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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 (i.e., 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, Adaptation Amalgamation, 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:

    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 

  • One chapter of All Assorted Animorphs AUs has this happen In-Universe, with one Animorph from each continuity being transported to the "prime timeline" a la Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. All except Tobias are from alternate universes seen in the books (#11, #41, Megamorphs #3, Megamorphs #4). Tobias is from the live-action TV show.
  • Entrancing Wendy is predominantly based on the 1911 Peter Pan book but features the Hook (and possibly Wendy) from the 2003 film.
  • Hear Me Roar is a crossover between The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire but mixes elements from their live-action adaptations. Such as when Jaime Lannister mistakes Boromir for Eddard Stark when they first meet.
  • The Hobbit Log Fic The Quest, a retelling of the quest for Erebor told through Tumblr Character Blogs for Bilbo and Thorin, is a mishmash of both book and film canon: the blog mostly follows the book's timeline with the characters staying in Rivendell and being locked in Mirkwood's dungeons for much longer than they do in the films and the plot having Bolg instead of Azog as the Big Bad, but the characterizations are almost entirely taken from the films' and some events are depicted closer to the films' portrayal than the book's like Bilbo helping stall for time with the trolls instead of Gandalf having to do all the work himself.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 

  • 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.