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As proven by a talking fourth-wall-breaking squirrel.

"The late James F. Bowman was writing a serial tale for a weekly paper in collaboration with a genius whose name has not come down to us. They wrote, not jointly but alternately, Bowman supplying the installment for one week, his friend for the next, and so on, world without end, they hoped. Unfortunately they quarreled, and one Monday morning when Bowman read the paper to prepare himself for his task, he found his work cut out for him in a way to surprise and pain him. His collaborator had embarked every character of the narrative on a ship and sunk them all in the deepest part of the Atlantic."
Ambrose Bierce note 
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Originally referenced in Running the Asylum, this trope refers to infighting within the official ranks of a shared-universe franchise, where creative teams will take potshots at each other, using their own stories to undercut, contradict, Retcon, or just plain insult the work of their rivals. Because these are official stories, each volley becomes entrenched in the overall setting.

If the shots just end up tangling the Canon up, then a Continuity Snarl can be the result. Sometimes, the mess results in a Crisis Crossover — which will inevitably become the target of later writers Armed With Canon.

Examples of the Crisis Crossover are active volleys of Canon-fire, as different factions within the companies have a tug-of-war over the "New Direction".

This isn't necessarily bad, often resulting in an Author's Saving Throw.

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Ship-to-Ship Combat is occasionally a cause. A lesser shade is Depending on the Writer.

Messing with other authors' characters in a large Shared Universe is a potential Flame Bait and may be off-limits as impolite and sometimes prohibited outright: it's almost someone's Player Character, and in settings made for RPG it sometimes is. Conversely, simply asking the original author before using "their" characters in canonical material is a nice and continuity-enhancing practice. Of course, there's a precarious balance between counterproductive doting over prominent characters by their authors or derailing these characters (and royally vexing their authors) without any good reason by Executive Meddling or another author missing the whole point somewhere.

If fans are the ones doing this, it's a Fix Fic. Has nothing to do with Arm Cannons. note 

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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Elfen Lied had the anime team fighting a shipping war with the manga. In the manga, Lucy dies and Kouta gets with Yuka. In the anime, Kouta/Yuka is played down a bit while Kouta/Lucy is played up, and while the ending is ambiguous, it's implied that Lucy survives the Bolivian Army Ending and returns to Kouta. Of course, since it was Cut Short, the Love Triangle is never formally resolved in the anime.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha had a bit of a shipping war among the staff, where the NanoYuuno shippers ran the Sound Stages and tried to torpedo the NanoFate ship by having Nanoha and Hayate suggest that Fate was trying to distance herself from being Vivio's other mother. In ViVid, Vivio kept seeing Fate as her other mother, and Fate once referred to herself as "Fate-mama" while speaking with Vivio. In fact, during ViVid chapter 77, Vivio explicitly says that she has two mothers and that "[the three of them are] a totally normal family" when explaining her family situation to another character.
    • Fate's family is specifically shown to be Erio and Caro, lacking Nanoha and Vivio, so the debate rages on. Then again, while Vivio suggests that she should give Fate and her children some space while they spend time as a family, Fate, Erio and Caro think doing so is unnecessary.
    • While it wouldn't have helped in the manga, the Nanoha and Yuuno shippers can't have been bolstered by the fact that when Fate and Nanoha's voice actresses armed themselves with canons, it was to come down squarely on the side of NanoFate.
    • Word of Gay from this article has the two VAs mentioning that in 10 years, Nanoha will be a housewife for Fate. The original writer, Tsuzuki, also says Vivio "frequently keeps in contact with Fate-mama, as often as contacting the father who works away from home, with a communication tool."
    • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, has Nanoha's friends implying she's head-over-heels for Fate from the first time they meet. ("Fate was like Nanoha's prince!") Yuuno is just a pet ferret in this continuity, which makes him not even a threat to the NanoFate ship.
    • In chapter 15 of the INNOCENT sequel manga Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENTS, Vivio and Einhart are also present in the INNOCENT continuity. Vivio, in particular, is revealed to be Fate and Nanoha's daughter from the future in this continuity. However, there's an added twist to this: Einhart heavily implies that Vivio is Nanoha and Fate's actual biological child in the INNOCENT universe when she stops Vivio from revealing that she's Nanoha and Fate's daughter because it might cause a time paradox.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho has a case here. In an interview, Yoshihiro Togashi stated that he hadn't intended Hiei+Kurama as a canonical couple. The problem, of course, is that several of the anime's artists liked the pairing and drew official art for the anime that hinted otherwise.
