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Orwellianretcon
"Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge, which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia."
1984

A sort of Retcon achieved not by putting out sequels that change the official story, but by actually going back and changing it in the original work, so that subsequent printings of "the same" work are actually different.

May happen as the result of deciding after that fact that something was Unfortunate Implications, Dude, Not Funny!, or Too Soon. But could also be caused by Flip Flop of God, Science Marches On, or being Screwed by the Lawyers. So like many tropes, this can be for good or for evil.

Prime source of Adaptation Displacement for more recent fans. May lead to a Limited Special Directors Ultimate Edition. Possibly may lead to a Broken Base. See also Creator Backlash, especially if the original version is taken off the shelves.

Named, of course, after George Orwell, specifically 1984, where the main character's job at the Ministry of Truth is to rewrite old newspaper articles to hide the government's flip-flopping on political issues.

Contrast Death of the Author, Canon Discontinuity. Not to be confused with Orwellian Editor. Compare Flashback with the Other Darrin.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Lucky Star has a minor example: Konata was originally portrayed as a cool Gamer Chick, but was soon changed into an down-to-earth, sort-of-pervy Otaku Surrogate. When the yonkoma were collected into volumes, Yoshimizu changed Konata's lines in some very early strips to make her image consistent. Because this change was very early on in the series and Yoshimizu discussed that in the omake, it is not as displeasing.
    • Parodied in a later omake, which consists of several "What if"-strips. One of them is "What if episode 1 was drawn today", which is simply a reprint of the strip just as it was published in the first volume.
  • The original dubbed airing of the Dungeon Dice Monsters mini-arc of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime used the original designs for the Dice Crests. For no adequately explained reasonnote , all subsequent airings used Conspicuous CG dice with a completely changed set of Crest markings. Fortunately, the American board game version and its Game Boy Advance adaptation used mostly the original designs, with only the Magic Crest changed to a circle with a lightning bolt in the center.
    • The original Weekly Shonen Jump printing of a chapter in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, of Yugi's duel with Bakura, had Bakura's trump card monster called "Dark Necrophilia". This was then changed to "Dark Necrofear" for the following chapter and the graphic novel reprints, to avoid the Unfortunate Implications of the original name.
  • Pokémon Special gets a lot of changes and revisions when its chapters get collected into tankobon form. Makes sense, as the manga gets serialized in three different magazines and out of order to boot, not to mention the mangaka often adds new details to incorporate whatever new features that had since been released from the new games.
  • A minor one in Viz Media's English edition of the One Piece manga involves a particular character being called "Zoro" in early printings of the first few volumes, later being changed to "Zolo" to match 4Kids Entertainment's dub of the TV series. However, Zolo stuck for Viz even when FUNimation later changed his name back to Zoro in their own dub.
    • Done in reprints of the volumes to Whitebeard's flag as the Swastika (the Nazi symbol) was off limits to use.
  • The Japanese home video release of the 1986 Fist of the North Star theatrical movie changed the ending of the final battle so that Kenshiro's final battle with Raoh ends in a stalemate rather than losing like in the original theatrical version. Even though the theatrical ending was used for all the international releases, it didn't get to be featured in any of the Japanese home video releases until the DVD release in 2008 and even then it was only available as a bonus feature in first-print editions of the DVD.
  • In the anime adaptation of Art of Fighting, Yuri Sakazaki was originally voiced by Japanese pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, who also appeared in a series of live-action promos for Art of Fighting 2 in Japan. When the anime was re-released on DVD in Japan, all of Ayumi's dialogue were dubbed over by Kaori Horie, Yuri's actual voice actress in the games, since Hamasaki wanted a great share of the royalties for the use of her voice.
  • Along with more standard panel redraws, a few instances occur in the 2003 Updated Re-release of the Sailor Moon manga, (published stateside by Kodansha in 2011), some of which carry over to Sailor Moon Crystal.
    • During Act 2's Crystal Seminar story (which introduced Ami), an instance of a floppy disk from the original 1992 version was replaced by a CD-ROM in the re-released version. Also, to be consistant with the tokusatsu version that was airing at the time, the "sailor senshi" are referred to as "guardians".
    • An unnamed fog attack in the manga (referred to as "Sabao Spray" in the first anime) was changed to be called "Mercury Aqua Mist", to tie in with the live-action version. Sailor Moon's first sceptre was also redrawn to have a crystalline top.
    • Sailor Jupiter had a flower-themed belt added to her first uniform in redrawn panels, a detail that Takeuchi had originally wanted to include on her but had never gotten the chance to.
  • In Death Note, Near was introduced as a serious character, but had some childish expressions in certain early chapters. When these chapters were collected into the tankobon editions, Takeshi Obata redrew the panels so Near's face would be less expressive.
    • Another example involved the death of Light's father. In the original Jump serialization, Ryuk speculates that since Soichiro never used a Death Note, he would go to Heaven. As the final chapter of the manga ultimately revealed that there is NO heaven or hell, Ohba altered the line in the tankoban release to prevent any further misunderstandings, with Ryuk now speculating that Mr. Yagami would have died peacefully.
  • A necessary one happens in Queen's Blade Rebellion between the web version of the Illustrated Stories and the paperback version: In the Net-based one, Mirim kills one of the Tomoe's fellow shrine maidens (later revealed to be named Tokiwa) when trying to help Annelotte escape from Gainos. Since that scene is out of character for her, in the paperback version, Tokiwa was killed by random guards instead, while Mirim is chasing Annelotte instead. This was omitted in the animated version, as the aforementioned scene never happens and the events are developed in a different direction. Also, the manga version has Leina using her "Maria" persona rescuing Annelotte instead, rather than Tokiwa, and Mirim does not appear until some chapters later.
  • The early print run of Cyborg009 in Weekly Shonen King had the lead hero's name first given as "Joe Muramatsu", which later changed to "Joe Shimamura". Ishinomori would revise the earlier chapters when they were reprinted, to correct that continuity error. He also corrected a few instances where 003's surname was used in light of her given name, or where he'd used the wrong katakana for 003's given name and called her "Francois" instead of "Francoise".
    • The chapter "The Aurora Strategy" originally had a character named "Dr.Dolphin" and his daughter "Iruka". In some reprintings, Iruka's name was modified to "Cynthia", which the 2001 anime used.

