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Mythology Gag
aka: Mythology Gags

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Webby's original design used as a weapon by Magica De Spell.

Liu Kang: Are we the Deadly Alliance?
Raiden: That is Kronika's deception.
Liu Kang: Or a recipe for Armageddon.

A Mythology Gag is a reference to past iterations of a work that are explicitly not Canon to the work in question. A meta-Continuity Nod, if you will. Often seen in Reboots or Series Franchises when an element from the previous version is referenced or seen in some way, usually as an acknowledgment to fans of earlier incarnations. When successful, it serves as a reassurance to those fans that the producers aren't trying to disrespect the original source material. When unsuccessful, it only reminds fans that the original source material essentially never happened.

This trope is usually taken largely as a bit of gratuitous humor, since if the program you're watching is "real" then the characters shouldn't be thinking in terms of any continuity, alternate or otherwise. Sometimes this will be lampshaded by the characters, who wonder how they could possibly know such a thing. Also, the Celebrity Paradox might come into play.

See Remake Cameo for when the Mythology Gag involves actors from the original production. Compare Continuity Nod, Discontinuity Nod, Recurring Element, I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine, Actor Allusion, Continuity Cameo, Company Cross References, Ascended Meme, Meet Your Early-Installment Weirdness (when taken a step further) and Shout-Out. Contrast Development Gag, which references things that would have been part of the work but were left out halfway through production, and Early-Bird Cameo.

Remember, it's only this if the events happened in a different continuity. Otherwise, it's a Continuity Nod or a Call-Back.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • The Sistine Chapel, the physical building itself, has the same dimensions (40.9 meters long by 13.4 meters wide) as the Temple of Solomon does in The Bible. This reinforces one of the main theses of the Chapel: to demonstrate that the Christian tradition flows directly from the teachings of Judaism.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Animated Adaptation (and its non-canon chibi Spin-Off) of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi often references novel events that aren't present in the adaptation.
    • Wei Wuxian flips through his old notebook that Lan Wangji kept and briefly pauses to admire his flower bookmark. This is a reference to the flower bookmark Lan Wangji uses in the novel, which is hinted to be given to him by Wei Wuxian from one of the multiple instances he threw flowers at him.
    • In the final episode, the protagonists return to a cottage in the mountains that's implied to be a home they live in outside of Gusu. In the novel, Wei Wuxian mentions multiple times his dream of retiring in a house in a secluded area to live a rural life with Lan Wangji.
    • One episode of the spinoff has Lan Wangji and Lan Xichen trying out Wei Wuxian's food "suggestions" (such as eating lotus seeds from a lotus pod that has its stem intact). This references the novel extra chapter "Lotus Seed Pod", where Lan Wangji asked his brother about the food suggestions during their training session and later looked for fresh lotus pods so he could try them out.
    • The chibi Spin-Off twice brings back the Heavenly Maiden statue (a troublesome Arc Villain the cast has to defeat early in the main story) just to have characters comically beat it up.

    Mythology & Religion 


    Web Animation 
  • Albeit briefly, Animated Inanimate Battle pulled one off in the show's intro. As a nod to its pilot episode, Brain and Bouncy Ball can be seen playing poker, with the same Early-Installment Weirdness that can be seen in the pilot.
  • In Black Rhino Ranger's animated music video, "Now That's What I Call Skylanders Polka", when Kaos sings "Only got twenty dollars in my pocket", Terrafin appears in the corner and shouts "THAT'S HOW MUCH HE OWES ME!", referencing a commercial for Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure where Terrafin claims Kaos owes him money.
  • Minilife TV: The show Ian watches on the TV in the episode "Starsaber Duel" is Terry Serpent's Swimming Spectacle from Chris Salaises' old YouTube channel, chris14S.
  • The Lackadaisy animated pilot features a few nods to the original comic despite being relatively self-contained.
    • The opening poem Rocky recites is an original written by the author, and featured in this strip.
    • Mitzi reads Isadora Duncan's real-life obituary to the portrait of her late lover. The comic's primary plot is kicked off by a hidden message inside an obituary.
    • Viktor angrily retorts he has a 'very good idea' of what Rocky went through to get his alcohol, referencing his past in the comic working for Lackadaisy as a rum-runner.
    • During his Rummage Fail, Rocky tosses aside the cactus he gifted Mitzi in a non-canon side strip, later canonized by the cactus' appearance in the same car.

Alternative Title(s): Fan Wink, Mythology Gags


XMen Theme in Dr Strange 2

The introduction Charles Xavier in Multiverse of Madness includes a musical nod to the X-Men animated series.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / MusicalNod

Media sources: