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Back when Super Hero comics started in The Golden Age of Comic Books, there were no "universes" at first. Each character's adventures took place in their own little bubble. This came to an end with the first team-ups, such as the Justice Society of America, or the "war" between the original Human Torch and Sub-Mariner. Slowly, individual characters became part of a greater whole.

This, however, led to a few questions. While it might make sense that a Freak Lab Accident could increase someone's natural strength and speed to superhuman levels, the fact that million to one chances had independently gifted fifty or sixty different people (all on the same planet, no less) with different powers started to stretch Willing Suspension of Disbelief. And as the comics started appealing to an older target demographic, they started noticing such things more and more.

Thus, certain retcons were set up, changing it so that there was a reason why so many people were suddenly receiving super-powers. Essentially, this was the origin of the origins; thus, the Meta Origin.

Lightning Can Do Anything and similar tropes tend to be explained away by showing that the dangerous experience really just activated something latent, or brought one to the attention of an extradimensional force.

On a much smaller scale, this can also refer to the effect of a Retcon or reinterpretation that directly links individual character origins in ways not present in the original formulation.

This tends to be built into the world when new Super Hero worlds are created from the ground up.

A related concept is the Magnetic Plot Device, which could be considered the meta origin of all the weird stuff that happens to you. In many cases, the Meta Origin will become the Magnetic Plot Device for that particular story, although the two concepts aren't always the same.

Contrast with Fantasy Kitchen Sink, All Myths Are True. See Mass Super-Empowering Event for non-Retconned starting events providing everyone's superpowers and thus linking everyone together. See Randomly Gifted for a similar setting-wide explanation for the random appearance of powers. Can lead to Doing In the Wizard. Frequently used as part of Adaptation Distillations, as it can also simplify adaptations by tying the origins of several characters together.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • In Naruto, everything remotely powerful can be traced back to the Sage of the Six Paths. Ninjutsu? Created by the Sage’s oldest son. The powerful Uchiha and Senju clans? Descendants of the Sage. The Tailed Beasts? Was originally the Ten Tails but split by the Sage. Rinnegan? Eyes of the Sage. The Uzumaki clan? Related to Senju. The only exception is the Byakugan and the Hyuga clan, which are originated from the Sage's younger brother, Hamura, and both of them descend from the Otsutsuki clan.
  • In the Stars storyline for the Sailor Moon manga, the Galaxy Cauldron essentially functions as this.
  • In Claymore, all of the various superpowers in the series can be traced back to the dragons allied with the Organization's nation's enemies. The youma were created through experiments performed on a pair of captive dragons' flesh, and the Claymores are merely humans with youma flesh implanted in their bodies.
  • In Hellsing, almost every supernatural being seen in the series is related to Alucard. All of Millennium's vampires are simply knockoffs created with the remains of Mina Harker, one of Alucard's past victims who still retained a bit of his vampiric power. The Captain a werewolf is one of the few exceptions.
  • In Kill la Kill, every superpower is caused directly by Life Fibers, which are Starfish Aliens that feed off their hosts and want to destroy Earth so that they can spread to other planets.
  • The Powerpuff Girls anime adaptation Powerpuff Girls Z, among other liberal changes to the source material, made it so that the Powerpuff Girls, their Rogues Gallery, and several one-shot antagonists were created when Professor Utonium's son Ken fired a ray of Chemical Z at an iceberg in an attempt to fix the city's weather problem, which resulted in rays of white light striking the girls and several people, animals, and inanimate objects being exposed to black light, changing them all and giving them their powers.
  • In Jojos Bizarre Adventure, Stands have gotten this treatment not once but twice:
    • Following their introduction in part three, in which they were just sort of there, part four introduced the Stand Arrows, ancient metal arrows that granted Stands to anyone they pierced; it was strongly implied that most of the stand users encountered up to that point got their Stands from an Arrow.
    • However, there were still a few outliers, like Noriaki Kakyoin, who is stated to have had his Hierophant Green from birth, and Tonio Trussardi, who was confirmed by Word of God to have acquired his Pearl Jam through pure passion for his cooking and never encountered the Arrow at all. A second reveal in part five showed that Stands originate from an alien virus that arrived on Earth from a meteorite tens of thousands of years ago. The Arrows were made of metal extracted from that meteorite, while Stand users who had never been touched by the Arrows are descended from humans infected by the virus.

    Fan Works 
  • A Brief History of Superheroics by Lois Lane begins by explaining how in this version of the DC Universe, all the Amazons left Themyscera to aid the Allies against Ares and the Axis. After the war, the surviving Amazons became the ancestors for all the magic-based heroes and villains, while super-science was derived from studying magical artifacts used during the war.
  • More Than Enemies: Several secondary characters are descendants of Tobirama Senju, ranging from those who nearly turn Sakura into a Supporting Protagonist to those who are key parts in backstories, subplots, or both. They also owe their more outstanding skills to him and his Uzumaki wife. And that's not even counting how his status as Danzo's beloved sensei prompted the latter to track them down, thus intertwining the fates of several people.
    • Touka, his youngest daughter who was abducted by Suna in the Second Shinobi War to get their hands in Fuinjutsu and land a blow in her father. Later, they sealed Shukaku into her and renamed her Rasna. At some point during the Third Shinobi War, she was betrayed and sent to kill but survived thanks to Tsunade's teachings and Orochimaru coming to her rescue. She then moved to Konoha where she changed her name to Yuna. Several years later, she befriends Sakura. More shockingly, she is hinted to be one of Orochimaru's several moles in Konoha.
    • Chihiro, his granddaughter whose family hid in Tea Country as farmers. She inherited his grandfather’s intelligence, pragmatic lethality, and potential seeing she engineered very efficient terrace-based irrigation systems for their rice paddies and made chunin with little training and sheer determination when she moved to Konoha. She did the latter so the stuck-up Yamanaka Clan Elders would allow her to marry their heir. She mothered two daughters.
    • Charca, his grandson though a lot younger, who tried to make a living by terrorizing and stealing from Rain Country’s peasants and farmers after his mother’s demise. He recruited a gang of orphaned children and together they disguised themselves as a menacing black bear. He proved to be a prodigy in Fuinjutsu by applying his mother’s teachings to control wild animals through cloth-made seals. Shibuimaru found him and forced him to join ROOT, where he would later attempt to seize Danzo’s power.
    • Río, his grand-granddaughter and Chihiro’s daughter and originally called Inoue who was kidnapped at a young age to be trained into a ROOT agent but had a rather convoluted story with the foundation. Several escape attempts, at least twice times she was Left for Dead, an infiltration into ANBU, the grueling survival training of an entire ROOT division, and getting to be Danzo’s dragon are some of her more notable exploits. She inherited her ancestor’s knack for Water Release, stubbornness, and most of his out-of-the-box but genius thinking. Finally, she got to interact with Shibuimaru, Minato, Kakashi, and Shishui at different points in her life.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Alex's father hypothesizes the existence of a master "can acquire powers" gene that regulates if you can get powers and what those powers are.
  • The Transcendence AU has the Transcendence as a world-altering cataclysm that causes all the events of the AU, and blames a previous attempt by Bill for Gravity Falls' previous state as an Eldritch Location.

  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both Banner/the Hulk and Emil Blonsky/the Abomination gained their powers through attempts to replicate Captain America's Super Serum. Banner thought he was researching ways to resist radiation and had no idea what his superiors were really after. Emil Blonsky's version of the serum seemed to work just fine, but when the Hulk still curb-stomped him, he got greedy and demanded that he be injected with a large sample of Banner's irradiated blood, which goes horribly right.
    • Several characters are revealed to have gotten their powers from the Infinity Stones, and several powerful objects from the comics are revealed to be Infinity Stones.
      • In Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avenger, it's implied the the Arc Reactor created by Howard Stark was created by studying the Tesseract (a seemingly Asgardian artifact discovered by the Red Skull), and in turn was adapted and miniaturized by Tony Stark for his Iron Man armor, linking Iron Man to Asgard and other supernatural elements by way of the Super Soldier project.
      • Thor: The Dark World reveals that the Tesseract (the "Cosmic Cube" in the comics) and the Aether are the Space Stone and the Reality Stone, respectively, and it's heavily implied that the Asgardians can build space portals because they had the Space Stone in their possession for centuries.
      • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan the Accuser gets his enhanced strength from having the Power Stone embedded in his hammer.
      • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, The Vision and Ultron himself are all created in some form or another by the Mind Stone; Ultron achieved sentience after being connected to it, the twins gained their powers from experimentation with it, and the Vision achieved both his sentience and his energy-blasts from the Stone being embedded in his forehead.
      • The Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange contains the Time Stone, which gives it its powers.
      • The movie Captain Marvel revealed that the titular hero's powers actually were the result of her being caught in an explosion of a space engine powered by the Tesseract, meaning her powers are derived from the Space Stone.
    • In the supplementary material for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it's revealed that The Falcon's military exoskeleton was designed by Stark Industries, presumably utilizing technology similar to what is found in by Tony's Iron Man suits.
      • The weapons used by the soldiers in The Incredible Hulk were also designed by Stark Industries. In fact, the sonic weapon seems to be the big brother of the sonic paralyzer Stane uses on Tony at the start of the final act of Iron Man.
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. establishes that HYDRA was originally an ancient cult worshiping a powerful Inhuman who had been exiled from Earth. HYDRA was the proximate cause of much of the preceding: their actions led to the creation of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (later SHIELD) in response, which led to the creation of the Super Soldier Project, HYDRA were the ones who uncovered the Tesseract and began using it, uncovering the Tesseract led to Loki's invasion that created the Avengers, and HYDRA was also responsible for the creation of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (which accidentally led to Tony Stark creating Ultron). All of this can therefore be directly connected to the Kree having attempted to create supersoldiers out of humans (creating the first Inhumans) in the ancient past.
    • This version of Spider-Man got his enhanced costume and web-shooters (an upgrade from his initial homemade costume) from Tony Stark, who first recognized young Peter Parker's potential as a superhero and took him under his wing. Spider-Man: Homecoming also reveals that his enemies the Vulture, the Shocker and the Tinkerer are all part of the same gang, and that they built their enhanced gadgets out of salvaged Chitauri technology after the Battle of New York.
    • In Daredevil, Matt Murdock's costume and billy clubs are designed and built by Melvin Potter ("Gladiator"), who has also built Wilson Fisk's armor-weave suits that give him the appearance of being invulnerable. note  The "Incident" also provides a handy justification for Matt and Foggy being able to start their own law practice in New York right out of college: it turns out that an alien invasion can really bring down real estate prices, even in one of the world's most expensive cities. Likewise, the Incident doing a number to Hell's Kitchen is a handy way to explain how it's gentrification has been reversed and crime increased to a level reminiscent to how it was in the 70's.
  • The Transformers Film Series established the AllSpark as a mystical artifact responsible for the creation of Cybertron and Cybertronians, including other artifacts like the Matrix of Leadership. The AllSpark itself is a composite of various items like the Matrix of Leadership and the supercomputer Vector Sigma, and helps explain multiple transforming robot species in the galaxy that were apparently unrelated to Cybertron, such as the Junkions and Unicron (whose original origin was rather bizarre, created by a monkey scientist). The films and later incarnations of the franchise, such as the Transformers Aligned Universe, have followed suit by establishing that everything is connected to the AllSpark, or at the least the AllSpark itself is tied closely with the power of Primus, a mechanical deity.
  • Oscorp, with its mysterious "Special Projects" division, is the common thread tying together all costumed characters in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel. The company produces the genetically-enhanced hybrid spiders that give Peter Parker his abilities, and Peter eventually uses synthetic threads from the same spiders to build his web-shooters, while Harry Osborn gets his superhuman abilities from a concentrated dose of the spiders' venom. Meanwhile, Curt Connors (Lizard) and Max Dillon (Electro) are both Oscorp scientists who gain superpowers from projects gone awry, while Aleksei Sytsevich (Rhino) uses a robotic exoskeleton given to him by Oscorp. A scene near the end of the second movie even shows a pair of robotic wings and a harness of four robotic tentacles in the Special Projects vault, hinting at the eventual emergence of the Vulture and Doctor Octopus.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Eric Sacks' experiments lead to the geneses of both Shredder and the Turtles, as he apparently designed Shredder's armor in addition to synthesizing the mutagenic chemicals that mutated the Turtles.
  • In Green Lantern (2011), Hector Hammond gets his powers after accidentally becoming infected with Parallax's DNA, unlike in the comics, where his mental abilities came from a crashed meteor.
  • The DC Extended Universe uses a Kryptonian scout ship that crashed on Earth thousands of years ago as a point of reference to minimize the typical Contrived Coincidence in comic book stories. It explains how Krypton knew of Earth in the first place, and when Clark finds the ship it sends out a beacon that fellow Kryptonian General Zod was able to track back to Earth. In the comics, Doomsday appeared in The Death of Superman initially without an origin, but was later given a complex backstory as a genetically engineered Living Weapon originating from Krypton in the distant past, bounced around from one planet to another before crashing on Earth and remaining dormant until the modern age. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice the "Kryptonian Living Weapon" premise is more or less intact, but Lex Luthor creates him using the database and technology within the scout ship to reanimate General Zod's corpse, also creating a Composite Character.
  • Godzilla:
    • In the rebooted Heisei continuity, Rodan is explicitly established as a surviving Cretaceous-era dinosaur (well, pterosaur...) mutated by nuclear radiation, just like Godzilla and Anguirus. The Heisei version of King Ghidorah is also born in the same nuclear explosion that created Godzilla (via Time Travel), and the Heisei version of Mechagodzilla is built by the UNGCC from the remains of Ghidorah's mechanized body (long story...).
    • In the Alternate Continuity film Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!, Mothra, Baragon and King Ghidorah are reimagined as a trio of supernatural "Guardian Monsters" tasked with defending Japan through the ages. Mothra is the Guardian of the Sea, Baragon is the Guardian of the Earth, and Ghidorah is the Guardian of the Sky.
  • Mortal Kombat (2021) explains that most of the superhuman special moves displayed by the characters in the games (Liu Kang's fireballs, Kung Lao's teleportation, Sub-Zero's ice powers, Sonya's energy rings, Kabal's Super Speed, ect.) are arcanas, special abilities granted to those who bear the dragon mark on their skin.