    Comics 
  • Archie Comics loves to reprint their older stories in their newest issues. You'd be hard-pressed to find even one of these reprints that hasn't had a good portion of the dialogue rewritten or panels redrawn in order to avoid sexism, racism, Unfortunate Implications, to give a dark story a happier ending, or even to change a walkman into an iPod.
  • X-Men Classic was a reprint comic of the early adventures of the "All-New" team. Some of the reprints were edited to conform with more recent interpretations of the character. E.g., when Nightcrawler was visiting Banshee's ancestral castle, his ability to (explicitly) turn invisible in darkness was edited so that he's merely very hard to see (i.e., you can no longer see the background through his body).
  • The characters in Aliens were renamed, and the stories retitled, when Alien 3 made them inconsistent with the movie series.
  • The Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog special issue Sonic Firsts reprinted a few old stories, with Princess Sally recolored to look more like her modern design and all references to "Boomer" replaced with "Rotor" (whose name was changed early on to match the animated series).
  • DC Comics has done this a few times in the past. For example, in Supergirl's first story with the Legion of Super-Heroes, the following dialogue occurred when Supergirl figures out that the Legion who wants to induct her into their club is the same one that inducted Superboy.
    Original printing (from Action Comics #267):
    Lightning Lad: Not the same ones he knew, although we have the same names...
    Saturn Girl: We are the children of the three young super-heroes who befriended Superboy! We are carrying on the Legion's traditions...
    Reprint (from Action Comics #334):
    Lightning Lad: You're hitting on all cylinders, Supergirl!
    Saturn Girl: We've admired Superboy...and you! That's why we made this trip!
    • A second example concerns Jonathan and Martha Kent. In Superman #161, a story was printed where they go to a remote island and accidentally unleash an incurable centuries-old virus on themselves, explaining how they died. However, when the story was reprinted in Superboy #165, they were drawn significantly younger. This is because twenty issues prior, a story with a Truman Show Plot was printed where the producer, concerned with his viewers not accepting an old couple with a teenage son, made the senior citizens of Smallville younger, Pa and Ma Kent among them.
    • In the sixties, there was an attempt to establish a 30th century Superman, whose adventures were published in Superman #181, Action Comics #338-339, and World's Finest Comics #166. However, there was no effort to tie in the Legion of Super-Heroes series (which supposedly took place in the same time frame), so when his first three stories were reprinted, the setting was retconned into the 25th century.
    • In "Superman Under the Red Sun" from Action Comics #300, when Superman manages to make it back to the Fortress of Solitude and finds a tiny rocket left from the enlarged Kandor, Superman gets some lead-wrapped Red Kryptonite with the intention to use it on himself, but a few panels later he ends up using a still functioning Shrink Ray instead. After using the rocket to return to the present, he goes on to say he'll wait until the Red Kryptonite's effect wears off, suggesting he had used the Red-K to shrink himself in the first place. Of course, when the story is reprinted more than a decade later, the panel depicting Superman shrinking himself with the shrink ray was changed so that he's using the Red Kryptonite instead.
  • The original print of The Amazing Spider-Man #121 shows a "snap" sound effect when Spider-Man catches Gwen Stacy with his webbing while falling, implying that the sudden whiplash caused her neck to break, thus killing her. Reprints of the issue in trade collections omitted the "snap" effect, leaving the cause of her death ambiguous.
  • Thanks to legal issues, all reprints and collected editions of the Marvel NOW! The Avengers relaunch have changed Smasher's real name from "Izzy Dare" to "Izzy Kane". Her last name was originally supposed to be a hint that she was the granddaughter of Dan Dare, but was instead changed to make her the granddaughter of an obscure Golden Age hero named Captain Terror.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Marvel Tales #159; in the "Marvel Mails" section, someone named Vincent Gonzalez wrote in, asking the editors to go all the way in terms of changing the reprinted Spider-Man stories. We then see a sequence from the story "Spidey Strikes Back" (originally printed in The Amazing Spider-Man #19) with the changes in effect. We're Still Relevant, Dammit (and hilarity) ensues. You can find it here.
  • In the original printing of Infinite Crisis, Superboy challenges Superboy-Prime with the line: "Come on, you motherf-!". Due to complaints over the implied language, this was truncated to a simple "Come on!" in reprints and the trade paperback.
  • The Brainwashed Batwoman in Final Crisis initially had a ball-gag in her mouth as part of her Darker and Edgier design, but this was removed from subsequent reprints and collected editions. A few other changes were made as well, such as correcting some coloring mistakes on characters like Shilo Norman.
  • Averted for Usagi Yojimbo. Stan Sakai has stated that he regrets presenting the Big Bad Lord Hijiki in one of the earliest issues as the only human being in a world full of talking animals (his face has never again been seen on panel since then), but admits that the first collection has gone through so many printings that going back and changing it now would be pointless.
  • When Marvel began reprinting old horror and sci-fi tales in the 70's, they sometimes altered details to make the stories better fit the then-current Marvel Universe continuity. For instance, a reprint of a 60's Strange Tales story had a generic scientist Retconned into being Hank Pym, while a reprint of a 50's Menace issue had a nondescript foreign spy changed to an agent of HYDRA.
  • Some of the more recent releases of Golden Age DC Comics titles have been altered to remove content that would be deemed offensive today. For example, certain editions of Wonder Woman were edited to remove offensive caricatures of African-American and Japanese characters.
  • The collected editions of the New 52 Teen Titans volume got hit with a few of these:
    • All references to Tim Drake having been Robin were removed. Interestingly, DC left in the picture of him wearing his Robin outfit (it has an "R" as the logo, not the bird head logo that Red Robin uses - the zero issue would confirm that he wore that costume, but "always" called himself Red Robin).
    • A cameo from Miss Martian (wearing her Young Justice costume) was removed and replaced with an image of a generic, unnamed teen heroine.
    • A line in Batwoman that had Flamebird referencing her past as a Titan and a battle with Deathstroke was also edited out in the collected edition.

