aka: Extended Universe
may branch out across different media as the fandom
demands. There may be comic books, tie-in novels, movies, novelizations, video games
, etc. Sometimes the TV show is itself a branching-out of a verse
that originated in another form (such as comics, as in the Marvel Universe
or The DCU
Expanded Universe refers to everything that is not the primary medium. All that other stuff.
This can create a schism in fans. Some believe the entire Expanded Universe is canon
. Others reject it all. Others pick and choose based on closeness to the writers of the primary medium. Expanded Universe material is usually written so that it can be fit in to the canon
without having to alter the canon
itself. However, later developments in the actual series can make it definitively out of continuity
, especially when the main series decides to explain a mystery (such as a character's future) in a way that contradicts the Expanded Universe.
Even if it isn't canon
, the Expanded Universe often serves as a place to apply Scotch Tape
to the canon
; this may verge on professional-grade Fan Wank
The term comes from Star Wars
, which has an extensive Expanded Universe covering events before, during, and after the films. The Star Wars Expanded Universe
even has its own page.
Note: the "primary medium" is usually the original one, but not always. For instance, few would dispute that the primary medium of the Buffyverse
is the 1997 TV show
, not the 1992 movie
(which is only canon
for the television series in the form of its altered comic book adaptation which is based off of Joss' original script for it).
After a show's cancellation, the Expanded Universe may become the only place to get new material involving The Verse
(outside of Fan Fic
, of course), continuing the canon
in the minds of the readers/viewers. However, if a show is later brought back
, this "new canon
" may be cancelled out, creating yet more conflict.
Sometimes a character from the Expanded Universe
is so popular (or just so good) that they get put into the official continuity
of the original medium. This character is known as a Canon Immigrant
. If elements from the EU are well-recieved enough, they may be permanently integrated, revising
the official continuity resulting in a Retcanon
Compare Adaptation Expansion
, which concerns never before seen developments of certain aspects in a retelling
of one specific work or set of works in a franchise when they're adapted into another medium. See also Restricted Expanded Universe
Please do not abbreviate it to EU, which is an abbreviation for The European Union
See also sequels
for works that share same continuity and
the same medium as the primary work (i.e. a Video Game
with a prequel
game, or an anime
series that spins off another series).
Not to be confused with the Robert A. Heinlein
anthology known as Expanded Universe
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- There are select fans of Naruto that consider the databooks as Expanded Universe.
- Gundam, as a 30-year franchise, has lots of manga, novels, video games, etc., including such popular titles as Crossbone Gundam and Gundam SEED Astray. According to Sunrise, only animated works are considered Canon, meaning that everything Expanded Universe isn't, no matter how closely it cleaves to continuity (and, in the case of Crossbone, in spite of the fact that it was written by the creator of the franchise himself).
- Light novels are this for many anime shows, telling original stories that are sometimes adapted as filler.
- Daneel Rush, the author of the Tamers Forever Series has put a lot of effort into expanding the digimon mythology, creating a mythos that combines computer programming codes with real world mythology and religious beliefs.
- Fallout: Equestria also has its own side stories.
- The Discworld has been expanded in fanfic, most thoroughly in the works of author A.A. Pessimal. From bare bones and hints in the canon, there is now a fairly fully realised "South Africa", with all the knobs turned Up to Eleven in approved Pratchett mode. Rimwards Howondaland is stuck in The Apartheid Era, but complicated by the existence of other sentient species as well as human. This is explored in tales such as The Black Sheep and Why And Were. Elsewhere, the Foggy Islands, referenced in the canon, have become a more realised set of glimpses of a Discworld New Zealand, and a place called Aceria is emerging as another troublesome and quaint former colony, stretching, as its national anthem tells us, from Hub to shining sea. Aceria is mainly an Expy of Canada, but (just as Agatea is a portmanteau of Japan, China and Thailand) is expanding to have a marked streak of Eagleland to it. Aceria has a troublesome and stroppy Quirmian-speaking enclave to it, and has given the Disc "Country and Widdershins" music and line-dancing.
- Blade Runner spawned three novel sequels and a videogame taking place in the film's universe — as well as another film, Soldier, which (unofficially, due to rights issues) also takes place in the Blade Runner universe.
- Pirates of the Caribbean has spawned a number of novels, short films, comics, and games.
- The aforementioned Star Wars Expanded Universe. All of it's vetted by either George Lucas or his employees, who have at times vetoed plot points, new characters, and entire stories. There are indeed people whose actual paid jobs are purely to assist in the management of all the disparate plot points in this vast, money-generating machine. Even in cases where an Expanded Universe story blatantly contradicts either the films (on account of many stories being written before the prequels existed) or the rest of the Expanded Universe, it usually remains canon: in most cases the aforementioned employees are tasked with forming as many retcons as needed to resolve the discrepancy.
- George Lucas views only his films (and possibly the Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as canon, referring to Expanded Universe works as a parallel universe. Leeland Chee, went against George Lucas' statements many times by claiming that just about everything is canon (they have a policy to determine the exceptions), then eventually said that there was a "Films Only" canon, and a "Films and EU" canon, this being before the Star Wars: The Clone Wars show. He then added that whichever is "more canon" is ultimately up to the tastes of the individual fan.
- The cult favorite series Kolchak: The Night Stalker has inspired a set of follow-on novels featuring the series characters. The latest one this editor can find was published in 2007—33 years after cancellation of the original series!
- Darkman spawned a series of (quite good) novels, and a short-lived comic book series. Recently the character was licensed to Dynamite Comics, who will be publishing original stories. They've already put out an Evil Dead crossover.
- Few people know that the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, itself based (very loosely) on the Gary K. Wolf novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit??, has some nicely concise Expanded Universe material. The novel Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? (it's really spelled that way, because Roger stutters his p's) is a direct sequel to the film, and gives us plenty of more material on how the series' world functions, and much more about the life and family of Eddie Valiant. There are also comics and a couple of short stories.
- Alien and Predator have their own Expanded Universe, including several cross-over miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics during the late 80s and 90s. The first three miniseries for Aliens were originally a continuation of the second Alien movie; however, the release of Alienł rendered the events of those series incompatible with the movie's continuity since it killed Newt and Hicks at the beginning of the movie, and Ripley at the very end. Dark Horse got around this by rereleasing the series in graphic novel format, with new names for the series as well as renaming Newt as Billie and Hicks as Wilkes, and stuck with using original characters after that. There have also been many Alien and Predator novels and video games released, including a few Alien vs. Predator games for the PC.
- Each of the eight major characters from Repo! The Genetic Opera have their own Myspace page. Whatever happens there is considered canon. Rotti is understandably a very busy man and only occasionally present, but his children are there whenever they're supposed to be working, and Grave-Robber apparently drums up a lot of new clientele through the site.
- Not counting (though some do) the In Name Only television series, Friday the 13th has a surprisingly large number of books and comics.
- Other New Line Cinema horror properties such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre also have a large number of novels, short story collections, comic books, and in Freddy's case, a television series.
- Hellraiser has a surprisingly huge, detailed Expanded Universe, primarily due to many of the cast and crew from the film series contributing, even series originator Clive Barker, and Peter Atkins (the writer of the second, third and fourth films).
- Jim Henson's non-Muppet fantasy films each have expanded universe material in the form of graphic novels.
- The Dark Crystal had a two-volume prequel, the OEL Manga Legends of the Dark Crystal, via Tokyopop over 2007-10. Archaia Publishing introduced its own prequel series, The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, in 2011; this is set to be a trilogy and is actually being overseen by the film's production designer Brian Froud.
- Labyrinth had a OEL Manga sequel from Tokyopop, the four-volume Return To Labyrinth, over 2006-10. Archaia is working on a prequel presenting the origin story of fan-favorite Jareth the Goblin King; while quality concerns are keeping that in Development Hell for now, this hasn't stopped one-shot stories from appearing in the company's Free Comic Book Day compilations ("Hoggle and the Worm" in 2012, and a Sir Didymus story in 2013). Interestingly, the planned prequel won't be compatible with Return to Labyrinth.
- Although not actually canon, Red Dawn (1984) got an Expanded Universe in the form of Red Dawn +20.
- TRON spent years as a Cult Classic, but its revival began in 2003 with TRON 2.0 and the Ghost in the Machine graphic novel (now Canon Discontinuity). The "canon" timeline now includes both TRON and TRON: Legacy. It also contains the Betrayal graphic novel, the Flynn Lives Alternate Reality Game, TRON: Evolution (and Tron Battle Grids in that Jalen was said by Word of God to be the champion of that game), and the animated series TRON: Uprising.
- The Cthulhu Mythos is a particularly informal Expanded Universe based around the works of H.P. Lovecraft, all writers (and Call of Cthulhu game designers) after him are generally considered to be outside "The Mythos Proper".
- Warrior Cats has 13 comic books, 2 plays and 4 guidebooks (as well as one that was cancelled). These are all canon, being written by the authors themselves, except possibly Brightspirit's Mercy, which happens in the middle of a book's story rather than in one the series' plentiful time skips.
- There exists an interesting phenomenon: a bootleg Expanded Universe, created in the cracks between copyright laws of different countries. An example is the Expanded Universe several Russian fantasy writers created around J. R. R. Tolkien's works: illegal everywhere in the English-speaking world, published officially back in the Motherland. It includes such works as The Black Book Of Arda and Beyond the Dawn.
- Tellarium Games back in the early '80s made text adventure sequels to Fahrenheit451, Dragonworld, and the Green-Sky Trilogy with the blessing of, and heavy input from, the series authors, making them at least semi-canonical (and in the case of Below The Root, definitely canonical) sequels.
Live Action TV
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe may in fact be Canon to the TV series as two episodes directly reference it in Mythology Gags. Other parts contradict it. But then the Whoniverse (Expanded and otherwise) tends towards Broad Strokes continuity and to a large extent anything goes within it. Former producer Russell T Davies has stated that he considers the Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays to be in-continuity. That statement was made back when the audio plays explicitly broke from continuity with the books; they've since been amended into a single continuity by the audio play The Company of Friends. The Series 3 episodes "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood" have been acknowledged as an adaptation of the Seventh Doctor Doctor Who New Adventures novel Human Nature (the novels themselves form two distinct and only semi-compatible continuities) and, confusing things yet further, some writers of the spin-off material took the view they took place in Alternate Universes to each other.
- Doctor Who's spin-off Torchwood has its own expanded materials in the form of novels, magazine strips, and audios. Perhaps the most interesting one so far is the magazine strip "Shrouded", penned by Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones' actor). Our Ianto is quite dead, but an evil Ianto from an alternate timeline is very much alive, and saw the funeral. Is this Canon?
- The novel-based Star Trek Expanded Universe, published by Simon & Schuster, primarily carries forward the future history of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. It's been given full rein over Trek stories post-Nemesis, as it's likely that version of the Trek universe won't appear on-screen again. The Star Trek Expanded Universe most recently includes a fan series called Star Trek: New Voyages, which is attempting complete the "five year mission" of the original series. It's being supported by a number of people with professional links to the official series runs, most notably Walter Koenig and George Takei, who reprise their roles of Chekov and Sulu, respectively.
- LOST has a relatively small Expanded Universe so far — a few books, two Alternate Reality Games, and a Video Game. The only one of these that's been declared canon is the first ARG, The LOST Experience — and that only applies to the backstory information given relating to the series, not the main plot.
- Glee has its own prequel book now.
- Heroes has a small Expanded Universe with comic books and graphic novels, not much of it canon and the rest getting smaller the longer the show goes on. Now that the show itself has been canceled, the Expanded Universe presumably has free rein again.
- Babylon 5 has Expanded Universe in the form of Role-playing game sourcebooks. There are Canonical comics and a lot of novels. Of the novels, only To Dream in the City of Sorrows, the Psi Corps trilogy, the Passing of the Techno-mages trilogy, the Legions of Fire trilogy, and the Anna Sheridan plot of The Shadow Within are canon. The John Sheridan plot of The Shadow Within is not canon. That's right, canon and non-canon in the same book.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has many novels and comic books written by writers of the series that are of varying apocryphal status, and a Whedon-helmed comic-book series (along with a similar comic-book series for its spinoff series Angel) that's considered the canon post-television storyline.
- The other, Non-Season 8/After The Fall comics are up in the air in continuity, as are all non-Post Chosen novels (those that are Post-Chosen are just non-canon). Many of the novels are either side stories or prequels. The novel Go Ask Malice, for example, is a backstory for Faith that goes up until the episode Faith, Hope, Trick. It's status as canon, like all of the novels, is unknown, but it does give a backstory for a character with very little and it doesn't violate canon.
- The only bit of non-show or non-Season 8 comic that is considered "canon" came from the fairly short-lived Buffy the Vampire Slayer role-playing game, and that is Faith's last name; Lehane. This has been confirmed as canon by its use in the Joss-Whedon-written last issue of the Season 8 comics.
- Charmed has novels of both original stories and several based on actual episodes.
- Firefly (the original Verse) has a small Expanded Universe in form of comics, RPG supplements and one novelization (of Serenity).
- Highlander has a line of novels that were apparently deemed canon, as their information appears on the offical Watcher Chronicles CD-Rom released during the series. The comics are a bit more disputed, especially since they were met with mixed reviews.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has a lot of this. Each member of the franchise has a line of novels and comic books associated with it, and then there are the video games.
