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Word of Saint Paul
aka: Word Of Paul
Once a work has been published to general acclaim, speculation runs rampant. What did X really mean? How could Y do that? How are we supposed to interpret Z? For some reason or another, the primary creator keeps quiet, so when someone else with at least some authoritative status to the work says something, it can be easily accepted and incorporated into the common view.

When the Word of Saint Paul contains (or is perceived to contain) mistakes or misunderstandings of the original creator, they can easily carry the germ for future debates.

The dividing lines among Word of God, Word of Saint Paul and Word of Dante are somewhat fluid, but if it can be reasonably supposed that someone has had a role in creating the work, or a close personal relation to the primary creator, then it is probably Word of Saint Paul instead of Word of Dante.

In a film or TV series, typical sources of Word of Saint Paul are the primary actors, the cameraman, the production designer, the costume designer, or the score writer. In literature, it can be the author's spouse, the editor, or the publisher.

Named for Saint Paul the Apostle, who through diligent missionary and organization work very much changed Christianity from a minor Jewish sect into a budding world religion, while clarifying or modifying lots of things about what Jesus said.

Nothing to do with the city in Minnesota.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • There isn't a firm, canonical statement from the Lyrical Nanoha production crew that Nanoha and Fate are lovers; they instead prefer to layer on the subtext, right up to the knife-edge of making it text (the most famous statement from the director clarifies their relationship to the daughter they're raising together, but not to each other). However, the voice actresses for the girls in question have directly stated that they think the two are married.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica is in much the same boat. The original writer, Gen Urobuchi, tends to either flip-flop on or ignore the issue of whether or not the series has a Cast Full of Gay, or just a lot of Bait-and-Switch Lesbians. Meanwhile, Hanokage, who wrote the manga adaptation and one of the spinoffs, and Ume Aoki, the show's character designer and one of the Quartet, are far less restrained. Independent of one another, they've written yonkoma, doujins, and omake that show the characters lusting after each other, going on dates, and even, on one memorable occasion, married. Ume even went so far as to hint at Mami/Charlotte.
  • Gundam Build Fighters earned the Fan Nickname "Gundam Valhalla" because its Mythology Porn includes countless cameos by other Gundam characters, all of whom were shown to be happy, especially those who died or suffered other unpleasant fates in their home series. Near the end of the show's run, Minami Fuji (the voice actress for Mao Yasaka) posted on Twitter, saying that the producers had told her "In the world of Build Fighters, all Gundam characters live in peace."
  • Attack on Titan has long left the exact nature of the relationship between Krista Lenz and Ymir somewhat ambiguous within the actual series. While Ymir is confirmed to have romantic feelings for Krista, the other girl's exact feelings have never been clarified. Then the anime adaptation's producer, George Wada, referred to them as a romantic couple during a convention panel. Creator Isayama Hajime, infamous for responding with non-answers, hasn't chimed in to confirm or deny this statement.

