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Canon Foreigner

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The gang's all here: Mario, Luigi, Peach... and Haru!

Rokk: Kal-El, I have to tell you — we've heard of Lois Lane, Lana Lang, even Jimmy Olsen, but we've never heard a thing about any "Chloe Sullivan".
Clark Kent: ...Then you don't know me as well as you think.

When an established franchise ventures into the Expanded Universe, writers will often rely on familiar characters and past storylines from the official canon to ensure that fans of the original material are happy. Sometimes, however, they will also take advantage of their greater creative freedom by making up new characters that were never in the original material.

These new characters will often be added to fill a particular need in the new story, and add a degree of novelty to attract more readers. Frequently, they'll fill some gap in the current cast, such as adding a female character to an all-male cast (or a second woman where there was only one before), or adding some other element of diversity, be it racial, geographic, sexual, or simply personality. If the expanded universe work is focusing on a little-shown area of the setting, the canon foreigner might be familiar with this place and able to provide info for the main cast (and by extension the audience). This can spark new interactions and adventures that wouldn't otherwise occur with the "conventional" cast and series format — one of the main points of "expanded universe" fiction to begin with.

If a fanfic or a spin-off is created from a work of fiction and is full of original characters, it may invert this by including some characters from canonicity. Typically, these characters will not be killed off even if original characters do die.

Depending on how well the character fits into the adaptation or how much the fans like them, Canon Foreigners can either be much beloved or much hated, and if popular enough, may be Ret-Canoned into the official canon where they are known as a Canon Immigrant.

Filler Villain is a Sub-Trope of this.

Compare Original Generation characters, who are Canon Foreigners to several canons at once in a Crossover plot, and Canon Character All Along, when a supposedly new character is later revealed to be a well-established character within a canon. Contrast Adapted Out, where a character in the source material is omitted in the adaptation.

See also God-Created Canon Foreigner (when this character comes from the original creator), Toyline-Exclusive Character (toy-related examples of this trope) and Original Character (Fan Fiction canon foreigners).

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • There is no mention of a demon in the scene Dante and Virgil in Hell is based on, but lo and behold, there's one flying over the scene smiling. It helps make the setting clear to anyone that doesn't know this is based on the Inferno.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Boonie Bears spin-off Boonie Cubs introduces a number of characters who have no main-series equivalents, such as Olivia the owl and Coach Mac the bear.
  • The educational spin-off of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Pleasant Goat Fun Class, introduces a character named Miss Earth who shows the goats and Wolffy around an earth-science themed carnival in the third season. She was created specifically for the spin-off and has no main-series counterpart.

    Audio Play 
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays had Erimem (companion to the Fifth Doctor), Evelyn Smythe (companion to the Sixth Doctor), Hex and Raine Creevey (both companions to the Seventh Doctor), Charley Pollard (Eighth and later, at least from her point of view, Sixth Doctor companion), C'rizz, Samson and Gemma Griffen, Lucie Miller, and Mary Shelley (all companions to the Eighth Doctor) all slotting in around gaps in the timeline of the TV series. However, in "The Night of the Doctor", the Eighth Doctor mentions Big Finish companions, apparently making them Canon Immigrants.
    • As of time of writing in 2022, at least a dozen more have been added. Seeing as Big Finish is a longrunner in the same fashion as the series is, consider this entry incomplete and just think "Lots" when considering the amount of Canon Foreigners in the audio adventures.
  • The Blake's 7 Liberator Chronicles introduce the Auron scientist Gustav Nyrron, who boards the Liberator in "Solitude" and is promptly dumped at Avon's insistence. He returns in later episodes.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Bugs Bunny comic strip by Al Stoffel and Ralph Heimdahl, Sylvester the Cat had a human protégé named Cedric. Together they panhandled their way through each day (at least when Sylvester wasn't actively employed somewhere usually with Bugs). Cedric never appeared in the animated films.