  • Bleach: While the TV series lasted, the anime staff (and especially the character designer, Masashi Kudo) were fans of Ichigo/Rukia rather than Ichigo/Orihime, and took every opportunity to play up their ship's teasing moments (to the point of inserting a whole filler episode dedicated to Ichigo and Rukia Ship Tease), while downplaying or outright removing any Ichigo/Orihime subtext they could get away with. On the other hand, Tite Kubo clearly and firmly stated that Ichigo and Rukia were the not love interests to one another, kept giving Ship Tease to Ichigo and Orihime plus Renji and Rukia, and ultimately made them the official couples, officially sinking Ichigo/Rukia at the end of the manga.
  • Sailor Moon: One of the directors of the original anime, Kunihiko Ikuhara, hated Mamoru because he found the character bland. So while in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal Tuxedo Mask is a fairly competent fighter in his own right and has some abilities, in the anime he just shows up at a few opportune moments, throws roses, and leaves, and otherwise has no abilities of note. His screentime is also cut. The anime staff also played up the Usagi/Rei ship, but were eventually forced to relent.
  • The anime version of Naruto tended to add a lot of Ship Tease for pretty much any pairing, but one writer in particular, Yuka Miyata, was known for this. She was responsible for most of the major Naruto/Sakura moments in filler, including episodes where Naruto states that he loves and would always love Sakura, when in the manga, Word of God confirmed that Naruto's feelings were just a crush and nothing else/more, and where Sakura implies that she doesn't love Sasuke anymore and is instead falling for Naruto, when in the manga, her feelings for Sasuke never wavered and even resulted in marriage, and Sakura cared for Naruto like a brother and nothing less/more. Miyata also wrote the NaruSaku-filled movie Road to Ninja. When Masashi Kishimoto mentioned in an interview after the end of the series that certain female writers for the anime tried to convince him to go with Naruto/Sakura, many fans believed he was referring to Miyata.
  • In Rebuild of Evangelion, screenwriter Yoji Enokido argued that Rei II should survive the end of the second movie, despite dying in the source material. However, at least one of the films' directors wanted to give their replacement, Rei III, more Character Development in this adaptation, so the third movie reveals that said character did die after all. (Well, more or less.)
  • In Pokémon there seemed to be a problem with the script, as Takeshi Shudo seemed to be planning a Downer Ending involving an old Ash. Due to Takeshi's death, this is probably not going to happen and the Anime will go on for who-knows-how-long. But the script isn't the only thing they argue about. 4kids (English Dub) liked Poke Shipping and supported it, but Shudo reportedly wasn't a fan.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is a continuity piece made by fans who'd been around since the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and it wears its creators' biases on its sleeves. In particular, the Federation was portrayed as far darker than usual and their dominance over space as wrong through the Laplace's Box plot, and some of the actions of beloved villain Haman Khan from Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ were retroactively cast in a more benevolent light.

    Literature 
  • Various writers in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe had different ideas of how the various lines fitted together. Mostly this didn't affect the stories themselves.
    • Then Lawrence Miles began referring to "bottle universes" in both his Doctorless Bernice Summerfield New Adventures and his Eighth Doctor Adventures, with the strong implication that the bottle universe in one series was the Alternate Continuity of the other. This didn't stop other writers continuing to assume there was a single continuity. And then some of them went on to reinterpret the "bottle universe" theory as a Klein bottle; the universe in the bottle is the universe holding the bottle.
    • Another well-known Expanded Universe case is the... controversial Eighth Doctor novel War of the Daleks by major Dalek fan John Peel note , who had long been angry about the way Davros overshadowed the Daleks in the later TV stories. He used the novel to introduce a wildly complicated Retcon in which literally every major Dalek-related plot development from "Destiny of the Daleks" to "Remembrance of the Daleks" had been deliberately faked by the Daleks note  as part of a Batman Gambit to make the Doctor and Davros fight each other so that the Daleks could do their thing elsewhere without impediment. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view of this whole mess), Peel's novel was not particularly well-received or well-regarded, thus making it much easier for later writers to quietly ignore or overrule pretty much everything in the story.
    • From the Big Finish Doctor Who audio line: initially, it seemed their Eighth Doctor line tied into the EDAs, such as a reference to novel companion Sam. This went on until it was suddenly explicitly stated that a lot of the novels never took place in the main timeline, with the Doctor seeing the different ranges as different timelines. Then they introduced their own companion called Sam, but also proceeded to include Fitz in the audios. That said, writers have apparently had no problem bringing monsters and characters from the books over to the audios or vice-versa.
