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A Revision is when alterations are made to established Canon, Backstory and greater lore that was not the believed upon facts at the time the information was previously established. While this is, strictly speaking, still a Retcon, the difference between this and how people typically use that word is that the new details don't really contradict what came before, at least from a factual point of view. It may still contradict the spirit of the earlier installment.

This pans out usually because the assumed information was Shrouded in Myth or told by an Unreliable Narrator, comments that are taken as literally as possible may be better understood metaphorically or a playful use of Exact Words.

Writing by the Seat of Your Pants may be part of the reason this happens, nothing was firmly established because the writers didn't know anything beyond that episode and then they had to decipher unknown or non-existent hints to come up with a plausible resolution. The introduction of a Cousin Oliver or Long-Lost Uncle Aesop is often a Revision, while Chuck Cunningham Syndrome is often a Rewrite.

Compare and contrast with Series Continuity Error, Broad Strokes, Soft Reboot. See also Pseudo-Canonical Fic and Remember the New Guy?.


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  • BoBoiBoy: As far as the story was concerned, the titular hero and his family seem to have never encountered aliens before Adu Du's arrival in episode 1, and BoBoiBoy's parents don't appear on-screen because they are busy ambassadors. BoBoiBoy Movie 2 finally introduces Amato, BoBoiBoy's father, as a superhero in space like his son. Come the 10-year Milestone Celebration video, an extended version of the very first episode, additional scenes reveal that Amato's occupation, Power Spheras and aliens in general were not unknown to the main hero as was initially assumed.
  • Both the Asian TV spin-offs of the Lilo & Stitch franchise—neither of which had any involvement from franchise creator and Stitch's creator and original voice actor Chris Sanders—do this to Stitch's character by giving him powerful new abilities that were supposedly embedded in him by Jumba all this time, but were never a concern until then.
    • The third season of the Stitch! anime, Stitch! ~Best Friends Forever~, gives him an inert power cell within him that enhances his strength and abilities.
    • In the Chinese animated series Stitch & Ai, Stitch has a metamorphosis code in his genetic programming that, when activated, causes him to grow into a gigantic monstrosity with four tentacle-like plasma blasters sprouting from his body, allowing him to cause even greater destruction. He also can sprout quills around his neck and a patagium that allows him to glide through the air like a flying squirrel.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: When Garaku flashed back to Suzu's previous life Mei, he said her Past-Life Memories had all the ayakashi medium incarnations dying before the age of sixteen. However, it's later on show Mei is missing her earliest incarnation(s) memories, as the very first first ayakashi medium lived to adulthood. In fact, she decided to reincarnate in hopes of finding another love like her husband.
  • Bleach: Chapter 19 explains that Ichigo's mother, Masaki, died when Ichigo was almost nine years old, defending Ichigo from a Hollow that targets children with high spiritual power. Tite Kubo stated that, while he starts a story with the skeleton of it from start to finish, he irons out the details as he's writing. He therefore began preparing the details of the story's final arc later, towards the end of the Soul Society arc, which is where the full truth about Masaki's death is revealed. It does not change anything the story has previous said but the detail completely transforms the reader's understanding of what happened the day she died. Yhwach steals the power and lives of all impure Quincies, including Uryuu, his mother, and Masaki (who was once part of the Ishida family). The Hollow kills the de-powered Masaki while Kanae collapses comatose and dies three months later. Uryuu mysteriously survives, much to Yhwach's confusion. The reveal changes reader perception of Ichigo and Uryuu's back stories without contradicting any previous material.
  • The D.Gray-Man fanbook (written by the author) states that Kanda became general Tiedoll's student at age 10, then traveled with him for a year and came to the order where he met Lenalee and Marie. However, a flashback published later reveals that Kanda had already met Marie at this point. This means that Kanda technically met him...but not for the first time.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • At first, Goku's monkey tail, super-strength, Great Ape form, and overall durability lacked any specific origin, they were just part of being a Monkey King Lite. The reveal that he belongs to a race of monkey-tailed alien mercenaries who conquer planets didn't happen until Dragon Ball Z, though it was foreshadowed in the previous arc.
    • It was initially stated in-universe that Goku was sent to Earth to wipe out humanity so Frieza's empire could sell the planet, but forgot that mission when he fell down a ravine and hit his head. In the short story Dragon Ball Minus, released in 2013, it's revealed that Goku's parents actually sent him away to save him from Frieza's impending genocide of the Saiyans. It doesn't contradict anything within the story. Raditz was the only one who actually said that Goku was sent to Earth to kill the humans, and he could've easily misinterpreted why Goku was sent out, since Saiyans regularly sent their children out to conquer worlds anyway; the only ones who know the truth, Bardock and Gine, are long dead.