  • In and by Andy Briggs, the six Core Powers qualify, all other superpowers in existence being only twisted and weakened descendants of the Core Powers. One is a Time Master ability, one is a Gravity Master power, and the third known gives power over life and death.
    • On a lesser level, the titular websites for Downloaders, since they don't have powers permanently like Primes, and have to absorb them through the internet.
  • In Salman Rushdie's Magic Realism novel Midnight's Children, 1001 babies born at midnight on the day that India achieves its independence gain low-level superpowers. One can reverse gender, another can teleport through bodies of water, and the main character can smell disaster and other things no one can smell. They're also all able to maintain telepathic contact with one another, and try to form a sort of national congress (it fails miserably).
  • In the classic pulp horror novel Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson, all the monstrous creatures of worldwide myth and legend (and most of the evil in the world) spring from Homo lycanthropus, a werewolf-vampire species of "witch men" who have lived secretly alongside "real men" since prehistoric times and can interbreed with Homo sapiens.
  • Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Family concept posited the Wold Newton meteorite as a source of mutation, which, while generally not producing metahumans, produced an extended family including Tarzan, Doc Savage et al.
  • Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series reveals that the existence of so many mythological creatures on the world of Gramarye is due to the presence of "witch-moss," which can be psychically shaped.
  • In the Wild Cards book series, all human supers get their powers via infection with the Wild Card virus. This also explains why so damn many of them live in New York City; that's where the virus was originally released.
  • In Wearing the Cape, all superhumans are "breakthroughs"—individuals who's powers manifested in response to great physical stress or emotional trauma. Superhumans themselves began appearing in the aftermath of the Event (a worldwide phenomena where every living person experienced complete sensory deprivation for 3.2 seconds), but neither the Event nor the source of superhuman powers is ever explained.
  • In Dark Life, living at the high pressures of the undersea homesteads gives people "Dark Gifts".
  • In The Grimnoir Chronicles books by Larry Correia, all powers come from a vast cosmic entity known as ...well, The Power.
  • In Perry Rhodan, while humanity has branched into environmentally adapted strains (usually making people stronger, hardier or even smaller), there also exist people with psionic powers called mutants, as they literally are just that. In the early years, most known mutants were born in 1946 with the implication that they were a result of the nuclear bombs used in 1945. Later, after they finally died off, an evil overlord tried breeding super-soldiers, but was thwarted and removed from power. Several generations later, the descendants of the test subjects showed a high chance of being totally color-blind (unable to discern colors at all), while exhibiting mutant powers as well. Unfortunately, after just one arc, most of these were killed off again by a power trying to take a shortcut to becoming a super-intelligence.
  • In The Cosmere, everything ultimately boils down to the planet Yolen and its god, Adonalsium, which got shattered by sixteen Yolenians. Those eventually took up pieces — Shards — of Adonalsium, becoming divine themselves, and evacuated humanity (or started it anew) to other planets. Shards' magic then mixed with local supernatural "climate", creating Cosmere's various magic systems — not to mention that Shards themselves are initiators of most of Cosmere's plots.
  • In Sanctioned, there are genetic markers that indicate a person might develop super-powers. Not everyone who has those markers develops powers, but no one can develop powers without them. In Scotland, potential sixteen-year-olds are taken to a state-run school for the government to try and unlock the powers and then teach the youths to control them. So far, there seem to be two theories about the origin of the powers: the Harrington theory (God did it) and the Benoit theory (we don't know the science, yet, but we know it wasn't God).
  • The Weerde was a series of two books by the Midnight Rose Collective, in which most supernatural beings were actually members of a race of shapeshifters called the Weerde (a sort of play on "weird" and "were").
  • The Star Trek Novel Verse revealed just why the Star Trek universe is filled with arsehole godlike reality-warping aliens. A race called the Manraloth tried (to cut a long story short) to foster universal peace and accidentally forcibly ascended the entire sentient population of the galaxy, all at once. Most died, and many of the survivors weren't ready for the experience and developed Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • In Worm, parahumans gain their powers through a process called a "trigger event," where the individual goes through a highly traumatic experience and gains superpowers from it. The reasons for this, and for disruptions in the pattern (such as Case 53s, or inhuman parahumans, and extremely powerful parahumans such as Scion and the Endbringers) are major plot points later in the story.
    • All superpowers (include the Super Serum variants created by Cauldron) come from pieces of vast extra-dimensional beings often called "passengers" or 'agents'. One of these beings is Scion, the first "parahuman" to come into existence; the other one giving powers to humans has been harvested by Cauldron for the power-giving shards to turn into their Super Serums.

    Live Action TV 
  • Where The DCU has the Speed Force, Power Rangers has the Morphing Grid. In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the series' first incarnation, it was a term frequently tossed out in technobabble but never defined. Dusted off over a decade later, it seems that all Rangers, whether their apparent power source is magic, technology, Green Rocks, or some combination thereof, are actually powered by a connection to the Grid. The Grid is potentially explained in Power Rangers RPM (that's season seventeen) to be an energy field produced by the bioelectricity of living beings, but RPM never acknowledges it by name (it was described as a "grid" so we're assuming it's the Grid) and takes place in a separate universe from the rest. In any case, it's still not explained how the various apparent power sources and the Grid interact with each other.
    • Fanon suggests that the morphing powers tap into the grid to access the uniform and weapons, it is sort of a canon Hyperspace Arsenal. The Grid doesn't necessarily supply the power to the morphers but it instead channels that power into what they need. That's why the different teams with wildly different power sources can all use the morphing grid, you just need to figure out how to channel the grid abilities. This also explains why in team-ups, the power-ups and weapons are easily compatible with other teams. There are other characters within the franchise that can "Morph" without being called Rangers, such as Masked Rider and (debatably) the Magna Defender.
  • All the superpowers on Heroes supposedly come from certain people evolving a sort of "superpower gene," like in X-Men. However, a few scenes, as well as some Word of God comments, suggest there might be a quasi-religious aspect determining which people are granted which powers.
    • A two-parter in season 3 attempted to retcon an explanation that an eclipse was what caused the characters' latent powers to emerge, with another eclipse taking those powers away. Completely neglected is the fact that many characters had been using their powers before the first eclipse.
      • Word of God has suggested that an eclipse just marks some sort of significant event for people with powers and that this happens with every eclipse.
  • Similar to the Morphing Grid concept, the Crisis Crossover Grand Finale of Kamen Rider Wizard introduces the Cross of Fire, which is stated to be the literal embodiment of the powers and Phlebotinum Rebel status granted to each of the Kamen Riders throughout the franchise's history.
    • This is in fact a Development Gag, as in early production the original Kamen Rider was going to be called "Cross Fire", and was a superpowered wrestler.
  • The superhumans in the TV version of Painkiller Jane were all either "Neuros" who shared a neurological aberration, or were empowered by a Neuro.
    • Also, all Neuros are, apparently, rejected test subjects of the corporation investigated in the pilot, and their powers are unintended consequences of messing with the brain. Jane, with her Healing Factor, is an advanced Neuro who can't be chipped.
  • In The 4400, everyone's powers are due to everyone getting a fifth neural transmitter, promicin, when they were kidnapped by the future.
  • In Arrow, Solomon Grundy, Roy Harper, and Slade Wilson all got their powers from a Japanese Super Serum dubbed "Mirakuru".
  • In The Flash (2014), the hero and most of his villains got their powers from a particle accelerator explosion that occurred at S.T.A.R. Labs. The lightning that struck Barry came from a cloud that had been altered by the explosion.
    • With the Speed Force still serving as an unifying factor for speedsters' powers.
  • Gotham reveals corrupt Wayne Enterprises executives engaging in twisted experiments at Arkham Asylum. This leads, directly or indirectly, to the origins of several Batman rogues.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The entirety of Exalted is one big Meta Origin, with the various types of Exalted having been literally Chosen By The Gods to receive their powers.
  • The Mutants & Masterminds setting Paragons has everyone's powers emerge in the past few years due to one source; however, that unified source is left deliberately vague, though the book heavily hints that the world of myth is leaking back into reality.
    • The setting Shards: Unsung Destiny, featured in the sourcebook Mecha & Manga, has all powers come from special crystals deposited on Earth by a comet.
    • In the Emerald City setting, despite being set in the same 'verse as the Superhero Kitchen Sink of Freedom City, most of the local metahumans had their powers activated by the Silver Storm (before then, Emerald City had the lowest meta population in the US, for sinister reasons). "Stormers" are broadly similar to Milestone's "Bang Babies".
  • In the Trinity Universe, Novas and Psions both have the same latent genetic potential that is later activated by some outside stimulus, particularly the presence of existing Novas or Psions. In Aberrant, a large number of Novas were activated by the explosion of the Galatea, and in Trinity, most Psions are activated by dunking in one of the psi-orders' Prometheus Chambers.
  • International Super Teams, the official super hero roleplaying setting for GURPS, traces powers back to the Seeders, Precursor-like aliens who uplift dead-end species by adding the potential for sapience and a racial super power (to be determined by its evolution and environmental stresses) to the species' genetic code. In the case of Earth, humanity's engineered ancestors suffered a solar radiation event which suppressed most of the Seeder genes; only intelligence evolved until another radiation event in the late 1920s reactivated the "power genes", which then began to express themselves more or less randomly from individual to individual.
  • Warhammer 40,000 ultimately traces everything back to the War In Heaven between the C'tan and the Old Ones, two races with powers bordering on Reality Warping. C'tan uplifted Necrontyr into robotic Necrons to fight for them, while the Old Ones created the Eldar and Orks to counter that. Furthermore, the war led to disturbance in the Sea of Souls that would lead to Chaos forming, which in turn led to Earth shamans deciding to band together for protection, thus creating the Emperor. Add to that the implications that the Eldar have uplifted the Tau, and the War In Heaven is behind all of 40K's factions.


    Video Games 
  • The backstory of City of Heroes involves the original Super Hero and his Rival Turned Evil opening Pandora's Box, unleashing the last four millennia of humanity's stored creativity. This was in the early 1930s, again paralleling The Golden Age of Comic Books. In the novel Web of Arachnos, it's claimed that the last time the box was opened, it led to the gods of Greek myth. But it's also said specifically that not all beings of legend were born of its power...
    • There's also "the Nuclear 90", "90 children from around the world all born in one year with an unusual mutation that gives them natural magnetic nuclear fusion reactors for hearts, and the ability to channel energy from their internal reactor for a variety of super powers." The only one of these who's currently a character in the game is the NPC Fusionette.
    • A story arc included in Issue 12 notes that the first mutants appeared after 1938, corresponding to the earliest human-controlled nuclear fission.
    • There's also the Meta Origin of the Origins themselves, and the apparent web that connects and entangles all super-powered beings — meaning that there is, apparently, a reason that going through Training from Hell doesn't give everyone superpowers, or that scientific accidents don't always cause powers...
      • Many players prefer to ignore that explanation, especially with it being shoehorned in after several years of having no explanation for how origins really work. Plus many didn't like the implication that all origins, even the Natural and Technology origins, were really all due to magic.
  • Lionheart had King Richard the Lionheart's aggressive hoarding of holy relics during the Third Crusade result in an explosion of magical energy, the "Disjunction", that caused human beings to begin manifesting magical powers, significantly altered the geography of western Europe, and turned ordinary animals into mythological beasts.
  • Most of the characters in Freedom Force got their powers from a mysterious form of energy imaginatively called "Energy X". This energy is explained as the "secret weapon" of the multiverse-spanning empire known as the Domain. Their leader, Lord Dominion, thinking that Earth, the only place he hasn't conquered, won't prove to be a challenge, orders his underlings to give Energy X to the most evil people on Earth in the hopes that they will destroy Humanity and each other. However, a rebel named Mentor steals all the Energy X canisters and tries to bring them to Earth, so he can give them to the most heroic people on Earth... only to be shot down by the pursuing fleet, causing the canisters to rain down on Earth, and giving powers to those who happened to be in their vicinity.
    • This is taken even further by the sequel, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich. At the end, it is revealed that Energy X is actually a sentient being. This was probably planned to be further explained in another sequel, but at this point that seems pretty unlikely.
    • A few of the origins are questionable. Eve may or may not get her power from Pan, for instance. Another may be getting it from a Wiccan goddess, the origin video is actually ambiguous on that point but she thinks so. And it's never explained exactly who Blitzkrieg is and where he got his powers.
      • Pan himself is an example of a character who appears to have had powers long before the Energy X spill happened.
    • Amusingly enough, the company that created Freedom Force would later go on to create Bioshock...
  • With the Alpha series, Super Robot Wars began handling this trope surprisingly well, especially when there are so many series in each Continuity which requires balancing to prevent Story-Breaker Power. Most involve Human Aliens, Ancient Astronauts and so on, but a few games will mix the different varieties of Applied Phlebotinum as manifestations of some greater, overarching power in the universe. For example, Alpha establishes that Getter Rays, The Power, Beamler, Psychodrivers, the STMC, Anima Spiritia and the Ide are all aspects of the Akashic Records, better known as fate.
    • In fact, the final Alpha game reveals the Greater Scope Villain was behind every original villain in the previous installments; additionally, all the Big Bads from the licensed series that appeared were directed into the path that led them against the heroes of Alpha.
  • Batman: Arkham City retcons Solomon Grundy's origin and ability to die and resurrect to a Lazarus Pit in the swamp near Gotham City where his body was dumped, these Lazarus Pits are part of a big scheme by Ra's Al-Ghul.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series: For season one, it's the mysterious leader of the Children of Arkham. They bring Penguin and Catwoman into Gotham, infect Harvey Dent with the Psycho Serum that sends him down the path to becoming Two-Face, and they're somehow connected to that strange, pale, giggling guy you encounter in the asylum in episode 4.