    Fan Works 
  • When Durandall wants to retcon something in Kyon Big Damn Hero, it's easiest for him just to go back and change the chapters themselves. Usually, this is only applied to character names.
  • In chapter 7 of The Last Crystal Unicorn, Shimmering Ruby insults Shining Armor, calling him "retarded" behind his back. This was found to be offensive by many, so the insult was changed to "pitiful".
  • A minor example from Mass Effect Interregnum. When the game's Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC was released, it included a list of Garrus's squadmates. Several of them had been included in the fic with original names, so the characters in question were renamed to match.
  • In Sylvia The Sylveon, Moondancer's nickname was Moonie, which was meant to be a reference to early 90s Sailor Moon fans. But after the Unfortunate Implications were pointed out, the author changed it to Dancer.
  • In Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon, some characters had brown or black hair, but the author decided there was too many brown and black haired characters, so their hair colors were changed to more wild ones, the most notable being the now green haired Emiru.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet had the author discover he'd made a mistake with an Andorian minor character, giving him the wrong Andorian gender honorifics. "Sh'" is a female-analogue prefix, but the Andorian in question was male, so StarSword just went back through the first three chapters and batch-replaced every instance of "sh'Kreem" with "ch'Kreem".

    Film 
  • The Star Wars Special Editions included, along with updated special effects, various edits to connect it to the prequel trilogy. Then there was Greedo firing at Han Solo, which was done to maintain the film's PG rating. Later reissues further changed it to them both going for their weapons at the same time, The Other Wiki has a full article about the changes.
  • Director Michael Mann suppressed copies of the original theatrical cut of Last of the Mohicans after some fans expressed displeasure at removal of scenes and music from the director's cut which Mann decided he didn't like ten years later. Various character-driven scenes were excised and action scenes added; complicating things, choice bits of dialogue were edited in, but the overall length of the film didn't change due to the volume of cuts. Altered sound design consisted of recycled bits of soundtrack, with the volume turned down. To this day, the theatrical cut is only available in Europe.
  • The original showings of Star Trek The Motion Picture had dialogue describing the VGER cloud as being "82 A.U. wide". Subsequent prints and the DVD release edited the dialogue slightly so now it is described as being "2 A.U. wide", which better fits with the established canon for how fast the Enterprise travels under impulse power over the timeframe of the movie. (Earlier video releases, such as the widescreen LaserDisc of the theatrical cut and the 4:3 extended TV cut, do retain the 82.)
  • The phone number in Bruce Almighty was not originally an example of the 555 trope; Universal digitally altered all releases after the original theatrical print because the original number turned out to actually belong to people in various area codes. Even more confusingly, although the English audio track was overdubbed to match the new number, the French dub on the DVD wasn't, no doubt leaving many Francophones confused as to why the number on screen didn't match the one read out by Bruce.
  • The extended edition film of Return of the King changed the time of day for Pippin finding Merry on Pelennor Fields from the theatre version to the DVD version, showing that Pippin had been searching for Merry for several hours rather than the few minutes implied by the theatrical version. Note that both editions have always been available on DVD.
    • The commentary track reveals that the time of day in this scene depended on whether the Houses of Healing scene was included or not, since Merry doesn't appear in it.note  And indeed, it was cut from the theatrical version but restored in the extended edition.
  • Several movies from Disney Animated Canon have had this done to them:
    • The Lion King:
      • Early plans for the movie included a musical number called "Morning Report," but this was scrapped before the theatrical release. "Morning Report" was later added to certain home editions and to the 2002 IMAX release, but wasn't included in the 3D re-release from 2011.
      • In one scene in the original VHS and LaserDisc releases, a dust cloud kicked up by Simba seems to form the word "SEX." Although the animators claimed that it actually said "SFX" (special effects), the scene still got edited in later editions.
    • Aladdin:
      • The opening song describes the Middle East as a place "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face." People understandably got pissed about the Unfortunate Implications of that line, and the line was later changed to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense."
      • Though this was evidently not changed in some foreign dubs of the movie. For instance, the Norwegian dub for this (and the next line, "It's barbaraic, but hey! it's home") is "Om barbarene misliker fjeset ditt kan de barbere bort řra - med kniv!" (lit. "Should the barbarians not like your face, they might shave off your ears - with a knife!")
      • At one point in the movie, Aladdin gets attacked by the tiger Rajah and says, "Come on...good kitty, take off and go...". Due to other, simultaneous noises (possibly Rajah snarling), it's hard to understand what he says, and some people said it sounded like "Good teenagers, take off your clothes." The line was later changed to "Down, kitty" in the DVD release.
    • Fantasia: In one scene in the original film, several young black centaurettes with donkey bodies (the one with the most screentime was nicknamed Sunflower) are seen performing menial duties for the beautiful Aryan centaurettes and for Bacchus. Needless to say, later audiences considered this unacceptable, and Sunflower and friends have mysteriously disappeared from all releases after 1969. The two lighter-skinned zebra centaurettes who attend Bacchus got some of their scenes trimmed as well, including a scene where one is trying to help the very drunk Bacchus down from a gazebo. Recent versions have also clipped a few seconds from the Night On Bald Mountain segment because of brief views of nude demons. Furthermore, Disney has cracked down on videos on the Internet showing footage of the unedited scenes, so good luck finding any evidence of the original version.
  • In the original release of Traffic, the drug czar's daughter, a teenage drug addict, attends Cincinnati Country Day School, a private prep school in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Amid protests from school administrators who objected to the association of the school with drug use, the reference to the school was scrubbed from the DVD release and TV broadcasts.
  • Original releases of The Crush have the teenage Stalker with a Crush named Darien, after a real woman the writer knew. When the real woman sued him and won, subsequent releases dubbed in the name Adrienne, with varying degrees of success.

    Literature 
  • Enders Game originally had the main character use the N-word, and depicted Russia in a different light (it was written during the Cold War). Before Orson released an edited version, he told all of his fans that if they sent their copies of Ender's Game to him, he'd send them back free copies of another, not yet released, book of his. What did Orson do with the copies he received? Destroyed them.
    • The audioplay Ender's Game Alive (released just prior to the film) is updated to use modern technology (Stilson texts someone as soon as he finds out that Ender has lost his monitor; naturally, he wouldn't do it in a novel written in 1985) and incorporating discontinuities introduced in subsequent novels and prequels (e.g. replacing a small Formic flotilla with a single scoutship, as well as mentioning that it was first spotted by a mining ship in the Kuiper belt; the attack on China was also not nuclear in nature but chemical with the Formics terraforming the land and anything on it). Also, the word "Bugger" is hardly ever used, only when someone really means to use it as a swear. Also, unlike the novel, where most the action took place from Ender's viewpoint, the audioplay dispenses with the narrator and replaces him with Talking Heads (basically, Graff talking to a subordinate or a superior of what just happened). Sound effects fill in the rest.
  • When The Lord of the Rings came out, The Hobbit was changed to agree with it about how Bilbo got the ring from Gollum. This was touched on cleverly in the text. It was implied that the version recorded in the first edition of The Hobbit was the same as the false account that Bilbo told the Dwarves and recorded in his book. Bilbo later confessed the truth to Gandalf, then Frodo learned of this from Gandalf and edited his uncle's book. Thus, the idea of Bilbo lying being out-of-character isn't dodged but made meaningful, since Gandalf found the idea of anyone giving up the ring to be very suspicious.
    • Also happened with some Elvish sentences in The Lord of the Rings itself. Some of these changes might be seen as typos that went unnoticed in the first edition, but some were clear changes.
  • Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was originally set in 1992. After Blade Runner was released, subsequent printings changed the year to 2019.
  • Clarke rewrote the first chapter of Childhood's End to avoid The Great Politics Messup. However, he does also include the original first chapter in some editions.
  • R. A. Salvatore changed some details of Drizzt's backstory in later drafts of The Icewind Dale Trilogy so as to better fit his expanded conception of the character's origins in The Dark Elf Trilogy. Specifically, the line "Two hundred years of living many miles below ground had not been erased by five years on the sunlit surface. To this day, sunlight drained and dizzied him." The prequel trilogy's timeline established that Drizzt was only in his mid-forties or so.
  • The chronologically last book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Talking to Dragons, was written first. When it was republished, some minor changes were made to make it agree with the other books.
  • Happens a lot in reprints of Enid Blyton stories, partly to change money references to decimal currency but also covering minor plot points (one novel has the characters bribing a girl with chocolate, rather than money as in the original). However, a scene in Secret Seven Fireworks where the Seven accidentally set fire to the shed where they've stored their fireworks and set them all off was rewritten to have the shed instead containing their guy (presumably because that was considered less dangerous), meaning they acquire a new guy by the next chapter and the original ending of the police giving them new fireworks as a thank you was lost. (The novel also alters all references to them buying fireworks to their parents buying them for them, to cover modern age restrictions on sales.)
  • Stephen King rewrote and expanded large portions of the first volume of The Dark Tower to "better fit in" with the later books. This included retconning all of the villains from Roland's past as the same guy. Since The Gunslinger as originally written is composed in a style unlike King's later works, and features call backs to story elements that were never expanded on in the finished work.
  • King's The Stand was originally set in 1980. Subsequent printings were set in 1985, then the uncut version in the 1990s (with references to AIDS and a few other cultural changes).
  • In one of the more famous examples in literature — at least among Trekkers — Della von Hise's Star Trek: The Original Series novel Killing Time was released and then almost immediately recalled when it was discovered that the author was a former K/S Slash Fic writer, and that this comes through blatantly in the original text of the novel. The next edition had the worst of the subtext edited out, but original copies can still be found on eBay and in used bookstores, and many K/S fans actively hunt them out.
  • Small-scale example: Any reprint of the early Eragon books now marks them as the Inheritance Cycle instead of the Inheritance Trilogy.note 
  • The previous publisher of Avalon: Web of Magic went bankrupt. In the switch to Seven Seas Entertainment, the author revised the books to avoid plot holes and ridiculous behavior.
  • The original Oompa-Loompas of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were black, and specifically mentioned to be from Darkest Africa. After numerous people pointed out the Unfortunate Implications of Willy Wonka as a slave owner, later printings changed them to the white and somewhat hippie-ish inhabitants of Loompaland. Additionally, the character of Veruca Salt was originally known as Veruca Cruz.
  • Later editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were edited to make Nearly Headless Nick's claimed age match with the age given for him in Chamber of Secrets.
    • Early editions of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets have Dumbledore tell Harry that Voldemort is the last living ancestor of Salazar Slytherin, even though the word "descendant" was obviously meant. This was of course eventually changed, but not before inspiring some humorous Epileptic Trees.
    • In the first American printing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a mistake made by Rowling's US-market editor made it so the order in which the shadows of Harry's parents come out of Voldemort's wand contradicts the order in which Voldemort said he killed them, launching a thousand Epileptic Trees. This was corrected in later editions.
    • In the original edition of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, it's a minor plot point that prefects can't take house points. However, this contradicts an earlier scene in Chamber Of Secrets in which Percy takes points off Ron. Later editions of Phoenix altered the dialogue so that the rule is that prefects can't take points off other prefects.
  • In Narcissus In Chains by Laurell K Hamilton, the hardcover version of the book contained a scene where the main character was raped. All other editions of the book have had edits made so that it's merely questionable as to how willing she was (mostly dialogue changes so that she's not flat out saying "no I don't want to.")