    Film 
  • Back to the Future: When asked about the origins of Doc and Marty, screenwriter Bob Gale gives two theories:
    1. That Doc was a participant in the Manhattan project, thus explaining how he retrofitted a DeLorean with a nuclear reactor. His dialogue from the film suggests that he believes nuclear war is imminent, and he has been spending years trying to invent something — anything — to blot out the atomic bomb from his resume.
    2. As for Marty, he was likely lured to Doc's laboratory simply because he was told not to venture there. The original draft explains that Marty took an interest in Doc's vinyl record collection.note 
  • Inception:
    • When interviewed about his role in the film, Michael Caine asserted that any scene that included him was one guaranteed to be in the real world. This either explains the film or makes the Mind Screw even more confusing.
    • A costume designer stated that the last scene showing Cobb's children in fact used different children from an earlier scene and they were wearing slightly different shirts, which suggests that the final scene isn't a dream.
  • In commentary on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Aubrey Plaza, who plays Julie, asserted that her character had (and possibly has) an unrequited crush on Scott, which is why she's so hostile to him. While Bryan Lee O'Malley, the creator of the original Scott Pilgrim comics, responded that Plaza was "making shit up", Edgar Wright, the director of the film adaptation, supported this view.
  • The last Harry Potter film suggests a romance (or at least a pair of reciprocal one-sided crushes) between Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, which is a widely fanon supported couple, but not one that happens in canon. Mathew Lewis, who plays Neville, asserted the two had a brief fling, but ended up marrying their canonical partners.
  • Haruo Nakajima, the original actor who played Godzilla, believes that the Showa (1955-1975) incarnation of Godzilla is female. However, according to Toho Studios, all incarnations of Godzilla to date have been male (yes, even the first remake version, which is admittedly stated in the film).
  • Johnny Depp has said that Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean has syphilis, and that he is bisexual.
  • Samuel L. Jackson has stated that in Revenge of the Sith he, as Mace Windu, beat Palpatine. The novel implies that Sidious let himself lose, and the film leaves it ambiguous.
  • Tim Curry has stated that Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Pansexual.
  • At the end of Dinner for One the two characters go upstairs and, it's implied, have sex and the actors said it was entirely innocent.
  • Blade Runner: Harrison Ford has stated that he believed Decker to not be a replicant, as being one would undercut the theme of his character rediscovering his own humanity, and turns the man vs. machine climactic battle into a robot vs. robot fight. Ridley Scott on the other hand, claims that Deckard was always meant to be a replicant.
  • George Clooney told Barbara Walters in an interview that he played Batman as gay in Batman & Robin.
    "I was in a rubber suit and I had rubber nipples. I could have played Batman straight, but I made him gay."
  • Danny Trejo has stated that the Machete Cortez in Machete is what the Machete Cortez from Spy Kids does when he's not taking care of the kids. As Robert Rodriguez intended to make a Machete movie years before he was able to, he inserted a more family-friendly version of the same character into Spy Kids in the meantime, so this is technically canonical.
  • Christopher Doohan stated on Twitter that the unnamed teleporter chief he played in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness was fan favorite Red Shirt Lt. Kyle.
  • A fan at Comic-Con asked both Joss Whedon and Tom Hiddleston what caused Loki's dark change between Thor and The Avengers. Joss said he hadn't thought of it yet. Hiddleston, however, said that they had talked about it a little, and said that Loki basically went through what he called the Asgardian version of Apocalypse Now, saying when Loki disappeared, he then spent a year alone, wandering through the proverbial jungles and dark alleyways of the universe which, combined with the pain that he endured during Thor, scarred him.
  • Brendan Fraser has said he thinks of his character from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Sgt. Stone, as the descendant of Rick O'Connell.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow asserted in interviews prior to the release of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 that, in her opinion, Tony and Pepper hadn't slept together yet. This is probably not canon, however, considering the fact that in both films they're quite clearly living together, and are shown euphemistically discussing their sex life in a couple of scenes.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Courtesy of Michael Fassbender. Magneto and Quicksilver are father and son in this universe as well; obviously neither of them is aware of it, which also ties in with the early comics. Though in the movie, Erik does a blink and you'll miss it Double Take when Peter mentions that his mom told him she knew a guy with similar powers.

     Literature 
  • In Heirs Of Alexandria, Christianity gained another early high-powered missionary and organizer in Hypatia, and thus split into two groups, based on different Words of Saint Paul: the Pauline branch and the Petrine branch.
  • Virginia Heinlein shaped a lot of how Robert A. Heinlein was viewed by regulating which of his books were published, and how, according to Frederik Pohl.
  • August Derleth shaped much of the popular understanding of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, and codified a lot of it. This is hotly contested, as Derleth split the mythos between what was basically good or bad (Elder Gods vs. The Great Old Ones) with the Elder Gods having been added after Lovecraft died. The main conflict is that the Elder Gods tend be fairly benign, while The Great Old Ones try to destroy humanity, often going away from the Blue and Orange Morality that makes up the mythos. Derleth's concept of good and evil eventually became less common, with Call of Cthulhu removing it from the 6th edition.
  • To a similar degree, that is true of Lin Carter with the work of Robert E. Howard.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch books, Andrew Robinson, who played the character Elim Garak, has filled in much of Garak's mysterious and covert past. He felt that Garak was omnisexual with interest in men and women of any species, and that Garak was particularly attracted to Bashir, whom he felt was oblivious to Garak's interest. The show's writing staff worked hard to throw this off in the show itself but Robinson's non-canon novel, based on his personal view of the character's background and personality, was so popular, it became part of the Expanded Universe and Robinson's view of the character has been adopted by the fandom as if it was canon.
  • Christopher Tolkien is often this to J. R. R. Tolkien when it comes to posthumous works. In particular, the published version of The Silmarillion is often assumed to be canon, when it is simply the most well-known interpretation of a number of unfinished and contradictory sources. On the whole, Christopher is pretty careful to separate actual Word of God from his own thoughts on paper.
  • Televangelist Wendy Alec provides a literal version of this in her Chronicles of Brothers novels. These are a very specialised sort of fantasy fiction in which ms Alec represents the Bible story as a sort of sibling rivalry between five brothers, the Sons of God. She sticks very carefully and cautiously to what is "known" of Heaven, Hell and their denizens from the Bible and related religious works - but she cannot help re-interpreting the Fall of Lucifer (the black sheep of the family) with the aid of some serious Word Of Saint Paul, maybe even a little Word of Dante creeping in round the edges. (Other televangelists have denounced her as Ungodly and Satanic for this reason.)
  • Jonathan Franzen plays this role with regard to David Foster Wallace, although much of what Franzen says is automatically rejected by Wallace's fans. However, the two authors were undeniably close friends, and they did discuss their writing (both content and methods) with each other, so it's difficult to disown certain statements by Franzen (e.g., whether or not Wallace embellished some of his non-fiction).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, several actors have spoken about their own interpretation into the character on stuff the Powers That Be are quiet about. Tom Welling (Clark Kent) has talked about the psychological effects of red kryptonite, Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan) said Chloe is too weak for the character in season two, John Glover (Lionel Luthor) said his character is supposed to be attracted to Chloe, and so on.
  • The finale of Stargate SG-1 contains a long Time Passes Montage with little to no dialogue throughout. Several of the actors involved have given their take on what happened—such as Amanda Tapping and Chris Judge saying they played their parts as if Sam and Teal'c had developed a relationship, and Michael Shanks saying the reason that Vala is crying and being consoled by Daniel in one scene is because she miscarried.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, in its entry on the Captain's Yacht, includes an out-of-universe sidebar that says "Patrick Stewart informs us the yacht is named Calypso after Jacques Cousteau's vessel", in a way that suggests that, as far as the writers of the Manual are concerned, he should know. This was never confirmed on screen, since the Enterprise-D yacht was never used (or even confirmed to exist), but was nodded to in Star Trek: Insurrection, where the yacht on the Enterprise-E is called the Cousteau.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • Captain Janeway's actress Kate Mulgrew has said she thinks Janeway is bipolar due to the character's inconsistent characterization.
      • Garrett Wang campaigned to be the first gay Starfleet officer, but the execs said no way. (Similar instances happened on TNG and ENT.) His own view is that Harry's a closeted gay man who pursues unattainable women as a means of avoiding his feelings for Tom.
  • Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on Glee, said in an interview that Blaine's last name is Anderson quite some time before it was ever mentioned on the actual show. Likely it was chosen by the writers before being mentioned.
  • In a Firefly commentary, Alan Tudyk gives a semi-serious speculation on what Wash was up to during the Unification War: he got a job ferrying supplies (for which side isn't clear), but was shot down on his first mission and spent the rest of the war in prison, where he survived Scherazade-like with his puppet shows. Many fans added this to their Fanon.
  • In Blake's 7 it is generally believed that Avon survived the events of the final episode. This is probably due to the fact that at least two different sources (an Expanded Universe novel, and the actual attempt at a continuation—spearheaded by Paul Darrow) both used this as a premise for further stories. Therefore this has a bit more traction that theories about other characters surviving, which haven't managed to rise above fanon.
  • Gaius being Merlin's uncle on Merlin. It was never said onscreen or by the creators, but Richard Wilson, who plays Gaius, said it.
  • Russell Johnson has assured us that the Professor on Gilligan's Island was intentionally meant to be asexual as the producers of the show didn't want any mention of sex.
  • Doctor Who Producer John Nathan Turner was the source of the phrase "There is no hanky panky aboard the TARDIS". It was even mentioned in a 1984 issue of Time Magazine. This makes the widespread assumption that the Doctor (especially in the classic series) is asexual more than just mere fan speculation.

    Music 
  • When Michael Tilson Thomas arranged and recorded some long neglected versions of compositions by George Gershwin, he recurred to Gershwin's brother and lyricist Ira Gershwin to understand George's original intentions in writing the music.
  • John Lennon's song-writing has often been explained and/or interpreted to the eager public by his ex-bandmates (one of them named Paul!), ex-wives, recording crew, childhood friends, etc...

    Theatre 
  • The actress who originated Patrice in 13 has said that her characters last name is Parker, though the script lists only first names for all the characters.

     Video Games 
  • A developer for Infinity Ward has stated that Captain Price from Modern Warfare is the grandson of the original Captain Price. And when Price's voice actor was asked about what happened to Price and what his motivations were, he stated that Price was put in a gulag for two years at some point after Call of Duty 4 (instead of 5 as most players assumed, meaning he was captured in 2014 rather than 2011) and that the experience left him rather unhinged and he is willing to do anything to win the war at this point.
  • The infamous retcon of the prison books in Myst also qualify. In the first two games, they were established as one-man prisons in an endless void. By the time Myst IV comes along, Sirrus and Achenar's books are transformed into fully developed Ages and their original function is vaguely explained away by Dr. Watson.
  • Daniel Cabuco, the art director and artist for three games out of five now acts as this concerning the Legacyof Kain series.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the two main writers of in-game books of Ted Peterson (who was also lead designer of the first game and lead producer of the second) and Michael Kirkbride, sometimes post new lore on the forums. While not officially canon (since most of it isn't in the games themselves), it is seen as such by the fans. A collection of the works can be found here.
  • The Harpuia gender mixup in the Mega Man Zero series was the result of this, where false information came from an official source (Capcom of America) but not the official source (the creators). For the record, he's male.
  • For the Fallout series we have the Fallout bibles, compiled by Chris Avellone before Bethesda gained the rights to the setting and made Fallout 3. These documents are a hodgepodge of early development ideas, concepts which did not make it into the game and Avellone's own pet theories, which are sometimes contradictory. Avellone himself was one of several designers for Fallout 2 and had no involvement with the first game. Nevertheless, some fans consider everything mentioned in the bibles to be canon. It probably doesn't help that the use of the term "bible" is inaccurate here; In TV land a "bible" is a brief document put together by a show's creators containing the immutable basics of the setting and characters as a guide for guest screenwriters. The Fallout bibles are not.
  • Troy Baker, the voice actor for Kanji from Persona 4 stated that he was told by the voice director to act as if Kanji were gay. This has led to a number of people, including Extra Credits, taking that as canon, even though the official Word of God is that Kanji's sexuality is deliberately ambiguous.
  • There's no official word on Wingul's sexuality in Tales of Xillia, but his English voice actor, Kaiji Tang, has said that "his is the love story in the game" and occasionally reblogs sad Gaius/Wingul fanart on his tumblr.
  • Borderlands 2: Gaige is voiced by both Luci Christian and Cherami Leigh, and both credited as such in the game's credit screens. When asked why this is, Cherami confirmed that Gearbox brought her in to redub all of Luci's lines, who they felt didn't have the "Rebellious Teenager" edge in her voice that they wanted the character to have. Gaige was a pre-order bonus character, which meant she was finished and ready to be played when the game launched. It was quickly apparent that Luci's dialogue was left in the game, and it turned out to just be a last minute oversight to switch out the dialogue. Just a simple oversight. By that time though, it was already too late, so they decided to give Luci credit and just roll with it. Cherami thinks that it's rather fitting for a girl's voice to change the more she goes crazy-mad with power.note 

