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"We can provisionally entertain half a dozen contradictory versions of an event if we feel either that it does not greatly matter, or that there is a category attainable in which all the contradictions are reconciled."

Broad Strokes is a concept regarding Canon where the writers pick and choose what elements of an older story they want to accept into a more recent story. It could be that the overall story is intact but the specific details are changed, or that the story is ignored but the details introduced within are still being worked with. This is most often used when parts of the official canon or even basic continuity cannot be reconciled as they stand.

Long-Runners whose Universe Bible has a progressive, "under-construction" aspect usually apply this. It assumes that viewers understand that there are mistakes in basic Canon, at least early on when the canon was still being defined. The exact degree to which this is used can vary: Sometimes it just ignores single lines that contradict later canon. Other times entire stories are declared Canon Discontinuity but still certain elements influence the new story. This can even happen with a Continuity Reboot, usually because the base story is kept intact.

Usually, this is so people can ignore things. Maybe everything sucked for a while, a Story Arc would have been alright if it wasn't for that one incident, a character gets a bit ridiculous, etc.

At other times it is implied without being explicit. The TV show has a whole different cast from The Movie... yeah, we know they look different but just accept that they are the same people in The Movie. An Expanded Universe story hasn't ever been mentioned but it still could have happened. The adaptation doesn't explicitly contradict the primary Canon. The sequel game contains elements from many of the mutually-exclusive paths of its predecessor. Expect some guessing about how some of these things can possibly be reconciled.

Funnily enough, due to the way fandoms think and how some similar works leave things open ended, there are times when two shows that were never meant to be connected are glued together by the fans. The most extreme version of this can be assuming a character is a Time Lord.

Similar strategies are used involving straight adaptations in relation to the source material. Convoluted backstories usually don't amount to much with the needs of a standalone project, so ideas and characters are jettisoned or combined to make a more cohesive narrative that follows the original in spirit. Other times following the source too closely will just fall into the Continuity Snarl that already exists in the original, thus utilizing Broad Strokes is an element of a Pragmatic Adaptation.

On a more fundamental level, the use of this trope is important for the sake of maximum creative freedom. It is surprisingly easy to limit yourself when you never expected to go beyond a pilot episode or a standalone movie. Then when fleshing out a character you find that giving them a powerful story arc requires contradicting earlier backstory or behavior to make it work. See also Continuity Drift for more examples of early details getting modified later on.

Compare Fanon, which is about unofficial Canon or Alternative Character Interpretations, Loose Canon, which is about storylines that fit in the canon for all intents and purposes, but aren't explicitly stated to be so as they're meant to be experienced separatedly from the main story, and Schrödinger's Canon, for supposedly canonical adaptations and spinoffs that keep clashing with the primary work. See also Alternate Continuity, Negative Continuity, Filler Arc, Comic-Book Time, Depending on the Writer, Literary Agent Hypothesis, Sequel Reset, Soft Reboot, and The Stations of the Canon. Fan Wank is a common result of continuities with this attitude.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Afro Samurai: All three versions have a few differences, but the general plot is the same — Justice kills Afro's father, Afro becomes the Number Two to kill Justice and avenge his father's death, battling the Empty Seven and Kuma before he gets to him, and so on.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: The 1998 reimagining Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 bears almost no resemblance to the original series. It kept the premise and the hardsuit designs, but broadly changed the character designs and personalities, and went off in a different direction from the original series.
  • Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman: According to Go Nagai, the story takes place before the Yomi arc of the former and the final arc of the latter series, but admitted that the timing would still be "impossible" if you applied it to the original canon, so this trope is in effect for the Alternate Continuity it takes place in.
  • Cutey Honey: The Re: Cutie Honey OVA used the premises and characterizations from the 2004 movie, but played up the sexual tension between Honey and Natsuko, here revamped as a stern, tough as nails adult policewoman.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • There are several instances in the Dragon Ball anime where they started adding to the mythology because they Overtook the Manga.
      • Master Roshi once gave an origin story to the Dragon Balls that dealt with ancient wars being fought over a single powerful dragon ball and how a mighty hero split it into seven so that their power wouldn't be easily misused. A few sagas later, the manga introduced the creator of the Dragon Balls, Kami, and gave the official origin that had nothing to do with the one Roshi told. Most fans take Roshi's story as being the one Shrouded in Myth, something that was made up over time.
      • A similar instance occurs when Goku is training to fight two Saiyans approaching Earth to steal the Dragon Balls. Having recently learned that he is a Saiyan, Goku asks King Kai about them. He tells the story of the Saiyans being violent planet-dealers whose planet was destroyed by a meteor brought down by its Guardian who was upset with their wickedness. The later introduction of galactic tyrant Freeza, who rules over the Saiyans with an iron fist and was the one actually responsible for blowing up their homeworld, makes King Kai's story suspect in hindsight. A common explanation is that King Kai was deliberately withholding knowledge of Freeza from the Blood Knight Goku, knowing that he would immediately want to fight someone so terrifyingly powerful.
    • The Dragon Ball Z Non-Serial Movies tended to take everything up to a certain point in the timeline (wherever the anime was at when the movie was released) and made up their own story some time after the current events have concluded. After the fact only a few can fit into the very linear narrative of the anime without issue, and those require some wiggle room (Raditz's arrival coincided with Krillin even learning of Gohan, otherwise The Dead Zone fits in nicely right before the series began).
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • This series adapts the basic events of the canon movies Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F', but with some minor changes and tweaks to the storyline. Both versions are canon, with the version that is the "true" canon being left up to fan preference, as none of the changes have any long-lasting impact on the storyline.
      • Super also counts certain parts of anime Filler as canon, despite being an official continuation of the manga. Specifically, it incorporates filler that was not excised from the Re-Cut version Dragon Ball Z Kai, such as the subplot of Ginyu switching bodies with Bulma.
  • 5 Centimeters per Second: The novels and manga share the same general outline as the film, but while much of the added content can plausibly fit in the gaps left by the film, there are some elements that cannot be reconciled, like Takaki amicably breaking up with Risa in person in the manga whereas in the film and both novels the breakup is via email instead.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation: Events still more or less occur over the movies (and a good deal of the bloodshed retained), but the details of which are altered. The most significant being Kamille surviving the ending with his intact mind.
    • ∀ Gundam is related to every other piece of Gundam media, including the Alternate Universe series, but the only thing we see for sure are blueprints from G Gundam and a flashback to Wing Zero. There's no indication what chronological order the AUs occurred in, and it's also vague if it's meant to only include series up to After War Gundam X or all of the AUs that came out after Turn A (though most assume it's meant to be a Distant Finale the entire metaseries regardless of production order). At any rate, it's fairly implausible that all the different events happened in the Turn A timeline exactly the same way as shown in their own series, as this would require implausibly long gaps for their events to be so completely forgotten.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: The 2012 and 2013 anime are both supposed to take place after September, well after where the manga was at that point in time. However, they both include earlier chapters of the manga that weren't included in the earlier two anime series.
  • The Legend of Zelda (Akira Himekawa): While Link has the same role in the Phantom Hourglass adaptation that he had in the original game, the fact that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has not yet been adapted makes his backstory more unclear.
  • Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!: While sharing the same general outline in terms of plot, the events in the anime differ in many aspects from the light novel it's based on — for example, while Rikka and Yuuta live in the same apartment complex in the former, in the latter they live in opposite directions from the train station. The production team admitted this much before the show even began airing though (see Adaptation Expansion). This also includes one-third of the anime's recurring cast being Canon Foreigners, and one of the other existing characters being given a Backstory that retooled her intentions.
  • Unlike the first two Lyrical Nanoha movies (which were In-Universe retellings of the first and second seasons), Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection and Detonation are an original story that draws characters and plot points from the Gears of Destiny PSP game (along with weapon designs from Force). Whether or not they're supposed to be canon with the main series is unknown, though the companion manga does make several Call-Forwards to StrikerS.
  • The Macross series does this constantly:
    • Word of God states that Super Dimension Fortress Macross is the canon depiction of the events of Space War 1; on the other hand, Macross: Do You Remember Love? is an in-universe movie and dramatizes the events seen in the TV series. This raises some questions because later Macross series take many elements such as the uniforms and the design of the SDF-1 Macross from DYRL instead of the original show, to the point where in Macross 7, one character from the original series, Exsedol Folmo, had his character design officially changed from the TV show's grey-skinned redhead version to DYRL's big-brained green-skinned version.
    • Macross Frontier probably takes the cake, and is what really brought this out from Shoji Kawamori. With multiple mangas, a series, movies, and novelizations (all of which have very different interpretations of events), this trope is finally what it came down to. Kind of a Take That! at how most media, while based on a real story, often take Artistic License. That is, if you believe him.
    • Macross Frontier's TV version has an in-universe nod to this: in one part, the characters are doing a Broad Strokes movie adaptation of the events from Macross Zero as part of the impetus that kickstarts Ranka's idol career.
  • The Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Spin-Off Kanna's Daily Life is supposedly in canon with the main series, but it borrows several elements from the anime, such as the art style and the layout of Kobayashi's apartment. Chapter 19 in particular contains several references to Episode 6.
  • Neo Human Casshern: The 2008 Casshern Sins reboot retools everything about the franchise except basic character designs and Braiking Boss conquering humanity, and then veers off to examine the nature of life, mortality, and redemption.
  • The manga adaptation of Powerpuff Girls Z began In Medias Res and gave the impression that the same events that created the girls and their enemies in the anime happened, but Mojo Jojo and Princess were the only Powerpuff Girls villains that appeared in the manga and one chapter was a condensed adaptation of both episodes featuring Miyako/Bubbles' boyfriend Takaaki.
  • Fist of the North Star: Shin Kyuseishu The Legends of the True Savior, a five-part film/OVA series, requires a bit of familiarity with the original manga in order to understand certain plot points. On the other hand, it also has several plot differences and inconsistencies that prevents them from fitting neatly into the manga's continuity, such as the fact that Bat's adoptive mother never dies. Certain characters from the manga are omitted (such as Ryuga, Juza, and Juda), but a few new ones are added as well (Reina, Souga).
  • Trigun: Yasuhiro Nightow began incorporating elements of the anime's early episodes that were not adaptations of early manga stories. References to these episodes, such as gigantic thug Descartes being held prisoner from a past incident or the gunsmith who's fallen into depression and begun drinking, pop up during the Maximum portion, though some of these would have to have a different canon than the anime. The biggest of these would be Meryl and Milly's involvement, as they appeared in all those early anime episodes and in the very first ones didn't even know who Vash truly was, while in the manga the two learn his identity almost immediately after their first encounter with him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The second anime series uses this to keep the manga's first seven volumes canon. It's somewhat reasonable to accept everything in the first chapters except for Death-T (which the first episode of Duel Monsters crams into one episode, re-imagining it by mashing it up with Kaiba's introduction chapters), Trial of the Mind (the anime re-introduces Shadi towards the end of Duelist Kingdom, with similar scenes but different reasons for him appearing), and the Monster World RPG arc (in the anime, Bakura is re-introduced and this arc is re-imagined during the Duelist Kindgom arc as a game of Duel Monsters, in a single episode, vaguely resembling the manga's original arc).
    • At the very least, parts of the early manga shown in anime flashbacks are canon to the anime, such as bits of the first chapter (whether or not Dark Yugi challenges Ushio to a game of "stabbing the money on your hand", Duel Monsters, or challenges him to a game at all is left to the imagination) and Yugi and Jonouchi catching Anzu working at Burger World (the second half of the flashback is completely different to the manga, however, as it shoehorns Duel Monsters with an anime-original character of the day). Many important aspects of character development that was done in the first seven volumes of the manga are imported to the anime's Duelist Kingdom arc, so it's pretty confusing deciding which parts of the early manga definitely happened in the anime. Especially considering that the anime is a 100% Duel Monsters-centric universe while the manga's universe is much more general when it comes to games, so imagining Yugi playing something other than Duel Monsters out of his own free in the anime is a bit of a stretch.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions is primarily a continuation of the original manga, but also retains characterizations and designs from the anime.
  • Zoids: Zoids: Wild's overall plot is based loosely on that of the original continuity, and most closely follows Zoids: Chaotic Century's. However, a lot of it is mished, mashed, and rehashed in ways that make it stand out. In particular, it's aimed at a younger audience.