  • The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series underwent a major retcon of their first stories beginning in 1959. Ostensibly to remove dated slang and racist stereotypes, this led to a realization that some stories simply fell apart otherwise, so more than a few of the books were completely new stories with nothing but the title being the same.
  • A reissue of Huckleberry Finn in 2011...without the n-words. Sigh.
  • Agatha Christie's book And Then There Were None was originally called Ten Little Niggers. Then it was Ten Little Indians before that term for Native Americans fell out of politically correct language, resulting in its current title.
    • Ironically, the French title was never changed, even though it does contain the N-word too. So did Russian, although it should be noted that in Russian the word "negr" is not derogatory, but a legitimate term for black person.
  • In The Lorax there was originally a line that joked about how polluted Lake Erie was. Some environmentalists pointed out to Dr. Seuss that there were efforts to clean up the lake. So reprints have changed the Lake Erie line. It can still be heard in the Animated Adaptation however.
  • According to The Other Wiki, Superfudge, the second of the "Fudge" books by Judy Blume, was edited in later reprints to, among other things, replace references to The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and The (original) Electric Company with references to the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
  • Jurassic Park was slightly edited after The Lost World (1995) was published to remove reference to Dr. Malcolm's death, to support his retcon back into existence for the sequel.
  • In Just Me and You, the first of Mercer Mayer's "Little Critter" books, at one point, Little Critter is threatened with being spanked. This was changed in recent reprints to have him being threatened with getting a "time-out".
  • The Baby-Sitters Club was revised somewhat in later printings, as editors tried to reconcile a few inconsistencies made by Ann M. Martin and ghostwriters:
    • In the original Kristy's Big Idea, Kristy is described as wearing a skirt and blouse. As Kristy would later be established as only liking sweaters and jeans, this detail was changed to fit that. Her mother's name was also originally given as "Edie Thomas", but as Martin later referred to her as "Elizabeth", this was also corrected in later editions.
    • Karen's mother and stepfather were originally named "Sheila" and "Kendall" in Kristy's Big Day. Reprints corrected their names to be "Lisa" and "Seth", the names that Martin would settle on when writing Baby Sitters' Little Sister.
    • An early edition of one Little Sister book had Karen concoct various plans of revenge on a boy that bullied her. One idea was her saying that she'd tell him he was adopted. After parents complained about the implications of that passage, this was changed to Karen's plan being "Tell him I will never ever speak to him again".
  • Reprints of the Norwegian edition of the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren rewrite Pippi's father's title from "negerkonge" (Negro King) to "sydhavskonge" (King of the Southern Seas), due to the, well, you know what.
  • Imaro when first released in 1981 had a chapter called "Slaves of the Giant-Kings" with Fantasy Counterpart Cultures of the Tutsi and Hutu of Rwanda and Imaro incites a bloody rebellion against the Tutsi. Then in 1994 the Rwandan Genocide happened where the Hutu slaughtered the Tutsi. When author Charles Saunders finally reprinted Imaro in 2006 he removed "Slaves of the Giant-Kings" entirely, replacing it with "The Haramia". In addition, Saunders moved the chapter "The City of Madness" to the start of Imaro 2: The Quest for Cush and replaced it with "Betrayal in Blood" since in the original publication there was a large gap between "The City of Madness" and the preceding chapter while "Betrayal in Blood" bridges that gap.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Law & Order featured a mass murder at a bar called "The Velvet Room". After the owners of an actual New York bar of that name sued, the episode was redubbed to change the name of the bar to "The Vivant Room".
  • The picture of Penny & Desmond in the LOST episode "Orientation" originally showed Henry Ian Cusick with a model who was not Sonya Walger. On the DVD, the photo has been digitally altered to include Walger (and was edited for the rerun as well).
  • The re-filming of earlier episodes of Seinfeld when Frank Costanza was recast.
  • Happened a few times on Babylon 5. Generally this was done to fix a mistake that was detected almost immediately after the first airing, such as the Sheridan's old ship (the Agamemnon) opening fire on civilian transports in "Moments of Transition" (changed to the Pollux later). Also, all official releases of the original pilot "The Gathering" are the "Special Edition"; the original pilot (as originally aired) is a case of Keep Circulating the Tapes.
    • Averted with the recasting of Anna Sheridan. After Melissa Gilbert played John Sheridan's (Bruce Boxleitner, Gilbert's real-life husband) wife Anna in a pair of third-season episodes, J. Michael Straczynski considered doing a reshoot with Gilbert of an earlier second-season scene featuring Anna Sheridan (originally filmed with a different actress), but it never actually happened.
    • Interestingly enough, some refilmed footage is clearly visible, as there was a Flashback with the Other Darrin in "Z'Ha'Dum". Also lampshaded in the Director's Commentary.
  • At the beginning of Heroes Season Three episode "I Am Sylar", the "Previously On..." segment shows a scene in which Danko instructs Sylar to shapeshifter into Agent Taub for a while. However, this never actually happened "Previously on Heroes". It was, in fact, an entirely new scene that according to the writers was written and shot for the sole purpose of being placed in the recap.
  • Battlestar Galactica became infamous for including deleted scenes in its "Previously On" sequences, or just throwing in extra dialogue when a character's face wasn't visible.
  • Sons of Anarchy inserted a line in a "Previous On..." wherein the character of Cherry who had been explicitly Put on a Bus to Canada is told she will be "safe in Ireland," to set up her three episode guest appearance while the club goes to Oireland
  • The original LP for the soundtrack of Battle Fever J depicted Battle France wearing the light blue suit he wore in early episodes. The later CD version, first printed during the 1990s, changed to the white suit he wore in later episodes.
    • Episodes 1–3, 5, and 7 have two versions: the original, in which Kenji Ushio plays Hedder, and the other in which he has been replaced by Masashi Ishibashi.
  • Even the fans have complained about Glee changing facts to fit the episode.
  • At the end of the first season of Sherlock, John's Character Blog stopped dead, with increasingly worried comments from his friends, none of whom had seen him since the Cliff Hanger. When the second season revealed the cliffhanger was resolved very simply within seconds, the blog was quickly changed to fit the new events.

