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Canon Foreigner

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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 existing medium ventures into the Expanded Universe, writers will often rely heavily on familiar characters and past storylines from the official canon to ensure that fans of the original material are happy. Unlike the original canon, however, an "expanded universe" adaptation also gives the writers freedom to introduce new, "never before seen" characters, as the production staff enjoys their newfound liberation from whatever codes and limitations ruled the original work.


These new characters will often be added to fill a particular need in the new story, and add some degree of novelty to attract readers/watchers. Frequently, they'll also fill some gap in the current cast, such as adding a female character to an all-male cast (or adding a second female where there was only one before), or adding some other element of diversity, be it racial, geographic, sexual, or simply personality. This can spark new conflicts and adventures that wouldn't otherwise occur under the limitations of the "conventional" cast and series format — one of the main points of "expanded universe" fiction to begin with.

If a fanfic or a spinoff is created from a work of fiction and it is full of original characters, it may invert this by including some characters from canon. Typically, these characters will not be killed off even if original characters do die for the sake of preserving it.


Depending on how well the character fits into the adaptation or how much the fans like the character, 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).



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    Asian Animation 
  • The Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf theatrical films feature characters that are made specifically for them and never appear in the original TV show.
    • The first film, The Super Adventure, introduces the White Bull Kingdom, the Black Bull Kingdom, and the Yellow Bull Kingdom, all kingdoms of bacteria who are engaged in a war in the body of Mr. Slowy's snail friend.
    • Desert Trek: The Adventure of the Lost Totem features a villainous Big, Thin, Short Trio consisting of Lord Japper the tiger, Leopold the leopard, and Counsoler the gecko, who operate an Amusement Park that they built right over Goat Village.
    • Moon Castle: The Space Adventure has an amateur Rabbit Magician named Wandi take the goats and wolves to his home planet of the moon to help him and his sister, Queen Luna, defeat the evil Bitter Gourd King and his gourd minions who want to turn the moon bitter.
    • A bunch of dragons, both heroic and villainous, are introduced in Mission Incredible: Adventures on the Dragon's Trail, among them a dragon named Xiao Shen Long who assists the goats with his Elemental Powers.
    • In the fifth film, The Mythical Ark: Adventures in Love & Happiness, a family of snakes - a species that was presumed to be extinct in the Green Green Grassland - are brought to a spaceship called the Ark by the goats since a snake is among the animals needed to activate it.
    • Meet the Pegasus is, naturally, about pegasi. More specifically, the goats have to write a happy ending for a story about Prince Pegasus, who wants to marry Princess Blue and must defend himself and the pegasus kingdom from Brother Pony.
    • Amazing Pleasant Goat is about the goats and wolves travelling to the prehistoric age, meeting some prehistoric goats and a penguin name Super while they're there.

    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.
  • 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.

  • Although, like the comics, the Star Trek Expanded Universe novels seldom used original recurring characters in the late '80s-early '90s, it was the norm by the late '90s and the modern novels make regular use of Canon Foreigner characters, and there are whole book series that aren't based on the shows and are populated mostly by Canon Foreigners or Ascended Extra characters (e.g. Titan, Vanguard, Corps of Engineers, IKS Gorkon, and Department of Temporal Investigations). In spite of their popularity and critical importance in the Expanded Universe, neither Captain Calhoun nor Elias Vaughn has ever been featured in canonical Star Trek. Although one major character created for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novels set after the series was intentionally based on a certain extra who was only seen from the back in a canon episode.
  • Virgin Publishing's Doctor Who New Adventures novels created a number of new companions for the Seventh Doctor, including Bernice Summerfield, Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej. Virgin's Doctor Who Missing Adventures had Grant Markham, a short-lived companion to the Sixth Doctor. BBC Books' Eighth Doctor Adventures range had Samantha Jones, Fitz Kreiner, Compassion, Anji Kapoor, and Trix MacMillan. Innumerable new villains have occurred in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. One, Faction Paradox, the Evil Counterpart to the Time Lords, spun off into its own sub-universe of audio plays, comics and novels. They began in novels.
  • Hotblack Desiato and Disaster Area in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and subsequently the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were created to replace the sequence with the Haggunenons in the radio series, which was mostly written by John Lloyd, and therefore Douglas Adams didn't feel was "his".
  • The first StarCraft Expanded Universe novel, Liberty's Crusade, was a Pragmatic Adaptation of the first game's Terran campaign. Its viewpoint character is a journalist named Michael Liberty who is embedded with then-Colonel Edmund Duke's Alpha Squadron (partly to hide him from Confederate magnates he pissed off with his previous story). With the exception of Queen of Blades (which covers the SC Zerg campaign from Jim Raynor's viewpoint) and Speed of Darkness (which focuses on a group of Confederate Marines on Mar Sara who were Heroes of Another Story to the Player Character of the Terran campaignnote ), the other books don't touch the game campaigns, inevitably creating dozens of Canon Foreigners.
  • Inevitable in Star Wars Legends, since its timeline spans roughly 100,000 years of which the movies comprise about forty.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Another Note expands on the LABB Murder case mentioned briefly in Death Note, and introduces L's Evil Twin, Beyond Birthday.
  • The Ultima novels introduce Baron Amrik, Ariel, and Sharon, in Ultima Underworld, Cindy, Howard, Philipps, and Zole, in The Cabal of Zole the Mage, Roto, in Adventure Novels: Ultima I, Gauta, in Adventure Novels: Ultima IV, and Aya Mizugami, Takuma Hiura, and Kitasato, the Spirit of Wind, in Monstrous Metamorphosis.
  • Many Waters has its protagonists go back to Bible Times and stay with Noah and his family; aside from his three sons and their wives, he is depicted having four daughters. There are also other secondary characters who live in there.
  • The Resident Evil novelization by S.D. Perry introduces Trent, a Mysterious Benefactor of sorts. At the time the games had little, if anything, tying them together, so Trent was created as a common point between the books to fill the holes and give them an overarching narrative.
  • German writer Gottfried August Burger (1747-1794) adapted and translated Baron Munchausen's narrative of his marvellous travels and campaigns in Russia for German readers around 1786. He elaborated on the original work by Rudolf Erich Raspe by adding a number of companions accompanying the Baron, each having a special ability such as Super Strength, sharp eyesight, etc. These characters were actually from a lesser known work by The Brothers Grimm titled How The Six Made Their Way In The World. These extraordinary allies to the Baron did make it into other adaptations such as Jean Image's animated films and the 1988 Terry Gilliam film.
  • In Search Of Dorothy is based on the Oz books and movie and introduces several new characters not in either medium, like the Bull, the Tree, and Trisha the Good Witch of the South.
  • Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg's The Positronic Man: When expanding the original story into a Novel, Silverberg introduced several new characters.
    • Instead of meeting the robopsychologist Merton Mansky at the regional offices of US Robots, managing director Elliot Smythe and robopsychologist Merwin Mansky came to the Martin house.
    • The researchers from Luna City that welcome Andrew to the colonies on the moon.
    • Roger Hennessey is the victim of Feingold and Chaney's first legal action to "prove" that robot parts mean you aren't human.

  • The iconic gumball machine in The 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

  • 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 


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