    • Gareth Roberts, who is famous for disliking Season 18, wrote one of his Creator Thumbprint Season 17 pastiche Fourth Doctor stories to finish off the Doctor Who Missing Adventures line. For most of the book it's a goofy romp, until the Bolivian Army Ending in which the Doctor is forced to pull a TARDIS emergency switch (the one that got him into the Land of Fiction in "The Mind Robber") that will kick him out of his dimension, but that Romana is scared might make them 'fictional characters and not real people'. He kisses her and they both pull the switch together, and the book ends. It's left open enough to draw your own conclusions, but the book is fairly notorious for making all of Season 18 (and everything afterwards) is just a fictional construct.
    • A flashback story in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip depicted the First Doctor, while still a Time Lord on Gallifrey, having a major ethical conflict with another Time Lord who up until then had been his friend, named "Magnus", with strong innuendo that Magnus would later become the Master and that this was his Start of Darkness. Gary Russell, who had edited the magazine at that point, later decided that he didn't like this and established in his Past Doctor Adventures novel Divided Loyalties that Magnus was actually the War Chief.
  • Appropriately enough, Star Wars Legends contained a never-ending series of canonical combat:
    • The early Expanded Universe novels contained a great deal of authorial tussling over who Luke's Designated Love Interest was supposed to be. A lot of tussling.
    • Jaina Solo was the target of the next bout of Ship-to-Ship Combat, which Dark Horse Comics seem to have "won" by heavily implying that she founded an imperial dynasty with their favoured suitor. Dark Horse had a distinct advantage in this battle: their series was set a century in the storyline's future. While the Del Rey authors were writing about what was happening, Dark Horse got to dictate what would happen. The Del Rey authors seem to have conceded this battle, as they're now writing her as being married to the guy who founded the dynasty depicted in the Dark Horse storyline.
    • Karen Traviss became infamous for her Clone Wars novels, which apparently considered Mandalorians and Mandalorian-worshipping clone troopers (which, until late, were all of them) vastly superior to Jedi. This was mostly ignored by other writers...
      • Until a major canon arms race between Traviss and Troy Denning, which started in Legacy of the Force, then spilled over into the Republic Commando Series and Fate of the Jedi. Traviss and Denning clashed hard over their depictions of Jedi and Mandalorians with several books' worth of jabs at each other's characters, until in Legacy of the Force: Invincible, Denning had Mandalore nanovirus-bombed specifically to kill off Boba Fett's family; and even that was countered in Traviss' Imperial Commando: 501st, which denied that a nanovirus could be accurate enough to wipe out her characters. Traviss has since left writing Star Wars for various reasons (including financial and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a higher priority canonical source over her writings, arming itself with canon over the Mandalorian issue in its second season, though Star Wars: The Essential Atlas and Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare introduced retcons that reconciled Traviss' interpretations of the Mandalorians with the show's, and sure enough the pacifist Mandalorian government that Traviss was so offended by in The Clone Wars was overthrown by traditionalist Mandalorian warriors in the very next season).
    • Curtis Saxton, originally a Promoted Fanboy, wrote a lot of data in several technical manuals for the EU. Unfortunately, he has been accused of trying to rewrite Star Wars to be more in line with the views of the pro-Wars online Vs. debate, and as such gave hugely inflated numbers for pretty much everything. He and his fans argue that it is simply a consequence of what is shown onscreen. The acceleration needed to get to orbit as fast as is shown in Star Wars requires the ability to produce insane levels of firepower, as well as being consistent with what the Death Star does. Though the problem is that this is wholly inconsistent with what is observed in the rest of canon. Troop numbers are particularly problematic. He established that the Separatists have quintillions of droids based on the industrial potential shown by the Death Star. Given that the Attack of the Clones movie novelization, a higher canonical source over his lesser canonical status, implied that the "million more well on the way" was a million clone warriors, he had given the Separatists more than a trillion droids for every clone the other side had.
      • Some of the work done by Gary Sarli comes across as him trying to fix some of the inconsistencies Saxton introduced, if only by returning details to their original definitions.
      • One particularly odd case was that in a Revenge of the Sith technical manual, Saxon described the main turbolaser cannons of the Venator-class Star Destroyers as having precision accuracy out to a range of 4 light-minutes — considerably in excess of the maximum range given for even the Death Star superlaser in previous official sources.note 
    • Gary Sarli once explained that when contradictions arose (which would be inevitable given the scope of Star Wars at the time), authors were supposed to do their best to come up with creative explanations that reconciled both sides (George Lucas was not bound by this limitation). Whether the authors could rise to the occasion or fall to the worst aspects of this trope depended on the quality of the writer. However, it would explain why so many authors would address other works instead of ignoring them.
