"Rumors are swirling about another Gremlins film. It probably won't be called Gremlins 3, but it'll have Zach Galligan in it as Billy Peltzer. He'll have a cameo warning a new kid about the Mogwai and the three rules. So it's not a remake, it'll technically still exist in the Gremlins universe and time, but— Who are we kidding, folks?!"You have a classic property, one that's made money hand over fist for you for years, perhaps decades, but now, it's getting a little long in the tooth. Maybe it's dated, maybe recent installments have tarnished its name, maybe it's just bogged down in Continuity Lockout. Perhaps it's just not going well. Or maybe the creators just want to try something new. Resetting the thing to bring in new fans sounds like a good idea, but you're afraid the backlash among existing fans to a Continuity Reboot will be epic in its drama. What to do? Well, instead of starting over, dip into the Troper Well and pull out a way of explaining you're not really tossing away the classic stories the fans love. No, this is an Alternate Timeline. Or a sequel set sometime after the events of the old series that mentions the things fans loved but quietly neglects or Retcons the things not so beloved. Perhaps it's a Retool where significant parts of the setting are changed and even most of the main cast are replaced going forward. Or a prequel, or a Time Skip, or even a separate adventure taking place somewhere else so you have an excuse not to mention the events of the original series, while not denying they took place. Contrast Continuity Reboot, where the old story and continuing plot lines are explicitly abandoned and started over. Not to be confused with a Soft Reset.
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Anime and Manga
- Hanaukyō Maid Tai. The series was first animated in 2001, but production problems caused its premature ending. It was rebooted in 2004 as Hanaukyō Maid Tai: La Verite. The second series takes place in the same continuity, with a number of differences (both small and large) between it and the first show.
- Seven Heavenly Virtues: While the show takes place in the same timeframe as Seven Mortal Sins, it doesn't follow the same continuity nor does it continue the same story. Instead, it focuses on an entirely new story with a softer tone.
- Captain Atom: Armageddon helped serve as a soft reboot for the WildStorm Comics universe.
- Spawn: Following Al Simmons' return, the comic instituted a massive retcon that ignores everything that happened between Al defeating Malebolgia and his suicide.
- Technically, this happens whenever a new writer is chosen for a long-running comic book, such as the ones featuring Superman and Batman. When the previous writer finishes his/her run, they try to conclude as many plotlines as possible so that the new writer can have a clean slate to work with. While the new writer is not obligated to reference anything from the previous run, they occasionally do so if it compliments the current story.
- The rebooted Star Trek films take place in an alternate timeline, with Old!Spock's presence confirming that everything that happened in the original Star Trek universe still happened, and Word of God that said original timeline still exists, albeit one where Old!Spock disappeared into a black hole.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past undoes some of the events in the first few films, with the Close Enough Timeline at the end. In addition to looking like just a continuation of previous films instead of a Bad Future, Jean and Scott are still around.
- Superman Returns acknowledged the events of the Christopher Reeve films Superman and Superman II but ignored the far less liked subsequent sequels.
- The Highlander universe...oy.
- Highlander III: The Sorcerer was a direct sequel to the first film, and ignored the second and the TV series.
- Highlander: Endgame ignored the second and third films, and attempted to merge the first film and the TV series.
- Highlander: The Source was intended to follow on from the TV series, didn't contradict the events of Highlander: Endgame (but doesn't acknowledge them either), and again ignores the second and third films.
- Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are prequels to the Aliens universe, altering some long-held ideas about the setting.
- An upcoming Predator film is planned to acknowledge the events of the first two films, bringing aspects from Predators regarding clan warfare between rival factions. Because Alien vs. Predator isn't considered canon with the individual Alien and Predator series, its two films will be ignored.
- Jurassic World recognizes the events of Jurassic Park but glosses over or outright ignores the events of the sequels.
- Batman Forever nominally takes place in the same continuity as the Tim Burton Batman films, but it completely changes the design of Gotham, does away with Michael Keaton as Batman, introduces a new cast and goes over Batman's origin after Batman (1989) did the same.
- Alfred's and Gordon's actors, still stay on for the next two movies.
- Transformers: Age of Extinction follows a very conclusive victory in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but in the interim Human/Autobot relations were severed and a CIA official sponsored a Private Military Corporation to hunt down all Decepticons still on Earth, but secretly targets Autobots as well and they go into hiding. This scenario creates new human protagonists and justifies the massive change in the Autobot cast as well.
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation was made in response to the lukewarm reaction to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which was considered too high-tech to the point of lacking tension (everyone had a tool or vehicle to solve the problem), too many characters showing up and dropping out of the narrative and relied too much on slick CG for their action scenes. Retaliation grounds the series by having the main team killed off in the first act and reducing the cast to a handful of people who are short on supplies and resources, officially disavowed, and labeled as rogues and terrorists. It still technically follows Rise of Cobra, but the tone of the movie is MUCH different.
