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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 

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.


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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    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.
  • YuYu 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: The director of the original anime, Junichi Sato, 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 director also played up the Usagi/Rei ship, but was 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Writer Alan Grant was told straight up that this would be the fate of his Batman character Anarky, who he'd set out to establish as The Joker's son. Originally conceived as a plan by Anarky illustrator, Norm Breyfogle, to create tension in the character, Grant approached Dennis O'Neil, who had editorial oversight on all Batman books at the time. O'Neil was dead-set against the idea, but gave permission on the express condition that it wouldn't be true, and would be revealed as false months later, whether by Grant or by another writer. As the series was canceled before this could happen, it remains unaddressed. With the establishment of the New 52, it no longer exists as a hanging storyline at all.
  • The non-canon Batman miniseries Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy is generally a pretty even-handed and nuanced attempt to grapple with the "is Batman actually as insane and vicious as his villains?"/"does Batman's presence inspire villains to get freakier?" questions in Batman fandom. However, its portrayal of Harley Quinn strays into this territory, as it criticises post-Flashpoint depictions of Harley by splitting her into two completely-different characters — the original Harleen Quinzel, who wears her modest classic costume, never did anything truly evil, and just wants to make the Joker happy and saner, and the second Harley, actually a woman called Marian Drew, who is an Ax-Crazy near-naked slut and worse than the Joker ever was, and becomes the Big Bad of the comic. Some fans viewed this as significantly whitewashing the earlier canon Harley and ignoring the evil stuff that she did pre-Flashpoint.
  • In an issue of The Outsiders, Judd Winick had Arsenal completely out of nowhere make out with Huntress and then tell Nightwing that he'd had sex with her. Gail Simone responded by writing a scene in Birds of Prey where Huntress admitted to sleeping with Arsenal, but then followed up by saying he wasn't very good in bed.
    Huntress: Archers. They pull a mighty bow, but they're too quick to let fly, if you know what I...
  • In the Spanish arc of Bombshells United, Jasón deciding to die again due to the side-effects of Lazarus Pit resurrection has obvious subtext relating to Marguerite Bennett's views about the character in the mainstream DC universe.
  • In one issue of Captain Atom, writer Greg Weisman attempted to explain multiple personifications of death in DCU, as aspects of death - the Black Racer represented Death as an inevitability, Nekron represented death as the ultimate enemy, and Death of the Endless represented "the peaceful death that comes to the righteous". This annoyed the creator of the Endless, Neil Gaiman, who responded in interviews and a scene in which Death declared that she represents the death of everything, including the Universe itself, without any single exception.note 
  • John Byrne's revival of Doom Patrol fused this with outright Canon Discontinuity and Cosmic Retcon by ignoring all but the first of the comic's previous versions, in particular Grant Morrison's beloved tenure, which had itself been mildly fired upon during Rachel Pollack's run for Vertigo. This was rectified by Geoff Johns and Keith Giffen making everything from past writers canonical... Which, considering the nature of the book even before Morrison's entrance, fit just fine.
    • Paul Kupperburg's first revival of the Doom Patrol established that Larry Trainor (Negative Man) had somehow managed to survive the explosion that killed the team at the end of the series. However, Keith Giffen's run retconned things so Trainor actually did die in the explosion, and was covertly cloned by the Chief. Giffen also revealed that the "Negative spirit" is actually Larry's disembodied soul and that he had inhabited Valentina Vostok (Negative Woman) for some time, causing him to take on some of her memories. Furthermore, Giffen revealed that Larry's current body is that of a brain-dead man who was genetically altered to resemble him.
    • Valentina herself turned up towards the end of the series Checkmate, as the new White Queen and without her powers. However, a throwaway spread in Final Crisis #4 depicted a dead Negative Woman. In Resist, the civilian Vostok is then shown again, under Darkseid's control. Keith Giffen decided to count the appearance of the dead Negative Woman as canonical, ignoring Vostok's later appearance, and used her in the "Blackest Night" tie-in to Doom Patrol.
  • Harley Quinn: The controversy over Harley's New 52 costume redesign (which included some writers who preferred the old costume openly mocking the new one in their own comics) is alluded to in #21, where Harley has a run-in with a character impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard who is wearing her old costume. Harley says that she only wears that costume on "special occasions", and when the impersonator accuses her of making a complete mess of being Harley, Harley pistol-whips her.
  • Geoff Johns is generally thought of as one of the best DC Comics writers when it comes to sticking to continuity, but almost every book he's been involved in has undergone some degree of change to his character or just plain retconning. Most of these have the catch-all excuse that Infinite Crisis, a crossover he created, re-wrote the DC Universe's history at large and changed various details that are just now being explained.
