All fanfic is arguably an Alternate Continuity
, since the audience can assume it intends to follow Canon
to a specific point, then branch off. Indeed, the only major fic types that don't
branch off are post series Continuation
fics and those written to fit neatly into canon, as they don't disrupt the continuity. However, labeling something an AU Fic
sometimes has a different implication, where one fundamental aspect of the series is completely overhauled from its point of origin.
The standards for how much is fundamental to the series vary by fandom and by time of writing, but the fic types that are usually considered AU are the following:
- Contextual Reassignment - When the fundamental aspect that is changed is the world itself. Overt changes in the universe rules and World Building constitute the most universally accepted meaning of AU. Thus, the fan equivalent to an Elseworld. However, there's a lot less tolerance of altering personalities and abilities. These come in two main forms:
- Familiar Contextual Reassignment: When the characters are taken out of their world and placed in a setting that is fairly familiar to the author and readers - the High School AU is especially common, putting characters who would not have met or even existed for years in close proximity during teenage years.
- Unfamiliar Contextual Reassignment - When the characters are taken out of their world and placed in a setting much more unfamiliar to the author or the reader - for example prison, a Nazi Death Camp, Normandy 1066, or possibly Mars.
- What If? - For lesser changes, there are the What Ifs about major events in the series - how 'major' counts as 'major' is debatable. There are two common forms of this.
- Alternate History - Where the author takes one point of time, one event in the universe and changes the outcome of it radically, such as an important decision, or who won an important fight, and continues from that point. Sometimes called a Divergence Fic.
- Character Facets - The author speculates on what would happen if a single facet of a character's enviroment was different about them, or may blatantly ignore a Word of God statement, for example, what if a character was blind, or had a little brother in the show right from the start.
- Continuation - There are also the Continuation fics written before the series has finished, which are rendered AU when new episodes in canon contradict the events of the fic. This is more of an Alternate Continuity, as the opening paragraph mentions, but tends to be considered AU too. Retrospectively, these fics become the What If? variaton mentioned above, but are written from a different stance. (Harry Potter ficdom was particularly prone to these until after the publication of Deathly Hallows.)
Full-blown AU fic is tricky, as it should require a fair notion of the original series itself, making it harder to read for some casual fans. There's also the major danger of the Transplanted Character Fic
, because if you change the plot too much the story's not so much a Fan Fic
as an original story with familiar names. On the plus side, rookie fans who might suffer from Continuity Lockout
in the canon series because they only found it after it became established may be able to enjoy AU fics, particularly if they actually explain a lot of the universe and don't assume that you know all the important things already
. Trying to follow Buffy the Vampire Slayer
when you first start watching in its fifth season, with all the Character Development
that's taken place up to that point, is a lot harder than cutting your teeth on an AU fic that starts out with the Scoobies in high school and doesn't require any advance knowledge of the setting.
Contrast Elsewhere Fic
. See also Universal-Adaptor Cast
and Fix Fic
. Other types, such as Mary Sue
and Cross Over
fics, are arguably AU too, but don't get counted as such.
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Anime & Manga
- Honor Trip is an extensive Dragon Ball Z fanfiction that chronicles an alternate universe where Cell becomes a hero, & makes amends for his previous deeds.
- Downfall is a Bleach continuity where Aizen never was the villain, instead Unohana, you know... Team Mom... is the Big Bad. Kyoraku and Ukitake follow her. Nel is Primera. Gin and Ran are Soul Society's resident experts on relationships. Rukia dies.
- Gregg "Metroanime" Sharp's The Bet is a cycle of stories based around a competition by a group of gods, demons, spirits and the occasional mortal to see who can make the biggest change in one of several "standard" timelines (the canon versions of Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo!, and Sailor Moon among others) with the smallest alteration. Each entry in "The Bet" is a small Alternate Universe Fic. The Bet inspired many contributors and imitators, and turned Alternate Universe Fics into sort of a cottage industry for Sharp.
- A Fox in Tokyo by Doghead Thirteen is one for Naruto, where the main change is that it's set in the author's Mega Crossover Top Dog universe, which includes a modern-day Tokyo where Nerima is a separate country owned and ruled by Soun Tendo, who is a werewolf. Needs to be seen to be believed.
- Deja Vu No Jutsu: A Naruto fic. Someone with military experience and a like for the Naruto series ends up in Minato and Kushina's generation. Cue events drastically altering the Naruto universe to the point where canon is truly and completely dead Danzo and Orochimaru are dead long before the "canon" timeline even begins. Also, world-building and plot-hole filling abounds.
- Team 8: Another Naruto fic. Something (currently a Noodle Incident) happens in Kurenai's past, and when she is tapped to train a genin team, she goes out of her way to request a specific newly-graduated ninja—her ninja team consists of Hinata Hyuga, Shino Aburame, and Naruto Uzumaki.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion R is one example of such a fic, diverging from the (formerly, with Rebuild) canonical timeline at the end of Episode 24 and beginning of the End of Evangelion. Essentially, Gendo anticipates Seele's attack, decides he's not ready for it, and begins a major reconstruction of Tokyo-3 in order to make himself a public hero that is temporarily untouchable. In retaliation, Seele builds a bunch of faux Angels for the purpose of attacking Nerv and initiating Third Impact in a more plausibly deniable way, while also recruiting another human-like Angel (ala Kaworu) to help them. Also, Shinji gets better. As does Asuka. And Rei. And everyone else. Well, almost.
- RE-TAKE is perhaps the most popular example amongst the Evangelion fandom. Here, Shinji has a dream which he realizes prophesies the events of End of Evangelion, and resolves to make better choices in order to avoid the bleak outcome of that story. He ends up getting engaged to Asuka and fathering her child. He also learns that it is he — not Kaworu — who is the final angel, and that his unborn child is half-angel because of this. While Gendo tries to make Shinji reach his Despair Event Horizon by seemingly letting Asuka die in an angel attack, Shinji manages to not be as selfish as he was in the original story and defeats the angels and SEELE without triggering Third Impact. He and Asuka eventually rekindle their romance and live happily ever after.
- Strategic Cyborg Evangelion is another Evangelion fic that has the divergence-type premise: SEELE's plans for Instrumentality were interrupted by the Seven Hour War causing Second Impact two years ahead of schedule. This fundamentally altered the universe in several ways: the world is under the control of a SEELE-controlled authoritarian superstate with access to Faster-Than-Light Travel and ISO Standard Human Spaceships, Yui didn't get involved with SEELE and kicked Gendo out when Shinji was little then adopted Rei to make up for Gendo taking Shinji with him, Kyoko was killed by terrorists which turned Asuka and her Colonel Badass father into Failure Knights and Evas were developed for military use instead of being specialized anti-Angel weapons.
- For Code Geass, a major point of divergence from the anime's original plot is explored in Lelouch Of Britannia, where the author explores the What If? scenario where Lelouch is not banished from the court, and grows up in Pendragon. The answer? Quite a bit, but with some interesting parallels to the original timeline.
- A Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic called Son Of Apophis. All the character's Yamis become older brothers, with the exception of Bakura, who's an older cousin that is secretly a half-brother. Card games still exist, and it's implied that Yami is still the champion of them, but the tournaments seem to have never taken place. Yami Marik is no where near as psychotic or violent as he is in the actual manga (though he used to be, years ago) and Marik was crippled by his father.
- It takes place in a new cyberpunk/gothic setting, but Soul Eater has an AU by Ryo Hoshi called Shadows on the Walls, which has a very strange mix of People In Jars, Lotus Eater Machine, and features some familiar faces traveling as a band...and has the Cargo Ship of Soul Eater Evans and booze. Oh, right, and Maka is a prostitute and Noah does what he does best.
- Another one for Soul Eater would be A Soul's Songbook, which is a result of a single What If? involving a switch in who won a battle nearly a thousand years before the start of the canon that ends up turning it into a Crapsack World run by the Big Bad of the canon, with, among other things, a rare example of Crystal Dragon Jesus sharing a world with Real Jesus...and the Eldritch Abomination cult.
- Genius Is A Curse, a Death Note Dark Fic, where Ryuk never drops his Death Note, and Light never becomes Kira, and thus has nothing to alleviate his sheer boredom with. Deals with clinical depression.
- By the same author as Genius is a Curse, a more extreme example of AU. It's Just A Game. The page description: "It's 2016 & Light is bored to death. Ryuk offers him the Death Note, a program that lets him wreak havoc anonymously in a virtual world. L pursues this Kira, but when real people start dying, the line between fantasy and reality blurs beyond recognition." L works for Wammy House, the software company making the game, and Ryuk is a disillusioned game programmer they fired. Seems to toy with Your Mind Makes It Real.
- NIGHTWALKER: STRANGE PATHS basically retells the anime story. The only differences are that Riho is a 140 year old vampire and Shido starts out as an ordinary human detective.
- Fullmetal Alchemist Threads Of Time focuses on the notion of Alphonse attaching Edward's soul to a suit of armor, and Alphonse obtaining automail limbs.
- ZeonQuest is a Gundam AU fic focusing on how one soldier has managed to already permanently alter the Universal Century.
- Freefall is a real-world AU crossover fic of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and XxxHolic, among many other CLAMP works, that has no magic, time-travel or monsters- and yet manages to be just as complex and involved as the original canon.
- Nerima Magistra Nelly Magi is a retelling of Mahou Sensei Negima! with every character's gender reversed.
- Though A Bird Cant Fly, That Doesn't Mean It Never Will is a One Piece "What If?" fic in which Zoro's childhood rival Kuina is blinded instead of killed in her tragic accident. She grows up to be a Blind Weapon Master who ends up joining the Marines in order to track down Zoro and find out why he's become a pirate.
- Given the nature of Axis Powers Hetalia and the liberal use of A Us by Himaruya himself, it's no surprise that there are a good deal of them. One example, though a Dark Fic one, is All He Ever Wanted, involving an Alternate History where England keeps his alliance with Japan.
- Game Theory is a Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic in which Precia didn't go completely insane. Although still obsessed with reviving Alicia, she is a great deal more practical in her methods. This has numerous consequences that all follow logically from that divergence, which slowly build up until the plot goes spectacularly Off the Rails when Nanoha decides to help Precia.
- The universe itself has also been tweaked somewhat, as the authors of the story have greatly expanded on the background, and altered several details that weren't internally consistent in the original work, which makes for a smoother narrative flow.
- Graceful Degradation is a Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic where the TSAB is prevented from getting involved in the Jewel Seeds incident due to the Arthra getting damaged when Precia moves the Garden of Time while they were in the same relative proximity of it. Events then start to rapidly change from that such as Nanoha fighting Precia Testarossa herself, and then goes completely Off the Rails when the Wolkenritter appear five weeks sooner than in canon.
- Puella Magi Yuuko Magica is a Puella Magi Madoka Magica fanfic in which the world-changing wish that Madoka created is something along the lines of "I want us to no longer be slaves to the Incubators", so now magic is rampant within her world. However, the magic is hidden from Muggles of course. It's supposed to be a prequel to a seemingly unrelated fic, though. At least Madoka gets to be a Little Miss Badass in this.
- There's also Busou Shoujo Madoka ☆ Mafia, a doujin series which involves the girls of Madoka in a mafia setting, with Madoka herself as the Badass Adorable boss of her syndicate and the other girls as her enforcers.
- While the Tamers Forever Series mostly maintains the same continuity as the canon Anime/Digimon series, it does Retcon the epilogue of 02, as well as the events of Runaway Locomon
- Honest Hearts by dan-heron turns Mato and Yomi's lovers quarrel into the lid on an even bigger can of worms.
- Pokemon The Great Adventure by Elia41. By a dark and stormy night, young Ash meets a wounded man. Five years later, the two travel across Kanto to challenge the Leagues. Awesomeness ensues.
- In A Subtle Kind is a fic where Misa and Matt's roles in the Death Note universe are swapped.
- In Symbiosis, Ash's parents are murdered by a mysterious organization at young age. With the help of his father's Mareep, Ash escapes into Viridian Forest and is raised a wild Weedle.
- Life After Hayate is an Alternate History of Lyrical Nanoha where Nanoha's canonical injury between A's and StrikerS does not happen; instead, she is replaced by Hayate Yagami, who is killed and passes the Wolkenritter to Chrono Harlaown with her dying breaths.
- Twilight Pretty Cure is a Pretty Cure AU. While inspired by the canon series in various ways, it takes more of a serious approach in addressing issues like the evils of bullying, discrimination, child abuse, etc. But it still keeps the "hope within darkness" theme that most Pretty Cure anime have.
- A Brief History Of Histories switches around the backstories of each of the sailor senshi and explores how this impacts their characters.
- Over Used is set after the events of the Pokemon games, and involves an OC veteran trainer and his adventure after meeting a mysterious girl with a Mew companion. It changes several rules of the world and follows different battle tactics compared to the anime or video games.
- The Spider-Woman series, which posits what would have occurred if Mary Jane Watson had been bitten by the radioactive spider rather than Peter Parker.
- Speaking of such, there's a surprising amount of 'retelling' stories, basically with a similar premise as Ultimate Spider-Man: Spdey's adventures retold, with original and familiar ideas thrown around. Sometimes, they can be epic and even Better Than Canon, other times they can fall into common fanfic problems. Notably, Gwen Stacy dies in a lot of them, seemingly for no reason. To a lesserdegree, other comics, such is Iron Man, Avengers, Batman, and even Transformers get the same treatment.
- Winning The Witch, a Young Avengers fanfic set in the world of zombies.
- Empath: The Luckiest Smurf is a Smurfs fanfic series where (1) the Smurfs are all born through physical reproduction instead of through a Delivery Stork, (2) Papa Smurf had other fellow Smurfs in his generation as the parents of "his little Smurfs", but have all died during The Plague, leaving the children as orphans, (3) the boy Smurflings were never de-aged adult Smurfs and Sassette was a real female Smurfling who was trapped in a Crystal Prison, and (4) combines elements and characters from the comic books, the cartoon show, Sony Pictures' film series, and the PVC toy character line.
Crossovers — Multiple Media
- Teenage Jinchuriki Shinobi is a two way:
- TMNT 2003: Continuation fic, taking place after the event of the Back to the Sewer season.
- Naruto: Alternate History. While the events of the former was mostly completed, the events here start off with a younger Naruto who hasn't even started his training at the academy, Sasuke being kinder and having a younger cousin that survived the Uchiha massacre, and Hinata's love being noticed and repayed.
- The Star Trek vs Star Wars fic Star Crossed is also a Star Wars Alternate Universe fic, positing a timeline where Luke Skywalker surrenders to Vader at Bespin and becomes the Sith Lord Darth Nemesis.
- Code: Half Demon is the crossover variety that is based on canon of both series. So one could say it is the clash of canons that become fanons.
Film — Animated
Film — Live-Action
- The Dark Angel, a Hellraiser fanfic that takes a look at Pinhead...as an unintentional superhero.
- Heroes and Demons is an AU of Iron Man. What if Pepper never met Tony until way after he got kidnapped in Afganistan? It involves mixing in elements from comics but really fleshed out the world without Iron Man.
- Mike Wong's Conquest applies an alternate continuity to post-movie Star Wars in order to make the story work. Here, Darth Caedus kills Luke and reforms the Empire, and also brings Jaina Solo to the Dark Side.
- There's a 30 Day AU Challenge on Tumblr, in which people have to write a specific AU for a fandom each day. Here's one for Star Trek.
Live Action TV
- Better Angels is a For Want of a Nail fic about Shane Walsh taking over the leader role from Rick Grimes and how his actions would affect the group when they arrive at The Prison.
- Stargate Atlantis:
- There is an entire genre of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfics called "Halloween fics," set during the events of the season 2 episode "Halloween". They're mainly CrossOver fics. They are all based on the premise, "What if so-and-so had dressed up as such-and-such on the Halloween Ethan Rayne came to town, and there was some sort of lasting effect?" There are actually a bunch of really good fanfics that come out of this genre, particularly Scribbler's "Jedi Harris", in which Xander had dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan MacGregor's version) instead of a generic soldier.
- There is another genre of fic that involve Faith returning to Sunnydale between seasons 5 and 6 after Buffy's death instead of her canonical return in Season Seven. Most often used in Buffy/Faith fics, but other pairings do pop up from time to time.
- There are several AU NCIS fanfics where Caitlin Todd does not die and is still a member of NCIS alongside Ziva, more often than not in a relationship with her, like the work here.
- ''Take My Hand'' is an AU LOST fanfic where the Others, rather than hostile natives, are soldiers running a tyrannical government led by Ben. The whole story is full of nods to the original continuity, while maintaining the mood and atmosphere of classic dystopian fiction.
- The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries has ''Blood Circles'', where magic works, Joe Hardy is psychically gifted, and Orrin Thatcher from the "Voodoo Doll" episode is a real serial-killer/magic-user using death and blood to raise power. The tale crosses into DarkFic territory, but keeps the sense of humor prevalent in the show and stays mostly in the show's continuity.
- The fanfic What if Jim Accepted the Job at Corporate? takes place at the end of season 3 and asks what if Jim had taken the job at corporate.
- These kind of fics are popular in the Supernatural fandom, most of which take place in the alternate universe presented in the season 5 episode "The End" (those that do are known as End!Verse fics).
- "Battlestar Galactica" hasThe Long War which takes place in an an alternate universe that seems to diverge from canon seven years before the cylon return with brutal Colonial civil war. The effect seems to be a serious up-arming of the colonial navy and a darkening of its attitude towards warfare, enabling enough damage to the cylons and enough surviving ships to make a guerrilla war plausible.
- Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. Kamen Rider Fourze going Darker and Edgier with Gentaro going against friendship and wanting nothing more to kill the people who "left him to die". Did I mention that there's seven Kamen Rider shows that got dragged into this mess?
- Reimagined Enterprise is a Continuity Reboot of Star Trek: Enterprise. Its continuing mission: To address issues fans had with the writing and characterization, to rewrite ENT into something that fits better into later canon, and to still produce something recognizably similar to what has gone before.
- The Odyssey, an Exalted fanfic. It's notable for both its quality and the fact that the point of divergence has not yet become apparent. Something happened to the Fivescore Fellowship, though.).
- The Warhammer40000 universe, courtesy of the Bolter and Chainsword forum, has a variation of the canon universes Horus Heresy entitled The Dornian Heresy. Essentially it explores the setting replacing the main antagonist with the titular brother - Rogal Dorn. Still a work in progress.
- Also of note is a seperate attempt, from the same forum, to replace the main antagonist of the Horus Heresy with another of his brothers - Roboute Guilliman.
- Actually a game mechanic in Twilight Sparkles Secret Shipfic Folder. A number of the cards are said to be from one of Twilight's more unusual experiments...
- One troper is working on a Valkyria Chronicles/ Real Life double AU, called Battlefield Gallia. It's still early in the war (November 1940, Operation Sea Lion), but World War II as we know it will take place in some shape, albeit in really mutated form. As of yet, Gallia mostly resembles Poland, and we all know who won there.
- And The Meek Shall Inherit The Galaxy: Instead of turians, humanity meets the quarians first, with the entire Mass Effect Universe drastically altering as a result.
- Renegade is a crossover fic that explores how differently the Mass Effect universe would be if elements of the Command & Conquer Tiberium universe were worked into the continuity, notably being that GDI replaces the Systems Alliance and has enough military prowess to remain independent of the Citadel.
- Harbinger, by the same author, fuses the Mass Effect setting with FEAR, hinting at the ramifications of a Mass Effect setting where organics begin manifesting a wide range of Psychic Powers and sanity is an optional part of such abilities.
- Devil May Cry's Dante being Nero's father in "Like Father, Like Son" (Which, hell, might even be canon, but the generally accepted theory is Vergil). Sink or Swim Fatherhood hijinks ensue.
- A very different Contextual Reassignment Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic is found in Prison Island Break The entire story not only takes place in a high-security prison, but almost all of the characters (from a wide range of Sonic continuities) are convicted criminals. Their goal to escape prison is neither noble nor heroic since there is no doubt that they are guilty, and most of them are unrepentant. Despite this, the story is popular for keeping all of them in-character, and even their very different criminal backstories still seem to suit their original characters.
- Coffee, Black is a Dragon Age II fanfic which takes place in modern America. It is written through Garrett Hawke's point of view, while he works in a coffee shop and is practically hypnotized by a mysterious tattoo covered hipster named Fen. It can be read here. (Warning: as it was originally inspired by a prompt from a Kink Meme, it gets VERY steamy later on.)
- Always Having Juice is an Alternate Universe Fic for Sonic the Hedgehog, with every single character given a design overhaul, the world being a strange recipe of every other iteration of the Sonic Canon you can think of off the top of your head, all put through the lens of one troper.
- Renegade Reinterpretations is set in a Mass Effect universe where the Batarians found humanity first and the latter didn't have the lightning-fast tech advancement of canon. The result is a much less nice humanity.
- The majority of Touhou fanfic falls into this category due to the lack of information from ZUN on just how Gensokyo works. Even fics that apparently take into account all the details released at the time of their writing tend to be Jossed by new canon and deuterocanon. This may be about to change due to the increasing attention given to world building in official material, but then again ZUN has contradicted himself and retconned certain things on more than one occasion.
- Uplifted is set in a universe where a desperate Quarian fleet decided to uplift humanity circa 1942 in order to utilize them as foot soldiers and retake Rannoch. However, contrary to what most people would expect, they choose to ally themselves with the fascists. The choice is logical given what the Quarians intentions for humanity. The epilogue strongly implies the war results in a stalemate. The author is planning a trilogy. A fair warning though: the main characters are Nazis, and the author has no problem displaying their attitudes. Unique in that it avoids depicting all Nazis as evil mass murderers, but makes clear how reprehensible the regime is, as the Quarians slowly realize just who their allies are. The author certainly doesn't downplay how reprehensible the Quarians find their erstwhile allies actions.
- Mega Man Reawakened is in a separate universe from the games and animated adaptations.
- Kingdom Hearts: The Third Epic is an AU for Kingdom Hearts, which begins about a year after KH 2 and follows the KH crew on a Darker and Edgier journey to defeat the Dark Empire, an enemy much more powerful than the Heartless or Nobodies. Also counts as a Crossover due to the high number of anime that get their own worlds/realms.
- Ordinary Human Spectre is a crossover AU between Touhou and Mass Effect, revolving around replacing Commander Shepard with Marisa Kirisame, and integrating the Touhou universe into the Mass Effect one (Gensokyo is an Alliance military base, Youkai are genetically modified humans, Patchouli Knowledge works for the Shadow Broker, etc.). It goes Off the Rails pretty quickly.
- SONIC is a Sonic the Hedgehog AU which is described by the writer as 50% SatAM, 20% STC, 10% Sonic X, 10% Archie, and 10% original spin.
- For Tomorrow We Die is an Alternate Continuity fic for Mass Effect which picks up immediately at the conclusion of Mass Effect 2. Written well before the release of Mass Effect 3, the events of the story prevent the events of the third game from happening at all.
- Welcome To The World Of Pokemon is a collection of Alternate Continuity fics for the main series Franchise/Pokemon games. The story follows the main heroes, giving them character traits, changing elements of the original story, changes the heroes' path through the game, or a mixture of the three, depending on which story is being considered.
- An Epic Comic is an odd example, the characters are the same from their original franchise, it's that ??? has seen an alternate universe his writers made as canon to the franchise that insults him greatly for what they do to him.
- Slightly Damned:
- Blizzard Storm is an AU that diverges from canon via a mix of Alternate Universe Fic and Trapped in Another World via the introduction of an original character from our world and the revival of a popular character.
- A Different Medius changes just about everything by ending the Great War several milennia early, and stranding angels and demons on Medius. Things like Buwaro being adopted by Azurai and Iratu, being much smarter and a badass, not needing a needing a Star Pendant, instead owning a star-shaped pendant serving a completely different purpose, and Samantha and Toby being Buwaro's best friends are among the less drastic ones. Rhea, oddly, is absent.
- Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name has several well-loved and widely played with A Us:
- Dead Of Night is a swapped 'verse, with zombie!Hanna, Unzombie, vampire!Worth, human!Conrad, and so on. Pairings are Conrad/Worth and platonic Hanna/Unzombie. Has coverart, Chapter illustration, and assorted other comics and art.
- The Punk AU has... well, a brash and outlandishly dressed Hanna, with Unzombie as a police officer he ends up working with. sometimes slash, sometimes pre-slash or friendship.:
- This is the journal post that started it.
- Here is a collection of Punk AU fanfic.
- Then there's the obligatory post-apocalyptic dystopian AU, Lightwaves.
- There's fics that switch the blood colors of the trolls and the guardians of the children, like Red Dead Virgo (which is popular enough to get its own fanworks) and Dont Name It.
- There's fics that take the trolls' hemospectrum, flip it on its head, and extrapolate from there, like Be The Seadweller Lowblood and Hemostuck.
- Guidestuck switches the roles of pets/inanimate objects (Quinn, Jaspers, Cal, Becquerel, Liv Tyler, etc.) and lusii with the humans (John, Rose, Dave, Jade, and their guardians) and trolls, respectively.
- Cultstuck is set in an Alternia where the Sufferer's cult survived to the present day (because Darkleer switched sides after helping the Disciple escape) and is a major influence in Karkat's life.
- There are also alternate settings, such as:
- Unwanted Free Ugly Troll, where trolls are tiny mammalian critters kept as pets, except when they're, well... ugly and unwanted.
- Brainbent, where the trolls become human and reside with the kids- in a mental hospital.
- Troll Cops, an AU wherein the characters are all police/criminals/superheroes/etc).
- An, Ann and Anny is an Ed, Edd n Eddy AU fic where every member of the original cast is of the opposite sex. It was created by the author of Ed, Edd n Eddy Highschool, who has also created several other Alternate Universes, like for instance, one where every character of the original cast (except Rolf) is an alien.
- AKK's "Raumjager" for Galaxy Rangers uses a timeline where Nazi Germany not only won, but has gone on to conquer the galaxy, and the normally persecuted Shane is now considered a paragon of the ubermenchen ideal...scarier when you remember that the writer is German herself. She also wrote "If Only," where Niko wishes the tragedy that brought the Rangers together never happened.
- A:TLAR is a full-on AU reboot of the Avatar: The Last Airbender storyline.
- Pirates Versus Privates takes almost every Disney canon there is and smashes them together, though it focuses the most on the Sensational Six.
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfiction Embers by Vathara. Starting initially as a smaller one shot, it deals with what could have happened had Zuko and his Uncle had just slightly differing thoughts after the Siege of the Northpole, with an astounding amount of cultural and historical research put into this retelling.
