Follow TV Tropes


Exiled From Continuity / Content Reasons

Go To

Characters and other things Exiled from Continuity because of their content.

    open/close all folders 

    The DCU 
Examples from The DCU:
  • For much of the eighties, nineties, and 00s, Vertigo Comics, as a part of DC, had many characters who originated in or were linked to the main DC Universe, such as John Constantine, Swamp Thing, several characters from The Sandman, and others. While they were technically in DCU continuity, and made token appearances there every now and then, they were not allowed to make any significant DCU guest appearances because their series/stories were too dark and mature to risk some innocent kid picking up an issue of Hellblazer after a Hellblazer/Superman crossover. When Vertigo's shift to publishing mainly creator-owned comics set outside the DCU left most of the affected characters in Comic-Book Limbo, the embargo was loosened up during Brightest Day and officially broken by the New 52 rebootnote , with Swamp Thing and Constantine being active members of the new DCU. While the changes in Vertigo publishing policy were the immediate stimulus, it was also recognised that some mainstream DCU titles had come to include just as much graphic violence and horror as Vertigo titles, making the ban appear hypocritical.note 
    • The Vertigo-character ban led to the creation of several transparent Constantine expies in main-DC-universe comics, such as Willoughby Kipling (who has since met and compared notes with Constantine), Rasputin, and Ambrose Bierce (a Historical-Domain Character who lampshaded this practice by claiming "They give you a trenchcoat and steal your razor. Like an assembly line, really.").
    • Also, Dream of The Sandman made a notable appearance in Infinite Crisis to pick up his recently deceased mortal parents, though the character is never specifically identified. He's also made cameo appearances in JSA, since he had a few connections to the team, and a Halloween Issue of JLA (Grant Morrison said this was intended as the 1990s equivalent of The Phantom Stranger showing up on the JLA Satellite at Halloween). He also plays a significant part in Dark Nights: Metal.
    • The second version of Challengers of the Unknown, which existed in a sort of halfway-house between Vertigo and the DCU, alongside Fate and Night Force, managed to feature a quick cameo by Constantine during a Superman crossover. The two characters never actually met, though.
    • Speaking of, Fate featured an appearance from Swamp Thing, albeit unnamed and largely out of sight.
    • Kevin Smith also liked throwing in Vertigo references: Morpheus cameos in a late issue of his run on Green Arrow, his Batman makes references to Swamp Thing's once Retconned attack on Gotham, and Fun Land, a Sandman serial-killer with a thing for kids and amusement parks, shows up for a Batman Cold Open. Presumably, he can do what he wants because, hey... Kevin Smith.
    • Death of the Endless had a major role in Paul Cornell's "Black Ring" story arc in Action Comics, with a prominent ad campaign. Gaiman has said that he's a little less leery about giving permission. He however was consulted prior to the issue, and even contributed some of Death's dialogue.
    • Lucifer made an appearance during issues of The Spectre, fresh out of Hell and enjoying Australia.
    • A notable exception was Zatanna, who made intermittent appearances in both the main DC universe and Vertigo titles without any apparent issue (as caricatured in this cartoon). This may have been due either to her essentially light-toned nature even in her Vertigo appearances, or to the fact that most of the time she never had a solo title in either universe.
  • The DCU's Ambush Bug took a lighthearted look at the DC universe... which happened to be a big no-no at the time, causing his series to be sequestered to its own continuity. The character himself exists within the DCU, and gleefully hops between canon and non-canon at will.
  • Other comedic series may or may not be in continuity. For instance, the Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League America/Europe/International was in-continuity, but the later miniseries Formerly Known As The Justice League and the JLA Classified arc "I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League" don't seem to be — despite the editor-in-chief saying that they are. Much, much later, a Booster Gold story referenced his Formerly Known As... status ... by saying it wasn't true and he made it up as a prank on Beetle.
    • Giffen and DeMatteis' Justice League 3000 is in continuity with Formerly Known As..., and outside the main DCU continuity.

