Misused: Shared Universe

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gets mad about videogames
What the description is actually about: "A fictional universe is constructed by multipler writers/creative teams working independantly from each other." This is most associated with western comic books.

What it is (mostly) used for: "Two or more works are set in the same fictional universe, but the connections aren't overt/obvious."

Most of the wicks and the examples on the page itself use the "wrong" definition, with only (most of) the litterature folder following the description. With that in mind, one solution could be to change the description and move the relevant examples to a new page called Multi Creator Verse or something, if that's of any value.

edited 27th Mar '12 1:14:30 PM by Glowsquid

2 SeptimusHeap27th Mar 2012 01:16:42 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
You aren't giving evidence here. We want it before allowing TRS threads.
gets mad about videogames
I thought of doing that but then I looked up some recently created threads on this board and most of the O Ps are just "The examples are used totally wrong and we should fix it or something" without any "proof" or something like that.

I hoped I could avoid the tedious Which example is correct/misused and wick checking :s. Oh, well if I must:

examples on the page that follow the description:

* The Marvel Universe and The DCU are examples of this, with multiple monthly titles who might not even have the same creative team month to month.

* In the Savage Dragon, there is a shared universe that not only consists of the rest of the Image Universe but also creator-owned properties such as Hell Boy, Madman, and Bone have made appearances. Aside from that, Erik Larsen likes to slip in characters from the Marvel Universe and DC Universe. Often, this consists of characters showing up far in the background, being mention in passing but not shown, or having a single boot or glove visible that indicates that those characters are there but enough is concealed to avoid copyright issues.
  • Virtually all of the early Image Comics titles were set in the same universe, with the stars of any given book often making guest appearances in another. However, one of the core ideas of the company was and always has been creator ownership. This caused a Continuity Snarl no less than twice; Once, when Rob Liefeld picked up his characters and left to create Awesome Comics (though he returned after Awesome folded), and again when Jim Lee took his properties, which encompassed about half a dozen titles, and made his Wildstorm Studios into a DC imprint.

so that's:

  • most of the litterature folder (save for the last two examples)

  • about half of the comic book folder:

  • all of the fanfiction folder (which is two examples)

  • some of the "multi-type" folder

  • the "Web original" folder

examples that don't:

* Rugrats, The Wild Thornberries, and Rocket Power

so that's:

  • all of the animu/mango folder

  • all of the film folder

  • all of the videogame folder

  • all of the webcomic folder

  • all of the western animation folder

Some of the examples could be interpreted as describing both, but that's still more than half of the page that list something completely different from the description. That's pretty bad.

as for the random wick check:

Correct usage:

Unclear/no context:

Wrong usage:

good enough?

edited 27th Mar '12 2:05:06 PM by Glowsquid

I made a thread about this at Trope Talk. Look at the examples I pointed out there. Some ridiculous claims are made by this page:

  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra takes place int he same universe as The Mummy because brendan Frasier joked that his characters from both movies were related. (seriously, that's all that example was going by)
  • Buffyverse = Whoniverse because The Doctor made a pointless silly cameo in a Buffy comic.

Seriously, with examples like those, somebody can claim that this proves Sonic the Hedgehog is in the same universe as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Also, the first example of the Multi-type folder is just wrong. It talks about an example of Them Ultiverse, which is about things that don't take place in the same universe.

The various Transformers cartoons and comics were generally regarded as being in separate continuities...until Simon Furman came along. His writing in the comics claimed that the universes were parallel to each other, with Primus and Unicron existing as single entities in all of them simultaneously.
And completely crediting Simon Furman that way is kinda wrong. He did write one of the earliest stories that involved The Multiverse, but that was in 2003. The way this is written implies as if he had used The Multiverse since he started writing fro Transformers, even though that was waaay back in the 80s. More importantly, The Multiverse is a different trope, about things that are not set in the same universe.

edited 27th Mar '12 4:30:53 PM by ThatHuman

Isn't Shared Universe a pre-existing term?
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Outside the wiki, I've only seen Shared Universe used to describe works like Wild Cards or 1632, 'verses where multiple authors contribute and no one of them is considered "writing in someone else's universe".

