Follow TV Tropes

This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Following

God Never Said That

Go To

"I really didn't say everything I said."
Yogi Berra

When there are important gaps in a work's Canon, there are a few ways that they can be filled in (short of within the work proper, which would just be additional Canon):

  • Sometimes, creators say stuff about important gaps in canon. This is Word of God.
  • Sometimes, people close to the creator say stuff about important gaps in the canon. That's Word of Saint Paul.
  • Advertisement:
  • If Word of neither God nor Saint Paul is available, fans will often make stuff up themselves to fill in important gaps in canon. This is Fanon.
  • And sometimes, people just make stuff up, and falsely attribute it to the creators or the original canon (sometimes unintentionally). Many who hear this type of information don't usually realize that God Never Said That.

This is about that last one.

Subtrope of "Common Knowledge" and Mandela Effect. God Never Said That differs from Beam Me Up, Scotty! in that the latter is about things characters never said or did, while this one is more about lore and behind-the-scenes trivia. Compare Urban Legends and Pop Culture Urban Legends, which propagate themselves by similar means.

This is occasionally what happens when the line between Fanon and Canon is blurred.

Advertisement:

Note that while God's words can fall victim to this trope, it also applies to human authors who are gods of the worlds they create.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • Ultimate Spider-Man editor Axel Alonso fell victim to this when, addressing the controversy over the new lead Miles Morales, stated that maybe one day a gay character could even be introduced without it causing an uproar. This caused mass speculation that Miles Morales was going to be both mixed and gay, and that his best friend Ganke was going to be his love interest. This had to be debunked multiple times just because one quote got taken out of context.
  • This image made the rounds on Tumblr, purporting to be a Take That! from Archie Comics's Sonic comic at the new character designs in the Sonic Boom cartoon and games. Actually, it was part of a fan-produced comic distributed at a British Fan Convention dedicated to Sonic the Comic - the animal showing Sonic his Boom design is a fan character created by one of the convention's Kickstarter backers, and Sonic's indifference to the Boom design is consistent with his characterization in that comic.
  • Former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada is said to have defended the critically panned One More Day storyline and his own role in it by saying something to the effect of "Fans can't relate to Spider-Man having a hot wife; they can relate to Aunt May walking in on Spider-Man downloading porn," among other statements indicating that he does not have a high opinion of his public. These statements have never been sourced.
  • Even on this Wiki there were quotes that, at a convention, one of the writers said Amy and Tekno from Sonic the Comic were a couple. This quote doesn't exist.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast is never given a name in the film, though many fans will tell you that he's called "Adam" in the commentary. Actually, the commentary just mentions that they forgot to give the Beast a name. Even though "Adam" has sneaked its way into into a small handful tie-in media, such as a computer trivia game called The D-Show, the Beast continues to not have an official name with Disney continuing to make a point of calling him just "the Beast" or "the Prince".
  • Being to video games what Roger Rabbit was to classic Western animation, Wreck-It Ralph has a ton of cameos from real video game characters. A number of Nintendo-owned characters and references show up, but Mario himself didn't get a direct cameo, only a verbal reference. A rumor spread like wildfire that Mario didn't get in because Nintendo demanded too much money, and that the director said so. As it turns out, this is patently false. In a video interview (around 15:30) with FirstShowing.net, director Rich Moore debunks the rumor, positing that it grew out of a joke John C. Reilly made at Comic-Con when he said "Luigi wants more money than Mario." In reality, the creators were able to use Mario; they just didn't know what to do with him. They felt that he was too important a gaming icon for a short gag, but were unable to figure out a bigger role in the narrative that he could have, so they chose to forego him.
  • The voice actress for GoGo Tomago from Big Hero 6, Jamie Chung, stated that she thinks that GoGo's name is "something plain, like Ethel, Marge or Patty". This quickly warped into "GoGo's VA said that her real name is Ethel".
  • The Lion King:
    • It's been circulated that someone on the The Lion King II: Simba's Pride team clarified on Facebook that Zira adopted Kovu and that Kovu is an orphan, but no quote exists. This confusion probably exists because of a separate, similar quote: The film's director, Darrell Rooney, has noted on Facebook that Kovu isn't Scar's son (something mentioned in the film itself).
    • It's been repeated in the fandom that Kiara's scrapped twin brother Chaka was engaged to a female cub named either "Timira" or "Kirijah". Despite this, there's never been any source on this info and no one involved on the project seems to remember her. The closest source listed is a "Dan T. Guyton" but no one by that name worked on the film.
    • Producer Don Hahn once made an off-hand statement in an interview that was misconstrued and widely spread through clickbait headlines as a claim that Mufasa and Scar weren't actually brothers, causing an uproar over such a blatant Retcon. What he actually said was that in real life, Mufasa and Scar would not be brothers because of how actual lion prides operate (related male lions drive each other out for control of the pride, and will kill each other's cubs to ensure that only their genetics are spread). This context was dropped when reported on, and director Rob Minkoff had to clarify that Mufasa and Scar are indeed brothers.
  • Despite claims otherwise, no one at Disney has said that Lady is in heat during Lady and the Tramp and that the strays that attack her were trying to rape her.
  • Frozen:
    • In 2015, director Chris Buck jokingly claimed that he likes to think King Agnarr and Queen Iduna survived their shipwreck, ended up in the jungle and became Tarzan's parents. Many fans took this as canon, even though it's not really consistent with the two films' details (Tarzan's parents look different from the king and queen, they escaped from a burning ship, not just a sunken one, the time periods don't match up, and they already had baby Tarzan with them, whereas Queen Iduna showed no sign of being pregnant when she and the king left on their voyage). Those who spread this statement as proof of that this theory was true also conveniently left out that Buck went on to say that he imagined that the films also take place in the same continuity as Surf's Up, a film from Sony Animation also directed by Buck, demonstrating that it was meant in jest, since it would otherwise probably result in a legal disputes, given that two different studios are involved. In 2019, Buck finally confirmed that his comment was only meant as a joke.
    • A persistent belief among some fans, due to an alleged "leak" from an early screening, is that Frozen 2 originally had a deeply Bittersweet Ending with Elsa Killed Off for Real instead of only suffering a Disney Death, but that the ending was changed after test audiences disapproved. There has been no hint of this whatsoever from either the Walt Disney Company or the movie's creative team.