    • The whole resurrection of the Emperor in Dark Empire pissed off most of the EU's stable of novel authors. Timothy Zahn refused all attempts to tie in his Thrawn Trilogy with the Dark Empire comic book; then, after it was done, he had Mara Jade make an offhand comment about how she privately believed the reborn Palpatine to just be a fake.
    • Michael Stackpole's I, Jedi was written at the same time as Hand of Thrawn, with deliberate Shout Outs between the two, and did a similar Armed With Canon attack on the Jedi Academy Trilogy (inserting Corran Horn in it and having him repeatedly point out how Kyp Durron is getting away with mass murder, people are being idiots, and the plot makes no sense). Some consider it a Fix Fic, others object to how the "fix" involved making Corran instrumental in all the students' battles to protect Luke from the spirit of Exar Kun up to and including giving them the plan for their final confrontation with Kun, so that even some of the people who are otherwise fans of Corran Horn have labeled him a Mary Sue in his book (Stackpole might have even realized that himself late in the writing, since Corran is significantly less infallible in the second half of the book, and even after realizing his mistakes still needs Luke to bail him out). Which still hasn't stopped some of us from wondering where the brix Stackpole's Horn was during Legacy of the Force.
    • An earlier example is Aaron Allston's run on X-Wing, which retconned the cartoonish, stupid Imperial villains of The Courtship of Princess Leia as skillful Intelligence-trained types who project the stereotype as an act to make their enemies underestimate them. And Starfighters of Adumar has Wedge break up with the Hot Scientist who built the Death Star, who he'd hooked up with in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, and fall for an old flame who'd been in a relationship with him for years in the X-Wing Series. Basically, Zahn, Stackpole and Allston had a three-way collaboration going to fix the shortcomings they saw in the Anderson/Hambly era of the EU.
    • With Revan, Drew Karpyshyn messed with several aspects of the Knights of the Old Republic games: Revan and the Exile get mild Badass Decay, the KOTOR squadmates other than Canderous, T3 and Bastila get Demoted to Extra, and the KOTOR 2 squadmates aren't even mentioned by name outside of a reference to Kreia as "Darth Traya", whose teachings about the Force and the Jedi are clearly the work of the dark side. Worse, the Sith Emperor is a Villain Sue, the Exile can't recognize Force-consuming abilities even though she's fought Darth Nihilus before, and she's questionably named Meetra Surik. The shots at Revan (taking him from a legendarily skilled tactician and warrior to a complete incompetent) are especially odd since Revan was his character in the first place and he was the one who gave him those traits.
    • This got so bad that when Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, one of the first things they did was declare everything above non-canon. They've since worked on building up a new expanded canon and are keeping tight control to prevent stuff like it from happening again. Elements from the old EU have been brought back into canon (Boba Fett surviving the Sarlacc pit, Star Wars: Tarkin making most of Darth Plagueis canon again, etc.), but often in a Broad Strokes manner that sidesteps all the pissing matches between the old EU writers. For instance, a lot of Karen Traviss' ideas about Mandalorian culture are still canon, but the Mandalorians are not a Mary Suetopia that's better than the Jedi in every way.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the first several Phase novels were written years (in real time) after the first stories for the other main characters came out: the Canon Cabal finally found someone new to write the stories. The new author retconned a bunch of small moments that she deemed 'out of character' for Phase. So far, these are still standing. This is presumably because Diane's Phase has an incredibly different background, a much more focused power. There were also attempts to keep the retcons small, and still match with continuity. (Which led to fun with Phase forgetting 'his' utility belt.)
  • In the Land of Oz book series, a series with forty canonical books and an additional hundreds of unofficial additional books written since the series ended, thanks to most of the books now being public domain, this was bound to happen. L. Frank Baum, creator of the series, was no stickler for continuity himself, and would often change things up on the fly. This left a tough job for Ruth Plumly Thompson, the author commissioned by the publisher to continue the series after Baum's death. She saw fit to give the Scarecrow her own origin story (Baum never explained why he was alive), which a lot of fans didn't like, and introduced many of her own characters, ballooning the cast. After she quit, the longtime illustrator John R. Neill wrote some books for the series, and things got, well, strange. The next author, Jack Snow, did a Retcon of Thompson's and Neill's additions to the series and continued it going solely off of Baum's canon (Thompson, reportedly, was actually okay with this, not wanting another author using her characters). The authors after Snow mainly did this as well, while also ignoring Snow's contributions. Modern unofficial Oz books (the ones that at least try to follow canon, anyway) will either take everything as canon (and have to do mental gymnastics to make the Continuity Snarl make sense), or just Baum's work.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community does this a bunch of times. The reasons for which all center on the removal of the original creator - Dan Harmon - in the fourth season. When Harmon later picked up the show again you could say he was not too pleased with many of the decisions made in the fourth season
    • This is made clear in season six, not very subtly - when Chang 'farts during the fourth one'. Explaining it as an inside joke.