    Music 
  • Michael Jackson did this twice and didn't announce it. After the success of the Rock With You single - which was itself a remix, as was the B-Side Get On The Floor - the album Off The Wall was reissued with the single mixes replacing the album versions, unannounced, which remains to this day. The same thing happened with the album Bad, which had numerous differences, most notably a spoken intro to I Just Can't Stop Loving You. The 2001 remasters presented retained the revised tracklistings. Enough people kicked up a fuss about the Bad album being changed that the original mix (albeit remastered) was reused for Bad 25.
    • Michael had three changes to his albums that were announced, however - Ben had the cover changed to remove the rats (Ben is supposed to be Michael's pet rat) because they were apparently scaring kids, History was revised to contain an edited version of 'They Don't Care About Us' (due to containing the line 'jew me, kike me' which was considered offensive), and Off The Wall's cover was changed to just showing his lower half on the US pressings and the 2001 remaster because it was thought that younger fans would not realise it was the same Michael (prior to his skin bleaching and hair straightening).
      • After Michael's death, newspapers that had accused him of being a pedophile stopped doing so and praised him instead, acting like there had never been any accusations. This naturally confused their audiences, some of whom were quite vocal about it.
  • Wham's 2011 reissue of The Final (with a DVD of the video release) presented it as the 'original album' and played on the nostalgia of people who would have bought it on vinyl or cassette in 1986. However, the reissue is based on the CD release, which was released later and doesn't contain Blue (Armed With Love), the extended mixes of Bad Boys, Careless Whisper and I'm Your Man. As Blue is pretty rare on CD, this was widely seen as a missed opportunity.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • It's very common for books of newspaper comic collections to revise, edit, or just outright omit comic strips the artist disliked on first run. Since it's quite difficult to track down "original" strips as they first ran in newspapers, this is one form of media where Orwellian Retconning can be almost undetectable and thus extremely successful.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ever since the World Wrestling Federation were forced to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002, they've made sure to remove all references to the letters WWF and the "Federation". This is partly because of not being allowed to use the acronym for legal reasons, and wanting to make the rebranding as absolute as possible. Which means that older wrestlers like Randy Savage are referred to as "former WWE wrestlers", even if their runs with the company took place long before the name change, and making edits whenever a wrestler or announcer mentions "WWF" on DVD releases of pre-2002 footage. Averted on the UK licensed DVDs which, through some legal loophole, can be released unedited.
    • Averted with the release of the WWE Network, as footage from the WWF days can be found there unedited due to a licensing agreement between them and the World Wildlife Foundation.
  • Trisa Hayes had appeared in Penthouse some time prior to her surprise ECW debut as Beulah McGillicutty at ECW Hostile City Showdown 95. However, because WWE had a working relationship with Playboy at the time that the Rise & Fall of ECW DVD was released in 2004, Tommy Dreamer had to say that she had been a Playboy Playmate. For the record, Tommy Dreamer, real name Thomas Laughlin, is married to Trisa Hayes in Real Life. Yes, WWE made Tommy Dreamer lie about what magazine his wife had appeared in prior to her ECW debut.
  • When Sid Justice eliminated Hulk Hogan at Royal Rumble 1992, fans cheered and Gorilla Monsoon responded as if it was fair. The home video version was edited to remove the cheering, and Monsoon actually re-recorded his commentary to cast Justice in a negative light.
  • Normally, the debut of a company's new logo would be greeted with much fanfare. However, when WWE decided to update their "scratch" logo into a more modern, sleeker logo, there was not one mention of the new logo made on-air, despite it replacing the old WWE logo on almost everything (microphones, stage, announce table, backstage interview area, turnbuckles, the patch on the referees' shirts, etc.). Making it doubly bad is the fact that the supposedly "new and improved" WWE Championship was to be revealed that night, but what was revealed was a belt exactly the same as the old WWE Championship, only with the new logo instead of the old. So in Kayfabe, no one exactly knew what was so new and improved about the belt, as it was never mentioned by anyone on air.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Given the nature of BZPower, wherein players can edit their own posts at will, this has taken place every now and then in Role-Playing Games such as Alpha Team: Mission Deep Freeze RPG or Dino Attack RPG, usually when a player is adding in a piece of information he originally forgot or when a player is decanonizing something he wrote. For example, in Dino Attack RPG, Dr. Cyborg's revelation of Pterisa's origins vanished without a trace after Andrewnuva199 asked avmatoran to retcon it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • When Warhammer40000 ended the Squat race, reprintings of books where Squat characters appear had them either deleted or turned into humans or Ratlings.
  • Done humorously with the Paranoia franchise, where the much-reviled fifth edition of the game has been officially declared an unproduct.

    Video Games 
  • While most content updates in City of Heroes add new missions and story arcs, there are occasions when the developers will go back and redo existing missions that were badly designed (making them very unpopular with the players) or that are now contradicted by changes to the game lore. Recently the infamous Positron Task Force was completely rewritten from the ground up after years of overwhelming negative feedback from players.
    • This also can happen frequently with the Mission Architect feature as it is possible for the author to edit a story arc that they have published without taking it down and republishing. The arc still has the same ID number and player ratings, but can very well have been changed into a completely different story if the author so chose.
      • Sometimes this is necessary as a exploit fix can have unintended consequences for authors who didn't try to write farming missions and now have to make changes to fix their damaged story arc.
  • A couple of changes were made to Portal for its ARG leading to the announcement of Portal 2. Specifically the ending was altered and a series of radios were added to the game with an accompanying achievement to find the locations where all the radios received a signal.
  • Fallout 3 had some changes made by its "Broken Steel" DLC (and by extension the Game of the Year Edition). Mostly to address complaints about the ending.note  Although you still have to do it yourself if you want to be "good".
    • The last part was probably due to them not wanting to have Ron Perlman record another ending cutscene for this eventuality.
  • The later ports of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake renamed many of the characters specific to those two games. The re-releases of Metal Gear 2 in particular also changed all of the realistic character portraits into ones drawn similarly to the style of Metal Gear Solid illustrator Yoji Shinkawa, since all of the portraits in the MSX2 version were trace-overs of real-life celebrities (which could've led to Konami facing legal problems if they were kept due to the unlicensed use of people's likenesses). Even the Japanese Virtual Console release of Metal Gear 2, which is otherwise an emulation of the MSX2 game, uses the Shinkawa-style portraits.
  • The 10th anniversary re-release of the Wesker's Report documentary removed the line in which Wesker claims that Sherry is in his organization's custody. This was meant to foreshadow a plot development for a future game that was later abandoned.
  • The GBA re-release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past rewrites Link's uncle's dying speech to remove the infamous "Zelda is your..." line. A Mythology Gag has a Bonus Boss give the line right before attacking.
  • Originally, the Gerudo symbol in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a crescent moon and star, very similar to the symbol of the Islamic faith. Also, the text of the Ominous Latin Chanting in the Fire Temple was originally an Islamic prayer. Both were changed in subsequent releases of the game to remove the Islamic references entirely.
    • To maintain the "E for Everyone" rating instead of getting bumped to "T for Teen", Ganon's blood shed during end-game cutscenes was changed from red to green.
  • Submachine 1: The Basement is actually the third version of the original Submachine. Amongst the changes are the inclusion of a teleporter device and a Wisdom Gem, both fundamental concepts in the later Submachine games.
  • As with the anime/manga example above, any attempt to Macekre a video game from Japan, South Korea and Europe could be seen as an attempt at this by some game players.
  • Mass Effect 3, like the Fallout 3 example above, altered and expanded on its ending after major fan backlash. Most of the changes were done to avoid any Inferred Holocausts, make the endings more bittersweet than unintentionally bleak, and give a bit more insight into how the final choice shaped the universe. The reaction to these changes were mostly positive. The Leviathan DLC goes even further and has the eponymous Leviathans mentioning the AI behind the Reapers, the Catalyst, which has relatively no build up in the main game.
  • Nintendo received criticism over Jynx's design in the Pokémon franchise over her similarity to the blackface stereotype. (This was not intentional—Jynx is based on the ganguro subculture in Japan.) Nintendo resolved this issue by changing Jynx's face from black to purple, including promptly replacing any images of Jynx with a black face with new artwork where her face is purple wherever possible. You can only find goods featuring the old Jynx in objects released before 2000.
  • Averted in Grand Theft Auto IV, leaving many players confused. In the main story, Niko tangles with a biker gang called The Lost, and ultimately kills one of them by chasing him down the subway tracks on a motorcycle. He is a white, bearded biker stereotype. In the addon Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, The Lancer Jim dies off-screen and it is stated to be the same death, except that Jim is a black man.
  • Star Trek Online: After the Legacy of Romulus Expansion Pack launched Cryptic started going back through the early missions and tweaking them, culminating in season 9's complete rewrite of the Borg and Undine episodes as one episode titled "Borg Advance". While most of the changes were fairly well-thought-of, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" (formerly "The Return") had what was previously an ordinary Romulan Star Navy captain fiddling with Borg tech get retconned to be a Tal Shiar officer who was experimenting on Romulan Republic POWs. This made the moral choice (left over from the previous version) of what to do with her and the Borg tech she's experimenting on no actual choice at all.
  • Star Fox 64: The Nintendo 64 version depicts the Star Fox team with robotic legs, like the original game and the first two Super Smash Bros. games. The 3DS version turns them into silver-gray boots, giving the team organic legs like later games in the series.

