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Fan-Disliked Explanation

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Yorick: As far as answers go, it was vaguely unsatisfying.
Beth: Is there any explanation that would have been satisfactory?
Yorick: Um, aliens? I would have also accepted witchcraft or anything involving nanobots.

People love a good mystery and will watch or read a story to the very end just to find out its answer. Sometimes though, for whatever reason, they don't like the answer. The fans then decide it would have been better to just leave the Plot Threads hanging, which would have given them mulch for their Epileptic Trees.

When a show has a premise that hinges on one or more big unanswered questions, fans feel there is an obligation that these questions be answered. Failure to do so leads to The Chris Carter Effect, which can turn off fans in frustration. Likewise, not answering enough questions in a Kudzu Plot alienates fans. The hard place to the above rock is that when a series answers a question and the answer isn't quite as epic, clever, or mind-shattering as imagined. Maybe fan expectations are just too high. Maybe the answer is honestly unsatisfying. Maybe the answer conflicts with the genre established earlier in the work, like a sci-fi explanation in a fantasy book or vice-versa. Maybe it reveals that a character that did something seemingly of their own free will was instead subject to Mind Control or brainwashing. Maybe it's a question no one asked or wanted to be answered at all, meaning no answer would be satisfying.

Regardless, the fans hear your explanation, and they don't like it. It's a Fan-Disliked Explanation.

It should be noted that one factor in whether fans expect a mystery to be resolved or not is how prominent and important it was made originally. Lost made such a huge deal about the mystery of "the numbers" that expectations for the solution were raised to an incredible pitch. In the case of Sherlock Holmes's backstory, though, it is made abundantly clear that it's irrelevant and that no clarification is to be expected.

When the authors deliberately choose not to solve the mystery, possibly to avoid this trope, that's Riddle for the Ages. If fans outright reject a Word of God explanation as non-canonical, that can be an example of Death of the Author.

It's just like how everybody wants their ship to go through, but when it does, the result is Shipping Bed Death.

Whether a show is better served by answering all, some, or none of the questions it raises varies by viewer. It's worth noting that this trope doesn't just focus on answers that are unsatisfying, but situations where an unanswered question actually helped the narrative. As you can expect, this is therefore YMMV.

This sometimes overlaps with Be Careful What You Wish For, when fans prefer all the various explanations rather than the actual answer, and Nothing Is Scarier, where a monster becomes less scary or threatening once what it is and where it came from are explained.

