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Tropes about Continuity, which is the coherence (or lack thereof) of the characters, plot, and narrative elements through a story.

See also Canon Universe, Consistency, and Plot Time.


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  • Absent Animal Companion: Pets tend to show up in one episode of an episodic series, and disappear forever by the next.
  • Advertising-Only Continuity: What happens in tie-in commercials isn't consistent with the canon of the work the commercials tie into.
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  • Ageless Birthday Episode: The age of the corresponding character is an important part of the on-going series narrative.
  • Alliance of Alternates: Incarnations of the same person from different universes, continuities and/or timelines teaming up.
  • Already Met Everyone: A prequel establishes that the characters already knew each other before the events of the original series.
  • Alternate Continuity: The work is its own separate work but cannot be reconciled with the original. Related to Alternate Timeline. It only becomes an Alternate Universe if it's mentioned in a particular incarnation.
  • Alternate Timeline: The work's main Point of Divergence comes from an event in the timeline of the original.
  • Armed with Canon: Various writers argue over what's Canon from different incarnations of a franchise.
  • The Artifact: It's still there, but do we need it now in the continuity?
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  • Ascended Fanon: The fans' interpretation of something becomes canon.
  • Ass Pull: An explanation or solution that comes out of left field and disregards what had already been established in the story, named from the idea that the writer just pulled an answer from their ass.
  • Audience-Alienating Era: A period where the franchise just isn't as popular as it used to be.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Changes are made to the work to appease complaints and criticisms from the audience.
  • Backstory Invader: A new character changes the other characters' memories, or reality itself, to make themselves an accepted part of the continuity.
  • Back to the Early Installment: Revisiting prior installments through time travel.
  • Bizarro Episode: An episode of the series sticks out like a sore thumb due to having a weird premise that doesn't mesh well with the other episodes.
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  • Broad Strokes: Some of the events happened, but not exactly in the manner described. Canon is a guideline, not an absolute rule.
  • Call-Back: Referring to a past event in the Story Arc
  • Call-Forward: In a Prequel or Interquel, references to an event that audiences who've seen the original work know will eventually happen.
  • Canon Character All Along: A character initially appearing to be a Canon Foreigner turns out to be the alias of or the work's interpretation of an already established character.
  • Canon Fodder: Unexplored canon information that's ripe for exploring.
  • Canon Foreigner: The adaptation features a new character who didn't exist in the original work.
  • Canon Illustrations: Illustrations from a release that's not the original one become canon.
  • Canon Immigrant: A character created for the adaptation is added to the continuity of the source material.
  • Canon Invasion: When a company merges the canon of a work of their own to a work they acquired the rights to.
  • Canon Welding: Two unrelated works become one, but not exactly in crossover fashion.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: A Call-Back that paints a previously lighthearted moment in a darker tone.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: A series has one episode end on a clear cliffhanger and never explains the outcome of that cliffhanger.
  • Cliffhanger Wall: Instead of moving the series' continuity forward, the next few entries take place earlier in the timeline, often disregarding a Sequel Hook that the last chronological installment ended with.
  • Clue from Ed.: For the benefit of comics readers who haven't read earlier issues, an event mentioned in dialog or captions has an asterisk next to it, and down near the panel border is a little message, saying something like, "See Volume 4, Issue 3 - Ed."
  • Consistency: What Canon should strive to have.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: CallBacks to many previous episodes or installments are made in one fell swoop.
  • Continuity Cameo: Character from a continuity makes a cameo in another.
  • Continuity Creep: A work becomes far more continuity-driven as time goes.
  • Continuity Drift: Basic canon information is elaborated upon, but in a way that doesn't mesh well with what was originally established.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: Haven't seen the last six episodes? Then you won't know what's going on!
  • Continuity Nod: A reference is made to the events of a previous episode or installment of the series.
  • Continuity Overlap: Events within a specific continuity starts directly affecting other continuities.
  • Continuity Porn: Tons and tons of Continuity Nods, which may be detrimental to a work.
  • Continuity Reboot: An installment of the franchise that ignores the canon of the previous installments in favor of establishing a new continuity.
  • Continuity Rebooter: An in-universe character causes the work's universe to be rebooted.
  • Continuity Snarl: The work makes changes and developments that result in glaring continuity inconsistencies.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: The prequel has a better and more advanced look to it than the work it takes place before due to the production team having access to better equipment and techniques.
  • Crossover: Two series in a Series Franchise join up for a special event.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: One of the Multiple Endings of the story is declared canon.
  • Deus ex Machina: Sudden events that solve an apparently unsolvable problem/conflict.
  • Discontinuity: When something that was a part of the continuity is no longer regarded or completely changed. Separated into three categories:
  • Discontinuity Nod: Characters make a disparaging reference to a reviled part of the franchise.
  • Displaced Origin: The original premise of a character or story is forgotten or modified into something completely different.
  • Doomed by Canon: If a character is dead in the series' other installments, the prequel can't prevent their death from happening.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: A character introduced in the series' pilot is absent for the rest of the series.
  • Earth Drift: Story employing real-life concepts starts diverging from those as it progresses.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Scars are directly related to a character's Back Story.
  • Exiled from Continuity: A character is restricted from appearing in an adaptation or from making further appearances in the original work, often because of legal issues.
  • Expansion Pack Past: A character's Back Story receives more and more inconsistent details.
  • Fandom Nod: The work references a common belief among the fandom.
  • Fanon Welding: Fans believe Show X and Show Y are secretly canon to one another.