- The official trailer for Ghostbusters (2016) implied that the new film would be a soft reboot of the series ("30 years ago, 4 scientists saved New York") but the film ultimately turned out to be a complete Continuity Reboot and the line was referring to the actual movie, not the story.
- The Creative Closing Credits for 22 Jump Street implies this of the film's relation to the 21 Jump Street TV series, where the current Jump Street officers meet the original cast, thirty years later, calling them "legends."
- The James Bond films also used to work like this. Each time the lead actor changed, the series was effectively soft-reboooted. It helps that the series, for the most part, never really had much continuity to begin with, beyond the occasional Continuity Nod to the death of Bond's wife Tracy. All this changed with Casino Royale (2006), which was not only a hard Continuity Reboot, but also established a firm continuity for the franchise that has persisted all through the Daniel Craig era so far.
- The Force Awakens, which takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, is the first Star Wars film since Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney, and the first film to feature no involvement from George Lucas, is considered this. The inimitable Mr. Plinkett, who provides the page quote, discusses this at length.
- Thor: Ragnarok is basically this to the previous two Thor movies. Instead of the mostly-High Fantasy take, it's a Planetary Romance that owes a lot to 1980s sci-fi, particularly Flash Gordon. Thor spends very little time on Earth, so the human supporting cast is nowhere to be seen. After two movies of A God I Am Not, Thor / Loki / Hela outright call themselves the gods of Thunder / Mischief / Death (which is more in line with the comics).
Taika Waititi: We basically just destroyed everything that went before. It's what Ragnarok is: the death of the world and its rebirth. This film is a rebirthing of all those characters. It's like a reboot, but we didn't have to recast.
- Highlander: The Series was intended as a prequel to the first film Highlander, but eventually was assumed to be a sort of Alternate Continuity, and ignored Highlander II: The Quickening. Highlander The Raven was set in the same continuity.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer the series takes up where the film leaves off, except that it considers the original screenplay to be canon and not the actual film.
- The second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century changes the setting from the main cast being on Earth and defending it from assorted threats to basing it on a starship and taking on a more Star Trek-style show, with essentially no mention of any events from the first season.
- Star Trek: Discovery is set in Star Trek's "prime universe" ten years prior to Star Trek: The Original Series, making it an interquel to TOS and Star Trek: Enterprise. However, it uses considerably different aesthetics from both series.
- Doctor Who has had many over the decades, often coinciding with a change in showrunners and/or Doctors.
- After the BBC mandated more Earthbound stories, the Third Doctor's tenure saw him exiled to Earth, where he turned from a cosmic hobo to a debonair action hero alongside an elite military commando team called UNIT. Copious location shooting, spy thriller plots, and excellent stunt work gave the show an entirely different feel to the "base under siege" stories of his predecessor, the Second Doctor.
- Season Eighteen, the beginning of John Nathan-Turner's reign as executive producer, immediately distanced itself from the previous season (edited by Douglas Adams, with all his usual silliness) with a long, somber shot of the Fourth Doctor sitting morosely on a beach. Cold, rigid, high-minded scientific concepts and a solemn, brooding atmosphere pervaded Tom Baker's last season in the role, a far cry from the goofy piss-taking of "The Horns of Nimon" just one season previously.
- In one fell swoop, "Remembrance of the Daleks" completely undid years of increasingly lackluster stories with a well-plotted, tightly-written homage to the series' twenty-fifth anniversary and immediately redefined the Seventh Doctor from a bumbling incompetent who hangs off ledges for no apparent reason into a dark and mysterious figure who walks like a man and talks like a god.
- When the show came back in 2005, showrunner Russell T. Davies could adequately be described as a man utterly terrified of continuity running amok, like in the 1980s. Information about the Doctor and the show's lore was tightly controlled and parceled out in the tiniest possible portions. When it became an enormous hit, he relaxed this policy (cf. "School Reunion"), but never truly abolished it. Even the montage of previous Doctors in "The Next Doctor", the most 'for the fans' moment in his tenure, was included solely on the suggestion of producer Julie Gardner, whose judgement he trusted specifically because she was not a classic Whovian.
- Both Davies and Moffat also rapidly established potential Cosmic Retcon "crisis" events during their eras to explain why things they didn't like in continuity might not have happened any more — the Last Great Time War for Davies, and the destruction and recreation of the entire universe in "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang" for Moffat.
- Hawaii Five-0 (the 2000s series) to Hawaii Five-O (original). They're in the same continuity as each other—a Killer of the Week from the previous series appeared in a straight-up sequel episode in the reboot—but the fact that both series' main casts are named the same is left unmentioned.
- Strike Back had two of them: seasons 2 (Project Dawn) and 6 (Retribution) both started from scratch with new characters and plotlines.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda is set in a different galaxy from the Milky Way, over 600 years after the original trilogy, with the characters having gone into stasis at about the same time as the events of the second game and in intergalactic space during the events of the third game, allowing the creators the opportunity to not have the climactic events of the Mass Effect Trilogy (and the different endings and player choices) be referenced. This is lampshaded at one point when a news broadcast mentions they've sent a message back to the Milky Way but haven't heard a response yet.
- Thief (2014) appears to reboot the universe, but several details make an allusion to to the original games (including a very heavy implication that this game's Garret is the Identical Grandson of the previous title's protagonist) taking place in the past.
- Super Title 64 Advance games did this a lot:
- Super Metroid continues the continuity of the first two games, but is essentially a remake of Metroid, taking place on the same planet, with roughly the same plot and the same boss enemies, with a few new surprises.
- Contra 3: The Alien Wars is basically a remake of Contra with updated graphics and new mechanics. The final Boss Rush of the game is even a compilation of several bosses from the first two games.
- Mega Man X takes place in a Distant Future which acknowledges the events of the first series, but has a very different plot and an all new set of characters.
- Fallout and Fallout 2 were both set in post-apocalyptic California and tended to be focused primarily on the issue of survival in a world after nuclear war. Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 are set significantly later, have more focus on the Retro Universe setting and indications that the pre-Great War era was, in some senses, a Crapsack World, and instead of showing people just trying to eke out an existence show civilization rebuilding with the major conflicts not being simple survival but what type of societies will emerge.
- Persona 3 can be considered this to the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. Persona 3 was the game that introduced many of the elements that the series would continue to use going forward; the protagonist being a wildcard and assigned the Fool Arcana, Igor being the in charge of the Velvet Room, Social Links, and emphasis on the day-today school life of the protagonists. In-Universe, the first two games of the series are rarely referenced, leading to 3 effectively being the "first" game in the modern Persona storyline.
- The Soul Series has Soulcalibur V, which jumps ahead 17 years later, replaces many of the regular characters with their successors, and features a new storyline. In fact, the game's director, Daishi Odashima, originally wanted it to be called Soul Edge II, in order to mark a new direction for the franchise. Unfortunately for Odashima, said "new direction" did not take with fans at all. As a result, [[Soulcalibur VI the next installment]] is a planned return to the original setting.
- Divinity: Original Sin is this to the Divinity games, but in contrast to other examples of this trope, it actually is set further in the past. As this timeline shows, Original Sin is set in 4 AR, the first game in the series (Divine Divinity) is set in 1217 AD. Thus, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is closer to the other games than this one.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Long time veterans of the series were critical of the 200-year Time Skip between Oblivion and Skyrim, after the first four games in the main series (as well as the Dungeon Crawler spin-off Battlespire) all took place over a span of roughly 34 years. This essentially made the game act like a soft reboot, while still being able to fit into the timeline.
- The series got around this with its other spin-off games, Redguard (an Action-Adventure game with few RPG elements) and The Elder Scrolls Online (an MMORPG) by having them set several centuries before the main series but still fitting neatly into the established timeline of the series.
- Pokémon has attempted this twice, though Game Freak typically backpedals soon after and starts referencing the older games again.
- The first occurred with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Unlike Pokémon Gold and Silver, which featured many returning characters and Pokemon from Pokémon Red and Blue and even allowed you to visit the setting of those games after finishing the main quest, Ruby and Sapphire featured a whole new region, Hoenn, that was disconnected from the previous two. Of the roughly 200 Pokemon available, only a minority were from the first 2 generations. On top of all that, thanks to technical limitations you couldn't transfer Mons from the previous games. This provoked a strong negative reaction from much of the fanbase, which prompted Game Freak to rectify the situation by creating remakes of Red and Blue that could connect to Ruby and Sapphire, making many of the older Pokemon available again and tying the newer games back to the rest of the series.
- The second was Pokémon Black and White. This time only newly introduced Pokemon were available during the main quest, and the new region, Unova, was even farther removed from the previous ones than Hoenn was. note While this didn't provoke the same level of backlash that Ruby and Sapphire did at first, it was still jarring to many fans and Game Freak has taken care to include many nods to previous generations in the games released since Black and White.
- Star Ocean essentially did this with the third game, then became Non-Linear Sequel after that. The first two games (plus the spinoff) in the series take place within the span of 25-30 years, everything after that is either in the distant future or in the case of Star Ocean: The Last Hope in the distant past.