Compare Canon Fodder and The Unreveal. The exact opposite is Fanon, in which fan theories are widely treated as canon. If the explanation is disliked because it just raises further questions, then it's Voodoo Shark. This can occur in cases of Writer Conflicts with Canon. See also Retroactive Idiot Ball.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • 52, despite its ability to follow through its separate storylines being credited as one of the reasons for its success, left a few plot threads dangling, particularly with regards to Booster Gold and Skeets due to an Aborted Arc. The original storyline for Booster and Skeets involved them fixing the timeline of the universe, which had become broken in the recent Infinite Crisis. To set up this story Skeets had frequent memory errors, where events as they occurred were different (sometimes drastically so) than as they had been recorded in the future. However, after these issues had been written, the writers decided that this plot was too generic, and had been done too often before by other time-traveling heroes, so they decided to go in a different direction and have an actual malevolent entity responsible for everything, including Skeets' out-of-character actions. Eventually, the series revealed that Skeets had been infested and was being controlled by a matured Mr. Mind, who planned to eat reality. However, though this covered why Skeets himself was evil and why several of Booster later actions were disasters, it never addressed why Skeets' earlier memory errors occurred in the first place since they were before Mr. Mind escaped from his cocoon.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search reveals what happened to Zuko's mother Ursa and why Ozai was an Abusive Parent to Zuko. Ursa was forced to marry Ozai who threatened her true love interest, later claiming Zuko was her lover's child to confirm Ozai was spying on her correspondences which Ozai, who knew this was a lie, punished her for by mistreating Zuko. Ursa later willingly gave herself Identity Amnesia so that she forgets her children unable to bear leaving them. This was disliked for making Ursa, popular for her Mama Bear portrayal, responsible for all her son's misery and a weak-willed coward, and making Ozai a one-dimensional domestic abuser cheapening his character and the families tragedy by revealing he never actually loved them.
  • In Batman Beyond:
    • The reason why Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were estranged from one another was left unexplained. The comic book continuation of the series revealed that Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) after breaking up with Bruce renewed her relationship with Dick. Then she found out that she was pregnant with Bruce's child. This caused a fight between the two men before Barbara miscarried while fighting muggers. Although the offscreen relationship between Bruce and Barbara was already controversial due to the large age difference, many fans felt that this plot would be more at home in a soap.
    • The associated comic also explained the reason why Bruce and Diana never got together: she got together with Justice Lord Batman after another adventure concerning the Lords' universe, and stayed there with him until peace was restored during the Beyond timeframe. This one is disliked because it doesn't mesh well with Diana's character: she was Strangled by the Red String with a Replacement Goldfish (since Bruce thought inter-team dating was a bad idea), and she also abandons her world a la Supergirl/Brainiac 5, except with even less reason (she had her home and family to return to, was Ambassador to Man's World, etc.) Furthermore, it was an explanation nobody needed or wanted—Bruce's obsession with the cowl is inevitably going to lead to him driving away all his loved ones and friends in the DCAU, we didn't need the additional angst to go with it.
  • The attempt in the runup to Infinite Crisis to explain Power Girl's costume (she always meant to put a symbol on her chest but never settled on one, reflecting her attempts to find an identity for herself and her lack of place in the universe) was relentlessly mocked for the simple reason of trying to come up with an angsty backstory reason for a boob window. Even the biggest fans of her costume design noted that it would be an infinitely more sensible explanation to simply say that Power Girl, as many women who are not interdimensional refugees do, enjoys wearing an outfit that accentuates her chest.
  • The Phantom Stranger has four mutually exclusive origins, all of which were published in the same issue of Secret Origins and given equal weight. One of them was written by Alan Moore. Meanwhile, in the New 52, The Phantom Stranger now has a definitive origin. (He's Judas Iscariot.) True to form, a lot of people prefer him to have no origin, in no small part because the aforementioned one hooked him up with an In Name Only revamp of The Question and a new character, Pandora, who was unceremoniously killed off in Rebirth.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW):
    • Since the My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic tackled the backstories of the major-league villains from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, this was inevitable:
