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Fandom Rivalry

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"We take the last steps to war!
'Cause our movie's better than yours!"

The only question I ever thought was hard
Was "Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?"

Two long-running shows or two star actors inspire dueling fandoms. Fans of one are expected to become Fan Haters of the other, and vice versa. The contrasting merits of both will rarely be acknowledged. Anyone who likes both will be accused of Fandom Heresy. This can easily go on despite the creators' Word of God that they kind of like the other show or the actors making friendly appearances together (Tabloid Melodrama aside). When this gets into full gear expect copious amounts of Hypocritical Fandom. Of course there will be those that hate both.

In some instances, this is the result of a new fandom displacing an older one. For example, Henry Jenkins notes in his book Textual Poachers that the emergence of an American Blake's 7 fandom was ideally timed to capitalize on institutional conflicts within Doctor Who fandom (which shared its focus on a British series) and declining interest in Star Wars (which shared its interest in stories about La Résistance). This also happens when one show is perceived by one fandom as a rip-off of their favorite show.


It is of course, fully possible for die-hard fans of one "rival" show to enjoy another, and being a member of one fandom does not exclude you from being a member of the other.

Often involves Dueling Works. Compare Ship-to-Ship Combat. See Broken Base for when fandoms have civil wars amongst themselves. May involve Hypocritical Fandom if a show gets bashed by fans of a rival for having flaws that also exist in the rival show. Contrast Friendly Fandoms. Usually features Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.


Examples with their own subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • Several within Disney fandom:
  • Also Pixar vs. Dreamworks Animation, thanks in no small part due to Shark Tale surfacing not long after Finding Nemo. Or Antz/A Bug's Life. Now it's ever fiercer with Pixar having produced its first two films which did not receive universal critical acclaim – Cars 2 and Brave — and Dreamworks having finally grown the beard with critically-hailed new franchises like Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. It has been asserted (by industry insiders) that Jeffrey Katzenberg formed Dreamworks for the express purpose of taking Disney down after being passed over for promotion by then-CEO Michael Eisner. (No word on any vendettas behind Steven Spielberg's or David Geffen's involvement, though Spielberg did have a major falling out with Eisner around the same time...)
  • The The Incredibles fandom developed one with Teen Titans Go! when Teen Titans Go! To the Movies was set for a theatrical release a little over a month after Incredibles 2.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Is currently engaged in a minor one with Frozen, due to accusations that Tumblr was ignoring this film in favor of that one and threatened its financial success.
    • Also with Big Hero 6, due to the fact that both were released in the US about a month apart but Big Hero 6 did much better at the box office. It got fueled even more when Big Hero 6 won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature where The Book Of Life wasn't even nominated.
    • When Pixar announced Coco, there was a lot of hot debate about whether or not Coco is a direct ripoff of (some going so far as to claim that Pixar stole the idea from Gutierreznote ). For what it's worth, Gutierrez has expressed excitement for the movie. There are also a number of fans equally excited.
  • Many Home and How to Train Your Dragon 2 fans seem to hold a major grudge against Big Hero 6, arguing that it's "overrated", "shouldn't have won the Oscar", and that it's "highly predictable".

  • Fans vs. anti-fans. Anti-fans are disgusted by fandoms, which are generally composed of whiny, emotionally stunted philistines with a tremendous sense of entitlement who are confused and frightened by every new thing in their precious objects of fandom and more interested in belonging to a group than actual art. Meanwhile, fans of all stripes detest a particular culture of smarmy, black-hearted, elitist hipster cynics who would rather choke on a barbed wire lollipop than remove the rod from their collective ass and enjoy themselves.
    • At the time that some people were getting into science fiction fandom more for the social aspects of fandom than because they were into the genre, the expression "We're just fans, we don't read the stuff" appeared. Opponents of those people responded with the slogan, "We're not fans, we just read the stuff."
  • FIAWOLnote  vs. FIJAGHnote 
  • There also seems to be a Hatedom towards Speculative Fiction (regardless of the medium) from others who like things that are non speculative fiction, like Lit Fic and other medium equivalents for example.
  • Fans vs fans who write Fan Fiction. If non-fic fans know much about fic-ers they've depicted them as sexually frustrated middle-aged women with too much time on their hands who will pair up anyone with anyone/thing (leading to comments about how "disgusting" fanfic isnote ). Fic-ers on the other hand bash the rest of the world for "closed minded hate" towards favored characters or ships, equating a dislike of fanfic with the closeted, agoraphobic nerd who won't remove action figures from the original packaging and is anti-fun. Fic-ers have also been known to get slightly miffed whenever a non-fic-er sociologist or anthropologist tries to "understand" this subculture. For the most part though, both groups casually ignore each other under the mantra that the other just doesn't "get it", and fanfiction tends to remain relatively unknown to the average person.
    • Add to that certain genres of fanfiction that appeal to different types of fans. It depends on the fandom, but generally, it's best to watch for writers of shipping fics vs. writers of grimdark fics vs. everyone else.
    • Fanfic writers who make extensive use of Original Characters in their fanfics vs. fanfic writers who see them as a necessary evil at best.
  • Spoilers vs no spoilers. Some fans enjoy finding out what's ahead for their favorite shows, while others throw a fit if they find out even a small tidbit about what's coming.
  • In homosexuality-focused genres (Yaoi, Yuri, Slash Fic), fans who think they should be about actual LGBT experiences and issues vs fans who just want to see cute boys/girls boinking.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Casual fans (Marks) vs. Hardcore fans (especially those that self identify as "smarks") since the two groups look at the product in different ways.
  • Prior to McMahon nationalizing WWF, promoters were very defensive of their territory. The American Wrestling Association vs. the National Wrestling Alliance was common.
  • To make a long story short All Japan Pro Wrestling vs New Japan Pro-Wrestling after they split from the JWA, Giant Baba vs Antonio Inoki being deliberately invoked by the later. Then then both of them vs Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, who actively campaigned against "Japanese Mainstream" and briefly became big enough to be a national promotion in their own right. While FMW went dormant, Dragon Gate rose up to be another third wheel.
  • CMLL vs Lucha Libre Interacional/Universal Wrestling Association. Then CMLL vs AAA. Then both vs IWRG. Sometimes Lucha Liga Elite fans joined one of the other two against Triple A but in 2018 Liga Elite began doing joint shows with Triple A.
  • Prior to the mid 1980s, "Puroresu" was just Engrish, a rough untranslated way Japanese fans said "Pro Wrestling". During the mid 1980s, the Japanese diaspora began using "puroresu" in the vein Mexican and some other Spanish speaking fans used "Lucha Libre" when referring to a specific style of pro wrestling. While "lucha libre", roughly translating to "free fight", grew out of an existing pro wrestling tradition, was rather different from what came before it and pretty much took over Mexico's wrestling circuit, the insistence of "puroresu" was born out of desire to not be associated with the WWF and GLOW.
  • Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan, as an extension of the NWA vs WWF.
  • Zenjo vs JWP vs LLPW. Then Zenjo vs GAEA.
  • WWF vs. WCW vs. ECW, especially during the Monday Night Wars.
  • Also, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart have settled their differences, but that doesn't stop their respective fans from engaging in flame wars regarding who was better.
