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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.


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, and The Stations of the Canon. Fan Wank is a common result of continuities with this attitude.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • All three versions of Afro Samurai 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.
  • Shin Kyuseishu The Legends of the True Savior, a five-part film/OVA series based on Fist of the North Star, 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).
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 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.
  • 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.
  • Gundam:
    • Tomino's Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation trilogy also counts. 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 in one piece.
    • ∀ Gundam is related to every other Gundam, 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. At any rate, it's fairly implausible that the UC timeline and all of the AUs happened Turn A timeline exactly the same way as shown in their own series, as this would require implausibly long gaps between each AU for their events to be so completely forgotten in the next AU. As in, significantly longer than all of recorded history to date.
  • Used in Trigun when 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.
  • While sharing the same general outline in terms of plot, the events in the Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions anime differs 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 include one-third of the anime's recurring cast being Canon Foreigners, and one of the other existing characters has given a Backstory that retooled her intentions.
  • The 2012 and 2013 anime of Hayate the Combat Butler are both supposed to take place after September, well after where the manga currently is. However, they both include earlier chapters of the manga that weren't included in the earlier two anime series.
  • 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.
  • The designs and characterizations from Re: Cutie Honey are taken from the live-action movie, but there's a greater focus on Fanservice and the relationship between Honey and Natsuko.
  • The 2002 Metroid manga serves as this to the Metroid franchise, as it's the only piece of Metroid media that ever goes in-depth concerning series protagonist Samus Aran's past. While quite a few details contradicted the games that had been released at the time (at least, we don't think Samus has a pet squirrel-rabbit), the series creators have made it clear in the games that released afterwards that the major details of Samus's deep admiration for one of her former COs during her short stint in the military, her being raised by the Chozo from an early age, and that adoption occurring as a result of her birth parents being eaten/murdered by Ridley are 100% canon. That last one even had child Samus wearing similar clothing as she did in the manga.
  • Word of God is that Cyborg 009 VS Devilman 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 universe it takes place in.
  • 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.
  • Unlike the first two Lyrical Nanoha movies (which were In-Universe retellings of the first and second seasons), Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection is 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 it's supposed to be canon with the main series is unknown, though the companion manga does make several Call Forwards to StrikerS.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • While there are a few people over at DC who insist that Amazons Attack! 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.
  • Because of the disjointedness of DC Comics' Countdown to Final Crisis and Final Crisis, this trope seems to be the case. 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.
    • 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 is also an example. Much like Superman's Mr. Mxyzptlk, he 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").
    • It's also possible that Bat-Mite deliberately picks moments where Bruce Wayne is mentally unstable to go and play with him.
    • This is also how comic fans reconcile the worst Continuity Snarls, such as Power Girl or Supergirl's origins—you just sort of accept the current character for who they are right now, and don't think too hard about where they came from beyond the basic stuff (Supergirl is Superman's cousin and Power Girl is her alternate reality counterpart; that's about all that can be said for absolute certain for either, despite multiple attempts to pin down a permanent backstory for each).
    • Power Girl, Wonder Girl, and Hawkman now 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.
    • One issue of the Doom Patrol series 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.
    • 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), Grant Morrison's Batman, and some but not all of Brightest Day. 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.
    • The "Retroboot" Legion Of Superheroes was a return to the pre-Zero Hour! 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 Batch SW6, 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".
    • 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 New52 gave way to DCYou and then DC Rebirth, some changes get explained and some don't. For example, Starfire's solo series and subsequent Teen Titans run are apparently being specifically written so that her controversial time in Red Hood and the Outlaws can be accepted or ignored at a 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.
  • Marvel's sliding timescale means that stuff like Reed and Ben being Korean War veterans no longer hold true. Even most of the Soviet villains are getting a little long in the tooth.
    • 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: Master of Kung Fu, 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.
  • 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 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 SpiderMan, Daredevil, 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 episode 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The relaunch of Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis and posterior works decided to do this in regards to Star-Lord's convoluted origin. Up until 2012, at least three diffrent 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 how unpopular among fans of characters involved in them both Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover are, 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.
  • 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: Future's 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.
  • 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, Spider-Woman changed her suit 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • According to Word of God, the Naruto fanfic 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 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.

  • Prior to Disney's acquisition of the franchise, the Star Wars canon was built on this, with varying degrees of "Priority". Their canon was split up into segments with the theatrical films at the top level. Those who neither love nor loathe the Star Wars prequel trilogy tend to find that this is the best way to regard it. It's been said of the Star Wars Expanded Universe that every bit of media — books, comics, games, the TV shows — is a window into the 'verse, it's just that some windows are clear, some are blurry, and some are downright abstract. Afterwards, this policy was changed. Everything outside the original six theatrical Star Wars films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars was declared part of a separate "Legends" continuity and not canon for the new material. Everything produced from April 25, 2014 onward in any media is now considered fully canon with no priority levels. Writers are free to re-canonize any "Legends" material they see fit, so long as doing so doesn't contradict any of the installments in the Canon.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done this with its various incarnations of the Hulk. The Incredible Hulk is mostly a Continuity Reboot of Hulk, Edward Norton taking over the title role for Eric Bana, but it keeps details of the first film in broad strokes, such as starting out in South America, where The Tag of the first film left off. The Avengers (2012) does the same thing to The Incredible Hulk, replacing Norton with Mark Ruffalo but making references to some of the plot points of that film, such as "breaking Harlem." Further installments of the MCU films make more references to The Incredible Hulk, such as bringing back William Hurt as General Ross and showing a picture of Liv Tyler as Betty Ross.
  • James Bond:
    • When Timothy Dalton took over the role of Bond: as he was about twenty years younger than Roger Moore, the events of the previous films (which had all been quite consistent up to then) were acknowledged to be canon in Broad Strokes but assumed to have occurred more recently than the 1960s.
    • Casino Royale (2006) was a clear reboot of the James Bond film series, even providing an Origin Story. But it accepted Judi Dench's M and her uneasy relationship with Bond, both features of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies. Broad strokes of the Pierce Brosnan era's political landscape also remained ("oh, the Americans are going to be unhappy that we beat them to this!").