     Western Animation 
  • Long before Candace and Jeremy were an established couple in Phineas and Ferb, Jeremy's voice actor commented that Jeremy liked Candace back. Of course, it really wasn't all that hard to figure out, but still.
  • Much of the staff of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is active on Twitter and deviantART, notably Tara Strong and Meghan McCarthy.
    • Lauren Faust, among other things, said that she considers Spike to have been raised by Celestia after Twilight hatched him, but is quick to clarify that anything she says after leaving the show's staff is only her personal interpretations and not to be taken as Word of God.
    • Celestia's VA Nicole Oliver stated Celestia's favorite music is '80s metal.
  • Eric Trueheart, who worked on Invader Zim, says that one story they might have used would involve Dib finding out that he was an Artificial Human created by his father, Professor Membrane. Many fans regard this as canon, and, since Dib and Membrane look alike, add a Fanon spin where he's a clone. The show was Left Hanging with several episodes unfinished, whether left as a voice recording, script or just a creator idea. Most fans consider them canon.
  • Mae Whitman has done this twice with Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. According to her, Katara got her First Kiss from Jet, and Aang and Katara did kiss in the "Cave of Two Lovers" episode when the lights went down. Grey DeLisle has also done this with Azula. According to her, Azula does, in fact, love Ty Lee. She has also made several audio recordings in Azula's voice about their romantic relationship.
  • Olivia Olson, voice actress for Marcelline of Adventure Time, has confirmed that Marcelline and Princess Bubblegum used to date.

     Real Life 
  • The Bible:
    • St. Paul is the Trope Namer, and there's a lot of debate about whether his opinions, particularly those about women, reflect those of Jesus, considering that St. Paul never met Jesus (aside from a vision) and did not meet any of the original apostles until quite far into his career, and in fact started his career as a persecutor of Christians. At any rate, the Christian community of his time, some of whom knew Jesus, did accept his writings.
    • There are also St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, who codified many of the basic tenets of the faith such as the trinity.
    • Then there are the founders and significant figures of all the other of the numerous sects and offshoots of the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox groups, as well as the sects and offshoots that don't identify with the three larger classifications.
  • Izo Iburi was this for Tenrikyo after the foundress Nakayama Mikiís death.
  • The most famous non-media example (apart from St. Paul) is probably Friedrich Engels. He worked closely with Karl Marx, and did a lot to popularise and explain Marx's theories. However, he didn't have Marx's philosophical schooling, and thus misunderstood several elements, and made those misunderstandings stick around. To Engels' credit, there was probably no one else around who could do even remotely such a good job.
  • Psychoanalyst Anna Freud was this for the ideas and writings of her father Sigmund.
  • Want to know why Friedrich Nietzsche is associated with Nazis, when he had stated that he was against antisemitism and nationalism? His sister married into the Nazi ideology and twisted his philosophy to support said ideology. Rather than interpreting his works questionably, she edited and obviously contradicted them.
  • The philosopher Socrates believed in communicating his ideas only through live discussion, so his student Plato is the one who wrote down his teachings, inevitably according to his own understanding of them.


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alternative title(s): Word Of St Paul; Word Of Paul
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