- Aside from the tie-in novels released with it, Roswell has a series of four novels released after the series ended that constitute a sort of print 4th season, although its canon status has not been explicitly confirmed.
- 24 had several novels and comics usually set before the beginning of the series, mainly using most of the cast from the first season. As a result it mainly featured the characters from early in the show, but some of the later characters were retroactively added in to some of them. There's also a video game set between the show's second and third seasons which is canon, in which the Bigger Bad from season 2 returns and is finally taken down by Jack by the end.
- Back in the days before the internet, when Kayfabe reigned supreme, pro wrestling had the Apter magazines (named for Bill Apter, the most prolific publisher of such), which were something between an Expanded Universe and a Massively Multiplayer Crossover of all wrestling federations. While the Apter mags were not endorsed by any of the promotions they covered, and nothing reported in them (from rankings, to wrestler bios, to interviews, to "who would win?" fantasy supercards between promotions, etc.) could be considered canon to any promotion in particular, the promoters of the time certainly didn't mind the help in exposing their characters and storylines to audiences.
- Having this is one of the many reasons why The Haunted Mansion has a page separate from the rest of the Disney Theme Parks, having spawned a film with another coming soon, a Video Game, a comic mini-series, and a few books.
- In Back to the Future: The Ride, Doc now has his own major research and development facility, plus we get to see more of Hill Valley in different eras. The ride serves as an unofficial "mini-sequel" to the film trilogy that you, the guest, could now be a major part of.
- E.T. Adventure reveals what E.T.'s planet looks like, who some of his alien friends are, and the other types of alien species that live on his planet.
- .hack started as four games, an anime, a 4 episode OVA, and a light novel. Now its Canon alone has 5 novels* , 4 Manga* , 5 games* , 4 OVA* , 3 animes* , 2 movies* , and a web novel. And that's not even mentioning the multitude of uncanon titles, artbooks, and guidebooks.
- Assassin's Creed took its first stab at this with Assassin's Creed: The Fall, a comic miniseries. It's canon, too.
- Halo's Expanded Universe consists of multiple novels, comics, guidebooks, online exclusives, commercials, live-action features and films, and Alternate Reality Games, along with an anime series. All of it, whether created directly by staff from Bungie or 343 (the studios behind the games), or by third parties working under their direct control, is not only completely canonical, but is closely integrated with the games. For example, much of Halo: Reach will only be understood by people who read the books; this disclaimer even applies to its official website.
- When canon does conflict, policy is that new material overrides old material, and that games and other media created directly by Bungie/343 staff take precedence over everything else.
- Some games like StarCraft, Diablo and Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri have a small Expanded Universe, mainly consisting of a few books.
- The Warcraft Expanded Universe consists of about ten books, one trilogy of manga, two western comic series and two tabletop RPGs.
- The Final Fantasy series has built up an increasingly large Expanded Universe over time, particularly with regard to Final Fantasy VII, which, in addition to its prequel and spinoff games, has the Advent Children movie, two anime OVA's and several novellas. There's also the Legend of the Crystals anime OVA, which takes place 200 years after Final Fantasy V, and the Final Fantasy: Unlimited anime series and the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie (though their relationship to the games is mostly thematic).
- Mass Effect and Dragon Age have expanded universes. Rather than having books or comics that are simply adaptations, they tell their own coherent story. The novels and comics are often a source of critical plot related information, leading to some events or people being referenced that the gamer may never have heard of. One notable feature is that both novel series are written by the games' lead writers, which is different from the usual operating procedure of Expanded Universe materials. The comics, on the other hand, are written by other people (in both series).
- Wing Commander's Expanded Universe includes ten novels (both adaptations of other material and original stories), multiple game guides, a Western Animation series, a Collectible Card Game, and a movie, all of which officially count towards continuity.
- Disgaea’s Expanded Universe, the Disgaea Novels, has currently 15 books. It introduces new family members of the game’s cast and is plays out like traditional Disgaea crossed with the Harem Genre.
- Game Mod Red Alert 3: Paradox has an Expanded Universe (TVT page here). It consists of fan-made factions with the goal of building them into their own game mod.
- Super Mario Bros. has/had one, having multiple TV shows, the movie, the anime movie, the various comics and the choose your own adventure books in various different 'continuities'. They tend to be even stranger than the original games.
- Surprisingly Gears of War has one that includes five novels and a comic book series.
- Pokémon. what do we have here? An anime. Various mangas (one if them is based on the anime instead of games, by the way). Many games with their own universes such as the TCG series and the PMD series.
