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Fanfic Fuel

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Johnny Yong Bosch: Maybe kids will write some fanfics about it.
Linkara: We can only hope.

Many times a creative work will leave large gaps in a character's Backstory, or not mention what happened between two instances of seeing a character, or object or place. We might get a bit of explanation, usually a throwaway line that suggests a Noodle Incident, but either way we are left to imagine it ourselves.

So, someone else will, of course, do it for us. Many fanfics that don't involve shipping will fill in any gaps, often with wild adventures that one would expect would get more of a mention in the work if they'd happened, but don't. Anything in a work of fiction that leaves inviting gaps can be seen as fanfic fuel. The more outrageous or open for interesting plot developments, the better.

Summers between school years in high school dramas are often great sources of Fanfic Fuel, as well as the draw of giving a mysterious character more backstory (which may result in Draco in Leather Pants) or rewriting things from the perspective of someone else whose viewpoint we never saw in canon.

May lead to Continuation or Fan Sequel. See Canon Fodder, a subtrope where these scenarios actually get addressed in the work, or the creators at least imply that they intend(ed) to tell these stories themselves at a later point. See also Fandom-Specific Plot, where specific fanfic scenarios become popular among fanfic writers. Can overlap with Fix Fic if it's a particularly hated episode or Audience-Alienating Ending the fans are trying to rectify to their liking. They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot and Fan-Preferred Cut Content may also be connected to this trope.