  • Many characters from Mindmistress have connected origins. Mindmistress and Forethought gained their intellect from the same source. Moodswing and members of Venegance Inc. mutated because of the same thing. Moodswing's belt and tsunami-causing rod of sea people were both created by Miraclemaker. And there's bunch of character created by mindmistress actions

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, people with the "meta-gene complex" may just manifest as a mutant (typically around age fourteen) for no known reason. However, at least a sixth of everyone on earth has this genetic structure, and yet there are only thousands of mutants. The roughly 600 mutants at Whateley Academy represent by far most of the high-school age mutants on the planet.
    • The story, "Razzle Dazzle," has villain Mephisto explain that the "meta-gene complex" almost never showed up until after governments started giving vast numbers of people "allergy shots" that were actually supposed to create super-soldiers and suggests that the "meta-gene complex" were the results of people who didn't react to the serum initially, but passed it on to their children. Then again, he also implies at the end of his story that he made much of it up for his audience of one...
  • Academy of Superheroes has the Magene, which gives one the ability to, essentially, break the laws of physics. The original holders in prehistory were powerful wizards, and the most powerful became the gods of mythology. In the modern day, the gene is far more diluted, resulting in superhumans. There are highly-detailed classifications detailing what kind and how powerful a particular individual's physics-violating abilities are.
  • In the comicbook-styled Omega universe, all superpowers (be they magic, psychic or even chi), come from the same source i.e. all humans are at least latent psychics. Omegas generally activate with a single power while mages use rituals to temporarily access their dormant psychic talents. The gods in the setting didn't create humanity, it was the other way around.
  • Some of the proposals for the SCP-001 article of the SCP Foundation are about what's caused the Foundation universe to have so many paranormal entities and phenomenon. Two of them also provide origins for several of the groups involved in the paranormal, including the Foundation itself.

