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[[caption-width-right:350: "A cannon can be used to ''[[ArmedWithCanon reinforce]]'' canonicity".]]

->''"'''Warning:''' The game you are about to play is canon." [sic]''
-->-- ''VideoGame/BarkleyShutUpAndJamGaiden''

That which counts, in terms of {{continuity}}.

Canonicity, as it applies to television series, is substantially different from its literary counterpart. For example, there is no question of which ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'' stories (the first non-biblical literary works to which the term was applied) are canonical: those written by Doyle are, everything else isn't.

Television canonicity works much differently, as there are many authors involved. Works not officially sanctioned are generally outside of canonicity, but what remains inside is more nebulous. Officially licensed material, novelizations and tie-in novels are not usually considered canonical. Even broadcast material can be excluded from the canon when decreed by WordOfGod.

The primary issue is that canons for completed works (especially with a single author) are ''descriptive'', whereas fans' attempts to define canonicity for ongoing works are ''prescriptive''. If a fact is canonical, you are not allowed to contradict it.

The concept of canonicity is almost entirely an invention of {{fandom}}. The writers will [[CanonDiscontinuity ignore]], [[ContinuityNod include]], or [[{{Retcon}} change]] whatever facts they damned well like. This is not to say that the writers totally lack a sense of {{continuity}}, but it is a much weaker concept than "canonicity" as presented by fan communities. Writers can tweak continuity quite a lot without actually breaking it by using BroadStrokes.

In fan communities based on very loose continuities, what is "canonical" can sometimes boil down to "[[{{Fanon}} the bits we like]]". Fans will attempt to find any excuse to [[FanonDiscontinuity "de-canonize"]] facts that they personally find inconvenient.

A related term is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deuterocanonical_books Deuterocanon]] (known here on Wiki/TVTropes as WordOfDante), which in this context refers to those persons, places and/or events which are not explicitly shown on-screen, but which are considered "official" or close to it. For canonicity that comes not from the source material but from pronouncements by the creator, see WordOfGod. For the contrary idea that something is canonical ''only if'' it appears in the source material (external opinions of the creator, DummiedOut content, and {{Deleted Scene}}s ''not'' included), see DeathOfTheAuthor.

This concept is related to the literary term used to describe a body of work that is considered the foremost in quality and significance. For example, if one refers to the English-language literary canon, it is understood that one is speaking of books such as ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'' by Creator/CharlesDickens, ''Literature/MobyDick'' by Herman Melville, ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'' by Creator/JaneAusten, and ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness'' by Creator/JosephConrad--in other words, most of the books you read in HighSchool are part of the English-language canon.

Canonicity should not be confused with {{Fanon}}, but everyone [[WordOfDante does it all the time]]. See FanonDiscontinuity for when people decide ''en masse'' to disregard actual canonicity, and CanonDiscontinuity when the writers do it. Alternatively, see the ContinuityTropes index for all related concepts. OfficialFanSubmittedContent is when the creators ask the fans to add to the canon.

Not to be confused with the VisualNovel ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'', or the camera company Canon, or with singer/songwriter K'naan, or with Music/PachelbelsCanon, or the ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' BigBad Ganon, or with actual cannons.

It must be noted that "canon" is a term misused even more often than the notorious "{{JustForFun/Egregious}}," as seen in the page quote above. Many people mistakenly use "canon" and "non-canon" when they mean "canonical" and "non-canonical" (if using it as an adjective) or "canon" when they mean "canonicity" (if using it as a collective noun). "Canon" is a singular noun that refers to the official story of a work (typically according to the writers of said work) and must either come after a singular specifying article (such as "the" or "a") or have an "s" applied to the end of the word when referring to more than one individual canon. "Canonicity" is the collective noun form and is the correct word to use when referring to the idea of canonical or non-canonical things in general, which should be used any time you want to use the word "canon" without preceding it with a singular specifying article. "Canonical" is the adjective form describing something that is or isn't part of the canon in question.