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH, which split off from AJPW, vs Pro Wrestling Zero 1, which split off from NJPW. However, became less of a rivalry and more of a shared respect after the passing of company founders Mitsuharu Misawa and Shinya Hashimoto.
  • WWE vs. would be WCW successor TNA vs. would be ECW successor Ring of Honor, though despite the addition of wrestlers made famous by either WWE or WCW, TNA's ratings remain stagnant. While ROH has more direct rivalries with other promotions(see below) and will more readily attack TNA before WWE(because they used to work together), there have been a subset of WWE fans hostile to ROH from the very beginning, to the point even comments meant to be complimentary("I'd like to see ___ in WWE") or constructive ("ROH should have signed *future endeavored WWE wrestler here*") sometimes inspire backlash from ROH fans.
    • ROH fans became a little more anti WWE after 2015, when WWE started doing several things seemingly just to spite ROH. The main three were actively trying to sign members of the ROH roster, running shows in the same or adjacent venues to ROH, and trying to funnel talent that would otherwise go to ROH to EVOLVE instead. The anti WWE sentiment largely set in because it all started when WWE realized signing Kevin Steen didn't let them stop ROH from selling Steen dolls. In the first case WWE didn't actually get that many wrestlers, but got enough to have ROH stretching for credible contenders to champion Jay Lethal, which took a lot of heat away from his hot title run, and that's if you're under the impression AJ Styles would not have simply ended it as he was being teased to do before it became obvious he finally bit on a WWE offer in December. In the second case ROH's attendance numbers continued to climb anyway, but the gains were somewhat ignored in the face of WWE managing to equal or out draw them with B Show material that often featured guys wrestling in ROH not too long ago. In the latter case, fans were pretty upset about the breakup of The Pretty Boy Killers Tag Team, as Keith Lee left ROH and Shane Taylor to eventually become WWN Champion. On the other hand, some ROH fans were loyal enough to those wrestlers to follow them to WWE or EVOLVE.
  • Ring Of Honor also had one with Pro Wrestling Guerilla, which was kicked off by accident when a Worked Shoot worked too well, Dragon Gate (specifically DGUSA, when ROH head booker Gabe Sapolsky moved there after being fired) and CZW, the later of which was exploited to produce what is considered to be the greatest feud in ROH history. ROH for its part had been selling PWG merchandise since the Feinstein incident and promoted harmony between the fan bases when Marty Scurll entered The Battle For Los Angeles.
  • From within the WWE itself are Raw vs. Smackdown (the flagship sports entertainment show vs. the wrestling show, made worse when the Draft often relocates a lot Smackdown talent to Raw), brand extension fans vs. unified company fans, Cena fans vs Cena haters, Superstars (especially Divas) with indy wrestling backgrounds vs. WWE/NXT homegrowns, Jim Ross vs. Michael Cole, and combinations of the WWE's different eras (Rock and Wrestling vs.The Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era vs. Ruthless Agression Era vs. WWE Universe Era)
  • IWA Mid-South fans vs fans who wrote it off as an ECW ripoff, though it came to a head with All American Wrestling's when Jimmy Jacobs tossed the IWA Heavyweight Title belt in the trash for AAW.
  • People who agree with WWE regarding making Chris Benoit an Un-person and those who want him in the Hall of Fame and his matches on DVD.note 
  • SHIMMER vs WSU vs SHINE, the three most prominent women's wrestling promotions in the USA. Mainly WSU vs SHINE, as the former lost some ground when its owner's health started to fail and the latter rose up centered around expies of the Midwest Militia and Rain's Army, which were best known as WSU groups. And all three of them hold women's wrestling fans who only watch WWE in disdain.
  • Then it came to WWE vs. NJPW (w/ROH\CMLL to a lesser extent due to their crossovers) vs. Lucha Underground and occasionally Anthem!Impact Wrestling as a four-way dance.
    • Or as the Cody\Young Bucks driven All In and Chris Jericho's Cruise prove its NJPW, ROH, Impact, Lucha Underground/AAA, WOS & MLW vs. WWE. While that list might look long, it could easily be spun into a continuation of the old NWA vs WWF rivalry, even ignoring that the NWA World Heavyweight Title was the belt defended during the main event of All In and used to legitimize All Elite Wrestling. What's changed is that most of the shows fan bases opposed to WWE swear by are no longer united by the NWA brand, so the diversity of WWE's opposition becomes more readily apparent.
  • Since the beginning of the "Wednesday Night War," there’s also AEW vs. NXT, though this has crossed into Friendly Fandoms, since fans enjoy high quality wrestling from both shows.

