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Flip Flop of God
"The author reserves the right to have a better idea."

Most of the time, the Word of God knows exactly what it's talking about. It's consistent. It's, well, Canon.

But sometimes, the Word of God can't quite make up its mind what to say. Maybe the creator hasn't decided what the right answer is, or the audience asked them a question they didn't think they'd have to answer at all. Maybe they actually changed their mind sometime after they gave the original answer. Sometimes, it's simply that they're a Lying Creator. Or the "creator" is actually a series of ghost writers as in some franchise series and Depending on the Writer don't do a great job of keeping the character consistent. Either way, a Flip Flop of God is when the Word of God contradicts itself somehow. The fundamental unreliability this reveals — any creator, at any time, might commit this — can be considered an argument in favor of the Death of the Author.

Compare and contrast Shrug of God, when a creator outright refuses to give a direct answer. Can overlap with this if they later do give a straight answer, or if they contradict an earlier straight answer by saying the detail in question is intentionally ambiguous.

Different from Retcon, because retcons are changes to something that happens in the story, instead of the Word of God. Also different from a flip-flop worn by an in-universe god, or a god that's made of flip-flops.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime And Manga 
  • The creator of Ah! My Goddess has done some flip-flopping over what the correct translation of the title is (namely, whether the first word should be "Ah" or "Oh").
  • Rumiko Takahashi (in)famously replied to the "Pregnant Ranma" problem by saying, "I don't think about that, and neither should you." But then she went and wrote the Musk Dynasty storyline, where animals cursed in the same spring as Ranma were taken as wives and bore children. This answered the first half of the question ("What if Ranma got pregnant...?") and, indirectly, answers what would be needed to avoid the second half ("...and then changed back to a guy?")
  • Kazuki Takahashi can't seem to decide when he's gonna stop making Yu-Gi-Oh! spinoffs. First he said GX was the last one, then came 5Ds. Then he said 5Ds would be the last, and then the announce and release of a new one called Ze-X-al.
  • Masashi Kishimoto from Naruto fame, first implied in the databooks that Hidan would eventually lose his immortality and die while being buried alive, The other Akatsuki members even explicitly referred to him as being killed in action, however he later backed down on this, and even a resurrected Kakuzu reasoned that since Hidan is not among the ones resurrected by Kabuto, he must still be alive. He is also conflicted about which of the Hokages is the strongest. He first stated that the 4th was the most talented ninja ever, a One-Man Army everyone was ordered to retreat from immediately during the war. Then the third Hokage is claimed to have learned every jutsu in Konoha, shown to be able to fight off the 1st and 2nd Hokage reincarnated plus Orochimaru combined, while his summoning, Enma, remarks that his current state is pathetic compared to what he used to be. And then, much later, he went completely over-the-top with the 1st Hokage and turned him into a walking God thanks to his Wood Element Jutsu and incomparable chakra.
  • For many years, Hideaki Anno was very defensive of both of the endings for Neon Genesis Evangelion, despite their highly controversial reputation, stating that he wouldn't change anything. Anno has since announced that the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series will indeed have an entirely different ending, rather than a retelling of End of Evangelion. He however never stated that Rebuild was a remake. According to popular fan theory it is actually a sequel.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: It is ambiguous whether or not Sayaka killed the two men on the train for badmouthing their girlfriends in Episode 8, due to multiple Words of God. The director Shinbo has officially Jossed it, the manga writer Hanokage says she did, and Gen Urobuchi (the writer) says it's supposed to be ambiguous the way it was written.

     Comics 

     Fan Fic 

     Film 
  • Is Deckard in Blade Runner a replicant? Director Ridley Scott says yes this week, while actor Harrison Ford claims that he and Scott both agreed not. The screenwriter also says no. The various edits of the film lean more one one way or another.
    • The book the film is based off of also very clearly indicates Deckard is not an android. He was only accused of being one as a false pretense for being arrested. Phil Resch is the only character where there is any real question about whether he is a replicant or human and this is resolved very quickly and definitively in the story.
  • Director Alain Resnais and writer Alain Robbe-Grillet disagree about whether the woman goes away with the man at the end of Last Year at Marienbad.
  • The makers of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies can't decide whether The Stinger for At World's End is happy or bittersweet. Sometimes they say that Will was freed from his duty as Captain of the Flying Dutchman because Elizabeth remained faithful the ten years he was gone, while other times they say no, he's Captain for life, this is just his one day on dry land between tours.
  • Star Wars has so many, they might be too numerous to list completely. Some of the more notable ones include why Chewbacca didn't get a medal, and how many films Lucas had originally intended to make. An interesting one being the whole "who shot first?" deal. First Han shoots and fries Greedo. Then Greedo shoots first and misses point-blank. Then they shoot at about the same time. Then a picture turns up of Lucas wearing a "Han Shot First!" shirt... One theory is that Greedo shooting first was just Executive Meddling, and Lucas never liked the change in the first place. Most recently, Lucas has started claiming Greedo always shot first, it just wasn't clear in the original print.
  • Total Recall (1990): Director Paul Verhoeven has gone back and forth on the issue of whether the events of the film were real or all in Quaid's mind. His position seems to depend on whether there are hopes of getting a sequel made at the time he is asked that question.
  • Christopher Nolan said that at no point in any Batman film he directed would he include any incarnation of the Robin character. He then went ahead and did it in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Shane Black said there was no way he'd include the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 due to the character's reputation as a racist stereotype. The Mandarin ended up appearing as the film's lead villain, but with a major change; he was played by a half-Indian actor rather than a Chinese one, largely in order to avoid offending Chinese audiences and the movie's own Chinese financial backers.
    • There was a twist to this. The Mandarin turns out to be a Decoy Leader played by a British actor. The "real" Mandarin is Aldrich Killian.

