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Canon Discontinuity / Western Animation

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Canon Discontinuity in western animation TV.

  • The super-deformed shorts from Avatar: The Last Airbender are non-canonical for obvious reasons.
  • Word of God is that Avengers, Assemble! is meant to be a sequel to The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, with a flashback in one episode showing the Avengers in their costumes and art style from EMH. However, this contradicts some elements seen onscreen (namely that The Falcon makes his debut as a hero in Assemble, while he was already active in EMH), meaning that the three episodes of EMH Falcon appeared in are either Canon Discontinuity, or happened differently. And in one episode of Avengers Assemble, the characters make a reference to a team of high schoolers that Nick Fury is currently training (Ultimate Spider-Man), however two members of the USM team, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, are clearly shown as adults and members of Heroes for Hire in EMH.
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  • With BattleTech, the '90s animated series is said to be an animated show within the game's universe. While events similar to it did happen, they did not occur anywhere near like they did in the cartoon.
  • According to Word of God, the Ben 10 episodes set in the future are canonical, and they portray Kevin as an unrepentant villain. However, in Alien Force (under a new creative team), he is a redeemed good guy and remains that way up until the 2016 Continuity Reboot. In addition, the pop-up edition of the episode "Goodbye And Good Riddance" states that the episode is not canonical, and that the real story of Ben's return to Bellwood is the live-action film Race Against Time. The Ultimate Alien episode "Ben 10,000 Returns" officially established these and future "canon inconsistent" events as alternate universes and timelines.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! completely ignores the ending of Channel Chasers as (among other things) Timmy is still in fifth grade and still has Cosmo and Wanda as fairy godparents. Come A Fairly Odd Summer, where Timmy performed a Heroic Sacrifice and Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, and the ending to Channel Chasers is an impossibility. Interestingly, the fanbase loves Channel Chasers and hates the live-action movies, so they tend to call Fanon Discontinuity on them to undo this Canon Discontinuity. Confused yet? Then again, the series itself makes it apparent that the future is never certain, so one can certainly Handwave the live-action movies as alternate futures. However, Word of God says that the live-action movies are the canon ending for the series.
    • Similarly, the Season 9 episode "Let Sleeper Dogs Lie" ignores the events of the episode "The Secret Origin of Denzel Crocker", which revealed that Crocker had Cosmo and Wanda as fairy godparents as a kid, but lost them due to Timmy's interference in the episode, causing him to become bitter. This time around, he had Sparky as a pet, was always a complete Jerkass, and simply lost his fairies when he turned 11.
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    • For an example in which the fans and creators are in agreement, look no further than the episodes "It's A Wishful Life" and "Twistory". The first of these was so unpopular because it basically states, in defiance of all in- or out-of-universe logic, that Timmy's very existence makes the lives of everyone he knows worse, and it would be better if he were never born. The fanbase took offense at the extreme mean-spiritedness of the episode, and the writers have admitted that it was a mistake and consider it an Old Shame because of the Unfortunate Implications.note  For these reasons, it is never aired in reruns, and later episodes are much less harsh to Timmy. "Twistory" is also never aired in reruns, because in its zeal to be patriotic it wound up offending both Americans and British people, by saying that if American independence never happened, the world would never have advanced past the eighteenth century. It should come as no surprise whatsoever that people complained, and the writers apologized. Its canonicity is more complicated, though — while Nickelodeon tries to forget the episode was ever made, a later episode ("Escape from Unwish Island") mentions the events of this one, albeit obliquely.
    • Nickelodeon later began airing a tenth season of the show in 2016. Considering they've already added a new major character that Timmy must share Cosmo and Wanda with, this new season seems set to invalidate ALL of the movies.
  • One episode of Family Guy involved Lois working as a reporter for Fox News and discovering that Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh (along with a number of other celebrities) are actually just fictional personas created by Fred Savage. A later episode features Rush Limbaugh having a book signing in Quahog, leading to this conversation:
    Chris: But I thought Rush Limbaugh was just a fictional character played by Fred Savage...
    Lois: Where'd you hear that?
    Chris: Fox News.
    Lois: Then it's a lie. Everything Fox News says is a lie.
    Chris: This one's true mom! You saw it with your own eyes and then you reported it on Fox News!
  • The Heavy Gear animated series is considered by Word of God to be an entertainment broadcast similar to professional wrestling within the Heavy Gear universe, and thus not representative of how things work in the "real" Heavy Gear universe.
  • Inspector Gadget (2015) directly continues on from the classic Inspector Gadget, and makes no mention of Gadget and the Gadgetinis whatsoever.
  • Jonny Quest: Lance Falk, the head writer of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, instigated an official policy to ignore the events of the 1984 series and the two made-for-TV movies on the show.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: This is an issue that tends to recur between the franchise's animated portion (Friendship is Magic and Equestria Girls) and its printed portion (the comics series and chapter books such as The Journal of the Two Sisters). The official statement from the writers on the matter is that the animated part forms the central canon, and the rest of the Expanded Universe is to be considered canon where it does not conflict with the animated shows. However, a number of such conflicts have cropped up over time.
    • The Season 7 finale, "Shadow Play", deals extensively with the lore of the show's ancient history, and in so doing contradicts a number of previous accounts of the same.
      • The Journal of the Two Sisters, a chapter book focusing on the early lives of Luna and Celestia, states that two discovered the Tree of Harmony while exploring the Everfree Forest on Starswirl's advice. "Shadow Play" contradicts this with The Reveal that the Tree of Harmony was actually grown from a seed planted by Starswirl and the other Pillars shortly before they disappeared. It only grew and was found by the sisters after Starswirl was gone, meaning that he could not have led them to the tree as the book depicts.
      • The Reflections arc of the IDW comic series also comes in conflict with the timing of certain events. In the comic, after the defeat and banishment of Nightmare Moon, Celestia and Starswirl discover a magical mirror that can act as a gateway between worlds and begin exploring the multiverse. However, the reveal in "Shadow Play" that the Elements of Harmony only grew from a magical seed after Starswirl's disappearance conflicts with this. Since Luna and Celestia wielded the Elements together in the past, and Celestia used them to banish Luna when she became Nightmare Moon, these events can only have happened after Starswirl was no longer around.
      • The My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic comic focusing on the backstory of the Sirens and their banishment to the human world is largely incompatible with the events of "Shadow Play". The comic's sequence of events is that the sirens arrive in the city of Canterlot and begain using their hypnotic songs to drain the emotions of the citizens, and a lone Starswirl challenges them to a music contest to break their hold over the crowd. When he realizes he cannot win, he resorts to magically sending them to the human world through a magic mirror. The episode's sequence is that the Sirens take over an isolated seaside village, using their hypnotic songs to turn its inhabitants hateful and drive them to fight each other. Starswirl is summoned alongside five other heroes by one of the village's inhabitants, and they banish the Sirens after a straightforward magical fight by tricking them into a temporary portal Starswirl created for the purpose.
    • The Journal of the Two Sisters also states that Commander Hurricane was the only stallion among the Founders, so that the other five — Private Pansy, Smart Cookie, Chancellor Puddinghead, Clover the Clever and Princess Platinum — were by extension all mares. The Equestria Girls short "Forgotten Friendship", however, rather unambiguously refers to Clover as a male.
    • "The Beginning of the End" likewise retcons the entirety of King Sombra's appearances in the comics. In the Siege of the Crystal Empire arc and his own Fiendship is Magic comic, Sombra is given an extensive backstory and, more crucially, a redemption arc following his resurrection from his banishment at the end of "The Crystal Empire", ending with him freed from his evil and joyfully traveling through Equestria. In "The Beginning of the End", Grogar resurrects him again, with no indication of any previous resurrections or of other banishments, Sombra is from the start the same unrepentantly evil, tyrannical monster he was in "The Crystal Empire", and nobody shows any surprise at him behaving like he does. By and large, the show acts as if the comics pertaining to King Sombra had never happened at all.
  • Rugrats: Arlene Klasky has said in an interview that she would take delight, along with Gabor Csupo, in making new episodes. Of course, this would mean ignoring the events of All Grown Up!. Rumor has it that Klasky/Csupo were sick and tired of the spin-off anyway (keep in mind, the spin off only existed due to executive demands).
  • The Simpsons:
    • Every Halloween episode is out of continuity. To the extent that the show has continuity.
    • The much-reviled episode "The Principal and The Pauper", where it's revealed that Principal Skinner is in fact a former street punk pulling a Dead Person Impersonation of the real Seymour Skinner (who wasn't actually dead), has been marked as non-canonical by the writers. Principal Skinner is definitely the genuine article, except on the very few occasions when the episode's referred to for the sake of a usually self-deprecating joke. Lampshaded in "Behind the Laughter" where it presents "The Principal and the Pauper" being written during a period where the Simpsons had a massive falling-out and couldn't stand to be around each other. As a result, the show was forced to resort to "increasingly nonsensical plots and storylines"; cue Principal Skinner announcing he's an impostor.
    • The negatively-received "That 90's Show", which attempted to retcon Marge and Homer meeting and getting married in the 90's instead of the 70's and early 80's, has been completely ignored with later episodes revisiting their past once again using the timeline introduced in "The Way We Was". This means that, as of 2019, Homer Simpson (born in either 1955 or 1956, depending on which date you believe) is effectively in his mid-sixties, while Bart (born in 1981) is an even younger-looking 38-year-old than Benjamin Button.
  • The Stargate Infinity cartoon is officially not part of the canonical Stargate-verse.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series was largely deemed non-canonical by Paramount for decades, even though writers referenced events from the show and managed to force select elements (most notably the episode "Yesteryear", which told of Spock's childhood and was widely regarded as the cartoon's best episode) into canonicity if only because of their popularity with fans. While the Expanded Universe novels got away with referencing the cartoons, in 1989 Paramount put into its contract with DC Comics that writers could not use or reference the cartoon, much to writer Peter David's horror. Ultimately, to promote the cartoons getting a DVD release, CBS, the new owners of the property, did a fan poll to decide once and for all the canonical status of the cartoon, with fans voting overwhelming to make the company finally acknowledge it as part of the show's official continuity.
  • It seems everything Disney made before Steamboat Willie is considered discontinuity as Pete, Mickey, and Minnie Mouse are all labeled as having debuted in it. Pete actually first appeared three years earlier in an Alice Comedy cartoon called Alice Solves the Puzzle, while the other two mice debuted earlier in 1928 in Plane Crazy. Of course considering that their first cartoon featured Attempted Rape by the world’s biggest and most kid-friendly icon, it makes sense Disney does not talk about it; Plane Crazy was completed first, but Steamboat Willie was shown in public first, so Disney considers Mickey and Minnie's debut in the later cartoon.
  • Lampshaded in the Fake Crossover of Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa. When Steven expresses surprise to see him, Uncle Grandpa assures him (and the audience) that "None of this is canon." note 
  • Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars likewise ends its opening crawl by noting "And none of this is canon, so just relax." Having said that, they decided to make a few moves they never would in the body of the main series, like turning Ferb against Phineas, acknowledging what happened to Phineas and Candace's biological father or actually having Phineas and Isabella hook up (though this one did happen in the Flash Forward near the end of the show).
  • On The Transformers, the Big Bad Unicron was revealed in season three to have been a Gone Horribly Right experiment by an alien Mad Scientist named "Primacron" - his intent was that Unicron would devour all life in the universe, and then Primacron could repopulate the universe with lifeforms of his own creation and design. All subsequent installments of Transformers have stuck with the idea of Unicron as a Satanic Eldritch Abomination, a concept from the Marvel Transformers comics.
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series was originally meant to be a bridge between Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, but the Spider-Man Trilogy ignored it as the show depicted Curt Connors as having mutated into the Lizard and died, and 2 and Spider-Man 3 showed a still-living and unmutated Connors. Additionally, the show depicted Peter and Harry as still sharing an apartment whereas the sequels shows Peter living in a rundown apartment and Harry living in his dad's penthouse, and chances are good this took hold with Norman Osborn's death. While probably coincidence, the only things that did carry over were Harry's drinking, and the tense relation between Peter and Harry over Peter taking pictures of Spider-Man.
  • Despite Ultimate Spider-Man starting the Shared Universe that Avengers, Assemble!, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Guardians of the Galaxy (2015) also existed in, Guardians and AA's fifth season Spider-Man guest appearance suggests that the series is no longer canon with the universe as Guardians and Panther's Quest presented Spidey more along the lines of his depiction in Marvel's Spider-Man, complete with designs for the Spidey costume and Peter in civilian clothes, the suit being a smart suit, and Robbie Daymond voicing Peter instead of Drake Bell.
  • The Mutant Apocalypse arc of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) was originally meant to be the series finale. Nickelodeon decided instead to de-canonize the highly controversial arc, declaring that it happened in "another dimension" and was a non-canon "tale from beyond," while also relegating it to mid-season.
  • When asked by a fan about the canonical nature of Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain in relation to the show it was spun-off from, Tom Ruegger established that no, the events of the much-maligned spin-off never canonically happened.


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