    Western Animation 
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • While much less overarchingly-celestial in origin, Superman: The Animated Series tended to interlink the origins of various characters that were previously not related in-comics, making for stronger continuity: For instance, rather than being made by an unaffiliated scientists, Metallo and Bizarro are now the direct creation of Lexcorp (though the latter was true in the comics canon as of John Byrne's Post-Crisis Man Of Steel reboot). Brainiac is portrayed as a Kryptonian computer system with a direct link to the end of that world, rather than being an unrelated alien that just happens to stumble across Earth. Toyman's origin is now the result of the actions of Intergang, which itself became a pawn to Darkseid's schemes, and so on.
    • Batman: The Animated Series did the same thing with a few characters, such as having The Creeper gain his powers after being dumped into a vat of chemicals by The Joker.
    • Justice League explicitly ties the origins of Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter to the same alien invasion that leads to the formation of the Justice League, since both characters made their debut in that show without prior introduction. Diana chooses to leave Themyscira to aid the people of "Man's World" against the invaders, refusing to remain safe in the Amazons' island refuge while innocent people die; J'onn J'onzz is a veteran of the invaders' earlier war with the peaceful Martian race, who escapes to Earth to warn humanity about their return, and he's the Last of His Kind because the invaders slaughtered his people. Note that Green Lantern and Hawkgirl don't get this treatment, instead being examples of Remember the New Guy?. note 
    • In Static Shock, all of the original characters' powers can be traced to the Big Bang, when a container of mutagenic Quantum Vapor exploded during a gang riot. The resultant mutated individuals became known as "Bang Babies".
  • The 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series has the science of "Neogenics", which is basically the science of applying LEGO Genetics to an existing life-form (why take years to grow your super-mutant to adulthood when you can zap someone who is already an adult?) in a process that involves a kind of radiation. The spider that bit Peter hadn't been zapped by generic radiation, but with a "neogenic recombinator". Neogenics goes on to be responsible for the transformations of Lizard, Scorpion, Vulture, and Morbius, mostly preserving their comic-book origins but pulling them together in a way that makes it a bit more plausible than a bunch of Million to One Chance accidents.
    • Interestingly, Morbius is the only vampire created by the "mix human and bat DNA" method; Blade and his enemies appear to be the supernatural real deal. However, vampire queen Miriam ( Blade's mom has moved up in the world, hasn't she?) is more than happy to "borrow" the Neogenic Recombinator and mass-produce Morbius-like vampires.
    • Also, in the "Six Forgotten Warriors" arc, attempts at recreating Captain America's Super Serum were responsible for five other Golden Age heroes (the Destroyer, the Whizzer, Miss America, the Thunderer and the Black Marvel) as well as Black Cat, and even Omega Red from the X-Men: The Animated Series cartoon.
  • Similarly, The Spectacular Spider-Man: Many of the previously unconnected villains now related back to Oscorp (just like in the Ultimate Universe): Dr. Octopus worked as a brilliant scientist and inventor who works at Oscorp, Toomes became the Vulture because Oscorp stole his technology, Sandman and Rhino get their powers from Oscorp experiments, Shocker gets his suit as the result of Norman Osborn's machinations, and so on. Interestingly, one of the few major villains in the series whose origin was related to Oscorp in the comics universe, Tombstone, has a criminal-working relationship with the company, and nothing more.
    • Spectacular also makes use of the ESU genetics lab: For one thing, it's where Spider-Man himself got his powers. Then there was an electrical freak accident that created Electro, which in turn affected Doc Connors' Lizard serum. Miles Warren later used the Lizard serum research in order to give Kraven powers. And to top things off, the symbiote later known as Venom was to be studied in the lab (just like in the Ultimate Universe), too. But since ESU is a subsidiary of Oscorp, it all amounts to the same thing.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), both Venom and Carnage are genetically-engineered from samples of Spider-Man's blood, while the Rhino, the Lizard and the Vulture are all products of Doctor Octopus. Additionally, the Awesome Android is a S.H.I.E.L.D. project created by Curt Connors, and Deadpool is a former S.H.I.E.L.D. trainee and protege of Nick Fury. Or at least, claims to be.
  • In Avengers Assemble, The Falcon's wings and costume are actually a suit of Powered Armor he made with help from his teammate Tony Stark.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (2009):
    • Nitro is a mutant rather than the product of Kree experimentation like he was in the original Captain Marvel comics.
    • The Wendigo is also introduced as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt at recreating the Super Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. In the comics, the Wendigo was the product of an ancient Indigenous curse.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures:
    • Likewise, this show makes the Extremis formula into an another attempt at recreating the Super Serum, even though they're entirely unrelated in the comics.
    • It also establishes Doctor Doom's Powered Armor as something engineered from Makluan technology, much like the Mandarin's rings. Likewise, the Grey Gargoyle is reimagined as one of the Makluan's guardians, rather than a human scientist who gave himself superpowers.
  • Season 2 of Young Justice (2010) introduced the concept of the metagene into animation, with the explanation that a small percentage of the human race possessed the genetic potential to develop superpowers in times of duress. Static, Neutron, and Captain Ersatzes of the four Canon Foreigner Superfriends all got their powers from metagenes, as opposed to the comics, where they all had separate and wildly different origins.
    • Another, minor example was Bumblebee. In the show, she was the sidekick of the Atom and got her Sizeshifter powers from the same white dwarf star matter that her mentor used.
    • Beast Boy manifests his abilities after getting a blood transfusion from Miss Martian.
    • Matt Hagen was transformed into Clayface after being trapped in Ra's Al Ghul's Lazarus Pit for too long.
    • The show's tie-in comic provides a coherent Meta Origin for the various Killer Gorilla characters DC has (Monsieur Mallah, Gorilla Grodd, Ultra-Humanite, and Congorilla) by establishing that they were all part of a troop of gorillas that had been captured and experimented upon.
    • In season 3, the same meteor that gave Vandal Savage his powers also mutated his genes to create the first metagene. Therefore, as he passed it down to so many children throughout time, he became the ancestor to every metahuman in the present day. Season 4 continues the trend with the reveal that he founded Atlantis and was also the ancestor of the magical humans known as Homo magi.
  • The Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Heart of Evil" reveals that Blue Falcon and Dynomutt were originally a security guard and a guard dog (respectively) at the facilities of Quest Labs, and that Dynomutt got his robotic enhancements as a life-saving measure from Dr. Benton Quest after he nearly died defending the lab from Dr. Napoleon Zin. Though never outright stated, it's heavily implied that Blue Falcon's gadgets were also originally Quest Labs hardware.