Main Alternate Continuity Discussion

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01:34:01 PM May 14th 2014
edited by
Is the thing about St Elsewhere anything other than Fan Wank and hypothesising?
01:39:01 AM Aug 18th 2013
Removed. If there's bits that DO apply, a lot of it seems to be guesswork. Doctor Who doesn't have a canon, after all.

  • When the original Doctor Who series was taken off the air, the Doctor Who Expanded Universe continued in the form of comics, and slightly later novels, then audio dramas and Web Original stories, which variously referenced, featured characters from, and often contradicted, the continuities of the other media.

    The most notorious victim of this was the Doctor's last TV companion in 1989, Ace, who in the Doctor Who New Adventures novels aged, changed, parted from the Doctor, met him again after a period spent as a Dalek-fighting Space Marine, and finally ended up as a self-styled "temporal vigilante" on a time-travelling motorbike. The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip also followed this continuity for a period until a new editor was appointed who didn't like the New Adventures. As a result, after a few stories featuring earlier Doctor-Companion teams, a new Seventh Doctor-Ace story was published, "Ground Zero", in which Ace died as a teenager on the moon. Then a semi-official BBC web-based story called Death Comes to Time, totally ignored the 1996 TV Movie introducing the Eighth Doctor, and killed off the Seventh Doctor and let Ace take over for the Time Lords. And in the meantime to make things even more complicated, Mike Tucker and Robert Perry had produced a sub-series of Past Doctor Adventures featuring the Doctor and Ace, which were sometimes claimed to take place between the end of the TV show and the beginning of the New Adventures, but didn't show much sign of it. And of the Big Finish Doctor Who stories featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace, some explicitly share a continuity with the New Adventures and others explicitly don't. And to confuse things even further, individual writers who had contributed to multiple parts of the franchise would often refer to their own stories regardless of what medium or sub-continuity they were in. Exactly which, if any, of these the new series takes as canon is unknown. And then "Death of the Doctor" implied a final fate for Ace that doesn't fit any of these different continuities.

    The Eighth Doctor has at least three and possibly four different continuities: the prose Eighth Doctor Adventures, the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, and two separate series of Big Finish Doctor Who adventures. It's anyone's guess if any of these actually share a continuity. The final novel in the Eighth Doctor Adventures series, The Gallifrey Chronicles, suggested that the ambiguous events of the Eighth Doctor's lifespan led to the creation of three different potential Ninth Doctors, implied to be the Ninth Doctors from the parody Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death (Rowan Atkinson), the web animation Scream of the Shalka (Richard E. Grant) and the revived TV series (Christopher Eccleston).

    The 1989-2005 period isn't the only era where Doctor Who has multiple canons in different media. The two 1960s movies Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., while Compressed Adaptions explicitly take place in what comes across as a Pound Store knockoff version of the main Whoniverse. As an example, these films feature a human version of the Doctor ''literally'' named Dr. Who. There were also the TV Comics comic strips of the 1960s and 1970s, which officially feature the First to Fourth Doctors but are very difficult to fit into their TV continuities (in particular depicting a very different version of the transition from the Second to the Third Doctor).

The bit about Ace seems to be inconsistent writing and speculation. To a degree, this applies to the Eighth Doctor media as well. There are episodes and facts in the TV series that make things difficult to reconcile with other parts of the TV series. "It's anyone's guess" means it's either speculation, or the people running the show have conflicting takes.

I've always assumed that TV Comic is simply set in an interregnum between The War Games and Spearhead, just like some media have retroactively done to The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors. Season 6B is obviously a theory and retcon, but it still stands that we never actually SEE Troughton's face change into someone else's at the end of The War Games.
01:33:01 PM May 14th 2014
To clarify, I mean the transition between Two and Three, not all of TV Comic's 60s and 70s output.
01:35:33 PM Oct 31st 2012
What about when the author (or an author) writes a sequel where it turns out that everything before it was fiction in-universe, based on real events but inaccurate?

The main example I'm thinking of here is Dracula the Undead. It's a sequel to Dracula, written much later by Bram Stoker's great-grand-nephew. More than a few things are different, and it's explained by the fact that an in-universe version of Bram Stoker heard the story and wrote it as a novel, with many inaccuracies.

Possibly also applies to The Vampire Chronicles, where we get a somewhat different picture of events when told by Lestat in the second book to the one that Louis gives in the first.

Does anything think this is worthy of a mention or even a subtrope? Or is it Too Rare to Trope?
03:48:39 PM Jun 12th 2012
edited by DaibhidC
"The newspaper Peter Parker is also much more handsome than the comic book one, although why that should be so is a good question."

I think that's just Depending on the Artist. It looks to me like the newspaper artist is basing his Peter on how Todd Mc Farlane used to draw him, while the current comics are aiming more at an adult version of Steve Ditko's awkward teenager.
02:10:00 AM Apr 24th 2011
edited by MarqFJA
I'm not sure about the exact difference between this trope and Alternate Universe; and unfortunately, Trope Distinctions lacks an entry comparing them - though there is one comparing Alternate Continuity with a few other tropes. Can someone enlighten me where one stops and the other begins?
03:54:32 PM Jun 12th 2012
edited by DaibhidC
There's a definite grey area, but essentially, as I understand it, if an alternate version of a setting is created to interact with the "main" one in some way (eg the Mirror Universe in Star Trek) it's an Alternate Universe. If it stands alone, and exists simply to retell the stories in a different medium (eg The Dark Knight Trilogy) or style (eg Ultimate Marvel) then it's an Alternate Continuity. (The grey area is stuff like Marvel's What If...?, which doesn't usually directly interact with the main Marvel Universe, but is nonetheless defined by a For Want of a Nail relationship with it, rather than standing on its own.)
08:33:48 PM Jan 14th 2011
edited by DonaldthePotholer
Regarding the Pokémon entry, here is a perfect puzzle for you: Are Kris and Lyra the same person? Pokémon Special says yes. The Anime says no. And the Slapstick magna doesn't have to deal with this question since it never had a Kris analogue in the first place!

07:11:53 PM Jun 7th 2010
  • And of course, the Queen of the Continuities - Sailor Moon! With a manga series (that isn't compatible with it's prequel Sailor V in some ways but the two are still considered to exist in the same canon) a 200-episode anime series (a five-season epic that isn't fully compatible with itself), a live-action series, three animated movies (which aren't fully compatible with either anime or manga), and twenty-five stage productions, all of which are different! That makes thirty-one separate continuities! And that's not counting the video-games! So if someone wants to debate Sailor Moon "canon" with you, laugh at them.
    • Well 3 of the musical are in the same continuity. And a forth that's in continuity with one of those but not the other two....

Please, someone what knows the different Sailor Moon canons, put this in the main page after rewrite.
04:37:45 PM Jun 20th 2010
I didn't really see what was wrong with it originally, but I cleaned it up a little bit and added it back in:

"And of course, the Queen of the Continuities - Sailor Moon! With a manga series, a 200-episode anime series, a live-action series, and twenty-five stage productions, with only 3 occurring in the same continuity! That makes twenty-five separate continuities! And that's not counting the video-games or the possible splits within the same continuities. So if someone wants to debate Sailor Moon "canon" with you, laugh at them."

I didn't mention the fourth musical because, technically, if it's part of a continuity with one but not another, that's a separate continuity.
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