- The Fire Emblem series has multiple universes, and while direct and non-linear sequels do exist, there has been an essential "main" timeline (Fire Emblem Archanea & Fire Emblem Gaiden, Fire Emblem Jugdral, and Fire Emblem Awakening). Interestingly enough, this has happened twice within that timeline. Fire Emblem Jugdral is set in the distant past, while Fire Emblem Awakening is set in the distant future. Being set in the distant future allows Awakening to have a ton of call backs and mythology gags to Archanaea, Gaiden, and Jugdral all at once, whereas Jugdral's only ties to Archanea are within the lore.
- Shantae: Half-Genie Hero: Pirate's Curse brought the series to a pretty conclusive ending, with Shantae finally becoming a full genie—but WayForward couldn't just not make games with their mascot! As a result, Half-Genie Hero starts off with this change undone; all of the main characters are still there and act more or less the same as they always have, but the plot has largely reverted back to where things were in the first game, with Shantae being a half-genie (it's even in the title!). To cap it off, the first level of the game is a semi-remake of the intro stage from the original game. One of the Scuttle Town villagers hangs a lampshade on this by way of Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
- Armored Core Nexus is ostensibly a sequel to Armored Core 3 and Silent Line, but it's really more this. The game starts a new story arc concluded in Last Raven and major concepts such as the Controller, IBIS and Layered are ignored. None of the characters from the previous two games reappear, leaving the corporations Crest, Kisaragi and Mirage as the only story elements linking both halves of the Armored Core 3 line together. On a gameplay level, the game did major-enough changes to the mechanics and part balancing that transferring the credit balance and parts acquired is not possible, something atypical for non-numbered Armored Core games.
- Killer Instinct: Due the last game being released way back in 1996, the 2013 game for Xbox One went for this trope to avoid Continuity Lockout for the benefit of newcomers to the franchise. While the 2013 has been frequently referred to as a reboot, certain story threads of the prior games are still acknowledged, such as the nature of Jago's tiger spirit It was actually the spirit of Gargos and Jago and Black Orchid being half-siblings. Most notably, the character Tusk is revealed to be an ageless immortal, meaning, he is the same exact character as the one from the second game (set in the prehistoric past due to Time Travel) rather than being a Legacy Character (as is the case for Kim Wu and Maya Fallegeros).
- Puyo Puyo went through this shortly after Compile lost the series to Sega for good. Sega established an all-new setting and all-new characters, while invoking alternate dimensions to retain original protagonists Arle and Carbuncle and also leave an out for them to reintroduce the old cast. (Which they indeed took advantage of starting with Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary.)
- Sonic Forces references previous titles while at the same time leaving out a lot of things from previous games. Most blatantly there are no humans besides Eggman. There's a world war going on but G.U.N. is nowhere in sight and there aren't even minor human NPCs anywhere. Instead, for the first time in the games, we have Funny Animal minor characters appearing. The game also doesn't include some previous areas such as Station Square and instead takes place near a nondescript "City".
- Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney was meant to be this for the Ace Attorney series, set after a Time Skip and starring new protagonists. Executive Meddling demanded that Phoenix be in the game, however, and despite having been disbarred in-story he ended up becoming a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad to Apollo's character development and personal arc. The next two games brought back more and more of the old characters, while still managing to give Apollo and the new cast more development than they had in their debut game.
- Dai Gyakuten Saiban also does this to the series, being set over 100 years in the past (in Meiji Japan and Victorian London) and starring new protagonists, with very minimal connections to the original series.
- After two games and an anime set in the same universe, New Danganronpa V 3 is set in an alternate universe with a new cast of characters. In a twist, the pre-reboot games still exist in the new timeline... as works of fiction.
- Magick Chicks: It was originally intended for readers to be able to pick up the series without needing to read its parent comic, Eerie Cuties. But after two major crossover arcs, along with characters from both comics making appearances in the other and certain events overlapping, the two became so entwined, that it was no longer possible. Which eventually lead Gisčle Lagacé and David Lumsdon (the co-writers of both series) to do a soft reboot to help newer readers.
- This trope was used as a nickname for the And Now For Something Completely Different shift in End Town from Albert and Gustine to Wally and Holly.
- My Little Pony G3 had a reboot near the end which fans dub the "Core 7" reboot. It's obvious in both the toyline and Animated Adaptation as most ponies besides the titular seven were scrapped entirely. The animated specials pushed most of the major ponies to background roles. Rainbow Dash also received a personality overhaul and her accent changed from British to American.
- The Powerpuff Girls (2016) serves as a soft reboot of The Powerpuff Girls. The girls are still heroes, the old villains are still around, but Pokey Oaks Kindergarten is torn down early in the show and the girls are sent to Midway Elementary School (apparently it's a K-12 school), the girls often fight newer foes instead of the old ones, their personalities have noticeably changed, and they now can create Hard Light constructs with little to no mention how they could.
- 2017's The Magic School Bus Rides Again takes place in a similar continuity to 1994's The Magic School Bus and seems to have featured the same events, however it also has the characters in modern times despite not aging.