      • Good luck finding anyone who views the banishment of the Sirens to the present in Issue #3, thus invalidating their Really 700 Years Old aspect fanon held them to, as necessary or desirable.
      • Nobody liked the Nyx (disparagingly nicknamed the "Moon Furbies") from Issue #4 and the explanation that they create all dreams, nightmares, and Princess Luna's Dream Walking abilities, simply because it was overly silly and killed a lot of the mystique surrounding Luna's ability to enter dreams. The explanation that Princess Celestia had the same ability to enter dreams as Luna was similarly disliked since fans felt it severely diminished what made Luna special, to the point that the show itself explicitly stated otherwise in a later episode. Considering the metric truckload of fan art this franchise generates, it's very telling that this issue and its characters got next to none. The majority of fan art that it did get was made to mock or outright insult it.
      • Issue #5 explained that the holes in the changeling's legs are leftover battle wounds from battling Princess Celestia a thousand years ago. While fans were fine with the idea of Chrysalis herself being that old, most found it odd and off-putting that the entire changeling species was just that one swarm that never aged, healed, or increased in number. Again, this along with their entire origin was given a Discontinuity Nod in the main canon that instead shows that changelings are born with these holes, that they live and age normally, and that the holes and generally emaciated appearance is the result of them constantly being hungry instead.
    • Speaking of backstories, fans were not happy with the way the main series' Cosmos arc effectively whitewashed Discord's past villainy by portraying his past self as the Token Good Sidekick and lovesick character in an abusive relationship — and as a generally well-intentioned character from the beginning and not responsible for any of the actual evil from his first reign — rather than the genuinely villainous and chaotic character the show portrayed him as. The consensus is that this revelation throws Discord's entire characterization from the tv series completely out the window for the sake of establishing Cosmos as a more serious threat, that it profoundly damages the impact of his journey towards good by removing a need for it, that it ruins the significance of Fluttershy being his first friend by establishing that he did in fact have friends in the past, that it robs the character of much of the agency that made him such a memorable villain in the first place, and that it cheapens the series' core theme of The Power of Friendship by revealing he was Good All Along rather than a truly malicious creature who was changed for the better by friendship. Even fans who like the comic tend to be fairly adamant that the backstory was false and that Discord was lying about what really happened.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Good luck finding anyone who found the reveal that Tails' parents were taken by BEM scientist Ceneca-9009 to her home planet to be necessary or satisfying.
    • Around the same time, it was revealed that the same spoiler-tagged character was responsible for the mass dereboticization in "The Last Robian". This explanation was widely seen as lazy.
    • A lot of fans hated the name Ken Penders intended to give Sonic (Ogilvie), due to it being incredibly silly-sounding (of course, given Sonic's earlier reaction to someone bringing up his birth name, this may have been the point). Ian Flynn agreed, and apart from explaining that Sonic had his name legally changed, he never revealed his first name at all during his run.
    • The reveal that Mobius was Earth All Along, having been bombarded with "Gene Bombs" by an alien race called the Xorda in the late 21st century, was near-universally despised, mainly because there were no hints about it beforehand and it left contradictory plotholes. (The original Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) was going to have a similar twist, but the comic had long since deviated from it.) The reveal that the spoiler-tagged event was responsible for the creation of the Chaos Emeralds was met with similar scorn, to the point that Ian Flynn himself would explicitly state otherwise.
  • The initial explanation for female Transformers in The Transformers Megaseries—there aren't any naturally, the sole one we know of is the result of a Mad Scientist's experiment that drove her crazy—was almost universally seen as the low point of Simon Furman's time on the book. Aside from making it seemingly impossible for others besides Arcee to exist, it seemingly personified Men Are Generic, Women Are Special (other Transformers are treated as male, and nobody asked for an origin for that), the implication that being turned into a woman turned someone crazy and murderous has Unfortunate Implications on its face, and even if you agreed with Furman that female Transformers were silly or needed explaining, you would probably have preferred one that didn't raise so many weird questions. Later writers went with the more accepted answer that "having No Biological Sex doesn't mean you also have no gender; some Transformers just look like that and use female pronouns", and Arcee was given a retcon to make things a bit more palatable (she actually took part in the experiment willingly; it's just that he tortured her after he was done because he was a jackass).