  • The classic rivalry is Julie Andrews vs. Audrey Hepburn for who is the best Eliza Doolittle.
  • Among musical theatre fans, people who enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber and people who like Stephen Sondheim don't tend to like each other.
    • This rivalry likely crystallized in the 1980s - Sondheim's shows won critical raves, numerous Tony Awards and even the Pulitzer Prize. Webber's shows made lots of money and developed enormous fanbases, as well as won a few Tonys of their own. Sondheim's seen as smart and meaningful by lovers, cold and difficult by haters ("the songs are absolutely unhummable!"); Webber's seen as emotionally thrilling by lovers, shallow and dumb by haters ("you walk out whistling the sets and costumes.") The 1988 Tony Awards may perfectly encapsulate this rivalry: Into the Woods won the Book and Score awards, but The Phantom of the Opera won the Best Musical prize.
    • Weirdly, though, the fandoms for the film versions of each of Sondheim and Webber's magnum opuses (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and The Phantom of the Opera, respectively, which were filmed within three years of each other and both produced by Warner Brothers) overlap pretty strongly, much to the chagrin of the stage fandoms for either musical, who tend to view both films as inferior compared to their sources.
    • Oh, but it gets worse. The stage-purist Todd fans are pretty divided over the original full-scale production and its symphonic spinoffs and the tiny, spare, 10-actors-playing-their-own-score production mounted on Broadway in 2005. Defenders of the original production call it a full-on Guignol-style thriller with sweeping music rendered beautifully by a full orchestra that gives richness and complexity to the score, while calling the mini-version a tasteless, pointless exercise in distracting Brechtianism that robbed the music of its depth. Fans of the 2005 production will say that their favorite version is a sexy, vicious little dark jewel of a show while the original was a cartoon full of exaggerated acting and (similarly to criticism of Webber's work, ironically enough) reliance on spectacle.
  • If you leave Sondheim out of the picture, there's still Andrew Lloyd Webber vs. Frank Wildhorn, whom even people who don't particularly like Webber's works have characterized as an untalented pretender to Webber's throne. Wildhorn's own fanbase adores him and will defend him to the death against basically every other composer out there.
  • Similarly, Stephen Sondheim vs. Jerry Herman fans. Jerry Herman fans tend to site Sondheim as "unhummable", "depressing", or "pretentious", while Sondheim fans tend to say Jerry Herman's stuff is "saccharine", "too cute", and "frivolous". Again, this is encapsulated in the results of an awards showdown: In 1984, Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George was successful enough that it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama the following year...but in the meantime got curbstomped at the Tony Awards by Herman's La Cage aux folles.
  • Classic musical theater fans (Oklahoma!, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, that sort of thing) vs rock/pop musical fans. Some classic fans will admit to liking Hair, Godspell, and maybe — at a stretch — Rent but that's about as far as they'll go.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar: Fans of the original 1973 movie vs. fans of the 2003 movie. Hippie Jesus vs Possibly Gay Ghetto Jesus? Decisions, decisions...
    • Also, Murray Head as Judas (the original concept album) vs. Carl Anderson as Judas (the 1973 movie). And no, you may not answer Jerome Pradon.
  • Les Misérables vs The Phantom of the Opera is a strange case. There are many people who are hardcore fans of both, but sooner or later, you must choose which side your loyalties are on.
    • Speaking of Phantom, its fandom does not like High School Musical very much, possibly due to the latter taking a snipe at Michael Crawford, the original Erik in the stage production and regarded as basically a saint in Phantom fandom.
  • Tanz Der Vampire versus its short-lived American counterpart Dance of the Vampires. Notable in that even the composer himself has called Dance "utter shit" on his blog. Still, there are fans out there who like the American version for taking itself less seriously. A happy minority tends to simply sit back and explain that they think both versions have their high points.
  • An example from a much earlier period in theatre history: Al Jolson vs. Eddie Cantor.
  • Edwin Forrest and William Charles Macready, two rival Shakespearean actors from the 1840s. Read about them at this article.
  • Richard Wagner v. Giacomo Meyerbeer (Or Richard Wagner v. Johannes Brahms). Wagner's supporters will claim that Wagner's works were the conclusion of opera, magnificiently orchestrated, pushed singing to its limits and gloriously intricate in terms of plot. Wagners detracors will point to Wagner's unsavory personality, inability to spell, much less use, subtlety, tendency to fill everything with over-the-top Teutonic bombast, and inability to wrap up the simplest of plots in less than three hours. This particular fan feud has been running since Wagner was in his early thirties, has included numerous famous figures on either side (including Friedrich Nietzsche on both, having shifted from pro-Wagner to anti-Wagner over time) and has shown absolutely no sign of losing momentum.
  • 1776 versus Hamilton, mostly because the protagonists (John Adams and Alexander Hamilton) absolutely detested each other in Real Life. In spite of the fact that Hamilton's author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a big fan of 1776 and cites it as an inspiration for his own show, Hamilfans have been known to disreccomend it just because it stars one of the many guys who hated their guy. The fact is that a major theme of both Hamilton and 1776 is that the Founding Fathers in general and these two men in particular were incredibly flawed people in spite of their great accomplishments. Adams and Hamilton both had a remarkable talent for giving offense and there are plenty of reasons to hate them both.
  • Recently, there's been one between Heathers and Mean Girls, with the former accusing the latter of being a ripoff.
  • Musical theatre fans argue which adaptation of The Wild Party was better: Andrew Lippa's or Michael John LaChiusa's. Bringing one into discussion will almost always draw comparisons to the other, especially since they were released the same year. Lippa's version is criticized for lacking substance and having an unfitting contemporary score, while LaChiusa's strays too far from the source material and is less accessible to a wider audience.