    Fan Works 
  • Eda Clawthorne's son Strix and Selwyn the Dragon are both exclusive to the mix between The Owl House and The Mask, The Owl Lady's Chick.
  • The Undertale fan comic, Inverted Fate, has its later chapters introduce a human girl called Lilac, who was Frisk's friend on the surface before they had a falling out that resulted in her being injured.
  • Where the Sunlight Ends: Marilyn Juárez seems to have been created specifically for this fic. However, Peter Three's Spider-Sense flares up to a low level whenever he sees her, so her exact identity is up in the air.


  • The iconic gumball machine in Twilight Zone was not taken from an existing episode of the series.
  • The most prominent toy in Stern Pinball's Batman game (based on The Dark Knight) is a large yellow construction crane that swings out over the playfield — and is nowhere to be found in the movie.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • While several TNA-contracted wrestlers had matches in AAA, the luchador known as Border Patrol specifically represented TNA yet had never worked for it. TNA also has a long running gimmick called "Suicide", to which AAA gave a counterpart in Australian Suicide, who kept the name even after Suicide was renamed Manik.

  • The Adventures of Superman introduced Jimmy Olsen, Inspector Henderson, Kryptonite and the names "Daily Planet" and "Perry White."
  • The BBC Radio 4 series The Rivals adds Inspector Lestrade from the Sherlock Holmes books to the adventures of various other Victorian detectives, creating a sort of Shared Universe from unrelated stories.
  • Dimension X: In episode fifty, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall":
    • The Latimer from this adaptation is a brand-new character that Sheerin, the psychologist, introduces to Theremon, the newspaper reporter, so that he can interview one of the victims from the Tunnel of Mystery.
    • Everyone that Theremon meets during his Vox Pops scene is invented purely for this broadcast. We hear from Pellet (who is a power technician) and a nameless cultist.
  • While the characters of the software are guests for New Dynamic English, there are also new characters being interviewed. There's also Elizabeth Moore, who's the host of Functioning in Business, and can be heard socializing with Max and Kathy in the Story Interludes.
  • X Minus One: In episode twenty-eight, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall (1941)":
    • The Latimer from this adaptation is a brand-new character that Sheerin, the psychologist, introduces to Theremon, the newspaper reporter, so that he can interview one of the victims from the Tunnel of Mystery.
    • Everyone that Theremon meets during his Vox Pops scene is invented purely for this broadcast. We hear from Pellet (an urban resident) and a nameless cultist.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu: Nathaniel Ward of the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's projects is an unusual case. Originally created as a RPG character, the hosts of the Dark Adventure Dark Adventure Radio Theatre series later spoke of him as the hero of a separate program within the audio adaptations' own miniature universe. Eventually, Ward featured in the HPLHS's film adaptation of The Whisperer in Darkness, a monograph, and three of the Society's other radio dramas to date (The Dreams in the Witch House, Imprisoned with the Pharaohs, and Dagon: War of Worlds). He's implied to have an epic life beyond even the aforementioned titles.
  • BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia: To ensure that there are an equal number of leader cards for both the Founders and the Vox, two new characters named Meyer Herzog and Owen MacKenner were added to the latter faction to even things out.
  • Whenever Clue comes out with an expanded version or spinoff based around Boddy Mansion (as opposed to say, Star Wars or The Simpsons) it seems traditional to add a bottle of poison as a weapon, as well as the appearances of Madam Rose, Sgt. Grey, M. Brunette, and Miss Peach as extra characters.
  • In Robotech, the mecha in Strike Force and Return of the Masters are not from the series canon. In-universe, they're generally either intermediary designs between the RDF mecha and the Southern Cross and REF designs, or they're experimental units that didn't pan out for either technological, cost, or political reasons.
  • The European release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pizza Power Game includes the addition of Canis and Cayman, a mutant dog and caiman respectively, as additional enemies to face.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The mage/planeswalker Jodah was created by Jeff Grub for the novelizations of the plot of The Dark and the Ice Age cycle of books, created in 1999 (where the sets were created in 1994-5). He'd prove popular enough to get an Avenger card in Planar Chaos.
  • The NERV White Paper: This Neon Genesis Evangelion RPG game introduced Maria Vincennes, a female EVA pilot from America.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 RPG Deathwatch has six Space Marine chapters, five of them are from Warhammer 40K proper, and the sixth chapter, the Storm Wardens, are an original creation of Fantasy Flight Games. Similar on the Blood Ravens created for Dawn of War.

