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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

Changes to a story are an aversion to Status Quo Is God, but such changes are a necessary part of Character Development and Plot Twists. What makes such changes an Author's Saving Throw is when the creators add them to (or remove them from) a story based on what they've heard from their audience.

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Even writers without Direct Demographic capabilities usually gain some form of access to the fandom that has spawned around their creation. They may find out that a Shocking Swerve 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.

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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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom:
    • Koro-sensei turning out to be the true God-Of-Death is seen as this for some people who were disappointed that the "fake" one seen in the God-of-Death arc was hyped up only to be an absolute joke by the time the arc concluded.
    • Many people called out that Nagisa's dilemma of his blood lust and ease to be a assassin was brushed aside very quickly. Several chapters later refocuses on it to what he should do to help.
    • In the manga, the God-of-Death apparently kills Lovro, only for him to show up alive later with zero explanation. The anime answers this by explaining that the God-of-Death deliberately left Lovro alive so he could spread his reputation. It also helps that his supposed killing of Red Eye only for the assassin to turn out to have survived as well was left out of the adaptation. The changes to both events, for anime viewers at least, kept the character from suffering the same Badass Decay that the readers felt once his Story Arc was done with.
  • Many City Hunter fans were angered when they learned that Ryo Saeba's partner, Kaori Makimura, was killed off in its spinoff Angel Heart. Because of this, Tsukasa Hojo, the author of both titles, went on to proclaim that Angel Heart was not actually a City Hunter sequel, but a spin-off set in an Alternate Universe featuring most of the same characters.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Kai:
      • For FUNimation, a point of contention for many fans is that the English dub of Dragon Ball Z is very polarizing. This series gave the company another crack at it and it shows.
      • As noted elsewhere, the French dub is more faithful, as the dubbing team acknowledged that the dub of DBZ was a mistake.note 
      • The Latin American Spanish dub of the first 98 episodes had a very negative reception due to the censorship and, most importantly, the fact that none of the voice actors who dubbed the main characters was in the dub. In The Final Chapters, where possible, all characters are dubbed by their original voice actors, and those that didn't (either by retirement or Author Existence Failure) get the voice actors that reprise them in Super. The negative reception mellowed out after this, but how the dub was before The Final Chapters can be seen as Never Live It Down to some.
      • The series in general helps with much of the Archive Panic that ensues for latecomers who attempt to watch the original DBZ, due to the latter's length and large amounts of filler.
      • The Final Chapters is one, as some people were wondering why Toei didn't have the Buu Saga cut down too. Unfortunately, while it's perfectly watchable, it has aspects that make it feel half-hearted on Toei's part.
  • Dragon Ball Super has even more of these the Dragon Ball franchise:
    • The infamous animation of Episode 5 was fixed for the DVD release.
    • Goku gets a few of these:
      • In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, Goku gets a laser through the heart while still in his Super Saiyan Blue form, which is attributed to him letting down his guard, which rubbed some fans the wrong way despite it being foreshadowed. In Super, Goku powers down to normal and was talking down to Frieza before this happens, making it more apparent that he dropped his guard. Also, whereas Goku got shot frontally in the movie, he gets shot In the Back in Super.
      • One of the major complaints about Goku's character from Z was how he doesn't work to support his family and freeloads off of the Ox-King and later Mr. Satan. In Super, not only does Goku receive a ton of money from Mr. Satan because he saved the world from Majin Buu, but he also works as a farmer on his downtime, and is very good at it. Goku also spends a lot of time with Goten, including taking him to work and even training, addressing the concern that Goku is an absent parent.
    • Gohan also has his fair share of saving throws:
      • In the manga, Gohan gets brushed off and Goku gets irritated at him prioritizing his conference over the tournament. In the anime, Gohan tries to join but can't because his conference is on the same day as the tournament and Goku is much more understanding. Note that Gohan actually takes a bit of time to actively consider his options (showing that he did not turn down Goku's offer lightly) and apologizes to his father for the inconvenience, which helps considerably.
