[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/DoomPatrol http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rco008_1467174546.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Three conflicting origin stories, and none of them is the truth.]]
->''"Something like that... happened to me, you know? I... I'm not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... if I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be '''multiple choice'''!"''
-->-- '''ComicBook/TheJoker''', ''ComicBook/TheKillingJoke''

Have you noticed that some characters have different origins when different people are writing the story? Sometimes this is done on purpose, to give an air of UnreliableNarrator. Sometimes it's caused by repeated {{retcon}}s. Sometimes it's just because the writers got it wrong, sometimes the result of a deliberate {{retcon}}, {{rewrite}} or by creators ArmedWithCanon. This trope is particularly common in comic books, as a single character may be written by dozens of writers over their history. Sometimes, as evidenced in the trope namer, it is also done in order to depict the character giving his/her backstory as being too insane to give a true account of their past, believing every single account they gave about themselves. Having messed-up memories due to a case of LaserGuidedAmnesia that [[SubvertedTrope isn't so laser-guided]], TraumaInducedAmnesia, and/or implantation of FakeMemories also works just fine.

VideoGames occasionally invoke this as part of a starting conversation to decide what your basic character build will be like, which may be the first part of StoryBranching. Other games make you play through one of several [[OriginsEpisode origin levels]] before the story proper begins--this is known as MultipleGameOpenings.

Along with multiple authors, this is a feature of the earliest recorded myths, making it OlderThanDirt.

Compare: BroadStrokes, ContinuitySnarl, DependingOnTheWriter, ExpansionPackPast, NegativeContinuity, OriginsEpisode, and SlidingTimescale.



[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/SpaceDandy'' from the show of the same name will happily give you the specifics of his past regardless of actual authenticity.
* A single-author example is ''Manga/{{Golgo 13}}''; Taiko Saito prefers to keep his past a mystery, so there are several different histories for him.
* The end result of [[ZigzaggingTrope Zigzagging]] TomatoInTheMirror in ''Anime/TheBigO''. Roger was either born after the Event in Paradigm, but thanks to his burst of Memory, is revealed to be a cop (or a major in the army) from before the Event who quit once the first Megadeus was discovered underground and became Big O's pilot at some point, but then, after a final burst of memory, it's revealed that he might actually a robot mass produced to pilot Big O units. It's made even more confusing [[spoiler: when you realize that none of the memories from before the Event actually existed, and Paradigm City was a virtual reality, one which looks suspiciously like New York City.]] Good luck trying to sort out ''that'' mess...
* Hiruma from ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' is seen pulling this during a flashback chapter. Is his father a shogi player, a doctor, or a white-collar criminal? Apparently, it depends on what he feels like today. Eventually it is revealed [[spoiler:he was an amateur chess champion.]]
* To keep the revelations nice and fresh the manga and video game adaptions of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' seem to have this, especially in regards to CC and Marianne.
* A TeamRocket-themed episode of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}} Chronicles'' implied that Jessie and James didn't know each other before joining Team Rocket, but an early episode implied they knew each other fairly long before that. Hell, Team Rocket is ''full'' of these. Did Jessie go to nursing school or did she join a bike gang (though admittedly she could have went to school after leaving the gang)? Did Jessie and James meet in the bike gang, at an academy they flunked out of, or when they joined Team Rocket? Was Meowth Giovanni's right-hand 'mon until Persian came around, or was he a servant?
* Kai Hiwatari from ''Anime/{{Beyblade}}''. It even creates confusion about his nationality.
* One episode of ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}} Next'' has a chef who gives 4 different versions of his origin, one for each of the main characters. It is then subverted at the end when all four back stories turn out to be true.
* The ''Characters/LupinIII'' franchise operates on a NegativeContinuity basis, so characters have whatever backstory the writers feel like giving them. However, the writers do agree on some general principles, in a BroadStrokes sort of storytelling convention that explains the crew's CharacterizationMarchesOn as acknowledged CharacterDevelopment.
* Excalibur in ''Manga/SoulEater'' has a habit of telling long and rambling stories about himself with details that change as he's telling it. "It was the same day as today, Tuesday, or was it Wednesday, no I'm sure it was Monday. Anyways it was a fine Sunday and..."
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'': St. Germain is a chronic liar who gives a different origin story and motives every time.

[[folder: Audio Play]]
* The Creator/BigFinish ''AudioPlay/BlakesSeven'' audio "Solitary" gives us snippets of Vila's backstory, including a book-loving grandmother who read him ''Robin Hood'', the fact that he used to sell amulets on the black market, and a childhood memory of Federation troops rounding up his schoolteachers and shooting them all. At the very end we learn that [[spoiler:"Vila" is a gestalt being that absorbs identities, and]] all those memories are false. Or are they?
-->'''Vila''': To hangovers! Here's to getting merry! Here's to Roj Blake and his merry men!

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Creator/DCComics still has no idea what to do with [[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} Mon-El/Valor]].
* The prominent DC villain ComicBook/{{Brainiac}} has not been able to keep his backstory consistent for more than a few years, not even getting into various adaptations.
** From 1958 to 1964, he was an alien scientist from the planet Bryak, who wanted to shrink and bottle cities so he could create his own empire to rule. From 1964 to 1986 he was retconned as an alien android from the planet Yod (or Colu, depending on the story), out to dominate or destroy (depending on the story) the universe. He was absent for a couple years until 1988 declared that, in the new continuity, he was an (organic) alien scientist from the planet Colu, who via an accident transferred his mind onto a swarm of nanites that then possessed various bodies both mechanical and organic. He went insane and went on killing sprees on Earth (though his motivation and scope was variable, going from an Earth-restricted serial killer who just wanted to hassle Superman to a MultiversalConqueror). He was totally organic from 1988 to 1998 (possessing first human psychic Milton Fine, then a newly-created body resembling his Coluan one complete with green skin, SuperIntelligence, and PsychicPowers, then finally stealing Doomsday's body), totally mechanical bar the origin of his mind from 1998 to 2008 (in his Brainiac 2.5, Brainiac 13, and nanoswarm forms), and took a couple breaks in both these periods to possess or build a cyborg form (such as Brainiac 6, who was a version of him from the future... long story).
** The 2008 ComicBook/SupermanBrainiac story decisively retconned ''all'' previous versions of him as being [[ActuallyADoombot robotic or cloned probes]] sent by the real Brainiac, who was definitively established as an originally organic, now cybernetic alien scientist from the planet Yod-Colu who was born the most intelligent member of a super-intelligent race, and used his inventions [[PsychicPowers and]] [[SuperStrength various]] [[SuperIntelligence powers]] to go rogue and become a planet-destroying [[PlanetLooters civilization-stealing]] GalacticConqueror. His motivation was now to obtain all knowledge in the universe (his standard MO being stealing all knowledge from a planet and then destroying it with his nigh-invincible custom-built ship so no one else could have the knowledge) and use it and his collection of stolen shrunken cities to remake the universe in his own image, with him "becoming everything." This was then interrupted in 2011 by the New 52 continuity rebooting his backstory ''again'': it kept him as an organic turned cyborg scientist from Colu, but changed his motivation and made him a TragicVillain and a WellIntentionedExtremist instead of the cold greedy monster he always was, while also giving him a wife and kid in his backstory which no previous version had. After the New 52 ended with 2016's Rebirth, he's back to the 2008 version. Time will tell how long this sticks.
* King Mob from ''ComicBook/TheInvisibles'' has a self-constructed multiple choice past, whose point is to stop enemies with telepathic powers from prying information about him and his group. If they try, they can't be sure which memories are true and which are part of a fake past.
* ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}, of the ''Comicbook/XMen'', was especially susceptible to this; his amnesia about his past was a common plot driver in early-90s stories, and what we knew kept getting {{retcon}}ned. Even after it was made so that he could remember every single thing that ever happened to him, the series ''Wolverine: Origins'' still tried to milk the concept.
* Wolverine's arch-enemy ComicBook/{{Sabretooth}} likewise has multiple possible pasts. He was part of the same "Weapon X" program as Wolverine, which included false memory implants, so that's no surprise.
* [[ComicBook/XMen The Phoenix]] is either Jean Grey's SuperpoweredEvilSide or a variation on GrandTheftMe who duplicated her rather than possessing her.
** The [[WesternAnimation/XMen 90's animated series]] used both (minus the duplicating).
* The DCU's {{Crisis Crossover}}s (and not just the ones actually bearing the Crisis name) [[CosmicRetcon altered reality]], changing the pasts and presents of a variety of characters. ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'' has had ''three'' such reality reboots (counting the original Crisis.) Also, retellings of characters' origins will vastly alter them on occasion, with no Crisis-type justification. As such, most DC characters with a significant amount of history have multiple formerly-canonical histories, as well as ones that are ''equally'' canonical but completely incompatible.
** Franchise/{{Superman}}, for example, has a ''canonical'' multiple-choice past: he was given the choice between two of his innumerable origin stories, and he picked the one that he liked more (and, incidentally, made more sense).
* An inconsistent past is almost canon for ComicBook/TheJoker, as evidenced by his quote at the top of the page. A number of writers have given him a different origin in the past fifty or sixty years, and all of them are half-canon, because The Joker [[http://static2.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_super/10/109071/3574772-2316207526-dcori.jpg isn't sure himself.]] One constant factor is that he usually wore the Red Hood before he was dumped into that vat of chemicals.
** Also played with in one issue of ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]]'', which starts off with a flashback about a green-haired, white-skinned boy in a purple shirt with a pony. "Or was it a bike?" the narration muses. "No, a pony." The little boy did something bad, and then his daddy shot the pony in front of him. Cut to the Joker, narrating, and he's actually weeping real tears. He's in a cell at Arkham, and a speaker on the wall asks him if the story is true, because it's the ''seventh'' FreudianExcuse story he's told them.
** Another variation on the FreudianExcuse theme shows up in the comic ''Mad Love'' (later adapted into [[Recap/TheNewBatmanAdventuresE21MadLove an episode]] of ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries The New Batman Adventures]]''):
--->'''Harley Quinn:''' Joker told me things, secret things he never told anyone...\\
'''Batman:''' [[ArmorPiercingQuestion What did he tell you, Harley? Was it the line about the abusive father, or the one about the alcoholic mom?]] Of course, the runaway orphan story is particularly moving, too. He's gained a lot of sympathy with that one. What was it he told that one parole officer? Oh, yes... 'There was only one time I ever saw dad really happy. He took me to the ice show when I was seven...'\\
'''Harley:''' ''(crying)'' Circus... He told me it was the circus.\\
'''Batman:''' He's got a million of them, Harley.
** A 2004 story arc in ''Batman: Gotham Knights'' suggested that the ''Killing Joke'' version is more or less Joker's real past, since a pre-Riddler Edward Nigma witnessed the murder of "Jack"'s wife and later offered to tell the Joker who did it (although the version told in ''The Killing Joke'' has it that his wife was killed in an accident, not murdered). Later writers have pretty much [[CanonDiscontinuity ignored it]].
** In Shadow of the Bat #38, ''Tears of a Clown'', the Joker celebrates his anniversary of the day he was a still sane, but hapless comedian, and was thrown out of an exclusive StandUpComedy club for an unfunny act. Being desperately poor, this marks his StartOfDarkness as he agreed to provide to his family by pulling a job for the Red Hood gang. He kidnaps all the patrons that didnít laugh with him and reenacts his act with control collars that will kill them when they laugh. The funny thing is that the patrons are hardcore StandUpComedy fans, [[ButForMeItWasTuesday so they have seen so many acts that nobody remembers the act of a bad comedian]]. The Joker cannot even be sure that this StartOfDarkness really happened.
--> They throw me out, and I had a wife and an unborn childÖ or it was two cows and a goat? Sometimes it's so confusing...
** In ''ComicBook/BatmanEndgame'', the Joker is strongly implied to be [[spoiler: a HumanoidAbomination of some sort, who may very well have existed in Gotham in some way since before the city was even built. At the very least he appears to be semi-immortal, which rather well-explains how [[JokerImmunity he always manages to come back despite the horrible damage his body's been put through over the years]]. And then at the very end, when Batman is claiming to believe in the Joker's immortality, the Joker is clearly worried that he's about to die.]] A backup story has the Joker tell different, completely contradictory origins to a doctor and a group of Arkham patients, tricking the former into writing a book by posing as a colleague. That same story has him change his stance on his past (described in the quote at the top of the page), showing that something's changed and that [[LetsGetDangerous Joker is far more serious than he ever was before]].
--> '''The Joker:''' ... And then that night, over the wine and the candles, and that oh so beautiful music, you showed me your manuscript. I was so sad to see all the blanks you couldn't fill. I couldn't help but lend a hand. I might have been in hiding... but I can't help myself. I just like to make people smile. Hehehehe...\\
'''Maureen:''' All the work we did...\\
'''The Joker:''' Oh, it's a good story, isn't it? Not quite as good the one where I'm a secret robot. Beep boop beep. But a good one, nonetheless. I did my best to help come up with the story you wanted. The one you needed. The grim and grimy tale of woe. The one a publisher would lay down six figures for. And heck, all I had to do is pay off a few foster parents. Write a few government documents. It made you soooo happy.\\
'''Maureen:''' ... Why?\\
'''The Joker:''' The same reason I visited all of them. You wanted to know who I was. You wanted the truth. The deep down real truth. And here I am... giving it to you.\\
'''Maureen:''' ''(handed a revolver)'' What's this?\\
'''The Joker:''' Five bullets in the cylinder. Since we're pals, I'm giving you the chance to decide. Which story do you think is the real one? That's the one who gets to live. That's what I said from the beginning.\\
'''Maureen:''' But... none of them are real, are they?\\
'''The Joker:''' Hmmm... then here's a sixth. Just in case. Heh...\\
'''Maureen:''' Where did you go?\\
'''The Joker:''' Where I always go. To that little corner in the back of your head where all the bad things hide. That's where I'm really from. That's the real truth of it. Hah. Or not. I prefer not to think of it as multiple choice... it's more choose-your-own-adventure.
** And then they outdid themselves when ''ComicBook/DCRebirth'' revealed that the answer to the multiple-choice is: [[spoiler:''all of the above''. There are ''three'' Jokers!]]
* ''ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheCapedCrusader'' uses this Trope to prove a point: [[spoiler:there must always be a Batman, regardless of retcons and alternate realities. Thus, every time Batman dies, rather than heading to any sort of afterlife, he's reincarnated as another Bruce Wayne in another universe, to relive Batman's origin story and become a slightly different Batman.]]
* In the 80s, an issue of ''ComicBook/TheQuestion'' reinvented The Riddler; his real name was Edward Nashton, and he changed it to Edward Nygma when he became the Riddler. His obsession with riddles wasn't born from cheating in a school competition and wanting to prove how clever he was; it was a compulsion to tell the truth due to a violent father. It also claimed that he was never a major Batman villain. Later, Creator/NeilGaiman wrote a ''Secret Origins'' story in which Riddler retells his classic origin, before adding "Or maybe I'm a frustrated second-rater called Nashton with a meaningless schtick!"
** The Riddler's latest origin, post-''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'', is ''largely'' his classic origin... but his real name is Edward Nashton. [[FlipFlopOfGod It has since been reverted back to Nigma.]]
* Tom King's ''Comicbook/{{Batman}}'' run has an intentional invocation of this technique, where Batman and Comicbook/{{Catwoman}} argue about when and where they first met. Batman claims it was when he caught a disguised Catwoman during a diamond heist (which is how they met in UsefulNotes/{{The Golden Age|Of Comic Books}}), and Catwoman claims it was when Bruce Wayne was stabbed by a young Holly Robinson back during Selina's time as a prostitute (which is how they met in ''[[Comicbook/BatmanYearOne Year One]]'').