Advertisement:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gene Roddenberry has been cited as declaring one Star Trek movie or another as Canon Discontinuity. The closest he got was disapproval with most any movie that wasn't Star Trek: The Motion Picture and calling Star Trek V: The Final Frontier's canonicity "uncertain". And even then, it tended to be just minor elements. For example, he reportedly disapproved of a "No smoking" sign being visible on the Enterprise bridge in one of the films. Nevertheless, to this day there are fans absolutely convinced that he declared this or that film as non-canon.
  • George Lucas has occasionally, and admittedly, changed his mind about some things about the Star Wars saga (which, let's be fair, is a saga that has gone on for several decades), but he has gained a largely unfair reputation of shifting his ground willy nilly about every topic under the sun which is based on a combination of misquotes, false rumors, and misunderstandings of things he actually did say.
    • There have been claims that George Lucas is all over the place with regard to the canonicity of the Expanded Universe, alternating between calling it canon and not. Actually, he's been pretty consistent in calling it an alternate universe. This was later rendered irrelevant after Disney's purchase of the franchise, as they relegated the entire Expanded Universe as non-canon unless otherwise stated (and the entirety of said universe designated with the "Legends" tag).
    • Lucas supposedly changes his position on how many movies there were originally supposed to be every other week. The official position is that, at his most ambitious, he wanted twelve, but, realizing it was unfeasible, decided on nine. At some point very early into the original trilogy he realized that he did not want to make nine movies, and incorporated the sequel trilogy into Return of the Jedi. In interviews he refers to his planning process in all its stages, leading to the confusion.
    • There were rumors that he said Jar-Jar Binks died on Alderaan, which he publicly dismissed.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe, being an extremely large franchise known for making not-well-known-characters into the stars of multi-million-dollar, blockbuster films, is constantly plagued by this — especially because it makes good clickbait. Nathan Fillion will cameo as Ant-Man in The Avengers! note  Adam Warlock will be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! note  Phil Coulson will return in Iron Man 3/Captain America: The Winter Soldier/Avengers: Age of Ultron/Ant-Man/Captain America: Civil War! note  The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Defenders will be in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame / Kevin Feige has said the TV and Netflix characters aren't ever coming to the movies! note . Spider-Man: Far From Home had an out of context Mythology Gag from a trailer that was misconstrued to make it seem like the MCU was changing its Earth 199999 designation to the comic universe's Earth 616 which wasn't true. note  And so on.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • The franchise is referred to by that name by many people... except by Warner Bros. and DC Comics themselves. It turns out the name was a joke that came from an article written by Keith Staskiewicz for Entertainment Weekly in July 2015. It's only two years later that Abraham Riesman of Vulture learned from DC Films executives that it's not the official name for that shared universe. It didn't prevent some of the people involved like Ezra Miller from referring to it by that name or "DCEU". WB themselves usually use "DC Films" which is the official name of the subsidiary of the studio headed up by Walter Hamada and his team. However, HBO Max refers to it as DC Extended Universe since early 2020, so it became official somewhere.
    • Between November 2017 and May 2020, a number of fans assumed that there was a completed director's cut of Justice League that was ready to be released based on comments by Zack Snyder, while others made more educated guesses that it wasn't one hundred per cent finished.note  In actuality, Snyder mentioned that there were multiple cuts but none of them had totally completed VFX and post-production work. When it was finally confirmed in May 2020 that Zack Snyder's Justice League would be released on HBO Max, the release date was slated for 2021 to allow time to complete the effects and other needed post-production work.
  • Very early on, it was rumored that Matt Reeves' The Batman would be a Period Piece set in The '90s, and this became such a ubiquitous talking point that many websites began reporting it as fact. However, Reeves himself never said that; the idea that the movie was set in the 90s began due to fans assuming it would be a prequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Robert Pattinson merely playing a younger version of Ben Affleck's Batman from the previous movies. However, as time went on, it became increasingly likely that The Batman would either be set in a standalone continuity or serve as a Continuity Reboot of sorts, and Reeves eventually Jossed the whole 90s theory when saying it would explore what Batman would be like if he'd been conceived in the present day. In the film itself, it's quite obvious it's meant to be set in the present day, since smartphones, the internet, and live-streaming are all relevant to the plot.
  • It's a very common misconception that Spy Kids and Machete take place in the same universe. Except they don't. All that was ever said about the films being connected was Danny Trejo jokingly stating it in one interview, saying that "Machete Cortez in Machete is what Machete Cortez in Spy Kids does when he's not taking care of the kids." Robert Rodriguez shut down this theory by stating in a Reddit AMA that Spy Kids and Machete are separate universes.
  • Pulp Fiction:
    • Fanon holds that the person who keyed Vincent's car, which he complains to Lance about, was Butch, having motive (being insulted by Vincent but unable to fight him because of Marsellus). All it takes is a bit of Fridge Logic to disprove this: How would Butch know which car is Vincent's? Further proof is fleetingly provided during Vincent & Lance's discussion: Vincent begins the conversation by saying, "You know what happened the other day?", which given that Vincent and Butch first interacted with each other only that morning, rules Butch out as the doer. Nobody even bothered to ask Quentin Tarantino about that little story detail before it started circulating.
    • The fan theory that the briefcase contains Marsellus Wallace's soul is sometimes misattributed to Tarantino himself.
  • No one involved in the production of Jurassic World ever said that they were giving the second and third film the Canon Discontinuity treatment, and in fact, the viral marketing of the film heavily referenced the events of those two films. This didn't stop many reviewers from erroneously stating that the fourth film had erased the previous two sequels from existence, to the point where some viewers even complained that the filmmaker's were contradicting themselves when the latter sequels directly referenced those films.
  • No one involved in the production of Jurassic World: Dominion said that it would be the last film of the franchise. What Trevorrow did say is that it will conclude the character arcs of the stars from the original series (Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler and Dr. Malcolm) and the World series (Owen and Claire), which meant that it could effectively be considered the end to that era of the series. However, both he and producer Frank Marshall have independently confirmed that there are plans to continue the series beyond Dominion, albeit with different human protagonists.
  • The press release for No Time to Die announced that the new 007 would be played by Lashana Lynch, a black woman. This led to accusations of Affirmative Action Legacy and/or outright racism and misogyny from the social media peanut gallery. The studio (as well as people with basic reading comprehension) had to clarify that it didn't say she was becoming James Bond. Rather, Bond had retired from active service at the very end of Spectre, and she was assigned his former agent number.

