the original book) as canon and take place in different continuities from each other. (The first sequel formed the basis for the movie sequel to 2001, of course.)
- Because Roald Dahl was unhappy with the first movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1971, he arranged that the novel's Immediate Sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (which was published in 1972) would never have a film adaptation. Most adaptations of the book into other media, such as the 2005 film of Chocolate Factory, thus end on a note of complete closure — with Charlie and his family comfortably ensconced in the factory — rather than setting up the further adventures of Great Glass Elevator and a planned third book. They also disregard the more clearly deliniated personalities Dahl gave the other grandparents in the sequel in favor of coming up with their own approaches to the characters. Thus, these are all alternate continuities.
- Modesty Blaise has two related continuities. The novels came after the comic strip, and has a different method by which Modesty and Willie start working for Tarrant. Characters are created in one continuity and show up in the other a lot (Dinah Collier and Dr. Giles Pennyfeather both originated in the books). There's a lot that can be considered part of both, but a lot that can't. Gabriel is notable for how different things are: in the comics, he escapes twice from Modesty & Willie, while in the books after their first encounter, Gabriel has obviously lost a lot of his superiority, and eventually gets killed by another villain.
Live Action TV
- Stargate SG-1 continues from Stargate the movie, disregarding Devlin and Emmerich's backstory and the five novels based on it. And if the two movie sequels to Stargate had been made (not to be confused with the two movie sequels to SG-1, which actually were made), they would have disregarded both, resulting in yet a third continuity.
- The Red Dwarf novels take place in a different continuity to the TV series, in many cases incorporating concepts from the TV series with a different spin (and vice versa). The first two novels (Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers (1989) and Better Than Life (1990)) were written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor under the collective pen name Grant Naylor. After they dissolved their writing partnership, they wrote a Red Dwarf novel separately (Last Human (1995) by Naylor, and Backwards (1996) by Grant) which each acted as third novels in the series. This split the novel series into two Alternate Continuities.
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles splits the Terminator franchise by taking the first two movies as backstory and almost completely ignoring the third, apart from cannibalizing certain plot elements (Sarah's cancer, a female Terminator, Judgment Day not averted). Then a fourth movie came out after the series, which has nothing to do with it and takes the third movie as canon.
- The constant alteration of the timeline makes EVERYTHING work.
- Power Rangers RPM was originally a separate continuity from the previous fifteen seasons. Which is good, because if it didn't, then we'd have to admit that all the past characters and/or their descendants are dead. That said, many fans speculated RPM could have fit very well between the years 2025 (Power Rangers S.P.D.) and 3000 (Power Rangers Time Force), especially with what we see what the year 3000 is like, and Epileptic Trees reckon that RPM's Big Bad's existence (due to Name's the Same with a previous villain) is one neat Stable Time Loop.
- When the franchise changed hands, the new showrunners had freely admitted that RPM would be pulled into the main continuity should the need arise, which they eventually did by setting it in an Alternate Universe from the then-current incarnation, Power Rangers Samurai.
- Johnathan Tzachor (executive producer of Samurai, among other seasons) is of the view that none of the seasons of Power Rangers seasons share the same continuity. He doesn't just mean later ones such as Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (which are standalone, barring teamups) he's even referring to the show's early years when each season continued from the previous year, stating among things that the Turbo Rangers went to Eltar after the credits for Turbo's finale rolled.
- Which makes no sense considering that In Space features the exact same ranger team and villains and directly continued the storyline from Turbo's cliffhanger ending.
- It actually has some Fridge Brilliance. Think of Kamen Rider Decade and its World of Black and World of RX. The continuity errors (and outright They Just Didn't Care bits) some PR teamups feature would be quite well explained. The World of Overdrive may have had events that were sorta like past series, but different enough that Alpha was left in an Angel Grove warehouse, while in the World of Lost Galaxy, he is still on Mirinoi as seen at the end of that series. Similarly, the iterations of the Galaxy Rangers that are found in the World of Lightspeed, unlike the ones in the World of Lost Galaxy, had ventured to Earth at some point during their Ranger careers and had their identities revealed, hence unmorphed Leo being instantly recognized by Carter as the Red Galaxy Ranger by the Lion Galactabeast's logo on his sword - once the single most nonsensical scene in PR history. Also, the World of Zeo has a Tommy that someday marries Katherine. The World of Dino Thunder's Tommy, maybe not. (Fans of Tommy and Kim's relationship can also rest assured that the World of Mighty Morphin' - assuming its Rangers and Earth survived what sure looked like impending total victory for Rita and Zedd - may have gone quite differently than the World of Zeo in terms of Tommy's love life.) It sounds like Epileptic Trees, but it's Word Of God that instantly explains the inexplicable (if unsatisfying because it renders every returning Ranger someone other than the character you grew up with.)
- Speaking of Kamen Rider, the series tends to weave back and for between Alternate Continuity and Shared Continuity. To wit, Kamen Rider to Kamen Rider Stronger was one unified universe. Kamen Rider Skyrider was meant to be a Continuity Reboot, but it fell through and became part of the same universe until Kamen Rider Black RX. Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue, Kamen Rider ZO, and Kamen Rider J were also considered continuity reboots, but didn't go anywhere. The Heisei Era Rider series from Kamen Rider Kuuga to Kamen Rider Kiva was, with the exception of Kamen Rider Agito, separate until Kamen Rider Decade and the Kamen Rider Den-O movies came out, not only creating a Shared Continuity along with the Showa Riders, but also creating Alternate Continuities for the Heisei Riders AND calling the Super Sentai franchise an Alternate Continuity to the Kamen Rider franchise.
- Even the sitcom Mama's Family is an example of this. Originally developed on the "Family" segments on The Carol Burnett Show, Eunice Higgins and her acerbic mother Thelma Harper had their story first furthered on a brief special, In this version Ed later is shown to have divorced the feisty Eunice; still later Mama has died, leaving Eunice free to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress, until she's asked to stay and tend to Aunt Fran. It was a more dramatic take on the quarrelsome Higgins and Harpers, focusing more on Eunice and her broken dreams and hopes, and Mama is more bitter then she would be on the later series.
- Both television series split off at various points in the film continuity and base their stories on different circumstances. In 1992's RoboCop 3, the film ends with OCP ostensibly being destroyed and the Delta City project falling through its initial stage (if not outright cancelled). RoboCop: The Series follows on from RoboCop 2, and assumes that OCP has already completed the Delta City project (which was one of the underlying threats of the original film) and is having to live with the consequences, while Robo is more directly tied to OCP interests and his immediate family. RoboCop: Prime Directives (as stated by the producers) only regards the original film as canon, and assumes Robo/Murphy survived a decade in service (and his son grew up without ever seeing his father, unlike the 1994 series), while OCP never fully went through with the Delta City project, letting the city languish instead.
- There are also at least two separate RoboCop comic continuities, and neither of them makes clear what (other than the original movie) they consider to be canonical.
- The BBC series The Inspector Lynley Mysteries was based on the novel series by Elizabeth George. While the pilot was about as close to a direct adaptation of the first book as could be expected in trimming a mammoth paperback into a three-hour, two-episode pilot, the television series made bigger and bigger alterations to the novels with every story. The second episode of the third series, A Traitor To Memory, was the last episode to be even loosely adapted from a George novel, and the show went its own direction from that point on, making only fitful attempts to integrate later novel canon into the storyline (as they did with Helen Clyde's death). The most notable change was turning the closeness between Lynley and Havers Up to Eleven, to a point where a romantic relationship between the two seemed not just possible but logical, despite George's decree that they would never get together in the novels. The novels and show are now considered to be almost entirely separate entities; many Lynley/Havers shippers say that while they respect George's decision with regard to the novels, it has no bearing on the television characters.
- This trope is one of the primary arguments against the Tommy Westphall Hypothesis that argues, based on the series finale of St. Elswhere, that if that series was just young Tommy Westphall's dream, then any work even tangentially connected to the series occurred in the same universe and was thus also All Just a Dream. The existence of alternate continuities means that just because a character appears in two works, it does not mean that they share the same continuity.
- The line often taken with the Doctor Who web animation "Death comes to Time" is that it takes place in another continuity, due to Time Lords being Reality Warpers instead of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens and the 7th Doctor dying. Though some use this to consider the TV Movie and New Who non-canon.
- "The Curse of Fatal Death" by Steven Moffat is clearly this but Played for Laughs.
- The next web animation "Scream of the Shalka" is now this. It was originally a story to celebrate the 40th anniversary with Richard E. Grant as the official Ninth Doctor. However the revival of the series meant it went into non-canon status so is now considered alternate continuity.
- The RPG of The Dresden Files is, for the most part, set in the same continuity of the books, but the conceit of the books (that Billy is writing it at Harry's behest to educate muggles about the supernatural) requires that Billy learn things that Dresden wouldn't tell anyone in the continuity of the books.
- The RPG book even provides tips for Game Masters to create their own alternate continuities, pointing out parts in each book (up to when the RPG book was written) where Harry could have died.
- When the Star Fleet Battles game was established in 1979, it was based on the entirety of Star Trek canon that existed at the time, which is to say the original series, the animated series, and an assortment of Fan Fiction. As the canon expanded and matured over the decades, the result was that SFB, which only had a license for said pre-1979 canon, came to be an Alternate Continuity where the movies and spinoff series are disregarded.
- Transformers has had this since day 1; while Marvel's original cartoon and comic from 1984 share the same characters, setting, and premise, they tell completely different and irreconcilable stories, and new continuities keep sprouting to the extent that fans group them into higher-order sets to make sense of it all. Hasbro at one point canonized this with the concept of a universal stream, groups of universes that more or less correspond to the existing franchises (and also include GoBots and Robotix)... and then apparently de-canonized with with the launch of the Prime franchise, apparently because alternate universes were confusing and boring.
- Possibly re-canonized - Unicron, Primus and the big Thirteen are back in as we know and love them (With some minor changes to specifics). In fact, it's the only mainline series to address the Thirteen (they as a group were thus far confined to collector's club exclusive comics, though a couple existing characters were revealed to be in their ranks.)
- The current stance is that universal streams and the multiverse and all that are untouched, but things in the current version of the franchise are not part of or connected to any of it. (This is problematic due to a few places where they do intersect, most notably the Rise of the Dark Spark video game, and subject to change). One suspects they did this mainly to get around the issue of "multiversal singularities", especially where the Thirteen (and Alpha Trion in particular) were concerned.
- Monster High has several continuities: the doll's diaries, the cartoon series, and the novel series by Lisi Harrison. The diaries and the webisodes seem to follow the same plot line, and there is some debate over whether the TV specials are part of the same continuity as the webisodes. The novels, meanwhile, follow a completely different story.
- Every My Little Pony generation takes place in an Alternate Continuity from the others before it. G1 in particular had many AUs - My Little Pony Tales, the toys, My Little Pony And Friends, the different books, and the British comics.
- The G3 cartoons take place in a vastly different continuity from the books. The books may be meant to be in the toy continuity.
- On top of that, G3 and G3.5 are hard to reconcile. They did way more than change the animation style; Rainbow Dash gets not just a new actress but completely different way of speaking to the point of not seeming like the same character at all, and Cheerilee has gone from the leader of Unicornia to an apparently teenage earth pony from Ponyville with a sister who never existed before (and she too gets a new VA.) The main team contains a unicorn and a pegasus where before the three races lived in separate cities; if we take the "Newborn Cuties" web shorts into account, they've all known each other from the time they were were babies; they even got to watch Sweetie Belle being created. This is naturally at odds with not knowing about unicorns until Rarity accidentally teleported herself into Ponyville, or about pegasi until Star Catcher became very good friends with Skywishes and they eventually talked the somewhat xenophobic pegasi into coming out of the shadows. If you treat it as an alternate continuity, and say that Pinkie Pie's being unchanged - make no mistake, she's the only returning character who is unchanged - is a Mythology Gag similar to Peter Cullen playing Optimus Prime in both G1 and Prime despite those series clearly being unconnected, suddenly it all makes sense.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic takes place in yet another continuity, though it contains a few Continuity Nods to prior generations, especially G1. To what degree the comic fits in is unknown; it ties in to show events quite well at times but also has some contradictory elements.
- The 1998-2002 version of the Furby toy came from Furbyland, while the 2005-2007 version of the Furby came from Furby Island. There was even a TV special called Furby Island that aired on Nickelodeon in the fall of 2005, where a family discovers the island.
- Most of the Final Fantasy games are set in different worlds from each other and most of the stories have nothing to do with each other.
- The Silent Hill series has one main continuity, but much Silent Hill media exists outside of it in mutually-exclusive sub-continuities. The movie exists in its own, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories exists in its own (both are divergent re-interpretations of the first game). The Play Novel and the older comics exist in their own continuities as well. Thankfully, the main continuity is given clear precedence over the splinters, hence, no Continuity Snarl.
- Ultima Online is set in an Alternate Continuity wherein the Avatar never returned to Britannia after the events of the first Ultima game. This screws the countinuity around in countless ways, since he wasn't the Avatar until Ultima IV, and it is indeed possible that the Stranger in the first three games was a different person, or several different people, and the map of Britannia was completely different in each game until it finally took somewhat consistent shape in Ultima IV. And regardless of none of this happening, there's still Britannia in the shape and culture as was defined in Ultima IV, rather than the previous iterations.
- Dragon Fable appears to be in a different timeline from AdventureQuest, since in DragonFable the Great Fire War started before Battleon was founded. This has been confirmed by the devs.
- As well, The'Galin is never mentioned in DragonFable, and likewise AdventureQuest never mentions Sepulchure.
- Oh, and did we forget to mention that AdventureQuest has a completely different map?
- The Metal Gear series has a few alternate continuities. There are two alternate sequels to the original 8-bit game: Snake's Revenge for NES (which was actually the first sequel released, as Hideo Kojima hadn't planned on making one) and Metal Gear: Ghost Babel for Game Boy Color (simply known as "Metal Gear Solid" outside Japan).
- Metal Gear Ac!d is an Alternate Continuity based on Metal Gear Solid. All it really has in common is a quasi-real-world setting, and the main character, whose personality and backstory are both softened slightly. By the second Acid they'd abandoned all premise of a real-world setting and thrown in lots of cyborgs, People Jars and all sorts of mayhem. This time Solid Snake wasn't even the same character from the previous game - he looked the part and had the same name but turned out to be a biological machine made in Solid Snake's likeness.
- In a partially successful effort to reboot the Spyro the Dragon franchise, The Legend of Spyro completely discards all continuity from the previous games except the two main characters, Spyro and Sparx, who still go through major changes in appearance and personality. The developers have gone as far as calling the first game A New Beginning to highlight this.
- They're clearly throwing in a lot of shout outs, with Sparx in A New Beginning eating butterflies, and the appearance of Hunter - originally a character in Spyro 2.
- Then, another reboot was attempted with Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, which introduces as many protagonists the players can manage to get.
- It can be argued that the post-PS1 classic era games take place in an AU from the originals, due to several continuity and characterization differences.
- The Nasuverse in general.
- The Tsukihime game has five character routes that cannot all be possible in the same universe. The anime adaptation makes deviations of its own. The Melty Blood Fighting Game is based on a planned-but-unreleased route from the Visual Novel. Stories in the original novel's sequel, Kagetsu Tohya, also follow different continuities from each other, following game routes or just making up scenarios. After Kagetsu Tohya was made, the game's creator admitted the "canon" route never made it into the original game.
- Word of God has also stated that all the routes are technically canon anyway, due to them being potential outcomes of the main scenario.
- Fate/stay night- The game has three radically different routes. The anime mostly follows the main route, but mixes in elements and events from the other two. The manga mostly follows the second route. And there's a sequel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, which doesn't clearly indicate which route it follows. (The nature of the story makes this possible, and it stays closest to the Heaven's Feel route). However, no route has actually been outright declared as a "main" route, because all routes are technically canon as stated above.
- And then there's Kara no Kyoukai, as well, which has several deviations between the novels and the anime, most notably Touko's appearance and the plot of the sixth novel/movie.
- The Shin Megami Tensei franchise has multiple active continuities still getting releases, with even more continuities currently lying fallow. A full breakdown of all these continuities (and how they may or may not fit together) is available on the SMT page.
- The "original" SMT continuity is not the one that gets the lion's share of the focus these days; that honor goes to the Devil Summoner/Persona sub-series, which initially spun out of Shin Megami Tensei if.... It's the first branch of SMT to be truly successful overseas (Persona 3 and Persona 4 both breaking six-figures sold overall), turning SMT into a legitimate Cash Cow Franchise for Atlus.