  • The Most Happy Fella, adapted from the straight play They Knew What They Wanted, built the comic Beta Couple of Cleo and Herman out of whole cloth, and gave Tony a sister Marie to object to his marriage. (In the original play, the objector is the Catholic padre; also, Amy jokingly refers to herself at one point as 'Cleo', playing off Antony and Cleopatra.)
  • Several characters in As You Like It (which was Shakespeare's adaptation of the Thomas Lodge novel Rosalynde), most importantly Touchstone and Jacques (of "All the world's a stage" fame). The rest of the Canon Foreigners in the story are all related to them in some way: Jacques, being a cynical philosopher, gets a scene where he plays off the idealistic, music-loving "Amiens", while Touchstone's subplot necessitates the inclusion of his love interest, "Audrey, a country wench", a country priest named "Oliver Mar-Text", and "William", Audrey's ex-boyfriend.
  • Swiss Miss from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Within the actual story, it's more or less acknowledged that she was created to add a female villain to Spider-Man's otherwise male rogue's gallery.
  • A lot of characters in the Sera Myu musicals. Sailor Astarte, Space Knight, Lemures Baba, a whole bunch of new Shadow Galactica'd take too long to name every new character introduced.
  • Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adds two female characters: Helen, the beautiful and intelligent young woman who attracts Jekyll's interest, and Cybel, the prostitute who forms a relationship with Hyde.
  • The Tsukiuta series tends to have some of these in every entry. There are several recurring actors who have played original characters in multiple series entries, particularly Sean Suzuki, who has been in 5 of the 8 entries so far, playing a total of 7 different characters.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The Interactive Narrator is a talking antropomorphic raven. Antropomorphic talking ravens don't exist in the story the play is parodying.
  • The musical It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman features more of these than established characters. Superman fights against Dr. Abner Sedgwick, an embittered scientist who never won the Nobel prize despite coming close several times. His assistant, Jim Morgan, is a Romantic False Lead for Lois Lane, who also contends with the unwanted affections of her co-worker Max Mencken, a chauvinistic former song-and-dance man who hates Superman (and is something of a Supporting Villain Protagonist). Meanwhile, Max's secretary, Sydney Carlton, hides her affections for her boss by making advances on Clark Kent.
  • Sylvia, the nymph messenger and close friend of Eurydice's, is original to the opera L'Orfeo, and while Apollo is a Greek God who fathered Orpheus in some traditions, he doesn't normally feature in the Orpheus and Eurydice myth.
  • In Eurydice, Eurydice's father is unique to the adaptation, as even in stories where he's mentioned at all (usually said to be Apollo) he doesn't feature in the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
  • Orpheus in the Underworld has John Styx, Pluto's jailer, who's original to the opera.
  • The Pantomime versions of Cinderella and Aladdin have Buttons and Wish-washy respectively, who give the protagonists someone to talk to and provide comic relief.
  • Pinocchio: The Musical adds a bunch of characters, such as Geppetto's coworker and future wife Angela, Lampwick's mother and a gossip-loving owl that lives in the Blue Fairy's house.

    Theme Parks 
  • In Disney Theme Parks, Star Tours introduces the Star Tours travel agency, the StarSpeeder 3000, the Tzarina luxury yacht, and a third Death Star, retconned as a worldcraft habitation sphere. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue introduces Ace the AC-38 droid, the StarSpeeder 1000, and Spaceport THX1138. The G2 repair droids, G2-4T and G2-9T, and Rex, the RX-24 droid, appeared at both rides. In Tokyo Disneyland, the max-W 100, P-6, and S-4 PanaRobo droids are manufactured by Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), the F series repair droid F-24 appeared at the first ride, the F-25 droid appeared at both rides, and the RX-Series pilot droid HHG-RX appeared in The Adventures Continue.
  • At Universal Studios:
    • E.T. Adventure shows all of E.T.'s friends that weren't shown in the film or any of its spin-off material, including Tikli, Orbidon, and Magdol.
    • Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure has the Blast-Ended Skrewts, which never appeared in the Harry Potter movies. Slightly averted as they did appear in the books.
    • Kung Fu Panda Adventure features Kang, a villainous wolf pirate determined to stop the heroes from achieving their goal.
    • Lord Darkenon, the villain of Poseidon's Fury, is not a part of any form of Greek mythology, instead being a character created just for the attraction.
    • Star Trek Adventure introduced new Federation recruits, a Klingon crew, the Preceptors, and the planet Akumal 7.
    • The T-1000000 or "T-One Million" in Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time, making a cameo in the Nuclear Twilight comic.
    • EVAC was created just for Transformers: The Ride, servicing as the Autobot that primarily deals with evacuation matters, as his name would suggest.