- For Teen Titans, "Northern Star" and "Apprentice" are two examples of the Apprentice AU theme that is popular amongst TT fanfiction - the idea of "What if Robin had stayed as Slade's apprentice?"
- For The Simpsons there is The Thompsons which has the idea of "What if Homer and Marge were not the parents of Bart, Lisa and Maggie?"
- Burning Black's entire premise rests on the idea that, six weeks after School's Out: The Musical, Timmy Turner died falling from a jungle gym at school. The stories themselves take place four years after Timmy's death in a heavily affected Dimmsdale.
- Queen Of All Oni is a Jackie Chan Adventures story that diverges at the beginning of Season 4, with the premise that instead of releasing Tarakudo, Daolon Wong's attempt to summon the Shadowkhan instead reawakens Jade's Superpowered Evil Side, the Queen of the Shadowkhan.
- Jewel Of Darkness, by the same author, is a Teen Titans fic that is built on the premise that Raven was banished from Azarath when her powers first awakened as child, rather than later in her life. She is then found on the streets by Slade, who raises her as his child and apprentice.
- The Legend of Total Drama Island is a reimagining of Total Drama's first season, so perforce none of the show's canon events are directly acknowledged.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has quite a few examples:
- The Lunaverse is a Shared Universe of MLP:FiM fanfics, where Princess Celestia became evil instead of Luna, with a new set of main characters based on background and side characters while the original main cast is flipped into minor roles.
- The Dashverse is based on the simple premise that rather than being in Canterlot on the day that the Mane Six got their cutie marks, Princess Celestia was instead in Cloudsdale, and ended up taking on Rainbow Dash as her student instead of Twilight Sparkle.
- Nights Favored Child diverges from canon during the battle between Celestia and Nightmare Moon a thousand years ago. In this fic's universe, Nightmare Moon won, brought about eternal night (and found a way to avert the negative aspects of it), erased Celestia from the history books, and turned Equestria into her personal empire.
- The Powers Of Harmony is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic story that borders on being an outright Alternate Continuity — aside from the Mane Cast having met and befriended Zecora, everything after the series pilot is ignored in favor of the story's timeline and take on events. That said, elements of canon (characters, backstories, events) are incorporated or alluded to when necessary.
- Life In Manehattan is another MLP AU fic. This one diverges from canon when the Elements of Harmony are discovered some time before the pilot by Honey Do aka Daring Do and moved to a museum in Manehattan. Because of that, Celestia chooses that city for the Summer Sun Celebration, and it is there that Twilight goes and befriends different ponies to be the bearers of the Elements.
- Chains is an MLP AU that actually plays very similar to the MLP canon, but with one major twist that the fanfic has centered around; humans exist and were made a Slave Race by the Equestrians.
- Lunaverse alum GrassAndClouds2 has started his own AU Shared Universe of MLP fics, The Cadanceverse. The premise of this one is that both Celestia and Luna were corrupted, forcing Cadance (a golem created to serve as their intermediary) to use the Elements of Harmony to seal them both away, before taking over Equestria herself.
- Warren Hutch (author of Windfall and Earth and Sky) wrote The White Mare, which takes place in an Equestria where Princess Celestia went into self-imposed exile after banishing Nightmare Moon. She subsequently became Shrouded in Myth, her only real friend a certain yellow-and-pink pegasus... This means that, among other things, modern Equestria is a republic, there is no Ponyvillenote , and the Mane Six are different in many ways (Fluttershy is more assertive, Rarity is a gem prospector, and Applejack is a travelling seed-and-flower salespony with a Manehattan accent) though ultimately recognizable as themselves.
- This Platinum Crown is a notable example, with somewhat darker reimaginings of episodes, badass battle couples, while keeping the main themes of the show, while keeping the main theme of the show- Friendship is Magic.
- Harmony's Warriors is a contextual reassignment Cross Over fanfic of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Universe to make it more resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's rather expansive, clocking in at five full length stories (three of which are still in progress), and two anthologies, with even more planned.