    Web Animation 
  • The Bonus Stage episode "2 Fast" has a Choose Your Own Adventure-style ending, and included in the options is "Creepy Ending". Originally this involved Elly and a female Joel waking up in bed with Phil. Apparently fans were disturbed by this, as Joel says in the following episode, so Elly's mouth was removed and the figures were changed into puppets.

    Web Comics 
  • Not that Orwellian, but Busty Girl Comics changed a few words in an early strip to try to be more inclusive of diverse feelings on busts. Since Tumblr archives previously uploaded versions of images, you can compare the original to the more cautiously framed version.
  • 8-Bit Theater: Thief's uniform turns red shortly after he changes class to Ninja. Then it turns black to make him more like a traditional ninja (and because Fighter and Red Mage are already very, very red). When the other warriors call him on it, he claims it's always been black... and when that comic went up, the author went back and edited every single page in which Thief is wearing the ninja uniform (even some very old pages, where Thief is wearing the ninja uniform in Flash Forwards or Imagine Spots), to make that uniform black.
  • There is a device in City of Reality that is made to do this and this alone. It is brought to Reality by a thief who uses it to predict the every move, and later used by Hawk, who uses it to be "perfect" at everything, until it falls back into the thieves hands. Later, it turns out it was causing freak storms threatening Reality.
    • The same device is later used by the reader in a dark Choose Your Own Adventure in Magic World.
    • And then used by saboteurs trying to steal crystals from all the worlds at once. The first time, they failed due to the high security, but the second time around, they knew exactly what to do. The characters are still dealing with the fallout.
      • This last one is the only one that was actually retconned into the comic, with the original version available off-site. All other instances were treated as regular Mental Time Travel.
  • Schlock Mercenary quotes from a book called The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. Originally, this was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, until Franklin-Covey, owners of the actual Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, noticed and sent what can only be described as a very polite cease and desist notice. Luckily, Tayler took it in stride since the change meant he could finally make Merch based on the quotes without a potentially harsher letter.
  • The print release of early chapters of El Goonish Shive changed a few things (which were later changed in the archive as well) away from throwaway gags and/or revealing too much. Such as Grace's reaction to Tedd's invitation (first version didn't fit her Innocent Fanservice Girl character), Susan's reaction to meeting "Ellen" fElliot (first version sounded really out-of-character, with Susan calling "Ellen" "cutie") and a conversation between the same fElliot and Sarah.
  • In Erf World, Bogroll's special ability was Regeneration and Deletionism was a school of magic for Naughtymancy along the Numbers axis, but was completely changed in the archives and books so that Bogroll now had Fabrication and Naughtymancy/Numbers was now "Retconjuration". Deletionism and Regeneration now only exist in the memories of fans (and the wiki). Word Of God said that this was because he hadn't thought the special abilities system through at that point.
  • Starslip was originally called Starshift Crisis, but copyright issues with StarShift: The Zaran Legacy caused the starshift (the in-universe transportation method) to be retconned as the "starslip", and all references in the archives were changed.
  • The author of Meaty Yogurt had previously written another comic featuring a character with an odd eye. After feeling that an eye scar in Meaty Yoghurt was too reminiscent of this character, she redrew all the character's appearances with a lip scar instead.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, a few bits of dialogue in the first two chapters were quietly changed, a year or two after they first went up. For example, on this page, "homme de fer" was changed to "tin man" because Tom thought the French was gratuitous. Oddly enough, some further changes were made for the first volume of the print edition, but these weren't incorporated into the online archives.
  • Homestuck. Andrew Hussie stated that the playable human characters are supposed to be a-racial, so readers could imagine them as any race they prefer. When a reader pointed out an old page on which one of these characters was referred to as a "white rapper", Hussie went back and replaced the word "white" with gibberish. note  He later changed it back.
    • Occasionally panels are posted with unintentional errors, which are quietly corrected by the author shortly afterward. For example, when the Bec's Head Base first appeared it had the troll's Sgrub logo. It was quickly changed to the standard Sburb logo. The Sufferer's death was initially depicted with less detail, and soon had more muscles and lines showing the cut of his clothes added. Another example was in a flash where the deceased Nepeta was shown without the Prophet Eyes of dead characters. This was also corrected, dashing hopes of a resurrection. Amusingly the opposite happened in a flashback panel where two characters that were alive at the time of the flashback were shown with Prophet Eyes - again, this was fixed.
    • Overlapping with Cut Song: A dispute with a (now former) member of the music team caused a few existing flash animations to be re-done with new music. In another example, a composer had his songs removed from the fifth music album after he was caught plagiarizing. It happened again when a winner of the fan music contest did the same thing.
    • Another race incident happened after one of the a-racial human characters hallucinated being explicitly Caucasian, to the alarm of another character. This was initially done deliberately by the writer to poke fun at the issue, only for the event to draw a bunch of controversy, forcing him to rewrite the line as "peachy" and losing the impact.
    • And a huge one recently with John reaching through a hole in the universe and poking his arm into a number of past panels and even a couple of flashes - all of which now have his arm inserted into them if you go back and check.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja's "Issue One Half" and "There Is A Raptor In My Office" originally had Doc dealing with a villainous Ronald McDonald and the McDonald's corporate empire. "AWOL MD" has him showing up again as Donald McBonald - going from Enemy Mime to straight-up Monster Clown as a result - and both the previous issues were altered to feature "McBonald's" references.
  • Invoked but averted when Bedivere stops being Gender Flipped in Arthur, King of Time and Space; the characters say it'll only happen as long as no-one expects the management to go back and redraw all the previous strips s/he appeared in.
  • John Troutman has been very careful to expertly hide his earlier comics (except for Vigilante, Ho! and the second-incarnation Sporkman strips) from the Internet, to the point that the FAQ for Mary Elizabeth's Sock has a question of whether the characters have been seen before, to which he responds that some of them have been in Lit Brick and Sporkman (neglecting to mention nearly all were in, and most originated in, Basil Flint, P.I., Andiewear, Felicity Flint, Agent From H.A.R.M., Flint Again, and/or Flat Feet and High Heels).
  • Ménage ŕ 3 experienced an unusual retroactive adjustment, in that it became less censor friendly, when the creators got tired of having to apply a Scenery Censor to the strip's extensive nudity, and went back over early strips adding nipples and such.

    Western Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, an Ascended Extra known affectionately among fans as Derpy was given a scene which not only made her Fan Nickname Ascended Fanon but also gave her a speaking line. However, due to the voice actress thinking Derpy was male, she was given a deep voice which, given Derpy's role as The Ditz and the implications of her name, sounded like a Simpleton Voice. The episode became a Missing Episode for a while, and when it returned to iTunes and The Hub, she was given a voice with less Vocal Dissonance and the line referring to her as "Derpy" was edited to take out the name (though The Hub's closed captioning wasn't updated to reflect the change).
    • It's worth mentioning that those who bought and downloaded the episode from iTunes early on (for example, those with a Season Pass) have the original version of the show.
      • Those who have the Friendship Express DVD also have the original version of the show.
  • In the original cut of the 1933 Disney short, Three Little Pigs, The Big Bad Wolf attempts to trick the pigs into letting him into the brick house by disguising himself as a stereotypical immigrant Jewish peddler, complete with skullcap, beard and exaggeratedly big nose. In 1948, the studio reanimated the scene so that the wolf was now disguised as a Fuller brush salesman. However, he still had a Yiddish accent. In subsequent prints, especially for TV, the audio was overdubbed to give him a generic "dumb guy" voice.

    Other 
  • The original Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Theme Parks was refurbished to include characters from the film adaptations, and even rerecorded dialogue for several of the ride's original characters referencing Jack Sparrow. Fan reaction was mixed.
  • It's been said, in fact, that one of Walt's motivations for building Disneyland in the first place was that he regretted not being able to change his movies after they were released, but a theme park has lots of opportunities for renovations. Whether he meant that recalling and re-editing his films would have been financially unfeasible when he had new movies that needed worked on, or that ethically he just couldn't bring himself to do it, is uncertain.
  • There are a few rather infamous images from the USSR featuring Stalin and others... then fewer and fewer 'others' as those people (or the nations they hailed from) fell out of favor, until only Josef Stalin remained.


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