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Canon Invasion

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Canon Invasion is when two unrelated titles are originally owned by two different entities but are forced into the same fictional universe after one buys the rights from the other. Sometimes, it's immediately after; other times, it's Canon Welding belatedly kicking in.

The "Invaders" bring their own, possibly conflicting, continuity with them; and since they didn't originate with the same creator, the differences will likely be more severe than with Canon Welding. Expect Retcons, especially if the invaders are inserted directly.

Because of the Continuity issues, Canon Invasion may turn The 'Verse into The Multiverse as its first effect (if the original 'verse wasn't already a multiverse), especially if there are huge differences in the laws of metaphysics. The original canon characters are in one universe, and the newer ones in another, and now there is a bridge between them. Thus, Canon Invasion is sometimes less disruptive than Canon Welding.


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    Comic Books 
  • In The DCU:
    • During The Golden Age of Comic Books, now-iconic characters such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were initially not thought of as being part of the same continuity. The consolidation of these superhero stories into a single setting was largely a Silver Age phenomenon.
    • Characters such as Plastic Man, the Blackhawks and the Freedom Fighters were originally published by Quality Comics until DC bought them out in 1956. Originally set in a parallel universe, the characters were brought into the main DC universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The speedster hero Quicksilver (no, not that one) was also reinvented as Max Mercury and became a supporting character to The Flash. The original Quality Comics characters are now in public domain.
    • Shazam! a.k.a. Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family were originally published by Fawcett Comics until the mid-1950s. DC began licensing the characters in 1973 to make their own Shazam! comic, which was originally set in the parallel universe of Earth-S. Crisis on Infinite Earths again integrated the characters into the main DC universe, along with other Fawcett characters such as Bulletman and Ibis the Invincible. Eventually DC purchased the characters outright.
      • Shazam got this twice. By the 1980s, DC had bought the rights to Kid Eternity from Quality Comics, and noticed that its title character was similar to Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel Jr.—both were raised by a grandfather who died in a boating accident, then got a power activated By the Power of Grayskull!. As a result, the Kid—previously No Name Given, now Kit Freeman—was revealed to be Freddy's brother, and his adventures were placed on Earth-S, while other Quality characters lived on Earth-X.
    • The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and others started out in Charlton Comics before being sold to DC Comics in 1983. In fact, Watchmen was going to use them as its characters, except DC actually wanted to be able to use them again later. Hence the team of Captain Ersatzes instead.
    • DC attempted this again in 2008 when they licensed the Red Circle characters from Archie Comics — including superheroes the Hangman, Inferno, Shield and Web — and attempted to integrate them into The DCU with a series of one-shots. (They had licensed the characters before in the early 1990s, but kept them separate.) The license lapsed in 2011, and the characters fell out of continuity again with the New 52 reboot.
    • Milestone Media, the creators of the Milestone Comics line (including Static), originally had them published via DC Comics, but as their own distinct universe. DC eventually struck a deal with Milestone to bring the characters into the DCU proper, as well as the Static Shock TV show getting pushed into the DC Animated Universe. Later on, they struck another deal so that Milestone would be its own distinct universe again, this time as part of the DC Multiverse.
    • The WildStorm Comics universe. Originally part of a loosely-defined Image Comics universe, Wildstorm was integrated into The Multiverse of the DCU as "Earth-50" with a series of crossovers involving Superman, Majestic, and Captain Atom. The New 52 reboot then integrated the characters into the main DC universe.
  • In the Marvel Universe:
    • Although technically always owned by the same company, The Eternals at Marvel is otherwise an example. The series was created by Jack Kirby as separate from the Marvel Universe, but later brought into it, with the result that, for instance, there would be Marvel Universe versions of gods but Eternals who were posing as those same gods. This was lampshaded in an issue of The Mighty Thor where it was revealed the Eternals and the Olympians had made a pact so the former would "represent" the latter in front of mortals.
    • Machine Man originally appeared in issue #8 of Kirby's monthly comic of 2001: A Space Odyssey where each issue a different person encounters the 2001 monolith. Machine Man later got his own series and was integrated into the Marvel Universe. Many references from the movie were rewritten away. However, it is sporadically mentioned that the creators of the monoliths were the Celestials.
    • Marvel bought out Malibu Comics in 1994 and soon Marvel heroes and villains were cropping up in Malibu titles. However, Marvel soon canceled all of the Malibu titles and common fan speculation was that Marvel only bought the company to acquire Malibu's then-groundbreaking in-house coloring studio, and/or its catalog of easily movie-licensed properties. Within the Marvel Comics multi-verse, the Malibu Universe is now designated as Earth-93060.
    • When Marvel briefly had the rights to publish Godzilla comics, Big G himself was a character in the Marvel Universe. And it's still considered 616 canon!
    • Even though Rom Spaceknight can't be referenced, all the supporting characters and villains can still be seen in comics and the series is still canon.
    • Aside from actually calling the Micronauts, the Micronauts, all the characters created for the comic can still be used and are all canon. Hell the character Bug was a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Universe nearly killed Juggernaut in a Spider-Man comic.
    • While ignored later on, Spider-Man appeared in early issues of The Transformers (Marvel), which made the Autobots and Decepticons Canon Immigrants to the Marvel Universe, at least temporarily.