  • Wolverine:
    • The villain Romulus was stated to be behind most of the events in Wolverine's life, up to and including the Weapon X program, and including new stuff like raising a previously unrevealed son of Wolverine named Daken to become his Antagonistic Offspring. Fans prefer the mystery not to be revealed in such a simplistic way or prefer the other dangling plot threads.
    • The nature of the two characters' relationship was confusing, due to contradictions in the stories themselves. Romulus is a Wolverine look-alike, and was initially implied to be a direct ancestor of Wolvie. Some stories depicted him as being behind the deaths of nearly every woman in Wolvie's life, as a form of mental conditioning. Others depicted him simply as Wolvie's long-term boss. And one of Romulus' last appearances has him implying that they were business partners, and that some of the Weapon X plans were Wolverine's brainchild to begin with. Fans have had quite differing views on how to make sense of all the contradictory data in the stories.
  • This is half of why Trouble (Marvel Comics) is so reviled and isn't really canon with either the main Marvel universe or the Ultimate Marvel one: it attempted to retcon that Spider-Man's father Richard Parker and Aunt May had an affair behind Mary Fitzpatrick and Uncle Ben's back as teens—and that Peter himself was the product of it, much to the hatred of fans and creators.note 
  • Nearly every X-Men fan hated Chuck Austen's revelation that Nightcrawler's biological father was Azazel — a demon (or possibly demon-like mutant) imprisoned in another dimension. Not only was there very little buildup or foreshadowing for that reveal, several readers were uncomfortable with the idea that the devoutly religious Kurt Wagner was secretly half-demon all along, and many saw it as a shoddy attempt at incorporating Christian mythology into the X-Men mythos (particularly since the same era featured the revelation that Archangel was descended from actual angels). It didn't help that many saw it as a Broken Aesop since Kurt was initially introduced being chased by racist, superstitious villagers who thought he was a demon when he was really just a guy with a skin condition—the Azazel story means the villagers were actually right the whole time. As an alternative, many fans prefer to accept Chris Claremont's original plan for his backstory: Mystique and Destiny are his parents, and Mystique used her shapeshifting powers to temporarily become male so that she and her lover could conceive a child. The character of Azazel has stuck around and made several more well-received appearances (including in the film X-Men: First Class), but to this day no one defends his original story.
  • Invoked by Yorick at least once in Y: The Last Man, regarding the sudden death of every man in the world besides himself and his pet monkey. There is an answer that's explained to the characters, but it's the "vaguely unsatisfying" one of the page quote (unsatisfying to both the readers and the characters) and the writers give it no more weight than any of the other explanations. Of the three reasons set up in the first issue (Yorick's ring, Dr. Mann's baby, and 355 with the Amulet of Helene), none of them really lasts the course. Says series writer Brian K. Vaughan on the subject:
    I feel that there is a definitive explanation, but I like that people don't necessarily know what it is. In interviews we always said that we would tell people exactly what caused the plague. The thing was, we never said when we were going to tell. We weren't going to tell you when we were telling you, I should say. We might have told you in issue #3. There might have been something in the background that only a couple people caught. It might have been Dr. Mann's father's very detailed, scientific explanation. It might have been Alter's off-the-wall conspiracy theory. The real answer is somewhere in those 60 issues, but I prefer to let the reader decide which one they like rather than pushing it on them.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: This trope is one reason why Bill Watterson decided to not explain what the infamous Noodle Incident was because he felt he couldn't come up with anything that would live up to the readers' expectations.
  • The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story "The World Shapers" was written primarily to explain a mysterious Noodle Incident dialogue line in the TV story "The Invasion", in which the Cyberplanner refers to the Doctor and Jamie having once defeated the Cybermen on "Planet 14". In the process, it sought to give the Cybermen a new origin story by suggesting that they evolved from the Voord culture on the planet Marinus, which had previously been depicted in "The Keys of Marinus". Unfortunately, the story was widely reviled as over-complicated Fan Wank and Continuity Porn (putting Jamie through a Trauma Conga Line and then killing him off didn't help).

    Films — Animation 
  • A major point of contention concerning Bambi II with fans of the original was its decision to humanise and develop the characterisations and backgrounds of many of the animal characters, since keeping the universe a vague enchanting caricature of nature driven more by ambiance and instinct was to many the whole point of the first installment. The approach isn't universally despised, however, since this breach at least wasn't executed horribly and offered the film's universe broader more engaging personalities and lore ripe for Fanfic Fuel.
  • Lightyear makes a new interpretation of the villain Zurg, where he's actually an older version of Buzz all along. Along with contradicting plenty of the lore established in the Toy Story films, this also makes Zurg less of an effective threat once you remove the mystery of who this creature is, along with some saying he’s neither evil nor an emperor.
  • The origin of Cobra given in G.I. Joe: The Movie, declaring them to be the current incarnation and footsoldiers of an ancient Himalayan snake cult called Cobra-La, with Cobra Commander being a full-on snake man under the helmet, was controversial to say the least, as it seemed far too out-there and weird even for a Saturday morning cartoon (the cartoon rarely acknowledged it after, to the point that some consider the film non-canon). Notably, Larry Hama, who wrote the comic, made it one of the few things he just point-blank refused to include in his version of the series, even giving Cobra Commander an origin that clearly contradicted the film.

  • The first Animorphs Prequel reveals that as a teenager, Chapman was a little Jerkass who sold out humanity to the Yeerks for no real logical reason. Up until this point, all we knew about the real Chapman was that he let himself be infested to save his daughter and could overpower his Yeerk to defend her. Given how trippy The Andalite Chronicles is (and the fact that traitor!Chapman seemingly dies before mysteriously reappearing on Earth), some fans still stubbornly insist that "Hendrick Chapman" must have been VP Chapman's Evil Twin or something.
    • The One is a case of Fan-Disliked Lack of Explanation, since it shows up in the last few pages of the series with no context. People have suggested that it could be Crayak, the being that chased him out of his home galaxy, or whatever messed with Jake's head in book #41, but K. A. Applegate Jossed each theory without providing any other clues.
  • H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos might well be unknown today if not for the championing and hard work of his friend and estate executor August Derleth... but Derleth's own additions to the Mythos are widely disliked. His quasi-Fan Fiction imposes an orderly conceptual symmetry on it, and deals in humanly recognizable categories of morality — both of which are foreign to Lovecraft's conception, and tend to "domesticate" HPL's cosmic horrors into far duller and more traditional boogeymen.
  • Though Stephen King's The Dark Tower books always suffered from a pretty bad case of Broken Base, the very end of the series — where we finally get a detailed look at the interior of the eponymous tower — was disliked by quite a few fans, who felt that it killed the mystery and enigma behind the Tower, which could otherwise be read as a universal stand-in for almost any unattainable desire. The narrator even warns the reader that he will probably find the epilogue unsatisfying, as it explains what Roland finds there. To elaborate: After seven books of searching for the Tower, Roland finds out that every level of it is filled with relics from various stages of his own life, and that the top floor houses a time warp that erases his memories and sends him back to the beginning of his quest -- but with evidence that one of his greatest failures has been undone. Though some fans liked it, others accused it of being an unsatisfying and unnecessary Mandatory Twist Ending.
  • Isobelle Carmody's The Gathering is a young adult horror with a brilliantly foreboding sense of tension, paranoia, and discord running throughout the entire story, with the imagery of things in the shadows and the gruesome image of the abattoir and the sense that something very evil has poisoned the whole city and everyone in it by literally poisoning the earth and that only these kids can repair the damage. We know that something big and terrible is going to happen, and we've got everything, including the dark, dismal skies. So the ending including the explanation of what happened to the last group of people who tried, and where the entire school shows up in the abattoir in warpaint, and we see the Big Bad being rather...less than imposing, was a bit of a letdown.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The notorious "wizards used to poo their pants" claim from the official Twitter account for Pottermore, part of a larger statement meant to explain the existence of the castle plumbing. On top of raising hundreds of questions, it was such a bizarre and disgusting claim that it became the prime example in the fanbase of why many supplementary statements regarding the series' lore are disregarded.
    • The reveal via Word of God that Dumbledore is gay was divisive, but the explanation that Dumbledore was once in love with Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard who could be considered Voldemort's precursor, and seemingly swore off romance for good after that relationship blew up in his face in both a literal and figurative sense was even more widely disliked for homophobic implications and contradicting one of the series themes.
    • Likewise, the reveal in the fifth book that while Lily's Heroic Sacrifice to protect baby Harry from Voldemort and his followers used The Power of Love, the charm required Harry to be sent to live with the Dursleys because he needed to live with a blood relative of Lily's in order for the protections to actually work. The Dursleys do not love Harry in the slightest, and at best they just simply begrudged his existence, yet they're allowed to count under a spell forged by love solely because Petunia is the only person alive who shares DNA with both Lily and Harry. Meanwhile, living with a genuinely loving family like the Weasleys, his equally loving godfather Sirius, a Muggle family Harry wasn't biologically related to, or even being raised in the foster system (or just having Dumbledore provide whatever house Harry lives in with his own protective wards, which is an established thing he can do) would not protect Harry simply because none of those potential guardians are blood relatives. This struck many fans as a poorly-written plot convenience to justify Harry living with his horrible relatives for as long as possible. Moreover, it broke one of the story's most prevalent lessons about how you choose your own family.