  • My Little Pony:
    • For years there's been a My Little Pony vs Transformers vs Care Bears rivalry.
    • On the topic of My Little Pony, one of the earliest battle-lines drawn was Bronies vs. old-time Collectors who collect the toys for the sake of their love for little plastic horses. Many Bronies have nothing but contempt for pre-G4 figures, while said collectors often dislike G2/G3.5/G4 figures for not looking like poniesnote , and in the case of G4, the toy line generally being lower qualitynote  and plagued by constant rereleases of certain characters. The collectors might not dislike all three of the aforementioned generations, but they usually have some sort of stylistic preference, and fan culture-wise they are extremely different from bronies (and not too fond of the bronies having eclipsed them and infringed on their turf). Needless to say it's quite rare to find people in these two camps that even talk to each other, much less actually get along.
    • Then there's bronies who only collect show-accurate (typically non-Hasbro made) G4 ponies vs. the other G4 pony collectors. The former complain about how Hasbro's products do not look like the characters do in the show and buy ponies from show-accurate toy licensees like Funko and Build-a-Bear, but almost never from Hasbro themselves. The latter thinks that the former is completely missing the point of collecting MLP, believing that since the franchise belongs to Hasbro, one should only be buying Hasbro ponies.
    • Again, Bronies vs. Filly. Especially heated since many Filly fans are MLP dissidents who abandoned MLP due to the G3.5 ponies' designs, to the point that Filly essentially displaced My Little Pony in Germany due to G3.5 having been such an utter flop.
  • Barbie versus Bratz, Monster High versus Bratzillaz, and by extension, Mattel versus MGA in general.
  • BIONICLE vs. Hero Factory, even though one was the replacement of the other. Bionicle fans hate Hero Factory for replacing Bionicle, and being more simple and childish, while Hero Factory fans think Bionicle is overly complex and doesn't allow room for new fans


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fan Wars


Clerks 2

Randal arguing with a customer over which trilogy is better, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

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Example of:

Main / FandomRivalry

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Main / FandomRivalry