  • Foreshadowing: The work alludes to events that will happen later in the story.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Establishing that two characters actually met each other before their assumed first meeting, they just forgot it and mistook their second meeting for their first.
  • God Does Not Own This World: The creator no longer has the rights to his work or didn't have the rights in the first place.
  • God Never Said That: Fans misinterpret something the creator said or mistakenly believe that the creator said it.
  • Happy Ending Override: The sequel effectively undoes a character's happy ending from a previous installment.
  • His Story Repeats Itself
  • History Repeats
  • Internal Homage
  • Interquel: An installment of the series that takes place between two previously released installments.
  • Jossed: The creator confirms a speculation to not be true.
  • Left Hanging
  • Legend Fades to Myth
  • Loose Canon: An usually standalone spinoff that could very well be part of the main continuity, but its canonicity remains uncertain. In other words, optional canon.
  • Mutually Fictional: Two works treat each other as being fictional in-universe.
  • My Real Daddy: A person who made the character into the form the fans prefer is more liked than the character's actual creator.
  • Mythology Gag: An adaptation makes a reference to one of the previous continuities.
  • Non-Serial Movie: A television series has a movie adaptation that isn't in continuity with the TV show.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: In spite of how long the series lasts, this character never ages.
  • Not So Episodic
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day
  • Offscreen Rebuilding
  • One Degree of Separation: Every character is unrelatedly connected to almost every other character.
  • Outdated by Canon: Fanon becomes outdated due to Canon disproving it.
  • Plot Archaeology
  • Plot Hole: There's an inconsistency in the plot preventing it from making sense.
  • Prime Timeline: In a Multiverse of Alternate Timelines, this is the one they're alternate to.
  • Prequel: An installment of the series that chronologically takes place before the first installment.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character (if used in the Call-Back/Continuity Nod form)
  • Recursive Canon: Establishing that a work of fiction exists as a work of fiction within its own universe.
  • Reimagining the Artifact
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?
  • Replacement Artifact
  • Reset Button: Resetting the story every single time.
  • Resolved Noodle Incident: A Noodle Incident stops being a Noodle Incident because we're finally shown the exact details of the vaguely mentioned offscreen past event.
  • Ret-Canon: What was once non-canon now is treated as canon, thanks to a Retcon.
  • Retcon: Retroactive continuity.
    • Cerebus Retcon: A retcon where an earlier lighthearted or inconsequential event is reinterpreted in a darker and more serious context.
    • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A character abruptly stops making appearances and is never mentioned again.
    • Cosmic Retcon: The retcon is caused by the work's reality being altered by in-universe events.
    • Orwellian Retcon: The work is modified from its original version and the creators act as if the work was always like that.
    • Remember the New Guy?: A new character is introduced suddenly and treated as if they were always there.
    • Ret-Gone: Time travel is used to erase a character from existence in-universe.
    • Revision: Adding new information about the story that doesn't directly contradict the established canon.
    • Rewrite: Changing the backstory in a way that contradicts established canon.
  • Retconjuration: The power to change history for the sake of the plot.
  • Retroactive Idiot Ball: When a later installment into the continuity makes it so the actions a character takes in an earlier installment seem unnecessary, extremely misguided, or otherwise nonsensical.
  • Retroactive Legacy
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: An in-universe or otherwise intentional continuity error with significance to the story, setting, characters or the work itself.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Parts of the story that are more noticeable after viewing a second time.
  • Saved by Canon: Because the character is still alive in the other installments, it's obvious that they'll survive the events of the prequel.
  • Schizo Continuity
  • Schrödinger's Canon: A spinoff or adaptation meant to be canonical ends up conflicting with the actual canon, so it's treated as simultaneously canon and not canon until (dis)proven.
  • Sequel: An installment of the series that takes place after previously released installments.
  • Series Continuity Error: The work has several blatant inconsistencies regarding canon.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity
  • Snap Back: Whenever an episode ends with drastic changes to the status quo or the characters in a bad situation they're not likely to get out of soon, the next episode has everything back to normal as if the previous episode didn't happen.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: A character quickly becomes older in between appearances with no explanation.
  • Soft Reboot: It's not quite a full-on Continuity Reboot, but it looks like one. However, it's still in continuity with the existing work's continuity, despite being a new universe and/or new continuity.
  • Stations of the Canon: Anchor points that are consistent across different continuities, fanfic or official.
  • Story Reset: Everything is Canon up until a certain point, then we'll do a rollback on parts we didn't like. We don't want to do a full Continuity Reboot, so this is a safer measure than a Soft Reboot.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: A subplot that occurs at the same time as the main plot but has nothing to do with it.
  • Ultimate Universe: Modern-day retelling, but not a remake of an older work.
  • Unexplained Recovery: A character comes back alive and well with no explanation for their survival in spite of very clearly dying in their last appearance.
  • Un-Installment: The series has an installment or installments that don't exist in spite of being acknowledged, mentioned, or alluded to by the work's title or within the work.
  • Un-Reboot: A previous reboot is ignored in favour of a sequel to the original continuity.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A character vanishes with no mention of their final fate.
  • What If?: A standalone story set in an alternate continuity where things happened differently.
  • A Wizard Did It: An inconsistency is hand-waved as happening because of magic.
  • Word of God: The creators or production company state what wasn't shown in the original work.
    • 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: The creator avoids giving a straight answer (either due to indifference or not being sure themselves) and prefers to let the audiences make their own conclusions about the unexplained details of canon.
    • 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.
  • Year Zero
  • Your Size May Vary: There's an inconsistency regarding how large or small something or someone is.
  • Zeerust Canon: The series sticks with its depiction of the future in spite of the predicted technology being outdated in real life.


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