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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 from. 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 fanfic 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 fanfics in which the author combines multiple elements from different adaptations of the same franchise.

Other ways in which Patchwork Fic can come about include not having seen a certain version of the character (e.g., being more familiar with the television/film version of a character rather than the original book/comic version), a deliberate desire to combat 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. Maybe one odd version of the character ended up being more interesting than every other, especially an Ascended Extra. 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 DC Animated Universe 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, Lost in Imitation, and Canon Immigrant for when this happens in canonical and official works. Sometimes overlaps with Composite Character.

Not 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Best Kept Secret isn't set in either the 2003 Fulllmetal Alchemist anime's canon or manga/Brotherhood canon. Instead, it's set in a mish-mash of both.
    • In Desert Gold, Truth from the manga canon is mentioned but it's also mentioned that Ed and Al are Amestrian like in the 2003 anime's canon.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Celadon's New Blossom takes some world-building elements from the Pocket Monsters: The Animation books, as well as Pokémon game canon, such as Ash being an adult at ten.
    • Essence mixes in game elements into anime canon.
    • Everything Changes takes influence from the anime and Pocket Monsters: The Animation. Ash's Disappeared Dad is a terrible trainer and Delia works at her parent's restaurant.
    • My Little Pumpkin takes influence from Pocket Monsters: The Animation, with Delia working at a restaurant, having had Ash as a teenager, and her husband being on a journey. It also features Gary's sister from The Electric Tale of Pikachu.
    • 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.
    • Severance is anime based but takes influence from Pokémon Live. The plot revolves around Delia being a former Team Rocket member and Giovanni being Ash's father.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • Fairest (Afterandalasia) is a Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fanfic that uses the fairy-tale's original Grimm ending.
  • bent or broken, it's the family tree mixes the Disney film with the original novel version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. More specifically, it's film-based but Esmeralda married Pierre at sixteen, like in the novel.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Prometheus and Alien: Covenant ignore the Alien vs. Predator timeline. That hasn't stopped some fans from trying to merge the timelines.
  • The MonsterVerse fanfiction Abraxas (Hrodvitnon) adapts several aspects of other Godzilla continuities' lore into the mythos and worldbuilding expansion. Most prominently, Toho kaiju that don't exist in the MonsterVerse as of yet, including Monster X and Manda, feature prominently, as do Keizer Ghidorah and Kiryu eventually. The corporation Bio-Major is also recurrently mentioned, and in the post-story timeline, they play a significant part in the creation of human-derived artificial monsters like in their source movie.
  • 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.
  • While the Star Wars fic Imperium of Vader is primarily set in Legends continuity, it also takes elements from the Disney canon, such as the Inquisitorius, the Contingency, or Vader's pseudo-friendship with Tarkin.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Development:
    • Most of the Addams Family lore used comes from the first and second live-action movies. Wednesday's paternal grandfather was torn apart by wild horses, Granny is Morticia's mother and mention goes to Fester (who's Gomez's brother) having sent time in the Bermuda Triangle. Pubert - a character exclusive to Addams Family Values - is Lydia's art student, meeting Wednesday at a parent-teacher conference, and the film's Big Bad Debbie is buried in their family cemetery. There are also hints that the 2019 animated film also occurred, with mention of Fester having opened up a partnership with Margeaux and Wednesday introducing Lydia to her school-friend Parker years later, the town of Assimilation just beyond the Addams Family property.
    • Most of the Beetlejuice content borrows from the animated series - Beetlejuice being a Creepy Good Anti-Hero and Lydia's friend, the two of them going on wacky adventures in the Neitherworld, the nature of his powers, mention of Claire Brewster and a cameo from Prince Vince - there is mention of people who commit suicide working in the Celestial Bureaucracy and mention of Delia being her stepmother instead of her real mother, both references to the film.
  • 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: Gym Leader Wiki is mainly based on the games but it takes elements from the anime, such as Brock's background and trainers frequently going on journeys at 10.
  • 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.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • 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).
    • Sonic and Donna takes some elements from Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, such as the names of Sonic's parents.
    • Chapter 1 of The Furrysitters' Club puts the games' main cast, plus the scrapped Tiara Boobowski, into the Crystal Egg Zone, and has Scratch and Grounder at Eggman's command.
    • Sonic.Exe: Spirits of Hell takes place primarily in the Genesis-era video games, but Amy assumes her modern look, Cream is also a main character despite debuting canonically much later on, as is Sally Acorn, and Scratch and Grounder also make a cameo.
  • 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 demonized, or force Cynder to become a Derailing Love Interest. 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.
  • 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Divorced is Ocarina of Time-based with some Twilight Princess elements sprinkled about.
    • Characters from different games, including Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, co-exist together in Hyrule Castle High.
    • Let the World Smile mixes together various Zelda games into its narrative and composites the characters, so they're not based on one specific incarnation.
    • In Their Bond, different characters from different Zelda eras are mixed together. The fic takes from Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess. For example, Zelda and Link are composite characters of their Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess incarnations, while Navi from Ocarina of Time and Midna from Twilight Princess are a couple.
  • Yokai Watch Re! is game-based with some anime elements sprinkled about, as well as the usage of the Fictional Currency from Yo-kai Watch: Wibble Wobble.

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction A Diplomatic Visit: The final arc of the story combines elements of the "Twilight's Kingdom" two-parter finale of season 4 (unlocking the Chest of Harmony and gaining first Rainbow Power, then Twilight's new castle); the "Shadow Play" two-parter finale of season 7 (the story involves freeing the Pillars of Equestria and defeating the Pony of Shadows) and the "Siege of the Crystal Empire" arc from the comics (the Pony of Shadows is one of the Umbrum Forces, and goes to the Crystal Empire to free the rest of his people so he can use them to take over the world).

  • 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 the 2010s (the 80s series took place in Equestria's distant past, with Megan now a semi-divine figure in Equestrian history). Not only that, but 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 (1983) 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).
    • Additionally, elements from other versions of these properties are used in both characterization and worldbuilding, such as the GI Joe characters being closer to their Marvel Comics portrayals, the Cybertronians taking stuff from both their Marvel and IDW continuities, etc.
  • In “Gargoyles and Turtles: Unsung Defenders”, while the characters of Gargoyles are the same as in canon, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are basically a blend of features from the various existing adaptations. While the Turtles’ core history is basically based on the 2012 series, changes include Shredder working with a member of the Kraang race from the beginning, as well as that Kraang being Ch’rell (who in the 2003 series was Shredder himself).
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: While primarily a continuation of Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, the story also takes many plot elements from the Invader Zim (Oni) comic series, which is generally accepted to be in a different continuity from the movie.
  • A Song of Grumbling & Cotton Candy takes place in the Jem cartoon continuity but takes some elements from the Jem and the Holograms comic reboot, such as Clash having Blaze as her girlfriend, Kimber and Stormer being a couple, and Pizzazz being Jewish (which is implied but never confirmed in the cartoon).
  • New Tamaran acts as a sixth season to Teen Titans, but it (and its sequel and side-stories) includes numerous DC characters that never made it to the show. The most notable of these are pre-Crisis versions of Supergirl and Wonder Girl, Barbara Gordon as Oracle, an elderly Steve Trevor, a Lex Luthor mashed from his film and cartoon versions, and a fairly original take on the Scarecrow. Not to mention the Spectre and Red/Violet Lantern Corps playing key roles.
    • The final chapter (and that of the sequel Justice Returns) introduces a future that includes characters from Kingdom Come, Batman Beyond, Earth-2, and Galatea.
  • The Secret Biography of Donald Duck takes place during an alternate version of DuckTales (2017) season three, wherein the kids spend the downtime between episodes reading Donald Duck's secret journal, which records past adventures he never told his family about. These consist of events inspired by or acting as compressed adaptations of storylines from Paperinik New Adventures (now taking place when he's a teenager), his Navy service in the original 1987 DuckTales series (now occurring shortly after high school), Double Duck, Legend of the Three Caballeros, and the Kingdom Hearts series up to KH3 (as a young adult prior to Huey, Dewey, and Louie being born, with Kingdom Hearts being a case of Trapped in Another World).

  • Child of the Storm is legendary for this; it began as a straight HP/Avengers a.k.a. MCU crossover, before becoming a multi-cross, while the author began liberally mixing in elements of multiple comics continuities, the X-Men film franchise, X-Men: Evolution, and Smallville, among many others. The lore is comprehensively mixed and matched and blended into something that is both recognisable and very distinct from the source material.
  • It is very much common among some Star Wars fan-written stories to mix aspects of Expanded Universe/Legends and Disney Canon material. This includes the films, novels, comics, video games, and other spin-offs.
  • 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 discrepancies 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.
  • Verdigris takes from both the Wicked book and play. For example, Elphaba's father is the religious Frexspar Thropp like in the books, but he has the Abusive Parents personality of his unnamed musical counterpart.
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest Rewrite: Much like its inspiration, it includes characters, places, and themes across numerous forms of media. Books, comics, TV, films, video games, anime...
  • Tales from the Other Railway features characters from both The Railway Series and Thomas & Friends.
  • My Father's Son: This story takes the family tree of the show, the extensive minor houses of the books, the history of House Forrester from the telltale game, and even throws in some of their own changes to the existing lore.
  • Pokémon Crossing: Being a crossover of Animal Crossing and Pokémon, this was bound to happen:
    • Animal Crossing characters take on the human's role (meaning characters like Tom Nook end up as the regional professor)
    • Different continuities of Animal Crossing are combined i.e. characters who only appeared in Population Growing show up in the same timeline as characters from New Horizons.
    • On the Pokémon end: Characters from other continuities, such as Johto's Red Gyarados or Hoenn's Cosplay Pikachu, appear together.
  • In Hunters of Justice, the DC side blends elements different incarnations, including Wonder Woman's New 52 origin as the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, Superman's backstory resembling his DC Extended Universe counterpart's history, Batman sporting the more fatherly behavior of his Young Justice (2010) incarnation, with Beast Boy's origin story also partially taken from that series (a blood transfusion from Miss Martian), the origin of the Justice League being that of the team's DC Animated Universe origin (outside of swapping Wally for Barry as the Flash present) and Hawkgirl's backstory being similar to her DCAU counterpart, the Riddler's backstory as a former GCPD forensic tech coming from Gotham, the Penguin being based on his Batman: Arkham Series incarnation (a modified version of the Killer Croc side mission in Arkham Knight also occurred here), and the events of The Death of Superman being based on both the animated The Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen duology (Superman's final moments after the battle with Doomsday and Doomsday's origin of being a creation of Apokolips to take out Superman) and Justice League (2017) (Superman's resurrection is done by Batman and Wonder Woman, being prompted by the need for help against an invasion from Apokolips). Chapter 31 heavily implies that Legion of Super-Heroes is also a part of the universe, as well as showing that the League once had an encounter with the Justice Lords. The Fables also exist, and met the League during an incident with Lamia before the incident with the Queen of Fables. Chapter 53 implies that the events of SHAZAM! (2019) happened, and this world's version of Halo wakes up in a mass grave and is named Violet.
  • In Transformers: MHA, the Transformers side of the story draws primarily from Bumblebee, the original Marvel comics, the IDW comics, Transformers: Cyberverse, and the Aligned continuity as its sources. Earthrise later adds elements from the Unicron Trilogy, such as Cyber Keys.