* The Scarecrow's first origin story begins with him frightening birds as a child. Skip forward a few decades to the Year One version, and in a 180 turn he's frightened ''by'' birds -- namely, by a trained attack squad of crows in the old chapel his great-grandmother likes to lock him in. Also, origin stories differ as to whether he was a child bully (i.e. his first episode in the animated series, which had a flashback of him chasing girls with handfuls of snakes) or a bullied child.
* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} of Creator/MarvelComics also has a large number of competing origins for his past. There's also some disagreement as to whether Wade Wilson is his real name or a name he stole from someone else. Pretty much the only thing all the origin stories have in common is that his regeneration abilities are a result of time spent as a Weapon X test subject. Like the Joker, Deadpool is insane enough that he probably has no idea himself which one is correct. He does seem fairly certain that Wade Wilson is his real name, however.
** Somewhat ambiguous whether or not he really has an actual MultipleChoicePast or not. The only person that ever brought up the possibility does so during a MindScrew.
** T-Ray even hints that 'Pool may ''not'' be Wade Wilson at all - instead, T-Ray himself would be Wade Wilson, and Deadpool stole the name from him. The comics seem to keep disproving this story, but given how nuts DP is and in light of what's been exposed in this bullet point, the jury's still out.
** ''Cable and Deadpool'' stated that Wade's father was an abusive military officer who was shot and killed by one of Wade's friends, while a later run seemed to imply that has father had [[DisappearedDad walked out on him as a child]], and started a new family elsewhere.
** The ''Comicbook/MarvelNOW'' run eventually clarifies Deadpool's origin, as well as the various {{Plot Holes}} and retcons. It turns out the stuff with T-Ray being the ''real'' Wade, as well as all the conflicting stuff about his family, were the result of a scientist named Butler putting Deadpool in advanced hallucinations while he harvested his DNA over the years.
* In ''ComicBook/SupremePower'', Zarda gives three conflicting origin stories that involve both her and Hyperion when he asks her where she came from. Since Zarda's demonstrably insane, it's safe to say none of them are even close to true.
* In the original ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' comics (and later, the movies and the '00s cartoon), Splinter was originally the beloved pet rat of Hamato Yoshi, who saw his master's assassination and then later was mutated into a humanoid intelligent rat-being. In the '80s cartoon series and the spinoff comic books, Splinter is Hamato Yoshi himself, forced into exile and living in the sewer when he first encountered the mutagen. Having recently been in contact with sewer rats, the mutagen turned him into a humanoid rat. In his profile on the DVD of the [[Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1990 first live-action movie]], it's said that Splinter's origins are "shrouded in mystery" and that either one of them is possible.
* One issue of ''Secret Origins'' gave four different, mutually-exclusive origins for the mysterious [[ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger Phantom Stranger]]. According to the WordOfGod, they're ''all'' true.
** When a Black Lantern tried to eat the Phantom Stranger's heart during ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'', it saw three of those backstories, leaving it stunned long enough for the Stranger to spring a trap. The Stranger's response? "You have seen everything and you have seen nothing."
** And then the [[ComicBook/{{New 52}} reboot happened]] and he actually does have a concrete origin now, where he's heavily implied to be [[spoiler: [[Literature/TheBible Judas Iscariot.]] ]]
* Parodied in an issue of ''ComicBook/BlueDevil''. ComicBook/MadameXanadu and ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger narrate entirely different origin stories for Comicbook/BlackOrchid; when this is pointed out they start arguing about whose version is right.
--> '''Madame X:''' Orchids have ''no thorns!''
--> '''Stranger:''' ''These'' orchids did! They were ''special!''
** Additionally, all of these stories were parodies of Marvel characters' origins.
* Bizarro, although in this case it's a JustifiedTrope because, technically, Superman has been cloned more than once, and not always perfectly, and more than one of those imperfect clones have been named Bizarro.
* ComicBook/PowerGirl has a particularly interesting multiple choice past. Originally, she was ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}'s equivalent from Earth-2. After ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' {{retcon}}ned all the alternate Earths out of existence, Power Girl was kept around, but now lacked an origin or even a defined species, as Superman was now the only Kryptonian around. Over the years, different writers tried different takes, giving her a magical Atlantean past, an alien Daxamite heritage, and so on. With the return of the multiverse in ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'', Power Girl's history has now become her origin: she was from Earth-2, but after it ceased to exist the universe spent years trying to make her fit, but her true Kryptonian heritage has now been re-established. (This doesn't apply to the New 52's first Power Girl, who's simply Supergirl's analogue from the new multiverse's Earth-2.)
** Post Crisis Supergirl also had this in spades... when she first appeared her backstory was simple, She was sent to Earth at the same time as Superman and was his older cousin and she was supposed to look after him when they got there, but she was trapped in Kryptonite and in suspended animation for years and didn't emerge until Superman was a full grown adult. But then it was revealed that, that origin might be partly false and that her whole side of the El family was evil and she was sent to kill her cousin. But then it was revealed that, while she was sent to kill Kal-El it's because there was a curse he inherited that would break down the barrier to the Phantom Zone which Jor-El, Superman's Father, invented (this too would later be ignored) and that eventually phantom zone monsters would start crossing over to the real world unless Kal-El was killed; this origin was even verified has being correct by a Monitor... but then Supergirl's parents showed up and it turned out that her real origin was a modified version of her Silver Age origin (that a chunk of Krypton survived the destruction), and that everything else was the affects of Kryptonite poisoning making Supergirl crazy.
* [[ComicBook/WonderGirl Donna Troy's]] past is so complicated, writers are more likely to spend more time attempting to clean it up rather than chronicling her current adventures. To sum it up as briefly as possible:
** After she spent the first 21 issues of the original ''Teen Titans'' series with no backstory, Marv Wolfman would establish that she was an orphan rescued from a burning apartment building by Wonder Woman. He would later expand upon the story in ''New Teen Titans'', revealing that the couple that died weren't Donna's biological parents and that her mother had died after giving her up for adoption.
** After the Crisis on Infinite Earths rewrote continuity, Wonder Woman became a newcomer to the DC Universe. Since this meant Donna would predate her as a superhero, Wolfman and Perez then revised Donna's backstory to state that she was rescued by the Titans of Myth and sent back to Earth at the age 13 (with her memories wiped). She would then base her Wonder Girl costume off of the American flag.
** In the late '90s, John Byrne decided to apply his own retcon: Donna was actually a magical twin of Diana, created from a mirror and kidnapped by Dark Angel, who would then curse her to live multiple lives of tragedy. Byrne would also reveal that Donna based her "Wonder Girl" identity off of Hippolyte's Golden Age stint as Wonder Woman (via a time-traveling paradox).
** Allan Heinberg would finally use the mirror origin in stating that she was "born of magic", but would add that Wonder Woman rescued her and that the Amazons ''and'' Titans of Myth trained her.
** Lampshaded by Stjepan Sejic in [[https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/51/91/2c/51912cc92e66977e19d77c2b3bb13f3e.jpg this one-off picture]] showing Wonder Girl signing copies of her new autobiography, "Your Guess Is As Good As Mine";
--->'''Reader''': Holy hell, this thing reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure!\\
'''Donna''': Yeah, pretty much...
* In his first appearance, ComicBook/BoosterGold villain Black Beetle claimed to be the ComicBook/BlueBeetle of the 27th century. When revealed as a villain, he claimed to be Jaime Reyes' greatest enemy, who blamed Jaime for a death (and the final issue of ''ComicBook/BlueBeetle'' would strongly hint as to who he was) making him from the very near future. In a later appearance, Booster calls him "The Black Beetle, direct from the 22nd century. Or the 27th." to which the Beetle replies, "Or 15th. Whatever I choose to say for the sake of misdirection". Later, he had his first (from Jaime's point of view) encounter with Blue Beetle, in which he initially claimed to be the character the ''ComicBook/BlueBeetle'' story hinted at, before saying he wasn't; he ''killed'' that character. He follows this up by claiming to be ''[[FutureMeScaresMe Jaime himself]]''.
* Played with in Creator/AlanMoore's first twelve issues of ''ComicBook/{{Supreme}}'', where the {{retcon}}s are part of the in-story universe, and the multiple past Supremes exist in their own dimension.
* ComicBook/{{Hawkman}}'s past has so many embedded possibilities, it's a ContinuitySnarl.
* Creator/MarvelComics' [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils Hell Lords]] have one mutual origin, but most also have their own versions. It doesn't help that they are demons, so ''everything'' they say can be a lie and each story has set arguments and events that either supports or deny it.
** The mutual story connects them to the [[EldritchAbomination Elder Gods]], the first generation of Earth gods. When evil god Set found out that he could steal the power of other gods by killing them, he caused the first war between gods. Gaea gave birth to Atum, who promised to destroy all evil gods. But their evil energy corrupted him, and he turned into the monstrous Demogorge, the God-Eater. Demogorge killed all gods who didn't escape to another dimension. Then he released all power he couldn't contain. This power has been consciously or unconsciously shaped by young humanity into the form of their fears, creating Hell-Lords, the first demons.
** Mephisto told his own version during ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet crossover - in his version an abstract-equal being called Nemesis was lonely, so she created companions from her own essence, but forgot to give them good nature. When they all turned evil, she destroyed them and committed suicide. But her creations have somehow been reborn and become the first demons in the Universe. Mephisto claims to be one of them.
** Marduk Kurios claims to be both the real {{Satan}} and Babylonian god Marduk, who has degenerated into a demon, after he found that he could gain much more power from human souls than their belief.
** Satannish believes that he is the son of [[DimensionLord Dormammu, The Master Of Dark Dimension]].
** Lucifer has his classic biblical origin of the FallenAngel and denies any connection between him and other Hell Lords, but he's not different from them at all.
** Chthon has also claimed to be the first Demon.
* [[Comicbook/DareDevil Bullseye]] has multiple tales about his past life: he is either a CIA agent, a baseball star... he makes up so many stories that no one knows who he really is. The only thing that remains consistent in his claims is that he had AbusiveParents and that [[SelfMadeOrphan he killed them]].
* ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'': Did Chase [[spoiler:kill someone because of/with his van]]? Even he's not sure--he later admits that he made up stories to attempt to justify his father's abuse of him. At one point, he seems extremely certain he ''didn't''; later on, he seems totally certain that he ''did''.
-->'''Nico''': You've told a few different versions of that story.\\
'''Chase''': Right, well, in this one...
* Arcade, the theme park-themed ProfessionalKiller who has menaced ComicBook/SpiderMan and the ComicBook/XMen on numerous occasions, has told a number of different versions of his origin story, although they all involve him murdering his rich dad for his money. Since Arcade's real name is unknown, it could all be lies.
* And the trope is played ''absolutely literally'' in Vertigo Comics' ''ComicBook/TheUnwritten'', where the origin of Lizzie Hexam is structured like a ChooseYourOwnAdventure comic: Is Lizzie Hexam actually a character who emerged from out of a Dickens novel, is she a victim of child abuse who gave up her body to a fictional construct, or simply a delusional girl? Did Wilson Taylor treat her like a daughter, like a prisoner, or like a science experiment?
** Interestingly, while the reader can choose multiple paths for Lizzie, they all end with her at the press conference from issue #1. The subtext of this meshes very closely with Tom's words to Lizzie in the hospital: which story you decide to follow is more important than which one is true.
* King Shark was introduced in Karl Kesel's ''ComicBook/{{Superboy}}'' as ''possibly'' the son of a Hawaiian shark-god and a mortal woman. Later in the same run, Kesel introduced circumstantial evidence suggesting he was actually one of the mutated animals from the Wild Lands. Later still, Kesel's run on ''Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}'' confirmed the shark-god story.
* Heavily used in regards to ComicBook/TheSentry, especially the relationship between him, his civilian identity Robert Reynolds and his SuperpoweredEvilSide the Void: is the Void the result of a "mind virus" implanted by Mastermind? Are Sentry and the Void the good and evil nature that exist in every person given form by the serum Reynolds took? Is the Void a SplitPersonality formed by Reynolds' repression of his past as a thief and junkie? Is the Void Reynolds' ''real'' personality and the Sentry is the fake one? Or is the serum a RedHerring and the Sentry is actually something else entirely like the Angel of Death? All of these were presented as equally likely. Which is pretty appropriate since Sentry is quite crazy. In fact, given that Sentry is crazy ''and'' is a RealityWarper, it's strongly suggested that the "true" version is ''whatever he believes at the time''.
* The Time Trapper from the ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'', who at various points has been a Controller, a future version of his/her own sidekick, a future version of [[TheLeader Cosmic Boy]], a future version of [[BrattyHalfpint Lori Morning]], and a future version of Superboy-Prime. Following that last revelation, Brainiac 5 hypothesised that the Trapper is the AnthropomorphicPersonification of failed timelines, and exactly what history leads to someone at the End of Time wearing a purple cloak and fighting the Legion changes every time the Trapper does anything.
* Teddy "Red" Herring of ''Red Herring'' is said to have an obviously false right eye ([[InformedDeformity though the art depicts it identically to his left]]), and always has a different explanation for it: a childhood accident, shrapnel from a grenade in Iraq, a flesh-eating virus, the heel of a jealous ex-girlfriend... In all likelihood, none of these are true.
* Played with in ''Batman: Joker's Daughter''; the Joker's Daughter has three entirely incompatable origins which she relives when the Anchorite uses her power on her. The twist is [[spoiler: not only are ''none'' of them true, but her big secret (that she can't even admit to herself) is she never ''had'' an origin; she was living a life that was entirely unremarkable in every way, and just decided she wanted to be the Joker's Daughter]].
* The Creator/TangentComics [[InNameOnly version]] of Franchise/GreenLantern (a mystic woman who carries an Asian lantern able to temporarily resurrect the dead) tells three different versions of her origin.
* ComicBook/{{Carnage}}, being Marvel's equivalent[=/=]rip-off of the Joker.
--> '''Carnage:''' I remember things wrong sometimes, but it all works if it ''feels'' right.
* A minor example is ComicBook/DoctorDoom, specifically what caused the machine he made to scar his face. ''Did'' Reed Richards mess with it, the resulting explosion scarring Doom's face? Or did Doom simply miscalculate? Was Reed involved at all? Did Ben Grimm fuck with the machine? Hell, how scarred ''was'' his face from the explosion - in some versions, it was a minor scar and Doom put on his mask before it cooled and ''that'' burned his face.
* Crackerjack of ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' has given many stories about his origins, none of which have been verified or even consistent. His longtime lover Quarrel has given up trying to figure it out.
* The [[Comicbook/TheMightyThor Asgardians]]' stories can also contradict themselves, which is generally hand waved by either claiming it happened that way in a different [[EternalRecurrence Ragnarok cycle]], or going the Loki route and saying they are [[MediumAwareness living myth and metaphor]] complete with invoking the FictionIdentityPostulate. ([[UnreliableNarrator Loki]] claims this about almost ''all'' Marvel gods and demons, by the way, but he is [[{{Understatement}} not exactly trustworthy]].)
* In the ''Secret Origins'' issue looking at the Comicbook/{{New 52}} version of Comicbook/JohnConstantine, the FramingStory is that a bunch of magic-happy idiots summon a creature to tell them Constantine's history. The creature simultaneously tells them three entirely contradictory stories, with the only points of similarity being that, whatever John's childhood was like, he attracted the attention of a powerful blindfolded figure (probably Tannarak?) who taught him enough magic to (accidentally?) [[SelfMadeOrphan kill his family]], and of course the Newcastle Incident (and even then, there are three possibilities of ''how'' John got involved in the Incident and what happened to him as a result - and they could easily be mixed-and-matched). In the end, John turns up to rescue the acolytes from their summoning, which has been feeding on them the more involved they become in the stories, and points out there's no reason to believe ''any'' of it.
* ComicBook/{{Vampirella}} has two conflicting origin stories. Originally she was a {{Human Alien|s}} from the planet Drakulon which, you guessed it, is a world inhabited by vampires. When her character was resurrected in the 90s she was made into the daughter of Cain and Lilith, the latter of whom still ruled in Hell and created Vampirella so she hunt could down evil on Earth. The 2010 Dynamite series includes a blurb with every issue lampshading this ContinuitySnarl, implying that ''both'' stories may be true.
* ''ComicBook/DoomPatrol'': Suspecting a traitor among them, the Chief confides to Rita that he's actually an alien. He also confided other origin stories to Cliff and the Negative Man. It was actually an elaborate ruse to discover the traitor by checking which story got leaked. In the end, it turns out that none of those stories was the real one.
* Eobard Thawne/Professor Zoom/Reverse-Flash has quite a few different origins. There are five versions of Thawne's origin story, spanning over the various eras of DC:
** In his pre-''Crisis'' origin, he was a crook with a scientific background who discovered Barry Allen's Flash suit in a time capsule sent from the past to his home 25th century. Succeeding in using it to replicate Barry's powers, he then committed crimes with them before Barry arrived in his era and defeated him. Now enraged at Barry, Thawne decided to become the Flash's worst enemy, thus the whole time travel thing. He also developed a desire to replace Barry as Iris' husband and as the Flash.
** In his post-''Crisis'' origin, written by Mark Waid in the famous "ComicBook/TheReturnOfBarryAllen" storyline, it was changed so that his reason for hating Barry ''before he met him'' was that Thawne was a Flash fanboy who even had surgery to look like Barry Allen, along with recreating Barry's accident to give himself powers. He became the Flash of the 25th Century. Thawne traveled back in time to run alongside his hero, but missed the date and instead landed in the Wally West Flash era. He then discovers that he would become the Flash's worst villain, and all of this combined with the trauma of time travel made him snap. He impersonates Barry for a while, but is eventually defeated by Wally and sent back through time. The experience is erased from his memory, but he holds onto an instinctual hatred of the Flash as well as his Reverse-Flash costume, and it just so happens that he meets Barry "first". This explains how his extensive knowledge of Barry Allen and his desire to replace him came about.
** His post-''The Flash: Rebirth'' origin is a combination of the above two. Here Eobard was still from the 25th century and was also genetically engineered to be intelligent. He formed an obsession with the heroes of the past, specifically the Flashes. He became his world's foremost leading expert on the Speed Force and head of the Flash Museum. Because of this, he was dubbed "Professor Zoom". Eventually, Thawne figured out how to replicate Flash's powers from a costume from a time capsule, and aimed to become a hero like his idol -- but in the super-safe 25th century resorted to causing accidents himself that he'd then save people from. He eventually encountered Barry Allen as the Flash, and after Barry "ruined his life", he resolved to ruin Barry's.
** In the post-''Flashpoint'', New 52 retelling of his origin, Thawne came from a 25th century that idolized the Flash as a god. After witnessing his mother murdered by his father as a child and later gaining time alteration powers, Thawne attempts to conquer Central City but is opposed by the populace who fight against him in the Flash's name, motivating him to travel back in time, gather a group of similarly powered acolytes, and kill the Flash so that he goes down in history as a failure, not as a hero. He also notably never used the name "Reverse-Flash", instead going exclusively by Professor Zoom. This version was undone in ''The Button'', which merged this Thawne with the post-''Flash: Rebirth'' Thawne, with the latter's memories -- and his previous origin -- now dominant.
** The ''Rebirth'' version of Thawne's origin is essentially the post-''The Flash: Rebirth'' origin, but it's expanded upon and there are some changes. Eobard is a child who grew up loving the Flash. Finding Barry's suit in a time capsule, he uses it to replicate Barry's powers in himself, becoming the Flash of the 25th Century. This time, he goes about causing accidents that he can save people from (it's not established if accidents are illegal like in the post ''The Flash: Rebirth'' origin). Encountering a time-travelling Barry Allen, the two bonded over their belief that time is valuable, and Thawne considers Barry telling him that "every second is a gift" the happiest day of his life. However, when Barry discovered Thawne's unethical ways of being a hero, he defeated him and turned him over to the authorities. Thawne genuinely repented, becoming curator of the Flash Museum (being dubbed a professor) and eventually donning a new costume based on Kid Flash's (it's basically his ''Rebirth'' suit but with the lightning bolt's direction the same as Barry's). However, when he travelled back in time to be with his hero once more, he discovered Barry was already mentoring Wally West. Seeing Barry tell Wally that "every second is a gift" and giving Wally his grandfather's watch with said quote engraved on it, Thawne was heartbroken. An enraged Thawne now believes his "bond" with Barry had all been lies on Barry's part and thus decided to fill Barry's life with the pain he was experiencing and make sure everyone knew what kind of person Barry really was.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Spoofed in [[http://www.gocomics.com/inkpen/2009/08/30/ this installment]] of ''ComicStrip/InkPen''.
* Winslow in ''ComicStrip/PricklyCity'' rips off Literature/TheBible, SpiderMan, and ''Film/TheGodfather'' in telling Carmen his past.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The focus of a FandomSpecificPlot with VisualNovel/FateStayNight fan works, basically, the plot answering "who was [[EmptyShell Shirou Emiya]] before the Great Fire of Fuyuki?" Two of the most notable examples are FanFic/FateReachOut and FanFic/InFlight, with the idea that Shirou was originally the protagonist of the series each fic crosses over with. Because the fire completely changed his identity and personality, the end result for the plots involved is... Interesting, to say the least.
* ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** Loneliness, the first BigBad of the series. Is she a figment of [[spoiler:Trixie's]] imagination? A SplitPersonality? A Draconequus? A piece of Discord's magic from his Discording? Something like Fluttercruel? An parasitic mental entity? An evil spirit? An EldritchAbomination? A Spirit of Dark Magic? No one in universe knows and WordOfGod has no intention of ever revealing which if any is true.
** Makarov. It's partly because he has the power to alter reality, allowing him to change the past, partly because he's constantly lying and exaggerating about himself. It completely gets on the Interviewers' nerves.
-->'''Pegasus Interviewer''': When we interviewed him, he praised his brother as some kind of amazing paragon of a warrior second only to himself just so when [[spoiler:Dima]] 'died' it'd be more tragic! Now he's saying he was a coward?! Can't this idiot just bucking keep his backstory straight?!
* In ''Fanfic/TheElementsOfFriendship'', Discord tells a completely different story every time he explains his origin to someone.
* In ''FanFic/SonicXDarkChaos'', when Chris asks [[RememberTheNewGuy where Eric the Hedgehog comes from]], Knuckles shrugs and says that Eric has a different (and "crazier") story every single time he's asked the question, so Sonic and friends gave up trying. [[spoiler: Turns out every single one of them is true - not that Eric knows it, since he's pretty much insane]].

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Chef Horst in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'' has served a prison sentence, but nobody knows why because every time someone asks, he gives a different explanation ("I defrauded a major corporation." / "I robbed the second-largest bank in France using only a ballpoint pen."), none plausible ("I created a hole in the ozone over Avignon.") and probably none true either ("I killed a man. With ''this'' thumb"). [[spoiler:The thumb story comes back when he scares off former-Chef Skinner with it... with Skinner somehow being thrown out of the kitchen. There might be some truth in that one]].
* ''Disney/TheLionKing'':
** Scar has two StartOfDarkness stories officially: His original story, as revealed in the licensed books ''A Tale Of Two Brothers'', is that he was originally named "Taka". Taka resented the fact his father Ahadi chose his older brother to be the future king and not him. Mufasa wa deemed the better choice because he understood [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething the responsibilities needed]] while Taka had too large of a temper. Taka tried to get his brother in trouble by getting a buffalo to attack him. One of the buffalos in the herd attacked Taka, giving him a permanent scar. His second origin story comes from ''WesternAnimation/TheLionGuard'' animated series. He was the previous owner of an incredibly powerful, magical roar ability and was the leader of the Lion Guard. His power went to his head and he ended up killing the other members of The Lion Guard. Due to this his powers were taken away, however he kept his hunger for power.
** Timon's and Pumbaa's pasts are different between ''Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf'' and ''WesternAnimation/TimonAndPumbaa''. The former is likely the canon interpretation as it is more in-line with the films compared to the DenserAndWackier series.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'', Princess Fiona says that a witch cursed her to turn into an ogress at night and locked her in a tower, while ''WesternAnimation/Shrek2'' says that she always turned into an oogress and her parents locked her uup.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In both versions of ''Film/FunnyGames'', the dominant killer gives several accounts of the other's backstory, one after another. Ultimately, their origins are never resolved. They exist simply to be characters in the film.
* ''The Kid Stays In The Picture'' opens with the following quote:
-->"There are three sides to every story: my side, your side and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently."
* In ''Film/PhoneBooth'', the sniper hints at his own past on at least two different occasions, then writes them off again (mocking Stu while he does it) inside of a minute.
* ComicBook/TheJoker again, this time from ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', gives two totally different stories explaining "[[CatchPhrase how I got these scars]]". The third time he tries this, [[spoiler:while he has Batman pinned, Batman pulls a ShutUpHannibal and shanks him in the face with his gauntlet blade-launcher.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Joker:''' It's a funny world we live in. Speaking of which, you know how I got these scars?]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Batman:''' [[PreAssKickingOneLiner No. But I know how you got]] '''[[PreAsskickingOneLiner these]]!''']]
* [[Film/GodzillaVsSpaceGodzilla Spacegodzilla]] was either created by Godzilla's DNA from [[Film/GodzillaVsBiollante Biollante]] being sucked into a black hole after she (Biollante, not Godzilla) went into spore-form and drifted into outer space, OR when Godzilla's cells that somehow got onto Mothra were carried into outer space by said giant moth and were pulled into a black hole. And, depending on if you count the toys, the DNA may or may not have fused with a crystalline alien creature after falling through the black hole.
** Baragon (a monster that's relatively obscure in the US but rather popular in Japan) is either the last survivor of a species of ancient reptile or some sort of demigod depending on if you watch either ''Film/FrankensteinConquersTheWorld'' or ''Film/GodzillaMothraKingGhidorahGiantMonstersAllOutAttack''.
** Similarly, there's Godzilla's AlternateCompanyEquivalent Franchise/{{Gamera}}. Is he an ordinary turtle mutated by pollution? A cyborg planetary defense weapon created by a lost civilization? A prehistoric reptile that inspired Xuanwu the turtle god from Myth/ChineseMythology? An ''actual'' turtle god?
*** Even in the films where Gamera's backstory about being an Atlantean cyborg is consistent, his ArchEnemy Gyaos, whom the Atlanteans created Gamera to fight gets it even worse. He's either another Atlantean creation that turned against them, or part of a race of aliens that plan to devour the Earth. Or both.
* In the film adaptation of ''Film/BattleRoyale'', Shougo claims his dad is a doctor, a cook, and a boat pilot at various points in the movie to explain whatever useful skill he's displaying at the moment.
* In the film adaptation of ''Film/APrairieHomeCompanion'', Garrison Keillor tells the story of how he got into radio.
* Film/MadMax Rockatansky, to an observant viewer. While he constantly seems to be a former cop who somehow survived the apocalypse, all the other details seem to shift from appearance to appearance. Did he have a wife and son who survived at first but were later killed, or wife and daughter who didn't see the after the end? Why does his prized Pursuit Special get stolen and destroyed once in almost every story? The given explanation is that these stories we see are actually wasteland legends told by various narrators, not accurate descriptions of what occured.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Film/HotShots!'': Admiral Benson (a very old man who is depicted as senile or maybe just a {{Cloudcuckoolander}}) seems to remember having participated in every American war of the past 150 years! He also lost a body part in each of these conflicts.
* An early examples comes from ''Film/TwoLaneBlacktop'': the unnamed driver in the GTO gives a number of conflicting stories about his past. It's clear that they're all lies because his last story conflicts with information we see in the film.
* ''Film/SuicideSquad'''s confused chronology, caused by the film's extensive re-edits, leads to Harley having multiple origins to her madness. She has a scene where the Joker (consensually) fries her brain with electroshock machinery, a scene where Harley murders a man to prove her love to the Joker, and a highly symbolic scene where the Joker 'baptises' her in a vat of acid, bleaching her hair. All of these are presented with the camera emphasis associated with a StartOfDarkness.
* Multiple origins have been given for Slimer from ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}'';
** Creator/DanAykroyd said he was a "vapor - a kind of confluence of stored up psychic energy, an accumulation of spirits that haunt the hotel who doesn't want to leave".
** The ''[[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel UK]]'' comics based on ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' and the 2017 annual say he's the ghost of a human king called "Remils".
** The tabletop game said he's on Earth as a result of cult rituals.
** The 1992 annual said he was the ghost of an obese man who remembers nothing about his life except the desire to eat.

* Princess Ozma of the ''Literature/LandOfOz'' series had retcons even within the books written by Baum himself. Originally the human daughter of Pastoria, she was also of the fairy lineage of Lurline.
* Creator/HPLovecraft's Franchise/CthulhuMythos has details that differ from story to story. Part of this is because several authors contributed to the Mythos and they sometimes had quite different views, but even the stories written by Lovecraft himself are not always consistent. For example, it is not clear if Mt. Kadath and the plateau of Leng exist in the real world (their only actual appearance is in the Dreamland stories, but they're mentioned as real world locations in other stories) or whether Cthulhu himself is a Great Old One or not (in "Literature/TheCallOfCthulhu" he's mentioned to be one of Them, in "Literature/TheDunwichHorror" he's referred as Their "cousin"). This is likely because Creator/HPLovecraft didn't give a damn about canon and frequently recycled names and concepts, but varied the details depending upon the particular story.
* Lucien of ''Character Issues'' continuously claims that his father died in a variety of ways, ranging from crushed by a TV to poisoned by an Elf-like creature which snuck into his house at midnight every night. Depending on the viewpoint, this is either hilarious or horrific.
* Creator/TerryPratchett has said "There are no continuity errors in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', just alternate pasts."
** And then he went and [[JustifiedTrope justified it]] with ''[[CosmicRetcon Thief Of Time]]''.
** In ''Discworld/TheLightFantastic'', the universe itself has a MultipleChoicePast; the Eight Great Spells of the Creator claim to remember the creation of the universe, but they all remember it ''differently''. FridgeBrilliance when ''Discworld/{{Eric}}'' reveals the Creator wasn't really involved in the creation of the universe, just of the Disc itself, so his spells wouldn't remember it directly.
*** An additional universe-creation explanation was given in ''Discworld/SoulMusic''.
* A mystery novella serialized by the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper during TheNineties, wherein the BigBad offered up a different explanation for the huge scar across his face in every installment. In the final chapter, it's revealed that the wound was merely the result of a nasty fall at a grocery store.
** Likewise, Hawk from the [[Creator/SimonRGreen Hawk & Fisher]] novels tells people all kinds of improbable stories for how he lost his eye, such as he pawned it or lost it in a card game. In fact, [[spoiler: he got clawed in the face by a demon in ''Blue Moon Rising'', back when he still went by his given name as Prince Rupert of the Forest Kingdom.]]