Technically, comic book 'verses might qualify as a shared universe, but since the company owns the characters, it's not seen as the same thing.

Intercontinuity Crossovers certainly don't count, and less involved crossovers of characters or plot elements don't make a shared universe either.

edited 27th Mar '12 6:45:38 PM by Treblain

We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
I think "owned by the same company" should still count. Easier for writers to make crossovers that way. But I do agree that many crossovers don't actually indicate a Shared Universe. Example, see that Community + Cougar Town example in the live-action TV folder. It tells us:

  1. Abed fom Community has appeared on Cougar Town.
  2. Cougar Town is fiction to Abed.

Wouldn't that mean that the Abed who appeared in Cougar Town is not Abed from the Community universe? I mean, if he's appeared in that show, but says that it's not real, wouldn't that mean that the him on Cougar Town cannot be him from Community? And I have no idea how this part is even relevant:

Even better, Abed appears as an extra in Cougar Town, playing some guy in the background. So Community!Abed is an actor playing some random guy (let's call him "Chad") in Cougar Town, which is fictitious to Abed.
Because two characters played by the same actor just have to be related somehow.

edited 27th Mar '12 7:01:10 PM by ThatHuman

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Also, if two works that are nominally set in a normal, modern setting (like sitcoms) cross over, it can't be a shared universe because they aren't really set in much of a fictional universe to begin with.
We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
[up]I wouldn't say that all sitcoms cannot count. Cory in the House had a fictional president of the United States, and he appeared in Hannah Montana. A different President should count towards not being set in the real world, shouldn't it? Yeah, these Disney sitcoms don't have much to go by with "not set in the real world", but still, they're a bit of their own setting.

Then again, I don't think that crossover was very important outside of its own epsiode.

edited 28th Mar '12 5:13:43 PM by ThatHuman

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The Other Wiki lists Marvel and DC as shared universes, so I'll go with it. I prefer thinking of the non-franchise/company concept, but oh well. The status of the Shared Universe concept is sometimes an Enforced Trope due to intellectual property law.

There's always the school of thought that every single work of fiction, even the most mundane story possible, is in an entire universe divorced from reality. You can't really have that in mind when trying to figure out if something is a Shared Universe; it complicates things too much. How do you know that the same fictional character wasn't elected president in two separate fictional universes?
We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
Yeah, the possibility of one character existing in more than one universe really complicates things. The Community + Cougar Town example looks more like "one character exists in more than one universe", rather than "two shows are the same universe". What with Abed watching the Cougar Town cast on TV in one, but interacting with them in another. Even having a crossover might not establish shared continuity.

Crossovers can sometimes be non-canon anyway, especially if they're released separately from either parent work. For example, a one-shot comic instead of part of the main serial, or a made-for-TV/direct-to-video movie instead of an episode from the parent shows.

This should fall back on "Examples Are Not Arguable". If it's not made clear that something is an example, then it just doesn't count. Vague references, and crossovers that have no effect on the characters/plot/setting should be left out.

edited 28th Mar '12 7:25:51 PM by ThatHuman

I think the spirit of the trope is that different fictions are thought to exist in their own bubble until something is made (crossover, reference or Word of God) that they do exist side-by-side in the same world with each other. Whether the world is radically different from the "real" world shouldn't be a factor because we can get into arguments as to how far off reality one show may be, especially with sitcoms. I think the best example of that is the shows by Dan Schneider, especially given the multitude of crossovers in recent years.

The only example I am familiar with that doesn't really fit with the trope would be the Multi Verse example for Transformers. Brendan Fraser linking The Mummy Trilogy to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and, by proxy, the Transformers Film Series is still very much in the spirit of the trope regardless of how valid you think his input it, the example at least makes it clear HE was the one who said it.

The only thing to watch out for is seeing any Spin-Off, Poorly Disguised Pilot or established franchises (like if someone thought the Law & Order group of shows counted as the trope) sneaking in, as they don't fit the "Initially thought to be seperate from each other" idea.
[up] Thing is, with the Gi Joe The Rise Of Cobra example, Brendan Frasier was most likely joking. And the references to the Transformers movies are just vague and not really specific, as far as I can tell. Nothing concrete ties those universes together. And well, he's not a writer, producer or director, which means it's not even Word of God. He had a minor role. And it was more like a joke. Not to mention contradictory to things said by others.[1]

Seriously, if you go by things like that, then random cases of characters making a Lawyerfriendly Cameo would establish a Sharedniverse somehow.

And what do you mean by "the spirit" of this trope? If that Brendan Fraseir one counted, then what else? I do minor coloring detail for a comic book, and I can declare that somebody in the background was Peter Parker?

edited 29th Mar '12 8:43:01 AM by ThatHuman

There is a Shared Universe in the way that they can and will cross over with each other and there is a Shared Universe in which all we have is Word of God. So long as there is some sort of confirmation and not Wild Mass Guessing I don't see any harm in bringing up those kind of examples. What needs to happen is to make it very clear WHO said it and HOW valid their opinion is. No matter how much someone may argue it, I don't see any problem with an example reading like this:
  • Actor X said that Show Y and Z are part of the same universe. There is no evidence supporting or defeating the idea, so all that matters is how valid you think Actor X's opinion is on the subject.

If the inker for a comic book claims a random character is character X but it is made painfully clear they are in seperate universes otherwise, then we go with what is established by canon. If there is nothing defeating it then I still don't see a problem. Again, the manner in which the examples are presented are key, making it clear which are 100% accurate and which are only lightly implied.
[up] Even Word OF God is trivia. If it's not used in actual storytelling, then its not a trope. People randomly declaring things in a jokey manner does not a Shared Universe make. The Gi Joe The Rise Of Cobra example was neither Word of God nor "characters can cross over". It was "an actor in a minor role made a joke" and "the novelization made vague references to something that made people think of the Transformers films". No crossovers happen, and actually contradictory to something more resembling Word of God.

Why would we go by some random thing said in an interview that may have been a joke, and not even vaguely part of the storytelling? Seriously, I actually asked about this on a other forum, and the reply was:

[1]Brenden Frazer did say in an interview or two that his Joe and Mummy characters were related. However, IIRC this seemed to be something that Somers just kind of decided as a little off-the-record fantasy nod. To take it as gospel/make it part of the canon would be an EXTREME reach.

As for the TF/Joe connection... being Hasbro properties, I find a meta-reference much more likely than actually being in the same universe. Assuming for a moment that a few TF vehicles did show up, sometimes an Easter egg is just an Easter egg. A couple of cars in the background of a shot does not actually invoke all this connection that's being drawn.

In other words, it sounds like a couple of in-jokes are being turned into something they aren't.

And this applies to any time non-serious meta-references are made. If a phone booth appears as minor background detail in a setting where such a thing shouldn't exist (like say, the middle ages), that would more likely mean that somebody wanted to make a little reference, not that the work in question was actually related to Doctor Who.

While this applies to the live-action Joe and Transformers films, the 1980s Transformers and G.I. Joe (both comics and cartoon) really did have crossovers. So they have something more to go on.

edited 29th Mar '12 10:18:09 PM by ThatHuman

Clearly, this seems to basically be two or more works that cross over and share characters, settings, and the like as a matter of course, not two shows that had that one crossover that one time or random comments someone may have heard someone say at a con once.

The problem is that, while objective, it's very much a "know it when you see it" thing. We can't really put down firm limits on how much two or more shows have to share to make a shared universe, except maybe a single wiki page for the whole thing, which would basically make it an index. (Do we have a page for the Buffyverse?)

Short of that, the best thing to do may be to put in a massive cleanup, put a notice in bold along the lines of the latter half of my first paragraph, and find someone to curate the page.
And there probably needs a note that a cameo does not indicate a crossover. And that The Multiverse is an entirely different trope. Seriously, look at the first examples in the Multi-Type section.

And actual crossovers might not always count. Like the episode of Power Rangers in Space when they met the Ninja Turtles. The Turtles said that Power Rangers were fictional, so they clearly could not have lived in the PR universe, where the Rangers were well, real. Okay, perhaps that wasn't the best example.

edited 31st Mar '12 8:07:47 AM by ThatHuman

If it's actual universe hopping crossovers then it doesn't count, that's covered under either Multiverse or Alternate Universe. Shared Universe is where they exist side-by-side with no need to explain how they are interacting.
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As I see it, very few crossovers, even when reasonably in continuity, create a Shared Universe. You can fanwank that there's a shared universe due to established character or plot crossover, but it's not demonstrably so unless the stories genuinely fit together and affect the same continuity.

I removed some examples that are created by the same writer, not multiple writers or groups of writers. I left some that I didn't know or were debatable, and didn't touch "by Word of God" ones.

edited 31st Mar '12 1:24:10 PM by Treblain

We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
I agree that we should put up something like Morgan Wick's suggestion there. Not sure about the precise wording, though.

And oh look, the "Multi-Type" segment had the kind of thing I was talking about with how references don't count:

In an episode of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, a planet is shown being destroyed, as its location is "ten zero eleven zero zero by zero two from galactic zero in the constellation of Kasterborous", the exact location of Gallifrey......
Although, considering that Lost Galaxy came out before the new Doctor Who which had Time Lords as almost extinct, this is interesting in hindsight. Not actually relevant to the trope though.

edited 6th Apr '12 11:34:58 PM by ThatHuman

Dragon Writer
^ Exactly, that's just a Shout-Out, not an actual shared universe.

edited 7th Apr '12 9:52:51 AM by Stratadrake

Maybe a list of things that don't make something a Shared Universe would help the article:

  • Vague references to locations, events, characters or concepts to other works that avoid mentioning any specific names.
  • Dimension-hopping crossovers (i.e, The Multiverse)
  • Brief cameos of characters from other works.
  • Non-canon crossovers.

And so on.
[up]I would explicitly rule out canon crossovers as well, unless they reach the level of Canon Welding (in which case, they should probably be there instead of here.) That's just an Intercontinuity Crossover.

Indeed, it looks like pretty much everything in here would better suit one of the other Canon Universe tropes, except for the ones that were either explicitly designed to be a Shared Universe (the comics universes, Thieves' World), and the ones that are the equivalent of an Expanded Universe, but within the same medium as the original work (1632, Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars.)

edited 21st Apr '12 3:07:32 PM by Dor

[up] Um, Canon Welding is when two or more things were originally presented as separate, but retconned as the same continuity. Like say, Static Shock in relation to The DCAU.* If two things had been the same continuity all along, then welding is not necessary. Also, if it's canon, that means it happened. I don't get why you need to not count things that actually happened. Unless by "canon" you meant "official". But, even official crossovers don't always count as canon. For example, Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider. And Intercontinuity Crossover means "crossover between things that don't make sense together", not "crossover that doesn't follow continuity", although both can overlap.

edited 21st Apr '12 4:20:59 PM by ThatHuman

[up]Actually, Intercontinuity Crossover seems to need Trope Repair itself; while the Laconic implies "makes no sense", the actual description (mess that it is) only requires that the works be unrelated, and the examples follow that broader definition—see the paragraph beginning with "It makes quite a difference...." It's pretty much a perfect example of the dangers of Example as a Thesis. (The Shared Universe page itself also uses the broader definition.)

I think the fundamental problem I have with the current examples is that most of them aren't "multiple independent creators creating one continuity." They're "these two continuities had a crossover once." There's no attempt to maintain continuity between the works after the crossover ends, and often the events of the crossover itself are subject to Canon Discontinuity.

Basically, I think a sharper line needs to be drawn between this and Crossover, before it absorbs every crossover in fiction that doesn't make use of The Multiverse.

edited 21st Apr '12 7:55:52 PM by Dor

Page Action: Shared Universe
18th May '12 5:19:18 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
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