    Visual Novels 
  • Moe Mortelli from Daughter for Dessert is mentioned (as "a fat guy on a trench coat") once in Double Homework. He gives Johanna a toaster. Wonder where he got it?
  • Koko, the famous singer from Dating My Daughter, reappears in Melody as a rising star. The Perfect Ending stems from Melody being able to tour with Koko.
    • Georgina, also from Dating My Daughter, appears as a fashion show model in the Cool Aunt Ending.
  • The player character in Namco High is one of the Prince of all Cosmos' many cousins, created exclusively for the game.

    Web Animation 
  • The Transformers: Combiner Wars: Maxima is created by the Machinima team to be an original entity in their series who wasn't present in the comics the show adapts from.
  • DSBT InsaniT: ???'s Guardromon Mooks and Tyrannomon are from Digimon. Killdra even references this.
    Killdra: That's copyright infringement. You don't have the license to use trademarked characters like those.
  • Dreamscape: Vampire Lord comes from Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Madballs:
    • Skull Face's exposed brain was an inanimate object in the original eras. The web series turns him into a new character named Lobe, separate from Skull Face's being.
    • Many Madballs in the webseries-backed toyline, both released and scrapped, are characters that never existed in the 80s era.
  • Zatanna: Trial of the Crystal Wand: Damon Zatara, Zatanna's brother is a character made exclusively for the cartoon. In the comics, Zatanna was an only child and the closest thing there's ever been to Damon is her younger cousin Zachary Zatara, who didn't exist until three years after the pilot was released.

  • ReBoot: Code of Honor: The Guildmaster and the Code Masters (besides Lens), Gnosis, the Guardian Cadets (besides Little Enzo), Vector, and Exidy are all original characters that were not present in the original series.

    Web Original 
  • Donovan Corbett in Street Fighter: The Later Years.
  • Lewis Lovhaug is the White Zeo Ranger.
  • The Richard E. Grant Ninth Doctor from the Doctor Who web animation Scream of the Shalka, and his companion Alison Cheney.
  • Pokémon/Digimon Mon Wars: While set in Pokémon: The Series, characters from Pokémon Adventures and the games themselves may appear, even though they had yet to show up in the anime. Same could be said on the Digimon with characters outside Digimon Adventure.
  • Ultra Fast Pony is an abridged series that nevertheless has a few original characters thanks to creative editing. There's Snuggle Berry, who's referred to a few times but never appears on-screen—and dies in the same episode she was introduced in. There's also Mutation: in UFP she's a separate character, but in the original canon she was just a shared secret identity.
  • The Glass Scientists keeps a lot of characters from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other victorian novels, but Jasper, a werewolf Audience Surrogate, is a new addition.
  • Most of the characters in Wolverine: The Long Night that aren't Logan, including the Big Bad, a young mutant named Hudson Langrock. The second season adds a few canonical characters like Gambit, Mastermind and Master Mold, but also features a new character named Marcus as Logan's sidekick.
  • Defunct Hunger Games website Capitol Couture introduced the characters Porter Tripp and Augustus Braun, who were said to have won the Thirty-eighth and Sixty-seventh Hunger Games respectively. However, there is no mention of them in either the books or the films. Also, Augustus is from District 1, but his name doesn't fit the usual naming pattern for that district.note 


Video Example(s):



First appearance of Gopher, a character not originated from Milne's stories. For an added bonus, he's not in the book.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / CanonForeigner

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