    Comic Books 
  • Back to the Future: While the animated series (which was also created by Bob Gale, along with Robert Zemeckis) on the whole is not adapted, certain things from it are kept or referenced, most prominently Jules and Verne retaining their general personalities from that series in "Tales from the Time Train." See Continuity Nod for other nods.
  • The DCU:
    • Amazons Attack!: While there are a few people over at DC who insist that the event happened most writers choose to be as vague about it as possible. For example if you read Secret Six something happened that caused the US to distrust the Amazons but is never explained.
    • Countdown to Final Crisis and Final Crisis: Many of the tie-ins and leadups to Countdown apparently did occur, as did some of Countdown (such as the Death of the New Gods, and Superboy Prime destroying Earth-15). Time will only tell what will have happened.
    • The same stance was taken after Crisis on Infinite Earths about most Golden Age characters apart from the big three of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as one of the Post-Crisis changes was that the Golden Age incarnations of those three characters no longer existed and were replaced by their Silver Age/Bronze Age counterparts in the new continuity consisting of a singular universe where the Golden Age characters, the Silver Age/Bronze Age characters, the Charlton Comics characters and the Fawcett Comics characters now co-exist in the same reality.
    • Batman:
      • Grant Morrison is making the whole thing rather complicated, stating (for example) that back during the "Dick Grayson as Robin" days, Batman underwent a GCPD-approved experiment in sensory deprivation to see if the police could make more Batmen out of cops should the original die. During this point, Batman hallucinated all of the weirder Silver Age stuff and eventually wrote it down in a "Black Casebook." So it isn't much as that it really happened, but more that it happened but in Batman's psyche (the aliens, planetary travel, etc. coming from his fears while in the Justice League and his deep fear that Robin would die, which eventually happened with Jason Todd). Some of it was hallucinated, but some of it really happened; the "time travel hypnosis" stories were real, as shown in Batman #700. And the sensory deprivation tank is itself from a weird Silver Age story ("Robin Dies At Dawn!")
      • Bat-Mite was a fifth-dimensional Imp who idolized Batman, but was eventually removed from continuity, occasionally getting a Discontinuity Nod. Post-Infinite Crisis, Bat-Mite is back, but is a little complicated. About half of pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Bat-Mite was imagined by Batman (see above) and half is real. In current continuity, Bat-Mite is real following the Emperor Joker storyline and the "Vengeance" follow up in Superman/Batman, but the Bat-Mite in Batman R.I.P. may or may not have been an intentional figment of Batman's imagination ("Imagination is the 5th Dimension").
      • The New 52 origin stories for the Bat-family are mostly either Canon Discontinuity or painted in broad strokes:
      • Batman: Zero Year featured Batman's new origin, where he met a pre-Joker Joker, Riddler and new character Duke Thomas in his first year as Batman. Duke would go on to become his new partner, the Signal. However, DC Rebirth saw many comics implying that the previous origin, "Year One", was canon — including the main Batman comic itself. This would be later made vehemently clear when entire scenes were lifted from "Year One". Now, it seems like the origin aspect has been removed and "Zero Year" is just something that happened in Gotham after "Year One".
      • Cassandra Cain was introduced in Batman and Robin Eternal and was a new character aiding Batman against the villain, Mother. When her father died, Cass took up his mantle of "Orphan". Detective Comics even had an arc where Cass saw her pre-Flashpoint self and was astonished that they let her be Batgirl. Then, cut to Infinite Frontier, and Cass was once again Batgirl following Barbara Gordon being paralysed, and Babs makes explicit mention of this, and other stories featured Cass' old origin involving "No Man's Land". Batman and Robin Eternal still happened, since it was also Bluebird's origin and she still appears, but the Cass Orphan stuff is never mentioned anymore and things are written as if she started her superhero career as Batgirl and never stopped being Batgirl.
      • Batgirl: The Batgirl (2011) reboot changes some details of Barbara Gordon's life: her career began when she was a teenager (instead of an adult woman) and also got crippled by the Joker, but she managed to regain control of her legs after surgery and years of muscle therapy.
      • The 2016 Batman Beyond series, launched as part of the aforementioned DC Rebirth initiative, treats two different continuities this way. The prior series starred Tim Drake and was launched as a spinoff of The New 52: Futures End, where the world was on the brink of collapse against the evil Brother EYE who had just caused a robot apocalypse, and was firmly set as a possible future of the main DCU. The 2016 series stars a returned Terry McGinnis, but because Batman Beyond started as an animated series in the DCAU, the characters are mostly based on those incarnations of the characters, with that history being alluded to a lot... even though they don't work with the world that Futures End established, such as Terry's normal high school life flying in the face of the, y'know, robot apocalypse. The general overview of everything is canon, but the details are changed and some things were affected by the new setting, such as a much larger Batfamily that the DCU had rather than what the DCAU had, Max Gibson only just finding out that Terry is Batman while they're college-aged while the DCAU version helped him with it during high school, and Dick Grayson looking like the version established in the DCAU but with a different reason for his disassociation from Bruce Wayne than what that continuity gave. The aforementioned robot apocalypse is only vaguely alluded to and the world is more or less the same as the animated series, just with references to rebuilding after a vague disaster with Brother EYE, with no specifics given, and Terry having been captured and brainwashed during his time away.
    • Power Girl, Wonder Girl, and Hawkman have their Continuity Snarl as an explicit part of their backstory. Power Girl was an Earth-2 character who was merged improperly into the main DCU, Donna Troy's history is inexplicably sensitive to Cosmic Retcon, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl are both several people.
    • Generally speaking, DC took a broad-strokes approach all through the Silver Age and into the Bronze Age. When the Who's Who character directory was released, it said explicitly that if a particular story disagreed with what it said, then it was probably simplest to assume that that story never happened. One could make a very strong case that DC should have kept this policy rather than staging massive, increasingly contrived Cosmic Retcons every few years to try hammering a single unified continuity into place.
    • Doom Patrol:
      • John Byrne's run infamously ignored the preceding runs to start continuity over from scratch, which was later rectified when Infinite Crisis reinstated all of the previous Doom Patrol comics' events as canon. This didn't necessarily eschew the John Byrne run, as the presence of Nudge and Grunt (two of the additional recruits introduced in Byrne's run) in an issue of Geoff Johns' run on Teen Titans tying in to Infinite Crisis as well as the beginning of Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol run proves that the John Byrne run still occurred in some form, but presumably without the more flagrant discrepancies towards previous continuity (particularly, the "Tenth Circle" arc of JLA (1997) that served as a Poorly Disguised Pilot indicating that the Doom Patrol were a novice superhero team who initially operated in secret, the Chief's crippling being caused by a shaman named T'oombala instead of General Immortus and Elasti-Girl being in love with Robotman when she was previously married to Mento).
      • One issue of Keith Giffen's run had Negative Man give a rundown of his life so far. At one point he was calling himself "Rebis", but he'd rather not think about why.
    • The Flash introduced a new version of Wally West in the New 52, giving Wally an Age Lift and Race Lift and personality change into a delinquent black teenager, who looked up to his uncle Daniel, not believing that Daniel was the supervillain Reverse-Flash or that he was a criminal, and hated the Flash. This was not popular, so when Rebirth brought back the original Wally West, the New 52 version was changed to that Wally's cousin, who went by Wallace before being dubbed Ace West. Rather than keep his original characterisation and history, it's all painted in broad strokes, being lightly touched up the more Ace is used, and it was eventually decided that Daniel was his only father figure (secretly his biological father), and Ace knew he messed up, but hoped he'd straighten out, while his hatred of the Flash is never brought up, nor is his delinquent past.
    • Following Flashpoint some of the pre-New 52 stories are considered to have still happened. The specific list includes The Killing Joke, the Green Lantern family during Geoff Johns' run (including Blackest Night), Batman (Grant Morrison), and some but not all of Brightest Day.
    • This is part of the idea behind "hypertime", one of the various models of cosmology in the DC universe. Specifically, any story that the writer acknowledges as being true in a given story is true, everything else is up in the air.
    • Despite the fact that the many Convergence tie-in books are meant to be set in defunct eras of the DCU, there are some discrepancies over how the characters are presented here compared to the last time they appeared in said timeline.
      • In this interview, Fabian Nicieza stated that the Arsenal seen in Convergence: Titans did not fall as further down from grace as he did when he was in Deathstroke's team.
      • Likewise, Superboy, as seen in his tie-in, is based on his late-90s interpretation, but possesses quite a few of his Kryptonian abilities that he never developed during that time. Also, he is flat out stated to be a Kryptonian-human hybrid, while pre-Titans story was that he was a human clone with Kryptonian engineering.
    • When the New 52 gave way to DC You and then DC Rebirth, some changes get explained and some don't. For example, Starfire's solo series Starfire (2015) and subsequent Teen Titans (Rebirth) run are apparently being specifically written so that her controversial time in Red Hood and the Outlaws can be accepted or ignored at the reader's discretion. However, some events are alluded to as happening to some degree, even if they contradict with others. For example, Batman's origin seems to have been changed so that Batman: Year One is now canon again... yet characters whose origins are rooted in the now non-canon Batman: Zero Year are still around and refer to those events as well.
    • Batman #118 mentions Batman Incorporated for the first time in years, but also says the Bat-Man of China was a member, when he was introduced after it had wrapped up. It also seems to imply that Bat-Man, Dark Ranger, and the Hood were all members of the original Club of Heroes, rather than the Legionary, the Musketeer, the original Ranger and the Knight.
    • The origin of Ace the Bat-Hound shown in Batman: Urban Legends #11 is basically the same as the one from Batman Annual vol. 3 #1, in that Ace was trained as a fighting dog by the Joker, abandoned, and found by Batman who retrained him. However, all the details are different; Batman was accompanied by Nightwing rather than Gordon, there was no mention of the other dogs that didn't make it, with Batman instead noting that Ace had been deliberately left on his own, and he immediately took the dog in, rather than Alfred later taking him from the animal shelter, with Bruce initially being against it.
    • Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil and Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam are supposed to be set in the same universe, separate from the main DC continuity. However, the first series follows the Pre-Crisis idea that Billy and Captain Marvel are separate personalities, while the latter eventually settles on the Post-Crisis interpretation after many issues of it being Depending on the Writer.
    • Superman:
      • Continuity was extremely loose during the first decade of the character, with different writers giving Superman different backstories, or changing details, and nobody caring whether one story referenced Superman's career as a hero teen, and the next issue had Clark Kent to imply that he was never Superboy. However, a tiny continuity began emerging through the 50's, causing the earliest stories which didn't fit Superman's settled backstory to be declared an alternate universe.
      • Silver Age Supergirl's stories referencing Kara's "The Supergirl From Krypton (1959)" first appearance and origin story tended to change and add new details (such like her hometown's name). "The Untold Story of Argo City" was written in 1964 to clear up inconsistencies, giving her a fixed origin which was respected up to 1985. Even so, several retellings took some liberties and added new details to her canon backstory, like Kara's rocket accidentally breaking Comet free from his asteroid-prison.
      • When DC decided to reboot Superman in 1986, one of the original proposals was that some Pre-Crisis stories happened off screen, with some details altered. However, DC ended opting for a full reboot...which wreaked havoc with other characters. According to the new canon, Superman was never Superboy, and Supergirl never existed...but the old Legion of Super-Heroes stories featuring both Kryptonians were still canon, so that DC came up with pocket universes, alternate timelines, swapping Kal and Kara with Mon-El and Andromeda in retellings...before throwing their hands up and rebooting the Legion.
      • Kara Zor-El officially didn't exist in the Post-Crisis universe, but her team-ups with Batgirl were still canon. DC "solved" this by claiming that Batgirl teamed up with Power Girl instead.
      • Although Kara Zor-El was declared persona non grata, DC still needed a Supergirl character, so that Clark's cousin was replaced with many short-lived substitutes: a parallel dimension artificial lifeform, a Daxamite alien, still another non-Kryptonian alien, a Satanist who turned out to be an Earthborn angel, Superman's alleged but ultimately fake daughter...who were retconned out of every retelling and continuity nod when Kara was finally reintroduced in "The Supergirl from Krypton (2004)".
      • After 1986, Power Girl couldn't be Earth-Two's Superman Kryptonian cousin anymore, so that she was retconned into being an Atlantean. However her previous adventures were still canon, so that it was told her Kryptonian origin a lie to save her life, and her previous appearances were quietly altered or retconned out. After "Power Trip (2005)" restored her original backstory, everybody in-universe forgot that she had believed to be Atlantean for a while.
      • Since Superman was supposed to be the only Kryptonian around, it was claimed that Laurel Kent, one member of the Legion who happened to be Clark and Lois' descendant, was a Manhunter robot, retconning the story where she nearly got killed by a Kryptonite bullet.
      • The "Retroboot" Legion of Super-Heroes in Legion of 3 Worlds was a return to the pre-Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! version that had been around since the Silver Age. However, in order to maintain the "classic" Legion feel, LOSH Vol 4 (the Five Years Later period) has been largely glossed over. Earth is still in one piece, Spider-Girl is still a villain, no-one mentions the cloned Legionnaires, and according to LOSH Vol 6 Annual 1, there's only been one previous Emerald Empress. The timeline/board game at the back of the Annual refers to this period as "The Mystery Years".
      • The Flashpoint 2011 event rebooted the DC Universe, but some pre-New 52 stories are considered to have still happened. A few background pictures also seem to mention that The Death of Superman also happened in some manner, but most likely not the way it did in the original universe.
      • As a result of "Superman Reborn", the Post-Flashpoint version of Superman is merged with his Post-Crisis version. The resulting Superman is basically the pre-2011 version integrated into the New 52 universe, with an off-handed approach taken to which New 52 Superman stories were still canon (most aren't), while establishing that Clark wore New 52 Superman's armoured suit at one point. None of them were mentioned again, anyway, so it didn't matter in the end.
      • Supergirl (Rebirth) is supposed to be a sequel to Supergirl (2011), but ignores most of events of the former book (such like Argo City getting destroyed in "Last Daughter of Krypton") while referencing other ones (Kara alludes to "Red Daughter of Krypton" at one point).
      • Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special is supposed to evoke the Legion's classic continuity, what with to references to Pre-Crisis stories and whatnot, but the details don't quite fit into that continuity: Supergirl gets sick as fighting Mordru (whom she never faced in classic continuity) and wears her 70's costume, but Superboy/Super Bugs wear the high-collared, trunkless 2016 Superman suit, Lightning Lass gets her lightning powers (which she did not get back until 1984), Night Girl is a full-fledged Legionnaire (which she became in 2007)...
      • The long string of events going from DC Rebirth to Dark Nights: Death Metal upended DC's history several times over, making everything potentially canon. Superman's continuity is up to each individual writer, who can reference whatever they want however they want. As for Supergirl, she is supposed to be still Post-Flashpoint Supergirl, but her -mostly unchanged- Silver Age origin has been put back in place, which should invalidate almost all her former stories (perhaps not coincidentally, she never mentions any event between her arrival on Earth and her moving to Metropolis).
    • Teen Justice is set in the Gender-Bent Alternate Universe seen in The Multiversity and The Green Lantern. The Green Lanterns of this universe are villains opposed to the heroic Star Sapphire Corps and Hal Ferris in particular appears in Teen Justice wearing the same costume as in The Green Lantern and described as one of Carol Jordan's greatest enemies. However, rather than being Straw Misogynist counterparts to the Straw Feminist Silver Age Zamorans and Star Sapphire, the Lanterns as a whole are presented as a mainly female group with the most powerful faction led by Sinestra.
  • Marvel Universe: The sliding timescale means that stuff like Fantastic Four's Reed and Ben being veterans of The Korean War no longer hold true. Even most of the Soviet villains are getting a little long in the tooth. In 2019 Marvel introduced a fictional war called the Sian-Cong Conflict, which takes the place of both Korea and Vietnam in backstories as needed.
    • For instance, Captain America changed his name to Nomad in the 70's out of disgust over incidents involving Richard Nixon. A later New Avengers issue referenced this, but made the reasoning behind Steve's disillusionment much more vague since by now, Steve would have still been frozen during the 70's.
    • True for a lot of characters tied to specific historical events. For instance, don't ever expect to see it mentioned that Sunfire's mother was supposedly present at the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, or that Storm lost her parents in the Suez Crisis in 1956.
    • Marvel's Golden Age, despite being fixed in time, is also subject to this. The general rule is that anything explicitly referenced from The Silver Age of Comic Books to present day is canon (or at least the specific parts that were referenced), anything not already referenced is considered non-canon if it is contradicted without a retcon, and everything else is up in the air until referenced or contradicted.
    • Fu Manchu is still the father of Shang-Chi, but since the Public Domain Character's name is still under trademark by the estate of Sax Rohmer, it has been retroactively turned into an alias (which had since been discarded in favor of "Han"), with his real name within the Marvel canon being Zheng Zu. Fah Lo Suee, daughter of Fu Manchu and half-sister of Shang-Chi, was renamed Zheng Bao Yu, Si-Fan, Fu Manchu organizations gained other names such as Order of the Golden Dawn, Order of the Hai-Dai and today it is called the Five Weapons Society. However, Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie, enemies of Fu Manchu, were never seen again.
    • Avengers Forever: Despite all the Continuity Porn on display, there are a few tidbits that can't be spelled out directly. A panel showing Doctor Octopus escaping prison with Lex Luthor in tow from Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man is mentioned in the annotations as being Doc Ock and a "striking-looking bald man."
    • The Punisher MAX by Garth Ennis contains characters and references from Ennis' earlier work for the character. However, MAX is in its own continuity devoid of superheroes while the previous run was firmly set in the 616 universe and featured appearances from Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Hulk, and Wolverine. Broad strokes is the only way to make any real sense of it.
    • The Micronauts still occasionally appear in Marvel Comics as "The Microns". Since a large portion of the characters were based on licensed toys, those characters and past situations involving them are left unstated. The reappearance of the remaining characters is left unexplained since the last issue of Micronauts: The New Voyages gave effective closure for the characters (they died). Readers generally assume that since the Marvel Universe is composed of alternate realities, these characters are not resurrected versions of the ones in the 1979-1986 comics but alternate versions of the characters who may still pass as the originals on Earth. It helps, in this case, that many of the Micronauts characters were created exclusively for the book or else were technically based on toys, but in practice bore no resemblance whatsoever to the toys they were supposedly based on.
    • Spider-Man: Life Story: As noted in Alternate Continuity, events of the Lee-Ditko Era did happen as evidenced in dialogue regarding Jameson being under investigation for Scorpion and the Spider Slayers, Peter already having encountered Green Goblin, and comments about Aunt May's failing health.
    • Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1977) was a late 70s comic by Marvel which incorporated Godzilla into the main Marvel universe and used the general story arc of the 15 Godzilla films which had been released up until that point as a starting point. Godzilla first appeared in the 50s and menaced Japan for a while, but when stranger and more dangerous monster began attacking, he became a defender of sorts, then about twenty years after he first appeared, he mysteriously vanished. While the specific events presented in the comic's flashbacks never match up with what happened in any of the films, the basic story arc of Godzilla doing a Heel–Face Turn and then vanishing in the mid-70s remained the same. The comic speculates that Godzilla went missing at the end of the film series because he got trapped in an iceberg.
    • Reginald Hudlin's Black Panther run was originally supposed to be a self-contained Continuity Reboot of the character's origin, but proved popular enough that it was extended into an ongoing series and incorporated into the mainstream Marvel Universe. While certain parts of it remained canon (namely T'Challa's previously unseen little sister, Shuri), others, such as Klaw's radically altered origin, were rendered Canon Discontinuity.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Brian Michael Bendis' relaunch and posterior works decided to do this in regards to Star-Lord's convoluted origin. Up until 2012, at least three different origins existed for Star-Lord, so Bendis decided to redo everything taking the most important parts of the previous origins to make an updated and more appropriate version that would become the official canon origin for 616 Peter Quill, while the others would become alternate universes. Later, several bits from the other 70s stories were taken and incorporated to the origins and the regular series as well.
    • Due to the unpopularity among fans of the way characters were portrayed in both Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover, most of the books try to reference them as little as possible, mentioning only what is necessary (and even then mostly to undo what these books did) while sweeping as much as possible under the rug or describe the events in a way that for the unaware makes them sound like something else altogether. However, no book tried to directly say they didn't happen or not acknowledge deaths in the former had happened.
    • Spider-Men II gave us a last view of the Ultimate Marvel universe, where Ultimate Spider-Man is back and finally joined The Ultimates. But, for the sake of this cameo, several things were ignored: SHIELD was disbanded, Thor was lost in the Negative Zone and Captain America died in Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand, Henry Pym died in Ultimatum, J Essica Drew went from Spider-Woman to Black Widow in All-New Ultimates, Riri Williams had never been introduced in the Ultimate Marvel universe, etc. Things were basically rolled back to a "best of..." for the scene.
  • Robotech: In the run-up for Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, Harmony Gold decanonized all of the material which had been produced for the franchise outside of the original series. As illustrated in the comic-book prequel Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, their new stance appears to be that the events covered in things such as the Robotech: The Sentinels comic book still occurred in some manner, unless they're contradicted by the newer material.
  • The 2011 version of Ruse is the only Marvel Crossgen title to be a continuation, rather than reimagining, of the original CrossGen book. Except that while the original Ruse is in continuity, all the CrossGen-background stuff isn't, with the book being relocated firmly to Victorian England, rather than a world in the CrossGenverse that happens to resemble Victorian England, and all Sigil-related subplots excised.
  • The consensus about the Angel comics is that Angel: After the Fall, which Joss Whedon was involved in, is canon, but the subsequent stories he wasn't involved in are broad strokes at best. For example, a Spike miniseries told the origins of Spike's spaceship from the canonical Buffy Season Eight comics, but can be disregarded apart from those details. The implication that Spike's soul isn't his own and Drusilla's brief bouts of sanity and soulfulness? Never happened.
  • After the Super Genesis Wave, Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) takes both the video games and the original timeline in broad strokes. While the games are mostly left up to the readers' imagination, several differences from the old timeline have already been specified, most notably the elimination of all characters created by Ken Penders due to a lawsuit.
    Sonic: Like, I remember certain things happening. But some of them feel like I got the details wrong...
    • As the comic's reboot continued on, they have revealed a few things about those games and how they relate to the new universe, with Bunnie and Antoine mentioning they were at Station Square when Perfect Chaos attacked in Sonic Adventure, Knuckles remembering Snively's involvement in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Breezie the Hedgehog being involved in the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as well as Sonic Heroes.
  • Marvel Comics' original Star Wars comic book series (which ran from 1977 to 1987) has the distinction of being the first Star Wars work to depict characters, concepts, and events that aren't in the movies, as well as the first to continue the story after Return of the Jedi. As such, it's widely considered to be the beginning of the Star Wars Legends continuity. Despite this, the series is considerably different in tone and style from the Legends works published after 1991—which seldom acknowledge its post-Return of the Jedi events as Canon, and frequently contradict them. But a few characters introduced in the series did eventually make their way into the novels and the Dark Horse comics (most notably Lumiya, who plays an important supporting role in the Legacy of the Force novels), confirming that at least some of their events did happen.

    Fan Works 
  • Checkmate (Anla'Shok): The story shares a few original characters (like District 3 victors Mercury and Aster, District 3 escort Dante, and Snow’s murdered predecessor) and plot elements with Showdown: No Holding Back, an earlier The Hunger Games fanfic Anla'Shok wrote. However, there are some big differences between the stories that make it clear they do not share the exact same timeline.
    • Showdown is set in an Alternate Universe where Snow takes a decade longer to become President, while Checkmate has Snow be President by the 50th Hunger Games like in canon.
    • Mercury and Aster become victors in different decades than in their original appearance.
    • Mercury dies during the bombing that kills Prim in Showdown, but survives the rebellion in Checkmate.
    • Showdown features an elderly male District 4 Victor who mentors one of his grandchildren in the games that Mercury wins, but in Checkmate, the only male District 4 Victor before Finnick dies long before Mercury is even born.
  • Ducktales: Twenty Years Later:
    • Scrooge's "final adventure" which ended up being his death appears to have been the adventure of The Golden Goose from the series finale of Duck Tales, with several key differences, such as the goose apparently laying golden eggs which it didn't do in the original story.
    • The fic places Duck Tales (and Darkwing Duck) in the time period of the original comics, while the shows were set in The Present Day at time of broadcast.
  • Five Dangerous Months at the Hinata Inn: The original Love Hina was written by the seat of Akumatsu's pants. This was written with the entire series in mind (in addition to some of the retoolings).
  • Infinity Train: Star Finder: The events of Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail still happened in this verse but with different details. The difference is that Chloe didn't board the train and wielded the Unown instead of Parker, Ash didn't develop his Guilt Complex, and Serena replaced Trip's presence but not his role (she isn't a former passenger).
  • The Loud House: Flowing Star: The author confirms that events similar to the ones from Season 1 of The Loud House happened in this continuity but due to changes like the removal of Clyde and Lily, the events didn't happen with the same details as in-canon.
  • In Mega Man Recut, "Future Shock" is this, with the time machine being replaced by chronitrons, Wily having/enacting a plan to win him the world on New Year's Day, and adding details of Wily's dystopia like everyone having an enforced silly accent.
    • "20,000 Leaks Under the Sea" turns the episode's giant squid into the Purple Devil.
    • Robosaur Park turns the devolving serum into Roboenza from Mega Man 10.
    • "The Mega Man in the Moon" reveals that the Emergency Scanner is actually Galaxy Man.
    • The episode order is changed a bit from the original show in order to provide stronger continuity.
  • Reimagined Enterprise: There are various comparisons that can be made to the canon Star Trek: Enterprise despite almost all the details being different: Captain Hwai's grandfather was involved in the development of the warp five engine, just as Archer's father was; there are characters called Travis Mayweather and T'Pol, though the actual people are quite different; the first episode involves first contact between humans and Klingons; and so on.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Asuka makes appearances in other stories of the same author in her Supergirl identity, and she sometimes mentions events happened in those stories. Since the events of those stories are incompatible with each other, they are described in a very loose fashion, and the author said they happened in a different way.
  • Some Things Never Change: How the author approaches the show’s lore, besides diverging from post-2020 canon entirely (when “Some Things Never Change” was written). “Nothing Lasts Forever”, in particular, makes a lot of call backs to “Born Again Krabs” (including the “Harold Flower” joke) but never addresses why in the latter, the Flying Dutchman was willing to give Krabs another chance at life, while here, he has eagerly been waiting to collect Krabs’s soul for centuries and specifically says that he wouldn’t give him a second chance.
  • In A Twilight Landing, a now human Twilight Sparkle watches the entire first season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic in one sitting and notes that the creators got a lot of smaller details about what actually happened wrong, such as oversimplifying the reasons for Princess Luna becoming Nightmare Moon, depicting the Element of Magic as being mounted on a Tiara, and depicting Blueblood as a prince.
  • Pretty much the general view point of Innortals original fics in The Infinite Loops, thanks to his rather unique sense of humor. General view point is that the original loopers went a bit nuts thanks to loops, but eventually managed to reel themselves back in outside of a few exceptions, and even then they're not as bad as how Innortal portrayed them. Even then, debates on which of Innortals snippets are canon to the setting as a whole is still heavily debated in the community to this day.
  • The Wrong Reflection is an Adaptation Expansion of the Star Trek Online mission "The Other Side", so you've already got a seriously lengthened story. Then you get to where the author has repositioned the mission in the game's chronology to where it takes place in 2410 instead of 2409, a few weeks after the Federation and the Klingon Empire declared an armistice. It also transfers the player speaking with the Prophets at the end of "Crack in the Mirror" into "The Other Side", and makes it an Orb experience instead of Eleya actually physically visiting the Celestial Temple. The playable mission also doesn't feature a major battle between Terran Empire and Alpha Quadrant forces in the prime universe side of the Arawath system. However, the basic plot structure* is still the same.
  • In Mass Effect: Human Revolution, though the events proper of Deus Ex: Invisible War never occurred in the backstory, a number of elements remain in play, such as major trading nexuses having Omar collectives, The Fundamentalist Order church still being a major human institution, the Templars being their militant arm, or Alex D being around and working for the Illuminati.
  • Shakedown Shenanigans incorporates a truncated version of the early Star Trek Online mission "Stranded in Space". Only the first stage where you destroy some Orion corvettes to protect the SS Azura is kept.
  • Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja takes this approach to the Naruto canon post-Time Skip, since this was the point where the author considers the major Retcons to start significantly reshaping the story (largely in ways he didn't like). As a result, you can't count on anything from after the Time Skip being canon in the fic — perhaps most notably, neither Jinchuuriki nor the idea of a series of 'tailed beasts' exist, with the Kyuubi and the Shukaku both being separate, unrelated demonic monsters (as they clearly were back when Gaara was introduced in the original Chuunin Exam arc).
  • In Loaded Bones, events from the Yu-Gi-Oh manga and anime are combined, with the Monster World campaign and Dartz's near-apocalypse being major events.
  • The Lone Traveler is by two different authors. The precise backstory of the eponymous Traveler changes from one author to the next.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has plenty of examples in several of its Expanded Universe sidestories:
    • It's hinted in the Kiawe Interlude that Frax and Velvet go through roughly the same adventures Ash does in the SM series, along with Reset original ones. The Frax & Velvet Interlude follows the same line.
    • The Gardenia Interlude is somewhat a sequel to the Pokémon Generations episode featuring the Old Chateau, though with enough different details it isn't a 1 for 1 match.
    • The Charmander Gaiden makes references to No Antidote, hinting that a similar event happened in the Resetverse timeline.
    • Ritchie's Gaiden implies that the title character's first encounter with Silver went very similar to the Pokémon Chronicles episode, with the exceptions being that his mother was also there and Team Rocket wasn't involved.
    • Steven Interlude makes references to another fic titled The Long Road for his early career as a Pokémon trainer.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf treats Seasons 1 through 5 of The Smurfs (1981) cartoon show as if most if not all of its events actually happened prior to Empath returning home for good from Psychelia, even if certain details have changed, such as Baby Smurf's and the Smurflings' origins and the adult Nat Smurf's place in the pre-Smurfling episodes from the cartoon show being taken over by Tapper Smurf in certain situations. Some later season events also took place in that same five-year time period, such as Clockwork Smurf being overcharged with a lightning bolt. But except where those events become a story adaptation, they're not more than just a recap or a mention by the characters. It also establishes The Smurfs and the Magic Flute as the first time the Smurfs have encountered Johan and Peewit instead of the Season 2 Johan And Peewit episode "The Cursed Country".
  • A Diplomatic Visit:
    • In chapter 20, elements of Chrysalis's My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic comic are included — namely, that she attacked the city of Trot and that Celestia defeated her and imprisoned she and her hive in a volcano. However, that same issue's version of how she escaped is disregarded in favor of the other Queens freeing her, as is the origin of the holes in their legs; in the comic, it's an injury from the battle with Celestia, but here, it's a natural feature of the species, with three legs' respective patterns being inherited from a changeling's parents and queen and the last leg's hole pattern being original to them.
    • Sombra's own origin story from his FIENDship Is Magic comic — his creation by the Umbrum — is referenced in chapter 25; however, unlike that comic, it ended in his assimilating his "mother" before his final battle with Celestia and Luna.
    • The background events of comics arc 7, Reflections (with Celestia being in love with a resident of a different world, only for the linking mirror to have been destabilizing both of them), are referenced in chapter 2 of Diplomat at Large, and chapter 1 of The Diplomat's Life. Unlike the canon release though, the mirror used in that arc was destroyed by Starswirl, sealing the path between the two dimensions for good, rather than still existing in the present day.
  • The Pirate's Soldier: The story borrows elements and characters both from the original Tenchi Muyo! OVA series, and the Universe continuity (including Kiyone and Nagi). Later chapters also add characters from the later Tenchi series installments, such as Seto Kamiki Jurai, and Mihoshi's family members like her brother Misao.
  • Seven Favours For Harry Potter takes on this attitude towards Franchise/Harry Potter canon. According to the author's notes, the fic might at first glance look like it takes place in the canon world (just with added Fae), but as the story goes on it gets clearer that canon is not adhered to all that closely:
    "While the Voldemort situation, Hogwarts and most of the characters are as you know them, certain details are very different. Some character backgrounds and family situations are different, some terms and words are different, some spells and magic objects work differently, some magical creatures behave very differently, and of course I end up taking a number of paths that JKR would never go because I can never resist LGBTQ themes and femmeslash."