    • Dragon Ball Super: The Future Trunks Saga alters the rule in Z's Buu Saga that Potara Fusion is permanent; Goku speculates that he and Vegeta split apart because of the different environment inside Buu's body. Gowasu explains that it's only truly permanent when at least one of the fusees is a Supreme Kai; otherwise, the fusion only lasts one hour. It was merely a coincidence that Vegito defused immediately after Super Buu absorbed him.
    • In the Majin Buu arc, it's repeatedly stated that Kid Buu was created by Bibidi's magic. Years later, Word of God revealed that Buu has actually existed since the creation of the universe itself, and Bibidi merely summoned and tried (unsuccessfully) to control him. It's still quite possible that Bibidi actively claimed Buu was his creation, and with Buu being so ancient, and inactive long before their time, even the Supreme Kais would have had no other information on him.
    • On a related note, Babidi's relation to Bibidi was also changed. Originally he was simply referred to as Bibidi's "son" with no further elaboration. Once again via Word of God it was revealed that Bibidi had the power to split himself into copies called "doppelgangers". While Babidi referring to Bibidi as his father isn't technically untrue in this context, they are also the same person. (Then again, Piccolo is much the same.) In reference to the above, it's still quite possible that despite being Bibidi, Babidi's memories may have been very fragmented due to the abrupt nature of Bibidi's death. He could have easily "forgotten" that Buu wasn't truly his creation.
  • One Piece:
    • In the East Blue Saga, Arlong is hyped as a dangerous enemy because he's the subordinate of one of the infamous Warlords of the Sea, Jimbei, and since he bribes a local Marine officer to cover up his crimes it falls to the Straw Hats to defeat him. Later story developments indicate that Warlords and their crews are given a great degree of latitude by the Marines and Arlong's bribes were intended to keep the truth of his actions from Jimbei himself, who would have immediately put a stop to his plans and is deeply remorseful he didn't keep closer tabs on Arlong.
    • Laboon, a massive whale at the Twin Capes, is waiting for the return of a pirate crew he had befriended that had promised him they would be back after sailing around the Grand Line. Unfortunately, his caretaker Crocus has it on good authority that the crew quit on the Grand Line and tried a suicidal crossing of the Calm Belt rather than continue on, which Laboon refuses to believe. We eventually are introduced to a member of said crew who has a flashback revealing that a large portion of the crew had caught a deadly virus. The crew then split and the sick chose to take the ship into the Calm Belt rather than wait to succumb to their illness while the healthy continued on, only to be defeated in battle at a later point, preventing their return.
    • As thanks for their help, Lola tells the Straw Hats that they should look up her mother, an influential New World pirate, who will help them on her behalf. When her mother is finally introduced, she is no friend to the Straw Hats and has a deep hatred for Lola herself, to the point the Straw Hats are interrogated as to Lola's whereabouts so she and her crew can track Lola down to kill her. Lola's sister remarks that Lola was always so happy go lucky it's not surprising she's unaware of the bad blood between her and their mother.
  • Shaman King: How the Big Bad Hao Asakura became evil. Whilst originally thought to have occurred simply due to the death of his mother and being abandoned by an oni whom he had befriended, two chapters in the side story manga Zero tell us exactly when he became evil as well as providing the origin of the name of the Asakura family since he started out life as Asaha Douji. He didn't turn evil right away, he had actually become neutral after both this event and witnessing the conditions of the population in the countryside. He was then taken in by an onmyoji named Hamo Tadatomo, and befriended another apprentice name Daitaro. It all went to hell when it was revealed that Daitaro's apprenticeship had been used by their master and his supposed archenemy, whom he had been working with all along, to create a human-shikigami hybrid that everyone could see despite their power level. When this happened, Daitaro went on a rampage, and the revelation of Tadatomo's Freudian Excuse drove Hao mad. He confronted Daitaro in a crazed state, proclaiming that if he failed to stop Daitaro, they could at least destroy everyone together. Hao won, and was given the name that most characters refer to him as by the emperor as a gift of gratitude.

    Comic Books 
  • Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman is a prequel comic series for the entire Hitman series, so by its nature, it adds a lot more story to flesh out 47, Diana and Grey's backstories:
    • Subject 6 was first mentioned in the Hitman: Enemy Within novel as his first kill and a bully to 47, which this comic changes to be the precise opposite; he was a friend to 47 that wanted to escape The Institute with him. After their unsuccessful raid on the building, Ort-Meyer implants false memories with a serum, and mentions that 6 was his first kill, as the novel describes.