    • Reversed Jerry Ordway's characterisation of Black Adam, so that instead of a demon-worshipper in the body of a contrite murderer, he's a Namor-type Knight Templar in the body of an unrepentant killer. (Although this change at least didn't generate too much vitriol from the fans in the way some other examples on this page have, and some of the stories it generated - such as the Black Reign arc in JSA - are quite popular)
    • Completely abolished the backstory written by Kon-El/Superboy's creator, that he was the clone of Cadmus director Paul Westfield with implanted superpowers, in favor of his being the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. Johns eventually acknowledged that that was what Superboy (and Westfield) believed. Regardless, he continued to have Kon suddenly agonizing about being the clone of a villain, despite that having been his opinion of Westfield.
      • In the letter column from an issue of the 1990s Superboy series (the one that starred Kon-El/Conner Kent), a certain young "Geoffrey Johns" suggested that Superboy was created from the combined DNA of Superman and Lex Luthor. Karl Kesel, who was writing the book at the time, responded by politely yet firmly telling him that it wasn't the case. Fast-forward to 2003, when Geoff Jonns became the writer of the relaunched Teen Titans series, which just happened to have Kon-El is a member of the main cast. Guess what the very first issue of the series was about. Come on, guess.
      • While a lot of fans saw some real potential in this new origin (with Westfield being evil and Lex Luthor being an Evil, super control freak desperate to get a weapon of his own against Superman), there were those who lamented the end of the original, fun loving Superboy. The fact that Superboy's development arc was suddenly Cut Short during Infinite Crisis (when the ongoing lawsuit between the Siegel/Shuster estates and DC looked like all rights to the Superboy concept would be lost) and Kon-El/Conner was killed off didn't help much (although Johns at least tried to bring his arc to a culmination with his death). After his resurrection in Legion of 3 Worlds, fans were very happy to see him (for the most part) over these issues and much less wangsty.
    • Claimed that every single appearance of the Post-Crisis Brainiac wasn't really him at all, but was a Doomb... sorry, a Brainiac-probe in Superman: Brainiac. Even Milton Fine, who was taken over by nanoprobes, rather than psychically possessed by Brainiac's intelligence (as readers of the original story saw happen). This isn't quite as extreme as other examples, though, since Brainiac's probes were under his total control and basically secondary bodies for him to use.
    • In that same story, Johns retconned Supergirl's previous backstory in favor of one more in line with her Silver Age origin, minus the campiest parts. It wasn't a bad thing, though, since Post-Crisis Kara Zor-El's origins had been retconned several times previously, and Johns' updated origin stuck around because unlike the former backstories it worked.
    • The same goes for Toyman since his Darker and Edgier revamp in 1992, despite the fact that Superman knows Toyman is a master at constructing realistic automata, and regularly x-rays the guy to ensure he hasn't pulled a fast one in this fashion. This is explained away by Toyman simply saying "my robots are good enough to fool Superman."
    • After Hawkman was rendered "radioactive" in the wake of Zero Hour!, Johns resurrected the Golden Age Hawkman while leaving the Silver Age alien one in limbo. While this version worked out well, Jim Starlin (for reasons known only to him) decided to retcon the Johns-written character, making the Hawkman who was part of the JSA be the alien Hawkman. It's gotten so confusing, Hawkman is now somehow both the Gold and Silver Age Hawks at the same time.
    • Tangentially related to the Hawkman snarl is the volley handling of his son, Hector Hall, and Hector's surrounding characters once he was reincarnated as the new Doctor Fate. What makes this particularly headache inducing is that Johns was volleying against himself, as if he couldn't decide which direction he wanted to take the character. As just one example of this, first all the prior Fates live in the amulet, then they're just hallucinations conjured up by Nabu, then, no, they're actually real again, then they all disappear again.
    • Johns also restored the Silver Age era Green Lantern Hal Jordan to the "star" of the book again, who had been turned into an evil supervillain named Parallax and killed off in a massively unpopular story. Hal's previously evil deeds were retconned by claiming "Parallax" was actually a fear-based mental parasite who was corrupting him.
    • Geoff also did a Take That! against Brad Meltzer and his Identity Crisis series, which, at one point, had a series of offhand scenes showing some B and D-list heroes Jack Bauer interrogating the Rogues, enemies of The Flash, one of the most powerful heroes on the planet, whom Johns was writing at the time. Cue next month's Flash showing those exact same scenes playing out to the end, with the Rogues soundly thrashing the heroes and going on their way.
  • Duela Dent, the so-called "Joker's Daughter", was created by Bob Rozakis, who provided her with a wacky origin as the daughter of the Joker, but intended her to actually be Harvey Dent's daughter with a twist reveal. However, since he established that she was born after he became Two-Face (which would mean she'd be a child and not a teenager), it created a plothole that annoyed other creators and confused fans. Marv Wolfman took the opportunity to then reveal Duela as a liar in the pages of New Teen Titans, though she would refuse to identify her true father. Years later, Duela Dent's origin was retconned as actually the multiversally displaced offspring of Earth-3's Jokesternote . This is to be taken with a grain of salt in that this was introduced during the Countdown to Final Crisis storyline and may or may not be canonical.