  • When Dallas pulled its infamous All Just a Dream plot with Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower, the producers of the show's Spin-Off Knots Landing were hacked off as they had already based a number of plot developments on Bobby's death (Gary mourning his brother's death, Gary's ex-wife Valene naming one of her twins after her deceased brother-in-law). In the end Bobby Ewing remained dead on Knots Landing and the show essentially parted ways with its parent. Think of a Gecko Ending, but in the middle.
  • Classic Doctor Who:
  • New Doctor Who:
    • Russell T. Davies delivered a big one to the fates of TV companions in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe during The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Death of the Doctor": it's revealed that Liz Shaw was busy working on the Moon, retconning her extremely unpleasant death in one of the Doctor Who New Adventures, and that Jo Grant's still Happily Married to the man she gave up being a Companion for, contradicting her divorce in the Eighth Doctor Adventures.
      • At the end of the second part, Sarah Jane reveals she's been keeping tabs on other former Companions and mentions some of the things they've done since leaving the Doctor. When she mentions what's happened to Ace, it contradicts both of her previously published (and already contradictory) fates in the New Adventures and Doctor Who Magazine (See Comic Book folder above)
      • A minor example from the same scene was that Ace was also confirmed by Big Finish to be training as a Time Lord on Gallifrey, who would later go extinct. But there is still a chance she was overlooked (being human in origin) by the Doctor and retired in London.
    • Defied by Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat (the two showrunners for the revival's first ten series) on the origins of the Twelfth Doctor's face, as he resembled a dude from Pompeii. They could both write their own ways on how it happened, but both brainstormed a good idea for an explanation on a later episode.
    • Steven Moffat admitted he never liked the idea of the Doctor committing auto-genocide against the Time Lords in the Time War. One of his most prominent stories was about the Doctor Cosmic Retconning the incident out of existence.
    • Moffat then produced one of the most aggressive examples of this in the whole history of the franchise (which has many previous ones) with the ending of "Face the Raven"/"Heaven Sent"/"Hell Bent", which gets right in the face of both Davies as writer and the Tenth Doctor in-universe for the decisions they made at the end of "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" regarding Donna's fate. This story also specifically shows a white male Time Lord getting shot and regenerating on screen into a black woman, hammering home that both Race Lift and Gender Bender possibilities are canon after previous Moffat-era episodes had established them occurring separately.
    • There was yet another condemnation of the Doctor's initial impulse to mind-wipe someone in the first episode of the next season, "The Pilot".
    • The status of Gallifrey in the series has bounded back and forth quite a bit as a result of the three showrunners of the new series having considerable disagreements regarding it. Upon its premiere in 2005, Russel T. Davies set the tone for the new series by having the second episode reveal that Gallifrey was destroyed off-screen as a result of the Last Great Time War, to provide the Doctor with some New Millennium-appropriate angst and remove the complexities of Gallifreyan society and politics that had started to bog down the Time Lords' portrayal in the Classic Series. Come "The Day of the Doctor" in 2013, and Steven Moffat would reveal that Gallifrey actually wasn't destroyed, but was instead hidden away in a pocket dimension, with the Doctor even revisiting the planet in "Hell Bent" two seasons later; Moffat heavily disliked Davies' decision to destroy Gallifrey by then, and many viewers were starting to agree that the whole idea of the Doctor being the Last of His Kind was getting stretched out to the point of exhaustion. However, Chris Chibnall would then throw his own middle finger to Moffat's middle finger and have the Master re-destroy Gallifrey off-screen in 2020's "Spyfall". The only question now at this point is how long it'll be before a future showrunner decides to revive Gallifrey yet again to spite Chibnall.
  • On House, the friendship between House and Wilson had such intense Ho Yay overtones that writer Doris Egan couldn't resist writing just a bit more of it each episode, but the other writers weren't on board and kept downgrading Egan's Relationship Upgrade moments again. Showrunner David Shore had to Word of God nix the canon likelihood of House and Wilson becoming a couple in a semi-famous interview with TV critic Mo Ryan, after Doris Egan's writing on the "Amber" Story Arc made the subtext nearly text.