The correct terminology can be most easily exhibited with these three sentences: "Let's discuss ''canonicity''. Because this particular detail is ''canonical'', it fits within established ''canonicity'' and therefore is part of the official ''canon''. However, because this other conflicting detail does not fit into ''canonicity'', it's clearly ''non-canonical'' and does not belong in the ''canon''." If you're still confused, a simple way to remember how to use these words properly is to compare "canon" to "continuation," "canonical" to "continual," and "canonicity" to "continuity."

!!Examples of canons in fiction


* When it comes to the Franchise/{{Gundam}} franchise, the official word from Creator/{{Sunrise}} is that all works that appeared in official releases count as being canonical unless stated otherwise. Even if they try their hardest to line up with continuity and get appearances in crossover media like ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', this still creates quite a lot of problems. Most of the time they act more like written guides are the most canonical, anime is more of a film/movie adaptation of what actually happened, yet much more canonical than manga and novels, and games are, all non-canonical, unless retconned by any previous mentioned media and with no contradiction with the guides.
* For most ''Manga/DragonBall'' fans continuïty is SeriousBusiness, and plenty a FlameWar has erupted over what is and isn't canonical. Complicating this is that, over the course of the franchise's 30-year long run it has had many properties (plus a ''lot'' of {{Filler}}) developed without Creator/AkiraToriyama's direct influence, with many of the franchises' [[EnsembleDarkhorse beloved characters]] either not being thought up by the original author or plain not fitting in the timeline. There are also many [[FanDumb fans]] who feel the need to explicitly tell other fans what parts of the series they are ''allowed'' to "count" and what parts not, to the point where they insist that separate ''scenes'' in an episode should be disregarded. In the more reasonable parts of the fandom, it's generally agreed that there are several "tiers" of canonicity:
** Manga Canonicity: anything that has the involvement of Akira Toriyama, and the "absolute" canon: The original manga, ''Anime/DragonBallZBattleOfGods'' and ''Anime/DragonBallZResurrectionF'', ''Anime/DragonBallSuper''. ''Super'' adapts the two aforementoined movies with [[BroadStrokes some minor differences]], with the version being "truly" canonical being up to fan preference as none of these differences have any bearing on the long-term plot. There is also a 2008 OVA special that was confirmed to be canonical in ''Battle of Gods''. ''Dragon Ball Super'' also has a manga drawn by Toyotaro with some minor differences to the anime. WordOfGod is usually considered canonical as well, but due to Toriyama's forgetful and sometimes self-contraditory nature some fans take this with a grain of salt.
** Anime Canonicity: All of the anime-exclusive Filler and [[NonSerialMovie Non-Serial Movies]] that don't contradict the manga or have small plotholes that are easily explained away. They aren't canonical to the manga and thus will never be referenced in manga-canonical materials, but you could be excused for "counting" them. Examples include the Ginyu-takes-over-Bulma subplot (which was actually referenced in ''Super''), the 10-day wait for the Cell games, the driving episode, ''Anime/DragonBallZCoolersRevenge'', ''Anime/DragonBallZBrolyTheLegendarySuperSaiyan'', and ''Anime/DragonBallZBojackUnbound''. The Other World tournament used to count as well, but has since been demoted as ''Resurrection F'' explicitly retconned all scenes in hell.
** Non-Canonicity: All anime-exlusive materials that contradict the manga, all unique video game plots (many of which are What-if's anyway), and all non-Toriyama or non-Toyotaro; manga. Examples include ''Anime/DragonBallZTheTreeOfMight'' and ''Return of Cooler''.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' like ''Dragon Ball'' is another LongRunner with a lot of {{Filler}}, as such the majority of the fandom hold the claim that "If it was written by Creator/MasashiKishimoto, it's Canon"; officially though what's also considered Canon by WordOfGod are the ''LightNovel/NarutoHiden'' novels (some which were adapted in the ''Shippudden'' anime), also even some of the [[CanonImmigrant filler villains and characters appeared briefly in the manga]] during the Fourth Ninja War. For the movies, while ''Anime/NarutoTheMovieRoadToNinja'' was made with the author's involvement it is not considered part of the Canon since [[NonSerialMovie it doesn't fit in any part of the continuity]] and because of the author's own admission. The next movie ''Anime/TheLastNarutoTheMovie'', on the other hand was the first movie to be explicitly stated to be part of the manga continuity, and had Kishimoto directly involved as a story supervisor.
** For the SpinOffspring SequelSeries, ''Manga/{{Boruto}}'', things have become a little... complicated to say the least: At first ''Anime/BorutoNarutoTheMovie'' was considered absolute canon since it was also written by Kishimoto, but then the ''Boruto'' manga series came out and started by adapting the events of the movie with some significant differences, then the anime came out starting from a chronological point before that with it's own story arcs which were considered {{Filler}} by most of the fandom... until the manga started [[ContinuityNod referencing]] the anime only arcs; adding to the confusion there's the fact that Kishimoto acts as a story supervisor and editor for the ''Boruto'' manga and anime. To this date it's becoming more and more apparent that the aforementioned ''Boruto'' movie was in reality the PilotMovie for the new series.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Superhero comics have wildly fluctuating levels of canonicity with generally the most popular stories written by currently established writers being considered canonical, often even if they weren't originally. For example, ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'', originally an {{Elseworlds}} story, was eventually retconned to be the official future of the DC Universe (and later retconned to be one of the Fifty Two earths with the Superman of that universe interacting with his mainstream universe counterpart.) Often after a major retcon or reboot, classic stories are considered canonical until proven otherwise by new canonicity. ''[[ComicBook/SupermanBirthright Birthright]]'' was considered Franchise/{{Superman}}'s origin story even after ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'' until Johns wrote ''SecretOrigins''.
* [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse Marvel]] tends to be very inclusive with their canon; many works are included thanks to their utilisation of more than one AlternateUniverse.

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* The Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon itself isn't one singular canon, but rather a concept put in place to define over fifty ''separate'' canons. That being, each animated film created by Disney Feature Animation as being canonical and definitive to that particular universe, with everything else (tie-in books, TV shows, sequels done by other divisions) as being non-canonical supplementary material. Actual continuation within the larger canon is rare, limited to [[Disney/TheThreeCaballeros only]] [[Disney/TheRescuers four]] [[Disney/{{Fantasia2000}} official]] [[Disney/WinnieThePooh sequels]] (with [[Disney/WreckItRalph another]] on the way) and a handful of short films.
* ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' had two short novels that came out with the film, to help explain the two main characters' pasts and motivations, as well as the world in which it is set.

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]
* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' canon had a tiered rank of canon, with the films at the top, their novelizations below that, the clone wars series below that, and then most of the books and other works subordinate to that, with each tier being named (G-Canon for films and film novels, T-Canon for the Clone Wars, and C-canon for the rest), and there was also a grouping for non-canon materials. Since the Disney purchase, most of the old EU material has been deemed non-canon (save for the Clone Wars), with all the newly produced materials being functionally equivalent to the old T-Canon (though the term hasn't been used in connection with the new canon).

* ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' fans regard the stories written by Margaret Weis and/or Tracy Hickman as being the official canon, but attitudes towards the books written by other authors range widely.
* The Franchise/CthulhuMythos canon is sometimes only the work of Creator/HPLovecraft, but sometimes also the work of August Derleth. Fans argue, especially with the changes in character Derleth created. In fairness, the mythos is all about horrors beyond our comprehension, so its natural that different writers would have different interpretations of the material.
* There's some argument over what is and what isn't canonical in the works of Creator/JRRTolkien as they relate to Middle-Earth; he made many, MANY changes to his works over the course of his lifetime. ''Literature/TheHobbit'' is sometimes considered non-canonical because it was not originally created as part of Middle-Earth, despite the fact that the widest-known book in the setting, ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', was meant as a sequel to it.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' and the Appendices to ''Lord of the Rings'' are accepted as the most canonical accounts of the pre-''Hobbit'' history of Middle Earth but for events not covered in them one has to delve into writings unpublished during Tolkien's lifetime, which are much less organized. The ''History of Middle Earth'' series published by his son is ''12 volumes'' devoted to documenting the evolution of Tolkien's ideas and manuscripts and STILL didn't exhaust the known body of manuscripts left behind at his death. This is further complicated by the fact that Tolkien was himself a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philology philologist]] and wrote a complex LiteraryAgentHypothesis into canonicity explaining how he obtained a manuscript of the Red Book of Westmarch, Frodo and Bilbo's first-hand acount of their journeys. Tolkien's preferred way of dealing with apparent inconsistencies in canonicity was to attribute them to a story having been handed down in more than one form before reaching his ears or to the personal biases of those involved in the transmission of the story.
* In ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes'' fandom, the original works penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are the primary canon, with different spinoff 'verses having their own subsidiary canons. However, what facts are and are not canonical is made less clear by the trope-naming LiteraryAgentHypothesis, where Doyle is merely John Watson's literary agent and the stories are all first-person accounts penned by Watson (and in a few aberrant cases by Holmes himself). Watson refers repeatedly to Doyle editing parts of his stories--and in turn Holmes regularly accuses Watson of "re-imagining" cases to be more exciting and trope-tastic--but Watson also edits himself, alluding to cases still too dangerous or controversial to publish. There even seems to be some {{Retcon}} involved around Moriarty, with stories published after "The Final Problem" and "The Adventure of the Empty House" suggesting that Watson WAS involved in the long cat-and-mouse game leading up to the destruction of Moriarty's crime network but suppressed that fact in order to protect the ongoing investigation.
* In the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fandom, it is, of course, widely accepted that [[Literature/HarryPotter the books]] take precedence over [[Film/HarryPotter the movies]]. The Harry Potter Lexicon and the Harry Potter Wiki have two different approaches to this. The Lexicon believes that the canon consists only of the things Creator/JKRowling has said or written, ergo the films are non-canonical unless it can be proved that a particular detail was provided by Rowling herself. The Harry Potter Wiki, on the other hand, has a "canon tier" system which regards the films as canonical in the places where they don't conflict with the books. The practical effect of this is shifting the burden of proof, i.e. the Lexicon says movie details have to prove canonicity while the Wiki says they have to be proven ''not'' canonical. Also, the Wiki places the ''VideoGame/HarryPotter'' video games on a third tier, below the films. And then there are the fans who disregard [[DeathOfTheAuthor statements from Rowling]] and/or [[FanonDiscontinuity whole books]], mostly because they don't like that [[KilledOffForReal a certain character died]] or [[OfficialCouple a certain ship became official]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has no official policy from above on what is or isn't canonical. Being a show about time travel and history being altered, this probably makes sense.
--> Why all this fuss about canonicity - and, indeed, continuity - in a show about a man who changes history for a living? Creator/StevenMoffat ([[https://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.drwho/browse_thread/thread/3e98be7340dd173c/78dcc19f05381668?pli=1#78dcc19f05381668 link]])
** This wiki considers only the TV series to be part of the Franchise/{{Whoniverse}}, and everything else to be the Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse. However, in Night of the Doctor, which shows [[spoiler:the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor into the War Doctor]], the Doctor refers to some of his companions from the Franchise/BigFinishDoctorWho audio stories, thus confirming them as canonical.
* Creator/{{Paramount}} maintains that nothing that didn't happen or wasn't referenced onscreen in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' is canonical. This technically includes the film series beginning with the [[Film/StarTrek 2009 "reboot"]], which features a few characters from after ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'' in the "prime universe". ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' is generally not considered canonical (with the possible exception of the episode "Yesteryear", according to the authors of ''The Star Trek Encyclopedia''). The official status does seem to change from year to year, considering how many writers worked on both that show and [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries the original series]]. Currently Paramount's policy is that the canon consists of the movies, the live-action shows, and TAS.
* Like ''Star Wars'', ''Series/BabylonFive'' also has canonical licensed tie-in media.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'''s {{Alternate Reality Game}}s and tie-in video game have mixed canonicity, and the showrunners have used the podcast to declare what can be taken as canonical and what cannot.
* In terms of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', in addition to the seven seasons of the TV show, all the Season 8 and 9 comics have been declared officially canonical by [[WordOfGod Joss Whedon]]. All other Dark Horse comics produced before the Season 8+ comics, however, are not considered canonical.
* The Franchise/StargateVerse's canon has the TV shows override the [[Film/{{Stargate}} original movie]]. The ''WesternAnimation/StargateInfinity'' cartoon is not canonical. The ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' continuation novels [[http://forum.gateworld.net/threads/49104-stargate-atlantis-novels/page10?p=12463850#post12463850 are.]]

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* Religion, which is in fact the [[UrExample origin of this concept]], also has its share of both canonicity and {{Fanon}}. In addition to Literature/TheBible, for instance, Jews have Literature/TheTalmud and many old Jewish legends besides, and Christians have works from various Jewish and Roman historians such as Josephus, Gnostic cults, and certain popular contemporary legends as well. Note that true believers do not necessarily automatically disregard all of these apocryphal works as wholly false; in fact, Jews and Christians will often borrow from these works to interpolate from the canonical works when adapting various parts of the Bible to television and movies. They just don't require anyone to believe in these "supplementary" writings in order to be a believer.
* Note that the Bible has been officially and permanently fixed since the 300's. Before this many smaller groups of religious sects argued over which Gospels were in fact true to the canon of Jesus. For example, you might be surprised to hear that there was a Gospel of Peter. It's not in your local Bible, though. If the early compilers of the Bible had the information we do now, what became canonical would probably have been very different. Just one example: early Christians believed that the John mentioned as Jesus' disciple, the author of the Gospel of John, the author of the 3 Letters of John and the author of Revelation were all the same person. They're now widely considered to have been at least three different people (most historians would still say that the Gospel and the Letters probably had the same author, but the other two are undeniably different), which casts doubts on whether it was right to include those books.
* In Islam, there's Literature/TheQuran, the Word of God, and the Hadith, things said by Muhammad that aren't part of the Koran. The Hadiths have to be reliably traced back to Muhammad, fit with existing proven Hadiths, and so on, but which ones count and which don't depends on who you ask.
** The Koran assumed readers are already familiar with the events described in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. However, the Koran also makes it clear that the Bible is a distorted, not always reliable version of these events, and in many places gives a slightly different narrative than the Biblical one.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Per WordOfGod, only the ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' comic strip is canonical, not the animated TV specials, TV series and movies.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Ordinarily Wizards of the Coast takes the position that any video game adaptations aren't canonical. But then the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' novel and sourcebook writers chose to make canonical several plot points from the Creator/BioWare games. For example, the whole Bhaalspawn plot from the ''Franchise/BaldursGate'' series was referenced in the 3.5E sourcebook ''Lost Empires of Faerûn'', and other material mentions the Wailing Death in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights''.
** By the ordinary standards the ''Baldur's Gate'' novelizations would have been more canonical than the games, but references in various materials in the run-up to 5E, plus a new comic book series, made clear that while the canonical protagonist was the one from the novels (or at least had the same name, race and gender), the events he was involved in and his companions during them were closer to those of the games.
* In ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'', there is now 'divergent canonicity', thanks to WizKids' improper seizure and use in 2001 of a FASA-era submission, which included an extensive history of the 'Eridani Light Horse' mercenary unit. WizKids and the author arrived at a settlement whereby he provided a new version and it was treated as canonical --- without the author signing over the rights in his contribution, the only known time this has occurred regarding official Battletech material. Topps later bought WizKids and, after a few years, hijinks ensued, followed by a lawsuit. Ultimately the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the submission is a contribution to part of the Battletech property. Many of its details have been contradicted by new canonical material since its publication, but since the author still retains copyrights in his contribution, it effectively forms its own branch of Battletech canonicity which he has stated he intends to build upon at some point.

* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', with all its spin-offs, is a massive [[ContinuitySnarl canonicity snarl]]. [[Franchise/TransformersGeneration1 Generation 1]] and 2, ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''Beast Machines'' are the main canon, sort of, but there's also Robots in Disguise, the Anime/UnicronTrilogy, the live-action movies and the new ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. Linnaean taxonomy has nothing on [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Continuity_family Transformers continuity families]] of multiple micro-continuities, including conflicting stuff like toys' "tech spec" bios and the kiddie cartoon shows. And then the "Universe" comics seem to have made it all a Marvel/DC-style ''[[TheMultiverse multiverse]]'', where characters pop in and out of continuities with alarming frequency.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Many games (and especially {{Visual Novel}}s) have the problem of the StoryBranching into MultipleEndings, thus creating a number of mutually exclusive but canonical happenings. This becomes particularly relevant when the source material is adapted to a linear medium like a TV series and [[CuttingOffTheBranches one of the paths has to be chosen]], adding "extra canonicity" to it. The same applies to sequels. Choose wrong, and the original fans will be up in arms; and there likely is no right answer. See ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' for an example. Most frequently, [[NoCanonForTheWicked the "good" ending is the one chosen]].
* In the games ''VideoGame/WingCommander III'' and ''VideoGame/WingCommander IV'', which also had novelizations contracted out by Origin, you are given several choices as to an action path to take, as part of the "interactive movie" feature of those games. Origin (later bought by Creator/ElectronicArts) has declared that the choices taken in the novels are the official history of the in-character universe. [[DepopulationBomb Sorry, Locanda IV.]]
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' has two endings, one in which Snake's love interest Meryl dies and another in which she survives. Initially, the creators decided to handle the issue by simply ignoring it; ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty Metal Gear Solid 2]]'''s story neither contradicts nor confirms either ending, making them both possible. It wasn't until the fourth game that we found out that [[spoiler: Meryl lived.]]
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: Mask of the Betrayer'' assumes (not unreasonably) that the [[PlayerCharacter Knight-Captain]] defeated the King of Shadows [[spoiler:instead of pulling a FaceHeelTurn]].
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** For the series in general, Canon (known to the fandom as "lore") is generally not clear-cut. Reasons for this range from [[UnreliableNarrator biased]] in-universe [[UnreliableExpositor sources]] intentionally only giving you only one side of a story, to sources [[CriticalResearchFailure lacking critical information]] or working from [[BlatantLies false information]], to the implication that AllMythsAreTrue, despite the contradictions, or that at least all myths are MetaphoricallyTrue. [[WordOfGod Out-of-game developer supplemental texts]] (frequently referred to as "Obscure Texts" by the lore community) are more trustworthy, but are frequently left [[LooseCanon unofficial]] and sometimes later contradicted. Because of this, it is entirely possible for two contradictory statements in-universe to ''both'' be true. (And due to frequent events in-universe that [[TimeCrash alter the timeline]], both may ''literally'' be true in-universe.)
** Most prolific of the Obscure Text writers is former developer Michael Kirkbride, who still does some freelance work for the series. Most of what he writes about are the more obscure aspects of universe's cosmology which don't get expanded on in the games, as well as lore figures the games never touch upon or that Bethesda is simply finished with (like Vivec). As of ''Skyrim'', some of the concepts in his works have been officially referenced in game (the idea of "[[ViciousCycle kalpas]]," [[LongDeadBadass Ysgramor]] and his [[BadassArmy 500 companions]], and some of the motivations of the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]]), moving them to full CanonImmigrant status.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' has [[MultipleEndings seven mutually exclusive endings]]. However, later works starting with ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', reveal that [[MergingTheBranches all of the endings happened]] due a CosmicRetcon[=/=]TimeCrash known as the "Warp in the West". However, [[BroadStrokes none occurred to the same extent they would have individually]]. For example, instead of one political power dominating the region, the dozens of city states merged into four with all still under the banner of the Empire. Mannimarco successfully [[DeityOfHumanOrigin ascended to godhood]], but in a rather minor station,[[note]]Some texts even claim that he was later restored to mortality[[/note]] while also [[LiteralSplitPersonalities leaving a "mortal" version behind]] who leads the cult that worships the god version. [[HumongousMecha Numidium]] doesn't go on a Tamriel-destroying rampage, but is rendered forever non-functional through unexplained means.
** The series has [[Literature/TheElderScrolls two novels]] set between ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' and '' Skyrim'' (''Lord of Souls'' and ''The Infernal City'' by Greg Keyes), both of which are established as canonical.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' implies, via [[MadGod Sheogorath]]'s Daedric quest, that the canonical version of the Champion of Cyrodiil (the ''Oblivion'' PlayerCharacter) joined the ThievesGuild and [[MurderInc Dark Brotherhood]] in that game. The series otherwise avoids getting into the specifics of previous player characters, so as not to invalidate anyone's play-throughs.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' has been subject to multiple canonicity revisions, first with series lead IGA cutting out certain stories from the canon, then later adding most of them back, then we get ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsofShadow Lords of Shadow]]'' which ditched previous continuity altogether.
* {{Fighting Game}}s have their own problems when they introduce an actual narrative into the mix; usually they involve some kind of tournament or BigBad that every single character (often more than a dozen!) is trying to triumph over, each with his or her own ending for doing so. When a sequel rolls around, it can be a Herculean task to figure out who won the previous game, which other characters had endings that could play out even if they ''didn't'' win, and which have been relegated to what-if scenarios.
* ''VideoGame/MeltyBlood'', which is based on ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'', actually gets around this by creating an ''imaginary story branch'' (The 'Satsuki' route).
* This is especially a problem in games such as ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', where the game varies slightly by which character you choose as Soul Mate for the main character. And thus begin the Shipping Wars.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'', all 19 flagship games are canonical, (and not [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaCDiGames the games by Phillips]], SpinOff games like ''VideoGame/LinksCrossbowTraining'' or ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'', or the games released on UsefulNotes/{{Satellaview}}) albeit in three {{Alternate Timeline}}s that diverge at ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', according to the 25th anniversary encyclopedia ''[[AllThereInTheManual Hyrule Historia]]''. These games include multiple people named Link and Zelda (about ten each).
* ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}''. In the bad ending of ''Pikmin 1'', Olimar fails in collecting all the ship parts and doesn't make it home. This obviously isn't canonical because in ''Pikmin 2'' he lands on Hocotate and it is requested that he go back.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'':
** This also happens in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn]]''. The game assumes that you got the most perfect ending possible in the predecessor, ''Path of Radiance''. This means that you would have had all possible characters recruited and alive, as well as having defeated [[spoiler: The Black Knight, a boss battle you could escape]]. This makes less sense as ''Radiant Dawn'' offers you to transfer your game save from ''Path of Radiance'' to draw from it and alter things in the game. On the other hand, the story of ''Radiant Dawn'' would be somewhat boring if all characters had died in ''Path of Radiance''.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' not only makes every game canonical to the same verse, but potentially ''every save file ever made'' as well, due to the [[AlternateUniverse various worlds]] accessible through the [[TheMultiverse Outrealm Gate]]. That said, there may be a world where everyone did die in ''Path of Radiance'', but [[AlternateTimeline that's not the world that]] ''Radiant Dawn'' takes place in.
* The ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' series has about half a dozen novels set in it, and has an encyclopedia designed to be the official explanations for everything. Unfortunately, [[WritersCannotDoMath an apparent chronological error]] in said encyclopedia leaves a bit of confusion surrounding the Second Terraformer War.
* Officially, the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' canonicity policy is that if there's a conflict between new material and old material, [[{{Retcon}} the new material wins]] unless directly stated otherwise. Some players got very angry that various details of ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' didn't match up with the earlier-published novel ''Literature/HaloTheFallOfReach''.
* The ''Franchise/DragonAge'' ExtendedUniverse has what is referred to as the "Creator/BioWare canon". Rather than creating stories that avoid CuttingOffTheBranches of players' choices as with the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' EU, the ''Dragon Age'' EU establishes a canon of the games for its stories. WordOfGod has said that, should a player have made different choices in their own playthroughs, the events in the EU would have transpired differently or never happened at all.

* For ''WebComic/SluggyFreelance'', there's been some discussion about what is canonical and what is not, though not everything has been covered. Obviously the regular stuff by the author Pete Abrams is assumed to be canonical, though some bits feature an UnreliableNarrator and brief moments of BreakingTheFourthWall never have any implications of the characters knowing they're fictional. Stick-figure filler is equally obviously not canonical. Pete has also declared Ian [=McDonal's=] "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain [or elsewhere]" Saturday fillers strips to be "mostly" canonical, meaning not necessarily in exact detail, whereas its successor "The Bikini Suicide Frisbee Days" by Clay Yount, set in the strip's past, was declared non-canonical from the start to avoid problems. The status of other {{guest strip}}s has usually not been commented on -- some of them seem like they would fit in the canon, others not -- though Creator/PhilFoglio's was explained as a [[BizarroEpisode weird]] [[AllJustADream dream]].

* For ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', almost everything in the main comic is canonical except the first introductory storyline, the Q&A sessions, any other appearances of the cast of the FourthWallMailSlot, AprilFoolsDay comics, and {{Guest Strip}}s. There are also some special cases.
** The "Squirrel Diplomacy" storyline is ambiguous as even ''Dan'' is [[ShrugOfGod not entirely sure how canonical it is]] aside from [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=308 Grace being able to speak to animals]] [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=1343 using her antennae]].
** The existence of [[OldShame Matt and Rat]] can be considered a CanonDiscontinuity as Dan [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=130 refuses to acknowledge]] [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=131 any panels]] [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=154 containing them]] [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=155 to exist]] nor [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=132 any reference to them]].
** For the EGS:NP section, most storylines can be assumed to be non-canonical unless they are referred to in the main storyline or have a [[http://www.egscomics.com/egsnp.php?id=201 dedicated graphic]] of Grace firing a cannon in [[TheRant the commentary]] for the first comic of the storyline.
** The Sketchbook/Filler section is intended to be composed of entirely non-canonical strips (unless they consist of part of an already canonical strip) but at least [[http://www.egscomics.com/sketchbook.php?id=81 one sketchbook strip]] has somehow found its way into being part of a [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2002-07-22 main comic strip]] which Dan [[LampshadeHanging comments on]] in [[TheRant the commentary]] but [[ShrugOfGod does not explain]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Ben 10,000 Returns establishes that only the three shows ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce'', ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'' (excluding WhatIf episodes), and ''Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix'' build up the canon of the Ben 10 franchise and everything else takes place in a separate AlternateTimeline.
* The movie ''Film/Ben10AlienSwarm'' was later made canonical however with the episodes "Revenge of the Swarm" and "The Perfect Girlfriend" which acted as sequels to the movie and explained many unanswered questions.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' [[LiveActionAdaptation Live-Action]] [[TheMovie movie]] ''Film/AFairlyOddMovieGrowUpTimmyTurner'' takes place in the future and shows that the Tootie/Timmy shippers won out in the end, as Timmy gives up his fairies for Tootie, [[spoiler:but a loophole in the rules allows him to keep his fairies, so long as he uses them for unselfish purposes. Tootie also is allowed to learn of the fairies.]] Although the movie is not the finale of the series itself, it seems to set the events of the future in stone.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': The show is generally considered to be canonical by the fandom. [[Franchise/MyLittlePonyGeneration4 Everything else]]... it's a bit less clear, as many of the spinoff works don't contradict the show, but similarly the show very rarely references things that originate in the comics, chapter books, etc. Generally, material created by the show's writers (such as the ''[[Franchise/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls Equestria Girls]]'' movies) is held to be closer to canonicity than other works, but for the most part everything is considered unofficial until it's shown in the show.
* The ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' CrossOver with ''WesternAnimation/UncleGrandpa'' is stated [[BreakingTheFourthWall out loud]] that it is non-canonical.