  • James Robinson's Justice League: Cry for Justice reveals that following Prometheus' original appearances in Grant Morrison's JLA, someone else has been using the suit, while the original Prometheus lay low, until now. Since Prometheus has been subjected to galloping Villain Decay over the past few years, this is probably a good thing. Although Prometheus' death at the end of the story makes it somewhat pointless.
    • The villain decay was started by his own creator. Many fans forget, after all the build-up, Prometheus was defeated in his first caper by being whipped in the 'nads by a disguised Catwoman. And it was all downhill from there.
    • Cry For Justice had a controversial scene implying that Green Lantern Hal Jordan had at some point had a drunken threesome with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk of Birds of Prey fame. Gail Simone wasn't very happy about that and revealed that what that scene was really referring to was that the girls had once seen Hal pass out drunk at a pilot convention.
  • V4 Legion of Super-Heroes, having been written by fans, has a lot of this. For instance, fan speculation had had it that Element Lad is gay, but the previous writers gave him a girlfriend. When the fans got to write the book, his girlfriend was retconned into a man taking sex-change drugs. (Weirdly, they wrote Element Lad as unaware of this, so its relevance to his own sexuality is... unclear.)
  • Maxwell Lord. Back in Justice League International, he was a Lovable Rogue who genuinely believed in his team, even if he'd only formed them because an evil computer forced him to. Then in Countdown To Infinite Crisis, it turns out he's a ranting metahuman-hater who set his League up to fail. Then, in Booster Gold, Geoff Johns says "Remember that evil computer? Remember how it took over Max again after his apparent death, and he became the new Lord Havok in the post-Zero Hour! League that no one read? Yeah, that's when he turned evil." And then, in Justice League: Generation Lost, Judd Winick says "Well, maybe. But he always disliked metahumans, even if he did grow to care about the particular ones in his team." Note that Johns and Winick were two of the three writers on Countdown in the first place!
  • When John Byrne rebooted Superman, he wanted Superman to be the only surviving Kryptonian in the DC Universe. His run therefore did not include Superboy (which destroyed the Legion of Super-Heroes's continuity), the Kara Zor-El version of Supergirl, Krypto, the Phantom Zone, and Kandor the Bottle City.note  All of these things were brought back by subsequent writers, of course.
  • The original Terra had been subjected to this trope. In Marv Wolfman's original telling of "The Judas Contract", Tara Markov was a teenage sociopath who joined with Deathstroke in order to help him kill the Titans, who she loathed for being such "do-gooders". At the end of the arc, she wound dying when she brought the H.I.V.E. headquarters down on herself in a blind rage. In a followup story, she was also confirmed to have murdered Beast Boy's first adoptive father before she'd met Deathstroke, and was always manipulative and a ticking time bomb. Fast-forward to Brad Meltzer's "Last Will and Testament". Meltzer, a self-proclaimed fan of Terra in his youth, decided to retcon the tale and state that Tara Markov was simply a normal innocent girl driven to madness when Deathstroke drugged her. He also changed the details of her death, stating that she'd intentionally committed suicide as shame for her failure. When J.T. Krul wrote the "Blackest Night" tie-in for Titans, he gave a Take That! to Meltzer's retcon by having Beast Boy rage at the undead Terra and ask if she expected him to believe any lies she'd tell him, such as her "being drugged".
    • In the second issue of the Terra miniseries that introduced Terra #3 (Atlee), Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti tried to explain that Tara's sociopathy was a result of psychosis after she'd been given her powers, with the mineral "quixium" being the culprit. However, these first two issues of the series were written back during 52, when it was originally scheduled to be released before DC had it put on hold. In the time that followed, Meltzer's retcon had passed. Gray and Palmiotti then told readers to forget about their explanation, and refer to Meltzer's version as canonical. The same issue also featured a reference to an event that was to occur at the end of 52, but changed due to overhaul in editorial: Terra 2 was to originally snap and become a villain, and would have to be killed by Atlee (rather than her remaining a hero and being killed by Black Adam in the final product).
    • Terra 2 was also an example of different writers and editors' intents conflicting. Marv Wolfman introduced her with the intent that she not be the original Terra resurrected, or related to her in any way beyond being surgically altered to resemble her and given powers. After Wolfman left Team Titans, Phil Jimenez began to set up hints that she was at least the Terra of an alternate Earth, but this was quickly shot down by the editors. By the end of New Titans, the editor Pat Garrahy mandated a story that would hint that Terra 2 was the original reborn, which Wolfman hated having to do. Geoff Johns and Ben Raab wanted to go with the idea that both Terras were the same, setting up a story (that went nowhere) where their DNA is confirmed to match. Although when it came to Gray and Palmiotti's miniseries, both characters were established as being separate entities, and the DNA match was explained as the second Terra being genetically altered to resemble the original.
  • Greg Rucka's second run on Wonder Woman during the DC Rebirth era began with an issue entirely devoted to denouncing many controversial elements of the "New 52" era comics about the character as the result of propaganda and/or malicious reality-warping.