  • The Terminator franchise have a good number of sequels and spin-offs that don't quite align with each other. But since Time Travel is a major plot instigator, this is embraced as part of the Timey-Wimey Ball and each new story just does its own thing while lightly implying events of previous films. Exact dates for Judgement Day have changed, along with the actors, and other events both happen and not happen. More specifically:
    • Terminator Salvation takes a broad strokes approach to the third movie, seen as Fanon Discontinuity to many, with the only clear reference to it being that Kate ended up as Connor's wife and the Terminator fuel cells. Even still, there weren't any explicit references to Terminator 2: Judgment Day (except the Guns N' Roses song). The impression was that it was meant to be that you could watch the original The Terminator and then this movie without any gaps.
    • You can look at the movies as various timelines surrounding the events of the Skynet takeover and the life of John Connor. The idea is that every time a person or a Terminator is sent back in time, the resulting timeline is slightly different, and each movie could be a glimpse at one of the timelines. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles hints at this idea, with characters from the future who knew each other in the future finding that the memories of one character before they traveled to the past are not consistent with the memories of another character.
    • Terminator Genisys also takes the TV show's approach of differing timelines, starting from the events of the original and taking a wild tangent from there (though elements of the second one, such as the T-1000, still show up, and "Pops" basically becomes the T-X from the third after he Came Back Strong from the Final Battle). This is was made clear by the fact that the meeting between John Connor and Kyle Reese was completely different from the one in Salvation.
  • The CGI TMNT was shown as a tentative continuation of the film series by New Line Cinema, but adapted elements of many other sources into its narrative, such as Karai's existence with the Foot Clan and April not being a news reporter. They even had a few continuity nods that only serve to make things stressful for fans. Word of God is that it's meant to be a sequel to the first movie only, ignoring the two sequels. This of course conflicts with the Mythology Gags seen at the very end of the movie.
  • The Evil Dead;
    • Evil Dead 2 was supposed to start with a recap of the first movie but Sam Raimi couldn't get copyrights to show footage and the other actors wouldn't come back, so it quickly retells the first movie with just Ash and Linda instead of a gang of friends.
    • Some other things get retconned such as the cabin being rented to them illegally squatting which leads to the owner's daughter showing up and thinking Ash killed her parents.
    • Army of Darkness begins with a recap of the second film but Ret Cons the ending of Ash immediately killing deadites and being hailed as a hero to him appearing in the aftermath of a battle and being carted off in chains, mistaken for a member of the losing side.
  • According to Rocky Balboa, the sixth Rocky film, Rocky did retire from boxing due to a suspected brain injury, but by modern standards he was completely able to fight; he never asked for a second opinion because Adrian didn't want him to fight anymore. Everything else in Rocky V didn't happen.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is not a word by word adaptation of the game of the same name, but rather taking the most important elements and telling another story. Most Prince of Persia games are more combat/parkour oriented rather than story based, the Sands of Time game in particular was pretty bare-bones. The movie keeps the Book-Ends of the game (time is rewound to the beginning of the story with only the Prince aware of what is to come and his relationship with the Princess), but adds many new characters, modifies character roles and develops a more complex narrative.
  • In Hammer Horror, The Evil of Frankenstein follows the general events of The Curse of Frankenstein and The Revenge of Frankenstein (Frankenstein has created monsters and has been outcast from society for it) but changes several details like the method he used to make them and how the first monster died.
  • The original Highlander ended in a way that didn't really allow for sequels. "There can be only one," said the tagline, and the movie ends with only one Immortal. Highlander II: The Quickening gets around this by bringing in other Immortals from another planet, and Highlander III: The Sorcerer (which completely ignores Highlander II) uses Sealed Evil in a Can. The rest of the films (which follow the TV series) accept the original film in broad strokes except for its ending.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge is considered by some the worst of the series, and its events are seemingly ignored in productions that followed — but elements introduced in that, such as Freddy retaining possession as a power and the Springwood Slasher nickname, appeared in the rest of the franchise, and Dream Warriors even follows the timeline set by it (Freddy's Revenge is five years after the original, Dream Warriors is six). Scenes from it are also used in the montages featured in Freddy's Dead and Freddy vs. Jason.
    • Dream Warriors and the subsequent sequels were perhaps written with the trope deliberately in mind. They don't really mention anything that happened in Freddy's Revenge (although the fact of Nancy being committed does figure into the proceedings in Dream Warriors) and yet they don't really contradict any of it either, and when in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Freddy says, "First they tried burning me...then they tried burying me...They even tried holy water!" this exact wording allows for "burning" part to refer either to Freddy's Revenge or to Nancy trying to burn him in the first film, or to his original death by burning when he was still human.
  • Freddy vs. Jason: The movie takes this approach to both franchise's canons to make the match-up between its two villains possible. For Nightmare, Springwood was basically destroyed by the chronologically last movie and Freddy killed off (New Nightmare doesn't count as it's a Real World Episode plot). For Friday, Jason was either dragged off to hell after his body was blown up by the FBI or he was kept and cryogenically frozen and wound up in space. Instead, Springwood found a way to block off Freddy's access to their kids by shutting the whole thing up and Jason is buried somewhere in the woods around Camp Crystal Lake after his last outing (?). Also, Lori's house is implied to be the same house that Nancy lived in, and her mother was killed in a similar way to Nancy's mom, so the implication is that Lori and her friends were the first generation of teens previously affected by Freddy.
  • Masters of the Universe deals with Skeletor and his evil forces "finally" capturing Castle Grayskull (along with the Sorceress). For this reason, it can be said to be in the continuity established by the Filmation's animated series (which had just recently ended at the time), but with this trope in effect (after all, the movie doesn't have Prince Adam...).
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Somebody asked Meyer how they would explain the new uniforms, and he said "We don't. The other film doesn't exist." Military services do change their uniforms, but in the end it came as an ultimatum from the cast who hated the over-engineered costumes of the previous film. The bridge design also changed dramatically, enough that it involves speculation that Starfleet ships come with a modulator bridge system and can just switch one out for a new one. Conveniently enough, this appears very plausible when examining the physical models of the ships.