      • Technically the Marvel Transformers comics took place on alternate universes (Earth-91274 for the American comics and Earth-120185 for the UK comics) and are a huge part of the character Death's Head origin, so the Transformers comics are very loosely canon.
      • But don't ask where Earthforce fits in as not even Marvel or Hasbro will attempt to make it canon. These are the companies where Marvel What Th—?! and Transformers: Kiss Players are to some degree canon.
    • Evil Dead fits in here as the Dynamite Army of Darkness comics got referenced in the Marvel Zombies crossover and numbered in an issue of The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe.
    • Doctor Who is arguably canon if only because the Doctor has crossed over with Death's Head, Marvel's version of Merlin, and the obscure Alan Moore superteam Special Executive who first appeared in Doctor Who Magazine before appearing in Captain Britain.
    • Licensed Robert E. Howard characters are probably the most firmly fit into the Marvel Universe. For example Conan (major enemy of Kulan Gath, enemy of Set a serpent god who powers the Serpent Crown, and ally to Red Sonja who would crossover with Spider-Man twice), King Kull (who ruled over Namor's Atlantis in pre-history), and Solomon Kane (appearing in back up stories in Savage Sword of Conan, as well as getting his own mini-series.) Dark Agnes has also been canonized as part of the Marvel Universe alongside Howard's other creations since 2020.
      • Shuma-Gorath was also an enemy of Conan's god Crom.
    • Shang-Chi was originally Fu Manchu's son. This has been quietly retconned away, with his father now identified as Zheng Zu.
    • U.S. 1 is canon to the Marvel Universe.
    • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy/Killraven continuity's entire premise is that after the Martians of The War of the Worlds failed to conquer Earth the first time, they came back in 2001, and basically killed almost every super hero with only freedom fighters left to defend Earth.
    • Earth-7642 of the Marvel Multiverse is the universe for all the crossovers that act as if characters crossing over with Marvel were part of continuity the whole time. It consists of most of the 70's to 90's crossovers with DC Comics, the IDW version of Transformers, Shi, Painkiller, many Image Comics and Top Cow characters, Archie Comics, and a few WildStorm characters.
    • Subverted in the case of the Marvel Doc Savage comics, which didn't last long and the only proof of Doc existing in Earth-616 is him crossing over with the Thing and Spider-Man.
    • This almost happened on an unimaginable scale in the mid '80s, when for a brief moment, DC seriously considered getting out of the comics publishing business and licensing all of their characters to Marvel. DC and Marvel engaged in talks, and a deal was almost struck when higher-ups on both sides called a halt. Had it happened, though, Superman and Batman may have inhabited New York alongside Spider-Man and The Punisher, and the Justice League and the Avengers would have had to negotiate turf.
      • Actually, in the comments on his blog Jim Shooter says the plan was to keep them separate, at least at first.
    • Image Comics character Angela got pulled into 616 by the events of Age of Ultron, and joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. She has since been retconned into Thor and Loki's long-lost sister
  • Valiant Comics continuity was made up of original characters and licensed 1960s characters that were originally published by Gold Key Comics. Furthermore, the licensed characters, which originally existed in separate continuities, were retroactively linked together, forming the basis for the rest of the shared continuity.
  • 2000 AD absorbed a similar SF based comic called Starlord in the 1980s. The only Starlord strips that stuck were Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters. The backstory of Strontium Dog has been absorbed into the same continuity as other 2000 AD strips and there have been crossovers with Judge Dredd, even though it happens after a nuclear war which is yet to occur in Dredd's universe. A Judge Dredd story called "Hammerstein" brought the Ro-Busters character into the Dreddverse, but the fundamental incompatibility of the Volgan War backstory meant this quickly became Canon Discontinuity.
  • The short-lived Semic Comics universe took characters from two different French publishers and combined them all into a single integrated continuity, which is quite a feat considering almost all the characters involved were originally unrelated to each other.
  • The Hasbro Comic Universe was a shared setting of various classic Hasbro properties that were never originally written with the intention of sharing the same world. This includes Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., Rom Spaceknight, Micronauts, Action Man, and Visionaries. As of 2018, this shared universe has come to an end, with some of the associated titles being rebooted.

    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Following the collapse of WCW, the year 2001 was the year of the infamous WCW Invasion Angle, where the kayfabe storyline was that Vince McMahon's son Shane had purchased the rival promotion so that his new stable of wrestlers could invade and destroy his father's company. It didn't end up that way.
  • Kenny Omega began his Heel Turn in AEW at the end of 2020, and cemented it in the beginning of 2021 when his former Bullet Club partners Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (who were signed to Impact Wrestling, not AEW) invaded AEW Dynamite as his enforcers. Within the storyline, Omega also appeared at IMPACT tapings to challenge for their championship title.
  • Also in 2021: New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Kenta Kobayashi (aka KENTA) showed up at the end of the February 4 episode of AEW Dynamite to attack Jon Moxley as a build to their IWGP Heavyweight Championship match later that month. This was especially significant because the former president/CEO of NJPW Harold Meij had always disdained working directly with American promotions; this "forbidden door" was only opened after Takami Ohbari became head of the company.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Netflix's adaptations of Castlevania and the upcoming Devil May Cry are slated to take place in a Shared Universe, both produced by Adi Shankar, despite both franchises of origin being completely unrelated (Castlevania owned by Konami, Devil May Cry by Capcom).