  • Anpanman: The film series don't seem to correlate to the anime as there's some characters that appear from the movies that would have different backstories (the worse offenders are Horrorman and Kokinchan). The only connections between the movies and anime are Rollpanna's debut story (as it's a focus point for the 1995 movie) and Anpanman's backstory (as flashback's are shown in a few movies).
  • Arn: The Knight Templar: In-universe. Eskil mentions that he has heard of Arn's exploits in the Holy Land, like when he led 20,000 Knights Templar in a charge against 100,000 Saracens at the Mountain of Pigs ("Grisarnas Berg" in Swedish). When Arn has stopped laughing, he explains that the battle stood at Mont Gisard, and that he led 400 Templars against 5,000 Saracens. Eskil shrugs and says that the basic details were true enough, and that there's nothing wrong with tweaking the truth to make a better story.
  • Arthur C. Clarke changed several details between each installment of his 2001 tetralogy, including the fate of Dr. Heywood Floyd and the location of the Monolith. His explanation was that each took place in a slightly different universe from the preceding book.
  • The Baldur's Gate novelizations seem to be only partly recognised by subsequent material. The canonical name that they give to protagonist (Abdel Adrian) has shown up, for example, but other details (such as making the protagonist's ally Minsc a bartender rather than a hero) seem to have been dropped from things like the comic series.
  • The first BIONICLE novel, Tale of the Toa, is a broad strokes retelling of the 2001 saga, combining elements from the comics, an abandoned video game and various ideas that weren't included in other media, but conspicuously ignoring the events and characters of the Mata Nui Online Game, due to the game at the time of writing being considered non-canon by LEGO (it was later partially canonized thanks to its popularity). Since the novel is ripe with Continuity Snarl, most famously the ending (the Toa beat the Shadow Toa differently than in the original story outline and Makuta is straight-up left out), and is not fully compatible with the comics, the later books also took a broad strokes approach to the novel itself, rewriting the ending to fit the real canon. This means that a fully canon 2001 story doesn't actually exist in any official media — the comics, the online game, the novel and the unreleased video game all give incomplete and incompatible accounts, and readers have to consult fan-made summaries to make sense of it all.
  • The Discworld novels do this quite a bit. A good example is Sir Terry Pratchett's treatment of elves and gnomes. In the first book, The Colour of Magic, there's a brief mention of elves as just another fantasy race on the disc. Rincewind and Twoflower see one at a tavern with no comment. But in Lords and Ladies, elves are a dangerous and cruel race, so bad that they were sealed away in a parallel dimension and there is a real threat of them breaking back into the world. In The Wee Free Men, Tiffany Aching had to rescue a Duke's son when he was kidnapped by the elves. Similarly, gnomes first were mentioned as short people in pointy hats, and latter became very short, very violent Scotsmen known as the Nac Mac Feegle.
    • The continuity geek explanation is that "elves" in the early books are Half Human Hybrids ("a race o' skinny types with pointy ears and a tendency to giggle and burn easily in sunshine. There's no harm in them", according to Granny), and that gnomes and Nac Mac Feegle are related but different (as shown in I Shall Wear Midnight). The confusion was eventually explained away by the most prominent Gnome being adopted and biologically a Feegle.
    • The early books also used "goblin" as another gnome subrace, to the point that the Companion says "a gnome is a goblin underground, a goblin is a gnome that's come up for air, a pictsie is a gnome fighting". The introduction of an unrelated race of goblins in Unseen Academicals, and elucidated upon in Snuff would suggest that whenever you see the word "goblin" in the early books, you should pretend it says "gnome".
  • Drachenfels: Changes to Warhammer canon made after the novel's publication have rendered quite a lot of it incompatible with it. Other authors continue to reference it, creating the bizarre situation wherein Drachenfels himself is never brought up but his castle and Detlef Sierck's plays are. The End Times reintroduces elements of the novels in Broad Strokes, with a resurrected (although amnesiac) Drachenfels serving as one of Nagash's generals against the Hordes of Chaos. An unidentified vampire heavily hinted to be Genevieve also pops up a few times to give the heroes significant intelligence.
  • Steven Brust's Khaavren Romances are presented as a series of historical fiction novels written by a character in Brust's Dragaera universe. The events described in the books are fictionalized accounts of events that did happen in Dragaera. In the Vlad Taltos novels, the eponymous hero sometimes learns things that contradict things that are described in the Khaavren Romances.
  • A Frozen Heart is a novelization of the film Frozen (2013), told in alternate views of Princess Anna and Prince Hans. However, several aspects in the book don't match with the film, from certain events playing out differently, such as the Duke's henchmen using actual bows as opposed to crossbows, or Hans at one point grabbing Elsa by the arm when trying to convince her to bless his and Anna's marriage. However, despite the makers of Frozen have not yet admitted the book, or any book or comic set after the film, is canon, fans still accept it as such, since it goes into the backstory of Prince Hans to learn why he turned evil.
  • The Great Brain: The main series is clearly set in a different continuity than Papa Married a Mormon and Mama's Boarding House, due to (among other things) the Fitzgerald brothers' sister, Uncle Will, and foster brother Earnie being Adapted Out. At the same time, the brothers occasionally reference events from those books (like their Uncle Mark's duel with the Laredo Kid)..
  • "In the Rukh" features Mowgli from The Jungle Book; this seems to have been Rudyard Kipling's first story about the character, though it's chronologically last, with Word of God saying that it takes place about 2-3 years after the others. However, it's set in a different part of India, Mowgli's backstory doesn't fit the events of the other entries, and his adoptive mother Messua, whom he moves in with at the end of "The Spring Running," goes unmentioned. Mowgli himself isn't quite the same, either, particularly since he's implied to be afraid of fire (which, in "Mowgli's Brothers," he very much isn't).
    • Kipling also wrote The Jungle Play, a theatrical adaptation that was only published posthumously in 2000. Its most notable change from The Jungle Book is the inclusion of a Love Interest named Dulia, which further distances it from "In the Rukh," where Mowgli had a different, unnamed wife.
  • Larry Niven's Word of God is that, Known Space should be seen as a possible future history told by people that may or may not have all their facts right." In other words, everyone tends to lie to the characters, who lie to the cops, who lie to the media, who lie to everyone, and future characters believe it's all true until they Spot the Thread. The result is kind of chaotic, but it's still a viable setting.
  • The novels of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child largely take place in the same continuity; however, the authors have occasionally ignored minor details of earlier books for the sake of the story. The recurring character Vincent D'Agosta described a trip to Italy with his son in Reliquary; in the later book Brimstone, he traveled to Italy for the first time. Reliquary itself moved the New York Museum of Natural History from its address in Relic to right across from Central Park to facilitate an important revelation.
  • A couple of writers in the Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows collection slipped in elements of their earlier Mirror Universe work, despite contradictions. While differences in the Voyager characters mean nothing remotely resembling Dark Passions can have happened in the new shared Mirror Universe, regardless of Susan Wright referring to B'Elanna as having been Intendant of Earth at one point, the presence of Gerda Idun Asmund on a rebellion ship with Gilaad Ben Zoma in Michael Jan Friedman's story makes it fairly easy to slot in the Star Trek: Stargazer novel Three, with the only difference being that the rebel ship isn't called Stargazer (since that's the name of Picard's ship).
    • Since the continuity of Trek novels tightened up (around the year 2001-onward), broad strokes has been used quite a bit to keep older works at least partially a part of that continuity. Even within the new shared continuity, not every little detail adds up, but on the whole it works as one big, shared reality.
    • After the Novelverse continuity ended with Coda, the novel "Living Memory" came out. In it, Kirk thinks about events from the TOS-portion of the second Department of Temporal Investigations novel, suggesting that at least some of that novel happened.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has a significant amount of this, although the canon has grown tighter over the years, requiring less and less as time goes on, with many characters, details and events from previous series written by completely unrelated authors make an appearance/are referenced/used as backstory in new additions. In they early years authors were unorganized, didn't communicate, contradicted each other, Lucasfilm didn't do a fantastic job moderating it all and a great deal of it is simply ignored today for convenience because what was generally considered possible and not hadn't been clearly defined yet, so the scale wasn't just off, it didn't exist yet.
    • This has also been invoked since the EU was locked as the Legends continuity and rendered officially non-canon; creators of new official works are free to reference various Legends elements. Notably, this so far includes James Luceno's Star Wars: Tarkin referencing his prior fleshing out of a previously-mysterious villain's backstory.
    • In Supernatural Encounters, the events of the cancelled novel Alien Exodus are mentioned, but with some differences from the original plot outline:
      • The Varlians are the Vulagool—an insectoid race, who had joined the Architects and would go on to become bitter enemies of the Killiks.
      • The Human Resistance are named the Sons of Freedom and there are two other groups apart; the Alliance and the United Confederatation of Zhell.
      • Humans escape from Urthha instead of Earth in the 25th century.
      • The wormhole was opened by Tilotny.
      • Cold Danda Sine creating a disease on Forhilnor that infected the larvae of the Varlian, who came to become the Hutts, the Yahk-Tosh, the Quockrans, and the Orooturoo.
  • Gregory Maguire's Wicked and its hit stage adaptation both purport to be a prequel to and Perspective Flip of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but neither is perfectly consistent with either the book or its classic film version. Details from the film, details from the book, and departures from both are combined to effectively create an Alternate Continuity.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead:
    • Has a combination of the first two movies as canon in the backstory (see above). Ash spent his first night in the cabin with a group of friends like in The Evil Dead (1981) but his second night was the Evil Dead 2 plot.
    • For copyright reasons, the show can only treat the first two films as canon, which means that Ash works at "Value-Stop" instead of S-Mart and can make only vague allusions to traveling to the Middle Ages, since he was sucked into the past at the very end of the second movie but most of that plot unfolded in Army of Darkness.
  • This is J. Michael Straczynski's view of the canonicity of the first series of Babylon 5 novels, apart from To Dream in the City of Sorrows, which is, according to Word of God, 100% canonical.
    • The three trilogies published after that first series (Psi Corps, Legions of Fire, and The Passing of the Techno-mages) are certified canon. However, Legions of Fire places the launching events of Crusade a year later than the television indicates them to be.
    • The novel The Shadow Within is both canon and non-canon. The main story, about Anna Sheridan, is canon. The other story, about John Sheridan, is non-canon. JMS called the book "90% canonical".
  • Blade: The Series took place after Blade: Trinity, but changed it so that the Daystar virus, an attempt at killing all remaining vampires in one fell swoop, wasn't as successful as indicated in the movie, as made evident by there still being at least 12 houses of vampires still active.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the series, accepts the broad strokes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie. Specifically, it takes the original screenplay by Joss Whedon as correct, while ignoring all the (many) differences that accumulated through Executive Meddling (for instance, the first episode of the series refers to Buffy burning down her old school's gym to kill the vampires inside, which happened in Whedon's version of the story but not in the finished film). A comic was eventually produced called "The Origin", which tells the movie's story in the style of the series.
  • Doctor Who: Given the show's very long history and the various incarnations it takes over the years, the show often treats past episodes and non-televised media as canon only through broad strokes. This is also helped by the fact that it's a time travel based show. Things like time wars and time cracks have sometimes explicitly erased or rewritten certain events in-universe, and any seeming contradiction can hypothetically be attributed by fans to a change in the timeline.
    • The TV film with Paul McGann takes some liberties with the mythology that fans objected to, such as the stuff about him being half-human and actually snogging a companion for real (although the Doctor being aromantic in the classic series was only ever Fanon), which for a while made people doubt its place in canon. The McGann Eighth Doctor has been shown along with the other past ones in the revival series, and Word of God from Russell T Davies is that something did happen in San Francisco in 1999 involving the Doctor and the Master — and that he said he was half-human, but that doesn't necessarily make it true. All onscreen evidence in the new series points to the Doctor being fully Time Lord. The comic The Forgotten has the Eighth Doctor say that he fooled the Master into thinking he was half-human with a half-broken Chameleon Arch, a few words, and a wide-eyed expression. A Chameleon Arch is a piece of Applied Phlebotinum the Tenth Doctor has used to become human temporarily onscreen. The new series has also explicitly shown the Doctor in romantic relationships and having been married various times.
    • "Genesis of the Daleks" contradicted "The Daleks" somewhat, although of course the version of Skaro's history given by the Thals in "The Daleks" was being told centuries after the fact, and there were also two different versions of Atlantis' destruction.
    • Then there's the fact that initially the stories with the Doctor stuck on Earth as UNIT's scientific advisor were set 20 Minutes into the Future, which back then meant the 1980s, but later stories that referenced them tended to act as though they had taken place in the 1970s, the decade they aired. In fandom this is known as "the UNIT dating controversy/crisis". This was lampshaded in the new series, which also gained its own dating snarl because after the Doctor accidentally brought Rose home twelve months late in the first season, modern-day episodes were supposed to be set the year after they aired, until this was forgotten and they were treated as taking place when they aired despite a year still explicitly having passed between 2005 and... 2005.
    • In the modern series, the Time War provides a built-in explanation for any time the new series contradicts the old one (e.g. the far-future planet Earth meeting its end in two contradictory ways). The end of Series 5, in which the universe is "reset", also allows for a handy way of allowing the writers to pick and choose what they keep and what they get rid of; any contradictions can be easily explained with the previous event falling through the "cracks" (quite literally at that). The giant CyberKing that menaced Victorian London and the time the Daleks stole the Earth were explicitly deleted from history by the time cracks, thus making people more skeptical about aliens again.
    • The TV show tends to take this approach to the many different strands of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe that have shown up over the years. Elements from the comics, books and audio plays have worked their way into the TV show over the years, both in the form of direct and indirect references. But it's also made abundantly clear that there's no formal or official canon, and the TV show is in no way beholden to anything from the expanded universe. Most particularly, the TV show will cheerfully contradict points from the Expanded Universe, delete painstakingly constructed canons with a single line of dialogue, and even remake entire stories first told in the Expanded Universe as if they were happening for the first time. The Big Finish audio dramas are the most extensive alternate medium, usually involve the original actors, and seem to carry the most weight (the Eighth Doctor namechecks all his Big Finish companions in the mini-episode of the TV show that shows how he regenerated into the Time-War-era Doctor, right before he regenerates).
  • When Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon was told they needed an extra episode for the first season he quickly created a post-apocalyptic one set ten years in the future, using flashbacks (via memories saved on computer widgets) to show how the events of the two times connected. He later commented at a convention that, in order to give the writers some flexibility, some of those memories might be fake or imperfect or just condensed summaries of important events, and indeed, the events of the second season show that at least some were unlikely or impossible, though at least one (Boyd and Claire's parting scene) was perfectly correct.
  • On The Drew Carey Show, the main events of the spot-the-mistakes episodes seem to be canon, though presumably Drew turning into Gary Coleman was not.
  • Highlander: The Series accepted most of the first film as canon. The major difference was that Connor MacLeod (who appeared in the first episode) hadn't won the Prize when he defeated the Kurgan: the series still had plenty of other Immortals left alive all over the world and new ones appearing all the time. This actually shifted over the course of the series: it was originally implied that the series was an immediate prequel to the film, set during the early stages of the Gathering, explaining why so many Immortals kept showing up in one location; however, all references to the Gathering were dropped after the first season, and it was firmly established in the second season premiere that Connor had defeated the Kurgan several years earlier.
  • Kamen Rider series:
    • Kamen Rider Agito was originally written as a direct sequel to Kamen Rider Kuuga, but various concernsnote  convinced the staff to change their plans. The show still has a few references (like the G-3 Powered Armor being made from data taken from "Number 4", the Tokyo Police's name for Kuuga), but they're vague enough that they can just be seen as Mythology Gags and the staff released an official statement basically saying "Whether Agito is a sequel to Kuuga or not is entirely up to you, the viewer."
    • Kamen Rider Decade is similarly about alternate universe versions of the previous riders. This justifies the use of different actors despite each Alternate Rider having a similar story to their original show's version: Alternate Kiva is, like the original, a Fangire royal who is uncertain about his role, but is a young boy instead of a Shrinking Violet twenty-something, etc.
    • The post-Decade Riders (W onwards) all take place in the same universe, although the only connections are occasional mentions of Foundation X and movie team-ups. It's never explained where exactly the year's worth of time-skip in Double fits in, or why none of the other Riders show up to help the current year's hero with the current year's apocalyptic scenario. The only exception is Build, and that's because the Sky Wall incident wouldn't make sense if it's put as a Hand Wave in the timeline of the main Kamen Rider universe.
    • Rider movies are another matter all together. Every Kamen Rider movie from Ryuki to Kiva is an AU version of the show, with the exception of the Den-O movies. From Decade on, the movies are canonical to their series — indeed, Movie War 2010 is the finale of Decade and has important backstory for Double, and Movie War Megamax is much the same for OOOs and Fourze. Although All Riders Vs. Dai-Shocker and OOO: Nobunaga's Desire themselves take a broad strokes approach to their shows again...
  • The Lost expanded universe, specifically 2006's The Lost Experience online viral marketing game and 2008's Find 815, are examples of this trope. Word of God says that basic mysteries answered by TLE, such as the number sequence 4 8 15 16 23 42's significance to DHARMA, and Find 815's explanation of how the fake flight 815 wreckage was discovered, are accurate unless otherwise contradicted by the show. However, the characters and plot of both games are non-canon.
  • Lucifer (2016): The episode "Boo, Normal" was produced at the end of the third season to be slotted into the expected fourth season. Before that could happen the show underwent a Channel Hop from Fox to Netflix. When the writers developed their new outline for the fourth season the character relationships adjusted in a way that meant certain interactions in "Boo, Normal" no longer made sense. For a while fans weren't sure if the episode was still considered canon until the fifth season made references that suggest some of the events of the episode happened while avoiding the parts that didn't make sense.
  • Murphy Brown returned for an eleventh season, twenty years after the end of its original run. Storylines from the later seasons such as Miles and Corky getting married, Miles leaving and being replaced by Kay, and Phil Jr. taking over the bar, are never mentioned and completely ignored.
  • The New Edition Story mini series and its sequel, The Bobby Brown Story, have an odd, but justified version of broad strokes: To give all of the New Edition members equal screen time in the first mini series, a lot of Bobby Brown's wild behavior was toned down, and his marriage to Whitney Houston was mostly glossed over. This was rectified in The Bobby Brown Story, with the trade off of downplaying his beef with New Edition due to it already being covered in the prior series.
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was implied to take place after the live-action TMNT film series by New Line Cinema, as evidenced by Splinter missing an ear and the Turtles living in a subway station as in the second and third films. However, the Shredder is still alive, Michelangelo uses tonfa instead of nunchucks, and April O'Neil and Casey Jones were not only absent, but had no indication of existing at all.
  • Once Upon a Time did this to allow for a Fairy Tale Free-for-All.
  • Police, Camera, Action! did this in its 2007 Retool (a quasi-Continuity Reboot), with elements from older episodes and older police clips rarely present or even mentioned, and newer footage, and a Continuity Nod to the 1994-2002 series every now and then.
  • Many newer series of Power Rangers seem to ignore or alter plot points from older series.
    • Serpenterra was portrayed in Power Rangers Wild Force. In the original series it was huge, with the Zords barely a speck compared to it. Forever Red makes Serpentera much smaller with it being only a few times bigger than normal Zords.
    • The same episode shows Bulk back on Earth despite him last being seen on the planet Mironoi, but also established this as taking place a couple of years since then.
    • The same episode also features several Rangers activating powers that are supposed to be inactive such as Jason's Mighty Morpin powers and TJ's Turbo powers. Some Fridge Logic may help explain why.
    • The Operation Overdrive episode "Once a Ranger" has Adam Park pull Alpha 6 out of storage despite him being last seen on Mironoi as well.
    • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder states that the Mighty Morphin team were Earth's first Power Rangers, Power Rangers Samurai, however features a team that has been active for 18 generations. They're not the only team to just be the current generation of a longer tradition, so there's no reason the original Rangers should be considered the original Rangers in-universe.
    • Power Rangers Super Megaforce states that the armada attacked Earth with a ferocity never before seen, ignoring Power Rangers in Space's finale that required a Heroic Sacrifice by Zordon himself to stop the United Alliance of Evil's invasion. However, the attack in the final episode does rival anything seen in the past, with the combined might of a galaxy-spanning force coming to our poor little blue marble to get rid of the Rangers once and for all (there's a reason it took every Ranger ever to come stop them).
    • Speaking of the Legendary War, every team appeared because of the Rule of Cool, gleefully ignoring canon. How everyone could appear and who was in which suit in cases where it's ambiguous is the source of much Fan Wank. The Legendary Ranger battalion would have been a lot smaller if production hadn't ignored the facts that: SPD and Time Force hail from the future, RPM takes place in another dimension, the Aquitar Rangers and the Galaxy Rangers do not live on Earth, the Zordon-era Rangers have more suits visible than possible wearers due to the same people having been on multiple incarnations of the team in different costumes, and several series ended with the loss of their power sources.
  • RoboCop: Prime Directives takes place ten years after the original film and makes vague references to other parts of the RoboCop franchise, including prior attempts to create a new RoboCop, Cadillac Heights being a war zone, and footage from RoboCop: The Series, as well as the evolution of an idea in the episode "Corporate Raiders" of Jimmy Murphy studying to become an executive by being an executive at OCP. However, the sequels and series featured officers addressing Murphy by name and 3 ended with OCP collapsing—and the crew of PD decided that most officers probably wouldn't be okay with what was done to Murphy and OCP was too important to leave destroyed, so they made Murphy's identity a secret until the end, where his identity becomes a matter of public record and having a still-operating OCP.
  • Stargate SG-1 did this with the original Stargate movie, mostly the primary concept of the stargate, that Doctor Daniel Jackson, Colonel Jack O'Neill and O'Neill's team encountered the people on the planet Abydos, that they killed Ra with a nuke, and that Daniel stayed behind with his new wife before the series began. What they changed were the specifics of stargate travel (the stargate doesn't reach across the universe, just the Milky Way Galaxy), the nature of the aliens (parasitic snakes instead of The Greys wearing human bodies) and the addition of a specific species name for them (Goa'uld). With many things, if it wasn't specified in the movie they were at liberty to make up their own canon. They also changed the name of Daniel's wife from Shau'ri to Sha're because Michael Shanks had trouble with the "au" diphthong and went with the Aliens Speaking English trope to avoid having Daniel translate everything to the audience. Lastly (and more comically), Jack O'Neil is now written Jack O'Neill, a fact that he references in the series multiple times. They also recast Daniel, Jack, Sha're and Major Kowalski, though Kasuf and Skaara were played by the same actors as in the movie.
  • The Star Trek franchise has been subject to this many times.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series had some inconsistent terminology especially early on. The Enterprise is not a space ship, it's a starship. They use phasers, not lasers (even The Next Generation confirmed phasers were around before that time) and Kirk has traveled outside the galaxy and to the center of the galaxy with relative ease. The series was also inconsistent with what time period it took place in: "The Squire of Gothos" suggests that the 18th century was 900 years ago, while "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "Space Seed" both indicate the late 20th century was 200 years ago; it wasn't until a TNG season 1 episode explicitly gave its own setting as 2364 that TOS was locked in as occurring in the late 2260s.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise was a prequel where they were making up elements of what happened before the original series. Time Travel was introduced as a sort of handwave that these events did not come about in that exact way originally. And there is also the changing dynamics of visual designs to consider.
    • Star Trek (2009) branches to a different timeline, convenient for writers and viewers alike. Even in regards to such a change there is still a certain consideration that the pre-time change Federation ship (the USS Kelvin) looks more advanced than the original USS Enterprise. It is a similar dilemma that the show Enterprise ran into with Zeerust as a Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness changes the ethnicity of a character that would have existed before the timeline was split, although this has been explained by a non-canon comic as a Magic Plastic Surgery coupled with Laser-Guided Amnesia performed on Khan before he was awoken in order to maintain the ruse that he was a Section 31 agent named John Harrison.
    • Star Trek: The Animated Series was decanonized by Gene Roddenberry's office back in the 1980s, but since then, some Expanded Universe writers and the Enterprise team have allowed elements from the series to slip in to their works; this series is also the origin of Kirk's recognized middle name (Tiberius). The "holodeck" first appeared in TAS (although it was never called the "holodeck" specifically). It then went on to make its live-action debut in The Next Generation. Naturally, some people thought TNG was the first to introduce it.
    • Information about Spock's childhood from an episode of TAS ("Yesteryear") was also referenced in a TNG episode, making at least one TAS episode definitively restored to canon. Whether that implies anything about the rest of the series is anyone's guess.
    • Scenes from Spock's childhood as seen in "Yesteryear" were also seen and referenced in the 2009 film.
    • The proposed 1970s series Star Trek: Phase II was eventually reworked into becoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The plot of TMP was an expansion of the proposed pilot for Phase II, and the ending even has the crew set off on their next voyage. A dozen scripts were written for Phase II before the movie was greenlighted (one script being recycled for the second season of TNG), but none are considered actual canon since the series never came to light and the actual ensemble cast was different. Still, the time frame of Phase II and the adventures of the Enterprise are an established part of Trek canon, which fills in the gap between TMP and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
    • The Original Series, being made in the '60s, occasionally had sexist undertones which tended to be ignored in later installments and adaptations of the franchise. Most notably, the episode "Turnabout Intruder" which implied that women couldn't be Starfleet captains, and whose entire plot revolves around the character of Janice Lester having this as her motivation for switching bodies with Kirk. Woman captains have, however, appeared numerous times since, chronologically both before and after the episode was set. The accepted explanation nowadays (if we don't simply delete the episode entirely) being that Lester was simply mad, borne out by Kirk's response to Lester's "your world of starship captains doesn't admit women" line implying he understood her meaning very differently.
  • For the Showa Ultra Series, a canon timeline is... questionable, to say the least. The main shows all take place in one universe, but they have a tendency to not line up because of dating systems and general inconsistencies. In Ultraman Taro and Ultraman Mebius, the events of the shows happened "in real time", that is, the years the shows were released, however prior series took place 20 Minutes into the Future. Then there's the fact that Ultraseven wasn't even in the canon originally, and Ultra Q is still an oddity (it was referenced a few times in the original Ultraman, but that's it). And that's not even getting to Ultraman Geed, which Word of God states is set in the Showa universe, but that completely contradicts everything we've seen so far (though it's possible some kind of Cosmic Retcon may have occurrednote ).

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: A lot of stories accepted as true up into The Renaissance, with various heroes, kings and wars considered historical fact. Said heroes could no longer be the children of gods, and in general supernatural elements had to be dropped or recontextualized (for example, the pagan gods were really demons in disguise).

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dino Attack RPG: This is how it treats the canon of various LEGO Themes, along with fan works such as Alpha Team: Mission Deep Freeze RPG, LEGO Island 3, and LMS. This is even how, in its later years, it treats its own early canon.
  • Mahou MUSH takes this approach to adapting canon plotlines to the game, the setting of which is an amalgamation of a number of magical girl shows incorporated into a single setting. The general concept of the story arcs as they are depicted in their source material is retained, but the specifics of how they occur in-game are likely to be quite different, particularly when members of other casts start getting involved.
  • This applied to the first season of The Massive Multi-Fandom RPG in the subsequent installments, in part because it was sillier than the other ones (to the point where some players and GM's were embarrassed by it), in part because it got deleted. As a result, while its events did happen canonically (more or less), the exact details are made quite vague. For instance, even if a character had participated in Season 1, you could join one of the later seasons with this character while pretending they had never appeared before.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons likes to introduce things with their own distinct lore and concepts, and then treat them in a fashion of "if you want this to exist in Your Campaign Setting, then sure, it can exist." Due to the multiple generations of Fanon Discontinuity and Canon Discontinuity, this often leads to oddities. For instance, one book will introduce a new system, race, class, or figure, and treat it as if it's been a core part and common knowledge in the unnamed setting for a long time, and then every other book will ignore that thing, but occasionally you'll sight a reference that suggests the older book is at least partway canon. Some characters or creatures have wildly different backstories between their different takes, which can be given the handwave of one or more backstories being an in-universe legend. Published adventures are typically assumed to have taken place, except when they didn't, and their events tend to involve an anonymous "group of heroes" who aren't further elaborated on. This especially applies to just about anything from 4th Edition, which changed or ignored so much established lore in irreconcilable ways that the only way to allow for a lot of it is to just shrug and declare that some of it probably happened.
  • As a game with a 25 year running history of lore and stories handled by multiple creative teams, and a propensity for guest writers, Magic: The Gathering uses broad strokes for many older stories. The most observable examples are the limited run of Planeswalker-focused novels, Agents of Artifice, the Purifying Fire and Test of Metal. The first two are broadly canon, with many details and plot points ignored or dropped, but the third seems to be almost entirely non-canon, with only really the characterization of the main character Tezzeret being carried forward, and all the events of the book and the bits of lore it tried to invent being left behind.
    • The events of Agents of Artifice seemed to have roughly happened, as stories set afterwards acknowledge Jace running a much smaller cell of the Infinite Consortium and Tezzeret being a puppet of Nicol Bolas, but all the specifics seem to be alternately ignored or handwaved. Things like Jace's unexplained identical twin and the body-swapping shenanigans are roundly ignored, but the big ones are Jace's backstory (and how much he actually remembers) and the guild-less version of Ravnica presented in the book. When it came time for the main card game to re-visit the world, the book was roundly ignored in that last aspect.
    • The version of Regatha and Keral Keep presented the Purifying Fire seem consistent with the canon presented later on in the broad strokes, but differ in the details. The main bone of contention is Chandra's backstory, which was revised in Magic Origins and her short story Fire Logic. Whether it has been honestly Retconned or she told an embellished/simplified version has not been addressed as of yet.
  • A peculiar example of this trope is Warhammer 40,000, a game whose Canon gets revised and adjusted pretty much every time a new source book is released, some of which also take inspiration from other media like novels or the Video Game series Dawn of War. Depending on the Writer, things that were known may stay the same, get fixed a little or are completely Retconned, with the most basic example being "This particular piece of technology has been used by [faction] for thousands of years, don't worry about it never showing up before at all." The biggest example is the background of the Necrons, which used to be one big Shout-Out to Terminator, but has since changed more towards "Undead Egyptian Space Robots with feuding dynasties". Also many things that were part of the game in earlier times have been quietly dropped completely. The official explanation for all this is "Everything is Canon, nothing is absolutely true". Another huge example is that until the mid 2000's, there was only very broad strokes canon regarding the "Horus Heresy", the big background event set 10,000 years before the current time line of the game that established the current settings for the most part. There are changes big and small and not all of them continue to be used or referenced.