  • Subverted in the 2011 Alpha Flight mini-series. Alpha Flight members were resurrected during Chaos War but without Puck, who appeared in Hell in one of Wolverine's stories after Chaos War. When he later appeared very alive in Alpha Flight's new ongoing, you might have expected the writers handwaving it and saying he returned with the others and that Puck from Logan's adventure wasn't him, right? Instead Puck admits he was indeed in Hell. He slew the devil, took over Hell, and then gave up his throne to return and save his friends.
  • The whole "chaos magic" debate following Avengers Disassembled:
    • During Kurt Busiek's run on The Avengers, a major plot point was the Scarlet Witch finding out that she has a mutant ability to control chaos magic (an Arc Welding of the various powers she had displayed in the past). When Brian Michael Bendis took over the book, one of his first acts was to have Dr. Strange reveal that Scarlet Witch's powers had been slowly driving her insane for years, and that chaos magic was a nonexistent thing she made up as she began to lose her mind — retroactively changing Busiek's version from a woman growing more confident to a woman losing her grip on reality.
    • In an issue of Mighty Avengers, writer Dan Slott struck back by revealing that "there is no such thing as chaos magic" is a lie that sorcerers like Dr. Strange have agreed to tell in order to weaken the power of chaos demons.
      • The What If? version of Avengers Disassembled also took a shot at this, revealing that "Dr. Strange" was really an illusion cast by Scarlet Witch, with the real Dr. Strange explaining that chaos magic is totally a thing, but very few people use it because of how chaotic and unpredictable it is.
  • Any Marvel Comics writer who dares turn his hand to writing Doctor Doom is certain to find that a later writer will take issue with his interpretation, and declare that the story was so wildly out of character that it couldn't have really been Doom — it was Actually a Doombot. At least one story suggested that (almost) every single appearance of Doom since the early '60s was a Doombot. Oddly, the story was otherwise quite good.
  • A case that would probably be seen as an Author's Saving Throw if Word of God hadn't been involved. During Battle of the Atom, a grown-up version of Molly Hayes, very popular Kid Hero, showed up as a member of the evil Brotherhood of Mutants from the future, to the displeasure of many fans. Later, when Brian Bendis announced he'd use the Brotherhood again, fans asked him if he was going to explain why Molly turned evil. Bendis responded by saying there was a thing he wanted to do during Battle Of The Atom but Jason Aaron and editor Nick Love stopped him, and with them no longer working on X-Men books, he was able to have his way. Soon after it was revealed that Molly and all other members of the Brotherhood (except Raze) were mind-controlled by their leader.
  • This happens with John Byrne a lot. Most fans have just accepted that Byrne has one idea of continuity: his. If he returns to a book (such as the Avengers) that he previously wrote, expect all of the characters to immediately return to the characterizations and stories he was writing when he left, as if all of the ensuing continuity and characterization had simply not happened. Whether this is a good thing or a really terrible thing generally varies on the title, how Byrne wrote it originally, what happened since he wrote it, and whether you're a big fan of John Byrne or not.
    • When John Byrne took over Star Brand back in The '80s, he proceeded to launch one Take That! after another at the departing figure of ousted Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter. Star Brand was one of the Shooter-initiated "New Universe" titles, and was the one that Shooter himself wrote personally. Byrne not only took ad hominem shots at Shooter personally, but had exposition characters hang lampshades on how implausible the events of Shooter's run was, and how stupid the hero had been. Early on in Byrne's run, the hero's girlfriend (a major cast member) got Stuffed into the Fridge; the hero later broke down and passed the title Brand onto some other poor schmuck, destroying Pittsburgh (Jim Shooter's hometown) in the process. This was referred to slightly in the Untold Tales of the New Universe story "Tales of the Mulletverse".
    • In the '80s, John Byrne had grown tired of Magneto's status quo as an Anti-Hero, and wanted him to fall from grace and return to a life of villainy. To achieve this, he and Walt Simonson wrote a story where he did indeed turn back into a villain, and released the New Mutants from his tutelage to boot. Chris Claremont was not at all amused by this, so he responded by writing a story that revealed Magneto was only pretending to be a villain so that he would draw negative attention away from the other mutants of the world.
    • One reason there's bad blood between John Byrne and Peter David has to do with Lockjaw, The Inhumans' dog. As created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Lockjaw was just a very large, mutated dog with a normal canine intelligence level. Byrne later wrote a Thing issue in which Lockjaw spoke for the first time, begging that baby Luna not be subjected to the Terrigen Mists, since their effects weren't always pretty — implying that he was a full-fledged Inhuman like the others. It was a touching, fan-favorite story, but it had Unfortunate Implications: the Inhumans had always treated Lockjaw as an animal, and now this was solely because he looked like one. Thus Peter David revealed that Lockjaw's "speech" had been a prank on Ben Grimm. (As he tells it, this was a request from editorial; David himself didn't have a problem with the scene and wrote his retcon so that it was possible it was Quicksilver that was lying.) This fixed the problems with Byrne's story, but now the Inhumans were Jerkasses for a different reason: pranking Grimm in the middle of an important debate, at Lockjaw's expense. Fans of the Byrne story remain sore about this... and others remain sore about the Byrne story.
    • When John Byrne took over as writer on the West Coast Avengers, a title previously written by Steve Englehart, he proceeded to undermine four years' worth of characterization. Hawkeye went from confident leader to sidelined jerk. The Vision and Wonder Man relationship, that had evolved into a bond of close fraternity, returned to one of jealous contention. Tigra went through almost the exact same story arc of losing control of herself and succumbing to her feline side that Engelhart had put her through and seemingly resolved. And The Vision and Scarlet Witch marriage... was altered. After the Vision lost his emotions, their children were discovered to be pieces of the devil, after which The Scarlet Witch went insane. For some reason Byrne decided to hit the Reset Button and return the characters to a status they had outgrown in over a decade of stories. Some have accused Byrne of wrecking a title that Englehart had arguably made a success out of resentment over how Englehart had written the Fantastic Four, a title John Byrne had made a hit, although it is just as likely a case of Creative Differences.
      • On the other hand, Byrne's portrayal of Iron Man in Avengers West Coast (and later in Shellhead's own book) stayed fairly close to how Bob Layton and David Michelinie had portrayed him, although he did remove the weapons-testing aspect from Tony's origin story. He also kept team newcomer U.S. Agent pretty much in line with how Mark Gruenwald wrote him in Captain America.
  • The Civil War event was controversial enough for writers to start trying to retcon it to be more in keeping with their own ideas pretty much as soon as it ended.
    • After Mark Millar turned Iron Man into a fascist in Civil War, many other writers have had their character walk up to Tony Stark and berate him for his actions. This may stop now that he's gotten his karmic comeuppance in World War Hulk and Secret Invasion.
    • Only Brian Michael Bendis came close to rationalizing Stark's actions and that was in a uber-last minute filler story published AFTER Civil War ended, via retconning all of Tony's actions based around a never seen sequence where Tony Stark learned about Project Wide-Awake and the fact that the government was going to activate it and unleash the Sentinels upon the super-hero community. Bendis also outright absolved Hank Pym of his involvement in Civil War by way of a Skrull impostor.
    • Related to that, J. Michael Straczynski tried to rationalize Reed Richards' actions by having Reed relate the story of his uncle. Said uncle had spoken out against the Red Scare witch hunts of the 50's, and as a result, lost everything. Because he chose to speak out against unjust abuse from those in power, he ended up dying penniless and alone. Reed used this as rationalization for supporting the SHRA, arguing that the consequences for standing up against an unjust law were just too great. Needless to say, nobody was really happy with that, so Dwayne McDuffie completely ignored that explanation while having Reed state that through science, he'd discovered that Civil War was one of many potential horrific events that could potentially be on the horizon. Reed's calculations stated that Civil War was the only such threat that humanity could face without being completely obliterated, effectively making it the Lesser of Two Evils in his mind.
  • One of the big "Oh shit" moments in Civil War II #1 was when She-Hulk was critically injured during a fight with Thanos, an incident that left her scarred and comatose. The problem? Brian Bendis chose to dispatch her with a stray missile, something that should not have had much of an effect on her given that she's survived much worse in previous comics. Kelly Thompson responded by Retconning the fight in an issue of A-Force, revealing that while the missile did injure She-Hulk, it wasn't strong enough to scar her or leave her in a coma. The actual thing that scarred her and left her comatose was Thanos physically attacking her after the explosion. She-Hulk herself even Lampshaded it:
    She-Hulk: Missile to the chest... can't stop me... w-what, like it's my first day...?
  • During the time Wolverine's son Daken and Daredevil's enemy Bullseye were members of the Dark Avengers, Daniel Way and Majorie Liu, writers of Daken's ongoing series Dark Wolverine, tried to establish some sort of rivalry with a lot of sexual tension between the two, with Daken using his powers to manipulate Lester's emotions For the Evulz. Other writers decided to ignore it and wrote them as good friends with no rivaly or sexual tension whatsoever.
  • Deadpool's origins has been so Depending on the Writer that eventually Deadpool himself accepted that his real origin wasn't his problem anymore, and arguing about it was just a waste of time.
  • When Chris Claremont wrote Margali Szardos as "Sorceress Supreme" over in X-Men, the writer of Doctor Strange responded with a story revealing that she had been possessed and really had no magical powers at all.
  • During his run on Doctor Strange, Steve Englehart wrote a story in which Earth has been destroyed and Eternity created a perfect copy of it with all inhabitants and their memories. He also had a larger arc of the spirit of the Ancient One testing Strange to prove he was worthy of the title of Sorcerer Supreme. The moment Marv Wolfman took the title, he had Strange stripped of Sorcerer Supreme rank (Wolfman felt he shouldn't have such power) and revealed the tests were manipulations of new villains, one of them claiming Earth's destruction was only an illusion.
    • But wait, it gets better - after a few issues the story was taken over by Jim Starlin, who proceeded to reveal that the villains themselves were just pawns of his own creation - a being known as In-Betweener, who tried to fix the balance between life and death that was skewed towards death because of Thanos and had the Ancient One return to human form.
      • Then the story was taken over by Roger Stern who both did his best to connect all loose plot threads and throw some of his own. And so Strange beat the In-Betweener and explained that his actions were unnecessary, because Strange himself is a countermeasure to Thanos, the Ancient One casually returned to being one with the Universe, and it was directly stated Strange is as strong as ever and Sorcerer Supreme is nothing but a title. Years later, he would write a graphic novel in which Strange wins the title back and not only doesn't get any power boost, but now owes a favor to the guy who came in came in second.
  • Reading The Mighty Avengers you might get an impression that Dan Slott had some sort of continuity-war with The Incredible Hercules writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente - every time they tried to set the series in larger continuity on page or via Word of God, Slott would write something contradicting them. And when they poked fun at Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe Marvel gods were using back in the days, but stopped in early 00s, Slott wrote Herc returning to it.
  • The Marvel Universe Crisis Crossover Secret Invasion, seemed like it was going to do this ("X wasn't really X, just a Skrull impostor!") much more than it actually did. It didn't help that fans had high hopes that this explanation would be used to excuse the many characters they felt had been written out of character in Civil War, or that many of the characters that were revealed to be Skrulls were not well received.
  • Dan Slott's final issue of She-Hulk was devoted entirely to explaining away events from other comics as alternate-universe doppelgangers who were visiting the Marvel Universe on vacation; this has since been largely ignored. The reveal was a "fix" to a story in Uncanny X-Men which had She-Hulk uncharacteristically sleeping with the Juggernaut. Before coming to our world, the doppelgangers were supposed to learn everything about their other self by reading a handbook, so they could act in character.
    "So when something messed-up happens in the future we have to assume it’s because of some idiot who couldn't be bothered to take five minutes to read their darned handbook?!"
  • Years ago, Eric Larsen had the Spider-Man villain Dr. Octopus deliver the Hulk a severe smackdown during the "Revenge of the Sinister Six" storyarc. In the story, "Doc Ock" was given extremely powerful adamantium limbs which made him far more dangerous. Hulk writer Peter David accused Larsen of a making a personal attack when he wrote that story and responded with a story written for the sole purpose of mocking Dr. Octopus. Larsen denied this, claiming he had used the Hulk to show how deadly Ock had become in a rather obvious demonstration of The Worf Effect. (And it made sense; what better way to prove a villain has Taken a Level in Badass than have him beat up the Hulk?)
    • This debate kicked up again years later in the letter-pages of The Savage Dragon where David wrote in to accuse Larsen of making a personal attack when he wrote the Spider-Man story. Larsen explained that since Doc Ock was using Applied Phlebotinum in the story (he had much stronger adamantium limbs), it made sense to use the Hulk for the Worf Effect. David was not amused.
  • The What If? version of Spider-Man: The Other, by Peter David, basically starts with the Watcher explaining that the fundamental premise of the original story (by J. Michael Straczynski) is flawed, and this version is based on what was really going on.
  • Kurt Busiek's Untold Tales of Spider-Man featured stories set in between and around Lee-Ditko's Spider-Man. It stuck closely as possible to the old continuity of those issues. Many fans considered it the most entertaining Spider-Man book, especially since the series appeared around the time all the regular Spider titles were entangled in The Clone Saga mess.Then John Byrne came along. Spider-Man: Chapter One was his attempt to update the old Lee and Ditko stories and he pretty much disregarded most of what Busiek had done in his Untold Tales series.
    • Not too long afterwards, Paul Jenkins penned a Chameleon story-arc in Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man - explicitly referencing his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #1 instead of Chapter One. Note that Jenkins didn't do so based on his own opinions. He simply asked editorial which story he should reference, and they answered with the original. To add insult to injury, this went down while Chapter One was still in progress - Byrne's mini-series being disregarded months before the final issue was on the stands. Additionally, events and characters from Untold Tales have since been mentioned or referenced.
  • Squirrel Girl is almost an Armed with Canon game of tennis. First, she was shown beating Doctor Doom. So a later appearance of Doom mentions it was Actually a Doombot (see above). Then Squirrel Girl beats Thanos, and Uatu is present just to say that it isn't a "Robot, clone, or simulacrum". Later on, Thanos mentions that he can create clones of himself that even the Watcher cannot tell aren't him. So then another Squirrel Girl adventure goes back to the beginning: by having Doctor Doom be unwilling to fight her when she shows up in his castle.
    • Note that all of this except the Doombot reveal was written by Dan Slott; he's having fun at one-player Canon ping-pong.
    • Although the first story where Doom is beaten by Squirrel Girl was written by Will Murray and (as mentioned above) Steve Ditko. It can be argued that Slott is simply following Ditko's lead.
    • There are some fan theories about Thanos lying about that just to avoid admitting defeat.
  • Speaking of Thanos and potential duplicates, there was a period in the 90's where his creator, Jim Starlin, felt he was undergoing Villain Decay. First came a Ka-Zar issue where the titular Badass Normal managed to (through contrived circumstances) survive a fight with Thanos, despite the obvious power disparity. Then came a Thor storyline where Thanos killed millions of people while trying to find a pair of cosmic artifacts needed to destroy the universe, which ended with Thor kicking his ass. Finally, there was Avengers: The Celestial Quest, a mini-series where Thanos was forced to team up with the Avengers to stop Rot, Thanos and Death's offspring. Starlin was not amused, so he wrote Infinity Abyss, a mini-series that retconned all three of those appearances into being mentally deficient clones, explaining away what Starlin felt was needlessly-destructive and Out of Character behavior. For added points, he had Thanos mention that the clone who had faced Ka-Zar was a "low-level" one, explaining how Ka-Zar had managed to hold his own and not die.
    • Thanos was later the main antagonist in a high profile crossover between The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Brian Michael Bendis' depiction of Thanos was noted to be hugely Out of Character, emphasizing his more generic Evil Overlord tendencies and suddenly having him be obsessed with conquering the Earth. In Starlin's subsequent Infinity Revelation graphic novel, Thanos claimed that his recent obsession with Earth had come out of nowhere and surprised even him, and it was later revealed that his odd behavior under Bendis was actually the result of cosmic manipulations occurring ahead of a massive, universe-altering event.
  • Another Starlin example: Annihilus was killed near the end of Annihilation after Nova tore his heart out, and was subsequently reborn as a child with all of his past memories. Certain artists and writers seemed to forget this, and incorrectly depicted him as an adult. Starlin's Thanos vs. Hulk mini-series cemented once and for all that Annihilus was still a child, and that the adult Annihilus seen in other titles was just a robotic duplicate he used for public appearances.
  • Marvel's editor-in-chief Axel Alonso attracted quite a bit of controversy when he tetchily claimed in an interview that Marvel's Hercules was 100 percent heterosexual, despite numerous hints to the contrary in past comics and homoerotic content in certain original Greek versions. Jason Aaron clearly disagreed with that statement, and penned this bit of dialogue in Mighty Thor #702 to make it clear where he stood:
    Hercules: It has been far too long since I have kissed a Thor.
  • There's a rather infamous moment in The Ultimates where Mark Millar's version of Captain America screams at a defeated opponent "You think this A on my head stands for France?" Ed Brubaker evidently found this attitude needlessly insulting and jingoistic, not to mention anachronistic, so he very politely said "screw that" to Millar's interpretation by writing a scene where Cap specifically discusses how much people who insult the French as cowards don't know what they're talking about.
    Cap: That's why it really galls me when I hear my own people dismissing the French as cowards. We're talking about a people who never gave up fighting the Nazi occupation. Their country may have surrendered, but they never did.
  • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, in Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand, Brian Bendis had Ultimate Reed Richards perform a Heel–Face Turn and set out to atone for the evils he'd committed as the Maker in The Ultimates, written by Jonathan Hickman. He was also shown atoning in Ultimate FF. However, Hickman wasn't done writing Reed as a villain, and later revealed that Reed had only been pretending to be good so he could continue his evil work without constantly having to worry about superheroes trying to stop him. This characterization was the one that he used in Secret Wars, and which extended to his appearances as a Canon Immigrant to the main marvel universe.
  • The notorious X-Men Continuity Snarl relating to Xorn's true identity and motivation basically happened because other X-writers (and a vocal element of the fans) thought that Grant Morrison's views on Magneto as indicated in the original arc ("he's a vicious, genocidal fanatic and all those Heel–Face Turn periods were Character Derailment") were hostile Armed with Canon against them and responded in kind.

Other comics

  • Early in the third season of the main Adventure Time TV series, Princess Bubblegum unambiguously and permanently shuts down Finn's vague adolescent romantic feelings for her by saying that the gap between his age of fourteen and her (apparent) one of eighteen is too big. Ryan North's official Adventure Time comic spin-off later gave the Fubblegum shippers some support by revealing that in an otherwise Bad Future Finn and Bubblegum are lovers, and having her explicitly say that now Finn's a grown man in his twenties a four-year age gap doesn't mean much. A second, entirely different potential future seen in a later arc also had Finn and Bubblegum married, although in a three-way marriage with Marceline.
  • Archie Comics' looseness with characters relies on this. Is Veronica an Alpha Bitch while Betty is the cute Girl Next Door? Is Veronica Spoiled Sweet while Betty is a whiny Clingy Jealous Girl? Neither? It all depends on who's writing and which side of Betty and Veronica they prefer.
  • The comic Spike: Shadow Puppets plays with this trope by having the Japanese Smile Time puppets literally armed with the Smile Time Official Cannon. Spike barely dodges the blast and gingerly gets to his feet, muttering, "I hate the official cannon." Hey, after the way it kicked him around, who could blame him?
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer main comic book has done this in season 10 several times, usually aimed at season 6 of the show. When fighting the Soul Glutton Spike asks to be immediately staked if his soul is destroyed since he'll go back to being a souless monster, refuting a lot of his pre-Season 7 character development and even claiming he couldn't "really" love Buffy before the soul (this coming from a character who is primarily defined as being "love's bitch"). Similarly Buffy outright tells Spike she was never upset with her friends for bringing her back to life in season six, but upset with herself for being upset and missing heaven. This has caused some serious Fan Wank as Spike being able to love Buffy even without a soul and Buffy being upset at the Scoobies for pulling her out of heaven were very common interpretations.
    • A major part of the "Vengeance" arc is discussing the idea that Spike puts the women he cares for on a pedestal and then forces them to push him away so he doesn't have to break up with them. Given this is the vampire who was slavishly devoted to Drusilla for over a hundred years and only broke up with her after she cheated on him repeatedly and refused to be with him and he never had anything resembling a high opinion of Harmony, and his famous "you're a hell of a woman" speech to Buffy it has been a contentious move. And then Spike, the man who has gone to ridiculous lengths to both prove his love and not be broken up with, gets it in his head that the way to break the cycle is to try and break up with Buffy just so she can call him out on it.
  • The people responsible for the Angel: After the Fall comic at IDW were pissed at the people responsible for Dark Horse's Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic for the reveal that Angel was Twilight. So much so, they created promo pictures for their new Spike series wherein Spike burned a Twilight mask while saying, "He's definitely not Twilight."
  • Doctor Who Magazine:
    • In the early 1990s, the comic strip had a period of Seventh Doctor strips explicitly sharing a continuity with the Doctor Who New Adventures spin-off novels, including the novels' original companion Bernice and darker aged-up version of Ace. However, when a new editor who strongly disliked the New Adventures was appointed, the strip moved to a run of stories featuring various earlier Doctor-companion teams. The last of these, the climax of a multi-story arc that led into the first major arc of the Eighth Doctor strips, featured the Seventh Doctor and the younger Ace from the TV show, and shockingly killed her off at the climax. This was widely seen as an aggressive attempt to knock the New Adventures tie-in strips out of continuity. Following the series' return to TV, the comic's made mention of strips both during the tie-ins and after the split, but then "Who" is the series that gave us the Timey-Wimey Ball...
    • One of the aforementioned "earlier Doctor-Companion team" stories, "Change of Mind", which features the Third Doctor, Liz and UNIT, and is explicitly set after Liz's resignation, begins with a caption bluntly stating a date in the early 1970s, establishing the strip's view at the time on the UNIT dating controversy.
  • In the early Doctor Who (Titan) Eleventh Doctor comics, there are a number of scenes involving the Doctor's highly-combative companion Alice that make it very clear that the writers, Al Ewing and Rob Williams, are not at all happy with Doctor Who fans and writers who think that the Doctor being an Insufferable Genius is cool or admirable.
  • Lauren Beukes's Fairest arc "The Hidden Kingdom" contains an approving line about herbal abortifacient preparations that seems thrown in solely as a slap at the anti-abortion subtext (and outright text) that appears at times in the main Fables series.
  • For decades Red Sonja's backstory included that she was granted her fighting skill by a goddess on condition that she not sleep with any man unless he first beat her in combat. So it went until Gail Simone took over in the Dynamite run and introduced Osric the Untouched, a male swordsman under the same condition. Sonja promptly calls it out as stupid, explicitly jettisoning it out of her past.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog: The feud between writers Karl Bollers and Ken Penders tended to come down to this, with them retconning each other's story ideas in favor of their own all the time. Of special note is Antoine's attitude change after the Time Skip: Bollers wanted it to be natural Character Development, and it would have been the lynchpin of several ideas he had planned for later on. But Penders disliked the change, so he made it that Antoine had instead been switched with his Alternate Universe Evil Twin.
    • And then, both of them then left the comic at the same time, allowing new writer Ian Flynn to scrap the majority of their ideas and replace them with his own...kinda. Actually, it's not as simple as that: with the bridges between Ken Penders and Archie/Sega permanently burned, the writer ending up launching lawsuits concerning the characters and concepts that he created, stating that belonged to him and for them to be removed from the comics. They eventually lead to a settlement that, in part, had Ian Flynn use the ending of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide as a Cosmic Retcon for the series, in order to remove every element that Penders created.
  • After a long and well received run co-writing Strontium Dog with Alan Grant, John Wagner left the strip with Grant; who promptly killed off all the main characters. Skip forward a few years and Wagner resurrected the strip, declaring the last twenty years of comic null and void. The official line is that those stories were "the legends of [main character] Johnny Alpha and the new stories are what really happened". Cue lots of fans shouting Nooooo! in unison. Wagner went back on a lot of this later, with "The Final Solution" actually being mostly declared canon again.

  • 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 is happening, Dark Horse got to dictate what will 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's 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 the 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 noncanon. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)

    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".
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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).
  • 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.
  • 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.