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    Comic Books 
  • In general, any comic book universe with alternate timelines throws the door wide open for any number of AU fics.
  • 100 Bullets has roughly 400 years of unexplored American history in a world where a shadowy cabal of merchants secretly founded the United States; said 400 years includes the family histories of the 13 houses of the Trust, and plenty of opportunities for exploring past incarnations of the Minutemen. The main timeframe of the series has the years of bloody mayhem that the seven present-day Minutemen got up to before the doomed Atlantic City job, which are only glimpsed in flashbacks in the series itself.
  • In Avengers vs. X-Men, Rachel Summers describes being a previous wielder of the Phoenix Force, but she does not play an active role in the story, nor does she bring up her relationship to the Phoenix since encountering the blue shadow energy of the "Blade of the Phoenix". In three to five pages, describe her reasons for not interacting directly with the Phoenix.
  • Over the years, Batman has accumulated a small army of much younger assistants who all have their own unique skills and abilities, but can never seem to get out of the Big Man's shadow. What kind of adventures will they have in the future as adult superheroes, when their mentor's inevitable death and/or retirement forces them to carve out their own identities in the DCU?
  • Batman: Holy Terror:
    • Many fans like to speculate about what happens once Batman begins his war against the Commonwealth at the end of the book.
    • The meta-human guinea pigs from Erdel's lab (both the shellshocked canon characters and Barry’s Blessed with Suck four fellow speedsters) and both the past hardships they endured together and the survivors’ potential role in Bruce’s campaign inspire particular interest.
  • In Earth-3490: Captain America married Iron Woman and thereby prevented the Civil War. So how did Natasha Stark become Iron Woman? How did this affect team dynamics? What was the wedding night like?
  • Disney Kingdoms: Seeing as an official third series about them never saw the light of day, what adventures will Dreamfinder and Figment go on after the events of Figment 2? Will they find the lost geodesic sphere?
  • Excalibur #74 has Mister Sinister gloat over acquiring the DNA of Rachel Summers, and this is never brought up again. What could he possibly have in mind, and why hasn't he done it already?
  • Fantastic Four: During the 90s, Tom DeFalco's run introduced Jonathan Richards, known as Hyperstorm, the son of Franklin Richards and Rachel Summers from an alternate version of Days of Future Past. Hyperstorm was sent to a dimensional void with Galactus, who returned. Hyperstorm was never seen again. In six chapters of five thousand words or more, describe Jonathan Richards growing up in his own timeline before becoming a villain, how he returns from the dimensional void, what he plans to do in modern day, how he defeats the X-Men and the Fantastic Four at the same time, and how he fights in ridiculous energy battles versus Rachel Summers, Hope Summers, and maybe Nate Grey, or Vulcan, he hasn't done a whole lot lately. Just like KRPBLRRR BLRPSHKRR like explosions everywhere.
  • The Flash:
    • After the New 52 reboot, what happened to Wally West and the other speedsters was a hot topic for fanfic. Though eventually, DC Rebirth and Josh Williamson's Flash run would later provide canon reintroductions for them, it still created an avenue for Canon Divergence fics.
    • More generally, ever since the introduction of the Speed Force, it's became very easy for them to introduce new speedsters, in a similar way that X-Men provides a canon avenue for new mutants or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse popularised "Spider-sonas", especially as the Flash Family has, since then, grown to include more members. Adding to the canon support, the Cobalt Blue saga confirmed that not only would the Flash legacy continue in some form for centuries with the descendants of the Allen and West families, but that it already existed and stretched back several centuries before the present day, with a medeival knight speedster seen in the Speed Force.
  • Green Lantern has 3,600 sectors worth of badass space cops—belonging to as many alien species—with their own adventures that we never get to see in the main comics.
  • Practically everything about the universe of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is this, simply because of its unique premise. In the League 'verse, every piece of fiction ever produced is simultaneously true, the universe's history is based on the history of fiction, and every generation produces its own unique fraternity of heroes to fight evil. So far, only a fraction of the universe's history has been described in detail by Alan Moore, and only a few of the past Leagues have actually been shown — which is why fans get such a kick out of filling in the details themselves, and coming up with their own possible Leagues (knowing that any character is fair game for inclusion).
    • See for yourself: the series' Wild Mass Guessing page, which is filled with theories about how various works of fiction connect to each other in the League universe, is even longer than the main trope page for the series itself.
    • Even out of the many background plot points that the series has directly commented on, there are still a butt-ton of unseen adventures that are only vaguely described through in-universe primary sources. The adventures of Prospero's Men note , Gulliver's League note , the Second Murray Group note , and the clashes between "Les Hommes Mysterieux" note  and "Die Zwielichthelden" note  that precipitated World War I have all been referred to, but never directly shown.
    • Not to mention the many adventures of Janni Dakkar (a.k.a. "The Pirate Jenny") and the crew of the Nautilus, or Mina and Allan's many years spent Walking the Earth after the breakup of the Second League, of which we only get a few brief glimpses in the series proper. Both periods encompass decades of vaguely described adventures (Janni's crew apparently battled Godzilla at one point) that are just waiting to be filled.
  • The Mouse Guard has multiple chapters across the world, some of which provide fodder for non-canon anthology contributors.
  • Serenity:
  • The various comic adaptations of the video game franchise Sonic the Hedgehog all have rich fan fiction cultures, including crossovers between them. This can be credited with their natural connections to the Furry Fandom. There is particularly an online unofficial continuation of the ended Archie Comics version of the comic.
  • Blood aside, Rorshach's "death" at the end of Watchmen could easily just be Dr. Manhattan teleporting him elsewhere, usually to another universe, one example being Rorschach In Equestria.
  • Issue 36 of The Wicked + The Divine features a montage showing every Recurrence between 3862BC and 2014AD. The series has only covered a handful of them in detail (455AD, 1373, 1831, 1923 and 2014) leaving the rest of the Recurrences open to speculation about which Gods were present and what happened during their two years.
  • Wonder Woman: The Contest has inspired multiple fanfics picking apart Hippolyta's selfish behavior and tweaking the meaning and outcome of the prophecy that inspired it.
  • X-Men:
    • The main series, and all its related books, went through a canonical "six-month gap" around 2000, where Cyclops was believed dead and Cable joined the team to take his place. All that is known at the end of it was that Psylocke and Phoenix had switched powers, giving the former telekinesis but no telepathy and the latter, the reverse.
    • The X-Men universe in general, with its countless number of mutants, possibilities for other schools, and numerous other ways to have new and interesting characters show up.
    • Uncanny X-Men #209 ends with Spiral abducting Rachel Summers. Rachel returns in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn and in Excalibur, and references her time in the Mojoverse, a story planned for a limited series or graphic novel. In prose or as a series of scripts of twenty two pages each, describe the events of Rachel's story in the Mojoverse.
    • In "End of Grays", Rachel Summers vows vengeance on the Shi'ar Death Commandos for the death of her family, and imprisons them, leaving their fates up to destiny. What has happened since then, and how will the situation be reconciled?
    • Around the time of the Civil War crossover, the series introduced a new breed of good Sentinels that actually came with cockpits and pilots, making them just as effective against Mutant threats, but without the possibility of them turning against their masters. Even though the writers generally kept the Sentinel pilots as side characters, they could have provided the perfect setup for a good old-fashioned mecha series set in the Marvel Universe. Just imagine a classic scene of Magneto squaring off against a Sentinel—but told from the Sentinel's perspective.


  • Animorphs:
    • The main series revolves around a Wake Up, Go to School & Save the World plot about a rag-tag group of Ordinary High School Students battling the secret alien invasion of Earth by puppeteer parasites—but the backstory to the series involves a full-on Space Opera about a massive interstellar war between the noble Andalites and the parasitic Yeerks, which has only been briefly glimpsed in a few flashbacks and two prequel novels. The vast majority of the epic Yeerk-Andalite War has still never been seen, leaving it a wide-open canvas for fanfic writers to play with.
    • Somewhat famously, the series ended with a very ambiguous and open-ended Bolivian Army Ending that seems to have been written (in part) to encourage kids to continue the story themselves and come up with their own endings. Said ending, in which Jake, Marco and Tobias fly into space in a stolen Blade Ship to find the missing Ax, only to discover him assimilated by a sinister alien entity called "The One", could be interpreted as either a Downer Ending or the start of a brand new adventure.
  • In A Brother's Price, there's the mysterious death of a whole family that is never really solved. One can believe it was coincidence, but with family sizes of about fifty people, that's not really likely - fuel for wild conspiracy fanfic. And then there are the events of the past, that are only told in flashbacks, and some only mentioned in passing, such as Keifer poisoning the princesses' father. The story ends with Jerin's wedding, and Jerin is certain that he'll be happy — but will he?
  • Two points in the Chronicles of Narnia have launched a thousand fics:
  • Cobalt Blue:
    • Are there any third generation heroes out there, given how all of the Cobalt and Fury kids are old enough to have had children inside or outside of wedlock? Furthermore, it is never explicitly stated that Cassie is the only one who is married.
    • Did the biological fathers of the six older Cobalts and the mothers of the seven younger Furies ever have relationships with their children? And are they still alive during the events of the book?
  • Coruscant Nights: The defense and evacuation of the Jedi Temple (which had dozens if not hundreds of Jedi and civilian survivors, including Jax, Jedi Council member Even Piell and a few dozen members of the Fights Like a Normal Paladins like Laranth) and subsequent hiding in safe houses and smuggling people off-planet took place months before the main story and are only described in passing, but sound like they have lots of story potential.
  • The Cosmere: There is still one of the Pieces of God whose identity and intentions remain unrevealed, there are large gaps — sometimes thousand of years — between various books and a lot of fan-favourite characers are long-lived worldhoppers, not to mention that there's an entire city floating in space that's occupied solely by worldhoppers. Prime fanfic fuel material.
  • The Discworld offers lots of these. A.A. Pessimal exploits one-shot cameo characters who appear at most twice and barely exist outside a name and a job description; other hooks in the Pessimal universe are all the countries and regions of the Discworld that are hinted at in canon and have enough "shape" to suggest what they look like and which Roundworld countries they reflect. A Discworld South Africa emerged, for instance, populated by examples of the Amoral Afrikaner. There's also an Israel based on a handful of references to a country, a people and a religion. Events in the history of the Disc, such as the Latatian Empire and its fall, and the Dark War of antiquity, are also filled in. Most lately, a Russia is emerging.
  • The Exile's Violin:There is a Time Skip between Serge adopting Jacquie and his death. It lasts for years and is the time when Jacquie learns how to be a detective. There's so much fuel it could fill a midquel novel.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The series has many characters (students, ghosts, professors, shopkeepers) and several summer holidays for those characters to have adventures on. The main trio in Deathly Hallows are away from Hogwarts for much of the year, so that leaves even more gaps to fill.
    • Also, the very explicit, but non-detailed events and descriptions mentioned by various characters throughout the series, coupled with very effective characterization set up by the chapter "Snape's Worst Memory" have given rise to a huge quantity of fanfic set in the era of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, with dozens of different plays on various unseen canon events.
    • Not to mention the future of the Wizarding World after the events of the main series, seeing as how it ends with an explicit epilogue showing the characters as married couples with children. Rowling has also been surprisingly generous about offering hints about the future lives of the characters, including such tidbits as McGonagall as the new Headmistress of Hogwarts, Kingsley as the new Minister of Magic, Harry and Ron as Aurors, Hermione as a crusading reformer at the Ministry, Ginny as a professional Quidditch player, Neville as a Hogwarts professor, Harry's children stealing the Marauder's Map and using it to sneak into Hogwarts, and many, many more.
    • And there's the short span in which Ron and Hermione are absent from the narrative in Deathly Hallows, during which they get basilisk fangs and destroy a Horcrux. Considering how emotionally traumatizing destroying a Horcrux is, and that they have their first on-screen kiss immediately following this, there's an entire sub-genre of fanfic there.
    • J.K. Rowling has expanded upon the Wizarding World outside of Britain, including some choice details about four previously unseen Wizarding schools. There's Ilvermorny in North America (which Native American spiritual leaders apparently had a hand in founding), Mahoutokoro in Japan (located on a remote volcanic island near Iwo Jima), Uagadou in Uganda (a massive fortress carved into the side of the mythical Mountains of the Moon), and Castelobruxo (which is located in the thick of the Amazon rainforest, and guarded by the local Caipora). The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film gives some more frame to these by taking place in the United States in the 1920s.
    • There are enough hints dropped about mythical figures in the Harry Potter universe to fill up an entire Expanded Universe. Among other things, Merlin is name-dropped constantly (and he studied at Hogwarts, according to Word of God), Morgana le Fey is apparently a famous witch, the Greek hero Bellerophon was a famous Greek wizard, and "Fluffy" may or may not be related to the legendary Cerberus. All Myths Are True is in full-swing in the Potterverse.
  • The Hunger Games has Elsewhere Fic fuel aplenty. After all, someone (be it a canon character or an OC) has to have won the Games for years 1-73, and most of them we know little or nothing about.
  • InCryptid:
    • Thomas's time in Australia is mostly left to the audience's imagination.
    • Kevin, Jane, Evelyn, and Ted's stories, and how they met, are still largely a mystery, though the author has mentioned she might one day explore it.
    • We know virtually nothing about Charles and Ada Healy, the children Enid and Alexander left behind with the Covenant.
  • Japan Summons: The premise of an entire country get summoned to another world has spawned many ideas among the fans.
  • John Carter of Mars has several unresolved plots. The most obvious example is the fact that the last novel, Skeleton Men of Jupiter, has an open ending with the protagonist still stranded on Jupiter. Other examples are the fact that by the end of A Fighting Man of Mars Ghasta is still ruled by the evil Jed Ghron, the missing flier 'The Dusar' from Llana of Gathol, and of course John Carter's own mysterious past, the question how old he realy is and why he cannot remember any childhood.
  • Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime: The world of the North Pole as described in "Red Christmas" and its interactions with the outside world feel like there's a lot more to them than what appears in "Red Christmas," especially given how the story ends with a Defector from Commie Land out to start over there.
  • Ready Player One and its virtual universe the OASIS opens up a wide universe in which stories of other users in the OASIS can have adventures and other pop culture be explored. The real world setting of the 2040s is also open, as how the United States is described as being in a poor state and leaving not much mentioned for the state of the rest of the world provides an open opportunity to show how countries outside of the U.S. are fairing. Halliday, Og and Kira's past is still open to be explored outside of what is mentioned in the books.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • Many times in the canon, Dr. Watson includes references to cases that Holmes has solved but which were not fleshed into stories, such as the the tale of the giant rat of Sumatra (a story "for which the world is not yet ready"). A large percentage of Fan Fic, including published pastiche novels, centers on one or another of these Noodle Incidents.
    • Also, the stories often end immediately after the mystery is solved, and any non-mystery fallout of the main plot, such as processing of criminals, recovery from traumatic events, shocking revelations and conflicts caused by a case, healing of injuries, explaining that needs to be done to other characters, etc, are usually dismissed with the implication that it was all taken care of without incident (or at least, without enough incident for Watson to spoil the pacing of his stories by reciting all the details). However, some of the implication of what these glossed-over details involve are quite intriguing — trials for the captured criminals, ruined families and friendships, swearing of revenge, or intensely emotional scenes between Holmes and Watson (or Holmes' apparent non-reaction to emotional incidents). Therefore, there are gazillions of fics revolving around the aftermath of various canon cases. In particular, there is a whole genre of fic involving Watson mourning Holmes/Holmes as a fugitive after The Final Problem or dealing with the reveal of Holmes not being dead in The Empty House. Holmes' fright about Watson's injury after The Three Garridebs, Watson throwing a fit at Holmes for his manipulation of him in The Dying Detective, and speculation about how Watson weaned Holmes off cocaine, are also common fanfic plots.
  • The universe of A Song of Ice and Fire has an incredibly long and detailed history, and cool past events are referenced quite often. The Long Night that Never Ended, Aegon's conquest, the Dance of Dragons, Robert's Rebellion, and the Greyjoy Rebellion, and countless other events and eras are all very enticing for fans. And since characters' interpretations of history tend to offer clues about their motivations and background, and Written by the Winners is SOP, it adds another layer of intrigue to any historical fic.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium, being a well thought-out world, filled with many races with long histories lends itself to many ideas about what's going on in Middle-Earth outside of the main books.
  • Worm:
    • The majority of canon focuses on events in the USA, and only a few cities at that. There is plenty of room to explore what the rest of Earth Bet is like.
    • The true Meta Origin of powers means you can easily justify an Alternate Universe Fic where Taylor or anyone else gets an alternate power from another series.
  • A Wrinkle in Time, in addition to all the science fiction elements not explored in great detail (the history of the planet Camazotz, the 2-dimensional planet, etc.), there's also the specific story of the project Meg's father was working on (with the tesseract) and what happened to the first man who tried to tesser. He's mentioned very briefly, when Meg's father is giving Calvin some of the backstory about the project. He left successfully, but they never found out what happened to him (and none of the sequels give any indicator, either).

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The childhood of Jesus, big time, as almost none of it is mentioned in The Bible. Dozens of Medieval works were written containing stories about his childhood. More recently, New Age theories propose that he went to India to learn wisdom or Egypt to learn magic note 
  • Neil Gaiman in his book of Norse Mythology mentions that Ragnarok is this, because it leaves it ambiguous if the myths occur in the past, present or the future.

  • A sizable genre of The Magnus Archives fanfiction is "Scotland fic" — namely, fanfiction that covers the three-week Time Skip between Episodes 159 and 160 that Jon and Martin spent in a safehouse in the Scottish highlands. The popularity of these fanfics can be attributed to two main reasons. One, because Episode 160 was followed by a six-month hiatus, during which the show surged in popularity. And two, because the end of Episode 159 heavily implies that they're now an Official Couple, which Season 5 makes explicit.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: with over 10,000 planets, over 13 major and minor factions, and countless mercenary companies, fanfic of Original Characters abounds. Arguably, every campaign of the game played is another fanfic.
  • The horror RPG Delta Green follows the eponymous group, a secret US agency that fights the creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos, and conspiracies that try to harvest their power such as Majestic-12. Some foreign fans felt that the setting was too "americentric" and later expansions introduced new factions such as PISCES in the United Kingdom, GRU-SV8 in Russia/Soviet Union and M-EPIC in Canada, the floodgates were open to fans create their own secret occult government agencies. One of the writers, Adam Scott Glancy, even released a guide on how to write your own mythos-aware groups, and recommendations of themes, history, modus operandi and ways to not create something too cliché, generic or unrealistic that could look it was one of the "official" Delta Green groups.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Due to the focus on selling miniatures instead of telling stories and the preponderance of Unreliable Narrators provides plenty of space for fan works, with even official material presenting vastly contradictory interpretations of factions, characters and events, the fans following the same policy.
    • Even discounting the above, the setting gives aspiring writers a very large timespan and region - even if they just stick to the titular 41st Millenium, that still gives them a thousand years and millions of worlds to work with.
    • The Unknown Primarchs' story will never be revealed precisely for this reason, as it allows fans more freedom in deciding backstories for them or their descendant Chapters.