     Literature 
  • Harry Potter
    • In the first few weeks after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, J.K. Rowling's answers to questions that either went unanswered in the series or about what happened between the end and the epilogue were a bit contradictory. She eventually settled on a single answer for most of them. For a supposedly well planned out series that spanned seven titles and over a decade in real time, it is disappointing that for so many things she only seemed to decide upon an answer after the series was finished.
    • Book 7 provided lovely gems such as Grindelwald being alive, Hermione's middle name being 'Jean', and different Secret Keeper rules just to name a few.
    • In an interview she did with Pottercast, Rowling and the interviewers became confused regarding Hannah Abbott's blood status - she had always assumed her to be Muggle Born, but had written that a family member of hers was buried in a wizard cemetery. Her final decision: "Oh, let's just split the difference and call her half-blood."
      • On a more minor note, Rowling apparently couldn't make up her mind on what year Hermione Granger was born - originally she gave Hermione's year of birth as 1980 (same as Harry and Ron) and later changed it to 1979.
    • And now, as if the shipping wars weren't bad enough, Rowling has said that Harry and Hermione would have been a better match in some ways and that Hermione settling down with Ron was just her clinging to "wish fulfillment."
  • Anne McCaffrey couldn't seem to make up her mind about, well, anything related to Dragonriders of Pern. For instance, whether measurements given for the dragons are in feet (really the only feasible size, but a bit small for the early descriptions) or meters (an outright ridiculous figure). Or whether greens are infertile from firestone or genetics (at one point she actually said both in the same sentence).
  • Whether or not William Gibson's Sprawl is a dystopia seems to depend on what the general outlook on the future seems to be in the SF Community. When Neuromancer first came out in The Eighties, Gibson was adamant that The Sprawl was a dystopia with all the problems of modern urban environments turned up to eleven. Now, twenty years later, Gibson's claiming the exact opposite while simultaneously trying to cosy up to younger, more optimistic writers.
  • Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho, can't ever decide if Patrick Bateman was a Serial Killer or of his killing spree was made up in his twisted mind. In the novel it's intentionally left ambiguous.
  • L. Frank Baum explicitly cancelled his "Oz" series several times, only to be forced to resume the series for financial reasons and write his way out of whatever corner he'd previously trapped himself in.
    • He managed to start flip-flopping in the first two books. Glinda is happy to send the Scarecrow back to the Emerald City to rule in the first book, but in the second, she refuses to help him regain the throne because the Wizard had usurped it in the first place.