    Marvel Universe 
Examples from the Marvel Universe:
  • The developers weren't allowed to make Daredevil (2015) and Jessica Jones levels in the LEGO Marvel's Avengers video game, despite the game being a big celebration of the MCU in general.
    • Likewise, Disney Interactive's VP of Production said it was unlikely that Daredevil will ever be featured in Disney Infinity because the Netflix show is too dark for the game's family audience.
    • This applies to the TV side of the MCU as a whole. Due to a variety of factors (the big ones being Continuity Lock-Out and the fact that Netflix shows are strictly aimed at an adult audience), none of the TV characters appear in the movies. Then on the flip side, because the TV shows are very low budget compared to the films, the major characters from the films never appear in them. The main exception is Nick Fury, who appeared in two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season, but hasn't been seen on the show since.
  • Ultimate Marvel characters were completely off-limits to interdimensional meetings with the mainstream Marvel Universe, to keep it self-contained. There was, however, a crossover with the Marvel Zombies universe, which meant that the mainstream universe did exist somewhere, by proxy. This law was finally broken by the Spider-Men crossover, 12 years afterwards. And with very good reason: the whole pre-Crisis mayhem at DC comics, with so many versions of the same characters running around, was more than enough justification.
  • Same thing goes for Supreme Power. The author, however, was fine with a crossover between just both pocket universes, as long as the main one stays uninvolved.
  • Marvel's first The Punisher series under the MAX banner takes place in its own continuity, though Castle still has his own ongoing set deeply in main continuity. He still can guest star in other characters' books and encounter superheroes and supervillains on his own, but such appearances in the MAX title were forbidden, with the exception of Nick Fury. Oddly, while the MAX Punisher stories are regarded as noncanon by the main Marvel Universe, the reverse is not true: in the early Garth Ennis-writ stories, numerous sly references are made to events in the then-concurrently running Marvel KNIGHTS Punisher series, though you'd only catch them if you'd read both series; none of Marvel's A-list characters appear in the MAX books, and the only outright blatant connection is a social worker who plays a role in the Slavers arc, who makes a reference to working with Castle during "what happened in the subway tunnels'' in the KNIGHTS book. The post Civil War Handbook lampshades it a lot:
    "Although recently Castle has escalated his war on crime even further, with record-breaking body counts, he is paradoxically now rarely encountered in the field by any super hero save Daredevil. (...)It’s almost like he inhabits two worlds, one where heroes can capture him and one where they can’t, and he can slip from one to the other with ease."
  • In the Marvel Universe, there's a whole sub-set of superheroes that live their lives sliding in and out of continuity in varying degrees. Many break the fourth wall regularly and parody other characters whenever they appear in their own series, but are welcomed into continuity with open arms.
    • Deadpool mocks the costuming choices and real world merchandise of the rest of the Marvel Universe but still gets to make guest appearances in X-Men and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
      • Deadpool (2016) is set in the same continuity as the other X-Men movies, which is alluded to by a fourth wall breaking reference asking if Professor X was "Stewart or McAvoy" (the two actors who have played Professor X in the X-film franchise).
    • Squirrel Girl and the rest of the Great Lakes Avengers have had their own mini-series and one-shots, but apart from their own series they have only been featured in a Deadpool tie-in for Civil War and in ONE panel of the latest Crisis Crossover. Justified because the rest of the team are too weak, and Squirrel Girl is all too powerful to be allowed to affect the Status Quo.
    • Similarly, Slapstick's debut limited series has been completely ignored by Marvel canon — most notably the events of issue #4, where an irradiated bum destroys major portions of New York, attracting the attention of The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the New Warriors, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and other heroes. However, Slapstick himself was recruited into the New Warriors and appeared as a semi-regular character in Avengers: The Initiative.
    • She-Hulk has had several series that either broke the fourth wall constantly or had lots of fun with the legal wranglings of C and D-list characters in ways that are never acknowledged in continuity, but she still gets to show up in Hulk and Fantastic Four comics and be treated as a serious character. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 both have She-Hulk acknowledge that she used to talk like Deadpool in earlier days, also stating in the earlier game that she has moved on from that speech pattern since.
  • Subverted with Alias; though originally conceived as a stand-alone book with no overt ties to the Marvel Universe, the book quickly became tied into the Marvel Universe due to Bendis incorporating Jessica Jones into the cast of Daredevil, as well as retconning Jones as being a previously unmentioned classmate of Peter Parker. She has since married Luke Cage and has a daughter with him. The entire reason the book was cancelled and relaunched as The Pulse in the first place was because Marvel was growing increasingly wary of having their A-list heroes showing up in a book full of F-bombs and sex jokes. Bendis himself acknowledges this in the letter page of the final issue.
  • Warren Ellis originally wanted to use Nick Fury, SHIELD, and Hydra in Nextwave. Marvel vetoed it (apparently having Nick Fury inject pureed chicks subcutaneously was beyond the pale), so he invented a host of Captain Ersatzes. Nick was replaced by Dirk Anger, SHIELD by HATE, and Hydra by the Beyond Corporation.
    • Interestingly, Marvel failed to do the same with the heroes of the piece, with the result that even though the series was never meant by the editors to be in canon, Marvel eventually incorporated the Nextwave version of Machine Man into canon with his post-series guest spots, as well as a Hand Wave implying the Nextwave version of Monica Rambeau as being from an alternate earth.
    • Later, Marvel actually adopted Nextwave into canon, taking the completely derailed, but hilarious, personalities into their mainstream appearances. This was handwaved with something about mind alteration through drugs. Even The Captain was finally introduced into the main universe, when he appeared in Nova (vol. 6) #9 in 2016.
    • The official canon explanation is that the main characters were all the real deals, but that the series itself took place in an alternate universe the Beyond Corporation teleported the heroes to. This solves the problem of having Monica and the others reference the series despite the fact that it couldn't possibly have taken place in the mainstream canon.