    • Nagini's backstory, as revealed in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald got this from all sides. Nagini didn't have any relevance to the plot apart from being Voldemort's pet and Horcrux, and though she did show some signs of being intelligent, fans just assumed this meant she was either an unidentified species of magical snake (similar to Crookshanks) or that being turned into a Soul Jar rubbed off on her in some way. Fantastic Beasts revealed that she was actually a woman who had some kind of condition that caused her to turn into a snake, and by the time of the series, her condition had progressed to Shapeshifter Mode Lock. On the one hand, you had fans who were baffled at the fact that this backstory needed to exist to begin with. On another hand, you had fans grousing about the Unfortunate Implications: it's revealed that Nagini's human form is an East Asian woman (with an Indian name), and now an Asian woman was being turned into a white guy's pet. On yet another hand, you had people who were confused as to how the '30s Nagini and the '90s Nagini could be the same person when the '30s Nagini showed no signs of being a cruel and inhuman monster, and were horrified at the fact that Neville's triumphant victory over her in the last book was now him killing what was essentially a disabled human being. And on the final hand, you had people being disgusted that the mention of "milking" Nagini in the fourth book, rather than referring to the real concept of harvesting snake venom, actually meant that Voldemort was suckling her—something Rowling even confirmed with unreleased concept art!
    • The eventual reveal that Snape's motivation for everything was due to a one-sided crush on Lily, which the story thinks justifies his actions. For most readers, this only served to make him more unlikable and painted most of his bad behavior in an even worse light.
    • Hagrid's explanation in the first book that the reason wizards maintain secrecy is because "Muggles would want them to solve all their problems." Many fans consider such an explanation to be callous and self-centered, particularly in light of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald showcasing that World War II and the Holocaust happened in-universe, indicating the "good guy" wizards could have intervened but instead chose to more or less turn a blind eye. Moreover, the series' lore establishes that wizards have valid reason to be fearful of Muggles knowing how completely outclassed they are for technology and such, which some fans view as a far more reasonable explanation.
  • This is the usual reason people hated the last book in The Pendragon Adventure. The whole existence of Solara seemed to come from nowhere and some important questions (such as who Saint Dane made his promise to) were never answered.
  • Joan Lindsay's novel Picnic at Hanging Rock made its readers produce thousands of guesses about what is behind the girls' disappearances — from the whole thing being the work of a rapist/kidnapper to the headmistress molesting girls and driving them to suicide to the rock itself trapping them inside. After the author's death, the eighteenth chapter with the explanation was finally released. As it turned out, the girls and teacher turned into lizards and got sucked into a time warp. The fans felt that it was anticlimactic and nonsensicalnote . Even Peter Weir, the director of The Film of the Book, has admitted that he knew of the deleted chapter but Lindsay's refusal to show it to him was probably a blessing.
  • Hannibal Rising explains that Hannibal's cannibalistic habits are the result of realizing the soup he'd been served by a set of soldiers contained the remains of his little sister, among other details that spoil the mystery of where Hannibal came from and how he became what he is. Harris claims that he never wanted to write a prequel, but was told by his publishers that, if he didn't, they'd find someone else to write it for him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has "Who sent the assassin to kill Bran Stark?", with the answer being Prince Joffrey. Two characters independently come to the conclusion that Joffrey did it, Joffrey act suspiciously when probed about the matter, and the author stated that the mystery was solved in that book. However, him being the culprit requires a very specific motivation, most of the "clues" occur right before the reveal two books after the mystery was last relevant and/or refer to events that happened off-page ("You remember that time at breakfast when King Robert said...."), leading to a conclusion that many fans found unsatisfactory. As a result, many fans still believe that the explanation was mistaken and the true person who hired the assassin has still not been revealed.
  • The Twilight Saga: A few of Stephenie Meyer's attempts to explain things in the series weren't appreciated by some readers, mostly because they tended to open up a whole new can of worms in regards to the logistics of the world. Team Jacob especially did not like the explanation that he apparently only loved Bella because he was subconsciously waiting for Renesmee, as they felt it cheapened the bond between their OTP, essentially made the love triangle that had dominated much of the series pointless, and/or because it had weird implications that Jacob had somehow imprinted on Bella's ovum.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Fans wondered why Thistleclaw ended up in the Dark Forest because while he was an aggressive War Hawk, he didn't commit any crimes in his life - and even the attempted murderer Ashfur made it to StarClan. Enter the novella Spottedleaf's Heart, where he essentially became a pedophile grooming Spottedpaw while also training in the Dark Forest. This made the novella one of the most unpopular works in the entire lengthy series, as most felt that the subject matter wasn't handled well.
    • While it is not settled in stone by Word of God note  the idea that StarClan cats eventually cease existing when forgotten by all living cats is heavily disliked by fans. One of the alternate ideas proposed, that once forgotten by all living cats, they become like a faint star and spend the rest of eternity alone, albeit in a pleasant state of rest and peace, is also disliked by fans. Most fans would prefer they just get a regular, eternal afterlife instead of making things needlessly depressing.
  • The Wicked Years: Many fans dislike that the family tree in A Lion Among Men lists Nessarose as Frexspar's child. In the original Wicked book, it's vague whether Nessarose was the daughter of Melena's husband Frexspar or their mutual lover Turtle Heart. Nessarose has pale skin like Frex (then again, Nessa's sister Elphaba also had a dark-skinned lover but her son was light-skinned) but the time of her conception makes more sense for Turtle Heart. The first book also mentions that Frexspar favors Nessa so much because he sees her as his, Melena, and Turtle Heart's child. Fans prefer that all three Thropp children are half-siblings, rather than Elphaba being the Chocolate Baby.