    Jokes 
  • Reportedly Josef Stalin was once asked, at one of his conferences (Tehran or Yalta) with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, how he knew that he would become ruler of the Soviet Union. Stalin says that God came to him in a vision and told him so (let's forget he was a staunch atheist for the purpose of the joke, or say he said so jokingly). FDR turns to Stalin, and says, "Now wait a minute Joe, I never said any such thing!"

    Literature 
  • Plenty in the Harry Potter fandom:
    • There used to be a rumor about a gratuitous sex scene in the last book. Everyone heard that rumor (from everyone else), and all the sources claimed to have heard it straight from the author. A video on The Onion about Rowling including a date rape in an upcoming Potter book may have had something to do with the rumor.
    • It was rumored that Rowling had confirmed Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch / Pillar of Storge / Fortress of Shadows as the title of books six/seven. She responded by suggesting Harry Potter and The Toenail of Icklibogg.
    J.K: I am trying very hard not to feel offended that anyone thought this was possible. 'Storgé', for crying out loud. Come on, people, get a grip.
    • There was an article Harry/Hermione shippers would sometimes cite which claimed Rowling had said Harry would develop "more of an interest in pal Hermione" in book 5. Nobody was able to trace this to an actual interview, and it ended up being Jossed. More information here.
    • Rowling never said that she may have subconsciously let the name "Harry Potter" from the Troll series seep into her story, regardless of what Phelous or any number of other people may tell you. What she actually said is that she took the name "Potter" from a family she was friends with as a child, and "Harry" simply because she has always loved that name.
    • In 2016, she published a story about how there are eleven prestigious Wizarding schools in the world but explained that are plenty of smaller ones as well. Some people have squabbled with the fact that Europe has three but while the continents of Africa, South America, and North America have one each. Japan has one as well, leaving four of those locations unknown. She never said that there were no schools in say, continental Asia, just that there wasn’t one with a storied history while also leaving the door open for one (or more) of the undisclosed schools to be there.
    • There's a quote floating around on the Internet which confirms the fanon belief that Nagini is the snake Harry set free from the zoo, specifically "Yes, it’s rather funny, really, that next to no one realized the snake that Harry set free in Philosopher's Stone turned out to be Voldemort's final Horcrux, Nagini." It's completely untrue. There's also a scientific hole in the theory, incidentally. Harry set a boa constrictor loose, which in the movies, was a Burmese python. Neither one is venomous or has fangs. Nagini is and does.
    • There are persistent rumors that Rowling said "In a fight between a wizard and a muggle with a shotgun, the muggle will win every time." This quote has never been traced, and whether muggles or wizards would win is a continuing debate.
    • Rose/Scorpius Shippers will often claim that Rowling has confirmed that Rose and Scorpius eventually ended up together. She hasn't.
    • A really old one that people love to misquote, but Rowling never actually said that people were delusional if they ship Harry/Hermione; that was the owner of Mugglenet.com, Emerson Spartz.
    • In February 2014, Rowling gave an interview where she commented that Ron and Hermione would have a rocky relationship, but probably be happy after marriage counseling. A preview of the interview took that section out of context, and the press quickly twisted it into "Rowling says she should have put Hermione with Harry instead of Ron" (Harry was barely even mentioned in the interview). Naturally, fans then twisted this into "Word of God has declared that Harry and Hermione are actually canon, Distant Epilogue be damned." An often overlooked segment of the interview is Rowling stating that the Ron/Hermione pairing was Wish-Fulfillment on her part, Hermione being an admitted Author Avatar - the obvious implication being that Rowling herself would choose Ron.
    • Rowling is often quoted on saying that Lord Voldemort was born physically incapable of loving because he was conceived under the effects of a love potion. What she actually said was that him being conceived under artificial love is supposed to symbolise his lack of understanding for love, not that it actively caused it. In the same interview, she goes on to note that he would have turned out differently if Merope had lived and raised him herself, which instantly contradicts the often Rowling-cited notion that Voldemort was born inherently evil.
    • Certain fans are fond of accusing Rowling said that autism could be "cured" with magic. What she actually said was that magic can easily cure non-magical illnesses, but magical injuries and diseases were more difficult (which is to say, this is why a wizard can overcome the flu with a simple potion, but potentially die of dragon pox). Autism, being a developmental disorder, is not the same as an illness.
    • On the old version of her website, Rowling had an entire section called the "Rubbish Bin" devoted to debunking rumors about both herself and the Harry Potter series. It can still be viewed in archived form.
    • In another spot on her website, Rowling debunked the common belief that she'd said she originally wrote Philosopher's Stone on napkins, explaining that it was written on notepads. It didn't help that even the author biography in some editions of the books repeated the "napkins" idea.
    • Many people also seem to believe that Rowling said she had originally planned to have Hermione end up with Fred Weasley. She never did.
    • In 2019, a post by entertainment magazine Complex went viral that took something she said about Dumbledore and Grindelwald way out of context. It said she said they had an “intensely sexual relationship” which took two separate things she said and put them together. She said it was intense and that there was a sexual element to it, she didn’t say the sexual part was intense. She was accused of fetishizing it. However, if you actually watch the interview it’s from, she goes out of her way to say she’s not really interested in the sexual side, she was more interested in the clash of two equals side.
  • Many Twilight fans have claimed that Stephenie Meyer ruled out vampires being able to have children. Meyer herself claims she only said that female vampires couldn't have children but got misinterpreted. She did, however, say that all fluids in a vampire's body turn to "venom," later redacting this to all fluids except semen.
  • In one interview, Stephenie Meyer supposedly said that she was going to write a book about "time-traveling mermaids." If you listen to the clip it's clear that she's listing "time travel" and "mermaids" as ideas that she's considered, she just speaks a bit quickly so that it comes out sounding odd.
  • Due to the complicated mess that resulted in the wake of L. Sprague de Camp's additions to the Conan the Barbarian mythos, many things which were introduced with De Camp or others are mistakenly attributed to Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan. Some of these include:
    • The idea that Howard said Conan and the Hiberno-Norman warrior Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, who is stated to be 6'2" and 210lbs, were "physical doubles." This myth is even referenced on The Other Wiki. Not only is this very interesting factoid completely absent from Howard's letters, notes and stories, but the very numbers are incorrect—Cormac is a fraction of an inch over 6 feet, and 200lbs.
    • Howard's Hyborian Age is often placed in 10,000 BC, give or take a millennium or two, as established by L. Sprague De Camp in the later Conan novels and stories. In fact, Howard never dated the Hyborian Age at all, but he did date the Thurian Age (the time period of his other barbarian king Kull of Atlantis) as 100,000 BC. Calculating the centuries that pass in the "Hyborian Age" essay, one can place the age of Conan in any period from 90,000 BC to 10,000 BC.
  • The Dragonriders of Pern fandom mostly believes in the veracity of Anne McCaffrey's infamous "Tent Peg" interview, in which she states that anal penetration will instantly turn a man gay, by way of explaining how riders of green and blue dragons can all be gay). However there's no actual evidence that it's more than an internet legend. She did, however, espouse similar, if much much milder ideas in her "Renewable Air Force" essay—in which she says green dragons tend to pick males with more feminine personalities and blues tend to pick Straight and Manly Gays.
  • Happens all too frequently in the Warrior Cats fandom:
    • Often people in the fandom claimed that author Victoria Holmes said that Brambleclaw would not succeed Firestar as ThunderClan leader. In reality, she said that the leader after Firestar "might be unexpected", and noted later that her editor made her change who the leader would be.
    • She is also cited as saying that Ivypool and Bumblestripe would hook up, when she actually told a fan that they could support whatever shipping they wanted to.
    • Vicky is cited as saying that cats can't be named "Moon-" or "-moon" because the moon is too sacred to cats. It's not. Never are the characters shown worshipping the moon and the quote said the exact opposite. The real reason for this decision is that using "moon" as a prefix or suffix makes that cat seem more important or attractive than the other cats in their clan. Even this rule was abolished, with characters like "Ambermoon" being introduced in future books.
    • There are no official "naming traditions". No author has never mentioned it and it has never been stated in-universe. The only names not allowed were the before mentioned "moon" names (which later began being used) and "Hammerclaw" (Tigerclaw's original name before it was noted feral cats don't know what hammers are).
  • A common myth is that, as a toddler, J. R. R. Tolkien, known for writing The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, was bitten by a poisonous spider in South Africa, causing him to develop a phobia about them. Therefore many of his works feature giant, malevolent arachnids, including the spiders of Mirkwood, Shelob, and Ungoliant. However, this article proves the incident was no inspiration whatsoever to the spiders. In fact, Tolkien admitted to having no dislike for spiders at all and even rescued them if they fell into the bath. However his youngest son Michael was afraid of them and Tolkien took inspiration from that when writing The Hobbit.
  • Various detractors of the PRT and Director Piggot in Worm have cited a supposed quote from Wildbow saying that if Taylor had joined the Wards, discovered Sophia was also a Ward, and reported Sophia's bullying to Piggot, Piggot would have told Taylor to "suck it up". What Wildbow actually said was that Sophia would be taken off patrol, constantly monitored, and stuck on public relations duty, but because the PRT had spent months promoting Shadow Stalker as the prime example of a reformed vigilante, they wouldn't be able to take her off the Wards entirely without undoing that work.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Prior to the airing of the pilot episode for Fear the Walking Dead, the actress who played the undead Gloria gave an interview to Comicbook.com in which she believed that "everything started with Gloria". The site and many other news outlets, including Metro Newspapers, Hitfix and fansites, took this to mean that Gloria was the first walker ever created (Patient Zero), and ran stories to this effect. However, Gloria is not the first walker in the series - in the pilot, Tobias tells Madison Clark the morning after Nick's encounter with Gloria that he has heard reports of the dead coming back to life in five states, showing that the dead were reanimating before Gloria was infected. Yet, this hasn't stopped some fans from still believing this to be the case.
  • Lost:
    • The producers never said that the show would never have time travel. They once said that the then-ongoing Season Two had no time travel — and it didn't — but never that there would never be time travel. Additionally, they never stated that there was one huge clue left in the pilot — in fact, they explicitly said there wasn't, and the last one to be made significant was the single white tennis shoe Jack found. Yet this is repeated to this day.
    • In an example of "Word of Mistaken God," an excellent way to see if someone is making something up about a producer comment is to see if they attribute it to J.J. Abrams, who has had little involvement in the series since season 1, helping to set it up, write and direct the pilot, and contributing to only a very few episodes since (the last being in S3).
    • They also didn't "lie" about the Purgatory theory - The fandom mistakenly believes that they said Purgatory would never be involved in the show, and claim that the fact that the series ended in Purgatory meant that they lied; or else they believe that the characters' explanation that the Flash-Sideways and the church are Purgatory means that the entire series was Purgatory; neither of which is the case.
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was notorious because of the unpopularity of the fifth female turtle Venus de Milo, who was despised by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird so much that she was barred from making appearances in any other continuities for the rest of the duration that the franchise was in his hands. After Nickelodeon obtained the rights to the franchise, many of Venus's detractors who wished for Venus to remain Exiled from Continuity cited both co-creators hating the character as a reason for why she shouldn't return, though the other co-creator Kevin Eastman has actually stated openly in an interview after Nickelodeon's acquisition of the franchise that he actually likes the character and hopes for her to someday make a comeback.
  • Star Trek is notorious for this sort of thing, though it can get complex because often "fan-created canon" or "fanon" often overlaps with the mistaken belief that "God" originally said something-or-other.
    • Just one example occurred with Star Trek: Enterprise which raised the ire of some fans for establishing a Vulcan serving with Starfleet, when the belief was Spock was the first. Many claims were made that the series violated established on-screen canon in this regard... until members of one of the Star Trek fan forums actually went back through all the televised episodes and movies and could find no such reference to Spock being the first Vulcan in Starfleet. (In fact, the existence of an all-Vulcan ship — USS Intrepid, NCC-1631 — in the original series, in the episode 'The Immunity Syndrome', establishes that Vulcans in Starfleet are not especially new or unusual.)
    • One could write a book on all the various non-canon ideas that Star Trek fans routinely believe are canon, but one of the least talked about is a belief among fans that humans of the 24th Century have learned how to "always get along" and never fight with each other. Because of this, they tend to bash Deep Space Nine and Voyager, or even declare them not canon, because of the very concept of the Maquis, and other instances of humans fighting with humans. They cling to this even though The Next Generation never shied away from human-vs-human conflict. What Gene Roddenberry actually said was that humans have learned to rise above "petty bickering", but even he understood that there would always be legitimate issues that would cause conflict between humans.
    • This example has been referenced in mainstream press, especially around the release of Star Trek: Discovery as factual, and showrunner Aaron Harberts has discussed tossing out the so-called rule as a way of marketing the new show.
    • Among numerous other things Roddenberry supposedly said, one was that only he could create Star Trek. In this case, there is some historical basis for the quote, which was actually "It's not Star Trek until I say it's Star Trek", but in context, this quote was referencing his habit of staying up until all hours of the night re-working scripts until they met his satisfaction. As for whether or not he thought of himself as the only man who could produce "real" Trek (an argument often used to excise various films or TV series from canon), he actually had a lot to say on the subject, and while some is self-contradictory, the main message is that he neither thought of himself as the franchise's sole owner nor did he want it to die with him. He even said he hoped any new additions to the franchise after his death would be considered better than his.
    • A certain vocal section of the fandom loves to trumpet nowadays that Roddenberry "always saw Kirk and Spock as a romantic couple" or that he "would have made Kirk and Spock gay lovers if he could have", and of course, because Roddenberry "said" this, it can now be considered canon that Kirk and Spock were indeed one another's true love. This actually comes from an interview Roddenberry did with Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, two infamous "super-fans" who championed the idea of Kirk and Spock as lovers. To some, Roddenberry's answer was confirmation that he considered their story a romance. In actuality, the quote was more like Roddenberry fumbling for an answer that wouldn't offend, while not actually answering the question.
      • A side note to that was Roddenberry's footnote in his novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For some, it's confirmation that Kirk was queer and saw Spock as his lover. For others, it's an express (though non-homophobic) denial. As it says:
    Editor's note: The human concept of friend is most nearly duplicated in Vulcan thought by the term t'hy'la, which can also mean brother and lover. Spock's recollection (from which this chapter has drawn) is that it was a most difficult moment for him since he did indeed consider Kirk to have become his brother. However, because t'hy'la can be used to mean lover, and since Kirk's and Spock's friendship was unusually close, this has led to some speculation over whether they had actually indeed become lovers. At our request, Admiral Kirk supplied the following comment on this subject:
    "I was never aware of this lovers rumor, although I have been told that Spock encountered it several times. Apparently he had always dismissed it with his characteristic lifting of his right eyebrow which usually connoted some combination of surprise, disbelief, and/or annoyance. As for myself, although I have no moral or other objections to physical love in any of its many Earthly, alien, and mixed forms, I have always found my best gratification in that creature woman. Also, I would dislike being thought of as so foolish that I would select a love partner who came into sexual heat only once every seven years."
  • A common misconception about Joe Odagiri is that he hated his role as Yusuke Godai, The Hero of Kamen Rider Kuuga. This stems from a mistranslated interview, as noted here - while he does dislike Tokusatsu as a wholenote , and he disliked doing Kuuga at the timenote , looking back, he does not regret his time playing the part. The only reason that the part isn't listed in his profile on his agency's website (the removal of said part is what started the rumor) is because it wasn't his debut - Odagiri himself says that there are other roles he did at the time that aren't listed either, and since Kuuga wasn't his debut, they can't give the part special treatment.
  • Power Rangers Megaforce: Does Bigs have a powerup called "Ultra Scmultra" [sic]? No, it was actually an error made by FANDOM. In reality, that was actually an insult Bigs made, and the misspelling came from a Morphin Legacy video title.
  • Many fans of The Umbrella Academy seem to be under the impression that the creators intend to have eight seasons, in correspondence to the eight planned issues of the comic book. In actuality there is no such proof that this is the case and the only quote from the runners close to this actually imply that they're aiming for less seasons than eight.

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE: Writer Greg Farshtey used to actively invoke this in the fanbase, as he's been known to "confirm" or "reject" plausible theories in order to throw fans off the trail of his actual plans; and when called on it would point out the Exact Words in his original statements. Greg also did this in relation to the series' Universe Bible. In response to fan complaints that the franchise diminished its mystical elements (which in itself was true) and supposedly ruined its magical themes by demystifying them, he pointed out that nothing in the franchise's working notes was described as "magic". Greg would also remind fans that one of the series' main themes was characters being wrong, so their beliefs and understanding of their world didn't always reflect the writers' intent. Also, franchise co-creator Bob Thompson was often quoted saying Bionicle had been planned ahead for twenty years, with a total of seven "books" or grand story arcs. On the brand's 20th anniversary, ten years after its discontinuation, Bob clarified he never meant it literally. He had ideas that might have been enough for twenty years of stories, but apart from a few pre-planned mysteries, the story was mostly made up on the fly, with plans constantly changing. The "seven books" were just a nice-sounding concept, not something real.
  • Unfortunately true for the Nasuverse, due to the large amount of untranslated extra materials leading to certain fans making up plausible theories and passing them off as truths.

    Music 
  • A common rumor is that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails reportedly claimed that Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" is either "the perfect cover" or "better than the original". Neither is true, as he said that listening to Cash's cover was like he had lost his girlfriend because it wasn't his anymore. While this may suggest that he thinks Cash's version is superior, he goes on to clarify that the two versions are "different - but every bit as pure".
  • The following hilariously pretentious quote about the true meaning of Radiohead's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", attributed to frontman Thom Yorke, has been floating around the Internet since at least the early 2000s, despite the fact there's zero evidence he ever actually said it:
    "Street Spirit" is our purest song, but I didn’t write it. It wrote itself. We were just its messengers; its biological catalysts. Its core is a complete mystery to me, and, you know, I wouldn’t ever try to write something that hopeless. All of our saddest songs have somewhere in them at least a glimmer of resolve. Street Spirit has no resolve. It is the dark tunnel without the light at the end. It represents all tragic emotion that is so hurtful that the sound of that melody is its only definition. We all have a way of dealing with that song. It’s called detachment. Especially me; I detach my emotional radar from that song, or I couldn’t play it. I’d crack. I’d break down on stage. That’s why its lyrics are just a bunch of mini-stories or visual images as opposed to a cohesive explanation of its meaning. I used images set to the music that I thought would convey the emotional entirety of the lyric and music working together. That’s what’s meant by ‘all these things you’ll one day swallow whole’. I meant the emotional entirety, because I didn’t have it in me to articulate the emotion. I’d crack… Our fans are braver than I to let that song penetrate them, or maybe they don’t realise what they’re listening to. They don’t realise that Street Spirit is about staring the fucking devil right in the eyes, and knowing, no matter what the hell you do, he’ll get the last laugh. And it’s real, and true. The devil really will get the last laugh in all cases without exception, and if I let myself think about that too long, I’d crack. I can’t believe we have fans that can deal emotionally with that song. That’s why I’m convinced that they don’t know what it’s about. It’s why we play it towards the end of our sets. It drains me, and it shakes me, and hurts like hell every time I play it, looking out at thousands of people cheering and smiling, oblivious to the tragedy of its meaning, like when you’re going to have your dog put down and it’s wagging its tail on the way there. That’s what they all look like, and it breaks my heart. I wish that song hadn’t picked us as its catalysts, and so I don’t claim it. It asks too much. I didn’t write that song."
  • It is "Common Knowledge" that Don McLean has offered specific interpretations of his classic song "American Pie". However, aside from tacitly acknowledging its homage to Buddy Holly, the singer has always avoided doing this, leaving the interpretation up to the listener.

    Newspapers 
  • L'Osservatore Romano— a perpetual source. Just because the newspaper of Vatican City pans Avatar does not mean that the Pope condemns it. It's just a newspaper.

    Religion 
  • This happens quite frequently in The Bible, being perhaps the most translated text of all time. (for the purposes of this list, all quotations will be from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.)
  • Genesis 3, which is about the Fall of Adam and Eve from Eden, is often summarized as "the Devil tricks Adam and Eve into eating an apple".
    • Christian tradition states that Satan took the form of a snake, this is never specified in the chapter itself. However, a verse that suggests that Satan did take the form of a snake is Revelation 12:9, which says: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
    • It's also often said that the serpent had legs before God curses it for tricking Adam and Eve, but the text only states that afterwards he was cursed to crawl on his belly.
    • The periy ("fruit") is never specified as an apple (the word though is hard to translate into English as it means any plant product — fruit, grain, nuts, berries, edible leaves, etc.) — the idea of it being an apple comes from the Latin word malus, which means both "apple" and "evil"; the Apple of Discord by Eris, which led to the Judgment of Paris and The Trojan War; and John Milton's Paradise Lost, an epic poem that states that the fruit was an apple. Whether the fruit is indeed an apple or not, the point is that Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit; they ate it anyway, and didn't own up to their error.
  • Exodus 34:29 is as follows: "And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him." This verse refers to Moses as having rays of light, not horns, emanating from his face. The image of Moses having horns comes from the Vulgate, a translation of the Bible into Latin by St. Jerome, which translates קָרַ֛ן, qāran (based on the root, קָ֫רֶן qeren, which often means "horn") into "cornuta". Even so, "horned" in this context is very likely meant to mean "glorified".
    • Joseph's coat may have been "richly ornamented" or "of many colors" depending on the translation, which aren't necessarily the same thing.
    • The sea creature that swallowed Jonah is expressly called a דג גדול - a big fish. However, at the time whales were generally considered to be just a large kind of fish; the distinction between whales (which are mammals) and fish wouldn't be made for several centuries yet.
    • The Ten Commandments themselves. Aside from slight differences in dividing up the commandments between the original Hebrew and subsequent Christian versions, there are a few cases where people have deliberately tried to mistranslate or misread earlier versions, such as with the Commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill." The original word used in the Hebrew version, רצח (r-ṣ-ḥ), clearly means just murder of the premeditated kind, as in "lie in wait for innocent blood" and the like (elsewhere, the command is that murderers and other criminals are to be executed, and accidental killings are not to be punished). Capital punishment and war are clearly not breaches of this Commandment, as they're specifically authorized on many occasions.
    • And "taking God's name in vain" is a rather sparse translation. It more literally means something like "You are not to take God's name up for nothingness" i.e. don't go using it casually to back up worthless and dubious claims, or claiming God as an ally in some scheme you're trying to pull (this can especially be applied to politicians and the like).
    • The identification of Satan as "Lucifer" or "the Morning Star." This comes from Isaiah 14:12, which does not refer to Satan, but King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. His fall from power is being compared with the fall of the morning star, Venus (Lucifer in Latin). This was later lumped in with Satan's fall (itself subject to a great deal of legend).
    • The New Testament provides an example recounted within the Gospels; God gave a number of general rules, but by Jesus' time these had been analyzed and quantified into strict rules by the Pharisees. When the Pharisees tried to call Jesus on his "rule-breaking", he often explained that they had over-analyzed the letter of the law and missed the spirit completely. For example, in Matthew 12:1-2, Jesus' disciples were plucking ears of corn with their hands, but the Pharisees accused them of working on the Sabbath: "At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day". The irony is that the disciples' actions were in accordance to Deuteronomy 23:25: "When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn".
    • Despite the common interpretation, not once in the Bible does it mention that the angels sent down to Earth (e.g. Gabriel) have wings. Indeed the descriptions of them are often vague at best, describing them only by what they wore or being surrounded by bright light. The ones that are described as having wings have multiple pairs and some have eyes on their wings too... others are far closer to Eldritch Abominations. There's a set of angels in Ezekiel, for example, who take the form of "topaz wheels made of eyes", who may or may not act as Soul Jars for even stronger angels! The Winged Humanoids we know and love are a creation of Medieval European art (Rule of Cool was around even then).
      • Also, there is ambiguity about the term 'angel' itself. Occasionally it is used almost interchangeably with God himself (perhaps similar to 'avatar').note  And the more... colorful descriptions tend to use other words, such as 'seraph'. Also these descriptions take place solely in heavenly visions and revelations, and whether they are to be taken literally is highly debatable.
      • 'Angel' has such a feminine connotation in modern English, despite the fact that the only times angels have a specified gender in the Bible, it is male. This has led to the oddity of angels in general being thought of as being female, but most angel characters in works are male or sexless.
      • Speaking of angels, Gabriel is not actually an archangel. Per definition there can only be one (the word essentially meaning "the highest one of the angels"), and the Bible only mentions one by that title - Michael.
      • Also related to angels, there is absolutely no reason to think that the Bible states or even implies that humans can or will become angels after death. Unlike most misconceptions, this one is actually fairly recent as it was popularized by such things as It's a Wonderful Life.
    • Much of the conception of the Apocalypse is based on the commentaries contained in the Scofield Reference Bible. So you get ideas such as the Jews returning to Israel and expelling all non-Jews as required for Jesus to come back. Much of it was reinterpreted by televangelists, and it all went well, until America sided with Iraq (Babylon) against Iran (Persia) because America Saves the Day. The Cold War ending should've discredited it altogether, but like all memes, it won't die. Also found in the Scofield was James Ussher's chronology of the Universe, which dates Creation to the 22 of October 4004 BC. Which is still what Young Earth Creationists believe. Ignoring the obvious, not only was Ussher's chronology not the first, nor did the others arrive at the same datenote , but not even Ussher was completely literal with his derivation, having shoehorned certain passages so that Jesus was born 4000 years after Creation when the Bible does not state this.
    • The King James translation of Deuteronomy 23:17 is as follows: "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel".
    • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are, in order of appearance, Conquest (not Pestilence), War, Famine, and Death. Except that of the four horsemen, Death is the only one that is explicitly named. Conquest, War, and Famine are names given to the other three horsemen based on what they did.note 
  • Though multiple examples of the Seven Deadly Sins can be seen throughout the Bible, the seven sins are not explicitly referred to as such. The doctrine of the seven deadly sins is developed by a group of early Christians known as the Desert Fathers, who lived in about the third century A.D. It wasn't considered part of Catholic doctrine until 590 AD.
  • One important blessing of the Jewish Shaharit (morning) Service thanks God for giving "(something) the ability to distinguish day from night." In one Reform prayerbook, the "something" is translated as the mind. In one Orthodox prayerbook, the "something" is translated as the heart. In reality, it is an ancient Hebrew word for rooster, the alarm clock of the pre-Industrial era.
  • Due to the meaning of the word evolving over time, it is likely that the prohibition against cooking a kid (young goat) in its mother's milk originally banned cooking the kid in its mother's fat. That's right, to the ancient Israelites, there may not have been anything wrong with a cheeseburger, unless it was fried in animal fat. Poultry was declared meat in the rabbinical era, some time after the above line was interpreted to mean "don't mix dairy products and meat." Initially it was pareve (food that can be eaten with either milk or meat) like fish still is because birds don't nurse their young. The issue comes up frequently because kids, when learning the above line, start asking Kids Say the Darnedest Things-esque questions about how one milks a chicken.
  • The continuous argument of the creation of earth and life by God being completed in 6 Days (popularized as 7 Days). For many, religious or not, this has been interpreted as meaning: 24 hours for each day in a human's grasp of time.
  • Neither the number of magoi that come to visit the baby Jesus nor their names are explicitly mentioned. Nor were the magi explicitly referred to as kings.
    • Some early Christians (and the Western Church) think there were three magi because three types of gifts were offered. Those who do identify the magi as Gaspar, a king of India; Melchior a king of Persia; and Balthasar, a king of Arabia. On the other hand, some Eastern Churches lists up to twelve magi and have different names for the magi; the Syriac Church identifies three magi as Larvandad, Hormisdas, and Gushnasaph.
    • The word "magi" referred to a Mediterranean perception of Zoroastrians (Persian monotheists who follow the prophet Zarathustra and the god Ahura Mazda) as skilled astrologers who could control the fates. The magi were referred to as "kings" because of prophecies in the Old Testament describing that the Messiah will be worshipped by kings. One of them is Psalm 72:10-11, which reads: "The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him."