      • Episodes 73 and 74 focused on the Great Saiyaman, giving Gohan his first character-centered episodes in the series with Goku only making a cameo. These episodes also showed that Videl retained her feisty personality from Z, but is simply more mature when dealing with people who annoy her. Also in Episode 75, Gohan gave Goku a spectacular sparring match when they're both Super Saiyans, showing that Gohan had gotten stronger since the Resurrection 'F' Saga.
      • Gohan finally regaining his Ultimate form and addressing the Fatal Flaw that got him absorbed by Super Buu all the way back in Dragon Ball Z. After training with Piccolo, he's on the level of Super Saiyan Blue Goku. There are many veteran fans who say they cried at this scene at having the true Gohan back!
      • On that end, Gohan in the anime gets knocked out by Frieza as he held Dyspo off, but in the manga goes out in a double knockout against the Potara fusion Kefla, though having done so completely on his own.
    • The manga attempts to give Vegeta one when he loses to Hit. In the anime, Hit just straight up beats Vegeta without himself landing a single blow. The same happened in the manga, however, it's revealed a chapter later that Super Saiyan Blue suffers a 90% decrease in power when one transforms twice too close together. Meaning, Vegeta lost 90% of his overall power because he transformed in front of Cabba and then transformed again to fight Hit. Goku even says that Vegeta could have beating Hit if he didn't waste time with Cabba. While this does gives an excuse for it, it also hands him the Idiot Ball for not realizing that Super Saiyan Blue had such a horrible weakness, especially since Goku and even Whis knew about it.
    • In the Resurrection "F" arc, Frieza and his forces are less of an Anti-Climax Boss compared to the movie. Ginyu gives Gohan and the others more of a challenge than Shisaminote  and Golden Frieza spends the majority of his fight overwhelming Goku and beating the tar out of him before his energy drops. Frieza also doesn't have a full-blown breakdown until he loses to Vegeta, whereas the movie he was losing it after Goku beat back his final form and he then broke down completely after his golden form's stamina failed. He also manages to have a small victory in killing Piccolo and causing Gohan to have a mental breakdown, even if was reversed by the end of the saga and his actions got Gohan wanting to train again.
    • A number of English speakers find the name of the Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan to be Narmy. In the manga, Whis addresses this concern by suggesting the much more manageable (yet still pretty descriptive) name of Super Saiyan Blue, something the anime also did as well. Most people now don't even call the form by its original name, only calling it Super Saiyan Blue.
    • A number regarding the Future Trunks Saga:
      • For the Supreme Kais, one of the major criticisms about them was how they allowed beings like Frieza to terrorized the universe for decades when they could have easily stopped him. This sentiment is shared by Zamasu, who thinks the gods are being sinful for allowing evil to flourish. Gowasu explains that the Supreme Kais are not allowed to interfere with mortal affairs and such things are left up to the Gods of Destruction, who are apathetic at best towards mortals.
      • For many fans, Kid Trunks got a lot of much needed development in the Future Trunks Saga, growing from the Spoiled Brat he was in the Buu Saga.
      • For those who felt Goku was getting too much spotlight: the fact it's Future Trunks who is the first one to deal any meaningful damage to Black and gets the new form. He even got to slice Fusion Zamasu in half.
      • Sub-wise, Goku Black retains his name in the official subs due to the fans believing by the time Funimation does gain the license for the anime, his name would be changed to "Dark Goku" (which would've made it narmy when they simply call him "Black") while all the dub terminology is used. Even moreso now that it's revealed that the Funimation dub hasn't changed the name at all; he's still called Goku Black and simply Black.
      • After the dub came out, Goku Black sounds just like normal Goku and speaks with an American accent, compared to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and Dragon Ball Fighter Z where he sounded like a chain-smoker and a British accent out of nowhere in his Rose form. Chris Sabat states this is intentional, since before they could dub the episode, both he and Sean Schemmel had no idea what his character was supposed to sound like inXenoverse 2.