Examples from the Whoniverse:
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, TV Comic's Doctor Who comic stories had such high strange "Who meets Silver Age" moments such as "Dr. Who" teaming up with Santa Claus to save evil goblins from stealing Christmas (that example just scratches the surface). He also had two grandchildren named John and Gillian, who were created primarily because TV Comic only licensed the likeness of William Hartnell and none of his companions' actors. Needless to say, we haven't heard much from John and Gillian lately, apart from two contradictory appearancesnote  that both make it clear they never existed in the "real" Doctor Who Expanded Universe in the first place: The Doctor Who New Adventures novel Conundrum reinterpreted the TV Comic stories and their characters as being Land of Fiction constructs, while the Doctor Who Magazine strip "The Land of Happy Endings" preferred to portray them as a wistful dream on the Doctor's part (there are some short stories in the Short Trips series of books which take place explicitly in the TV Comics universe that still feature the characters, and a pair of child First Doctor companions with these names appear in the Telos novella Time and Relative, although they are instead written as realistic 60s teenagers).
  • The Doctor was barred from making an appearance in Torchwood on the grounds that children should not have been watching the show at all, and should not have been encouraged to do so by a cameo from him. His companions Jack and Martha were allowed to show up, his severed hand made an appearance, and one plot featured a major character played by an actor who went on to play the Doctor several years later, but that's as far as it went. One US trailer for Children of Earth actually provides a particularly heartbreaking Watsonian explanation for the Doctor's absence in these Darker and Edgier storylines, when Gwen tearfully admits to the camera that she thinks the reason the Doctor never shows up is that he's disgusted with the Dirty Business Torchwood gets involved in. In contrast, the Doctor was allowed to show up on The Sarah Jane Adventures, which he did in both David Tennant and Matt Smith forms (and would have done in Tom Baker form if not for Elisabeth Sladen's death), and on Class, which he did in Peter Capaldi form.

  • Because Jynx (a character sometimes criticized for resembling Blackface caricatures) appeared in Lorelei/Prima's spotlight episode, "The Mandarin Island Miss Match", the Elite Four is the Elite Three in the Pokémon anime, according to TPCI.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: