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Canon Universe

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Back in the day, it used to be simple. There was the canon, and everything else was fanon. But then along came the different media adaptations, the addendum made by the authors, the noncanon — often contradicting previous things, or each other — and the various Universe Bibles. Different fandoms have different ways of determining what's definitely officially part of the universe or not. Here's an index to help you.


  • Advertising-Only Continuity: What happens in tie-in commercials isn't consistent with the canon of the work the commercials tie into.
  • All There in the Manual: Canon information exclusively found in the supplementary material.
  • Armed with Canon: Various writers argue over what's canon from different incarnations of a franchise.
  • Ascended Fanon: Fanon becomes part of the official canon.
  • Broad Strokes: An earlier story has some of its details considered canon in later entries, while the rest is either ignored, changed, or discarded to fit a new narrative.
  • Canon Character All Along: An apparent Canon Foreigner is revealed to be an actual character from canon or, at least, a different interpretation of them.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Episode or installment of a series is officially confirmed as non-canon.
  • Canon Fodder: Pieces of canon that are not elaborated upon (yet), making them ripe for Fanfic Fuel.
  • Canon Foreigner: A character that exists only in Spin Offs or an alternate continuity of a work, not being part of the canon.
  • Canon Illustrations: Illustrations related to a written work end up defining a character's canon appearance.
  • Canon Immigrant: A character originating from a fanfic or non-canon Spin Offs becomes part of the canon.
  • Canon Invasion: A work's canon gets merged with another's, the latter usually being a property recently acquired by the holder of the former.
  • Canon Marches On: Later canon works directly disprove earlier Spin Offs, rendering them non-canon.
  • Canon Welding: Previously unrelated works are merged into a single, shared Continuity.
  • Crossover: Characters from different works meet each other. Such a storyline may or may not be canonical for both works.
  • Doomed by Canon: We know what happens to a character in an earlier future story, meaning their fate in a later past one is sealed.
  • Expanded Universe: Collection of officially licensed works and adaptations that serve more to explore and expand a setting, rarely getting in the way of the main storyline.
    • Restricted Expanded Universe: Official additional works still need to follow certain rules and guidelines from higher-ups about what's acceptable to expand.
  • Fanon: When Fan Wank is accepted by fans as part of Continuity.
  • Fanon Welding: The author never said his work shares a continuity or universe with another different work, but the fans believe so.
  • God Does Not Own This World: Author has little to no input on what goes in their own work's continuity.
  • Interquel: An installment of the series that takes place between two previously released installments or during the events of one previously released installment.
  • Jossed: When canon events disprove fan theories.
  • Loose Canon: A mostly standalone story or event that reasonably fits within the main continuity of a series, but is not outright considered canonical for whatever reason.
  • Modular Franchise: A franchise that's all about elements from other franchises working together as a unit.
  • Outdated by Canon: Canon disproves Fanon.
  • Prequel: An installment of the series that takes place before previously released installments.
  • Recurring Fanon Character: An Original Character becomes so popular in the fandom as to be widely used by other fan creators.
  • Recursive Canon: The work exists inside the work itself.
  • Ret-Canon: An episode, event, ability, etc. meant to be non-canon becomes canon. The inverse of Retcon, essentially.
  • Saved by Canon: We know this character is going to survive events taking place in the past, because they're alive in the present story. The opposite of Doomed by Canon, basically.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: A Spin-Off meant to be canonical has discrepancies with what is shown in the actual canon, meaning there's no choice but to treat it as simultaneously canon and non-canon until more information is given.
  • Sequel: An installment of the series that takes place after previously released installments.
  • Series Franchise: Franchises that have several distinct series and adaptations under their umbrella.
  • Shared Universe: A single setting where different stories, from different authors, all take place.
  • Spin-Off: Reusing elements from a series to create a new, different take on it. May or may not fit within the original continuity.
  • Universe Bible: A defined set of rules and procedures followed by the production team that detail how everything about a series must run.
  • Universe Chronology: A timeline graph that records all events that take place in canon (and sometimes out of it).
  • Universe Compendium: Supplementary material that includes loads of background information about a series and its development process, for the purpose of being sold to fans.
  • Universe Concordance: An unofficial Universe Compendium.
  • Unreliable Canon: There's no definitive canon in those works since no one really bothers with maintaining continuity.
  • Writer Conflicts with Canon: When Word of God directly disproves Canon, thus leading to a canonical paradox.
  • Word of God: An authority figure of a work (author, producer, etc.) directly declares something about the work as canon.
    • Diagnosis of God: A work's creator diagnoses a character outside the work or deny they have a disorder.
    • Flip-Flop of God: The creator keeps changing their mind on what they have to say about the work that isn't actually shown in it, or multiple creators have different opinions on what isn't explained within the work.
    • God Never Said That: People's ideas about canon are falsely attributed to the creators.
    • Shrug of God: Not even the creator knows why things are the way they are in the work.
    • Word of Dante: In the event that the creator hasn't said anything about the work, fanon is taken as the next best thing to canon.
    • Word of Gay: The creator confirms a character to be gay or bisexual.
    • Word of Saint Paul: Details of canon not given in the work itself are revealed by someone close to the creator.
  • Writer-Induced Fanon: Fanon has a strong chance of being canon and it's mostly accepted as such, even though the work has not confirmed it yet.
  • Zeerust Canon: Outdated futuristic elements are kept in order to maintain continuity.