     Live Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • On Usenet during the broadcast of season 3, series creator J. Michael Straczynski stated that Valen, the ancient Minbari leader and messiah figure, had no children. In season 4, the episode "Atonement" revolved around Valen having had children. JMS has admitted to outright lying in order to avoid spoiling future storylines, naming Valen as a specific example.
    • Also, in a behind-the-scenes documentary made during season 1, Jerry Doyle (who played Michael Garibaldi) said that JMS told him that Garibaldi would never get a girl. In the show, Garibaldi ends up reconciling with his old girlfriend Lise in season 4 and marrying her in season 5.
      • Not only that but he also inherits the fortune of her late husband, becoming the head of a Mega Corp..
  • Heroes:
    • The producers said Sylar had lost all his stolen abilities, but the last episode of season 2 showed him using telekinesis. Season 3 shows him retaining other powers... all while official canon and Word of God says he lost all of them.
    • The new Word of God attempts to reconcile this, saying he lost all his powers except for his telekinesis and giving a vague rationalization about his previously unknown empathic abilities. His other powers from season 1 were only demonstrated by a version of him from an alternate future.
    • The producers also initially claimed back in Season 2 that Bennet, Mohinder, and Ando would remain normal humans and not receive superpowers. Season 3 pretty much threw that out the window with regards to Mohinder (who gets Spider powers) and Ando (who can now shoot Hadokens!). The only non-powered human left in the main cast is Badass Normal Mr. Bennet, who doesn't need any lame powers because he's pretty much The Goddamn Batman.
  • The producers of LOST were notorious for making claims about the direction of the series and then going against those claims later. It's not exactly clear whether the producers were intentionally misleading, forced in different directions by the network, simply making things up as they went along, or all three.
    • An early season 1 interview said that there would be no Time Travel. Desmond's consciousness-jumping in seasons 3 and 4 could be seen as bending this rule, but season 5 flat out broke it. Script coordinator Gregg Nations claimed that an early season 1 episode, "Solitary," was supposed to hint at time travel and time anomalies on the island, but ABC nixed the idea, afraid that people would stop watching if time travel muddled the plot.
    • An interview claimed that Season 3 wouldn't feature Desmond running naked through the jungle, but then there's Desmond running naked through the jungle.
    • Damon Lindeloff claimed in a 2005 interview that the show had no supernatural elements, and everything had a scientific explanation. Even if you take that as only referring to things that had already happened, the statement still covers the Smoke Monster, who turned out to be a former human who became what he is through magic.
    • Some of us would say that everything, even time travel, smoke monsters, millennia-old humans, teleportation, post-mortem consciousness, and any of the other unexplained events of the series has a scientific explanation: we just don't know what it is.
  • iCarly: The week before the "iSaved Your Life" episode aired, a promo aired showing 2 of the main characters kissing. Dan Schneider, in an effort to calm the shippers of a pairing involving a different character, implied it might not be what it appeared. Cue the episode, where they ended up kissing 7 or 8 times, and it was pretty much as it appeared.
  • About The X-Files, Chris Carter made repeated statements that there was no hint of a Mulder/Scully romance.
  • RDM's flat denial of any possibility of an Adama/Roslin in Battlestar Galactica romance. Turned out about the same way.
  • Depending on if you ask Matthew Graham or Ashley Pharaoh, Jim Keats of Ashes to Ashes is either Satan incarnate (according to Graham, sometimes), the Antichrist (Graham again, in different interviews), or a high-ranking agent of evil/The Devil/David Bowie (Pharoah, according to Graham). Don't even start with the fans' opinions. Let's just say, his status is up in the air and leave it at that.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Producer Russell T Davies refused to confirm whether or not the Face of Boe is really Jack Harkness, calling it only "a theory". In the DVD commentary for "Last of the Time Lords", Julie Gardner (an executive producer) accused Davies of "back-pedaling" on the two characters being obviously the same; Davies had also already added a line of dialog into "Gridlock" that strongly implied the same thing, which he points out on the same DVD commentary. He's since said that it stops being funny if we ever know either way.
  • If the writers for Power Rangers ever claim that a certain series takes place either Twenty Minutes into the Future or in an Alternate Continuity, expect a Reunion Show to later shove it back into the present-day main universe.
    • Lost Galaxy and Ninja Storm got this, though SPD has been able to keep its 2025 setting so far; team-ups feature Time Travel. RPM is so recent it just hasn't happened yet.
    • RPM now explicitly takes place in another dimension (pretty much the only explanation for Samurai not being in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and featuring someone from Morphin'.)
    • There's also Jonathon Tzachor's constant flip-flop over the state of the series' continuity. Initially, it was one whole universe except RPM. Then, he decided that none of the Disney-era series happened (Ninja Storm through RPM). Then, he decided that every season happened in different continuities - even the old-school ones that came before the Super Sentai format was picked up! Which makes Mighty Morphin season 3 and Turbo's endings Downer Endings!
  • Quantum Leap: One of the house rules according to creator Donald Bellisario, was that Sam would never leap into a real person. For the first four seasons, he didn't; we only saw "kisses with history". But the rule was suddenly dropped for Season 5, which opened with Sam leaping into Lee Harvey Oswald (a story Bellisario particularly wanted to tell as a counterpunch to Oliver Stone's JFK), and continued with a host of others: Marilyn Monroe's chauffeur, Dr. Ruth, and even the King himself. According to Usenet posts made at the time from someone with connections to the production staff, this was Executive Meddling at work: the only way Bellisario could get Season 5 made was by giving the network execs the stories they wanted, which involved Sam leaping into real people.
  • Glee has Sam. Sam was originally intended to be gay and his role was partly to develop as Kurt's boyfriend. The writers changed their mind before they filmed anything. They gave the Kurt's boyfriend storyline to another new character, Blaine. Sam was made straight with only extremely nitpicky evidence to suggest he might be bi, but nothing has come of it so far.
  • It's easy to forget that Star Trek: Voyager commenced with lots of declaration that it would have as little to do with the other shows as possible, and would feature all new aliens. Oh, and those two Ferengi who got stuck in the Delta Quadrant in TNG would never appear. Also, no Borg. How did that go?
  • When Willow's relationship with Tara started budding in season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon was cautious to use the word lesbian, because "then it would stop being about these two people," preferring to not use a label and just see them as two women in love. He also stated that if Oz were ever to come back, the situation would be very complicated because Willow had strong feelings towards both. Flash forward to season 7, where in an interview Whedon instead outright says Willow is a lesbian. The writers discussed having her hook up with a man after Tara's death, but went with Kennedy because they didn't want to make her "anything less than gay."
  • The Sopranos creator David Chase didn't help the "Did Tony die in the finale" debate by first stating there was no hidden meaning, then saying "anyone who wants to watch it, it's all there", and then later commenting "there's more than one way of looking at the ending." In other words: Tony's dead. Unless he isn't.