  • Silent Hill: Revelation 3D takes this approach to the plot of the first movie in an attempt to bring its own story closer to the game series. There are references, connections, and even flashbacks to the first film's events, and a handful of returning characters, but numerous important plot details are changed or ignored. For example:
    • The evil cult's beliefs, symbols, and motives are completely changed from the first film to match the game cult.
    • The ending of the first movie is essentially ignored; Sharon and Dark Alessa are not merged, Rose is still in Silent Hill instead of at home, much (perhaps most) of the cult is still alive even though it was strongly implied they had all been massacred.
    • The main character's age is changed (the movie is set years later, but her change in age from the first film does not match the time span between the movies).
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: First Class was supposed to be a Continuity Reboot, but the writers didn't want to go all the way, ultimately making it this trope.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine is mostly treated as Canon Discontinuity in The Wolverine (for starters, the opening has Logan in World War II alone instead of accompanied by half-brother Sabretooth), except for some examples listed in Continuity Nod.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past explicitly contradicts elements from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Word of God is that they were simply treating the movie as Canon Discontinuity. Despite this, a brief Flashback to the events of the film (Sabretooth crushing Logan's bone claws) is seen when the young Xavier reads Logan's mind. This presumably means at least some of that movie still happened.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine is treated as this in Deadpool (2016). The two movies clearly take place in separate continuities, but there are also enough obvious parallels between the two of them that it can be assumed that at least some of the events of X-Men Origins still happened in Deadpool's past. Deadpool is still played by Ryan Reynolds, he definitely lives in the same universe as the X-Men, he has definitely met Wolverine, he has enough of a history with the X-Men that he's been invited to join the team numerous times, and he spent several years performing covert operations for a Special Forces team prior to the events of the movie. Deadpool definitely never had his mouth sewed shut by Weapon X, but he could conceivably have served with Wolverine and the rest of Team X during his time in the Special Forces. Note that the superhuman training program in Deadpool is never explicitly called "Weapon X,"note  so it technically doesn't contradict the detail about Deadpool first being recruited into Weapon X in the 1970s.
    • Logan still picks up some things from Origins — Wolverine's driver license has the name James Howlett, one of the mutants of the X-23 project has powers drawn from Chris Bradley's DNA, and an adamantium bullet is featured again — and downright reinterprets one of its elements with X-24, a Logan clone that deeply resembles that movie's Sabretooth.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation, while keeping the basic ending of the previous film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (which ended with Zartan impersonating the President of the United States and Cobra Commander and Destro being captured) omits many characters from the previous film without any explanation, changes the Joes from a multinational team into a solely US-based one, and overall removes many of the fantastical elements of the previous films, and overall has a more realistic feel.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road shares the same basic concept and setting of the first three films—it's After the End in Australia, Max is a former cop, and his family were murdered—but according to Word of God is not in exactly the same continuity as them. If you've seen the original movies, the discrepancies are pretty obvious: Max still has his V-8 Interceptor in the opening scene (he lost it in The Road Warrior, and it was supposedly the last of its kind), there are apparently multiple flourishing post-apocalyptic civilizations in Australia (the original Mad Max took place Just Before the End), and Max's deceased child was apparently a young girl rather than an infant boy. The idea is that the whole series is in-universe folklore, written long after his real deeds have passed into legend.
  • Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie coexists somewhat loosely with the web series.
    • The series sometimes breaks the fourth wall and acknowledges that the "Nerd" is just James Rolfe playing a character he can step away from, but the movie makes it clear that the Nerd is always the Nerd, on- and off-camera.
    • After years of fan demand, the show hinted that the Nerd was going to finally review the infamous E.T. on Atari 2600, but for copyright reasons, a generic stand-in called Eee Tee had to be used instead. When the review segment was later re-edited as a normal episode, the real E.T. game was swapped back in, with no in-universe explanation for the change.
    • Elements of the movie such as the Nerd's day job at a modern game store and his friend/coworker Cooper are never alluded to in the series, creating two subtly different interpretations of the Nerd as a character.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie pretty obviously takes place in an Alternate Continuity from the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers TV show, though this was deliberate — never intended to fit into the series' continuity, the events of the movie were instead "replaced" in its timeline by the "Ninja Quest" arc of Season 3. The basic details are still there, though: the Rangers get their ninja powers from Dulcea of Phaedos (movie) or Ninjor (series), and their original powers are taken by Ivan Ooze (movie) or Rito Revolto (series). Also, this being the big-budget movie, their suits look completely different (they're bulky, contoured latex costumes rather than tight, sleek spandex). Other differences include Tommy being implied to have been an original Ranger rather than a Sixth Ranger, and Rita and Zedd's forces being completely different (Squat, Babboo, and Finster are nowhere to be seen, and the Canon Foreigner Mordant has inexplicably joined their ranks). Otherwise, the then-current cast of the show is still in the movie, their Ninja powers incorporate the same pantheon of animals as the show, and there are enough classic supporting characters that it's largely the same story—give or take a few minor details.
  • Dirty Laundry is this mixed with Loose Canon and Writing Around Trademarks. The story is clearly about The Punisher, but the details are deliberately left very vague, allowing it to be slotted into any continuity or left as it's own universe. For example, the Punisher is played by Thomas Jane who played the character in the 2004 adaptation, so it could be a sequel to that film but no references are made to any events from it. The backstory is thin and ambiguous; Punisher is living in his van after his last adventure went sideways and he's doing some laundry before he gets to work on finding a new hideout. That's all we're told.
  • Guest House Paradiso is loosely based on the TV series Bottom. The main characters have different last names, somehow recovered from being killed by machine gunfire in the final episode and now run a hotel.
  • At first, Bumblebee seems to be straight prequel to Transformers but it ends with Section 7 letting Bumblebee go and him meeting up with Optimus Prime rather than them keeping him captive for years until the Autobots arrive on Earth in 2007.
  • Having gone through so many Continuity Reboots, the Godzilla films have periodically gone through this in regards to the events of the first film and Godzilla's origins.
    • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus says that the ending of the 1954 film didn't happen; Godzilla just walked off into the ocean on his own after Tokyo was completely razed and continued to menace Japan afterwards.
    • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla states that most the 1954 film happened except for the part where Godzilla's body was completely destroyed by the Oxygen Destroyer. His skeleton survived, allowing it to become the framework of the cybernetic Mechagodzilla.
    • Godzilla: Final Wars suggests that Godzilla wasn't killed in 1954, but was buried in ice in Antarctica in a fight with the Gotengo some undefined time afterwards.
    • Godzilla (2014) has Godzilla first awakening in 1954, but remained publicly unknown for another sixty years and never having the chance to attack Tokyo before he was nuked back into dormancy.
    • Godzilla was originally defined as being some sort of unknown prehistoric amphibious reptile that was mutated by nuclear energy. The Heisei series more clearly defined him as being a mutated "Godzillasaurus", a tyrannosaur-like dinosaur that somehow survived extinction. Godzilla (1998) did away with a prehistoric origin, but retained the nuclear mutation and reptilian parts (from an ordinary iguana). The Monsterverse reestablished Godzilla as a prehistoric amphibious reptile, but while still nuclear, he's not mutated this time. Shin Godzilla meanwhile again has him as a prehistoric amphibious organism mutated by radiation, but from some kind of fish-like animal this time.
  • 2011's Jurassic Park: The Game fit in somewhat well with the movies (outside of an Age Lifted main character), which at that point was up to Jurassic Park III with a fourth movie stuck in Development Hell. But then Jurassic World finally released and would contradict several elements of the aforementioned game. Things got more interesting when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has Isla Nublar suffer a volcanic eruption, with the volcano bearing same name as in the video game. When asked about it, Trevorrow said it was done on purpose, saying that a version of the game's story did happen in the movies, but not the same one.
  • Due to the lukewarm reception of Inspector Gadget (1999), Inspector Gadget 2 took steps to distance itself from its predecessor. Dr. Brenda Bradford catches Chuck Cunningham Syndromenote  and Gadget and Claw were altered to be more like their cartoon counterparts: their civilian names (John Brown and Sanford Scolex respectively) are dropped, Gadget is more bumbling and Claw speaks with a deep, gravelly voice while wearing wide-brimmed hat that keeps his face obscured from viewers. Aside from vague mentions of Gadget having previously arrested Claw, none of the events of the first film are mentioned and some details even contradict the 1999 film (such as Brick and McKibble saying they've worked for Claw in the past despite not appearing in the first film). Despite the attempts to be more like the cartoon, Inspector Gadget 2 was even more poorly-recieved than the previous film.

  • 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 that year's comics, the web-game and the abandoned video game and movie. Since it was actually meant to be a direct adaptation, and was ripe with Continuity Snarl, some of the later books also took a broad strokes approach to the novel itself, if not outright rewriting some scenes to fit the real canon.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 but his second night was the Evil Dead 2.
    • 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 most of that plot was 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 as canon only through broad strokes.
    • The TV film with Paul McGann takes some liberties with the mythology, such as the stuff about him being half human and actually snogging a companion for real. The McGann Eighth Doctor has been shown along with the other past ones, and Word of God 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, while there were two different versions of Atlantis' destruction.
    • 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 planet Earth being destroyed 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 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.
  • When Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon was told they needed an extra episode for the first season he quickly created 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 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 generally accepted the ideas from the movie — including the existence of Connor MacLeod (who appeared in the first episode), the events in the first movie, and the general nature of Immortals — but dropped elements that wouldn't work in a TV show, such as the Gathering already having happened and there being no more Immortals. It actually shifted over the course of the series; in the beginning it was set up as an immediate prequel during the early stages of the Gathering, which is why there are randomly so many Immortals showing up in one area, but this element was quietly dropped.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 seen on the planet Mironoi, but also established as taking place a couple of years since then.
    • The same episode also features several rangers activating powers 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 also being last seen on Mironoi as well.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder states that the Mighty Morphin team was 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; 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 to stop the United Alliance of Evils 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 fact 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, and the Zordon Era Rangers have more suits than wearers, 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, they encountered the people on the planet Abydos, they killed Ra with a nuke and Daniel stayed behind with his new wife before the series began. What they changed was 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 suits) and the addition of a specific species name (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.
  • 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. An early episode suggests that the 18th century was 900 years before the series time. Every later work says that TOS takes place during the 23rd century.
    • 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.
  • 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 occurred).
  • The miniseries Watchmen (2019) takes some very liberal deviations from the comic it's based on, Watchmen, to tell the story it wants to tell. The book implies that when Rorshach's journal got published, it led to World War III. However, in the show it was taken as the ramblings of a madman at first and then later as a call to arms for white supremacists. The book heavily implies that Hooded Justice was a deceased German immigrant with Nazi sympathies named Rolf Mueller. In the show, he's an original character, a black man named Will Reeves who's originally from Oklahoma. He's very much alive and is protagonist Angela's grandfather.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Much of Greek Mythology was 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 somehow reinvented in a Christian context (for example, the pagan gods were really demons in disguise). A surprising amount of this had already been done for them; philosophy had already discarded most of the religious aspects as nonsense in favor of much more abstract concepts of god, so the work of Plato and Aristotle was simply adopted into Christian theology wholesale.
  • The four Gospels of The Bible could well be the Ur-Example. While they all tell more or less the same story about how Jesus lived and died, they tend to disagree radically about some details, the most extreme probably being the resurrection of numerous people mentioned in a few verses in Matthew, which apparently the other Gospel writers didn't consider worth bringing up. Occasionally handwaved with the four writers taking up different times.note 

    Role-Playing Games 
  • This is how Dino Attack RPG 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 
  • 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".

    Video Games 
  • In 100% Orange Juice!, Tomomo exemplifies most of the characters' personalities so that they act a bit different from their actual game counterparts.
  • The Act of War games have the same general outline and setting as the Dale Brown book they are named after, but some details are off.