  • Dragon Ball Multiverse treats the events of several of the various films as canon, despite the fact that most of them don't fit into the timeline of the anime or manga. The comic gets around this by doing "special chapters" that show alternate versions of the events of the films, tweaked to fit into the comic's altered timeline: for instance, Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge showed Vegeta active on Earth, Gohan at his proper age, and Goku going Super Saiyan right off the bat, fixing most of the continuity errors that film presents.
  • In Dumbing of Age, a Continuity Reboot of the whole Walkyverse, it's generally assumed that characters have already had arcs similar to what they did through the Walkyverse — e.g. Ethan came out during Shortpacked!, Ethan of Dumbing of Age came out in high school. This is so readers who already know the characters don't have to go through the same story again.
  • This is the strategy the creators of Drowtales have taken to some of the older, pre-retcon information, specifically the contents of some sidestories. As far as anyone can tell the sidestories "Spiderborn" and "Rebirth" still happened and are still the canonical backstories of two characters, but some oudated worldsetting info (for instance, references to "Yatherines" aka drow priestesses) is no longer canon.

    Web Original 
  • Lewis Lovhaug's audio play A Voice from the Dark reveals that not only did the events of the Channel Awesome anniversary specials happen, but (presumably) so did a lot of the behind-the-scenes abuses that occurred during the filming of said movies.

    Western Animation 
  • Felix the Cat (Joe Oriolo) has light continuity going on in it, with some episodes bridging directly between each other (i.e. "Do It Yourself Monster Book" ends with Felix on a raft in the ocean, which is where we find him next in the following episode, "Blubberino the Whale"). Poindexter's UFO, made in "The Flying Saucer" (one of his first appearances), pops up several times throughout the early episodes. But no episodes directly reference a past event, and some episodes fall into outright Negative Continuity (for example, there is no reason Professor should have trusted Master Cylinder with Poindexter in "Venus and the Master Cylinder", when his first appearance "Master Cylinder, King of the Moon" showed him being outright hostile to both of them. The reason for this is because the episodes were very quickly written (the shows grueling schedule forced to put out three new episodes per week, and they were given mere hours to write the scripts) and also because the episodes were designed so that stations could either air them as standalone episodes, or air them as chapters that would form a complete "story" when aired in proper order.
  • Transformers:
    • Beast Wars took this approach to G1 continuity: it took elements of the cartoon and comic continuities as canon for its backstory. The events are not referenced in detail; that allowed a sense of history while it continued with its own story. Then along came Beast Machines, which at its core plot thread disagreed with both comic AND cartoon G1 continuities in irreconcilable ways (and Beast Wars for that matter).
    • Transformers: Car Robots was technically set in the same far-future continuity as Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo with the Autobots and Predacons time traveling to modern day Japan. References to this fact was kept light on the actual show though as to not confuse new viewers and the show instead consisted of elements and references from all over the Transformers franchise. Averted when the show was dubbed into English as ''Robots In Disguise'', as Hasbro always treated it as a complete reboot of the franchise and nothing more.
    • This became somewhat muddled with Transformers: Cybertron originally being conceived and intended as a continuation of Transformers: Armada and Transformers: Energon, but not produced as such. Most fans tend to dismiss it with a Hand Wave involving the Unicron Singularity. Others ignore the Hand Wave and treat it as a separate show. Nonetheless, Takara later adopted the Hand Wave officially, recognizing the same Unicron Singularity and definitively placing the Japanese version, Galaxy Force back as a sequel to Micron Legend and Superlink, Armada and Energon's Japanese counterparts (respectively) as was originally conceived.
    • Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Prime were both made under the idea of a single, ultimate universe for the Transformers franchise to work off the next 5 years. They were not meant to be a hard-and-fast canon working together but are taking specific sections of the classic Transformers lore (the war on Cybertron and the arrival on Earth, respectively) while going off a core backstory. There is a good deal of similar elements that connects them together but the fact remains that they were developed by two completely different production teams who gave the mythos their own flavor. Character designs, characterizations and the exact events that unfold (given that WFC should be in the distant past of Prime) vary to some degree.
      • In the first season finale of Transformers: Prime they give some crucial backstory elements regarding Megatron and Optimus' history, how Megatron ended up turning Cybertron into a dead world and how Optimus received the Matrix of Leadership. Exactly as this trope works, there are timeline issues and details that are different but there was no mistaking the major events that were exactly the same as WFC.
      • Taken further with the later additions of Rescue Bots and Robots in Disguise, vastly Lighter and Softer than the video games and Prime series, and the Transformers: Go! anime. note 
  • Both Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Clone Wars have elements that don't align with each other (while the former also has elements that contradicts the theatrical films). Since George Lucas is a consultant on Clone Wars and the creator of The Clone Wars (along with the fact that he decided that TCW would not be connected to Clone Wars), most of the inconsistencies can be shuffled aside with this trope.
    • Anakin Skywalker was originally implied to have reached Knighthood later in the Clone Wars, with Clone Wars not specifying the point of time. The Clone Wars inverted this, with Anakin ascending to rank of Jedi Knight fairly early on and having an apprentice of his own for most of the war.
  • DC Animated Universe is this in relation to the comic book universe, and vice versa. Unless otherwise revealed, a character's origin is meant to be the same as the comics.
    • When Justice League first started, the creators said to not take everything of the past three installments (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond) as cemented canon, because they didn't want to worry about detailed continuity that fans would complain about. At one point, Bruce Timm even mentioned that they planned on ignoring Kyle Rayner's guest appearance in Superman: The Animated Series because they didn't want to confuse people who would wonder why a completely different Green Lantern was being used in the new series. But by the second season, they turned back on that stance and told some stories that continued past events, and by Unlimited they had a couple of Batman Beyond appearances, as well as a guest appearance from Kyle.
    • Batman: The Animated Series is split into two sections, marked by a massive storytelling difference and design change. While the first section is the most loved, continuity for later shows streams mostly from the second section. A case in point, Zatanna showed up as a past love interest for Bruce and she was just a normal stage magician whose father taught Bruce how to be an Escape Artist. She later shows up in Justice League with actual magical powers.
    • Static Shock was originally in a universe with Superman as a fictional character (making reference to his alter-ego of Clark Kent). He later had several in-continuity DCAU crossovers and eventually an appearance in Justice League. Static also had another example when he first meets Batman and wonders where Robin is. Batman answers that he's with the Teen Titans, a Shout-Out to a show that was airing at the same time but otherwise had no other reference in the DCAU proper. Dwayne McDuffie advised fans not to think too hard about it, and consider it less like the two shows definitively sharing a universe and more like typical TV crossovers (and, in the process, coined Tommy Westphall Theory.
  • The BattleTech animated series has three of its main characters (and the child of a fourth) among the notable people of the game's universe, and a sourcebook showing how the story fits within canon, even though the series itself is not (in short, the animated series exists in canon as an animated series and in-universe was Very Loosely Based on a True Story).
  • Officially, Masters of the Universe: Revelation is a continuation/Sequel Series of the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but there are some facts that don't connect perfectly: Orko has apparently always been an Inept Mage (as opposed to his magic not working right on Eternia), Evil-Lyn is loyal to Skeletor instead of being The Starscream, Greyskull has a Race Lift, etc.
  • Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm took this attitude towards the first live-action movie, which it was ostensibly intended to be a sequel to. There are references to the events of the film, such as Shang Tsung, Kano and the original Sub-Zero having been killed during the tournament, but the Flashbacks showing those deaths differ from how they were actually depicted in the movie (likely to tone down the violence). Another big difference is that Johnny Cage, who was one of the main characters in the movie, was never seen or even referenced in the cartoon. This was due to the show also drawing inspiration from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, where Cage had been killed off.
  • Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow can be seen as a Broad Strokes sequel to the Ultimate Avengers movie, as Black Widow is stated to have been a founding member of the team and Captain America's wife (the two dated in the Ultimate movies, but not the comics) and The Wasp's son appears to be Asian (the Ultimate Marvel version of Wasp is Asian as opposed to white). However, other than that, there are some inconsistencies, such as the Avengers being seen wearing their classic costumes in flashbacks rather than their Ultimate outfits, as well as the fact that Giant-Man (the father of Wasp's son) died in the second Ultimate Avengers movie.
  • The '90s Marvel shows — X-Men: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Iron Man: The Animated Series, Fantastic Four: The Animated Series and The Incredible Hulk — were part of a loosely-defined universe. Emphasis on loosely — due to legal issues, the shows not being produced by all the same people and airing on different networks (or in the case of IM and FF, syndication), characters would appear, talk and act differently from show to show (and various cameos, mostly in X-Men and FF as provided by artist Larry Houston, would often muddy the waters further), but the general gist of them would be the same; ie. the version of the Hulk seen in guest appearances on IM and FF looked and sounded different in both shows compared to his own, but the events of those episodes were referred to in his own show, and the characters of those shows appeared mostly like they did on their previous ones. X-Men and Spider-Man had a direct crossover, but their versions of Iron Man and the FF both varied from their own shows (IM had the same voice, though); FF had a cameo of the civilian X-Men as well as The Avengers, who otherwise didn't seem to be active. Captain America was part of the Avengers in FF, but was trapped in a time warp on Spider-Man (and looked different, too). Marvel later classified X-Men and Spider-Man as being one universe, while IM, FF and Hulk occupied another.
  • The Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama rolls back a lot of the series' Continuity Creep to the base of Kim being a Teen Superspy but prone to peer pressure, Ron being her loyal friend and sidekick but a loser to the rest of Middleton, and Bonnie losing her sympathetic Character Development from season three to return to being Kim's bitchy school rival. This is at least partly because it's based on the script for an aborted live action adaptation, and because it was written almost entirely during Season 1 and few changes were made afterwards.
  • Total Drama World Tour seems to ignore a lot of events in the unpopular second season, including Leshawna's Odd Friendship with Heather, Beth's relationship with Brady and Courtney having alienated everyone with her Jerk Sue behavior. Furthermore they never even mentioned who won TDA, probably because the voting caused the results to split between different countries. The only event that seems to be firmly established is that Gwen and Trent broke up and that she and Duncan became friendly with each other.
  • Ben 10:
    • Done in Ben 10: Omniverse, where details such as the existence of Primus (and subsequently, the Omnitrix's function as a signal receiver) were retconned out of continuity. Invoked in-universe, where Ben uses Alien X to create a not-quite-exact copy of the universe and its inhabitants after being destroyed. A later episode dealing with the results of this action has another character point out that Alien X's race does this constantly, using another character's changing voice as an example.
    • Charmcaster's entire arc in the previous series has this applied to it, particularly to "Enemy of My Frenemy" which is never mentioned and even contradicted several times. According to both Matt Wayne and Derrick Wyatt, this was because it was both so dark and so controversial among fans that it was making it difficult to even incorporate Charmcaster into Omniverse.
    • Omniverse also restored a version of the original Ben 10,000, but had this in play, as the original 10,000 future, Ben suffered a Cynicism Catalyst at the age of 15, and Kevin was very much a bad guy, whereas the version in Omniverse sees Ben still be on good terms with Kevin. However, Word of God later explained that various alterations in time is why Ben is five years older in the current timeline than the original one when he has his Cynicism Catalyst, and future!Kevin has a habit of going through the Heel–Face Revolving Door.
  • Rankin/Bass Productions is famous for its adaptations of Christmas stories, and eventually welded many of them together in a movie called Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. Naturally there were a lot of elements that did not quite fit together — Santa Claus, for example, had a subtly different appearance and personality in each previous special — so decisions and adjustments were made. Likewise some scenes from Rudolph and Frosty's lives were shown that differed from their own specials, but kept the basic facts the same.
  • The Emperor's New School a Spin-Off of The Emperor's New Groove takes this approach regarding the film and its Direct to Video sequel Kronk's New Groove. Certain things from the first movie are referenced in the series note  and others ignored. note  As for the sequel, about the only things it acknowledges is the design of Kronk's dad and the names Rudy and Matta for the nameless old man and waitress from the original.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 supposedly took place after the direct-to-video CGI G.I. Joe (Reel FX) film series, particularly since certain circumstances hinted toward the events of Valor vs. Venom (e.g.: Cobra Commander being imprisoned and requiring the other members of Cobra to bust him out and General Hawk recovering in the hospital from an incident that had his DNA altered). However, many of the characters have noticeably different appearances and characterizations from how they were depicted in the Reel FX films.
    • G.I. Joe: Resolute also does this. The continuity is ambiguous enough that it could conceivably be a sequel to any of the prior series, but the Mythology Gags and finer details don't always match up with said series. For instance, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are archenemies due to Storm Shadow murdering their teacher like he did in the Real American Hero continuity, but Resolute Storm Shadow has a completely different motive for it and isn't a Noble Demon like in RAH.
  • My Little Pony:
    • The various My Little Pony (Generation 4) media have been described as having this, as the books, comics and cartoons don't necessary share strict canon. The show trumps everything else, and the show's writing staff may personally veto any comic plotline that IDW's writers want to put out, but otherwise there's no real collaboration. Pretty much necessary for a franchise with multiple writers and a general aversion to Executive Meddling.
    • My Little Pony (Generation 5) acts as a Distant Sequel to G4, but some worldbuilding elements from that series are ignored. For example, nature being finely controlled by ponies is a major element in Generation 4, with ponies using magic to not only control more weather and plant growth, but even the day-night cycle and so on, and it's established that these don't work without someone making them. In Generation 5, despite magic having vanished for generations, all these things continue to function without explanation. G4's cutie marks also magic-reliant — they usually vanish if a character's magic is removed — and appear on both flanks. In G5, they continue to appear without magic but also only turn up on one flank; no particular reason is given for either change.
  • Sealab 2021 aims at being a more of a reboot of Sealab 2020, even though most of what they borrowed from the first (not much) was in broad strokes. (Including that most characters don't even have the same names in both.)
  • This seems to be Steven Universe's attitude towards its Expanded Universe; stuff that originated in the comics or video games may be worked into the show proper, but the actual events of those stories may not have necessarily happened in canon, or happened in different ways. For example, Centipeetle offhandedly mentions that she served under a Hessonite during the Gem War, an idea suggested in Save the Light, but absolutely nobody mentions the events of that game or even indicate that its plot happened at all.
  • When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) was retooled into Tales of the TMNT for its fifth and final season, many of the three-part episodes were continuations of prior ones, but didn't always match up with previously established information. When asked about this, one of the writers of the season essentially stated that this trope was in effect, having not designed every episode with the series' continuity in mind.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • The series draws from not only its namesake, but also the Teen Titans comics and the DC Universe as a whole.
    • According to Greg Weisman, versions of the events of DC Showcase: Green Arrow and Catwoman: Hunted (both of which Weisman wrote) happened at some point in the show's universe. The former was later shown in the tie-in Young Justice: Targets comic.
    • Razer's A-plot in Episode 19 of Season 4 confirms that some version of the events of Green Lantern: The Animated Series took place in this universe. Razer is translated from his home series with his character development entirely intact (unsurprisingly, considering that both his original voice actor and creators worked on the episode) and his arc brought to a satisfying resolution. Given that YJ has never delved into the Lantern mythos (beyond a few expository cameos) before this episode, it's hard to say what might be different, other than Hal Jordan being noticeably older in Young Justice and having started his career earlier.
    • Aya similarly appeared a few years before that in an episode of Justice League Action, where she vaguely recognizes Hal Jordan and leaves in search of Razer.
  • Daria is a Spin-Off of Beavis and Butt-Head, but Daria herself is pretty different; in the parent show she wasn't as deadpan or anti-social (she even sought out these idiots for conversation), and because of the less grounded tone, she sometimes did things like point out people for Earl to shoot. The only mention of Daria's parent show is in the pilot, where Daria opines that Lawndale cannot be a second Highland "unless there's uranium in the drinking water here too."
  • Avengers Assemble:
    • Originally, the Word of God was that Assemble was a sequel to The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Since there are already some inconsistencies (such as The Falcon being way younger than he was in EMH), it seems the previous series would only be considered canon in Broad Strokes. Since the show starts In Medias Res with a new team of Avengers forming after the previous one disbanded, it seems like the creators intentionally left it as vague as possible.
    • This is more or less confirmed in the episode "Molecule Kid", where a flashback has the team in their original EMH costumes and even art style. Presumably, the Broad Strokes of that show happened, just not the contradictory bits involving Falcon.
    • Although, Heimdall is portrayed as black in Avengers Assemble as opposed to the white Heimdall from EMH.
    • The creators later confirmed the reason for the discrepancy. The show was originally going to be a sequel to Earth's Mightiest Heroes featuring a new team of Avengers, but while it was in production, the suits changed their minds and decided they wanted the show to be more like the movie and focus exclusively on heroes being featured in the MCU (along with Doctor Doom and Spider-Man, who each appeared years before the 20th Century Fox buy-out and shared-rights deal with Sony came to fruition). This is why there are so many references to the original series (such as Black Widow claiming Hawkeye went AWOL from SHIELD and the Red Skull being responsible for the creation of the Winter Soldier) despite all the continuity problems. Secret Wars: Official Guide to the Marvel Multiverse later confirmed that the current shared Marvel animated universe does not include Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
  • Hazbin Hotel has the YouTube pilot. Despite the final show having several notable changes from "That's Entertainment", the pilot is outright stated to have taken place a week before the first episode of the series, and many of its events are referenced throughout the first season, such as Alastor's commercial showing Charlie's meeting with Katie.

    Mistaken for Broad Strokes 
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • The show aired alongside Justice League and was just similar enough in animation style and didn't share any characters that a lot of people believed they were meant to be in the same continuity. It was never the intention, and despite similarities in art style, Titans uses cartoony visuals and Face Faults, being far more comical at its core. It really didn't help in the Static Shock crossover with Batman: The Animated Series that Batman made reference to Robin being with the Titans, which otherwise had no other mention in the DCAU. Furthermore, this was in reference to the Tim Drake Robin, while the Teen Titans Robin was eventually confirmed as being Dick Grayson.
    • It also didn't help when JLU had a Mythology Gag guest spot by an older version of Mike Erwin's Speedy (complete with his Teen Titans costume), and then Titans had a similar guest by Michael Rosenbaum's (Kid) Flash. At that point it became obvious that Titans was set in the past of the DC Animated Universe. But still wrong.
    • Naturally, Glen Murakami has been asked to give Word of God on it, and his response has been a Shrug of God. It seems the intention was never "it's totally connected to Batman: The Animated Series, taking place between seasons X and Y" or "they're different continuities, dammit, so get over it," but "We're just going to make our show, and we'll leave where/if it fits with some other to you." The rule with most fans on most boards these days seems to be that a show is considered to be not DCAU unless it's said to be, though, which leaves TT out.
    • In more recent years, it is more commonly theorized that Teen Titans is set in the same universe as The Batman, (which was also airing at the same time as Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited) and takes place some time after that show. The Robins in both shows look and sound quite similar to each other (not to mention they both use retractable bo-staffs and bird-like throwing weapons) and when Batman appeared in one of the Teen Titans Go comics, he looked a lot like The Batman's incarnation of the character. One contradiction revolves around Killer Moth, who appears in both shows and are somewhat different, though many just handwave it as a Legacy Character.
  • Spider-Man Unlimited premiered a few months after the end of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, with a somewhat similar art style (Unlimited was more comic-book like with yellow boxes used for location titling) and Unlimited began In Medias Res and a snippet of the TAS theme, which fans took as implying the events of TAS is in the past. That was never the intention and there are no specific story pieces that connect the two beyond Spider-Man himself. Even still, the first episode introduced elements that would be familiar to fans of the previous show but still irreconcilable from those events, such as Venom and Carnage being on Earth and working together. The misconception led to the Spider-Verse writer incorrectly treating the Spideys from TAS and Unlimited as being the same one, going from interviews.
  • There was some confusion with regards to the Yu-Gi-Oh! series commonly referred to as "Season 0". It was a lower-budget show that covered an earlier portion of the original manga but wildly eclipsed by the bigger-budget Duel Monsters-centric version released later. In Japan, the confusion was never there as they are completely separate adaptations, but with the inherent mistakes with passing that kind of information across cultural barriers, many believed it was a prequel series and that somehow they fit together. The fact that it covers the early parts of the manga that the second anime either skimmed over or skipped entirely may also play a part in this.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power can be easily confused for broad strokes and be part of same canon as The Lord of the Rings because of the similar shooting methods, the Shout Outs, and incorporating most of the crew that worked with Peter Jackson for the movies. Rings of Power is more closer to a pastiche, being its own canon set in a an Alternate Continuity.

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