    • Episodes 71 and 72 gave Goten some character growth like him not liking Gohan's Great Saiyaman outfit anymore, not wanting to be treated as a child, and wanting to avenge his father's death at Hit's hands.
    • It seems like the writers have finally listened to fan complaints of the lack of any female Super Saiyans, with the Universe Survival Saga introducing what appears to be a female Legendary Super Saiyan of Universe 6. Later it's revealed it's actually TWO female Super Saiyans introduced.
    • A common complaint levied towards Z is how most of the cast Can't Catch Up, and how the Saiyan characters are the only good guys OP enough to take on each Arc Villain (and, even then, eventually it's only Goku due to Gohan being a martial artist example of Brilliant, but Lazy). That said, this series has episodes that focus on various characters outside of the main two kicking ass in their own ways (like Yamcha being The Ace during a baseball match between Universe 7 & 6, as well as Gohan fighting a Kaiju as The Great Saiyaman).
    • Another common complaint is that Android 18 and Videl suffer from Stay in the Kitchen after getting married. With a two-parter having Videl display a badass personality even without fighting, and with 18 participating in the Universe Survival Tournament, this may quell things. The Battle of Gods arc also has 18 take the initiative (though never managing to land a punch), with Krillin saying it's his job to keep an eye on Marron if something bad happens to her, since she's much stronger than he is.
    • One of the biggest criticisms of the Resurrection 'F' Saga was how standalone it was compared to the rest of the series. Outside of Whis training Goku and Vegeta and them gaining their Super Saiyan Blue forms, the entire saga could be skipped without missing anything important. This has been fixed with Frieza joining the U7 team for the for Tournament of Power, replacing Buu, and Goku's new powerup, the Ultra Instinct, which is a result of Whis' lessons.
    • Talking about Frieza, his Transformation Sequence in episode 94 is perceived by many fans to be an apology for the lackluster animation in the shows second arc. It helps that it is Awesome Art incarnate.
    • The entire Tournament of Power saga appears to be this for Android 17 after the infamous Super 17 Saga from GT pretty much destroyed his character. While Super does limelight other characters, Lapis/17 has the most focus as well as Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Frieza, and in the end, he's the one who won the tournament as he became the last warrior standing, and manages to save the multiverse by wish, and sail around the world with his family on a luxury cruise ship. Suffice to say, Lapis/17 truly earned his happy ending with his character restored.
    • Early episodes of the English dub used a translated version of Chōzetsu Dynamic, sung by original singer Kazuya Yoshii; however, this version of the song was mocked by many viewers for its unintentional Engrish due to the awkward translations and Yoshii's very heavy Japanese accent. Later episodes replaced it with an English cover by Mark de Groot, which had previously been well-received by fans on YouTube.
  • Naruto:
    • Fans claimed Sasuke was a ridiculously Easily Forgiven Karma Houdini at the end of the manga, so Shippuden episode 479 added a shot of Sasuke sitting in prison while blindfolded and heavily restrained, while Sixth Hokage Kakashi jumps through hoops to try and get him released.
    • A minor one concerning a piece of dialogue: At one point during the final battle with Madara, Kakashi remarks that Sakura's feelings for Sasuke "had changed over time" in fan translations. Some shipping fans interpreted and tried to use this as proof that Sakura didn't love Sasuke anymore. However, both the manga's official Viz translation and the anime adaptation added another line where Kakashi explicitly clarifies that Sakura still loves Sasuke on a totally different level now. They're married at the end of the series.
    • Many fans found it odd that Naruto never talked to Hinata about how she confessed her love for him, even after they began to have significant moments together in the Fourth Shinobi World War Arc. The Last: Naruto the Movie, a canonical Interquel set between the last two chapters of the manga, reveals that Naruto does not understand the concept of romantic love, thinking that Hinata's love for him was like his love of ramen. Considering Naruto never had the unconditional affection that most people had with their families due to being both an orphan and the village pariah for most of his childhood, and by extension he never had anyone to teach him the differences between The Four Loves, his inability to understand romantic love actually makes a lot of sense.
    • Many fans complained how the final villain of Naruto, Kaguya Otsutsuki, appeared out of nowhere in the final manga chapters and had little characterization beyond making her a Generic Doomsday Villain. The Shippuuden Anime added a couple of episodes in which her backstory got expanded, she was given a more sympathetic portrayal as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and her master plan during Naruto was revealed to play a big part on the Myth Arc of the sequel series Boruto.
    • A small complaint leveled towards Boruto: Naruto the Movie was that, after the final battle, the issues Boruto had with his dad, Naruto, just don't really get addressed, as once they return to Konoha, the movie ends. In the movie adaptation on the Boruto anime, after the battle with Momoshiki, Naruto takes some time off to spend with his family; and to make up for respectively missing and ruining Boruto and Himawari's birthdays, Naruto (the real one and not a shadow clone) brings a birthday cake for both of his children and Naruto, Hinata, Boruto and Himawari have a nice birthday party together. For many, it makes Naruto look better as a parent, while also providing a satisfying resolution to the arc.
    • Boruto's victory over Momoshiki in the movie, while good, was seen by some as being a waste since Boruto's victory came across as it simply being a victory handed to him because he's the main character. Plus, Naruto and Sasuke aren't given a reason for why they don't defeat him. In the anime, Naruto and Sasuke do overpower Monoshiki, but both are too exhausted to defeat him, so Boruto steps up to defeat him since the other Kage are also unable to do anything. The anime also makes Boruto actually have to fight Momoshiki, instead of casually one-shotting like he did in the movie, showing that Boruto, while significantly weaker than everyone there, is a capable Ninja.
  • Many fans had started to disapprove of the incredible over-the-top antics and Monster of the Week aspects of Tenchi in Tokyo, especially since all signs pointed to it being a sequel to Tenchi Universe (Tenchi says it's been two years since they all got together and when Noboyuki mentions Achika, the young, schoolgirl version from Tenchi Muyo in Love appears). Episode 13 and 14 later revealed that it was firmly an AU.
  • Cyborg009 was originally intended to end at the Yomi arc, with the apparent deaths of 002 and 009. This would end the manga at volume 15 (or volume 10 in the USA release, which is where Tokyopop did in fact end things). Fan revolt and the popularity of the series convinced Ishinomori to resume the manga soon enough, and he threw in a retcon stating that 001 managed to teleport the two to safety before they could die (they still wound up comatose and having to be rebuilt, but were alive).
  • Genshiken: The Madarame Harem Arc ended with no real winner, making many fans upset that a two-year-long build-up essentially amounted to nothing and possibly even dismissed the development of another character. By the penultimate chapter, several of the characters rag on Madarame before Saki and Kousaka join them to settle the decisions once and for all while calling out his reasoning, telling him to go with Sue.
  • Granblue Fantasy had some criticism for not including Djeeta among the main cast, if not the protagonist outright. Then towards the end of the season, Djeeta is revealed to have an episode all her own, to many fans' delight.
  • Fairy Tail: The Tartarus arc contained the following saving throws:
  • Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened used a different Mewtwo over the one from the first movie and its direct sequel. This new Mewtwo ended up as quite the Base-Breaking Character, and soured many fans. The next movie to reuse past legendaries, Hoopa and the Clash of Ages, would heavily imply they were all the same ones that appeared in their original movies (even the one who died at the end of Pokémon Heroes).
  • In One Piece, the Dressrosa arc was incredibly long, at almost 2,000 pages long and going on for over two years in Weekly Shonen Jump. As if Eiichiro Oda was apologizing for it dragging on, the following arc, the Zou arc, is literally one-fifth of Dressrosa's length.
  • In Saki, one criticism of the Side B semifinals is that all four teams tended to stay in the same positions for much of the round, particularly Rinkai's overwhelming lead and Usuzan being dead last and in danger of going bust for a fair portion of the match. The captain match, however, seems to address this by having things get shaken up a bit, to the point at which Usuzan briefly gets to second place.
  • Shokugeki no Soma: The fact that Souma's father Jouichirou is a world famous chef and one of the best chefs to come out of Tootsuki initially seems to run counter to theme that Souma is simply an everyman who proves that anyone can succeed. Subsequent chapters establish that Jouichirou never actually taught Souma how to cook and didn't even want him to become a chef. It was only through challenging his father every day that Souma gradually became a skilled chef.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam there is a series of episodes where the White Base is in enemy territory on Earth, they need to pass through North and Central America to reach Jaburo. During this time they run low on spare parts and their mobile suits end up in really bad disrepair. Fans have often asked whey they didn't start salvaging some of the many Zeon suits that Amuro periodically destroyed to use as backups (especially since Ryu Jose and Hayato are stuck piloting the Guntank, which is basically a cap-ship's cannon on treads). When the story was retold in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin the Guntank was eventually replaced with a salvaged and modified Zaku which Kai Shiden piloted until they reached Jaburo.
  • In the original series of Neon Genesis Evangelion, some people complained about how Shinji behaved during the Bardiel incident, where the parasitic angel took over Unit-03 and turned it against NERV, holding its pilot hostage. While it was understandable that Shinji would be reluctant to destroy Unit-03 completely as Gendo was ordering him to, he refused to even try to defend himself against the possessed Eva, even when it had its hands around Unit-01's throat and was about to kill him. Obviously this wouldn't help the hostage either, and Shinji is being so immature that it didn't seem that unreasonable when Gendo activated the Dummy Plug system instead. When it came time for the same scene in Rebuild of Evangelion, Shinji does grab Unit-03's arms by the wrists and force them away from Unit-01's neck, so Bardiel grows a second pair of arms from the back of its shoulders and overpowers him. He's still not willing to go all-out to save himself (especially as he knows it's Asuka inside the Eva this time), but he doesn't seem quite so childish and it makes Gendo's use of the Dummy Plug more of the Kick the Dog moment it was intended to be.
  • High School DXD: After the anime adaptation's third season changed a number of events in a chaotic and Plot Hole filled manner, the author went so far as to write an "EX Novel" that establishes that the changed events of the third season were the result of an Arc Villain attempting to go back in time and undo his own defeat. The timeline is then corrected by the main character's future children. When a fourth season of the anime was announced, they were quick to assure fans that the changed events of the third season would be ignored, and the fourth will be sticking to the novels' plotline.

    Fanfic 
  • 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 "World of Cardboard" Speech from Sunset, making the angst part of some character development that Sunset ultimately learns from, grows past, and becomes better for.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • After writing Prefects After Dark, the first story in The Rival Prefects Trilogy, the author discovered that Self Insert Fics were not very popular among the wider community of fanfic authors. So in Prefects Before Dawn, the Author Avatar character from the first one acts like a jerk and gets turned into a stone statue. He remains that way at the end of the trilogy and the companion piece indicates that he is still a statue years later, thus confirming the change as permanent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    Films — Animated 
  • 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 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."
  • Big Bad Alpha Bitch Sunset Shimmer pulls a Heel–Face Turn at the end of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (2013), 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 Humane 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 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."
  • 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 Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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—at the professional level, at least—a world-class Seeker is no match for a good team. 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.
    • 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 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.
    • 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. 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. How moral his character is is up for debate.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • 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 Nineteen Eighty-Four, 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."

    Professional 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 ring...to 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 and nearly caused Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Warhammer 40K: Just about every change the fans react negatively to can be handwaved away with "everything we know is In-Universe propaganda or misinformation". 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.

    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.

    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.


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