  • History in the Assassin's Creed games is treated this way with more specific details being different to how history remembers it, but otherwise more or less the same events happened though it gets more Alternate History the farther back you go as history is more easily distorted.
  • The Castlevania series has many examples, notably in linking the stories of earlier games to later events in the series.
    • In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, there were three companions Trevor could meet during the game. Grant Dinesti, Alucard, and Sypha. You could only have one companion with you at a time, and could only rescue two at most, due to multiple paths. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night implies that Trevor fought Dracula together with all three.
    • Additionally, the English manual for Castlevania III featured a few plot changes from the Japanese manual that made it inconsistent with later games. For one thing, it claims that the Belmont family acquired their whip and other weapons from a character called the Poltergeist King, even though the Japanese manual never mentions such a character. While both manuals establish the game to be a prequel to the first Castlevania, the Japanese version never actually specifies how many years it is set before the first game (other than it is set in the 15th century), whereas the English manual claims that it is set 100 years before (Symphony establishes it at 200 years).
    • Much like the plot changes in Castlevania III, the Japanese version of Castlevania: The Adventure was established to be a prequel to the first Castlevania (in fact, Christopher was actually mentioned in the Japanese manual of the first game, where he was already established to be the last Belmont who fought Dracula prior to Simon), but the U.S. version seems to imply that the game is set after Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
    • Similarly, you could only play as John Morris or Eric Lecarde in Castlevania: Bloodlines. Portrait of Ruin assumes that the two fought together.
    • Speaking of Bloodlines, John Morris is related to a character from Bram Stoker's Dracula, a character who dies without leaving any descendants in the actual novel.
    • Simon Belmont's original tale has been retold numerous times. Thankfully, almost all accounts are generic enough that it's easy to apply the broad stroke that Simon fought through Dracula's Castle and killed Dracula alone.
  • This is how continuity works at best in the Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series. Which is also a source of many long-lasting flamewars about the games. Not helped by the whole repeated time-travel thing meaning that it is entirely possible for an event to both not have happened and have led to something in the game you are playing. Red Alert 2's expansion pack even has this happen in-universe, at least in the Allied ending, where they go back in time, beat the Soviets faster than they originally did, then go on to beat Yuri before he can enact his master plan, at which point the two timelines (the original game's and the expansion's) merge, creating some sort of mishmash where the Soviets were only just defeated, but General Carville (killed about two-thirds of the way through the original game) is still alive and Yuri is already in custody.
  • Defense of the Ancients takes some elements from Warcraft 3, but otherwise does not tightly adhere to it. After it was made its own game, those elements were further filed off.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War does this in regards to the ending(s) of the first game. There were three possible endings to the game, and rather than pick one as canon, they instead hint throughout the game that all three occurred, to one degree or another.
    • The same thing most likely occurs in reverse in the prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. No matter which ending the player chooses, all of them will lead to the events of the original game, and many aspects of the world in the original can be extrapolated to be results of any of the four prequel endings.
  • The Divine Divinity series plays very fast and loose with continuity, and the developers readily admit to that. For example, a major antagonist in Divinity: Original Sin II is Bishop Alexander, the legitimate son of Lucian the Divine, the protagonist of the original game, — except that there was no mention of Lucian having any children (let alone a son who took over the leadership of his Divine Order and attempted to become the next Divine himself) in Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga, which takes place 60 years after OS2 — not nearly enough for Alexander to have been forgotten by the populace at large. This is because when Divinity II was written, Lucian had no children, but when the plot of OS2 demanded an obvious successor to Lucian, the devs just retroactively added him into the continuity, refusing to be tied down by canon minutiae.
  • In don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story, Akira's mothers are Hazuki (ka-san) and Ichigo Yamazaki (mom) from Christine Love's first kinetic novel, Cell Phone Love Letter; Akira even alludes to the plot of that game when he mentions that Hazuki's coming out story has "all sorts of detailed subplots". However, the timeframe of Cell Phone Love Letter makes it impossible to reconcile with either don't take it personally or Digital: A Love Story. Best guess is that this version of Ichigo and Hazuki met in 2001 through text messages rather than 2007 via email.
  • DOOM (2016) implies that the general events of Doom, Doom II, and Doom 64 all occurred in some fashion or another. However, sequel Doom Eternal subverts this by revealing that the Doom Slayer is literally the original Doomguy; he just somehow managed to cross dimensions and arrive at a different Earth from his own.
  • The second game of The Elder Scrolls series, Daggerfall, has seven mutually exclusive Multiple Endings, depending on which party the Agent gives the Totem (control rod) for the Numidium. The next game in the series, Morrowind, reveals that the activation of the Numidium (a known Reality Warper) caused a Time Crash referred to as the "Warp in the West". Each of the endings of Daggerfall happened at once, though (in Broad Strokes fashion) none to the same extent that they would have individually. (For example, the four regional powers in the Iliac Bay expand, but none takes over the entire area, and all are still under Imperial authority. Mannimarco, the King of Worms, does ascend to become the God of Worms, but he's in a rather minor divine station, and a mortal (or at least as "mortal" as a Lich can be) King of Worms still exists, who leads a cult worshiping the God of Worms. The Underking still destroys the Mantella, and dies like he always wanted.) The whole process also somehow retroactively elevates Tiber Septim into a god on the same level as the Eight divines.
  • Fable II accepts the story of Fable I in broad strokes, though as it is set several hundred years later most of the details are obfuscated by the ravages of time and accounts are unclear (though, to be fair, Jack dies both ways). On the other hand Therisa is still alive, which contradicts the evil ending of the original game... but this is a High Fantasy game, so resurrection isn't out of the question.
    • Ditto in Fable III, though it's not quite as justified. The protagonist's father (or mother) is explicitly said to be the hero from Fable II, though you don't get to hear much about what he/she actually did before becoming king/queen.