    • The fact that Bohrok are actually dead Av-Matoran, as it retroactively made the earlier story unsettling (Matoran fighting against creatures born out of their deceased relatives, often with battle machines built out of Bohrok parts) and was just creepy. The revelation also comes out of nowhere.
    • The reason why Orde is male and the rest of his kind are female: his creators were sexist. Also controversial because allegedly Orde's gender was set in stone by a mere typo.
    • Most fans seemed to have accepted Mata Nui's nature well enough (giant sleeping robot), but his backstory and its timeline (who built him and why) are more cases of a Broken Base, as, from a logical and logistic standpoint, they make no sense, and also retroactively demystify most of the fantasy-aspects of the story in favor of very soft sci-fi.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The remake-exclusive bonus case of the first game decided to put to rest the rumors that Miles Edgeworth would sometimes fake evidence in order to ensure a guilty verdict by revealing that they were nothing but nasty rumors and that he never faked evidence, only presented evidence he didn't know was forged once. A number of fans didn't like this reveal due to the fact that it renders a lot of Edgeworth's Character Development in the game moot.
    • Ever since his debut Apollo Justice's upbringing had been shrouded in mystery. All that was certain was Apollo was put into an orphanage after the death of his biological father. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice felt the need to answer it by revealing that when his father got killed in an arson attack (and his mother Thalassa being unaware of his survival), Apollo was found and raised by Dhurke Sahdmadhi. Because Dhurke was falsely accused of murdering his wife the Queen of Khura'in, he had to send Apollo to America for his safety, and he had two foster siblings never mentioned prior. This revelation proved to be controversial for fans as it gave Apollo sudden importance in the game when Phoenix had clearly been the protagonist for the first half and appeared to contradict the little we DID know about Apollo's past prior, making him unrecognizable from the character presented in previous games.
  • While the third case and trial in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is hated by the fandom for a number of reasons, some fans didn't like Mikan Tsumiki's motive being the Despair Disease, which they saw as a pointless plot device, although it did hint at the true nature of the students. Given that one of Mikan's victims was Hiyoko Saionji, who notoriously bullied her, some say it would've been better if Mikan snapped from Hiyoko's treatment of her and that's what led her to murder (although this would then raise questions on why she also killed Ibuki Mioda).
  • A number of players of Daughter for Dessert didn’t like the protagonist's backstory regarding his relationship with Lainie.
  • Zero Escape:
    • The ending of Zero Time Dilemma has the series' antagonist claim that all of his actions have actually been to prepare the protagonists to track down and stop a Greater-Scope Villain who has never been even hinted at before. The characters don't necessarily buy his good intentions, but it seems as though everything that Virtue's Last Reward built up about Brother and Left is made irrelevant by this last-minute new characterization.
      • Fans also dislike the twist with the alien teleporter because of the implications that the entire series had its problem rooted in aliens that weren't even mentioned in previous games.
    • Among other plot points from Virtue's Last Reward that did not return in ZTD, there was a conspicuous lack of any follow-up on the secret ending of VLR. The creator eventually clarified that that ending was not canon because it took place on a higher layer of reality note  and that when important character Kyle was heavily implied to appear in ZTD, what it actually meant was that Kyle would appear in our reality in the year ZTD takes place. As you can probably guess from that description, this was not taken well.


