Follow TV Tropes


Meta Sequel

Go To

Usually, a sequel shows what happened next in the world of the original work. This trope is when a sequel or spin-off shows what happened next in a world where the original work is only fiction.

A common aspect is that although the sequel (or spin-off) is generally constrained to be the same genre as the original (otherwise, why make it a sequel?), setting it in a different world allows the creators to go as Broad Strokes as they like, and play with things not working according to the rules viewers would expect from the original.

May include an invocation of The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You, especially if it's in the horror genre.

Compare Nested Story Reveal, where part of a story is revealed within the same work to be fictional; Recursive Canon, where an earlier work in the series is real but also has an in-universe fictional work based on it; and Legend Fades to Myth, where an earlier work in the series is real but has become a legend in the time of the current work.

Unmarked spoilers ahead!


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Flash (1950s reboot): Flash Comics is only a work of fiction, and the Flash is "just a character some writer dreamed up". A fan of the comic book gains similar powers in a Freak Lab Accident, and decides to base his superhero identity on the comic book character. The choice to turn this version of the comic into a Continuity Reboot, rather than a simple revival, and make the older comic fictional in-universe, was the first step towards establishing the DC comics continuity as a multiverse, with far-reaching results to this day.
  • Solar: Man of the Atom (Valiant Comics reboot): The comic book Doctor Solar is only a work of fiction. Phil Seleski, a fan of the comic book, gains energy-based superpowers and splits into two beings, one of whom is based on Doctor Solar.
  • In Jeff Lemire's Moon Knight run, we are shown segments where Moon Knight might be a fictional comic book being adapted into a film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Emphasis is on might as the run is noted for its Mind Screw elements.
  • After Patsy Walker became the superheroine Hellcat, The Defenders established that the original Patsy Walker humour book was written by her mother and based very loosely on her and her friends.
  • When Marvel completely rewrote their Western character the Two-Gun Kid, including changing his real name, the original Kid was said to be a fictional dime-novel character who inspired Matt Hawk to take up the name.
  • Superman: Secret Identity is a 2004 Elseworld story based on the idea behind Superboy-Prime from Crisis on Infinite Earths, but executed as a standalone non-canonical story without ties to the larger DC universe. On an Earth much like our own, where superheroes don't exist but Superman comics do, David and Laura Kent decide to name their newborn boy Clark, as a homage to the fictional superhero. He is frequently bullied in school (and later in his life, at work) for his non-existent powers, and people try to jokingly hook him up with girls named Lois. One day on a weekend trip, however, the teenage Clark discovers that, seemingly out of nowhere, he has acquired real superpowers that seem to match Superman's in all aspects.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Miles Franklin wrote two partly-autobiographical novels, My Brilliant Career and My Career Goes Bung. The first is a romance about a young woman named Sybylla Melvyn attempting to establish herself as a writer. The second is a more realistic novel about a young woman named Sybylla Melvyn dealing with the consequences of publishing a partly-autobiographical novel titled My Brilliant Career — which is established to be exactly the same novel in-universe as the one Miles Franklin actually wrote, making the Sybylla of the first novel a fictional version of the Sybylla of the second novel (who is established to have a different number of siblings and other biographical details).

    Live-Action TV 

    Visual Novels 

    Web Video 
  • Twelve Hundred Ghosts is a version of A Christmas Carol where multiple adaptations are happening to the same person at the same time. Occasionally, the cast will make mention of the original novel during Scrooge's haunting.