- King's Quest had three obscure tie-in novels, the Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles (doubling as Copy Protection), the Peter Spears guides which are embellished novelizations of the games with plenty of supplemental material, and the Fan Sequel and Fan Remake games which fill in a lot of holes the old games did not.
- the Ur Example for these is Zork. Hint books, feelies, novels, Choose Your Own Adventure Books, comics, an online role-playing game...Not bad for something that pre-dates graphics!
- Touhou's expanded universe exists not only in manga and print works, but also in ZUN's musical CDs which by themselves introduced two beloved characters to the series' canon.
- Sonic the Hedgehog, during its first few years, received three comic book lines (including a manga), three TV series, a movie, and a string of children's novels, all of which had its own canon separate from the video games'. Considering that each of them received their devoted followers, albeit of vastly different sizes, it's no wonder that Sonic has the most notorious Broken Base in history.
- Runescape has a trilogy of novels based on it. Word of God says that they are considered cannon except for where they contradict the game. The character Kara-Meir showed up in-game at the Battle of Lumbridge. Before that, in the in-game Book of the Gods, the section about the Godless Faction contains a series of messages sent between her and a colleague, showing the story of how they founded the Godless Faction. Because of her important status in the Godless Faction, she is likely to appear again in-game.
- The Myst series now stands at three novels, five games, a comic series and an MMO.
- Might and Magic has a small expanded universe consisting of three novels, two by Geary Gravel set in an otherwise unvisited world (the original intent was to make it a trilogy leading up to a new Might & Magic game in that world, but when plans for Might & Magic VI shifted to using the Heroes-introduced world of Enroth, the third book fell through and was cancelled), and one by Mel Odom which has little to do with anything else in the series beyond some shared character-names.
- Homestar Runner actually directly references the concept; in the Cheat Commandos toon "The Next Epi-Snowed", the in-universe writer of the series, A. Chimendez, puts in the Author Avatar character "Agent Chimendez" and Hand Waves the addition by explaining he's an Expanded Universe character, who appears in novelizations and read-along storybooks.
- The film Red Dawn (1984) got an Expanded Universe in the form of a fan collaboration known as Red Dawn +20, which is a forum in which posters role play as veterans of the war in the present day, two decades after World War III's conclusion.
- Transformers. A bunchload of comic books. A number of text stories. A handful of video games. And that's not even counting that not all the cartoons are in the same continuity. Many fans are split over what the primary source really is: the original cartoon is named as such by most, but many others choose the original comic series instead, or the British version thereof, with mixing-and-matching becoming increasingly popular. The term canon is hard to apply here: It all happened, but didn't all happen in the same timeline. And with all the other continuities created since, it's become an expanded multiverse.
- Beast Wars itself is an example of an Expanded Universe. The TV series, due to the expense of CGI, could only have a limited roster of characters, which meant that most of the toyline didn't get to be in it. The later IDW Beast Wars comics exploited this situation by using all the toy-only characters they could, as well as some from the Japanese-only Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo shows-albeit chronally displaced or on Cybertron, so the TV series and the comics didn't clash.
- The aptly-named Universe line of toys and comics is built around this, featuring characters from all different timelines and universal streams fighting together in one war. Don't worry about how it happened, just accept it and enjoy the robo-carnage.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has a number of comics that chronicle the adventures of the Gaang that are not shown in the TV series.
- Daria has one, including the show, its two published manuals, its parent show Beavis And Butthead and any of its spin-offs. However, the term "Expanded Universe" usually refers to a group of interconnected Fan Verses that most serious fans know, with its own set of Original Characters who appear in multiple creators' fanworks.
- Looney Tunes has had comic books, movies, picture books, TV specials, spinoffs, and story CDs galore.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a steadily growing one with the comic book series plus assorted chapter books and a series manual.
- The Kung Fu Panda movies have one in the form of Direct-To-Video specials and a television series.
- The Simpsons has at least three comic books (One is like the show, one is an annual horror anthology done by multiple writers and artists, and one is a Spin-Off focusing on Bart Simpson).
- Futurama has a comic book series and four DTV movies, all of which served as a continuation of the television series before it was Uncanceled. The comic book is still ongoing though.
- Adventure Time has recently gotten three comic book series: One that's like the show, another that's a Spin-Off focusing on Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, and a miniseries based around the Gender Flip episode.
- After The Lion King film became extremely popular, a series of books known as "The Six New Adventures" was released as well as a boatload of comics. These introduced dozens of new characters and explained mysteries such as Scar's birth name. However, the printed works are also inconsistent with the movies and each other, leading to much of the headscratching and wild mass guessing within the fandom.