    Role-Playing Games 
  • During the Adventurers' Island Story Arc in Dino Attack RPG, PeabodySam was careful to never confirm OOC which temple was actually the Maelstrom Temple, deliberately invoking this trope to keep his fellow players from guessing his true intentions until The Reveal.
  • Within We Are All Pokémon Trainers there have been many instances of claims being made regarding statements about the WAAPTverse that have turned out to have never been said.
  • In anticipation of the release of version 3.0 of NoPixel, rumors began circulating that characters that had been killed off could return in 3.0. However, no public statement about it was ever made by the server administrators, and Koil (the server owner) later stated in a Discord voice chat that dead characters would indeed remain dead in 3.0 (for the time being).

    Web Animation 
  • Volume 5 of RWBY is already one of the most disliked seasons of the show, but some reasons that got touted shortly after release were fans claiming that they were promised the return of fan-favorite character Neopolitan and that we'd meet Pyrrha's parents, neither of which happened. The creators went on to clarify that they only said Neo would return soon; Volume 6 would feature both a dedicated subplot for Neo and a oneshot appearance by someone heavily hinted to be Pyrrha's mother.
  • Alan Moore is often said to have liked Saturday Morning Watchmen, even though no one has ever been able to provide any kind of tangible proof of this being true. Dave Gibbons did enjoy the short, and it seems like people have simply conflated this with Moore enjoying it as well.

    Webcomics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent had a huge fandom uproar when it turned out that an authorial statement in The Rant had been widely misinterpreted by the fans, leading the fandom to believe that there would be no named character deaths. This turned out to be false. The author released a statement saying that she was sorry for stringing her fans along for so long, but that the only way to debunk the rumor was to spoil the majority of the main Story Arc.

    Real Life 
  • Charles Darwin gets this a lot. Oftentimes, things that Häckel or Huxley said are attributed to Darwin. Huxley being especially notable, having earned the name "Darwin's Bulldog" vociferously defending evolution, because Darwin was too shy and too afraid to defend his theory himself. The big one is that Darwin didn't use the word "evolution" (a misnomer that has caused problems) to refer to the process he explained, though "evolved" is the last word of his book. He called it "descent with modification". Social Darwinism even has his name tacked on it, even though he was dismayed by his theories being misused in social context, in extremely unscientific ways. Even today people from both sides talk about eugenics like Darwin had anything to do with the practice, which he in fact opposed. When the idea of intentional "improvement" of humanity through selective breeding was first brought up (the term eugenics had yet to be coined), Darwin referred to it as "utopian" (as in impractical or unrealistic). It's also a concept that far predates his time, as it was advocated by Plato in The Republic based on ancient Sparta's practice for instance. Selective breeding of plants and animals is as old as agriculture.
  • This caused a stir when Halle Berry's Wikipedia page was edited with a quote from her that said "this new album will show people that [she] can do more than act". A number of news websites then reported that Berry was branching out into music, which caused Berry herself to report that she had no plans to do so.
  • With the relaunch of VH1 Classic as MTV Classic, it has been touted as being a return to MTV's musical roots. Neither Viacom, nor the MTV division itself ever made any such claims.
  • In a famous incident, Christian fundamentalists started burning Beatles merchandise when John Lennon's statement about the band being more popular than Jesus Christ was misinterpreted as them being bigger than Christ. Lennon's statement was intended as a Take That! to excessive fan worship and he would clarify "I never said we were better than Christ or greater than Christ. I'm just saying we're more popular." To this day, some have yet to be mollified. (Lennon becoming a vocal anti-theist in his later life doesn't help matters here, though he insisted he was a big fan of the man personally.)
  • Bill Gates supposedly said in 1981 "640K[B] ought to be enough for anybody.", which when the personal computer took off would eventually proved a very short number (by 2008, a computer had up to 128 GB of memory!). However, the quote seems all but apocryphal, with Gates even stating in a 2001 interview "Do you realize the pain the industry went through while the IBM PC was limited to 640K?" while adding that IBM's RAM had to be pushed up from 512K following much pressure from software developers.
  • "John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires," only he didn't really. It's telling that this quote, apparently first used by Ronald Wright, is repeated verbatim rather than anything directly from Steinbeck. The quote this is most likely based off of reads "I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist," but the context was rather different. He is talking about open socialists from affluent backgrounds and goes onto say: "Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic."
  • Ancient writers are often victims to this, since there is a lot of time for people to make up quotes. For example, the ancient Christian writer John Chrysostom is quoted as saying this about women; "What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours!" Only problem is that this quote doesn't come from any of Chrysostom's writings, but from the Malleus Maleficarum (Part I, Question VI). He cites Chrysostom's comment on Matthew xix (19), but if you check Chrysostom's comment on it (Homily LXII on Matthew), he says nothing of the sort.


Top