** Vlad Taltos of the Literature/{{Dragaera}} novels tells each of his acquaintances a different story for how he lost one of his fingers, from a very heavy weight to a botched bare-handed parry to a run-in with a hungry dzur. As Vlad's adventures are published in AnachronicOrder, readers had to wait a while to find out that [[spoiler: he'd actually lost it while undergoing interrogation by Eastern torturers, which he never admits because he ''really'' doesn't want to remember the details.]]
** And Campbell in ''Literature/MySistersKeeper'' tells us various different stories about why he has his service dog, until at the end it's revealed that [[spoiler: The dog can detect when he's about to have a seizure.]]
* Peter Pan in the original ''Literature/PeterPan'' book by J.M. Barrie. He tells Wendy of how after being adopted into Neverland, he tried to return home to his parents only to find the window locked and another little boy in his room, and he uses this as his justification for disliking adults. The narration of the book says something along the lines of "this may or may not be what happened; but it's how Peter remembered it at the time and thus he wholeheartedly believed it." There are also a few inconsistencies between his origin story in 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens' and that in 'Peter and Wendy'.
* Creator/JulesVerne's ''Literature/RoburTheConqueror'': François Tapage has a different explanation of Robur's backstory every time you ask him. None of which are compatible with any of the others.
* An odd case is the main character of ''Literature/ThisImmortal'' by Creator/RogerZelazny, who time and again tells [[UnreliableNarrator some different story about himself]]. The novel opens with Conrad/Konstatin's new wife finding out he's ''not'' twenty-something like she is, he's around eighty. Then other characters wonder if he's somehow connected to other Greeks named Konstantin, each with one brown eye and one blue eye, who happen to be even older, one of whom was a world-famous terrorist. Then ''more'' characters come into the story, and they have their own stories about his past. [[spoiler:He's hundreds of years old, has never physically aged past 23, and he was ''every one'' of these people.]]
** Either confusing pasts was a theme with Zelazny, or he just had trouble making up his mind when he was writing a story: the Chronicles of Amber involves ''dozens'' of "histories" for Corwin, and he spends much of the series trying to unravel which ones are true. (Adding to the confusion: Corwin is immortal, he can travel to as many worlds as he wants, there are "shadows" of him in a lot of those worlds, ''and'' he has about 15 siblings with similar powers who all lie and scheme and plot.)
** Zelazny's ''Literature/LordOfLight'' mentions a woman who was Sam's "mother or daughter or wife, or perhaps all three," which seems tricky even with reincarnation.
* In ''Literature/TheThirteenthTale'', one of the main characters is an author who tells a different life story every time she's interviewed. It's implied that she has difficulty breaking this habit, even when she starts out with the intention of telling the truth.
* Creator/JRRTolkien never managed to come up with a satisfactory backstory for the Orcs; he had created them so his bad guys had some AlwaysChaoticEvil mooks, but this clashed with his Catholic beliefs that no free willed being could be pure evil. Origins for the Orcs include: corrupted Elves (featured in the published [[Literature/TheSilmarillion Silmarillion]]), corrupted Men (although this doesn't fit the timeline), intelligent animals (Contradictory to [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings The Cirith Ungol chapter of Return of the King]]) or simply primitive tribes.
** Also true of Galadriel and Celeborn ó ''Unfinished Tales'' gives multiple drafts of their history that Tolkien wrote, with no clear chronology to tell us which version is the latest (and presumably most authoritative, though some versions cause other continuity problems) and with more notes that suggest Tolkien [[AuthorExistenceFailure was planning on revising it again before the publication]] of ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''. We donít even know whether Celeborn was a Sindarin or Telerin elf, or whether Galadriel was actually part of Fëanorís rebellion or just went along because she wanted to carve out her own kingdom in Middle-Earth. And those are some pretty major differences.
*** Often repeated is some variant of: "Of this matter two things are said, the truth of which is known only to the Wise Ones who are gone . . . ."
* In [[Creator/JacekDukaj Dukaj's]] "''Ice''", the main character (and pretty much everyone else) seems subject to this. It's actually used as a resurrection technique to revive Nicola Tesla!
* ''Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse'':
** In the ''Literature/PastDoctorAdventures'' novel ''The Infinity Doctors'', the Doctor meets four Knights at the end of the universe, who don't remember their pasts but who each have a separate theory as to who they are: [[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E2TheDaleks the last surviving Thals]]; a group of [[Recap/DoctorWhoTVMTheTVMovie human/Gallifreyan hybrids]]; the only [[Recap/DoctorWhoNewAdventuresTheAlsoPeople People of the Worldsphere]] who didn't AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence; or the [[Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine High Evolutionaries]]. Since a couple of these theories involve [[AlternateContinuity Alternate Continuities]] to the BBC books, this may be interpreted to give the entire Whoniverse a MultipleChoicePast.
** In the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' novel ''Sometime Never'' [[spoiler: one of the Council of Eight, a group of antagonistic beings who resemble the eight Doctors, absorbs the Doctor's personality and flees in a timeship with the Doctor's granddaughter Zezanne. If you take the view (popular at the time but thoroughly contradicted later) that Gallifrey was RetGone thanks to the [=EDAs'=] StoryArc, this provides an alternate origin for the First Doctor and Susan.]]
** ''[[Recap/EighthDoctorAdventuresUnnaturalHistory Unnatural History]]'' suggests that the Doctor's many contradictory origins - being loomed, having parents, being half-human, coming from the 49th century, etc. - could all be true. This caused [[InternetBackdraft considerable debate]] at the time.
* Various authors have taken up the stories of [[Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian Conan the Cimmerian]] since Creator/RobertEHoward died. ("Barbarian" is a movie thing.) Some, such as Robert Jordan, have tried to remain consistent to the relatively vague timeline; others... not so much.
* Philbrick, the shifty butler in Creator/EvelynWaugh's ''Decline and Fall'', gives a different version of his backstory to everyone who inquires. When the other characters confront him after comparing notes, he admits that he lied but adds that they'll never find out the truth.
* A mild case: Lord Emsworth, of Creator/PGWodehouse's [[Literature/BlandingsCastle Blandings]], acquires another otherwise unmentioned sister in nearly every story. (He consistently has just one brother, though.)
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' has a lot of this thanks to that world's history mostly being based on legends. In-universe Sam made a game attempt to figure out the true history of the Night Watch, only to find out the organization had hit LegendFadesToMyth status centuries before anyone bothered to invent writing.
* The ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' gives Boba Fett as an in-universe/invoked example of this. While the viewer knows his true backstory, [[TheSpook very few people in-universe know it]] and rumors have led to him getting numerous supposed origin stories, which Fett himself encouraged to aid his reputation. Amongst them include him being a stormtrooper who killed his commanding officer, a deposed leader of the Mandalorian people, and a law enforcement officer known as Jaster Mereel who was exiled from his homeworld for treason. Amusingly, it would eventually turn out that these various stories actually came about from chunks of Fett's ''actual'' origins; he's of Mandalorian descent, was once a law enforcement officer, killed his commanding officer, was exiled from his homeworld, and did work for the Empire. Also the name Jaster was actually the name of his adoptive grandfather.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', Rock's backstory/significance. Is he the Guardian of the Tunnels from the Ancients, [[spoiler:the first Stoneteller]], [[spoiler:an immortal cursed to be unable to save the Clans from their fate]], [[spoiler:a ghost]], [[spoiler:the Keeper of the Prophecies]], [[spoiler:the Creator of The Three]], or some combination of these things? Not even WordOfGod can decide.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Moira Sullivan, mother of Chloe Sullivan, has a past which varies slightly every time in her few appearances, the difference usually including the time when she left Chloe.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** The Borg are described by Guinan in their debut episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' as having been expanding and assimilating for countless centuries, but she doesn't give anything more specific than this. ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' says that the Borg's own memory of their beginning is fuzzy as well. The Franchise/StarTrekExpandedUniverse has produced many mutually contradictory origin stories for them: ''The Star Trek Encyclopedia'' and ''VideoGame/StarTrekLegacy'' say that they were spawned by [[Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture V'ger]], while ''Star Trek: The Manga'' and the ''Star Trek: Destiny'' novel trilogy each tell of different alien species accidentally creating them as a means of survival.
** Doctor Bashir on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' had about five different stories explaining how he first realized he wanted to be a doctor as a child. This was later [[{{Retcon}} explained]] as a result of him trying to hide his ''actual'' origin story - [[spoiler:he received illegal genetic enhancements as a child]].
*** Garak also had a MultipleChoicePast. The second-season episode "The Wire" had him confess to different, contradictory stories about why he's on the station, and other people offer contradictory information about what they knew of his past. At the end, Bashir confronts him about it, only to have Garak declare that they were all true.
--->'''Bashir:''' Even the lies?\\
'''Garak:''' ''Especially'' the lies.
*** The non-canon book ''[[Literature/StarTrekDeepSpaceNineAStitchInTime A Stitch in Time]]'' has Garak remember his childhood and the real reason he was exiled, while walking through the ruins of Cardassia. He killed a high-level official, who caught Garak with his wife (all three went to school together). Interestingly, his boss and father Enabran Tain actually ordered the assassination, but it was the semi-public way Garak did it that got him kicked out of the Obsidian Order.
* [[AlmightyJanitor The Janitor]] from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' has given many contradictory tales of his past, from massively different stories about his tortured childhood, to forgetting whether he went to Harvard or Yale. It's implied he does this largely to mess with J.D.
** He ''is'', however, a world-class track runner, capable of sprinting a hundred meters, ''with hurdles'', in about ten seconds.
** Then there are the hints he's just Neil Flynn, his actor, fallen on very hard times.
** Best summed up in this exchange after a particularly long anecdote about how The Janitor learned sign language:
--->'''J.D.:''' Was ''any'' of that true?
--->'''Janitor:''' Someone would have to read it back to me.
** In lieu of the Janitor in season 9, Drew seems to have taken his place as 'dude with weird past'. So far we know that he had a meltdown his first time through med school which ended with him in prison, dressed up in a 'very flammable' dinosaur suit as part of community service, has been married, never uses public bathrooms after spending a month living in a gas station restroom, his parents believe him to be dead, he has an ex wife and stage-managed the Western leg of the `05 tour of Wicked.
* Creator/StephenColbert's character shares some of his history with the actor (ten brothers and sisters, born in South Carolina) but the rest of it tends to change from episode to episode according to the RuleOfFunny - including the names of his wife and children. Some fans have [[WildMassGuessing theorized]] that the ''character'' may be making it up as he goes along.
** His book ''Literature/IAmAmericaAndSoCanYou'' starts with his "first memory" involving a babysitter. A few chapters later, he off-handedly mentions that that he made that up.
* This was done intentionally on ''Series/GreenAcres''. Each season featured an episode in which Oliver and/or Lisa tell the story of how they met, but it's always a different story.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Doctor has multiple conflicting backstories, due in part to the evolving nature of the show. He might be from the 35th century ("An Unearthly Child" pilot), he might be a child born into privilege ("The Deadly Assassin") or from poverty ("Listen"), he might have learned spiritual lessons from Time Lord hermits on the hill where he lived ("The Time Monster") or have been raised in the metropolis of the Capitol ("Invasion of Time"), he might have been woven as a young adult on a genetic loom, incorporating the biodata of the Other, an enigmatic Gallifreyan founding figure ("Lungbarrow") or been born half-human (the TV Movie), he might have abandoned his family ("An Unearthly Child") or have some sort of relationship with his mother ("The End of Time"), and his madness might originate from a childhood visit from Clara ("Listen"), staring into the Time Vortex as a child ("Utopia") or political issues forcing him to escape, with the time travel itself causing his madness along the way (audio drama "The Beginning" and the ''AudioPlay/{{Gallifrey}}'' series). Some of these are reconcilable, others aren't, and overall the show doesn't care about nailing the character down like that, as it's not really the point.
** Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter, received this to a lesser extent, primarily as a result of expanded universe stories desexualising Gallifrey/the Doctor - if she wasn't the Doctor's granddaughter, then she might be the Other's granddaughter, and thus the Doctor's via reincarnation ("Lungbarrow"), an orphaned descendant of Rassilon ("Birth of a Renegade"), the daughter of a Time Lord President ("A Brief History of Time Lords"), or perhaps the Doctor's granddaughter from a previous regeneration cycle ("Cold Fusion").
** ''Doctor Who'' has explained away the creation of the Daleks in three different ways. Once in their debut story "The Daleks" (which didn't actually show it), a second time in a spin-off comic ''The Dalek Chronicles'' (which didn't contradict the first origin story) and finally in "Genesis of the Daleks".\\
Terry Nation wrote a book in the late '80s that reconciled "The Daleks" with "Genesis of the Daleks." Basically, the Daleks in "The Daleks" were a prototype Davros made before "Genesis of the Daleks." Their city was an experiment to see if Daleks could function autonomously. After he left them alone and got buried in rubble in the Kaled/Thal genocide, those Daleks wrote Davros out of their official history, preferring to ignore the fact that an "inferior" being had created them.
** The series explained in "The Three Doctors" that Omega created the Time Lords by creating a black hole artificially. "The Deadly Assassin" says Rassilon did it. Later stories have reconciled the two explanations. (Rassilon and Omega were partners, Omega did the actual testing and got sucked into the black hole, Rassilon brought home the results)
** Averted in New Who with the Cybermen: an alternative origin story, in which the Cybermen are invented on Earth by a wealthy human attempting to prevent his own death, is set in an alternate universe. The Mondas Cybermen didn't show up until 2010 (not counting the museum piece in "Dalek").
** In the 2017 series finale, the Doctor claims the various origins of the Cybermen across the show's media are actually a case of "parallel evolution". They're ''all'' true, as the Cybermen will come into being wherever the right technology exists.
-->'''Doctor:''' They always get started. They happen everywhere there's people. Mondas, Telos, Earth, Planet 14, Marinus...
** Amy Pond complains to the Doctor in the short "Good Night" that she can remember two different pasts, one in which she was raised by her aunt and had "never had parents," and another in which she'd "always had parents" who raised her. Unusually, the Doctor points out, and Amy agrees, that it's all ''fine'', that there's no problem caused by having two incompatible pasts -- although Amy feels like there ''should'' be. She is, in fact, remembering an alternate timeline that actually happened, but then the entire Universe got rebooted.
* ''Series/MacGyver'' presented two completely different versions of the title character's original meeting with Pete Thornton: a first-season version told in passing to give the characters' relationship a quick backstory and sense of long-term depth, and a full-blown (and totally incompatible) second-season version, told in flashbacks, that formed the focus of an entire episode (''Partners''). The underlying reason was that the show had a new producer, the concept had been overhauled and Mac's backstory was rewritten to eliminate his association with the military. The retcon also added a retroactive ArchNemesis, Murdoc.
* ''Theatre/TheOddCouple'' had multiple episodes depicting how Felix and Oscar first met.
* On one episode of ''Series/ILoveLucy'', Lucy casually mentions that she met Ricky on a blind date. Later, the first episode of ''The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'' gives an extended depiction of how they first met, and it's a totally different story.
* Parker from ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' has had several flashbacks to her past, which appear to all be true, but are somewhat contradictory: the first episode shows Parker, age 9 or so, running away from home after [[CrossesTheLineTwice blowing up her foster parents]] after [[DisproportionateRetribution they yelled at her for stealing]], another episode indicates that she was raised as an orphan, and another revealed she had a younger brother who was killed in an accident when she was twelve. All of these can be [[FanWank rationalized]] by her having one or more foster families, but it's still confusing.