  • Wicked:
    • The fact that Elphaba is alive but Glinda is Locked Out of the Loop is shipping fuel for Fix Fics and Dark Fics alike.
    • Not to mention the 2-to-5-year (depending on what you like to believe) gap between Act 1 and 2 where we go from Elphaba Defying Gravity to Fiyero and Glinda working for the Wizard and Nessa becoming Governor and enslaving Boq. There's a tonne of missed action just there. Also the fact we only get a few Shiz scenes in the musical...

    • There's over 100,000 years of backstory in the Matoran Universe, plus the same amount of time for the characters on Bara Magna. Plus, it's obvious that there was loads of stuff going on during the main story-plenty of room for Original Characters who are off doing their own thing on another island. When the story ends, it actually gets left on a cliffhanger due to Executive Meddling, meaning that there are plenty of plot threads that never got wrapped up.
    • What about those who were trapped on Bota Magna?
    • Then there's all that space for Core War fics featuring Ackbar, Certavus, Tarix, Vastus, and the rest. How did the Great Beings take power, way back when? How did the tribes develop? So many questions, so much room for fanfics...

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue's mysterious Project Freelancer has inspired numerous fan fics based on it, the questionable experiments it performed off-screen, and its various agents that all existed before the series occurred.
  • RWBY: Team STRQ is mentioned in the show as the team that Ruby and Yang's parents were part of when they were in school. It contained their mutual father (Taiyang), each of their mothers (Summer and Raven respectively), and their uncle Qrow. They were the elite student team of their day but the show doesn't detail they things they did, it just leaves a couple of hints: Qrow says there are lots of inappropriate stories he could tell his nieces, but won't. The teachers mention there was once an incident involving Qrow wearing a skirt, and Raven bitterly recalls how favoured they were by the headmaster for special missions that she doesn't elaborate on. Beyond these tidbits, there is no solid information about Team STRQ at all because they disbanded due to an unexplained comment by Taiyang about Raven's character flaws tearing the team apart. There is just enough tantilising pieces of information for the fandom to have spawned many prequel fanfic stories exploring Team STRQ's school days such as their outrageous exploits, how on earth Taiyang ended up producing children with both female members of the team, the missions they went on, the reasons for them breaking up, how Summer died and how Qrow ended up becoming The Alcoholic.

  • Though The Gamer itself has few fics of its own, the basic premise has spawned countless waves of Fusion Fic to the point where "character wakes up one day to discover they can interact with the world like it's an RPG" is now a stock fanfiction plot, found in every fandom you can think of.
  • The Fan Webcomic It's (Not) Your Fault managed to inspire a number of fanfics. These stories either retell the plot up to a point or use the events as a jumping-off point and typically lead to Lincoln being become estranged from his family (Luna especially). There's even a Deconstruction Fic called Really Isn't Your Fault that rewrites the story with the characters approaching things with more common sense and reaching a realistic outcome for all involved.

    Web Video 
  • Marble Hornets: Jay and Tim's adventures off camera are a common topic, as well as the cast's college adventures.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • The two weeks Hyper Fangirl had Critic captive. Later episodes allude to trauma over it, the few allusions to what she did mostly involve torture or forced romance, and Malcolm has joked that Benny might have a crush on Critic as well.
    • Hyper's later relationship with Devil Boner is extremely popular among fans. Their early dating life, general domestic life, and the details of their wedding is a source of fun speculation (especially after the reveal that Benny lived with them as well).