     Music 
  • Yngwie Malmsteen has a very well-known instrumental that has been officially known as both "Arpeggios From Hell" and "Molto Arpeggiosa".
    • The "excerpt" (which is actually the majority of the overall composition) that gained youtube fame is titled the former, with the overall piece titled the latter
  • Starflyer 59 has a few.
    • According to the Leave Here a Stranger liner notes, the song "When I Learn to Sing" begins with the lyrics "Because of my genes, a problem I don't need..." According to the official Sf59 fakebook, the song in question begins with "Because of machines, that burn the life out of me..."
    • One of the more obscure b-sides is named either "Never Had a Name" or just "Never Had One", depending on whether you consult the liner notes or the label on the disc itself. A slightly less obscure track is named "Magic" on every version released by Tooth & Nail Records, but is named "Majic" on every version released by Burnt Toast Vinyl.
  • In of the most confusing events ever, Crypton first described Vocaloids Kagamine Rin and Len as mirror images, then took that back and called them twins. Later, they ended up taking both statements back and ended up leaving it up to anyone's interpretation. This resulted in one of the most annoying situations for anyone in the fandom, where any video involving Rin and Len resulted in a comment war over which is which.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Try the home game: Have two people send an email to the official Dungeons & Dragons support line, asking the same rules-clarification question about just about anything in any edition. You win the game if both replies are contradictory. Points deducted if you asked about stealth or Polymorph. No points if you used material from Dragon magazine. People say the same thing about Warhammer. The various forums have plenty of examples; basically, if it isn't in the books or the FAQ, it's Cust Serv's House Rules. The FAQ's on DnD's Character Optimization forum are often regarded as house rules and nothing more. Oddly, the proper method of offering optimization on those very boards is to adhere to the person's DM's house rules and nothing else, only offering minor suggestions if the DM hasn't already said otherwise. Not that many people do it the proper way.
  • Exalted.
    • At one point, Official Errata contained two contradictory answers as to whether Immaculate Monk Dynasts got the Enlightened Charms in addition to their 5 Immaculate Martial Arts Charms or not. Both answers were later removed, leaving it completely up to the ST.
    • Not to mention all the various contradictions (Zeal, anyone?) that spring up if you read all the Charms that were published since the game's release. Sure, the game evolved, changed a bit and everything that goes with it, but it went too far in many aspects, so much so that many of the original statements about the setting are simply incorrect by the "new" standards. For instance, in the First Edition corebook, it's pretty much treated as fact that the Solars ruled over a Golden Age that was only ended due to a possible horrible future coming from it, with the tales about how horrible the Solars were being latter-day fabrications to discredit them. Later books establish that the Solars were arguably worse than the Dragonblooded claim — although even now, some of the claims against the "anathema" are still outright lies. The Second Edition corebook has codified this darkening of the First Age to the core premise.
    • Errata for Dreams of the First Age replaced Zeal with an entirely different charm, banishing that particular issue.
    • The Nameless (and place-changing) lair of Ma-Ha Suchi.
  • In Illuminati New World Order, it's possible to give a group a temporary attribute, and then give them power-boosts that are only legitimate for that attribute. Such power boosts are normally permanent, but when the attribute goes away, so will the power. The rules say that only permanent power boosts count for victory conditions. So, does a power boost as described above count for victory? Steve Jackson originally said yes. The official FAQ now says no.
  • Games Workshop can't decide just who Ollanius Pius is. He went from an ordinary human, to a Terminator (veteran Space Marine), to the Emperor's personal bodyguard, to an ordinary human who just happens to be 30,000 years old.

     Toys 
  • Greg Farshtey, the main writer for BIONICLE, has been known to flip flop on certain matters, such as whether or not Zaktan is definitely dead. At first it was a definite "yes", but later he became ambiguous about it. The character seemingly died in an explosion, which for any other character would be a definite kill, but Zaktan's ability to pull himself together made it highly questionable. Apparently, he came out a couple of years after the story had ended to confirm that the character didn't die.

