Information not mentioned within a specific work, but only found in supplemental material or in other works within the franchise. The significance of the info varies; it can be anything from little backstory details that clarify minor points, to information that is critical to understanding the plot.
For example, many anime OVAs based on a manga begin In Medias Res and rarely explain themselves under the assumption an OVA (being an occasional test run for a series) will typically be watched by someone who has read the original manga.
Other information can be found in text novels, video games, radio dramas or image songs, as the entire franchise is treated as a package. Though, if you don't have the money for all that, there's always TV Tropes and Wikipedia.
Fairly common in anime and mostly unknown in American shows, although it seems to be steadily picking up speed with shows like Lost. However, it's very common in American comic books because of the assurance that the stereotypical fan is obsessive enough to collect supplemental material (see Ultimate Universe). This also applies to the elaborate backstories many video games of the 1980s provided in accompanying comic books or novellas.
A common response to people who complain about The Film of the Book not making sense is that they should have read the book. Naturally there is disagreement on whether this is fair; some believe that a movie should stand on its own, while others feel that those who care enough to complain should care enough to read.
Another issue that arises is when ancillary material is used to plug a Plot Hole after the main media is released (often in response to complaints), since for some people this means that writers can be lazy and ignore plot holes because they can be filled in later by other sources.
Related tropes include:
- All There in the Script is a closely related trope for when the names of characters or other things are not revealed within the work, but can be found in other materials such as production scripts, credits, supplemental material, closed captioning, etc.
- All There in the Stinger, where an important plot detail (often a Sequel Hook or a Twist Ending) is only revealed after the credits and is easily missed if you don't know it's there.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication, where an element from an adapted work is kept, but the explanation for it isn't.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole, when a Plot Hole in an adapted work results from the omission or misinterpretation of some information from the source material.
- Deleted Scene, in cases where plot holes and such are caused by the relevant information being in a scene that was cut for time or other reasons.
- Guide Dang It!, when it's nearly impossible to progress in a game without information that's difficult or impossible to find in the game itself, and must be looked up from a guide or other external source.
- Lore Codex, where detailed information is conveyed about a game's world via text from within the game itself, for those wanting to see just how much thought was put into it. Lore Codexes can fall prey to this trope if the story assumes you've read it in order for the plot to make any sense.
- Word of God, where information not given in any part of the franchise is stated by the creator using some out-of-universe format, such as an interview or a personal blog.
So named for video games up until the late 90s, which had less ability and budget to actually tell a story in most genres. To compensate, information like backstories and character profiles were often included in the manual, although whether this was written by those who wrote the game was a crapshoot (not to mention being different between regions, like in the older Sonic the Hedgehog games). Not to be confused with Read the Freaking Manual, which refers to the oversight of not reading the manual despite it containing important practical information.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Comic Strips
- Fan Works
- Film — Animated
- Film — Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Tabletop Games
- Theme Parks
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
Examples from other media:
- Omega Mart: Most people who've seen the advertisement videos are unaware that there's an entire Alternate Reality Game based around the store that requires you to visit in-person, particularly detailing how Cecelia Dram killed her father and assumed his role as the CEO of Dramcorp. Most of these videos are only available through the supermarket itself, or through direct captures made available through fan accounts.
- The Last Supper: The only way to know without a doubt who is who is to look at Leonardo da Vinci's notes that specified which names of each individual in the painting. Sure, Jesus was easy to spot out, but it's harder to tell the androgynous figure next to Christ is John without Leonardo's confirmation.
- 20th-century Czech pulp and scientific illustrator Zdenek Burian's images of dinosaurs and other prehistoric fauna and flora are among the most widely reproduced pieces of paleoart ever made. A lot of his early works were companion pieces to short stories written by his scientific mentor and consultant Josef Augusta, published in books reaching back to the 1930s, after which they were generally reproduced with purely scientific text. Burian's famous painting of an Iguanodon standing among scattered bones for instance accompanied a story of an old Iguanodon's final journey to a dinosaur graveyard. Knowing the stories helps explain certain details seen in Burian paintings, revealing their subjects to be special individuals rather than just generic representations of animal species.
- The Special Info Episode of DSBT InsaniT gives a lot of information about the cats and the world that you would never know otherwise.
- Since some of the dialogue in Dusk's Dawn is unintelligible, most people wouldn't know what Iridescence's name is, or that the yellow pony's last name is De Noir. The former's shown on the website banner.
- The first Happy Tree Friends DVD contains a "Collect Them All" feature, which gives extra details, fun facts, and statistics on the titular characters.
- Watch the Youtube animated Pilot Movie Lackadaisy and want to know what all these characters were doing a few months ago? Why whiskey runner Rocky deliberately chooses to run down the 'Sable Stone & Quarry Inc' sign and genially intimidate its owner Wick? See Freckle and Ivy's first kiss? Watch Mordecai readily and wordily admit to loathing his work with the Marigold Gang? Head to Lackadaisy.com and be one of many to mistake fourteen years of canonical strips for a nice little prequel comic before diving into character bios, a gallery of bonus semi-canon and gag strips, and asking questions on the author's tumblr for a straight line to the Word of God.
- Some of the Red vs. Blue DVDs have character profiles which give information on all of the characters that isn't found in the series, such as backstories, hometowns, and explanations for plotholes. For some characters, this is the only evidence of their full names. For instance, Sister's full name is Kaikaina Grif, Junior's is Blarggity Blarg-Tucker, and Sarge's is Sargeant S. Sarge III.
- Monty Oum's posted several full models of the show's characters and their weapons; this is many weapon names were revealed, and it's also how Junior's real name (Hei Xiong) and Adam's last name (Taurus) were first revealed.
- Things like character semblances and the like are often revealed in the show's podcast and at show panels, with one (controversial) example being Ironwood's semblance, Mettle.
- Torchwick's ice-cream-themed sidekick is known simply as "Neo" in the show proper. Spin-off media such as RWBY Chibi and RWBY: Roman Holiday give her full name as "Neopolitan", with the latter revealing that it was a Meaningful Rename following her parents' deaths.
- Trick Moon: Characters that only show up in the opening theme are named in posts on creator Geneva Hodgson's twitter account, which also includes character details not shown in the short proper.
- Shad Brooks of Shadiveristy discusses this occasionally, but he claims it is a sign of bad writing, especially if the work in question is an adaptation. He says that the adaptation's lore must be self-contained, and the viewer must be able to piece the lore together without consulting the source material.