    • The reason why 47 escapes the Satu Mare Asylum at the start of Hitman: Codename 47 to begin with is because Ort-Meyer's true backers funding the cloning program are Providence, an Illuminati-esque conspiracy, and freeing 47 was the only way Ort-Meyer could have to keep the clone program running (even quoting the start of the game's tutorial).
    • It also makes some solid origins for Diana too, showing the path she takes in becoming an ICA Handler (going after the company that killed her parents primarily). This does lead to a Retcon where Emma, her sister, is never mentioned; as well as killing both parents and her brother, instead of just her father. That said, this information originally came from a video advertising Hitman: Absolution; and is widely believed to be in a form of Continuity Snarl in the first place as the recent games scarcely reference its events.
  • The early-1980s series All-Star Squadron ran for 70 issues, all of which was slotted in between issue #10 and #13 of the 1940s series All-Star Comics. The term "retcon" (in its longer form, "retroactive continuity") was devised by writer Roy Thomas to describe this book.
  • Batman: The Widening Gyre reveals that Batman pissed himself during Batman: Year One, and was high on pot most of the time.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer does this with several aspects of the television series:
  • Captain America's Superhero Origin was rewritten in Tales of Suspense #63 so that Steve Rogers had to drink the Super Soldier Serum instead of having it injected (due to the Comics Code Authority prohibiting demonstrations of drug use). The origin was subsequently subjected to revisions — Captain America #109 had Steve exposed to Vita-Rays after drinking the formula, and Captain America #255 reintroduced the injection of the formula while retaining the oral dosage. Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men gave the origin yet another revision — the project Steve participated in was actually a part of the Weapon Plus program, which was also responsible for the likes of Wolverine, thus retroactively making Captain America Weapon I.
    • Baron Heinrich Zemo is another case. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in The Avengers Lee And Ditko #4, and retroactively treated as Captain America's achnemesis during World War II. Readers may get the wrong idea by the stories, but Zemo was not created during The Golden Age of Comic Books. And the famous thing of plane where Bucky "died" and Captain America fell to the ocean and froze, was not Captain America's finale retconned as Not Quite Dead, but a plot created by Lee and Kirby when they brought him back.
  • Since he's immortal and ageless, Makkari of The Eternals has been retroactively inserted into several points in Marvel history. It turns out that he was the Golden Age speedster heroes Mercury and Hurricane. He also served in the adventurer team, the Monster Hunters, alongside Ulysses Bloodstone, Doctor Druid, Zawadi of the Wakandas, and Gorgilla. And he was a member of the pre-Fantastic Four superhero team the FirstLine.
  • The First Line is this. Introduced in Marvel: The Lost Generation, they're a team of heroes created to fill the ever-widening gap between the Golden and Silver Ages in Marvel Comics continuity. The limited series is deliberately written so that the earlier events are set solidly in the forties, fifties, and sixties, but the later events are deliberately left vague, to accomodate the fact that the Fantastic Four's space journey that officially marks the start of the Silver Age keeps getting set later and later. Almost all of them died just before the FF's flight (this is not a spoiler; we learn it in their first issue). Most members are original creations, but the roster includes a few previously established characters who would have been active at that time, like Makkari of the Eternals, Yeti of the Inhumans, and (it's at least implied) the Monster of Frankenstein.
  • In Ghost Rider, a supporting character, known as "a friend," was an analog of Jesus who helped out Johnny Blaze. Ghost Rider #19 revealed this was a manipulation by Mephisto.
  • In Justice League International #12, it's revealed that Maxwell Lord's secret backer is a hidden supercomputer created by Metron, which gained sentience without the New God knowing and helped form the JLI as part of a plan to Take Over the World. When the League actually talk to Metron, the computer intelligence panics and flees to Max's terminal, where Max rebels and smashes it. Seven years later, a Year One annual reveals that the intelligence was not an emergent property of the computer but the sentient virus Kilg%re from The Flash, and that, after experiencing an alternate timeline where Max and Metron succeeded in actually destroying it, Kilg%re set things up to make it look like it was trapped on Max's terminal, reasoning that, if Max was inclined to rebel, letting him think he was doing so was the best way of maintaining control.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón were given this in a book where it's explained how they lost their private detective agency and were forced to join the secret services overnight. Several years after it kind of suddenly happened.