  • Black Isle's version of Fallout 3, codenamed Fallout: Van Buren, was sadly canceled. Nevertheless, many events, characters, and plot points set to be in it were implicitly established as canon in Fallout: New Vegas. This is also how the game treats the actual Fallout 3, thanks in part to being set on the other side of the country — at the very least, it's established that the Lone Wanderer helped Moira Brown write the Wasteland Survival Guide with at least some success, since it shows up as a skill book in New Vegas
    • Due to some lore and design inconsistencies with the previous games, Fallout Tactics is regarded as this by Bethesda. It's Broad Strokes canon in the opposite way to Van Buren though — the key events in the game's campaign happened, but the details are fuzzy. This was reinforced in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, which both include references to the player faction in Tactics, the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel.
    • Because of the multiple possible endings of Fallout 3, anything in Fallout 4 that relates to the Capital Wasteland are painted with broad strokes: for example, the beginning of Broken Steel did occur (a mission for the Brotherhood has you rebuild Liberty Prime), but any ending where the Brotherhood is destroyed did not, and Sarah Lyons did die at some point in the 10 years between games, but not much else is known.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia takes a bunch of details from Fate/stay night, chucks them all in together and weeds out a few events that cannot possibly occur in the same story then calls it good.
    • Kagetsu Tohya does something similar for Tsukihime. In fact, it's a plot point that the events don't make any logical sense in terms of continuity, and it's a hint that it's all taking place in a dream.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • When Final Fantasy I is referenced in spin-offs, it's pretty certain the Fighter was a party member. Maybe the only party member.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake incorporates multiple references to The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, but Adaptation Personality Change, resetting some Continuity Drift, Revisiting the Roots in terms of the game's designs and certain characters being Exiled from Continuity result in it taking place in a very different world than the one of Before Crisis and Crisis Core. Visually, this can be seen in the character designs — Cloud's SOLDIER uniform is now purple like in the original instead of black like in the revised colours in Crisis Core, Aerith is shown wearing her bow as a child (the same as in the PSX Final Fantasy VII) ignoring the alteration in Crisis Core which meant that she was given the bow by Zack, and the combat is more 'grounded in reality' for the most part, making the much more outrageous stunts from the Compilation seem a little out of place.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon has several side-chapters that only take place if most of the playable cast is dead. These chapters introduce new characters to Marth's army. In the remake of the sequel, New Mystery of the Emblem, Marth is familiar with the sidequest characters even though every playable character from the first game canonically survived.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has Cindered Shadows. The house members present for it not mentioning its events in the main game makes sense, as it's a DLC sidestory. But the Ashen Wolves members, who are only available to players who bought and completed Cindered Shadows, also don't reference its events if they're recruited to the main story. The sidestory's Arc Villain also makes a cameo during monastery exploration with no indication that his Face–Heel Turn happened. Word of God says that the events of Cindered Shadows still loosely happened in the main game, but without Byleth and the Lords present to witness them.
  • Occurs in Grand Theft Auto during its transition from Grand Theft Auto III canon to Grand Theft Auto IV canon. While none of the former's main characters, storyline elements and location designs were carried over to GTA IV, fictional brandnames, vehicle designs, radio station personalities and minors backstories accumulated over the course of Grand Theft Auto III canon have been retained. This allowed the Rockstar North to easily write in entirely new storylines without the need for complete worldbuilding.
  • When Bungie Studios was still in charge of Halo, they outright said that any new information overrides previously given information, with the occasional lapse for artistic license. The reprints of the first three novels actually retconned some of their stories' details to make them fit better with later canon, like removing mention in First Strike of its events being humanity's first contact with the Jiralhanae (Brutes) and Yanme'e (Drones), after just about everything set before the original Halo: Combat Evolved featured them despite supposedly having never been encountered before. More generally, this trope often happens in works or montage sequences set in the "past", which often depict equipment that didn't even exist by that point. While 343 Industries, the current studio in charge, has generally adopted Bungie's stance, they've put a little more effort into providing in-universe explanations for apparent discrepancies.
  • Every video game of The Idolmaster is in its own continuity, and though most aspects of the characters will usually be carried over, it's not uncommon to see various background details being changed between games.
  • Very minor details of Kingdom Hearts were retconned in favor of having a more sensible story.
    • In the first game, Donald and Goofy didn't know what a keyblade is until they met Sora, as King Mickey gave them vague directions to look for someone with a "key". This doesn't make sense because it's highly unlikely that Mickey would have kept his own keyblade a secret from his best friends. Years later, the writers cleaned up the situation in the prequel Birth By Sleep, showing that Donald and Goofy were fully aware of Mickey's keyblade.
    • Very similar case in Kingdom Hearts II; Donald is, oddly, surprised to find out where Yen Sid lives. Birth By Sleep shows that Donald has been to the same tower before.
    • The Olympus Colosseum world in the first game implied the events of Hercules had already occurred. Later, Kingdom Hearts III would adapt the ending of the original film, with Hades unsealing the Titans and attempting to take over Olympus, including taking some lines directly from the movie.
    • The visits to Halloween Town and Christmas Town in II show Santa and Jack Skellington are already familiar with each other, implying that some version of the events of The Nightmare Before Christmas had occurred prior. However, Oogie Boogie’s resurrection only mentions his defeat in the first game, so however the original movie’s events played out likely did so without his involvement.
  • The storyline of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is very similar to the backstory of A Link to the Past (And the GBA rerelease of A Link to the Past changed "Wise Men" to "Sages", further supporting this), the Adult Link ending in particular. However, it has since been established that the adult ending leads into Wind Waker. The official timeline in the 2011 encyclopedia book Hyrule Historia reveals that the imprisoning actually continues a version of the "adult timeline" where Ganondorf defeats Link (as opposed to Link defeating Ganon) and unites the Triforce (as with the child timeline, the full extent of these events is not depicted in the game), leading into A Link to the Past.
    • The creators admitted that a lot of details were overlooked in creating this official timeline, also admitting that the timeline presented in the book is replaceable as necessary.
  • The canon of Love Live! School idol festival ALL STARS establishes that at least Season 1 of both Love Live! and Love Live! Sunshine!! have occurred in this continuity, but conveniently leaves out elements that would be contradictory to the premise (such as the Saving the Orphanage plot).
  • Mass Effect has most of its books written to allow virtually any set of choices from the games to be considered "canon". Fortunately, given its Canon Discontinuity setting, the third game did the same to the near-universally reviled Mass Effect: Deception, factoring in some of the events but avoiding any reference to growing out of autism or the many, many lore issues.