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', Jack O'Neill's backstory throughout most of the series was that he was ex-Special Ops, and O'Neill wore a master parachutist's badge and later a space and missile operations badge on his dress uniform but never pilot's wings, but in an episode of Season Eight, Samantha Carter pointed out that he used to be a test pilot. This is likely an [[AssPull ass-pull]] by the writers, but given that he did pilot some experimental aircraft and that this backstory was never mentioned again, and that the only occasion when the viewers find out anything about O'Neill's background is when someone else mentions it, it's possible that Carter herself was mistaken.
** Also, Vala's past. She was brought up on a nice planet with a conventional life (and fiancé) until she was chosen by Qetesh, OR she was sold to a weapons dealer and killed him to earn her freedom, OR she was brought up by her bitchy stepmother and conman father, and also ''how'' many times was she married? Vala is a habitual liar and loves to tell fanciful stories (especially in her earlier appearances, before her character development). The only things we know for sure is that she really was host to Qetesh at some point in her past, and she really does have a conman father. Beyond that, we may never know.
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' Sylar's reason for being a killer was changed so often, he probably doesn't know himself anymore why he is one: inferiority complex, "hunger" as side effect of his ability, being manipulated by the Company and finally simply being a psychopath. This may be justified by the notion that he was lying (and possibly lying to himself) about his motives.
* Captain Peacock from ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'' could never quite keep straight his stories of just what he did in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. The most likely story, however, is that he was in the Royal Army Service Corps--the logistics division (he says it when pressed about it, and wears the RASC tie throughout the series). Important work, but not front-line combat.
** Mr. Goldberg, however, offered a different story - he and 'Corporal Peacock' served together in a cushy job in the cookhouse for most of the war. Had Goldberg been fired, we might even have seen the photo to prove it.
* Detective Kate Beckett of ''Series/{{Castle}}'' has elements of this trope. Aside from conversational information for characterization, there are the things she teases Castle about that are never substantiated.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'': Done very subtly with Chandler. You get the basics of childhood (his mother was an erotic novelist, his father was a gay drag queen, they divorced when was 9 and sent him to boarding school) but what's confusing is their treatment of him. On one hand he talks about how his dad was ''too'' enthusiastic coming to all his swim meets and you see his mom saying on national television that she loves him. Yet he also recounts how they prefered his imaginary friend to him, abandoned him on his first parents' day and were callous enough to announce their break up during Thanksgiving dinner. It's not clear if they were just AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents who made poor decisions or uninterested and put him through ParentalNeglect or full out emotionally AbusiveParents.
* An in-show version in the ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}'' episode "Hero" -- a comics-loving ordinary citizen discovers a suit which gives him superpowers. When Magnus' crew capture him, he feeds Will a made-up origin that's a hodge-podge of TheJuggernaut, ComicStrip/ThePhantom and ComicBook/GreenArrow. Will buys it, until his comic-book loving friend Henry tells him.
* In ''Series/TheMightyBoosh'', Howard and Vince frequently flash back to their shared past - but without any continuity about what this shared past has been. At one point they insist they are the same age, at another that Howard is ten years older than Vince. Vince may have been raised in the jungle by Brian Ferry or he may have gone to school with Howard. It comes down to RuleOFFunny, of course.
* ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'': Al and Peggy's marriage has a few different versions, but they all have alcohol and/or shotguns in common.
* Most ''Series/ThirtyRock'' characters, due to the fact that most of the facts about their pasts are just throwaway punchlines ("My mother tried to send me to Vietnam to make a man out of me. I was 12.", " I definitely would have gone to my reunion, but the boat I was educated on sank.", etc.). If you try to compile them all together, they form a weird, somewhat contradictory, and [[FridgeHorror definitely horrific]] image. The inconsistencies about Kenneth's past were turned into a RunningGag about him secretly being a long-lived immortal.
** Lampshaded in Pete's case:
--->'''Pete:''' Look at my life, Jack. My father was a congressman, I was valedictorian at St. Andrew's, an Olympic archer, fourth guitarist in Loverboy -- as a teenager! It's almost unbelievable!\\
'''Jack:''' If it weren't all true, I'd say it doesn't even make sense!
* Writers on ''Series/TheXFiles'' generally did a good job to keep the back-stories consistent, regarding what Mulder and Scully did before they started working on the X-Files and their family background, except when the ambiguity was the point. However, there was one deliberate change that did not please fans. Dana Scully's gold cross necklace, a frequent TragicKeepsake and the symbol of her faith, has two possible origins. In season 2 episode "Ascension", Mrs Scully says she gave it to Dana on her fifteenth birthday, and season 5 episode "Christmas Carol" shows in flashback that teenage Dana and her sister Melissa both get their crosses for Christmas. The writers said they had known about the change, but they simply couldn't resist to use it in their ChristmasEpisode.
* The character of John Black from ''Series/DaysOfOurLives''. Originally, he was introduced as a guy with IdentityAmnesia who'd undergone MagicPlasticSurgery as the apparent captive of a BigBad. He escaped and took the name John Black from a sign on a wall. It was eventually revealed he was the NotQuiteDead Roman Brady and that was the role the actor was billed as for many years and lived through his "wife's" "death". Then they decided to bring back he original Roman/Marlena super couple, so it was revealed that "Roman" wasn't the real deal after all and went back to calling himself John Black. In the years since, he's had it revealed that he'd been a cop, private investigator, and a priest in his past. There have been at least two separate revelations about who his birth parents are. The current origin puts him as a cousin of some sort to Roman Brady and also related to the BigBad. In the meantime, Wayne Northrop, the original Roman left the show again after a short time. That role was recast in a case of TheOtherDarrin and now played by someone who'd previously played a different role on the show. Then Northrop came back again in a completely different role.
* Series/TheGoldenGirls tended to have extended families that varied over the years. Blanche seemed especially vulnerable to this. She was the middle of three sisters, then a [[spoiler:gay]] brother appeared. She had three sons and a daughter, but two different daughters were named during the show's run. It is also unclear whether or not she was faithful to her husband George - one episode says yes, another says no. And don't anyone ask her age. Sophia also liked to make up preposterous stories about her past ("Picture it..."). These were played for laughs, usually inserting herself into trysts and feuds with famous people, and were (mostly?) made up.
* In the second season of ''Series/TheAquabatsSuperShow'', each episode has one of the Aquabats telling a story about how the group came together. Naturally, all of these stories contradict each other, and none is treated as being any less valid than the others (with the possible exception of [[TheDitz Crash's]]).
* On ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'' Det. John Munch was a lifelong Baltimore native, well demonstrated as he was the only main character with a [[AMinorKidroduction childhood flashback episode]]. This did not stop ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' from making him a native New Yorker.
* ''Series/{{Gotham}}'' does this with ComicBook/TheJoker, but with a twist. Since it's a prequel, the Joker doesn't actually exist yet, but WordOfGod is that one of the apparent {{Canon Foreigner}}s will eventually become him... but we don't know which one. Is it the nameless comedian at Fish Mooney's club? Fish's own bodyguard, Butch? The murderous circus kid [[LaughingMad who can't stop laughing]]? Or even just some random kid who put on a discarded red hood?
* The latter portion of the season of The Late Late Show that was hosted by Craig Ferguson was co-hosted by [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCiZSN62M5Q ... this.]] He gave many different conflicting accounts of how he died, over the course of the show, and once even accidentally gave two within a single episode. This prompted Craig to respond, upon hearing the second, with the joke "How the heck does someone drive a motorcycle into a shark?!" (The two accounts given that episode being first that he had died in a shark attack, and the second being a motorcycle accident resulting from failure to wear a helmet.)

* Music/TheBeatles gave varying accounts of where they got their band name from. Music/JohnLennon used to joke to reporters that he had had a vision of a man on a flaming pie who told him, "You are Beatles with an 'a'." In later years, he said that he had simply made it up in imitation of Music/BuddyHolly's band, the Crickets. Other versions say that the name was suggested not by Lennon, but by early bassist Stu Sutcliffe. They were briefly known as the Silver Beatles, which may have come out of a suggestion to call them Long John and the Silver Beatles. Another theory comes from Music/GeorgeHarrison suggesting that they got the name from the Creator/MarlonBrando film ''The Wild One,'' in which a motorcycle gang is referred to as "The Beetles."
* There have been wildly conflicting stories about how Lou Pearlman first approached [[Music/{{NSYNC}} Chris Kirkpatrick]] about starting another vocal group, but the commonly accepted ones are that Pearlman spotted Chris performing in a doo-wop group or that Chris auditioned for Backstreet and was rejected.
* {{Music/Gorillaz}}'s bass player / leader Murdoc Niccals can't decide if he was an abused child that grew up in the 1960s/70s, or if he is an immortal being who has watched time since its very beginnings. Then again, you get a different answer from him on generally anything, depending on how knackered he is.
* The origin of the band name Music/{{Chumbawamba}}. Explanations that they gave involved it being a particularly coherent string found in the results of a MonkeysOnATypewriter experiment; that it was the mascot of a defunct football team, [[Series/EastEnders Walford Town]]; that it was derived from the chanting of African street musicians that two of the band members overheard while busking in Paris; or that one of the band members had a dream in which they [[PottyEmergency needed to use the bathroom]] and weren't sure which one to enter because one bathroom was marked "chumba" and the other "wamba". Eventually they conceded that it doesn't mean anything and they just wanted something that would never become dated, and what better way to avoid [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece tying yourself to a particular era]] than to name yourself [[WordSaladHumor utter gibberish]]?

[[folder:Myths and Religion]]
* In any body of mythological stories, this tends to happen over time as [[DependingOnTheWriter multiple authors]] have their own ideas, and [[SharedUniverse whole towns or regions]] may have different versions of a story.
* In Myth/GreekMythology, for example, different authors gave different parents to many heroes and deities, and told events in their pasts differently. The Kabeiroi, Kouretes, and Korybantes, related sets of minor deities, had several different genealogies and origin stories. Humanity itself had separate creation myths in different cities, along with different explanations for how they got fire, writing, and so forth.
** There were two stories of why Hephaestus had a bad limp: either he was born lame, or Zeus threw him off of Mount Olympus during a quarrel and he was injured in the fall. Creator/{{Homer}} told both versions in ''Literature/TheIliad''.
* [[Myth/EgyptianMythology Ancient Egyptian authors]] also differed on the parentage of various gods. This isn't surprising, given that such family relations were often more a matter of local cult rather than "myth" as such. By the end of the New Kingdom, many gods were worshipped in threesomes identified as husband, wife, and son, and temples in different regions used different combinations of gods.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* The childhoods of Wrestling/TheUndertaker and Wrestling/{{Kane}} (who are half-brothers) have come to be subject to this. The original story was that The Undertaker was an arsonist who burned down his parents' funeral parlor, [[SelfMadeOrphan killing both parents]] and leaving Kane horrifically disfigured. Other versions, however, pointed to ''Kane'' as being responsible for the fire. Thirteen years later, it was revealed that Kane's father actually survived the fire -- and that he was none other than [[spoiler:Wrestling/PaulBearer]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Various examples throughout the history of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** Done with the entire ''species'' of illithids (aka Mind Flayers). One of the earlier versions says that they're mutants outcast from a long-gone human society in the Astromundi crystal sphere (solar system). Another version puts them as emerging when parasites from "[[CosmicHorror the Outside]]" entered the game's reality and began [[TheVirus bonding with and mutating]] humanoids, and went on to rule an interstellar empire millennia ago which has since fallen. An old Magazine/{{Dragon}} magazine article depicts them as invaders from an alternate Prime Material Plane, trying to reshape whatever world your characters are from in the image of their homeworld. A later version says they're ''from the future'' and traveled back in time to escape a nameless enemy that was destroying them, and to prepare better for that enemy while in the past. It's ultimately left up to the Game Master to decide which of these is the "truth," or if perhaps they're all successive layers of lies used to disguise the illithids' origins and that the latest retcon is just another lie. However, in the 4th Edition rules, Mind Flayers are once again from the Far Realm - beyond the borders of the universe. This certainty may be only because there haven't been enough years into the new edition to let their webs of deceit get fully developed yet, however.
*** An interesting but ultimately unrelated note on the time-traveling origin: A person can still take "Heritage" feats, special character options that indicate one's bloodline co-mingles with that of the relevant race/species (Fey Heritage, Draconic Heritage, etc) for Illithids. For most heritage feats, this implies an ancestry speckled with InterspeciesRomance. However, in this case Illithid Heritage actually means you're actually one of the ''[[TomatoInTheMirror ancestors]]'' of the Illithid bloodlines.
*** An issue of ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' had an "Illithid Bloodline" feat, but it stated that the bloodline didn't come from illithids themselves. Rather, it came from escaped slaves who were [[TouchedByVorlons experimented upon by the illithids]]. A clever storyteller might decide the two possibilities [[StableTimeLoop aren't mutually exclusive...]]
** The game's 4th Edition default setting ''TabletopGame/NentirVale'' does this with pretty much all of the deities. Fairly justified; they've been around for so long that the details of their origins are wrapped up in legends. Notably, [[{{Satan}} Asmodeus]] has been given probably the most information on his origins, most of them being at least somewhat contradictory.
*** And then there's the Raven Queen. Depending on what you look at, she's a TrueNeutral goddess of death as part of the life cycle, an evil former consort of Nerull who overthrew him to gain his title as God of the Dead and now plots to destroy the other Gods so she can gain that title that she believes is rightfully hers rather than her lesser title of Goddess of Death, or a selfish and power-hungry goddess that epitomizes the reason TrueNeutral is now Unaligned.
* The origin story for Strahd von Zarovich, the TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}} setting's most iconic villain, has been recounted in two novels, four to six adventures (depending on whether or not updates count), and dozens of fragmentary anecdotes throughout the product line. Not only do they contradict one another in numerous details, but it's openly acknowledged that many such accounts are propaganda and that ''Strahd himself'' probably doesn't remember (or ''want'' to remember) the truth anymore. Plus, there's a completely separate and irreconcilable version of Strahd in ''Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill'' that even the '''publishers''' wrote off as a RiddleForTheAges.
* ''World of Darkness'' gamelines tend to play with this. In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', pretty much everything regarding the how and why of the War of Rage, the creation story of the Triat, and the birth of the were-races are told from the point of view of a member of whichever race the book you're reading is about, and so every version is from an UnreliableNarrator.
** There's also the Rasputin situation. Numerous historical characters were written into the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness''. Two different writers used Rasputin as a character, not knowing about the other's use of him, and their versions had two different backstories. When this discrepancy was pointed out, the company decided to run with it. Several writers began using Rasputin as a character, giving him a different backstory each time. These multiple versions of Rasputin became one of the unsolved mysteries of the original ''World of Darkness'', though ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'' tried to reconcile them by saying that Rasputin is actually a body-hopping wraith who likes possessing various supernaturals, while ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' suggested the Rasputins know about their other versions, seeing themselves as "brothers", and that there's a terrible truth behind them.
* In the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'', multiple explanations are given for several aspects of the game world so that the Storyteller may pick and choose which ones she likes.
** In ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'', for example, there are several possible reasons for why the Gentry may kidnap humans and how the True Fae come to be:
*** Their existence in Arcadia was actually totally devoid of emotion or nuance until they experienced the Glamour from human proximity,
*** Or they're actually constructs of wild magic and chaotic emotions, and exposure to humans gave them sentience,
*** OR they're actually what remains of [[TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening the mages]] who climbed the Celestial Ladder and entered the Supernal Realm, but their imperfect human desires ran amok and destroyed their humanity.
*** Even if one (or more) of the above are true, it didn't explain how there could be ''so many'' of the True Fae until [[spoiler:you read the supplement book that says that Changelings who reach Wyrd 10 and [[MoralityMeter Clarity]] 0 are likely to ''become'' True Fae themselves.]]
** So far, we have two separate explanations for TheTunguskaEvent: a [[TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated Promethean]] tried to summon an arch-''qashmal'', or one of the [[TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil Knights of St. George]] tried to summon a Faceless Angel. Or that those are actually two versions of the ''same'' story...
** And then there's [[TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening Atlantis]]. Atlantis could have been a real ancient city ruled by mages, or it could be an allegory made real by the minds of Awakened souls, or it could be a far-future event whose collapse was felt eons in the past. The sourcebook mentions that some members of The Free Council believe Atlantis is a lie that the other factions made up to justify their dominance.
** And [[TabletopGame/WerewolfTheForsaken the Uratha]] have so many tales of lost Pangaea it's not worth sorting here.
** Also, in contrast with the TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness, where they had a defined and known origin, [[TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem vampires]] in the New World of Darkness have long forgotten exactly how they came to be, meaning each faction has its own ideas of their origin. (Indeed, there's a fair case to be made that vampires have multiple origins.)
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', what exactly was the nature of the [[EarthShatteringKaboom catastrophe]] that destroyed human civilization and [[AfterTheEnd confined the remains]] to [[CityInABottle Alpha Complex]]? Whatever Friend Computer ''says'' it is this week! (It was probably Communists)
** Actually, what is known about the catastrophe, that is constant between all of the various distortions, half-truths, and outright fabrications, is [[spoiler: above your security clearance, citizen. Have a nice daycycle!]]
* Creator/GamesWorkshop games:
** In ''TabletopGame/WarhammerAgeOfSigmar'', opinion is divided amongst the scholars of the Mortal Realms as to the origins of the [[TheAlcoholic Aleguzzler]] [[OurGiantsAreBigger Gargants]]. Some think they are the degenerate dependents of a race of titanic builders while others theorise that they are the offspring of the zodiac godbeast Behemat. There is even a theory that they are refugees from somewhere outside the Mortal Realms. As for the Gargants themselves, they are generally too drunk to care about their origins.
** ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'':
*** The GodEmperor has had a number of official backstories over the years. Originally he was created by a group of incredibly powerful shamans in the year 8,000 BC. Newer versions keep the 8,000 BC date but drop the shamans. Then there's the [[SelfProclaimedLiar possibility]] that the Emperor was actually born in the Age of Strife (26,000 AD or so). The current backstory, and ''Literature/HorusHeresy'' series of novels, mention all of the above, but have him intentionally obscuring the issue even before ten thousand years of conflicting dogma.
*** [[MagnificentBastard Primarch Alpharius]] as befitting to a character that thrives on secrecy and mind-games have five different origin stories. All of them are lies, but all have a grain of truth... Or so we are told. He also have three stories of his death, and no one knows which (if any) of them is true.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Ride/DisneyThemeParks:
** The backstory to ''Ride/TheHauntedMansion'' is basically whatever the cast members decide it is that day. Spin-off material has attempted to clarify things, but not without invoking this trope (particularly with regards to the backstories of certain characters).
** The burning cabin on Literature/TomSawyer Island was originally due to an Indian attack. As TheSavageIndian fell out of favor, the backstory was changed several times before it became a regular cabin.
* The soundtrack played at Great America's roller coaster "The Demon" variously traces the ride-possessing demonic entity's origin to the Louisiana bayou, the bottom of the Hudson River, or debris from a battle between alien spaceships that crashed in the Southwest.

* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** Given that continuity in ''Transformers'' is, well, [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Continuity pretty tangled]], Multiple Choice {{Canon}} is more of a rule rather than an exception, meaning aspects like the origins of the Transformer race differ between franchises and even series within said franchises (e.g. [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers the G1 cartoon]] claims the Quintessons made the Transformers, while [[ComicBook/TheTransformers the concurrent Marvel comic]] established the godlike Primus as their creator).
** Then you have characters like Unicron. [[WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie Originally]], he was a [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere random planet-eating Transformer]] with no backstory (until the cartoon claimed [[ItMakesSenseInContext he was made by an ancient space monkey]]). Then Simon Furman's run on the [[ComicBook/TheTransformers Marvel comic]] turned him into a godlike Satanic archetype opposed by a being named [[DeusEstMachina Primus]]; this interpretation caught on more in later adaptations than the original Primacron story. However, Unicron (as well as a few other legendary figures) was once established as a "multiversal singularity", which basically means that every depiction of him across the franchise was the same individual... before the concept was done away with almost a decade later and every iteration of him became a different individual with a different past. Does your brain hurt yet?

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' applies this to the entire country of Termina. Anju's grandmother says Termina was an ancient land created by the Giants. The manual repeatedly refers to it as a parallel world to Hyrule. Some sources say that Termina is an offshoot of Hyrule created when the goddesses sent their power through the cracks of the land. ''Hyrule Encyclopedia'' claims that Termina is a figment of the Skull Kid's imagination given life by Majora's Mask.
* ''VideoGame/SteambotChronicles'' had a literal version of this, where after meeting with Mallow you can recover from your amnesia and reveal your past. Or not, if you didn't feel inclined. Unfortunately, this leads to some [[PausedInterrupt incredibly stilted]] dialog in the following scenes.
-->[Name] is... the son of a baker... ''fast''... ...and a lone wolf.
* As if the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' lore didn't see enough changes/retcons, the setting also features a fair dosage of time travel. Certain forces can tamper with the timeline, while the Bronze Dragonflight tries to fix it. In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the Caverns of Time feature a set of dungeons where the players assist them by whatever means possible. For instance, there are two versions of Thrall's escape from imprisonment: either a bloodless escape during a distraction, or a group of strangers assaulting the keep and a nearby town. Although at the end of that one, the bronze dragon that was guiding you implies that after you've destroyed the last of the Infinite Dragons who were trying to alter the time stream, he would alter events so that the original bloodless escape is what everyone will remember.
* This is quite literally true for [[PlayerCharacter Commander Shepard]] in ''Franchise/MassEffect''. At character creation, Shepard's appearance, gender and military specialization are filled in by the player, as well as two different sets of background details, with three choices each. Some of them actually affect how the plot unfolds - the early backgrounds each have a unique mission in the first game, while the military ones cause minor dialogue changes at various points.
** Thanks to the save import feature in both ''Mass Effect'' sequels, Multiple Choice Past extends to the storyline of [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 later]] [[VideoGame/MassEffect3 games]] in the trilogy, which can be affected in subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways based on choices you made in a previous game. To compensate for those without save games to transfer, Mass Effect also offers [[DownloadableContent DLC]] that allows you to make the biggest choices in the prior game, such as [[spoiler:saving or killing the council and which teammate [[KilledOffForReal dies]] on Virmire in VideoGame/MassEffect, or whether you destroyed or saved the Collector Base in VideoGame/MassEffect2]] by making a choice on a multiple-choice style quiz in the prologue.
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'', you have the option in several conversations to choose certain aspects of what happened in your past, as well as what happened in the first game. You can even choose the non-canon Dark Side endings for the first game, and the rest of the game will change to fit with those events instead.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'':
** The game takes this to a whole new level with its PlayerCharacter: each of the six available "[[OriginsEpisode Origins]]" for the Warden has a separate starting quest chain, with a follow-up in one of the main story quests later on. It is implied that all six origins occurred, but [[SchrodingersPlayerCharacter the five not chosen by the player were killed because of Duncan's absence]].
** In-story, Flemeth combines this trope with UnreliableNarrator. At least two different versions of her story, the legend and the story she told Morrigan, have been told thus far, and Morrigan even says she doubts Flemeth told her the truth.
*** Her true origins are finally revealed in ''[[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition Inquisition]]'': [[spoiler: She was once a human woman who was imbued with the soul of the Elven God Mythal]]. However, she speaks vaguely enough about her past life that the previous stories could potentially have happened as well, [[spoiler: at least if you substitute Mythal for the demon that supposedly possessed her]].
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' provides one of three choices for how the game begins from the first game (aside from importing a save file from ''Origins''): "Hero of Ferelden" (a BigGood Human Noble defeated the Archdemon and survived the fifth Blight, Alistair is king of Ferelden), "The Martyr" (a cynical Dalish Elf [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificed herself]] to kill the Archdemon and end the blight, Alistair and Anora marry and rule Ferelden together), or "No Compromise" (a [[TheDeterminator Determinator]] Dwarven Noble let another Grey Warden die to defeat the Archdemon, Alistair is exiled from Ferelden, and Anora is queen).
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'': The player can choose to be either a Human, Elf, Dwarven or Qunari (well, Vashoth) Inquisitor. They have different explanations for being at the cataclysmic event at the beginning of the game, but they aren't playable like in ''Origins'' - the story always starts in the same place. The player does, however, get to flesh out their backstory in conversations, either describing past events of their lives or simply stating their opinion on certain parts of their background. Like the Warden, it is implied that all four were present at the Conclave, but the three not chosen were killed by the Breach.
** In a semi-continuation from ''Dragon Age II'', Varric's codex mentions that he will always give a different story for how he got [[ICallHerVera Bianca]]. He'll tell you how he got her early in the game, but multiple playthroughs will reveal that he changes that story as well. But in a late-game sidequest, we finally learn Bianca's true story... [[UnreliableExpositor we think]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheSuffering'', your actions in the game dictate how Torque's family died via KarmaMeter. There are three endings. In the good ending, they were murdered and you were framed. In the neutral one, Torque killed them on accident, and in the bad ending, he murdered them all.
* The player character gets to choose his/her own past in the character creation of ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines''. This only affects stats though, not the actual story.
** This was originally cut from the game and was reintroduced by an official patch.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** Was [[GodEmperor Talos]] a divinely chosen warrior from the ancient Atmora who achieved [[DeityOfHumanOrigin apotheosis]] by his own merit or just a shrewd politician from High Rock with powerful friends? Possibly ''[[TakeAThirdOption both]]''. After achieving divinity, it is possible that he [[CosmicRetcon retroactively re-wrote his life]]. Many things credited to Talos were originally actions and traits of [[MergerOfSouls different individuals]], including Tiber Septim, Zurin Artcus, and Wulfharth Ash-King. (With the latter two also possibly merged into the same "Underking" identity.)
** Similarly, the history of Vivec and the entire account of the events during the [[WhenItAllBegan Battle of Red Mountain]] have [[TheRashomon several vastly different and conflicting versions]], [[TimeyWimeyBall all of which can be true at the same time.]] Vivec may have originally been a low-born, [[TheStarscream devious general]] of [[FounderOfTheKingdom Nerevar]]'s but similar to the above example of Talos, might have made his fantastic origin story as a [[PhysicalGod demigod]] [[WarriorPoet warrior poet]] true [[CosmicRetcon retroactively with his acquired divine power]].
** Sources conflict greatly on the early history of the races of Men. The most popular theory, espoused most prominently by the [[WrittenByTheWinners propaganda of the Septim Empire]], is that all of the races of Men (save for the Yokudan Redguards) descend from the [[{{Precursors}} Nedes]], who originally hailed from the northernmost continent of Atmora. However, other sources indicate that the Nedes were among Tamriel's many indigenous human tribes (or may have been the collective name for these tribes) from whom the [[HumansAreAverage Imperials]] and [[UnevenHybrid Bretons]] get their human ancestry while the actual Atmorans were a distinct race of Men who came over in the early 1st Era and settled in Skyrim, interbreeding with the Nedes to create the modern [[HornyVikings Nords]]. In either case, there is evidence of habitation by humanity in Tamriel which predates the earliest known dates of Atmoran migration. Even the creation of the races of Men is unclear. The most prominent theory is that the [[{{Precursors}} Ehlnofey]] who would become [[OurElvesAreBetter the races of Mer]] and the Ehlnofey who would become the races of Men ("Wanderers") split [[TheTimeOfMyths very early in world history]] following a great war between the two factions. However, Altmeri religious beliefs (dating back to the ancient Aldmer) state that Men were created by [[GodIsDead Lorkhan]] out of the "weakest souls" to [[HumansAreBastards spread chaos throughout all corners of creation]].
** The Tsaesci are supposedly an [[{{Wutai}} Akaviri]] race of [[SnakePeople Snake Vampires]] complete with serpentine lower bodies. However, sources differ radically as to whether they are actually serpentine or humans just like those found in Tamriel.
*** On the "human-like" side: Several in-game books outright state that they are humans little different from those in Tamriel. One account specifically mentions a Tsaesci soldier with an injured leg. The most recent (and probably most reliable) account, Uriel V's campaign report from the 3rd Era, does not describe them as snake-like at all. It also mentions them having "mounted raiders," which would be a difficult task for a species without legs. The Akaviri ghosts and skeletons who appear at a few points in the series are completely humanoid in appearance.
*** On the "serpentine" side: ''Mysterious Akavir'', a work of [[UnreliableExpositor admittedly dubious accuracy]], supports this side. Additionally, the [[InGameNovel in-universe historical fiction]] (loosely based on in-universe historical events) ''2920, The Last Year of the First Era'' also describes them as having serpentine lower bodies. Other chronicles, such as "History of the Fighter's Guild" indicate that the Tsaesci couldn't wear human armor at all, indicating a non-humanoid shape. ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' has an item, an Akaviri Silver Mask, which depicts a reptilian-looking appearance.
*** The TakeAThirdOption[=-=]option: Since the "races" of Akavir [[NamedAfterTheirPlanet share their names with the name of their nation]], it's possible that they aren't one single "race," but multiple races living within those nations. The "Tsaesci" could include serpentine snake vampires as well as the former Men of Akavir and/or their cross bred descendants.
** Likewise, there are many conflicting theories regarding the origins of [[OurGiantsAreBigger Giants]]:
*** One of the most popular, especially among the [[HornyVikings Nords]], is that they share an ancestry with the ancient [[{{Precursors}} Atmorans]]. The Atmorans were known to be [[LargeAndInCharge tall, strong]], and [[BarbarianTribe somewhat primitive]]. According to this theory, after coming to Tamriel from the northern continent of Atmora, the Atmorans split into two groups - one who would interbreed with Tamriel's Nedes to become the modern Nords - and another who would, through unknown means, become the progenitors of the Giants.
*** Other sources, however, make it clear that Giants existed in Tamriel before the Atmorans crossed the sea. The [[OurDwarvesAreDifferent Dwemer]] were said to have gotten the nickname "Dwarves" from Giants they encountered in the Velothi Mountains after splitting off from the Aldmer, which occurred well before the Atmoran migration. The [[OurElvesAreBetter Aldmer]] themselves drove a "multi-eyed" race of Giants known as the Ilyadi to extinction when they first settled the Summerset Isles, which was even earlier. Standard Giants also have [[PointedEars pointed, tapered ears]] like those of the Mer (Elves).
*** In either case, there are known instances of Giants [[HotSkittyOnWailordAction interbreeding and producing offspring]] with the other races of Tamriel, particularly Nords. This would suggest that, at the very least, Giants have a shared ancestry with the other races dating back to the [[{{Precursors}} Ehlnofey]], a progenitor race from whom all extant races (save for ''perhaps'' the LizardFolk Argonians) descend.
** Similarly, the origin of [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampires]] in Tamriel is not clear cut. While the general scholarly consensus is that [[MonsterProgenitor Lamae Beolfag]] was indeed the first vampire, there are other origin stories as well. Given the numerous other vampire bloodlines and tales of other individuals acquiring Vampirism directly from [[GodOfEvil Molag Bal]] as well, it's possible that each of these stories has some truth to them.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', the player can choose to determine their character's class, reputation, ethics, abilities, etc, through an extensive survey of his background... or can choose to have it all automatically generated. One of the questions asks what item you received as a gift from the emperor. If you choose the Ebony Dagger, you start the game with that weapon, [[DiscOneNuke which is substantially superior to other weapons at that level]].
* ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade'' has a set of questions in the character creation that asks you about your character's past. This sets up your character's starting stats and equipment.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** Having a canon that's basically built on RuleOfFun (as well as implied), has a few different origin stories. Americans of the 80's and early 90's might have known Mario and Luigi as two plumbers from Brooklyn who got sucked into a pipe and ended up in the Mushroom Kingdom, but that was only invented by DIC for their [[Series/TheSuperMarioBrosSuperShow three]] [[WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfSuperMarioBros3 animated]] [[WesternAnimation/SuperMarioWorld series]] based on the games, plus newer ones imply that they've ''always'' lived in the Mushroom Kingdom, as little sense as that makes. Other regions just avoid origin stories. Note that the Mario Bros. have never been seen in the Mushroom Kingdom between the time they were babies and the present. It can be pretty easy to put the pieces together and say that they were taken to Brooklyn to be protected, because, seriously, who in their right mind wouldn't move after all the stuff that happened to Baby Mario and Baby Luigi?
** The Brooklyn thing, in part, came from the fact that ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' and ''VideoGame/MarioBros'' seemingly takes place in New York City. In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioOdyssey'', ''Donkey Kong'' is now stated to take place in New ''Donk'' City, an NYC-like city that appears to be set in the same world as the Mushroom Kingdom. [[note]]However, that could just be for the sake of convenience.[[/note]]
* Like his [[FandomRivalry rival Mario]], Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog has a fairly inconsistent past as well, though the video games themselves have never done much to elaborate on his past. Tails, Eggma..., er, "Dr. Robotnik" and especially Blaze have similar inconsistent pasts.
* ''Franchise/StreetFighter'': Charlie Nash encountered M.Bison (North America; "Vega" in Japan) during a [wartime mission/secret operation/solo assignment] in [Cambodia/America/Venezuela/a Shadaloo base near Thailand]. Charlie prevailed over the dictator but tragically [turned his back and got zapped/was blasted by a Shadaloo gunner/failed to escape the base before it blew up/suffered some mysterious terrible fate]. Guile wanted to prevent it, of course, but [didn't know Charlie was in danger/wasn't strong enough/wasn't fast enough/realized Charlie did what he had to do]. One thing is certain, though, [he's dead/he's missing, presumed dead/he got turned into Shadow/suffered the previously mentioned mysterious terrible fate].
** As of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterV'', WordOfGod has given some canonical information regarding him. He was [[CavalryBetrayal blasted by a gunner Vega / Bison paid off]] and [[BodyHorror stitched together]] in ways similar to FrankensteinsMonster. He's NotQuiteDead, but he has ComeBackWrong and is LivingOnBorrowedTime.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'':
** Almost but not quite literally the case for Sakuya, who has knowledge and skills far beyond her physical age (late teens to twenties), is a TimeMaster, and was seemingly recognized by Eirin, an immortal being who hadn't been to Earth in over 1000 years. ''[[AllThereInTheManual Perfect Memento in Strict Sense]]'' mentions several rumors going around the human village, including her being a fallen VampireHunter or a Lunarian, but said book also says that they're all just rumors and more than likely none of them are actually true.
** Due to the jump of platform from PC-98 to Windows, at least three other characters have conflicting past(s): Alice is either a normal human turned witch, or the daughter of the Goddess of Pandemonium. Marisa is either an acolyte of necromancy or a relic hunter. Yuuka is either a lethargic reality warper or an extremely sadistic flower youkai. Furthermore, an EternalRecurrence is strongly {{implied}} (the 60-years cycle), so it's not like the pasts are mutually exclusive.
* The premise for ''Hail to the Chimp'' is that former king, the Lion, resigned in disgrace due to a "scandal" that neither the box nor the instructions describe in any way. There are several possibilities as to what this scandal is, one of which is chosen at random each time you load the game.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', there are several contradicting stories about the past of [[TheDragon Legate Lanius]], from being a Legionary at the age of 12 to being press-ganged into joining the Legion. Even Joshua Graham, the former Legate states that he's never even heard of Lanius during his time in the Legion. In ''Lonesome Road'', Ulysses, a former Legion spy considers the idea that Lanius [[LegacyCharacter wasn't always the same person]] considering that no one has ever actually seen him without his mask.
** ''Lonesome Road'' also fills in the backstory of [[PlayerCharacter the Courier]], though only by choosing certain dialogue paths. There's an achievement for getting all six, and as a result is arguably this trope.
* In the original game ''VideoGame/BetrayalAtKrondor'', Gorath was from the Green Heart, and moved his tribes to the Northlands during the Riftwar (Possibly making his tribe the one that Longbow tricked into fighting the Tsurani during the seige of Crydee). In the novelization, ''Krondor: The Betrayal'', his tribe was originally based near Sarth, and moved to the Northlands over a century earlier when the Keshians colonized the region.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'':
** About five versions of Cloud's past in Nibelheim have been officially released so far. At least one of these (the most detailed) is eventually revealed as a lie within the story, although due to the circumstances of the lie and due to it covering more than the others do, it's still debatable whether huge chunks of it are true or not.
** The other four are wildly divergent, with ''Crisis Core'' and ''Final Fantasy VII''`s "[[TheReveal true]]" account having roughly equal canoninity despite ''Crisis Core'' having an entirely new character provoke Sephiroth's downwards spiral and the fact that Zack doesn't get the opportunity to do all the silly things ''Final Fantasy VII'''`s "lie" account implied he did.
** The OVA ''Last Order'' is also diverging, but probably the most radical in terms of what it implies about Cloud's past - it contains a strange scene where Cloud summons a great strength and his eyes begin glowing, causing Sephiroth to ask "What are you?", ''long'' before Cloud was granted Mako abilities in the original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', implying that Cloud isn't human or was experimented on previously. The events of ''Last Order'' have been explained that since most of the animated-special takes place from the Turks' point of view (the opening scene shows the report on the Nibelheim incident, which implies that the whole flashback is from what the official Shin-Ra history report says) its account is different from what was shown in the original game and ''Crisis Core''.
** When asked about all this, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima [[WordOfGod has said]] that there ''is'' no definitive version of the Nibelheim story because [[RashomonStyle it's impossible to be objective about memories.]]
* This happens in ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'' and ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2'', due to the two taking place in alternate continuities. In the original, Compa meets Neptune after she falls out of the sky, and IF is met (and unknowingly tricked) into joining Neptune and Compa's party a little later. In the sequel, Compa and IF were childhood friends, and they met Neptune (and Nepgear, who is exclusive to the sequel) after she fell off the top of a 10,000 story tower.
* When starting a game in ''VideoGame/LiberalCrimeSquad'', the player may choose events in the squad founder's past, or let the events be randomly selected. These events inform their in-game attributes and skills.
* You get to do this in ''VideoGame/GuildWars2''. However, all it changes in game is your personal story for the first twenty levels.
* The Joker, unsurprisingly, has one of these in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity''. He's just finished telling his StartOfDarkness story to Hugo Stange (its the same one from ''The Killing Joke''), and Strange points out just how many different stories the Joker has. The only common link is that he blames Batman [[NeverMyFault in every one]]. The Joker even cites this trope verbatim:
-->"A [[Creator/AlanMoore wise man]] one said, if you're going to have a past make it multiple choice."
** Notably, Strange accuses Joker of just using this trope as an excuse to never face up to his past and what he's become. Unlike the other rogues Strange interviews, he fails at getting under the Joker's skin.
* The Amnesiac in ''VideoGame/TownOfSalem'' can choose to have a different role each game, which can affect the outcome.
* ''VideoGame/MixOre'' gives Kantarou, the AmnesiacHero, three different backstories with each route he selects. [[spoiler:Nagisa's route reveals that he was a normal guy who was dating Sanae and was being stalked by Nagisa. Rikana's route reveals that he was a recently orphaned rich kid who was hit by a car and was discovered by Rikana. Ayano's route reveals that he was a popular high school boy who sexually harassed Ayano.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'', each of the classes Mike can choose will result in him having a different backstory prior to his induction into the eponymous agency.
* There are contradicting backstories to the original ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong''. The titular character is either Mario's pet gorilla who decided he had enough of his abuse, or he is a gorilla that escaped from the zoo.
* In ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonBackToNature'', the protagonist [[MeetCute meets a girl whom he befriended]] during his childhood visit to the Mineral Town farm. Said girl will turn out to be [[spoiler:whoever [[ChildhoodFriendRomance bachelorette he chooses to marry]]]]. Similarly, ''Harvest Moon Back To Nature [[DistaffCounterpart For Girl]]'' has your life being saved by a mysterious person, who always turns out to be [[spoiler:the person you marry, regardless of who you choose. Even Kai, though it makes no sense since he only appears in summer.]]
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'':
** Psycho Mantis has multiple {{Freudian Excuse}}s for his madness and sexually damaged behaviour. Calling Naomi on the Codec leads her to explain that he was once a sane and ordinary, if unusually powerful, police psychic who developed his madness after looking 'too far' into the mind of a serial killer and becoming infected with his mind. However, upon death, Mantis explains that he's obsessed with the concept of reproduction ("the selfish and atavistic desire to spread one's seed") due to his mother dying in childbirth, finding out his father hated him, and burning down his village in fear. Material released in Japan-only supplemental material explained that he naturally had a split personality which he refers to as "the parasite" or "the Mantis". A young version of Mantis later emerges as Tretij Rebenok in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain'', in which he's a child soldier who psychically feeds on the strong negative emotions of others - his nationality is also adjusted from Russian to Czech.
** In the original ''Metal Gear Solid'', "Naomi Hunter" is revealed to be an imposter, and to have taken on a fake identity based on a real doctor who went missing in the Middle East; her real name goes unknown. However, the character who informs us of this is Liquid Snake, and Naomi's brother knows her as "Naomi". Supplemental materials on the ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' disc [[LooseCanon detail the past of the real Naomi and how the main Naomi was able to usurp her identity]]. In ''Metal Gear Solid 4'', this element to Naomi is forgotten about; everyone calls her Naomi and there's no indication that she was ever an imposter.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' dances around between this and ExpansionPackPast thanks to the nature of the Nameless One's immortality - he suffers magical TraumaInducedAmnesia every time he is "killed" and comes back to life, which happens so many times that his personality and behavior have been radically different many times across his long lifespan. The "multiple choice" in his past is really the question of "which version of him are we talking about now?" It's effectively an InUniverse version of these two tropes, even from the Nameless One's own perspective.
* The titular ''Franchise/{{Rayman}}'' has had several conflicting origins. [[VideoGame/Rayman1995 The original game]] depicted him as an ordinary member of a species who all looked like him, only for ''VideoGame/Rayman2'' to claim he wasn't native to the Glade of Dreams and was found by a fisherman (and he had no species). ''VideoGame/RaymanOrigins'' claims he was created by the fairies to fight nightmares, and the UsefulNotes/PlayStationVita version (and oddly, ''only'' the Vita version) deepens the hole by showing him as originally being bald with a wife.
* In ''VideoGame/TheCatLady'', this trope is [[InvokedTrope invoked]] during one of the consults with Dr. X, which he asks Susan a couple of questions about her parents. The player can choose if she had a good or bad relationship with her father and her mother respectively (or if they even are [[MissingMom around during]] [[DisappearedDad her childhood]]), which means that part of Susan's backstory can diverge from different players and/or different gameplay seasons.
* In ''VideoGame/Injustice2'', the Joker [[PosthumousCharacter was unambiguously killed during the original game]] and shows up only as a fear toxin hallucination. However, in non-canon fights, he's a playable character. Pre-fight banter often has his opponent wondering [[JokerImmunity how he's still alive]]. The Joker will list [[DeathIsCheap some of the many possible sources of resurrection]] in the DC Universe or, if his opponent makes a specific guess, [[SureLetsGoWithThat the Joker will confirm it]].
* The Necroa Virus in ''VideoGame/PlagueInc'' has several backstories, depending on where you start and what transmissions and/or you start with (quite a few are {{Whole Plot Reference}}s to zombie media):
** Starting with America/Drug Resistance reveals that it was genetically engineered by [[CaptainErsatz Umbrella-um, I mean, DarkWater Corporation]] [[Series/ResidentEvil as a bioweapon that escaped containment.]]
** Starting with England/Segmented Genome states that [[Film/TwentyEightDaysLater it was part of a cure for A.I.D.S. but there was a]] FreakLabAccident [[Film/TwentyEightDaysLater and it escaped.]]
** The Ukraine/Zoonotic Shift backstory states that it evolved in Chernobyl.
** The Egypt/Heat Resistance backstory is that it infected a Pharao, who was [[SealedEvilInACan immured in a pyramid to contain the infection]].
** The Shadow Plague also has a few backstories. They require you to stay hidden for a long time.
* In the opening of ''VideoGame/NightInTheWoods'', the player makes a series of choices about what Mae remembers most about the year her grandfather died, including the disasters that struck Possum Hollow (the flood or the new highway taking away all the traffic from town), his favorite quote from the Prayer of the Forest God, and what he was staring at in his final moments.
* In ''Series/TheLoveBoat'' Isaac tells Jenny, who's over-eager to get married, that he pushed the girl he loved into marrying before she was ready and it didn't work out. Later on he tells Ronald, a ManChild who's scared of commitment, that he refused to tell the girl he loved how he felt and another guy snapped her up.
-->'''Gopher:''' Who ''are'' you?

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Subverted in ''{{VisualNovel/Tsukihime}}'': with each separate route, the minute-but-important details of Shiki's childhood ''appear'' to change or even be downright inconsistent with the other routes. Only after finishing all the routes can the actual backstory be inferred, by piecing together the revelations and details from each route ([[JigsawPuzzlePlot like a convoluted puzzle]]).
* In some ways, this is the entire premise of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry''. [[spoiler: Except all choices wind up being true.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', we're presented with two different versions of Beatrice's past, one fantastic and magical and one more mundane and rather tragic. [[spoiler:It's all but stated that the latter is her true past.]]
* Inverted at the end of [[VisualNovel/{{Shuffle}} Really? Really!]] with Asa's hair length. Kaede asks whether Rin prefers Asa's hair short or long and allows you to choose which one you prefer. A few in-game minutes later, Asa appears with the hair length that was chosen, despite being nowhere near Rin and Kaede when the answer was chosen.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Plot Hole (yes, that's his real name) from ''Webcomic/{{Acrobat}}'', during a story that was supposed to tell his secret origin, told multiple stories, ripping off the origins of {{Franchise/Superman}}, {{Franchise/Batman}} and partly {{Franchise/SpiderMan}}, making Plot Twist a villain in every single one - they don't match with each other, or Plot Twist's origin, and hint that Plot Hole doesn't even know what his ArchEnemy really looks like. The only thing he's sure is that he was somehow created by Plot Twist, but even that cannot be found as absolute truth, because he's obviously obsessed with him.
* In [[http://www.superstupor.com/sust08042008.shtml this]] ''Webcomic/SuperStupor'' webcomic, a character is grieving that her background was {{retcon}}ned (''you know, it never happened''), yet she still remembers it.
* [[FunPersonified Dimanika]] from ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'' ascended either by destroying a star, somehow turning a [[OneGenderRace Phoenix Oracle]] male, or from a pie eating contest.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the ''Roleplay/LeagueOfIntergalacticCosmicChampions'', Tacoman had several different backstories, Mr. Absurd had two.
* Used as an alternative to AllMythsAreTrue in ''Literature/TalesOfMU'', as seen in the [[http://XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX/story/other/in-the-beginning myths of different races]].