  • Kamen Rider: The movie Kamen Rider Taisen had the Showa Riders, lead by the original, Takeshi Hongo, start attacking the Heisei Riders, declaring that they didn't agree with the new generation's methods and that they don't consider them worthy of the Kamen Rider name. Hiroshi Fujioka, Hongo's actor, was so displeased by this portrayal of his character that he co-authored another movie in which Hongo is much nicer and greatly respects all the Riders who came after him.
  • There has been at least 46 writers for Smallville. Apparent lack of coordination has made the show seem to have a very split personality, with wildly clashing tones, contradictory characterisation, and horrendous amounts of Continuity Snarl, and even the writers themselves have engaged in their own Ship-to-Ship Combat or promoting their own favourite characters.

    Sports 
  • An odd real-world version exists in combat sports when regarding titles. Often, champions will walk away from organizations or be stripped for not defending their titles (due to injury or, some say, ducking competition). Also some champions have lost fights in non-title bouts. This has led many fans of boxing and Mixed Martial Arts to create unofficial "linear" champions based on who actually beat who for said title.
    • Strangely, despite all the turmoil from the early days of MMA with champions leaving orgs or losing in non-title bouts, most methods of determining the linear champion still lead to the current holders of the major championships in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
      • Even if you go all the way back to UFC 1 and call Royce Gracie the first heavyweight champion, even by taking several different paths (depending on how you count his loss by default in UFC 3), or going by the first official HW champion crowned by the orginization, the linear title still leads to the last Pride HW champion Fedor Emelianenko, who was beaten finally by Fabricio Werdum after a decade of being undefeated. Werdum = Alistair Overreem = Bigfoot Silva = Current HW champ Cain Velsquez.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Happens occasionally in novels of Dungeons & Dragons settings — both sourcebooks and novels. Large shared worlds can be hard to keep in line even if trying hard.
    • When Weis & Hickman returned to write the further adventures of the Dragonlance Companions and their progeny, the Heroes and Preludes novels that other authors had written were considered non-canonical and retconned into "legends or folktales" of the Companions. To be fair to Weis & Hickman, while most of the Heroes and Preludes books were decent stand-alone fantasy novels in their own right, almost none of them lined up with established canonicity.
      • Margaret Weis was so upset with Ravenloft taking her Death Knight Lord Soth that she turned him human and killed him, just so nobody else could have him.
    • Forgotten Realms arc The Time of Troubles had a few Take That! potshots until things settled down.
      • On the other hand, for example, Lisa Smedman repeatedly fails very basic research. While the matter of unclaimed dead in Necessary Sacrifices in itself may be mostly explained away, the later incident with the death of Qilué Veladorn looks especially weird: one can't know this character without noticing that her origin is unusual, and the circumstances of her birth show what exactly happens in such cases. And 'wall of force' (Extinction) is, obviously, a solid barrier and thus keeps out bad odors and animated weapons — just like it blocks breath weapons and everything else.
      • The "official" Forgotten Realms fan site Candlekeep has many authors answering questions on the forum. This repeatedly demonstrates the struggles and problems with continuity in the most detailed of massive shared worlds, and just how tricky upkeeping it can be. You usually can't write about other people's characters except as a cameo with permission. Elaine Cunningham, as one of the most cautious Realms authors, frequently emphasizes it, and even she accidentally "shanghaied" Elaith: a short sourcebook entry turned out to be a character from the campaign of Ed Greenwood, who fortunately had a similar view of the elf and "let her run with" him.
    • It's said that the same thing happened with the first "Castle Greyhawk" module, which was seen as a massive Take That! against the then-departing Gary Gygax (who had created Castle Greyhawk and was never able to release it properly while at TSR). It cheesed off enough people that TSR ordered a few years later "Greyhawk Ruins", which was a deadly serious (and just plain deadly) version of the location. Players (and even TSR itself) later declared "Ruins" to be the official version, leaving Castle Greyhawk as a rarely spoken-of joke module.
  • Warhammer 40,000 is infamous for retcons and loose canonicity, but one example in particular stands out: in the 4th Edition of Codex: Space Marines, the Ultramarines are presented as well-trained, well-rounded warrior monks who prize getting the mission done effectively above anything else, and aren't necessarily better than any other chapter. The 5th Edition codex spins the Ultramarines as the shining paragons of what it means to be a Space Marine, so that even other First Founding chapters consider the Ultramarines' leader to be their "spiritual liege," and divides the thousand or so Space Marine chapters into three categories: the Ultramarines and their successors, those who aren't true-blooded Ultramarine descendents but who nevertheless aspire to live up to their example, and a handful of deviant chapters who are fated to be marginalized in favor of Ultramarine successors. This has led to an undeclared edit war between Graham McNeill and Matt Ward, the authors of these two codices. McNeil writes the Ultramarines novels and tries to tone down their Sue-ishness, while whenever Ward writes a codex for an army he'll try to work in something that retcons McNeil's attempts to rein him in.