  • The Mega Man X series was supposed to end with the fifth installment, and would lead up to the Mega Man Zero series. However, a sixth game was made without the (initial) approval of the series' creator, creating a lot of problems in the two series' continuity. In order not to confuse the fans, Inafune rewrote the beginning of Zero to make the two series more compatible with each other: At the beginning, instead of the title character being resurrected (the original ending of X5 was his Plotline Death), he was found sealed in an underground laboratory. The (many) reasons for his sealing gave new and interesting plot concepts that would be explored in the series. X6 had the aforementioned character's (secret, and supported as canon by Inafune) ending support this. Further contradictions regarding what happens after that (like the reveal that Zero was reawakened once before to help fight in the Elf Wars) can be explained away in that whatever happened is a century past by the time of the Zero series, and Zero himself doesn't remember much.
  • While MSX games in the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, did happen, the characters' recollections of the events in Metal Gear Solid and its sequels suggest that it happened rather differently to how it was actually presented — most notably, Big Boss' defeat. Metal Gear 2 has Big Boss's burning body stagger around the room screaming "It's not over yet!"; but in Metal Gear Solid, Snake says that Big Boss told Snake that he was his estranged father, and Snake was forced to deliver the killing blow knowing that. And yet there's still a Call-Back to the "It's not over yet" scene...
    • Many plot details from the original MSX games have been retconned since the original MGS, most notably Big Boss' bio from the manual of Metal Gear 2, which said that Big Boss lost his eye during the 1980s, was contradicted when he loses it in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which is set in 1964.
      • Although that particular point may be explained by Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. If you assume that Metal Gear 2 bio was written based on the Big Boss from the original Metal Gear, and that the medic's injuries didn't cost them their eye until part way through their coma...
    • Many plot elements from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops were contradicted in the succeeding PSP entry in the series, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker as a result of Hideo Kojima's minimal involvement in the former. The general plot of Naked Snake forming FOXHOUND to take down the FOX unit and Zero gaining the missing half of the Philosophers' Legacy to form the Patriots, are still considered canon, but the ICBMG built by Sokolov is no longer considered the first Metal Gear tank ever built, the funds for Army's Heaven that Snake obtained from Gene are never brought up at any point, and the sub-plot of Snake trying to overcome his grief for The Boss' death and accept his title as Big Boss is repeated in Peace Walker. About the only concrete reference to the events of Portable Ops is a line from Miller at the beginning celebrating that they can "finally leave all that crap in San Hieronymo behind".
  • Nasuverse productions are explicitly set in a multiverse, and despite most of their games having many mutually exclusive routes, actual sequels to the games usually mix and match details from each of these routes, so none of the routes are actually in-continuity. The fun part is that due to the multiverse nature, multiple continuities can exist side by side with actual potential for crossovers; the best way to do so being to call in Zelretch.
  • Whenever a character references one of their past adventures in Rakenzarn Tales, it's usually done in this manner, as the characters in this setting have lived in Rakenzarn all their life instead of the fictional worlds Kyuu knows them from. For example, Sonic did fight the Deadly Six at one point, but it took place in the Cyril Region of the Phantasma Continent instead of the Lost Hex.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In Resident Evil, the player can choose from two main characters, Chris or Jill. Each character has their own partner who will help them out in escaping from the mansion (Barry assists Jill, while Rebecca helps Chris). Although the player runs into the other main character during the course of their mission, neither will encounter the other character's partner. In other words, Chris and Jill can escape from the mansion with Barry or Rebecca, but not with both, implying that one of them doesn't survive. However, the sequels establish that all four of them escaped from the mansion, which is impossible to achieve in the game.
    • Resident Evil 2 is structured in such a way that it had to be resolved in a similar fashion; to "beat" the game you have to play as both characters, and the two playthroughs will contradict each other no matter what. And you can choose the order of the playthroughs, and the order determines the plot (so you can have Claire A + Leon B, or Leon A + Claire B, and both are inconsistent). The "official" story is a mix of elements from all four scenarios, something that Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles tries to depict through a single scenario. The 2019 Remake also tries to streamline things by not having as many alternate scenes and having canon events referenced in later games, such as Sherry getting implanted with the G-Virus then getting injected with a vaccine, always take place. Even then, the two scenarios in the remake can't both be completely canon since the characters fight the same bosses and Annette has two different death scenes, making the canon events of the game still a bit murky.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Many of the games in the series (outside of the story-arc -driven Adventure era games) tend to have light continuity between each other at best. Kevin Eva, who was the community manager of Sega Europe in the mid-2000s, claimed the reason for this is because Sega and Sonic Team like to play fast and loose with what's considered canon or not in the series, and that what's considered canon or non-canon can and has frequently changed over time, hence why Sega and Sonic Team are so vague and indecisive over the series timeline.
      "One of the things I also went on to say in that thread was that the canon was and is somewhat in flux all the time. As since it is, for want of better phrasing, whatever SEGA want or need it to be at the time. So it could easily change."
    • Sonic Adventure 2. The game has one story, which you can play from the good side or dark side. Whichever side you're on, that team has to succeed in everything they do. So the outcome of a fight between, say, Sonic and Shadow, differs depending on whose side you're on. Although, besides the fights between good and dark characters, the story of both sides happens in parallel ways and fits perfectly, which is why both can lead to a "Final Story" without much problem.

      Most of them make sense on both sides. Tails and Eggman's first fight ends with Eggman retreating. Even on the evil campaign, it's implied Eggman had to retreat because of him (due to a little trouble). Sonic and Shadow never finish their first fight (they are interrupted by Eggman saying the island's gonna explode), and Knuckles and Rouge's fight ends with Knuckles saving Rouge from lava, no matter whose story you play. It's the last two that change the story (though even in the second battle between Tails and Eggman on the hero's side, Eggman successfully gets away with the Chaos Emerald that Tails had, and we never see what happens with Sonic and Shadow's final fight other than Sonic placing the fake emerald into the core, which may or may not have happened).