    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: During Volume 8, the writers announced what General Ironwood's Semblance was: Mettle, which they explained hardens his resolve and causes him to hyper-focus when solving problems. Presumably, they intended this as an explanation as to why Ironwood is always so fixated on his solution to a problem and his refusal to consider alternatives. Many fans' reactions went along the lines of: "So his Semblance is he's stubborn? That's not a superpower, that's a personality trait." Further, many feel that Ironwood's actions are adequately explained by him simply being stubborn and bullheaded and that this Semblance takes away some of Ironwood's agency in his own decisions. Not to mention it's never mentioned nor hinted at in the show itself, so fans have questioned why there's any kind of narrative need for this explanation in the first place.
  • SMG4: "SMG4's Origins" as a whole got this reaction, partially due to heavily Retconing much of the series lore and partially for providing explanations for aspects of the series many fans had simply taken for granted, thus taking away their novelty. The SMG4 Universe is explicitly confirmed to be an Alternate Universe branching off from the end of Super Mario 64. SMG4 and SMG3 are revealed to be alien-like invaders that arrived in USB flash drive-like spaceships (with the former's spaceship being the reason why everyone, most tragically of all Mario, is much crazier and dumber than their canon counterparts) and just happen to look like Mario. Finally, SMG4 and SMG3 meet here instead of "smg4 VS smg3" (or even "Memewarts", which was already a retcon itself), with the duo simply instantly hating each other when the latter arrives in his spaceship. While the 10th-anniversary movie helped clear things up and elaborate on the more confusing bits of this new backstory, it was nonetheless still criticized for the major retcons to the cast's preexisting (and already conflicting) backstories, most egregiously the very preceding episode's set of backstories (which were also criticized for similar reasons).

    Web Videos 
  • The Review Must Go On, the final episode of Demo Reel and a pilot for the revival of The Nostalgia Critic, revealed that Donnie Dupre and the Critic are the same person. The events from the former were a purgatory experience he had after he merged with the Plot Hole in To Boldly Flee, partially because of a paradox wherein he willing did something he was written to do, partially to learn how it felt to make bad movies. The video ends with him returning to his reality while his friends from Demo Reel fade away. While some fans were okay with this, and Word of God is that it was intended as a Downer Ending, others hated it, feeling that it invalidated the entire storyline of Demo Reel and The Critic's Heroic Sacrifice (if not his entire character arc) from To Boldly Flee, just to bring back The Nostalgia Critic after creator Doug Walker explicitly stated that he wouldn't.
  • When the Game Grumps play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Danny is not happy about how The King of Red Lions isn't actually a living boat, but just an avatar of the King of Hyrule. He had come to love the idea that a boat could be enchanted and sentient and how it and Link had become allies on their journey, and felt that all of that was lost with the reveal that the boat was nothing more than a puppet controlled by someone else.

Alternative Title(s): Leave The Plot Threads Hanging