     Video Games 
  • Many Sonic Team employees will tell you conflicting things about the Sonic universe: The manuals can't seem to decide whether Sonic is calm, loves relaxation and loves nature or is excitable and unable to sit still at all, let alone enjoy the scenery.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Has given a different answer than the character's voice actor for the pronunciation of "Tidus". There is still no canon pronunciation of Tidus in English. One preview for Final Fantasy X explicitly pointed out the pronunciation as "Tee-dus." Kingdom Hearts has it Tee-dus, but Kingdom Hearts II has it Tie-dus.
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy solidified things by going with Tee-dus, which corresponds with the Japanese pronunciation.
    • James Arnold Taylor, Tidus's voice actor, has always pronounced his name as "Tee-dus" in interviews and on his website. Not quite Word of God but if his own voice actor doesn't know...
    • Also, pre-Kingdom Hearts II Nomura said that Namine has no connection to Kairi whatsoever just because she screwed around with Sora's memories and replaced Kairi with herself. Come endgame of II, she turns out to be Kairi's nobody, albeit a special kind of nobody born from Kairi's heart leaving Sora's body. Damn you Nomura!
    • Before Birth By Sleep, Nomura stated that Nobodies don't age and Xemnas was about thirty when he was turned into one. BBS shows at least two Nobodies looking considerably younger less then a year prior to their losing hearts and Xemnas by all appearances being a teenager.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Is Angela Cross from Going Commando a Lombax? A fan letter gets an answer from one of the employees - she is. When Tools of Destruction was released, focusing on Ratchet's origins, Insomniac Games officially stated that she is not. Seeing that Angela looks very much like Ratchet except in having breasts and lacking a tail, fans demanded a logical answer. So, in A Crack in Time, Insomniac says that she actually is a Lombax.
  • SNK seems to change its position as to where The King of Fighters fits into the universe of its other games by the day. Either it's an Alternate Continuity to Art of Fighting/Fatal Fury, or it's a follow-up to that universe. More recently, Shion (The Dragon from The King of Fighters XI) is either male or has no official gender, depending on when you ask (although most official sources nowadays affirm that Shion is a he).
    • Given that Geese Howard (the Big Bad of Fatal Fury) died in Real Bout Fatal Fury, yet made a triumphant, unexpected appearance in KOF '96 and continues to make the occasional cameo (or rarer playable appearance) in later KOF games, it's a pretty safe bet that KOF has the same basic backstory as the AoF/FF timeline but diverges after that. It's also telling that the cast of AoF is roughly around the same age as their Fatal Fury counterparts despite Art of Fighting presumably taking place in the late 1970s (Fatal Fury is similarly assumed to occur in the 90s) and a young Geese Howard showing up in the second AoF as the True Final Boss (as well as foreshadowing for his role in Fatal Fury in the first place).
    • On a different note, are Iori Yagami's flames blue or purple? The sprites show them to be the latter, but official sources from both the past and present tend to mix this up frequently. To further confuse matters, the Yasakani (the clan the Yagami were formerly known as) were said to have crimson (read: "orange") flames like the Kusanagi but gained Orochi's blue flames when they struck a deal with him out of jealousy for the Kusanagi. However, Orochi Chris (one of Orochi's Four Heavenly Kings and the vessel of his eventual rebirth) also uses purple flames like Iori despite not having reddish-orange flames to begin with (and originally, Orochi Chris' flames were going to be black).
  • Donkey Kong Country: Cranky Kong is either Donkey Kong's dad or grandpa. Further complicating the matter is the question of just whose word to follow. Rare's writer Leigh Loveday has stated that he's DK's father and asked that "if you see Cranky referred to as DK's granddad anywhere, just cover your eyes and hum loudly until it goes away," but Nintendo owns the games (including the characters).
    • This extends to Donkey Kong himself. Is he the son of Donkey Kong Jr., or Junior all grown up? Not helping is Mario Tennis, in which they both appear as playable characters.
  • Poison of Final Fight started out as a transsexual, was changed to a natural born female and is now a transsexual again, if Capcom's really left Final Fight/Street Fighter canon to Capcom of USA.
    • Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono stated that, in the USA and the rest of the world, Poison is a post-op transsexual, but in Japan, she's a pre-op transsexual. Original design notes for Final Fight suggest the character was always intended to be new-half, with lack of any official Word of God leading to the above fanon explanation.
    • Though the developer of Final Fight Akira Nishitani insists that it's up to the fans to decide. It's unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
    • Of course, always conveniently omitted from the discussion is, what about Roxy, dammit? Since Roxy is a literal Palette Swap of Poison, she was ignored outside of one All There in the Manual moment by Capcom of USA, declaring the she was a natural female who "always looked up to Poison although she doesn't really dig the cross-dressing thing."
  • According to Kejii Inafune, Mega Man & Bass exists parallel to Mega Man 9. However, in the ending of 9, Rush projects nine images of Wily doing the exact same actions in different games, and one of them unmistakably takes place in the final boss room in the former.
  • Nintendo's released contradictory statements (most egregiously, the fluff is at odds between Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl) on whether Sheik from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is, ahem, "complete."