    • While the retcon war with McNeil is the most infamous, Ward's disregard for the established canon has begun causing more conflicts with authors. Anthony Reynolds, author of the Word Bearers series, apparently didn't take the retconing of his trilogy well thanks to Ward completely rewriting the Necron race. Reynolds promptly wrote the protagonist of that series into the Horus Heresy, giving him and by extension his trilogy a much stronger connection to the canon, and as an added bonus had him making a mockery of the Ultramarines' abilities. Similarly several authors such as Sandy Mitchell and Ben Counter have apparently taken to sticking to all pre-Ward canonicity and avoiding the forces he re-writes.
    • Similarly, the Horus Heresy writers are doing everything in their power to canonize their story of what happened to Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders. They are contradicted constantly by everyone else. Ironically enough, in creating their story they had to retcon Matt Ward's version, which was restored in full later by Robin Cruddace seemingly by accident.
    • Ironically, or appropriately, the many attempts to establish or retcon the history of the Alpha Legion and its actions during the Horus Heresy are one and all entirely in character for the legion whom nobody knows much of anything about. Given that most inconsistencies and contradictions in the Warhammer 40,000 universe are explained away as a combination of being propaganda and misinformation, the fact that Word of God ended up unintentionally doing this themselves in regards to a legion that takes that as its MO is a bit of accidental fridge brilliance.

    Theatre 
  • The equivalent behaviour between improvisers in theatre or theatre sport is called "blocking". This is not the only use of that word in theatre jargon, though.
    • Michael Scott of The Office gives a great in-universe example of this theatre variant. Inevitably, his characters end up pulling guns and shooting everyone dead before the scene can take off.

    Video Games 
  • When it comes to World of Warcraft, Blizzard and White Wolf (who made Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game) have butted heads enough that Blizzard has declared the RPG series to be unilaterally non-canonical.
    • White Wolf adopts a noticeably pro-Alliance standpoint, with little good to say about non-human or non-attractive races. Blizzard always treated the Alterac Valley conflict between orcs and dwarves as ambiguous, but White Wolf declared that the dwarves were the rightful owners of the valley and the orcs bloodthirsty invaders who deserved death for daring to intrude on Alliance lands. Humorously, some fans now complain that Blizzard has taken on a distinctly pro-Horde bias.
    • There's also a whole list of cases where White Wolf took a distinctly different stance than Blizzard. They considered the Warcraft setting to revolve around the conflict between arcane and divine magic, thought that all undead were free-willed, suggested that the Blood Elves were only a small magic-obsessed faction of the survivors of Quel'thalas, and that Illidan was trying to become the new Lich King to conquer Azeroth. Some of these were from pre-World of Warcraft sourcebooks), others don't have that excuse. There are also excuses like the blood elves being minor antagonists before TBC made them a playable race, with all the inclusion that entails, but the RPG books stayed what they were.
    • That said, there have been some sources of Retcanons from the White Wolf books, such as the note that Darkspear and Revantusk Troll tribes are more open to female independence due to their inclusion in the Horde.
    • A shipping example from the games themselves:Chris Metzen, one of the most prominent writers, hates the very popular Thrall/Jaina ship with an almighty passion, due to Thrall essentially being his Creator's Pet. He hated it so much that he used the Cataclysm expansion as an excuse to firmly sink this popular ship by introducing a Satellite Love Interest in the character of Aggra, involving the derailment of a major questline just so the player can watch her and Thrall get married. The odd/funny bit is that Metzen also wrote during Warcraft III, and voiced Thrall during that time - meaning the very ship he so despised was crafted from his material in the first place. One wonders how he didn't notice it earlier...
  • Jay Pinkerton of the Team Fortress 2 writers has been trying to pull a Word of Gay on Miss Pauling. Unfortunately for him, Valve doesn't seem to agree with him, and has her alternating between being completely asexual and a Ship Tease with Scout.
  • Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Super Smash Bros., has acknowledged a number of times that he prefers the character of Bowser as a bestial terror rather than the comical Anti-Villain he tends to be written as in most modern Mario games. This is usually interpreted to be the reason that the Bowser in Smash Bros is The Voiceless, and lacks the wacky technology, magic powers, and goofy mannerisms that he tends to favor in his own games. Even Giga Bowser was apparently based on how he always pictured Bowser looking.