- SNK's The King of Fighters started off as a Massive Multiplayer Crossover between several of their game franchises, but took liberties in order to actually let this happen. For example, Art of Fighting took place in the late 1970snote , but KOF shifted the events up 20 years and resorted to Broad Strokes to keep the cast young and active. Likewise, Fatal Fury Big Bad Geese Howard died in that series, but is still alive in KOF. Eventually, KOF evolved into its own distinct continuity, especially as more emphasis was placed on the Original Generation characters like Kyo Kusanagi, K', and Ash Crimson. On top of that, King of Fighters EX for the Gameboy Advance and the 3D KOF: Maximum Impact each exist within their own separate continuities.
- Tomb Raider went through a Continuity Reboot when Crystal Dynamics took over.
- And since then, it's spawned two alternate continuities with Lara Croft: Guardian of Light and the forthcoming title simply named Tomb Raider.
- If one takes into account all of the game continuities, the movie-verse and the comic-verse, there are at least six different Tomb Raider canons. (Whether the Game Boy titles and the novels are set in the same canon as the original six games or not seems to be up for debate.)
- Virtua Quest is a spin-off game from Virtua Fighter. It is a RPG that takes place in the future about a boy who uses "Virtua Soul" to use digital versions of the Virtua Fighters to combat Judgement Six.
- Not only do the Pokémon games themselves have various continuities - the three main ones being the main series RPGs on the Game Boy and DS, the Mystery Dungeon series, and Pokémon Ranger - but even within the continuities it is often unclear how the games are connected. Fans still debate over when Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness take place, and the glaring gap between the first and second Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games has everyone stumped.
- Each main series game is essentially threenote alternate continuities itself, though it's the third that's usually canonnote . The difference is usually the version mascot the player character catches, and which plays the part in the Villianous Team storyline. Gen III takes it further with the two alternate teams, and Gen V has the Black Forest/White City thing and the alternate versions of Opelucid City.
- Add this to the fact that the same games spawned an anime and several manga that have each added generously to the Pokemon world's mythology, events, and character interactions, and you have a deceptively complex fandom that stumps the uninitiated.
- As an example of how screwed-up cross-continuity errors can get, the way one character behaves in one continuity may not be parallel with his or her counterpart in another. May from the Pokemon anime is a Type B Tsundere Coordinator with plenty of skill in Pokémon Contests, whereas Sapphire from the Pokémon Special manga is a Type A raised in the wild with plenty of skill in combat, both with and without Pokémon. And yet people still confuse one for the other.
- For the uninitiated: All of the following are derived from Red from the games, But. Are. All. Different. Persons!: Ash from the primary anime, Red from Pokémon Origins, Red from Pokémon Special, Izamu from Pocket Monsters, Satoshi from Pokémon Zensho, Shu from Pokemon Get da ze! note , and Pokemon Trainer from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Ash from The Electric Tale of Pikachu is technically derived from (but again is not) (main)Anime!Ash.note
- Even Gym Leaders are different if you compare the games with the anime with Pokemon Special. It's shorter to list the similarities than it is to list the differences.
- Giant spoiler warning for Ever17 to the extent if you know this ahead of time, story is ruined for you. Subverted. All events of the original four paths actually happen plus some stuff they leave out to avoid ruining the climax. They're tied together by happening on two different points in the timeline plus an attempted fix so that the ending would be less bittersweet/downer, depending on the route.
- The spin-off Klonoa titles are all set in alternate continuities from the main series.
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game considers the two Ghostbusters films as canon, with several references even to minor details in those films. It does not consider The Real Ghostbusters to be canonical, as most of the characters are depictions of the actors from the movies, instead of the radically different cartoon characters. However, it does borrow some ideas from the cartoon, such as the idea that all Ghosts are made of slime/ectoplasm, and they don't keep Slimer as a friend/pet, but they DO keep him in his own cage separate from the main containment facility.
- The Double Dragon games have many plot differences between their original arcade incarnations and their corresponding NES counterparts. However, every game in the series since the SNES-exclusive Super Double Dragon is stand-alone.
- Where do we even start with Sonic the Hedgehog? We have the games, we have four separate cartoon series and we have a comic based on SatAM but later diverged into its own continuity. Then in the UK we also have the novels, a series of Choose Your Own Adventure books by the same writers but forming their own continuity (to add to the confusion, one of these is an Adaptation Expansion of the second Mega Drive game), and a completely different comic as well as a collection of stand-alone comic strips which aren't part of that continuity. And then there's the manga.
- Then there's the Sonic OVA, as well as the regional differences before pre-Sonic Adventure (such as Dr. Eggman being called Dr Ivo Robotnik).
- As for the games, those may even take place in two separate canons as the console titles and handheld titles do not seem to be happening in the same timeline and often contradict each other. That's not even counting games that may not even be considered official canon.
- Sonic Boom is set in a different continuity running alongside the "main" one, with old characters like Knuckles sporting vastly different designs.
- SNK/Playmore has released a bunch of Japan only cellphone games- many of them Dating Sims or Raising Sims that feature alternate versions of characters from its vast Fighting Game library. The Alternate Continuity is especially accented for example, in the games that take place in modern times but have characters from Samurai Spirits show up- quite often as the male protagonist's potential romantic interest. Or in the case of Iroha for one Raising Sim, as a plain old human version that you strive to make the damned best maid in the world.
- There are at least four different continuities in the Rayman games. The first game takes place in a surreal, cartoony world where everyone has Raymanian Limbs. Then there is the Rayman 2 universe that serves as the setting for all subsequent games (Rayman M, Rayman 3 and including Raving Rabbids; this is important later in this paragraph), a slightly more realistic fantasy realm. There are no ties to the universe or storyline from the first game and Rayman is now the only limbless character.note Then there is the TV series which has yet another different cast and universe. The presence of Admiral Razorbeard, the antagonist of Rayman 2, suggests that it might have tied into the main universe had it been allowed to run for more than four episodes. And then there is the fact that Rabbids was spun off into its own universe with Rabbids Go Home, set on a contemporary Earth.
- Alone In The Dark The New Nightmare is in a different continuity than the original series, but the 2008 game is a direct sequel, with Carnby having been kept in stasis by Lucifer since 1938.
- NieR is an Alternate Continuity sequel of Drakengard. While Drakengard 2 happened in the A Ending, where the world is mostly saved, NieR's world happens after the Mind Screw E Ending, where Caim and Angelus end up in Tokyo. According to backstory, Caim and Angelus are actually responsible for devastating the world (Just like he would've wanted).
- Red Dead Redemption was a pretty awesome Wild West sandbox game in its own right, but the creators apparently had a lot more cooked up for John Marston, because then Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare came out six months later. Same Wild West setting, but Marston now has to fight zombies in an Alternate Continuity.
- 'F-Zero has its main continuity with F-Zero, F-Zero X and F-Zero GX. Its alternate continuities are F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (which takes place 25 years after the events of the first game) and F-Zero: GP Legend (which takes place in 2201, as opposed to the 26th century). GP Legend was received lukewarmly by most fans in the West because of the changes despite being a clear alternate universe.
- One of the more common explanations for why so little of PC-98 games have shown up since Touhou moved to Windows is that they're in a separate continuity. Though the PC-98 games barely had continuity...
- The two main characters and a few other characters and (arguably) locations do return, but they're... drawn a bit differently. Theories abound, this trope being one of them.
- Tron 2.0 was considered the sequel to TRON, until it was rendered non-canon by TRON: Legacy.
- Bioshock Infinite takes place in another continuity rather than the main Bioshock setting. This is actually an important plot point.
- Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds differs from the book and the rock opera that inspired it by taking place in an alternate universe where the humans aren't quite so outmatched, and the Martians remembered to take their flu shots.
- In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the good ending is considered canon but, the game Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? is canon from the "normal" ending. You can tell considering that Prinny Laharl shows up as a boss.
- The Disgaea anime is a re-telling of sorts of the first game, but with countless differences.
- Two versions of the fourth Ys game were produced concurrently, Ys IV: Mask of the Sun for the Super Famicom (Falcom's canonical version) and Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys for the PC Engine CD. They have the same characters and places but are completely different in terms of plot.
- The Harvest Moon games aren't known for having a steady timeline but there are several different continuities at least. The original SNES game shares a continuity with Harvest Moon 64 and Tree of Tranquility, the Distaff Counterpart versions are in different continuities with each other, Friends of Mineral Town take place in the same continuity as A Wonderful Life and DS, the two Game Boy games take place in one continuity of their own...
- Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future most likely take place in separate continuities.
- There are three continuities in the Twisted Metal series: the original continuity (comprising 1, 2, and Head-On), the universe Black is set in (a Darker and Edgier universe; there was supposed to be a sequel to this one called "Harbor City" but it never came to be), and the universe of the 2012 reboot (so far the only game in its continuity). 3 and 4 have been written out of continuity.
- Devil May Cry has the original universe and the universe that DmC: Devil May Cry is set in.
- Sword Art Online has an Alternate Continuity called Sword Art Online Infinity Moment made by Banpresto. The game starts off with Kirito killing Heathcliff, however the game still doesn't get cleared unlike how it was in the series proper, and thus the players must climb up to floor 76 and beyond.
- According to Firaxis Games, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a separate continuity from the original X-COM series, with 2K Marin's The Bureau: XCOM Declassified serving as a prequel to Enemy Unknown.
- The Legend of Zelda franchise has a confirmed 3 timelines branching from Ocarina of Time: when Link gets sent back in time after defeating Ganon, there's a timeline following the world which now no longer has a hero (leading to Wind Waker), a timeline following young Link using the skills he gained as an adult to have Ganon stopped before he gains power (leading to Majora's Mask), and another continuing resulting from Link's defeat during the final battle against Ganon (leading to A Link to the Past).
- Hyrule Warriors is a Dynasty Warriors style Zelda game that is apparently going to be set in another alternate continuity with no direct ties to the timeline(s) of the other games but features items and characters from all throughout the franchise co-existing in a single world. Sort of like a Super Robot Wars Zelda game.
- Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is suppose to take place after Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (as confirmed by the newspaper Clank was reading) despite being released after Ratchet: Deadlocked. As the events of the game (and it's sequel) are never mentioned in the Future trilogy and beyond, as well as the fact that Insomniac Games had nothing to do with their production, many fans see it as an alternate continuity. Into the Nexus confirms this.
- The backstory to Star Trek Online borrows a number of story details from the Star Trek Novelversee.g. , but other details are very different.e.g.
- The Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series takes place in a different continuity than the previous Castlevania games. The relationship between the series' heroes the Belmonts and the Big Bad Dracula is fundamentally different in that Dracula is a Belmont and the Fallen Hero of the first Lords of Shadow game.
- The Matrix Path Of Neo either slightly and/or drastically alters, extends or creates all new events and endings to certain scenes from The Matrix. Plus, from the ending Neo lives, which he doesn't in the films. So, it definitely fits this trope.
- Crimson Latex was cancelled, but all the characters were later re-used for Collar 6.
- Ultima-Java originally had a multiverse, however since January 2010, the concept of a multiverse has been removed. However the pre-reboot continuity titled Universe 2, is still considered an alternate continuity to the main comic Ultima-Java: History.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: Though the comic has rarely touched upon some of the more interesting stories, presumably out of suspense. One arguable point is that the author has complaints about things that didn't make sense in the original story. Now, despite having alternate universes be the ultimate fan fiction tool, Universe 3 is strange. In this universe, Bardock gets his psychic powers in a different method and leads a successful rebellion against Frieza.
- Red Panda Adventures — The original "Panda Squadron" series.
- According to Word of God, each Bunnykill installment takes place in a continuity separate from the others.
- The rebooted Darwin's Soldiers RP on Furtopia (not the first incarnation) takes place in a different continuity than the trilogy and the original first RP. In turn, the trilogy is a different continuity than Furtopia RPs.
- Trinton Chronicles has three so far since 1999, and rumor states may end up with a 4th.
- MSF High Forum: The IRC channels are another place to role-play with one's characters, and things often go in a completely different direction than on the forum itself. Certain notable examples: Jax has the memory of his old life back, Robin is a Legion, Karn is actually a nice guy, and don't get us started on Demona...
- The Reset Button is applied to the Neurotically Yours comic and now shows what the life of Germaine is like if she focused on getting a job and improving her life instead of staying in expensive city doing nothing but poetry.
