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Author's Saving Throw

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"Here's a secret — when I finally okayed the clone saga, I told Danny Fingeroth to build a back door into it. I said that I wanted to be able to bring Peter back as the real deal...while the fans claim they want change, they tend to react negatively to it. So do most creators!"
Marvel Editor Tom DeFalco on The Clone Saga

Creating a sequel or a serialized work comes with the opportunity to improve upon your previous work. An author will often look at elements that fans complained about, and try to address these in an attempt at appeasing their anger. This is what we call an Author's Saving Throw: a change meant to correct a mistake the author made.


Even writers without a direct line to the fans usually gain some form of access to the fandom that has spawned around their creation. They may find out that a Twist Ending they wrote was not well-received and decide to retcon that storyline. Or they may learn what fans were inspired to do, and incorporate those things into later works as a Shout-Out to the fans.

This is common in games, where Tier-Induced Scrappies will receive a Balance Buff or Nerf, or Anti-Frustration Features get implemented to make a Scrappy Mechanic less infuriating. Since The 2000s, the ability to release patches means that in video games, making a Saving Throw might not require the release of a whole new work: the game's developers can simply apply the changes to the base game.

Tropes Are Tools. When done well, the result may be that a reviled character is Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, and this is also a great way to create a Surprisingly Improved Sequel or Even Better Sequel, as well as to Win Back the Crowd. However, going too far may lead to accusations of Pandering to the Base, and there are risks of assuming that a Vocal Minority's complaints are universal, alienating a large portion of the fanbase.


Named for a common Tabletop Game term originating in Dungeons & Dragons; a "saving throw" is a die roll representing, say, a hero's attempt to catch themselves when falling off a cliff, or the Deadpan Snarker's attempt to resist the urge to taunt Cthulhu.


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    Fan Works 
  • Aftermath of the Games was criticized over Twilight defeating the villainous Starlight Glimmer by Ret Goneing her via adopting her younger self and taking her away to the future, which lead to an Esoteric Happy Ending. The sequel, Integration, addressed some concerns the fans had by using an interlude chapter to flashback to the event in question. It shows that Twilight did offer Starlight the same chance of redemption that she got in canon, but she refused and became even more dangerous, meaning that Twilight really DID have no other choice. Also, despite her friends, brother, and fellow princesses being extremely supportive of her decision and believing that it was necessary in those circumstances, Twilight is haunted by what she did, feeling like she had purposely murdered the original Starlight, which combined with her being fully aware of the possible ramifications of altering the timeline meant she felt undeserving to be filly Starlight's adoptive mom.
  • Ages of Shadow: Partway through the Third Age portion of the story, Mildred ends up getting her eyes gouged out. Fan complaints about this weren't so much about the event in question as they were the fact that it's mostly glazed over, with very little direct reaction to it. Later chapters responded by having characters discuss it, and even giving Mildred a subplot wherein she learns to use shadow magic to compensate for the lack of eyesight.
  • A common complaint about Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness is that the Cruciatus Curse is demoted from being a nightmarish torture to the equivalent of flogging — the students take to bragging about how often they get cruciated. Thanfiction wrote a scene in Chapter 21 of the first story where Neville, facing Bellatrix, gets hit with the curse — and thinks to himself, just before he whites out from the pain, that the Carrows never did a proper one.
  • In The Elements of Friendship, a big complaint about Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's relationship in Book 1 is that it pretty much comes out of nowhere — the first time we even realize they're a couple, they're announcing their engagement. Book IS (1.5) rectifies this by having the pair realize they were acting out of fear of NightMare Moon's conquest of Equestria and jumped the gun, and they ultimately decide they're better off as Just Friends.
  • In Infinity Crisis, Chapter 4 originally had a bit where Shuri tells Tony Stark she built a suit of armor just like his in her room when she was just 5 years old. After some reader complaints of that being too much, it was amended with a line later in the chapter of Shuri admitting she was just trolling Tony.
    • The first chapter of the later spin-off Tomorrow's Guardians had Alara on the crew of the Orville. Right after publication, the character was written out when the actress left the show. It was thus altered to replace Alara with the character of Talla.
  • A preemptive case in the Miraculous Ladybug fanfic An Unexpected Revelation (NSFW). A major point in the story is a large school graduation ceremony, like the one the author had in Canada. She wrote a note well in advance that she doesn't know how they do this in France, and apologizes if it's not customary there. So when she was told that it is indeed a much quieter affair there, she simply added a plot point of Chloe getting her father to arrange a large, American style ceremony, which is totally in character for her.
  • My Heroes Reborn: During the Stain arc, the author added a Drama-Preserving Handicap to Izuku in the form of a subconscious mental block that prevented him from using his abilities as Sanji as a last-minute Ass Pull. The readership hated it immediately, due to a combination of Izuku's overpowered abilities being one of the draws of the story and the twist being seen as a cheap cop-out and poorly-written. As a result, she was forced to backtrack and promise to end the subplot as soon as feasibly possible.
  • Attempted several times in My Immortal (a Harry Potter fanfiction) but pretty much everyone agrees that the author, Tara Gilesbie, failed miserably and the fanfic is still infamous for its bad writing:
    • In the chapter that introduces Dumbledore, he swears loudly at Ebony and Draco for having sex in the forest. Tara has tried to explain this Out of Character behaviour by saying that he had a headache and was trying to be goth. Everyone agreed, however, that it would take more than that for swearing loudly to be in-character and that trying to be goth is out-of-character in itself. Tara also tried to make him seem more in-character by describing him as doing things "wisely", including crying, which everyone thought was ridiculous.
    • Reviewers complained that Draco was out-of-character. Tara tried to fix this by having him accuse Ebony of being a muggle as an insult and tried to explain away his uncharacteristic behaviour as the result of him being in love with Ebony.
    • Reviewers complained about Tara making Snape and Lupin "pedophiles" (even though the only underage character they perved on was Ebony who's seventeen and in the UK, sixteen is the age of consent and in Harry Potter, seventeen is considered an adult), so she made Wormtail, or Snaketail as she called him, sixteen when he asked to have sex with her.
    • The reviewers were none too pleased with having Harry, Hermione, and Ron switch houses and so Tara claimed that it was because they'd become evil— which opened up another can of worms because Ebony is meant to be on the side of good despite being a goth, so why would she hang out with bad guys?
  • Nobody Dies had a particularly weak fourth season, and is generally considered the point of where all the story's weak bits began showing. This eventually required the author to retcon almost the entire season into being a shared dream. The problem was that, while the Saving Throw wasn't a full-blown Voodoo Shark, people still raged against it because it ended up eliminating what they did like about the season. This resulted in a Creator Breakdown and the story becoming dormant.
  • Parodied in Peter Chimaera's Digimon 3: Predator vs Digimon. Peter Chimaera is a well known writer of Troll Fics and is notorious for his intentionally inaccurate portrayals of the source material he writes fanfiction about. His first two Digimon stories, for example, erroneously used the name Digimon for a single character, rather than the collective term for multiple species of digital creatures, like it is in the original source. After a lot of complaints about this by people who did not realize the joke, Chimaera pretends he realized this mistake and retcons it in Digimon 3, saying the character Digimon belongs to a new species of Digimon he specifically created for his story.
    Peter Chimaera: Auithors notel Digimon is a new Digimon because there is not actual Digimon that is called Digimon he is a new one that I invented
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Chapter 30 is one for the handling of the Cerulean Sisters: several commentators found their treatment by the author to be unusually harsh for the fic, which generally avoids nearing bashing territories for characters a lot more maligned than they are. Many were pleasantly surprised to see the Eevee Brothers, who are similar to the sisters in canon behavior, treated not only well, but made more sympathetic than their canon selves, up to and including their treatment of Mikey and their reasons for being pushy about evolution.
    • The same chapter also has one for the fic's tendency to slip too long: the author noted this and split the chapter in progress up early as to prevent another long gap while the chapter was made after the author noted it was getting notably long due to the Eevee Bros. adaption.
  • Readers of the Poké Wars story, "The Subsistence" were baffled by Dawn's sudden prowess with guns, and most complained that it was an Ass Pull. Then Cornova wrote "The Incipience" and did some minor rewriting which better explained Dawn's sudden gain of Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • The Pretty Cure fan fic, Twilight Pretty Cure got significant backlash over the unintentional way the author treated some serious subjects. The author accepted the legitimacy of these concerns and set out to completely rewrite the story.
  • Spectacular Seven had its first volume go into dark territory really fast, and readership complaints were that the story was getting way too dark and depressing to keep reading with all of the angst it kept piling on top of Sunset Shimmer. Come Volume II, the Magical Girl aspects of the setting are played up much more, and the darker elements were pushed back. Sunset's struggles are far more external than internal, and the romance between Sunset and Twilight Sparkle gets a lot more screentime to balance out the plot. This all culminates with a Final Battle sequence and a "No More Holding Back" Speech from Sunset, making the angst part of some character development that Sunset ultimately learns from, grows past, and becomes better for.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles, Readers complained about how Applejack spent much of the series as being Out of Focus due to not having many of her episodes adapted. "The Quest for the Golden Apple", helped mitigate this, by having her be the focus of the chapter, and by giving her some Ship Tease with the new character, Rogue.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Peanuts Movie contains a number of these for problems that fans had with the original animated specials, most notably, toning down the Kafka Comedy. Chief among the examples is Charlie Brown's book report on War and Peace — in the special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, a number of fans questioned what kind of teacher would make an eight-year-old kid read War and Peace and write a book report on it over Christmas break. (And then refuse to believe that the kid would have done it by himself). In The Peanuts Movie, Charlie Brown is the one who picks War and Peace to do a book report on, because he wants to impress the Little Red-Haired Girl and deliberately goes for what he's told is "the greatest book of all time," and he does it all himself because the Little Red-Haired Girl was sick. Charlie Brown's Butt-Monkey status is still there, but played more dramatically, as tragically, a gust of wind slips the book report paper out of his hands into the air, right into the path of the model of The Red Baron's plane, which shreds the paper.
  • While few were demanding a midquel for Bambi, many think that Bambi II at the very least works well smoothing out the transition between the death of Bambi's mother and birds singing gay little spring songs in the first film.
  • Coco: the first news of this movie was that Disney wanted to trademark the title "Día de los Muertos" for it, which drew a huge backlash from Mexican audiences, including Mexican cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Disney quickly retracted the trademark idea... and decided to go with the Hire the Critic approach by getting Alcaraz involved as a consultant. The backlash made a complete 180° turn as the movie became the biggest box office success in Mexican history and Mexican audiences loved it to bits. Disney/Pixar succeeded in turning the backlash into an amazing example of Germans Love David Hasselhoff.
  • Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus: Many fans of the show questioned for years if Professor Membrane even cared about Dib. And while the movie's version of the Professor still won't be winning any parent of the year awards, it shown for certain that he loves his son — in one of the most touching moments in the history of the series, he tells Dib that he's always been proud of him and that he doesn't need to constantly prove himself. And then, despite being convinced that everything happening with Zim's Evil Plan is a hallucination he's having because he was hit on the head, Membrane doesn't hesitate to go full-on Papa Wolf to protect Dib from Zim's Mecha-Mooks.
  • Big Bad Alpha Bitch Sunset Shimmer pulls a Heel–Face Turn at the end of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, with The Hero Twilight Sparkle and the Humane Five forgiving Sunset for her various atrocities. Fan response was disapproving; the more common complaints were that Sunset was wholly undeserving of their forgiveness and probably faking her apology in-universe. The sequel, Rainbow Rocks, addressed this by making Sunset a genuinely better person who is sincere about her reformation, but still openly hated by the rest of the school, and the Mane Five's actions reveal that they still don't trust her, either. Sunset Shimmer also went through enough character development and hardship to make her redemption seemed more earned, making her Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in the fandom's eyes.
  • The Powerpuff Girls Movie was made to give hardcore fans a Darker and Edgier Prequel that explains why the people of Townsville despised the girls at first and show Mojo Jojo as a legitimate threat rather than a comic foil.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water, aimed to alleviate many, many grievances that resulted from the Flanderization the cast suffered after season 5. SpongeBob himself was much less obnoxious and more intelligent, Patrick was still a dumbass, but he wasn't quite as bad as in the later seasons (and significantly less malicious), Mr. Krabs was more of the gruff but reasonable boss he used to be instead of the psychotic money-grabbing lunatic he became, Plankton was back to being a legitimate threat after years of Villain Decay, and Squidward finally got thrown a bone that wasn't cruelly ripped from him at the last moment. Given that the story was penned by Steven Hillenberg himself, the entire movie can be seen as a "Sorry for what the staff turned my show into after I left."
  • Disney's portrayal of its Princesses has changed over the decades due to evolving views towards the role of women. Starting with The Black Cauldron and, more popularly, The Little Mermaid, Disney's princess characters started taking an active role in the plot and doing things of their own accord, as opposed to previous films where everything just happened around them. Mulan took it one step further by having the princess be the one who saves the day instead of her boyfriend. Finally, Brave removed the boyfriend requirement altogether, and future princess movies (except Tangled) have been about the girls' own self-discovery rather than just falling in love.

  • In-universe, and somewhat more literal, example in the fifth Captain Underpants book (sorry, EPIC NOVEL), Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman. Ms. Ribble (who, via a screwed-up hypnosis sessionapparently the Hypno-ring George and Harold used works in reverse on women — turned into Wedgie Woman) sprays spray starch on Captain Underpants, rendering him powerless. George and Harold, in an effort to save the Captain, quickly write a comic book to try to negate this weakness. To make a long story short... it worked.
  • Euripides wrote two versions of the story of Hippolytus. Only the second version survives, but it is widely believed that in the original version outraged the audience because Phaedra (wife of the great hero Theseus) lusts without shame after her step-son Hippolytus, and brazenly attempts to seduce him. The second, surviving version bends over backwards to make Phaedra blameless (she's deeply ashamed of her feelings, and only seems to come on to her step-son because her nurse betrays her). She still comes to no good end, committing suicide and attempting to frame Hippolytus for rape.
  • A Frozen Heart: One of the chief complaints about the film Frozen was the character Prince Hans, namely that he was Evil All Along, causing him to become the film's biggest Base-Breaking Character. This Tie-In Novel gives him a more sympathetic portrayal by showing more of his personality and inner thoughts during most of the story and giving him a backstory with a Freudian Excuse in the form of an abusive family that includes a father who encourages ruthlessness.
  • In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens wrote a new Earn Your Happy Ending ending for when the original Bittersweet Ending wasn't well received by fans.
  • A Karen Traviss example: Her first Halo book, Halo: Glasslands, was despised by the fandom for demonizing the scientist Catherine Halsey while portraying her rival Admiral Parangosky as a model of honesty. In reality, both of them have committed plenty of unethical acts to defeat both the Insurrection and Covenant. Thus, in her second book Halo: The Thursday War, Parangosky was now depicted as more sinister and ruthless (willing to starve an entire species by secretly making their crops and meat inedible) while Halsey gets some sympathetic reveals, such as that she still cries over the death of her daughter Miranda Keyes.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Many fans complained that, since catching the Golden Snitch basically scored 15 times as many points as a goal and ended the game, the Seeker made the rest of the game irrelevant. The World Cup game shown in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire demonstrates that is it at least possible for a good enough team to beat even a superior seeker. The Weasley twins successfully manage to win a bet that Ireland's team will win the game, but that Bulgaria's Seeker will still get the Snitch, showing that catching the Snitch doesn't guarantee victory. Of course this doesn't really refute the initial argument, as it does show that it's not literally always true. Everyone in universe also acknowledges how incredibly unlikely this is (which is why they win big on the bet), with most of them finding the idea of a team catching the Snitch but losing absurd.
    • One of the most disliked elements of the series was the idea of sending Harry to live with the Dursleys. Even if they didn't know the Dursleys would turn cartoonishly abusive towards Harry, they certainly did know what they were like by the end of the first novel. The original explanation - Dumbledore wanted Harry raised away from the Wizarding world to guard against Harry growing up arrogant and entitled - only served to inflame the readership's condemnation, pointing out that if that was all that Dumbledore wanted, Harry could have been simply dropped off at an orphanage or another place where Harry was guaranteed to find a loving Muggle family. Come Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we find out that Harry's Crazy Cat Lady next door neighbor was actually Dumbledore's agent, sent to make sure Harry was safe. Then in the final chapters, Dumbledore reveals the REAL reason he sent Harry to the Dursleys: because of the nature of Lily's Heroic Sacrifice enchantment, it meant that as long as Harry was under the guardianship of her family, he had magical protection away from Hogwarts from the Death Eaters. Petunia Dursley, Lily's estranged older sister, was the only remaining relative of hers, leaving Dumbledore with no choice but to leave Harry there. Later, Dumbledore apologizes to Harry for putting him through all of that and admits that Harry grew up to become a much better person than anybody would have expected under those kind of circumstances. He also gives the Dursleys a much-deserved telling off for the abuse and neglect they dished out, acknowledging in-universe that they'd treated him abominably.
    • One common complaint about the series is that Slytherins are always portrayed as evil, to the point that Peter Pettigrew is the only antagonist stated in the books to not be from the house.note  Similarly, Snape was the only remotely good character to come from the house for most of the series and even that isn't apparent until near the end of the series. Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is often seen as Rowling's saving throw, creating a Slytherin character who's definitively on Dumbledore's side and more or less a good guy. How moral his character is is up for debate, but he shows regret for indirectly helping a young Voldemort work out creating horcruxes and is, if not perfect, at least a nice guy overall. And in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows prior to the Battle at Hogwarts all of Slytherin house are directed to leave Hogwarts grounds under the presumption they won't help defeat Voldemort; during the battle Slughorn and some of the Slytherin students (though the students accompanying him was revealed by Rowling after publication, not in the book) later return having gathered more reinforcements from outside the school to fight against Voldemort.
  • Honor Harrington: The People's Republic of Haven started the series as a welfare state gone wrong, with the majority of its citizens on welfare, not contributing to the economy, forcing the Republic to conquer in order to survive. A lot of people have taken this as an attack on the concept of a welfare state. In the novella I Will Build My House of Steel, found in the Manticore companion book House of Steel, Weber mentions that several other star systems, influenced by Haven, enacted similar reforms, but they actually pulled it off without gutting their economies, by virtue of having relatively honest politicians... until, that is, they got conquered by Haven.
    • When Weber introduced the concept of the prolong treatment in the second book of the series, The Honor of The Queen, it's explicitly stated that the 3rd generation prolong treatment, which is given in infancy, extends all stages of life, such that people from a planet without prolong are stated to be disturbed to be visiting a Manticoran warship that looks like it's crewed mostly by teens and pre-teens (really crew in their chronological 20s and 30s). Later in the series it's also mentioned that the (mixed sex) crews are required to have birth control implants while serving on ships because sex between consenting crew members who spend long periods in close quarters is considered inevitable, and is tolerated. When the Unfortunate Implications and Squick factor of those two facts considered together was pointed out (and that this would be true of the entire culture, not just the military), later stories in the universe make a point of mentioning that prolong also includes treatment that causes one to physically at a normal rate until they reach adulthood, at which point the slowdown of physical aging is allowed to happen.
  • The Lightbringer Series: The Blood Mirror had several revelations that were not particularly popular with readers. The sequel, The Burning White, barely mentions and even retcons away some of them. For instance, Andross revealing to Gavin/Dazen that Gavin was not a full spectrum polychrome at all, and was in fact a black monochrome drafter that stole other colors from people he's killed is almost completely ignored in the sequel. The Burning White, aside from a very brief mention of Gavin confusedly recalling this incident, operates under the assumption that Gavin is a true prism and full spectrum polychrome who has simply lost his ability to draft. Why Andross believed otherwise and told Gavin this is never explained.
  • The Magic: The Gathering novel Scourge had the Big Bad, Karona, gather five powerful beings representing the colors of magic, namely Multani, Teferi, Fiers, Llowalyn, and Yawgmoth, revealing that Yawgmoth (the Big Bad of the Weatherlight Saga), who was dramatically killed, was hanging on in some form. The storyline fans were not amused at the news. A few years later, the Time Spiral block trilogy had Teferi deny his meeting with Karona, and several characters stated that they'd personally confirmed that Yawgmoth was dead.
  • One element of the first Mary Russell novel that upset even those Holmes fans who like the books was the Rathbone-movie-style Adaptational Wimp portrayal of Dr. Watson. Although Watson has never played a big role in the books, later novels strongly suggest that Mary's initial judgement of him was adolescently arrogant and hasty.
  • In-universe example in Misery; a fan kidnaps a writer to force him to do an Author's Saving Throw after he killed off a beloved character in his series.
  • Some people thought the Mog book "Goodbye, Mog" was too sad because of Mog's apparent death, so "Mog's Christmas Calamity" was written, in which she has an Unexplained Recovery.
  • In the Old Man's War series, John Scalzi reveals in the afterword of Zoe's Tale that he decided to do a Perspective Flip of the previous book rather than continuing the story, as he was never happy with Zoe's offscreen recruitment of a whole army, and thought the many fans that accused it of being a Deus ex Machina had a good point. He also took the opportunity to provide more closure to the werewolf storyline.
  • A few examples from Rick Riordan and his Riordanverse of mythological fantasy books.
    • During The House of Hades, Nico's actions toward Percy in The Battle of the Labyrinth seem much less like a hastily Subverted Create Your Own Villain subplot and much more representative of his romantic feelings after reading The House of Hades.
    • The House of Hades itself irons out some inconsistencies in the previous books, gives the new characters some much needed development, and includes a vast number of references to the previous series that continued several small plot threads that, while not necessarily dangling, could be explored further.
    • The next series had one for an odd line in the very first book about Percy being the son of Nemesis, a goddess, while having a mortal mother. Apollo off-handedly mentions that gods can reproduce with same sex humans in the Riordanverse, a fact that, while in the original mythology, had not been confirmed in the Riordan take on it.
    • Readers were surprised by Magnus, protagonist of the Norse series, using mild cursing in the first book, which many felt was uncharacteristic for Riordan. Come book two, not a single "dammit" appears, though the Hel/hell joke is kept due to Rule of Funny.
    • TJ, Gunderson, and Mallory were practically billed as main characters, yet they were offscreen for most of the first two books when Sam, Blitzen, and Hearthstone took the role of main supporting characters. The third book has them joining the main four, along with Alex, and sharing backstories and fighting alongside him.
    • Alex doesn't go as Anvilicious with their gender fluidity in the third book, but that actually does make sense - the viewers (much like the friends and family members of gender-fluid people) had time to adjust, so Alex doesn't need to mention it all the time.
    • In general the Trials books are a lot better at acknowledging that other books in the series outside of the Classical Mythology ones exist after the last series did not acknowledge them at all outside of easily avoidable short stories.
  • A well-known example can be found in Sherlock Holmes stories. In The Adventure of the Final Problem Doyle had both Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty apparently die in a waterfall. After public outrage (and big sacks of cash), he retconned the event, allowing the detective to defeat the Big Bad and survive.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The franchise has been up to its elbows in these. First the controversial New Jedi Order books introduced Vergere, and her philosophy that the Force was too complex to be summed up as simple light vs. dark. This ticked off a lot of fans, so the writers did the Dark Nest Trilogy and Legacy of the Force in response, which had Jacen Solo (Vergere's main pupil) become a Knight Templar and fall to The Dark Side as a result of her teachings. Problem was, many fans felt bothered with Jacen's fall, so the current Fate of the Jedi series is retconning it to have been not because of Vergere's teachings, but because he encountered something during a journey through the galaxy that made him go crazy.
    • Karen Traviss's Republic Commando Series has been very polarizing, due to her single-minded approach to storytelling. After four novels of vicious anti-Jedi sentiment at the hands of the Mandalorian characters, she included two scenes in her last novel to try and fix things up. First, she made Maze call out Skirata for being an asshole, and the renegade clones a bunch of brainwashed slaves, effectively comparing Skirata to the Jedi he was trying to save his troops from. Then, she revealed Djinn Altis' rogue Jedi convent, giving a fresh perspective that was separate from both the Republic Jedi and the Mandalorians, putting a lampshade on the whole series focus.
  • Legend says that Stesichorus (a Greek poet, who lived in the 7-6th centuries BCE) was struck with blindness after he wrote his original poem, in which the author bashed Helen for causing The Trojan War. He recants it by writing down another, but not as popular, oral version of her myth. The other version claims that the real Helen had spent the whole duration of the war in Egypt, and the Helen who went to Troy was just a duplicate made out of clouds note . Euripides also used a version of this story in his Helen. This became recognized as a palinode, a literary form, in which a poet writes a second poem to disavow an earlier one.

  • Alanis Morissette is often criticized for her song "Ironic", because of its highly colloquial and technically incorrect use of the word in the title (her definition is more akin to a Cruel Twist Ending). Her Parody Retcon response? The song itself is ironic.
  • The Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich (the radical innovations in his earlier work had incurred the wrath of Josef Stalin, so this was really a saving throw on his life.)
  • Record Producer Ross Robinson started producing a bunch of Post-Hardcore artists seemingly as an apology for his hand in the rise of several Nu Metal bands. Post-Hardcore albums he produced include At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command (2000), Glassjaw's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence (2000) and Worship and Tribute (2002), and The Blood Brothers' ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn (2003). These are considered to be some of the best post-hardcore albums of the decade and brought post-hardcore to a wider audience, so he may well have succeeded.
  • David Bowie expressed regret for his comments in interviews during the Thin White Duke era, during which he occasionally expressed sympathy with fascism (due, it's generally accepted, to getting Lost in Character as the Duke, who actually was a fascist). After this point, on the rare occasions when he would express political themes in his work, they often tended to be anti-fascist, anti-racist, or otherwise anti-authoritarian. Good examples are the videos for "China Girl" and "Let's Dance", as well as much of the content of Tin Machine. The line "To be insulted by these fascists is so degrading" from Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) is also generally considered to be an apology for this period. (It may be worth pointing out that some of Bowie's pre-Duke material also had anti-authoritarian themes, most notably Diamond Dogs, which started out life as a musical adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, and still had several songs referencing the book even after Orwell's estate denied David permission to use the work).
  • Due to negative reception over his single "That's My Kind of Night" for enforcing "bro-country" stereotypes (and for Zac Brown calling it one of the worst songs he'd ever heard), Luke Bryan's label rushed the song to #1 and then released the far more substantial ballad "Drink a Beer".
  • Similarly, Tim McGraw's song "Lookin' for That Girl" was negatively received for its Auto-Tune-driven productions and meat-headed lyrics, so the label pulled it after only a few weeks and promoted the much better-received ballad "Meanwhile Back at Mama's."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Shortly after his debut in WWE, Bo Dallas was a babyface, asking the fans to "Bo-Lieve" and achieve their dreams, promoting positive thinking. However, this character was seen as rather bland, and the fans began to boo him. This led to a heel turn and a change in the character. After the turn, Dallas was portrayed as a Faux Affably Evil Straw Hypocrite. He only thought the fans loved him, though his speeches were full of backhanded insults and completely ignoring the heel heat he got. This iteration was received far better, and Dallas got over as a result.
  • Daniel Bryan was supposed to have fallen over the Despair Event Horizon after the Authority's constant screwing leading up to a gauntlet match against the members of The Wyatt Family. Bryan then joined their team, changing his outfit to a a plain sleeveless jumpsuit that made him look like '90s throwback to Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, wrestling garbage collector, and was even billed as "Daniel Wyatt" in house shows, but he didn't act all that different than before. The fanbase did not buy into Bryan's "motivation", and every crowd he wrestled in front of absolutely refused to boo him. So two weeks later, he and Bray Wyatt are in a steel cage match against The Usos. Once the Usos win, Bray attempts to discipline Bryan and, in a fit of Bullying a Dragon (heh) goads him into fighting back. Which he does, kicking Bray Wyatt up and down the thunderous "YES!" chants.
  • Fans thought Bryan would be in the 2014 Royal Rumble. He wasn't. The fans were displeased to the point where they turned on the event itself, and utterly rejected Batista's win of said Rumble, knowing he'd get a title shot at WrestleMania. Despite HHH and Steph throwing obstacle after obstacle at Bryan, he was eventually written into the WrestleMania main event. He beat HHH, but it was still worrisome who'd win. But again, after Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker and broke the streak, Bryan's victory was all but assured.
  • Fan reaction was so bad to Roman Reigns' win of the 2015 Royal Rumble that not even The Rock could placate them (it didn't help that the event took place in Philadelphia that year). It wasn't so much about hating Reigns — a lot of people felt he had potential, but it was almost universally agreed that he wasn't ready for a main event push yet. The fans were mainly pissed about the terrible booking they had to suffer through lately, more specifically on how Daniel Bryan didn't win (Bryan was in the match this year but was eliminated early). Bryan had just recently come back from a long term injury and many felt it was wasting his return momentum. Reigns had just come off injury too, but it was for all of two months so all it did was kill any momentum he already had, not helped by the fact that his return feud was with Big Show. End result? Despite the company's many, many desperate attempts to get him over, the fans absolutely refused to get behind Reigns and continued booing him out of the building. Realizing that if he won at WrestleMania all of his potential as a top baby face would be utterly destroyed, they had Seth Rollins cash in during the main event and leave with the title instead.
  • Survivor Series 2015 had Sheamus cash in right after Reigns had finally won the title and leave as champion. Fans took issue because the move was both incredibly predictable and considered the worst move that could possibly be made by the majority of the IWC, even more so than Reigns having his big face win. However, it did prevent Reigns from getting more heat — since all the heat went to the company, primarily Vince McMahon. After this, the company finally got a clue and started booking Reigns correctly. After he got screwed out of the title again at TLC 2015, Reigns snapped and went on a rampage, attacking three members of the League of Nations with chairs shots before The Authority and the referees came out to stop him.
  • WrestleMania 32 seemed specifically booked to spite the hardcore fanbase. The IWC was spitting fire everywhere, ratings were falling, house show attendance was down, and Roman was facing more X-Pac Heat than ever before. Not helping things was the return of Seth Rollins from his Game-Breaking Injury, who, while still the vile heel he was from before, was widely sympathized by the audience and infinitely more popular than Roman. And then, for the cherry on top, Roman violated the Wellness Policy, meaning the company had to get the belt off him soon before they suspended him. So, we come to Money in the Bank 2016, where Seth gave Roman the clean comeuppance fans believed he deserved, Dean Ambrose (fan favourite at the time) cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase he had won earlier that night on Seth and finally getting his revenge on his Arch-Enemy, and also booking the long-awaited Shield triple threat the next night for the following PPV. The next day, Roman was suspended.
  • At Money in the Bank 2017, WWE booked the first ever women's Money in the Bank ladder match. The finish came when Carmella's boytoy James Ellsworth pushed Becky Lynch off a ladder and retrieved the briefcase for Carmella. The fact that, technically, a man won the first women's MITB, and all the negative implications therein, caused WWE to quickly change the decision of the match to a no-contest and book the match to happen again on Smackdown. This time, Ellsworth's attempted interference was thwarted by Lynch, who pushed him off the ladder, although Carmella still won. Ellsworth was handed an in-character one month suspension to remove him from TV long enough for the heat to die down.
  • Since the return of his leukemia gained Reigns some sympathy, after he returned in early 2019 following its remission, it seems that WWE did a 180 on him. He didn't main-event a pay-per-view for monthsnote , he hadn't competed for a single title, and was stuck in midcard feuds. This appears to have decreased some of the hatred he previously had. It helped that his main opponent was Baron Corbin, who the fans are sick to death of, and thus could never cheer. With that being said, the real Author's Saving Throw didn't come until Roman returned at SummerSlam 2020 and finally made a Face–Heel Turn. On top of refreshing his character, it no longer restricted Roman on the mic, which only helped his improved promo skills. Combined with the addition of Paul Heyman to further play up the danger and despicableness of his heel character, and Roman has quite likely started the best run of his career. The fans certainly seem to thinks so, at least.
  • The 2018 and 2019 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view events were marred by the controversial no-contest results of the eponymous main event matches, which drew negative reactions from fans, to the point where after the latter year, they begged WWE to end the event all together. Thankfully, the 2020 edition had the main event as well the other two matches end in clean, decisive finishes, with escalating brutality, clearly indicating the company had finally learned their lesson. WWE even alluded to the stoppage in-universe as referee Brian Ngyuen attempted to stop the Roman Reigns/Jey Uso "I Quit" match inside Hell in a Cell, after the former's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the latter. That was until Roman attacked him, for even considering it and the match ended with Jey saying "I quit" as per the stipulation.

  • Formula One has thrown a succession of these over the course of the 21st century:
    • On the eve of the 2009 season, it was suddenly announced that the driver with the most wins would be crowned world champion, regardless of all other results. The announcement was universally condemned, not just because everyone hated the idea, but because it was announced with the worst possible timing - the 2008 season had been decided at literally the last second, with Lewis Hamilton making an overtake at the last corner of the last lap of the last race to take the title by one point from Felipe Massa. Everyone agreed it was the most dramatic and exciting conclusion to a season in years, but under the new system it would have been ruined, because Massa had one win more than Hamilton.note  Within days of the announcement, the change was postponed until 2010, and then scrapped entirely in favour of a new points system that weighted wins more heavily.note 
    • Prior to the 2016 season, the qualifying format was changed so that drivers would be progressively eliminated until only one was left, instead of two bulk eliminations followed by a top-ten shootout. When this led to anticlimactic qualifying sessions in which nobody left the garage for the final few minutes, it was scrapped after just two races and the old system was brought back.
    • Toro Rosso's signing of Max Verstappen for 2015, at the tender age of 17 and after just one year of open-wheel racing, led to much criticism about such a young, inexperienced driver being allowed to compete. The FIA duly announced that from 2016 onwards, only drivers over 18 would qualify for a superlicense, and when 2016 arrived, they added further restrictions including a minimum of two full seasons' experience. Any lingering criticism vanished once Verstappen actually started racing and everyone realised he was ridiculously talented for his age.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A rule from the First Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons penalized Demihuman female characters on their Strength score: -1 for dwarves, -2 for elves, and -3 for halflings and gnomes. While the rule was misremembered as all female PCs having their strength subtracted by four, it remains a fact that female PCs of a few races still had their Strength reduced as a game mechanic. "Minus Four Strength" was even the former trope name for Game-Favored Gender. TSR Games dropped this rule when they realized what a bad idea it was; starting with D&D 2nd Edition's release, a player character's gender has had no effect whatsoever on their stats, alignment, or abilities. The concept is now an Old Shame for TSR and longtime fans of D&D.
  • After the changes to the Forgotten Realms to bring them in line with Dungeons & Dragons's Fourth Edition were poorly received, control over the Realms' direction for Fifth Edition was given to creator Ed Greenwood, who wasn't much happier than the vocally displeased fans. He proceeded to remake Forgotten Realms in his own vision.
  • Samuel Haight from the Old World of Darkness was a Creator's Pet that quickly became The Scrappy, until the creators finally clued into the fact that everybody hated him and killed him off, after which his soul was forged into a sentient ashtray.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade, Second Edition had a sourcebook called Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand which proved very unpopular because it suggested that the Sabbat (already a secret vampire conspiracy to control humanity) was itself controlled by a secret conspiracy within the Sabbat's "Black Hand" faction, which was itself called the Black Hand. This "True Black Hand" controlled everything from the land of the dead, residing in the ghost of the First City mankind founded. fan reaction was that these elements (and more) were needlessly complicated and stupid. When the next edition of Vampire: The Masquerade came out, they scaled back both new clans introduced in that book to about a dozen members each, declared that the scope of the "True Black Hand"'s power and agenda were extremely exaggerated, and then dropped a ghost atomic bomb on the underworld city they were operating out of for good measure.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Just about every change the fans react negatively to can be handwaved away with "everything we know is In-Universe propaganda or misinformation". Most seasoned fans have come to accept that it's basically impossible to keep the lore consistent with so many people working on it and more or less just dismiss whatever they don't like under the above logic. For instance, some players disliked the reveal that the Necrons are more than an unstoppable army of robot zombies; this was countered by claiming that the old characterization was based on a few seriously damaged cases.
  • The New Master Rules and Link Monsters, Yu-Gi-Oh!'s attempt to slow down the game's speed and reduce Power Creep. Under the new rules, one could only summon one monster from the Extra Deck at a time, to the Extra Monster Zone. That is, unless they first summoned a Link Monster in that zone, which would them allow you to summon monsters in zones that its arrows pointed to. Since destroyed Pendulums Monsters go into the Extra Deck, they were also hit with the limitation - in addition to losing their Pendulum Zones. This essentially held the Extra Deck hostage and forced players to buy Link Monsters in order to use their cards. Many decks weren't built to handle summoning Link Monsters first, most decks didn't have the space in their Extra Decks to accommodate the required Link Monsters, and for a while, most of the generic Links were mediocre at best. In 2020, Konami realized how bad things had become and swiftly changed the rules: now you can summon monsters from your Extra Deck outside of the Extra Monster Zone, and you can summon as many as you want without limits. The only exceptions to this were Link Monsters (which relied on the Extra Monster Zone's position anyway) and Pendulum Monsters (which usually supported other mechanics, so they were still majorly buffed by the change.)

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories left people feeling unhappy about the Good Ending of Toma's route because he got forgiven for having drugged and imprisoned the heroine, and both of them entering a romantic relationship. The fandisc Amnesia LATER tells the After Story for each of the original five boyfriends, and Toma mentions in his route that he is blaming himself horrendously for what he did to her. He feels like he can't really permit himself to get into a happy relationship with the heroine because he shouldn't go unpunished. And Toma eventually reveals everything he did to Shin, who proceeds to give him two good punches and quite a talking to. It's not the severe punishment some people had hoped for, given how severe his actions were — which included trying to assault the heroine, but he doesn't get off scot-free like in the first game.
  • Highway Blossoms:
    • When the game was first released, there was a scene in which Amber and Marina stop at a rest stop, and encounter a sleazy trucker named Jumbo. Amber left Marina, a rather naive and sheltered girl, to talk to Jumbo while she let the air out of his tires, and returned to extricate Marina from the situation once she was done. Some players complained about the scene trivializing the danger two women might face in a danger like this, as well as Amber leaving Marina in a potentially hazardous situation. The developers also disliked the scene, so they removed the scene from the main storyline and moved it to the "Legacy Content" menu for posterity's sake, although Amber still occasionally references the event.
    • The game has an achievement for completing "Extreme Mode," in which Amber and Marina's cross-country road trip takes the same amount of time it would in real time- a total of 170 hours. After players complained, the developers changed the achievement so it only required completing the first day- 30 minutes each way to and from the convenience store, a three hour drive until sundown and eight hours of sleep, for a total of 12 hours.

    Web Comics 
  • College Roomies from Hell!!!: early on in the comic, Maritza chose to kill off Dave, but there was such an outrage among the fans that she decided to bring him back.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when asked whether she was bisexual, Ashley answered that she "doesn't like labels". This caused some hostile reaction among bi readers, due to a more general trend of "not liking labels" as the latest form of bi erasure among various works. The next page has Ashley explain herself and Ellen explicitly identifying herself as bisexual homoromantic.
  • Sinfest:
    • When Maverick pulled a gun on Slick and threatened him, it garnered heavy criticism, so the author had a scene a few strips later where another character picks up the gun and mention "it wasn't loaded". Readers pointed out that it wasn't clear whether Maverick actually knew that, so the author posted a flashback of her unloading the gun to hammer the point home.
    • September 2016 has an arc involving a hacked payment processing machine at a brothel, "fining" cheap patrons and announcing their purchase history was now posted on the Internet. Even fans felt this may be "too extreme", so it was soon retconned into "random messages" inserted into the payment program.
  • The first two chapters of RayFox faced some criticism 4 years later for its narrative expecting readers to sympathize with the citizens and authorities of Meva City for persecuting and vilifying Ray as an arsonist and terrorist despite not knowing (or seemingly not trying to look into) the full story of Ray's vigilante exploits simply on the basis of "he broke the law and destroyed property, so it warrants consequences" with little to no nuance, especially regarding why he did. Chapter 4 shifts the narrative from Ray joining S.O.S. to atone to the authorities extending the offer to him out of recognition for the lives he's saved and sees his help as something desperately needed, with implications that the public have grown suspicious of the accusations against Ray. The S.O.S. is friendlier and open-minded toward Ray in contrast to previous chapters, with some seeking further details from Ray about the Meva Arsenal incident.

  • Recon (Not Safe for Work) is a dating/hookup site for gay men into kink. For years, the site predominantly featured white models with the skinhead aesthetic for promo pics, which many found off-putting due to associations with racism. On paper, one can be into the skinhead look without being a Neo-Nazi, especially in the UK where Recon is based, but in practice it alienated a lot of minority men from using the site, especially in the United States. In the late 2010s, the site started relying less on skinheads and featured a more diverse array of models to broaden its appeal.


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