* Doctor Insano, enemy of [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] and [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Spoony]] ''is'' this trope. He has so many multiple origins, including ones where he's Spoony from future, where he's Canadian science geek Wayne Schlumper, and where he was a woman before Linkara punched the fabric of TheMultiverse, that when people tried to put it together in any continuity, WordOfGod said there's no continuity. There is only Insano.
** So far he's been a failed clone of Spoony, from the future, a different person, the same person but not somehow (left unexplained), and an alternate personality that was given up "in the past". All of these origins are equally canon.
** In [[WebVideo/FamiliarFaces CR]]'s [[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/teamt/cr/ff/27514-dr-insano overview of Insano]], he theorizes that there's really three of them--one a time-travel duplicate generated by Time Compression who violently tries to kill Spoony, one a clone made by Linkara who [[GoKartingWithBowser lives with Spoony]] and is more friendly, and the alternate personality. He finishes by guessing that Original Spoony also had an Insano persona, and thus there could be a fourth, [[ComicBook/BlackestNight Black Lantern]] Insano as well.
** According to ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', Insano and Spoony have always been separate people, and Spoony's ability to transform into Insano in ''WebVideo/{{Kickassia}}'' was a temporal anomaly retroactively caused by the Plot Hole. Of course, this is just yet another alternate backstory.
* There is no single definitive version of Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos. Even his ''appearance'', though built around a basic template, varies from story to story. The central tenet is simply the RuleOfScary. This extends to Slendy's origin story. If it comes up it will completely contradict another story's idea of it. This is probably the reason most stories avoid giving Slender Man a definitive origin (that and to avoid a VoodooShark).
** ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'' season two features the protagonist doing this (badly). Jay goes through three contradictory stories explaining his presence in the hotel to Jessica, much to her confusion, and, eventually, disbelief. The real answer, of course, is that he doesn't remember. [[spoiler:And Jessica doesn't remember how ''she'' got there either.]]
** The Slender Man fic ''Fanfic/ByTheFiresLight'' features an origin for the Slender Man that might only be retroactively true since people in-story [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve believe it.]] Whether the Slender Man existed before this in its current form in-story is left up to debate.
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': Dr. Clef has alternatively claimed to be a RealityWarper who accidentally destroyed [[UsefulNotes/{{NASA}} Challenger]], [[Literature/TheBible Biblical Adam]], and [[spoiler:{{Satan}}]].
** The Foundation itself according to [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/proposals-for-scp-001 SCP-001 propositions]]. In fact, according to the article, it's possible that two or more of the different stories are true ''at the same time''.
** Also, there are at least [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/djkaktus-s-proposal three]] [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/chaos-insurgency-hub different]] [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/slate-thunder origins]] for the Chaos Insurgency.
* In one ''Literature/LegionOfNetHeroes'' story, a CosmicEntity decides to rewrite a mortally-wounded Squid Boy to both save his life and make him easier to use as a character. (The LNH [[NoFourthWall has never had much use for the fourth wall]].) As part of the process, Squid Boy (now Squidman) is asked to describe his origin story. Since Squid Boy dated from the very early days of the LNH when the whole thing was a joke, he'd never actually ''had'' an origin story, and suggested several possibilities before finally settling on one, which locked it into continuity as his actual origin.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' mostly has NegativeContinuity with the occasional character return or ContinuityNod, so unsurprisingly it runs into this. Details such as the origin of the Krusty Krab, Patrick's family background, and how Sandy came to Bikini Bottom will vary from episode to episode. The most notable example is the relationship between Mr. Krabs and Plankton. Though earlier episodes had implied that they met as adults and were rivals from the onset, "Friend or Foe" later RetConned this to having met as kids and been friends until an argument over the formula split them apart. This version of events then became on of the few things set in stone whenever the topic came up in future episodes.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' gives several varying explanations for both the origin of Phantom Limb and how Billy Quizboy ended up with a robotic hand, with the Monarch's being the most plausible[[note]]they were roommates in college who developed an experimental muscle growth accelerator to heal PL's deformed limbs. Unfortunately the machine malfunctioned and "accelerated [PL's limbs] beyond the speed of light" giving him his powers while Billy lost his arm trying to turn the machine off[[/note]]. When Dr. Venture finally asks him about it, point blank, Billy merely replies "Excellent question. I have no idea."
** They later gave them both a definite past. The Monarch's version, while not complete, did get most of the facts right[[note]]Phantom Limb was Billy's professor, not roommate and the latter had already [[ItMakesSenseInContext lost his arm to a rabid pitbull]] prior to the incident)[[/note]]. The comment about him not knowing ended up becoming a CerebusRetcon because of this. Turns out he doesn't remember because [[spoiler: OSI wiped his memory]]. When Billy learns of the deception, he rather suitably flips the fuck out.
* WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck is given at least three mutually incompatible origin stories over the course of the series (one of which was something he rather obviously was making up as he was telling it). WordOfGod says this was a deliberate invocation of RuleOfFunny - and if they'd had more episodes, they'd have written even more...
* The ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' episode "The Time Bandits" (itself a RecycledScript from ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'') says that Rebecca inherited Higher For Hire from her father, despite the FiveEpisodePilot having introduced her as buying Baloo's air cargo company after it was foreclosed upon.
** As the information in "The Time Bandits" was given by a government employee of [[GloriousMotherRussia Thembria]]. Nothing's saying that official facts have to be truthful.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' not only has a multiple choice past for pretty much every character, but even a multiple choice future. As the show exists in a [[ComicBookTime floating timeline]] however, this is pretty much unavoidable. Heck, one of the show's flashback episodes was set throughout the 90s...the decade which started right along with the show itself. Talk about trippy.
** One of those multiple choice futures takes place... in 2010. Kind of weird to think about, [[ComicBookTime since Maggie was now born in]] ''2013''.
** This trope was originally supposed to be played straight for the origins of Herman's (the fellow who runs Springfield's military surplus store Herman's Military Antiques) missing arm, but this idea was dropped after his first appearance (to this day, he's only told us that he lost his arm when he stuck it out the window of a moving school bus).
** The series had multiple explanations for why Homer lost his hair including having torn out his hair after finding out Marge was pregnant and as a side effect from an army experiment he participated in to avoid dinner with Marge's sisters.
*** Similarly, the show has posited several explanations of Homer's stupidity. A short list includes a [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS12E9HOMR crayon lodged in his brain]], [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS9E17LisaTheSimpsons genetics]] (the Simpson gene), and repeated [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS4E18SoItsComeToThisASimpsonsClipShow cranial trauma]].
** Accroding to "How Lisa Got Her Marge Back", Lisa first got her signature pearl necklace as a gift from Marge for her first day at school, but most episodes before and since then depict Lisa as having worn the necklace since she was a baby.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', the circumstances of Bender's "birth" change every time the event it's brought up.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', [[UnnamedParent Timmy's mom and dad]] have several different versions of how they met. When it was first shown, it was stated that they began dating as kids and became a couple when Mr. Turner gave her a trophy he won. The second time it was show Mrs. Turner dated Dinkleberg until college, when Mr. Turner got her on the rebound. Other episodes say they met through a "threatmantic" letter or "in the sports aisle".
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' had four different episodes with flashbacks to the duo's childhood and when they were first genetically altered. They all contradict each other.
* WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants had different versions on how Mr. Krabs got the Krabby Patty Secret Formula: one has him tell it was an old Krabs family recipe, the other as passed to him from his grandmother, an entire episode showing that his [[WeUsedToBeFriends then-friend-now-enemy]] accidentally made it, and so on and so forth...
* ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'': Rocko is stated in some episodes to have known Filburt as a kid, and in another, he says they met Heffer in high school. In other episodes, though, he apparently left Australia and came to O-Town as an adult. WordOfGod says that the latter is definitive, anything else is just the characters misremembering. Filburt meets Rocko in different scenarios. WordOfGod said it's because Filburt just has bad memory.
* On ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim,'' Ms. Bitters gives multiple back stories, such as imploding in a spaceship when she was a child and being a fairy princess in a magical forest (before running into a bug zapper). According to WordOfGod, however, she's always been in the same place she is now; the "skool" was actually built around her.
* On ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', Lucius VII [[HumanPopsicle froze his father]], Lucius VI, making him a psuedo SelfMadeOrphan. Exactly how always varies. At first it was because they had a heated argument, then because Lucius VI lost a bet, then because Lucius VII's talking bird told him to.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': Originally, [[BigBad Father's]] backstory (an AncientConspiracy that Numbuh One had figured out and told his class instead of a report on the Declaration of Independence) had him as Mr. Wigglestein, the first adult (adults being the creation of kids themselves) to employ discipline (by spanking a kid who refused to stop demanding him to play "Giddyup"/"Horsie"), leading to the exile of the adults to Cleveland. ''WesternAnimation/OperationZERO'' {{retcon}}ned this, instead making him the cowardly, disgruntled brother of the eponymous legendary operative. He's also revealed to be [[spoiler:Numbuh One's EvilUncle (and by proxy, this makes [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Sector Z/The Delight Children from Down the Lane]] his adoptive cousins and [[GreaterScopeVillain Grandfather]] his ''actual'' grandfather), as Numbuh Zero is Numbuh One's BumblingDad.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}'':
** Jerrica Benton (AKA: Jem) either inherited Starlight House from her father, or lived there with Kimber (her sister) Aja, and Shana all her life. In fact, [[TakeAThirdOption it may have even been both.]]
** There is a possible SeriesContinuityError, made noticeable by the fact the two episodes are from the same season. In "The Stingers Hit Town", Riot mentions that his father was stationed in Germany and that he went to high school with Rapture. In his [[ADayInTheLimelight limelight]] VillainEpisode, "Riot's Hope", he is shown to having not met either of his bandmates until he was an adult stationed in the military. He saw Minx perform with her old band in Germany then joined himself and eventually met Rapture when the three of them later.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'', the Constructicons had no less than three wholly separate and contradictory origins in the cartoon ''alone''. First, that they were built on Earth by Megatron in 1985. Then, that they were Autobots from Cybertron reprogrammed by Megatron millions of years ago. Then that they were Decepticons who built Megatron in the first place years before ''that''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' version of Killer Croc, who is either a former carnival freak, government experiment, or the result of voodoo.
** When D.A.V.E. is asked what his villainous backstory is, he begins rattling out a bunch of mutually exclusive backstories taken from various supervillains. He soon realizes that he's a computer program only a couple days old.
* It's implied in an ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' episode where Buster "saves" a cat on a tree that Buster invokes this trope when he lets heroism get to his head. Buster is seen bragging to some reporters about how he got the cat down, Francine mentions that she's starting to get bored with Buster's heroism stories, and then Binky arrives and says that he's not bored of his stories, as they're "always different."
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'s'' origins are left deliberately vague. In "Double Deuce", Archer is stated to have been born in Morocco while Malory was running from Nazi spies (around 1938), [[spoiler:one of his possible fathers was an Italian executed by an Operation Gladio operative for speaking out against fascism]] and was about six or seven when UsefulNotes/WorldWarII ended. He's also shown listening to Woodhouse read a telegram from Malory about Operation Ajax in 1953, which ''would'' make him 15, but he looks younger than that, and "Once Bitten" states he was six when Malory was involved in the CIA-backed Guatamalan coup d'état, which took place in 1954, which would place Archer's birthdate in 1948. One possible explaination is an AlternateHistory.
* Joe Swanson from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' originally claimed that he lost the use of his legs when he fell off a roof chasing [[Literature/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas the Grinch]] and broke his legs. Many seasons later, he reveals that he lied out of shame and that a drug lord shot him in the legs repeatedly.
** The founding of Quahog. Originally, it was stated that the town's founder was thrown overboard for being a MotorMouth, only to be saved by a magic clam, who gave him advice about founding a town where they washed ashore. A later episode claimed that the former was just a legend, and the real founder (one of Peter's past lives) was a commoner who recently wed into money, but was exiled to the New World by a lecherous king, where he ended up founding the town with his fellow exiles.
* On ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop'' Max and PJ met at age 11 (shown in "Everything's Coming Up Goofy" and "Good Neighbor Goof" and mentioned in "Goodbye Mr. Goofy" and "Pistolgeist"). Except that "Wrecks, Lies, and Videotape", "Tee for Two", "Goof Troop Christmas", and "Tub Be or Not Tub Be" all suggest that Max and PJ have always known each other. The backstory is irrelevant to most things except for the nature of Max and PJ's relationship--namely, the first backstory provides [[BecauseYouWereNiceToMe an explanation]] for PJ's UndyingLoyalty towards Max; the second does not. This can be a little jarring considering "Tub Be or Not Tub Be" supports the second backstory and features an undyingly loyal PJ and a [[WithFriendsLikeThese relatively unsympathetic Max]].
* In the ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} Cars Toons]]'' series, Mater, the resident CloudCuckoolander, always boasts about his past where he was involved in something big such as being a famous racer, a spy, a firefighter, or an elite detective. Lightning never believes his claims, but the end of each episode always proves that ''every single one'' of Mater's narratives is a true story.
* A running gag in ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'' involves Manfredi and Johnson, two penguins that Skipper continually cites as examples of what could happen if someone doesn't follow his orders. Almost all of these wildly different stories imply their deaths, and the other penguins will corroborate them, so what actually happened is difficult to determine. [[spoiler: The fact that they are seen alive (but not well) in the finale only raises further questions.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': Mr. Cat's life before coming to live in Smileyland, and why he went there. For example, in one episode he explains that he was [[RaisedByWolves raised by a salmon]] after being tied in a sack and thrown in a river, but another one says he [[TheRunaway ran away from home]] because of his abusive family. Though all of the backstories he's given are sad enough to give him a FreudianExcuse, and a reason for being as psychologically messed up as he is.
* Several of the WesternAnimation/MightyMouse theatrical shorts involved giving him an origin of some sort, and these varied greatly.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In various interviews, Creator/YulBrynner gave several inconsistent accounts of his early life to make himself seem mysterious to the public.
* Over the years, comedian Creator/DaveAllen's act incorporated a huge number of different stories about how he came to lose part of his left index finger.
* Leon Redbone is notorious for giving various stories of his birthdate and his parentage, as well as claiming authorship of many songs which existed prior to his probable birth.
* Joe Kucan became [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquer Kane]] from a scratch off lotto ticket. He won a special election. He won a carnival game. He found the prize in a crackerjack box. He was in the right place, at the right time. He was the Dramatic Director on a [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquer project with almost no funding]]. Using employees was cheaper than hiring actors.
* Music/MeatLoaf often tells people how he got that name, only he never tells the same story twice.
* The origins of {{UsefulNotes/baseball}} are subject to this trope, as it's hard to exactly pinpoint '''A.''' When/where the first game of baseball was played, '''B.''' Whether a sport referred to as "base ball" in early documents from UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution was an early form of the current sport, or just a similarly-named but unrelated sport, or '''C.''' Which game counts as the first "official" game: any of the games played during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, the early game played at [[{{Joisey}} Hoboken, New Jersey]] (depending on whether this early version counts as a version of the modern game or just a precursor), or perhaps an unknown, unrecorded game. The game played at Cooperstown, supposedly organized by Abner Doubleday, is now considered fictitious, but it used to be considered a contender to be one of the great game's possible origins. Many historians view ''all'' of these early games as being partial examples of the game we know today, but that the game evolved a bit with each one.
* {{Pinball}} designer Kevin Kulek became this when it was discovered he was making pinball machines themed on the ''Franchise/{{Predator}}'' films without approval from Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox: Sometimes, he would say he misinterpreted the permission he received from Fox, and sometimes, he would say he never received permission at all.