- Transformers, to the point where even dedicated fans still can't really keep track without a map◊. This is compounded by the companies responsible for the franchise in the US and Japan actually disagreeing on continuity - Transformers Cybertron (known as Galaxy Force in Japan), for instance, is a standalone series according to Takara, but Hasbro considers it to be in continuity with the previous two franchises in the "Unicron Trilogy"; Transformers Armada aka Micron Legend and Transformers Energon aka Super Link. Many toy design elements make it clear that this was the original intent, but that the Japanese makers of the animated series took it upon themselves to declare it a standalone continuity, requiring some awkward redubbing in the American version to link it back to the Trilogy.
- The problem is also compounded by Takara attempting to stuff everything (bar the Unicron Trilogy and Transformers Animated) into the Generation 1 universe.
- Takara later retconned Cybertron back into being a sequel to Arm/Ene. This doesn't eliminate the snarl due to the Galaxy Force characters, who were different folks in Japan, having different names even if they have the same jobs and head designs, as well as incompatible histories for the ones with the same names without the glue seen in Cybertron. Merging them... does this mean Doubleface and Noisemaze are now the one Sideways seen in US continuity? What about Convoy and Galaxy Convoy? Megatron and Master Megatron? And how is Starscream back?
- Transformers Animated is off on its own continuity. In Japan, Word Of God places it in movie continuity, with Bulkhead renamed Ironhide (yes, Animated Ironhide did appear. He's now Armorhide.) but nothing else was changed, to the point of making the connections an Informed Attribute that really doesn't hold any water.
- The multiple incarnations of the Generation 1 universe in the comics.
- And all the children's books. (And even the childrens' books weren't afraid to take what they liked of past installments and leave the rest. Sometimes the 'cons pop up in the same drill vehicle five minutes after they used it to escape last time; sometimes Jetfire is just fine after getting a Family-Unfriendly Death You can surely bet we never hear about the whole "thousands of human slaves go 'squish'" thing again.)
- And the Armada/discontinued Energon comic. And the other Armada comic, from the UK.
- The snarl of continuities is enough to require classification within the work itself. According to the best in-universe sources (the Transformers: TransTech continuity, which acts as the de facto hub of the Transformers multiverse) there are at at least 15,962,782 cataloged "universal streams" (read: alternate continuities) known to exist, with 1,176,325 of those having "come to termination". Those are just the ones that they know of- the actual number is undoubtedly much larger than this.
- And to make it more confusing, Wordof God is that stuff from the Transformers Aligned Universe isn't even in the same multiverse as everything else.
- Word of God is that the Madagascar film and the spin–off TV series The Penguins of Madagascar are in alternate continuities.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had so many continuities that in the Turtles Forever special, they made it so that every continuity was actually an Alternate Dimension in a TMNT Multi Verse.
- ThunderCats has ThunderCats (2011)
- All Dogs Go to Heaven has a TV series that is completely different from both movies. It takes place in the time of the second movie, but Killer, a character from the first movie, is in it.
- The Emperor's New School, the spin-off to The Emperor's New Groove, retcons Kuzco's Character Development from an egotistical Jerk Ass, and has Kronk still working with Yzma, who has the Paper-Thin Disguise of Principal Amzy.
- The Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode states that all the movies, video games, alternate futures, and What If? episodes are all alternate timelines.
- Xiaolin Chronicles. With different characterizations (one example out of many in the show would be Wuya being trapped in a slinky instead of a puzzle box like in the first show), Raimundo not being the leader of the monks (and apparently never was here), the names of the Shen Gong Wu being different, Dojo's new design, the show seems to be heading in this direction.
- Cartoons based on movies like "Beetlejuice" and "Jumanji" seem to be in their own continuities rather than following the movies they were based on. "Alienators: Evolution Continues" is the one that follows the film it was based on. "The Real Ghostbusters" is a bit half and half since the episode "Citizen Ghost" confirms it takes place after the first movie but the series didn't portray them as bankrupt Pariahs like they were in the beginning of Ghostbusters II.
- The Rainbow Magic movie ignores everything that happened after the first series of books except the girls getting the fairy lockets.
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is set in an alternate continuity from previous shows and movies. However, in the finale, an Alternate Timeline is created, and it's heavily implied that the original continuity happened in this timeline.