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Patchwork Fic

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Sometimes a work is simply just a work: a video game, a novel, a television series, etc. with a single continuity to worry about. This makes creating FanFics pretty easy, since there's only one canon you're working off of. Then you have your works that are franchises, and so have multiple continuities spread out across different mediums. Still, this isn't much of a problem: just choose what continuity you want to base your fan fic on, and then you're off. But what if you want to create a story in one continuity, but find yourself attracted to character interpretations and elements that are only present in another? You stitch them together, of course! A Patchwork Fic is the term for fan fics in which the author combines multiple elements from different adaptations of the same franchise.


Other reasons for crafting a Patchwork Fic include combating particular instances of Character Derailment, or because the author really just has a particular dislike for a character, but feels that using a different version is more magnanimous than not at all. Or maybe one odd version of the character ended up being more interesting than every other, especially an Ascended Extra. Perhaps it's due to not having seen a certain adaptation of the character (the comic book version of a hero versus a television version of the hero). And in some cases, the writer just doesn't realize that the character is different in this version.

Occasionally, a particularly creative writer will adapt an otherwise unseen character into the universe he's using with what he thinks is the appropriate "mood", making it a quasi-Original Character. For example, a large amount of DC Comics fan art toys with the idea of how characters not adapted into the DCAU might look and behave if they were; the better examples of Sailor Earth fall in line with this as well.


But sometimes it's because someone becomes so saturated in the fandom that the adaptations blend together. It was even commonplace to mention in the Author's Notes if you were using an unexpected version of characters, just so purists wouldn't complain that you were mangling characterizations.

If a writer is lucky, Adaptation Decay will provide some quirks to convey one version of the character to the audience quickly. Ideally, though, this results in un-official Adaptation Distillation.

A subtrope of Acceptable Breaks from Canon. See Ret-Canon and Canon Immigrant for when this happens in canonical works. Sometimes overlaps with Composite Character.

Not to related to Patchwork Kids, which is when a child's personality and appearance are essentially just a mashup of their parents' own; or to Patchwork Story, which is when a number of short works in the same continuity are edited in order for them to fit together and form a single long work.


Examples (sorted by original medium):

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bubblegum Crisis: The Iron Age, a current work-in-progress from Eyrie Productions Unlimited, mix-and-matches versions of the Knight Sabers (and other characters) from both the original Bubblegum Crisis and its late-1990s reboot, Bubblegum Crisis: Megatokyo 2040.
  • Sailor Moon fanfic commonly mixed concepts from the original anime, manga and whatever localized adaptations the writer saw. One popular character in otherwise Original Flavour fic was the DiC English dub version of Zoisite (who, in this version, was named Zoycite). Luckily, any use was easy to convey, given this version was female, had a differently spelled name and was more bombastic and emotional.
    • Indeed, this was officially done in Sailor Moon: Another Story, which pieced together anime and manga continuity. The game deliberately addresses this, as the plot is about "rewriting fate" and Schrödinger's Cat characters would often comment that they "guess it was their destiny to die after all."
  • The El Hazard manga made after the anime is mostly the "Magnificent World" OAV plot, and features the version of Ifurita from that version; but it also has some of the TV series' ("The Wanderers") characterization — particularly the younger version of Princess Rune Venus.
  • Happens often enough with Fullmetal Alchemist fan fiction, wherein the author will work with the plot and characterization of the first anime adaptation, but incorporate manga-only characters, geography, and supernatural elements. Often done in crossovers, or in fics that deal with the characters post-series.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfiction often follows the anime events but incorporates backstory elements from the manga, particularly in the case of Kaji and Asuka. Mana Kirishima from the video game Girlfriend of Steel also has a tendency to pop up.
    • Similarly, after Rebuild of Evangelion, Mari Illustrious Makinami has occasionally appeared in non-Rebuild fanfics.
      • Doing It Right This Time: This story is based on the original series but Mari Makinami from the Rebuild films is a recurring character.
      • Last Child of Krypton: Although this fanfic uses the original series continuity, it introduces Mari Makinami from the Reduild films and uses Rebuild Zeruel instead of the original version. Likewise, the Superman elements are taken from many different sources (comics, cartoons, films...)
      • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Similarly, the Superman aspects of the fic are taken from many different sources, including the comics, the DCAU, and the various live action films.
    • Going Another Way mainly takes after the original series, but is not shy about using things from the manga, Rebuild and the games. These things include Kaji's backstory from the manga, the Angels having several traits from Rebuild and Mana Kirishima and Mayumi Yamagishi being important characters.
  • Unfamiliar, a The Familiar of Zero/[PROTOTYPE] crossover fic, has the former's aspects based mainly on the light novels, but includes anime-exclusive elements such as Count Mott.
  • Dirty Pair fanfic tends to blur the lines between the various Alternate Continuities of the series, like the '80s anime version or Adam Warren's Amerimanga.
  • Ranma ½ fanfics are very often a mishmash of the manga and anime continuities, the most noticeable result of which is the inclusion of Sasuke, a ninja servant of Kuno, who was invented for the anime.
  • Then there are Tenchi Muyo! fics that mix and match its various continuitiesnote . More often than not, the "default" setting for a Tenchi fanfic could be best described as "OAV +", taking the original continuity and adding in whichever characters from the other continuities they like. A constant favorite is Kiyone, Mihoshi's partner from the Mihoshi Special and Tenchi Universe.
    • The Daughter of Darkness (Manatsu no Eve) movie is an example of an official work effectively doing this. Technically, it takes place in the continuity of the Tenchi novels written by Naoko Hasegawanote  where Kiyone immigrated from originally, and which heavily influenced Tenchi Universe. For viewers who never heard of Hasegawa's novels, all that's apparent is that it uses the OAV version of Tenchi's house, but also has Kiyone already living there, and has no connection to any other version of the canon; in other words, more or less the "OVA +" setting described above.
    • Superman/Tenchi: The Inhuman Condition, a crossover fic with Superman, specifically warned readers that it was a Patchwork Fic. Since characters from both franchises have multiple versions around , the author declared that he'd cherry-pick other elements to add onto his primary choices of canon. He also justified this with this sort of cross-over fic already being so not canon anyway, so being nervous about continuity was a waste of time.

  • The Justice League Unlimited version of The Question (a relatively obscure character made popular by the show) often crops up in unexpected places. He was actually influenced by (and was nearly a Captain Ersatz for) Rorschach of Watchmen who in turn was the same for the early version of the Question. The main difference being that he does not have an insanely strict moral code.
  • Many fanfics based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe incorporate Marvel characters that weren't included in the films, such as Spider-Man who was Exiled from Film Continuity due to Sony owning the rights to him (the Fantastic Four and the movieverse or comicverse X-Men can get similar treatment)note note , or plot/character elements from the comic books that the films left out or didn't touch on such as Natasha's history with the Red Room.
  • Most X-Men fic seems to fall into this territory, whether it's filling one adaptation's blanks in with comicverse facts, or the spreading around of Character Tics, or the presence of characters who technically shouldn't exist in this version. Most adaptations can't include the Loads and Loads of Characters the comics feature, and someone will always get mad that their favorite gets left out.
    • X-Men fanfics occasionally give comicverse Gambit his first animated counterpart's habit of talking in third person.
  • Teen Titans fanfics mostly based on the show, will borrow from the comics and Justice League cartoon. Probably the most explicit form of this is the Fandom-Specific Plot of Batman coming to Jump/Robin going back to Gotham, Starfire and often Beast Boy sharing backstories more closely tied with their comic selves, or the main characters being referred to by their real names.
  • Smallville fan fics are sometimes known for mixing in elements from the films and the DCAU, occasionally to get rid of some unsavory trait, Green Arrow being a killer, for example.
  • Fan writers and artists for either the Nolanverse Batman or the Adam West series will often try to incorporate their favourite Bat-Rogues in the style of that series - Harley Quinn in particular is popular (and now has a canon "Batman '66" appearance.)
  • Justice Society of Japan's backstory incorporates elements from both the pre and post-Flashpoint versions of the DCU, typically keeping much the DCU's continuity (such as the Justice Society of America, which doesn't exist in the current continuity) but also accounting for the current versions of some characters.
    • Also, astute readers might notice that Hope is a Fullmetal Alchemist-style Homunculus who has severely-weakened versions of the powers of seven other homunculi, including the manga version of Pride and the 2003 anime version of Sloth.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf is a Smurfs fanfic series that combines elements, characters, and even stories from the cartoon show, the comic books, Sony Pictures' live-action film series, Smurfs: The Lost Village, Johan and Peewit, and the PVC toy character line into one universe, mostly based on the cartoon show interpretation. The one key component retained from the cartoon show is that Greedy is still the village chef, so an Expy of his comic book version, Nabby, was created to take his place.
  • Hero: The Guardian Smurf is another Smurfs fanfic series that combines elements, characters, and stories from the comic books, the cartoon show, the live-action film series, and The Lost Village into a single universe that is mostly modeled after the cartoon show interpretation, although certain events like "The Purple Smurfs" adaptation take place after most of the Smurfs settle down and marry their Opposite-Sex Clone counterparts.
  • Earth 27 is a cross between the pre-Flashpoint DC Comicverse, the New 52, the Arrowverse, WildStorm, the DC Animated Universe, Young Justice, the Arkhamverse, Milestone Comics, the Flashpoint timeline, Watchmen, V for Vendetta and even Stan Lee's Just Imagine... Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe. Not just that but it also brings Scooby-Doo, Captain Planet, Supernatural and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into the mix, with the former three being franchises owned by Warner Bros. and the latter made crossovers with Batman in media.
  • The DC portions of the crossover fic Hunters of Justice blends in aspects of the DC Animated Universenote , the DC Animated Movie Universenote , the New 52note , the DC Extended Universenote , Teen Titansnote , Batman: Under the Red Hoodnote , Young Justicenote , Gothamnote , and the Batman: Arkham Seriesnote .
  • The Marvel portions of Remnant's Mightiest Heroes, a Recursive Fanfiction based on Hunters of Justice, likewise blends in aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universenote , the classic comicsnote , Ultimate Marvelnote , The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!note , and Spider-Man (PS4)note .
  • Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light combines elements of both the canonical Spider-Man and Spider-Woman comic series. Since protagonist Mary Jane Watson doesn't have a Rogues Gallery in the comics, the author assembled one for her from the galleries of everyone from Captain America to Iron Man.

  • Prometheus and Alien: Covenant ignore the Alien vs. Predator timeline. That hasn't stopped some fans from trying to merge the timelines.
  • It's not unheard of to import aspects of Tron 2.0 into TRON: Legacy fanfiction, usually in the form of making a reference to Jet or Ma3a. The most prominent example of this is Sakura123's ''Subroutine'' which does a hell of a canon weld, starting with Ma3a as "progenitor" of the Isos and depicting Sam Flynn and Jet Bradley as estranged Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • In Say It Thrice (a Danny Phantom / Beetlejuice Crossover), the writer describes the "Beetlejuice" part as 99% the film and 1% the cartoon (namely Lydia's age, the existence of the red poncho, and a little of the characterization of Lydia and Betelgeuse).
  • The webcomic Cobweb and Stripes is a blending of both the film and the cartoon versions of Beetlejuice. It's largely a continuation of the film (following a two-year Time Skip), but brings in several elements and characters from the cartoon.
  • The Halloween fanfic Halloween: Sins of a Father and its sequel Aftermath combined the two different original timelines before the Rob Zombie remakes (Halloween (2018) had not yet been released), incorporating elements from Halloweens 4-6 (Jamie Lloyd, Steven Lloyd, the Cult of Thorn) and the H20 timeline (John Tate, Laurie Strode's death in Halloween: Resurrection) and making Jamie and John twins rather than Laurie having a single child in each continuity.
  • Since the saga's acquisition by Disney, most Star Wars fanfics will, while setting themselves in whichever continuity the author prefers, still borrow freely whatever characters, ships, or other aspects of the other can fit their story.

  • Wicked: Can you say "Booksical"? I knew you could. Granted, the mixes aren't that common besides the occasional vocabulary from the book, along with a few of the concepts in the book (such as Nessarose being religious) not taken in the musical version are included. And two and a half characters. (Crope, Tibbett, and reverting Avaric from servant boy to the collected bastard he was.)
    • Also from the Oz-verse, Tin Man fanfic writers will borrow as much as they can from the Baum-Thompson Famous Forty, Wicked, and related sources for backstory, as the miniseries was a little short on that...aside from revealing the "Outer Zone" really was modern-day Oz all along by having Dorothy Gale herself show up in Part 3. It helps that the writers wove in a lot of ShoutOuts to Baum and Maguire.
    • Wicked itself is an example of this trope. For copyright reasons, it's officially supposed to be based on the original Oz books, but both the book and musical draw heavily from the MGM The Wizard of Oz film.
    • Oz the Great and Powerful added to the mess that is Oz-based fanfic. Oscar Diggs's characterization is very much Depending on the Writer; anywhere from well-meaning con man to total bastard.
    • Emerald City takes a lot of liberties with the source material, but is close enough to Wicked in tone for fanfic writers to start borrowing concepts like the Wizard's characterization.
  • Some Harry Potter fanfics mix the book and movie canons, albeit probably unknowingly part of the time. This is particularly common with character quirks which only appeared in the films, such as Hermione referring to Ron as "Ronald" when she's displeased with him.
    • Fanfiction generally assumes Hogwarts students wear the uniforms used in the movies. Fanfic particularly includes the House ties from the movies, despite the books making no mention of them and their presence making several canon scenes impossible.
    • It was common in the early days of the fandom for writers to fill in gaps in Potterverse lore with elements from other contemporary fantasy universes, with varying levels of success.
  • On that note, many The Lord of the Rings fanfics do the same, using characterizations of characters from the books in a movie setting, or characters from the movies in a book setting.
  • Fanfiction of Howl's Moving Castle often strays into this territory, commonly mixing the characters and backstory from the book with designs and other aspects from the film.
  • Les Misérables fanfics based mostly on the musical often use the book to pad backstories and spice things up for readers who are familiar with both. For that matter, the new movie took some elements from the book that weren't in the musical - for example, Eponine's cause of death.
  • Fanfiction for The Phantom of the Opera often involves this, which is not surprising considering the many media interpretations. By far, the most common versions involve drawing various pieces from the original novel by Gaston Leroux, the backstory rich Susan Kay novel, and the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. This leads to wildly different takes on the story and characters, depending on the percentages used, and it is considered polite to state in the author's notes which versions are being blended.
  • Hear Me Roar is a crossover between The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire but mixes elements from the films and the series respectively. Such as when Jaime Lannister mistakes Boromir for Eddard Stark when they first meet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • iFightCrimeWithVictorious has references and later an appearance by Megan Parker, one of two characters played by Miranda Cosgrove. It also features Shelby Marx and Tori Vega, both played by Victoria Justice.
    • Likewise, their Undocumented Features has done this on several occasions, most recently with animated and classic versions of the X-Men (and some of their foes) (justifying them as originating in two different universes), and three versions of Battlestar Galactica (the two series are treated as different generations; the third source is the original 1970s novelization which had details eliminated from the final shooting script).
    Video Games 
  • Pokémon fanfiction, particularly those centered around an original trainer, will often use elements from both the games, such as the character facing the Elite Four (not a tournament), and the anime, such as professors routinely handing out the starter Pokémon to new trainers, or the concept of Pokémon only being able to say their names.
    • The same can also happen with fics that place undeveloped characters from the games into the anime's continuity. In these cases, it's fairly common for the writer to give the character in question traits from their Pokémon Special counterparts, along with what little characterization the game gives them.
      • Things can get a little confusing in this manner when it comes to talking about Professor Oak's granddaughter note . One manga gives her name as May, the games give her name as Daisy — both of which are taken by other characters in the anime note .
    • One of the ultimate examples is Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Despite being centered mostly in the anime, the main story has taken elements from the videogames and mangas such as Pokémon Adventures. Furthermore, it's grown into an Expanded Universe with several different authors adding sidestories to it, and many have used elements from more obscure sources such as Pocket Monsters: The Animation, The Electric Tale of Pikachu, and more recent ones such as Pokémon Generations.
  • Renegade is largely based on crossing the first Mass Effect with the Command & Conquer: Tiberium titles, but includes elements from ME2 such as Nod substituting for Cerberus.
  • It is so common for Sonic the Hedgehog fanfics to combine the universes of the games and the Archie Comics adaptation to various degrees that it might as well be the default. Other adaptations occasionally getting thrown into the mix, but it's usually those two versions that get the most love, especially in shipping fics.
    • Notably Inescapable Past takes elements from most of the games up to Shadow the Hedgehog, both comic series, and three of the TV shows and fuses them into a single continuity.
    • Always Having Juice takes elements from absolutely every single piece of official Sonic media ever, then creates a delicious cake out of it. All while redesigning the characters and throwing in a couple of references to other video games as well.
    • Prison Island Break. Sonic the Hedgehog is a wide franchise with a lot of adaptations. And this fanfic endeavors to use characters from as many as possible.
    • Mind-bending dark fic Sonic Sketchy utilizes characters and elements from all of the major continuities at the time of its publication (sometime before the release of Sonic Advance 2); all of them, including Sonic himself, are reinterpreted in various ways (for example, Sara of the OVA is Rouge's daughter).
  • Kirby of the Stars: The After Story sets the events from the Kirby games inside the anime's continuity, specifically after the anime's events, so plenty of anime and game elements are mixed together.
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Dawn takes place in The Legend of Spyro universe, but Ember, a Classic Spyro the Dragon Series character, is a main character and Red, the Big Bad of A Hero's Tail, is one of the main villains of the sequel. Though this is hardly common in fanfiction for this series, but Ember is often portrayed as either a Ron the Death Eater, or force Cynder to become a Derailing Love Interest and Ron the Death Eater. The author's specific intention was to keep her true to her original character while making her more likable and complex.
  • Mega Man Reawakened has characters and concepts from many different Mega Man series appear to form a unique universe.
  • Type Moon productions (which resemble fanfic) such as Tsukihime and Fate/stay night have various selectable arcs that act as Alternate Continuity versions of each other. Different characters survive and thrive in the end.
  • In Fallen Kingdom, every Mario game and series is treated as canon to the story, and several aspects of other media, like the DiC cartoons, are referenced as well.

    Western Animation 
  • This trope is so common with Transformers fanfic (in part due to the multiversal nature of the franchise), that it's acquired its own in-fandom term: personal canon.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds is a fusion of the original 80s MLP series and the FIM series of today (the 80s series took place in Equestria's distant past, with Megan now a semi-divine figure in Equestrian history). Not only that, it also brings in nearly all the other series based on Hasbro toys in the 80s from Sunbow and Marvel Productions as the Hasbroverse- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, The Transformers, Jem and Inhumanoids, plus some that weren't or aren't Hasbro's to begin with, including Doctor Who (using Doctor Whooves and his family with Ditzy), the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon (it was produced by Marvel solo for CBS, and currently rests with Disney- D&D only became a Hasbro property when they acquired Wizards of the Coast in 2000), and M.A.S.K. (originally a Kenner property, it was "adopted" by the G.I. Joe line in 2008, after Hasbro bought Kenner in 1991).
  • Winx Club fanfictions often note whether the characterization is based on the 4kids or RAI version of the cartoon
  • Due to the many varied portrayals of the Ninja Turtles, any given Fan Fic will have characters from multiple incarnations, e.g. Agent Bishop from 2k3 and the Neutrinos from the original show appearing together.
  • Hope Springs Eternal is the myth of Hades and Persephone spliced into the Disney version of Hercules. In it, Hades escapes the river of the dead that Hercules threw him into and deals with fixing the Underworld while falling in love with her. It even counteracts some of the movie's use of Everybody Hates Hades; he realizes that scheming against Zeus has never got him anywhere and he starts focusing on running the Underworld right.

  • The The Haunted Mansion Fan Verse Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost fully incorporates the ride, promotional material such as the Ghost Post game and the radio ads, originally unrelated fanworks, and the Marvel comic line into a single continuity, even though half of these weren't written with continuity in mind (a sort of fanmade Canon Welding, if you will). On top of this, a more classical example of this trope is put to good use for the 2003 movie, whose lore was so different it couldn't possibly fit; the characters of Ramsley, Edward, Elizabeth and the Fireplace Demon have all been reintroduced with updated ride-friendly backstories (the movie itself now exists in-universe through Recursive Canon, with the discrepancides chalked up to the screenwriters taking a lot of artistic liberties).
  • The alternate future history Piecing Together the Ashes: Reconstructing the Old World Order has this happen with many works of popular culture, which are fused together to make entirely new stories, one example being Barry Potter meeting Gandalf Hagrid and going to the Emerald City to stop the Sith Lords from obtaining a powerful ring.


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