    • Same with Birdo (most common consensus is that she's pre-op though lately they've began implying she's post-op).
    • How old is Link in Ocarina of Time? The official player's guide for the game said he was ten and seventeen. Then both The Wind Waker's official player's guide and Super Smash Bros. Brawl list the Link of that game (who's stated to have started his journey at the same age) as twelve, which would make it twelve and nineteen. Fast forward a few more years, and you get an interview with the creators that gives Link's age as nine and sixteen. It must be the Timey-Wimey Ball.
    • And then there was the infamous timeline debacle that lasted up until (but will probably continue after) the release of the Hyrule Historia. For example, the 1998 interview with Miyamoto contradicts the manual of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and then that statement was contradicted by the Hyrule Historia official timeline that was released in 2011.
    Miyamoto: "This is pretty confusing for us, too. (laughs) So be careful."
  • The hair color of Golbez in Final Fantasy IV. He never takes off his fancy, face-and-head-obscuring helmet for the entirety of the game, but given that he's a blood relative of Cecil and Fusoya, white-haired Lunarians both, most fans assumed white hair for him as well. Then comes the DS remake, which, mostly in flashbacks, confirms that he has brown hair like his father. Then, just as fandom is getting used to that, they release Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, and he's got white hair. One wonders what the inevitable sequel to Dissidia will do with him...
    • They went with his TAY appearance for his third costume in 012, so white hair it is. Seeing as the DS remake showed Golbez with brown hair as a child (with the last shot of a young Golbez in the end of the game symbolically representing how he looked before Zemus took control of him due to his Heel-Face Turn), one must wonder if his hair simply turned white with age or if Zemus' influence had anything to do with it. Stranger still is the fact that in said remake, his father Kluya has blue hair and his mother Cecilia is a blonde. (So the brown hair was recessive?)
  • Due to Ellis being an Unreliable Narrator, the existence of Keith in Left 4 Dead 2 has been of much debate. Valve tried to invoke this trope by saying that "Keith isn't imaginary, except, well, it is a video game, so it's all imaginary."
  • This trope is the reason why Touhou has such massive, intricate fanon, as when series creator ZUN isn't being deliberately obtuse he changes his mind at the drop of his Nice Hat. For just three examples, he can barely keep the characters' eye and hair colors from changing between games, has stated both "Touhou series" and "Touhou is not a series" on different occasions, and reports on whether or not youkai have stopped eating people are wildly contradictory (one states it never happens, one states it is a constant concern for the human inhabitants of Gensoukyou and another states it is only a concern for those outside of Gensoukyou). ZUN sort of covers for this tendency by making having his supplemental materials come from Unreliable Narrators. It's not the author that's wrong, it's the characters!
  • In one of the first outside resources for Wild ARMS, The Filgaia Chronicle, it was stated that the Filgaia in the first two games and the anime was the same place, just with very large time gaps between works and repeated disasters masking the links. Later resources have instead suggested that each Wild ARMS related work has used a different world that shares the name Filgaia. Some of them dovetail nicely in to each other, but others are hard to reconcile... and some have some of each — for instance, Wild ARMS 4 follows nicely from the original or its remake Alter Code F... except that Guardians work differently in it than any other game in the series, including the original and its remake; in others, they're spirits of the planet, but in 4, they're a sort of special type of ARM. At this point, it's basically anyone's guess what's going on with Filgaia in the various games.
  • Super Mario Bros. constantly flip flops on whether Wario and Waluigi are brothers are not. It does the same to Toad and Toadette. Even more confusing is when they're not portrayed as siblings, they're given Ship Tease.
  • Portal 2 has accumulated several of these, largely due to the creators claiming not to have had a grand narrative in mind while creating the game and therefore not having answers when put on the spot by eager fans.
    • The actual location of the Aperture Science facility. Prior to Portal 2, they said it was in a Michigan salt mine, but the game itself specifically places the mine in Cleveland. Much of Aperture's backstory and that of its founder, Cave Johnson, is similarly retconned by the game from previous material, with Valve metaphorically shrugging its shoulders as to which story is true.
    • The ending leaves ambiguous the question of whether GLaDOS actually deletes Caroline's personality, is merely lying about it, or even thought she had but was mistaken. Leaving aside the fact that GLaDOS is an Unreliable Narrator, the creators have waffled on the matter in various interviews, going from claiming that she was telling the truth to that she only might have been.
    • Whether Cave Johnson is still alive, Brain Uploaded or otherwise. Again, they've given vague or contradictory answers when asked the question in interviews.
    • Also there's the question of the turret song "Cara Mia" which strongly implies Chell is the daughter of Cave Johnson and Caroline. Erik Wolpaw has said that the turret song was added without his consent and that in the 'canon' version of Portal 2, Chell is just sent straight to the surface. GLaDOS's voice actress Ellen McLain (who wrote the aforementioned song) has been talking about Chell's parentage as recently as the 2011 VGAs. With both of them having a degree of creative control of Portal's storyline, its likely there will never be a concrete answer.
  • Quite common with the Nasuverse, which has a large amount of supplementary material, which often directly contradicts other materials or information present in the works themselves.
  • Perhaps due to the series changing hands, the Fallout universe tends to waffle around about mutants. Specifically, the ratios of FEV and radiation required to create Ghouls and Super Mutants and the New California Republic's feelings about mutants. The current rule is that Super Mutants only require FEV, while Ghouls only require radiation (though the amount of time of exposure is also constantly changing). Fallout 2 showed both types of mutants proud to serve in the NCR army, while Fallout: New Vegas has a quest based entirely on the NCR using mercenaries to provoke the mutants so they can justify a slaughter.
    • The change in the NCR's view of Super Mutants and Ghouls is potentially not a flip flop. Fallout 2 has an entire plot line that revolves around a group of humans that vehemently hates both. In addition, Super Mutants and Ghouls aren't remotely common in the NCR and most of both groups are still outright hostile. Once the exceptions started dying off, it is hardly implausible that the NCR started reverting back to viewing them more negatively as a whole.
    • Fallout 3, however, is much more guilty of this. Washington D.C. is no longer completely obliterated, the Enclave was not completely destroyed when their West Coast base was nuked.
  • Is Phione a legendary Pokemon or not? Not even official sources can make up their minds on this one. A general rule is that Legendary Pokemon are unable to be bred, even with Ditto. However, Manaphy (which is classified as a legendary) is an exception. The result of breeding a Manaphy is Phione. It has only so-so stats (which are terrible compared to Manaphy's), it learns none of the moves that make Manaphy unique and it doesn't evolve into Manaphy. It is basically a gimped version of Manaphy. This would be fine, but it is only obtained by breeding Manaphy (It doesn't appear in any regional Pokedex either) and it is still restricted from places like the battle tower/frontier/subway, a distinction which only legendaries get. The side games treat it as a bonus character while the anime treats it as any regular (if rare) Pokemon.
  • It seems Naughty Dog simply cannot make up their minds about Seem's gender in Jak and Daxter. One half of official material refers to him/her as a girl, and the other half as a guy. When the game was first released, two fans—independent of one another—emailed the developer. One got back "Seem is male", while the other received "Seem is a girl".
  • Diablo III: Is the male Barbarian the same one from Diablo II or not? Some Blizzard employees say yes, others say no.
  • Katsuhiro Harada, the Chief Producer of the Tekken series constantly contradicts what he has said in the past about the games' confusing canon. When fans once called him out for making a statement which directly contradicted the game canon, he stated that he considers that the games are basically a series of branching timelines in which all canons are true.
  • In an interview about Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the writer said that Junpei would spend the rest of his life searching for Akane, but would never find her. This was before a sequel was planned, however. At the end of the sequel, it's revealed that Junpei actually does find Akane, decades into the future. But, as he muses, she's not the person he once knew: "The Akane I knew died long ago." The original quote isn't strictly true, but from a certain point of view...
  • After the first Mega Man Zero game, many fans wondered about the gender of Harpuia. The character looked feminine (and had a female VA) but acted masculine (none of Leviathan's "don't hold back because I'm a woman" here), and there were no pronouns to settle it. When asked, Capcom of America went with female — which was news to Capcom of Japan. The conflicting Word of God left many fans confused, even after later games made it clear he was male.
  • Skullgirls tends to avoid this, due to the game's lore pretty much all being decided solely by Alex Ahad, but one topic has been inconsistent: whether cyborg Peacock has her original legs or not. Her outfit, a dress with bloomers that conceal her legs, makes it impossible to tell in-game. Ahad has stated a number of conflicting times whether or not her legs are Artificial Limbs.
  • The Rayman series has been flip-flopping for years as to whether or not the title character's signature floating limbs are one-of-a-kind or not. In the original Rayman game, all characters in Rayman's world had floating limbs, and Rayman himself was nothing special. In the sequel, however, save for his Evil Twin, Rayman was explicitly stated to be one of a kind, because he was created by the fairies who had their own mysterious ideas. Then Rayman Origins came along, and said his limblessness was an accident. Until the PlayStation Vita version, which suggested that there'd been at least one other (female) limbless person. And then Rayman Legends comes along, and the alternate Rayman costumes are strongly implied to be different characters—including one inspired by the "Tarayazan" character from the first game.
  • Rockstar's official stance on Grand Theft Auto is that each graphical generation (2D, 3D, etc.) represents a totally different continuity, which convinced a lot of long-time fans that the HD generation's canon would behave differently from that of the others. But the HD generation is loaded with Mythology Gags that seem to suggest otherwise, and some minor plot elements that featured in previous continuities are revealed to still be around. The Epsilon Program, for example, is just as influential in the HD generation as in previous ones, and Lazlow is not only still a celebrity, but a much bigger one than in the preceding generation.

     Web Original 
  • The issue of Carnivore Confusion in Darwin's Soldiers has been inconsistently addressed. Serris has said that anthro and "normal" animals exist and eating "normal" animals was acceptable. But he has also said to assume that all meat is seafood.
  • Sean Malstrom has maintained for years that user-generated content is something that is severely hurting the game industry. But when he wrote in February 2012 about the possibilities of a "New Zelda" (a hypothetical back-to-the-basics game in the same vein as New Super Mario Bros. 1 and its sequels), he mentioned how user-created dungeons might be a good idea.
    • He also keeps claiming that a game's quality is determined entirely by its sales and declaring that anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong (citations here, here, here, and here), yet he has admitted in a least one entry that sales are unrelated to how good a game is and that many terrible games sold well. He even went as far as to claim that he doesn't consider Donkey Kong Country (the second highest-selling SNES game, no less) to be a good game in the same post.
  • Has happened in the past in We Are All Pokémon Trainers as people have changed aspects of their characters.

     Web Comics 

     Western Animation 
  • Ben 10 featured Gwen gaining obviously supernatural powers from amulets, a bracelet, and a book. Then, in Ben 10: Alien Force it is revealed that, just like everyone else's powers, hers are of alien origin, and suddenly she's a purple lantern instead of the girl who once made tornadoes, stun blasts etc. Needless to say, this disappointed many fans.
    • Dwayne [McDuffie] has stated that other writers can overturn his Word of God.
    • But she's part Magic Using Alien. The energy source used for her (and her Grandmother's) powers is described as Mana. She's just been using more innate powers than human-made spells lately.
    • It's better to just not think about it too much when it comes to Ben 10 Alien Force and canon. Not only being inconsistent with canon from the previous series (Kevin going from absorbing energy to transmuting into materials he touches, and going from being abandoned by his parents because he was a freak to being the son of a Plumber who still sees his mother) but being inconsistent with it's own canon (the Omnitrix going from containing the DNA of the aliens itself and being able to actually have the aliens escape from it to just being a simple uplink device that just receives the DNA information from Primus). You'll end up pulling your hair out trying to make sense of it all.
    • Its sequel, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, at least rectified some of the flip flops, specifically regarding Kevin. His energy absorbing powers and his radical personality change between series were actually made into major plot points. He absorbs material instead of energy because he doesn't want to mutate into a hideous beast again (which ended up happening again the one time he absorbed the Omnitrix's power again), and he was actually just an estranged kid who ran away from home, not abandoned as he claimed. Also, Gwen begins to use proper 'spells' again.
    • Also, there is flip-flopping when it comes to what different creators say. Current producer Derrick J. Wyatt is not afraid to contradict the words of Dwanyne McDuffie or Man of Action Studios.
  • The South Park writers had said that they wouldn't allow Cartman to murder anyone. This was after Cartman murdered Scott Tenorman's parents in "Scott Tenorman Must Die", and before Cartman tried to commit genocide in "The Passion of the Jew" and again in "Ginger Kids".
    • From a Certain Point of View they are still true to their word, as a farmer was responsible for the murder of Scott's parents. But Cartman is still guilty of murder, as Cartman intentionally engineered the situation to kill Scott Tenorman's parents. The Word of God talk about it on their commentary, and specifically mention they avoided Cartman actually killing them himself even if he did engineer the situation.
    • He ran over numerous people in "Poor and Stupid".
    • And in the Coon Vs. Coon and Friends trilogy, he had Cthulhu kill tons of people.
    • In the commentary-mini for "The Coon," Trey say they still have no idea who Mysterion is. A year later, in the commentary for "Mysterion Rises," Trey says he and Matt figured it was Kenny towards the end of the first episode's production (though it's possible he meant the first episode in the trilogy, and not the very first Coon episode).
  • Disney has flipped flopped between whether Chip 'n Dale are brothers or just friends. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has them as being unrelated Heterosexual Life-Partners, but in previous years they've been shown to be brothers.
    • Are Minnie and Mickey married, or just dating? Walt once stated that they're married but can be shown at any state of romance if the plot demands for it, but the company still flip-flops about this.
    • Over the years, Disney's come to like the ambiguity in regards to Mickey and Minnie's relationship; it keeps everything more flexible that way. Back in the mid-1980s, Disney's marketeers actually planned a massive marketing push after the disastrous Totally Minnie campaign note  in which, after years of speculation, Mickey and Minnie were finally going to tie the knot in a huge ceremony at Disneyland... and there was a MASSIVE push-back from older animators and Imagineers within the company, who fought tooth-and-nail to prevent it from happening.
  • The original head writer of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Christopher Yost, denied rumors that Ultimate Spider-Man takes place in the same universe, despite Disney XD airing them as part of the same block every Sunday. Jeph Loeb, who became the executive producer for Spider-Man and some episodes from the second season of The Avengers, went on to confirm those rumors. Viewers have pointed out that if Loeb's word becomes true, it would open up a mess of contradictions. (For starters, the title character of Ultimate Spider-Man attends the same high school as Iron Fist and Luke Cage, but Earth's Mightiest Heroes depicts Iron Fist and Luke Cage as older than Spidey). It was also initially reported that Avengers Assemble would be set in the same universe as Ultimate Spider-Man. It's since been confirmed by both Loeb and the creators that Assemble is a sequel to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, albeit with past events only brought up in Broad Strokes, if at all.
    • A flashback in Episode 8 clearly shows the characters with their costumes and art style from EMH, making it seem as though they definitely consider it a sequel. However, this would likely only count in the Broad Strokes, since The Falcon's origin directly contradicts the three episodes of EMH he appeared in. The sequence also uses a Thor costume from season one of EMH, but season two garb for everyone else.
    • Yost had also flip flopped over whether or not EMH was in direct continuity or not with Wolverine & The X-Men, which he also worked on though not as head writer (which, depending on who you ask, was either Greg Johnson or Craig Kyle, but both of whom were definitely more in control of that series than Yost). Yost initially said that the original intention was for W&TXM and EMH to be in the same universe but the idea was discarded when W&TXM was cancelled. He then turned around and said the two series could still coexist in the same universe if fans wanted them to (Steve Blum voices Wolverine in both for whatever that's worth, along with Fred Tatasciore as the Hulk).
  • Partly due to license changes and lengthening the series, Winx Club has flipped-flopped on a lot of aspects of the story — how many transformations there are, whether Sky is a "Crown Prince" or a "King-in-Training" (a major plot point in the first movie), whether Roxy is one of the Winx, etc. The biggest flip-flop, however, was Daphne's background story. Originally, she was Bloom's sister who gave her life to protect her during the Ancestral Witches' attack on Domino. She became a spirit living in Lake Roccaluce. But in season five, Daphne was a Sirenix fairy who became a "disembodied spirit" because of a curse the witches placed on Sirenix. (This story gets modified a bit later in the season.) In the last episode, Bloom breaks the curse, restoring Daphne to her physical form.


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