  • Soul Series:
    • Daishi Odashima, the director of Soulcalibur V, made many changes to the lore that he felt were needed to reboot and push the series going forward. This resulted in the 17-year Time Skip that cut out many of the most popular characters and replaced them with a new generation, while having the old cast Put on a Bus, retired or Killed Off for Real. This was what he felt the series should be.
    • In a twist of fate, years after Odashima left Project Soul, his eventual successor Motohiro Okubo in turn did this to him. Not only did Soulcalibur VI undo all the effects of V, but he also revisited the idea of Cassandra being trapped in Astral Chaos. Originally, it was to have her Put on a Bus, but Okubo decided to have her be instrumental to undoing the effects of V by way of having her inform the New Timeline Cassandra of a V being a Bad Future for her to prevent and Set Right What Once Went Wrong. In other words, using Daishi's canon to erase his own canon.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • This happened occasionally in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe when one Game Master took over a campaign from another Game Master and immediately instituted story changes that invalidated previous stories. At one point this got so bad that Jack Butler had to stop in, stop multiple campaigns, and reboot the entire universe.

    Western Animation 
  • The sequels to An American Tail had this bad, as each sequel save for the final one seems to hate the movie that came before it. Fievel Goes West, the Lighter and Softer first sequel, which Don Bluth wasn't involved with, appears to take a few thinly-veiled jabs at the first movie, such as Tanya getting tomatoes thrown at her for singing "Somewhere Out There", New York City turning out to be a Crapsack World, the Mouskewitzes living in poverty and having failed to achieve The American Dream, and in general carried itself as if Lighter and Softer equaled better. Then the third movie came along, with yet another different team of writers. Fievel wasn't out west anymore, but in New York, and the writers decided to throw in a Wham Line about Fievel having a dream where he moved out west, implying that the second movie is now Canon Discontinuity. They then proceeded to erase the Love Interest of Tony Toponi from the first film and pair him with their new character, and make a Discontinuity Nod later on where Tiger accidentally barks like a dog (as he had in Fievel Goes West). And while it's debatable whether or not there was enough time between the films for the writers to really gauge the audience reaction to the third film, it may have been no accident that The Mystery of the Night Monster backtracks on a lot of the this and chooses instead to be as stand-alone as possible.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! Timmy/Tootie shippers have a live action movie which shows them getting together as adults. Whether or not the movie is canonical is hotly contested by other FOP fans, who do not like the live action movie for various reasons, including Timmy's status as a 23 year old 5th grader who refuses to grow up. What makes things even more confusing is that the live action movie was created by Butch Hartman and Scott Fellows, both of whom worked on movies where Timmy romanced other girls such as Wishology, yet all other romantic plots are retconned into non-existence by the FOP movie.
  • When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover Turtles Forever was made, the new writers of the 2003 reboot, while throwing the 1980's Ninja Turtles cartoon a bone every now and then, went out of their way to make everyone from the show silly and incompetent, while making their own Turtles seem much cooler, but when the 2012's Turtles from Nickelodeon had a crossover with the 1987's Turtles, that crossover took a few potshots at them but still treated the 1980s Turtles with much more love and kindness and made them more competent, however, the second crossover seems like a complete ripoff of Turtles Forever and the 1980s Turtles apparently don't remember it, maybe making it Canon Discontinuity.
  • Transformers. All of it. It's so diverse with multiple canons and universes that just about ANY viewpoint can be backed up with evidence from somewhere, be it the cartoons, comics, anime, manga, radio plays, novels, movies or toys. It doesn't help that the fandom is one of the most diverse and self-antagonistic groups on the internet (response to anything new is almost overwhelmingly negative) so you have thousands of fanboys and girls arming themselves with canon to push their point.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: A minor case. Dave Filoni deliberately gave Darth Bane a cameo in the final episode to ensure the character (who he was a fan of) would remain canon after Disney announced their plans to de-canonize the original Star Wars Expanded Universe.
    • The same team set to this with gusto in Star Wars Rebels, happily bringing in everything they liked about the old EU in their preferred versions (such as a version of Mandalorians that combined the previous conflicting portrayals). This got recursive when Timothy Zhan did a novel covering the new backstory for Thrawn, and promptly established that an out of character moment of Offscreen Villainy mentioned at his introduction was actually done by the resident Hate Sink.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show had an episode called "Reverend Jack Cheese", which took potshots at the show's creator John Kricfalusi, who has been fired from the show when that episode was made.


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