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Knights of the Old Republic has numerous references to the Tales of the Jedi era. Not only do Tales and Knights have totally different aestheticsnote  but one of your party members spent his youth in the Tales era and talks about having a forbidden romance, despite Tales having not one but three Jedi romancesnote  that were perfectly above board.
      • Revan was released to bridge the gap not only between Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, but to the spinoff MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic also seem to forbid Jedi romances, as Revan and Bastila are more or less forced to leave the order because of their marriage.
      • While we're at it, this is the official approach to continuity in both Knights of the Old Republic games — reference books paint them almost entirely in broad strokes, being vague about almost everything related to player choice except the protagonists' genders, which are selectable in the games but set in stone in canon. The canon version of the second game is actually impossible to reproduce in-game, since the canon Exile is female, but also recruited a companion only available to male characters.
    • The Force Unleashed has been praised for its involving storyline, but some people are uncertain about Galen being a God-Mode Sue able to pull down a Star Destroyer from orbit and almost defeat both Darth Vader and Palpatine in a one-on-one fight. Broad strokes can be used to accept the storyline but consider the more outrageous things Refuge in Audacity or Rule of Cool.
    • Sega's 1993 Star Wars Arcade blends elements of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, focusing entirely on space battles that culminates in a Death Star assault using what appears to be the first Death Star from A New Hope that is destroyed by directly attacking its reactor ala Return of the Jedi, along with Admiral Ackbar appearing throughout the game while he only appears in Return of the Jedi. The Sega 32X port features a mode that reinacts both Death Star assaults, with the first consisting of an attack on the station's exhaust port, but continues to paint broad strokes besides.
  • Any Fighting Game series can be subject to this, especially ones where the character endings are contradictory to each other. For example, in the Street Fighter series, it doesn't really matter how Charlie Nash actually died prior to the events of Street Fighter II or whether he is actually dead or just hiding; the fact of the matter is that Charlie was supposedly killed before the events of II, leading to Guile's pursue of vengeance on M. Bison. Which works as well, considering the number of times Charlie is killed off in the Street Fighter Alpha series, only to be brought back by the next game.
    • In Street Fighter V, the game where Charlie comes back, it's revealed his canon death was the one presented on Street Fighter Alpha 2. Making all his appearances on Street Fighter Alpha 3 endings, not canon. Despite this, many of the events on such endings are still considered canon, including Guile's ending where he recovers Charlie's dogtags.
  • The Super Robot Wars Z series plays fast and loose with the canon events of previous games. For example, it's stated that Shinn fought for Durandal to the very end, which occurs in the ZAFT route. However, Shinn also recalls the promise he made to Char to stop him should he ever try to enact the Axis Drop, which only happened in the ZEUTH route.
  • This is the standard for Touhou Project danmaku games. In each game you can only play as one character who investigates and solves the incident at hand. It's never made clear which heroine canonically solved each incident, and the side materials often treat the situation as if all heroines solved the incidents together.
  • Transformers: Devastation seems to take place in the same universe as the original cartoon, between Season 2 and The Transformers: The Movie—yet a number of details are drawn from elements that are outside the cartoon and would even contradict it, such as Megatron and Motormaster's alt-modes being based on their Combiner Wars toys, hence the former being a tank as opposed to a gun and the latter just the cab of a tractor-trailer, not the whole thing; the characters of Nova Prime and Jhiaxus being part of the backstory for the game; and Unicron having his now-traditional origin (starting with the Marvel comic series) of being a God of Evil and his hatred for Primus, as opposed to his original origin in the cartoon of being built by Primacron.
  • In the Ultima series, the events of Ultima 1-3 happened; "the Stranger/Avatar was in a band of heroes that defeated Mondain, Minax, and Exodus"; but any element past that (Like the rocket ships and laser blasters) is ignored. Possibly justified due to all the Time Travel.
    • The Ultima Online intro has the Stranger dressed as the Avatar, similar to his appearance in Ultima IX. This ignores the Stranger not becoming the Avatar until Ultima IV, and also ignores the Avatar's customized appearance in some games.
  • The stuff that happens in World of Warcraft tends to be applied to the background this way ("Some stuff is more canon than other stuff..."). For example, in the background Illidan got defeated by the forces of the Sha'tar and their allies (i.e. the players), not by 25 people from Epic Raid Guild 2000.
    • In general, Lore is the preferred term to "canon" among more mellow WoW fans. There's simply no way to make the early concepts fit neatly with the later ones. So it's enough to say that, like real history, it's interpreted with different points of view by different sides and cultures.
    • The very point of the novels Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal was to rewrite the stories of the broad strokes Warcraft II and its expansion in a way that would fit with later games. The trend with ascribing player achievements to lore characters is there, though: Darion Mograine replaced the PC in the Ashbringer comic (along with some Argent Dawn red shirts for the attack on Naxxramas), and Varian Wrynn exposed and killed Onyxia in lore.
    • This is also the philosophy Blizzard used when re-making Draenor for the Warlords of Draenor expansion. The layout deviated from Outland rather significantly in a lot of places. Some of it can be explained by Outland being formed from an Earth-Shattering Kaboom of the prime timeline Draenor. But there are other areas that don't match up even taking that into account.
    • Comic character Med'an became such a hated character that Blizzard has all but erased him from canon, though events he was involved with still happened.

  • 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 
  • The Joe Oriolo Felix the Cat cartoons have this kind of light continuity going on in them, 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).
    • 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 (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 will 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.
  • Generally, the 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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: Sigma 6 supposedly took place after the direct-to-video CGI G.I. Joe films by Reel FX, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Mistaken for Broad Strokes 
  • Teen Titans 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.
  • 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 STAS theme, which fans took as implying the events of STAS 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 STAS and Unlimited as being the same one, going from interviews.
  • Originally, the Word of God was that Avengers, 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. A retcon may be in play though.
    • 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. 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: Definitive Guide to the Marvel Multiverse later confirmed that the current shared Marvel animated universe does not include Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
  • 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 was more faithful to 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.

Alternative Title(s): Same Tales Different Details


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