  • The First arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) showed extensive written material about the Changelings with FIENDship Is Magic revealing they've antagonized the setting for at least 1000 years, despite their debut in "A Canterlot Wedding" treating them as an unknown entity such they were as effective as they were because nobody expected anything like them (like nobody consider "Cadance's" suspicious behavior was due to being an imposter).
  • Spider-Man:
    • The mid-'90s comic series Untold Tales of Spider-Man was designed entirely around this trope. They even included a timeline laying out where each story took place in The Amazing Spider-Man.
    • Dan Slott's Spider-Man and Human Torch, Christos Gage's X-Men and Spider-Man, and Peter David's Symbiote Spider-Man do similar interweaving with the timeline. It's fun to figure out how all of the retcons work around each other...
    • The fact that Mary Jane Watson always knew Peter was Spider-Man, all the way back to the day Uncle Ben died. This might count as a plain old Retcon, but surprisingly enough, it only contradicts very few and far in between moments throughout her entire run up to that point, and it also explains exactly why, she was the one person in Peter's circle that never gave him heat about his sudden disappearances and excuses, because she knew he was Spider-Man all along, and it also explains the rich emotional body language in the famous panel at the end of The Night Gwen Stacy Died. Consider that the first issue after her appearance, had her insisting all of a sudden that she and Peter go and get a good look at the Rhino's rampage, originally it was intended to show how adventurous and free-spirited she was, but with the retcon, it makes sense given that she knows who Peter is. Likewise there's a fact that Stan Lee rarely wrote thought bubbles for her during his run and readers largely had to suss her out based on what she said, while leaving her internal life unexplored. The real problem was when writers after Lee, such as Conway, Wein, and Wolfman did try to do that, which made her lack of admission about the secret harder to accept.
  • Supergirl's real name is Kara Zor-El, survivor of Argo City, and the only child of Zor-El and Alura In-Ze. Much of this detail, however, was added over time: in Action Comics #252, her first appearance, Kara’s home city had no name, nor did her mother, and Kara had no surname. Adventure Comics #365 gave her a surname for first time... ten years after her first appearance!
  • Superman's origin was built up a bit more every time it was told. Action Comics #1 had a very bare bones origin and explanation for Superman's powers. Superman #1 added some details about Clark's childhood and life before coming to Metropolis. But it was the newspaper strip's third retelling of the origin that added all the now familiar details about Krypton, introduced Jor-L (not El) and Lara, and explained why the infant Kal-L was the only Kryptonian to survive. That version of the story even details how dangerous the spaceflight to Earth was, and how the rocket avoided several near-disasters on the way.
  • The IDW Transformers comics first discussed the issue of gender in the Transformers in the controversial Spotlight: Arcee. In this, the Transformers are naturally genderless (although using male pronouns) and Arcee is artificially (and against her will) made into the first female. A number of years later, multiple stories revised this, mainly saying that Arcee felt she was born in the wrong body and consented to the operation, and only went berserk due to the lack of aftercare she was given. Ultimately, these revisions expanded the world rather than directly invalidate anything previously said. So everything the characters state in Spotlight: Arcee was correct as far as those characters knew, but was incorrect now that the full history has been revealed.
    • The Transformers: Windblade introduced Caminus and the other lost colonies. These were colonies of Cybertronians who left so far in the ancient past that in the time since gender "arose" in the course of evolution/adaptation.
    • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise further revises this by stating that female Cybertronians did in fact exist in the very, very distant past (meaning only a handful of currently-living Cybertronians would even know of them, let alone have met one). Many "non-standard" Cybertronian types (beasts, combiners, etc) are said to have "been lost" over the years of war between the ancient tribes.
  • The reprint series X-Men Classic, which debuted in the X-Men's '80s heyday, often incorporated newly drawn insert panels with original dialogue by Chris Claremont to elaborate on some plot point or character note, or indeed to bring older stories in line with later plots.
    • X-Men: The Hidden Years, which takes place between issues #67-93 of Uncanny X-Men, when the series was in reprints.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): The story does a bit of this to a few events depicted in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). Ghidorah's middle head targeted Vivienne Graham and ate her alive not to just sadistically kill her but because the middle head wanted to transform her into some kind of extension of itself to grant her a Fate Worse than Death, and her Metamorphosis is completed by San inside his decapitated head. The characters also speculate in Chapter 11 that Serizawa had another motivation for making his Heroic Sacrifice, thinking he and Vivienne would somehow be Together in Death.
  • The Infinite Loops: The shared universe has an in-built method of justifying Retcons: Variants and expansions. Variant loops are when things are different from baseline (canon); these are especially common with things that weren't stated outright in canon, such as background details. Expansions are when Canon Marches On and the loops expand to catch up. So it's not uncommon for expansions to cause the fics to say "yeah, that thing we've been treating as normal is different now," as a Cosmic Retcon. However, sometimes authors do something different. In The MLP Loops, most early loops with the griffins had them as The Empire, as was common fanon at the time. When the show caught up and revealed that the griffins were squatting in the ruins of their civilization, the ponies ask Gilda about it. She admits that's been baseline since the beginning, but she was careful to only show her friends variants where there was an empire because she was embarrassed.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Lion King 1 ½ offers an entirely different and quite humorous explanation to why all the animals of the Pride Lands bowed when Rafiki lifted newborn Simba. Let's just say you don't want to be behind Pumbaa after a meal.
  • Puss in Boots (2011) was a prequel to the other Shrek films, so Kitty Softpaws makes no appearance in them, despite her seemingly starting a relationship with Puss at the end of Puss in Boots. Because Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a Distant Sequel, it addresses Kitty's absence in those films — Puss and Kitty had a falling-out some time in the past, and the two are surprised and bitter to see each other again. Specifically, Puss's reluctance to truly commit to their marriage and Kitty's trust issues which led to her believing she couldn't be truly loved by someone as egotistic as him led to neither of them showing up at their wedding. They rekindle their relationship and set off to Far Far Away at the end, presumably to reunite with Shrek and company.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice reveals that Gotham City is across the bay from Metropolis, that a building destroyed during the fight between Superman and Zod in Man of Steel was one of Bruce Wayne's, and he was there that day. It also reveals that the Kryptonians were not the first superhumans on Earth.
  • MonsterVerse: The novelization of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) does this for the first film's exposition about Godzilla and the MUTOs' origin; stating that Monarch's account that they were the surviving remnants of a Permian ecosystem is just the mainstream theory out of several for the Titans origins, and mentioning other theories which effectively give the Titans a Multiple-Choice Past.
  • The Star Trek Kelvin Timeline a.k.a. the "Abramsverse": Star Trek (2009) establishes the new timeline branches off the original "Prime Timeline" after a Time Travel alteration occurs in the opening prologue meaning anything that happened before that alteration is still canonical to the new timeline. While the movies are set in that Alternate Timeline to avert Continuity Snarl, they added previously unknown information about characters and lore in the original one. These include, but are not limited to: The timeline's namesake USS Kelvin, an earlier (and much simpler) stardate format, Kirk's parents having been Starfleet officers, Carol Marcus' father, no official 5-year missions prior to 2233, Spock's canonical birthday (January 6, 2230), and the whereabouts of the long-lost Enterprise-era starship Franklin and its former crew.
  • In the Star Wars series:
    • The Empire Strikes Back reveals that Vader is Luke's father, after Obi-Wan talked of Vader and his father as two different people in A New Hope. Sources differ on how concrete the idea was from the beginning, it is known early drafts of the script had Anakin Skywalker as a Spirit Advisor to Luke before facing Vader and even a false line had Vader say "Obi-Wan killed your father." The twist still fundamentally works because Luke had no reason to think otherwise, while other lines about his father can be viewed in a different light with different context. Return of the Jedi features a tough conversation where Obi-Wan explains his statement was Metaphorically True.
    • Rogue One greatly expands on the backstory of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, focusing on the group of rebels who recovered the Death Star plans.
      • The film explains the nature of the Death Star's infamous weak point: it wasn't an oversight; it was deliberately incorporated into the plans by Galen Erso, an engineer with anti-Imperial sentiments. Erso is also the one who informed the Rebels of the existence of the flaw and the plans to begin with.
      • A somewhat minor one comes from Leia's cover of using a "diplomatic mission." Her ship was actually present at the Battle of Scarif, fleeing it directly, and Vader was standing right there watching as it left. No wonder Vader wasn't impressed.
    • One of the big twists in The Last Jedi is that Rey's parents were nobodies who sold Rey off and never looked back. The Rise of Skywalker reveals that Rey's parents deliberately became nobodies and sold Rey off to protect her from her very, very dangerous paternal grandfather, Sheev Palpatine.
  • The Mummy Trilogy: The Mummy Returns reveals Evie is the reincarnation of Nefertiri, daughter of Pharaoh Seti I who witnessed her father being murdered by Imhotep and her stepmother Anck-su-namun and was the one alerted Seti's bodyguards to them as was initially seen in the prologue to The Mummy (1999).
  • Transformers Film Series: In Transformers, Cybertronians have been on Earth since the turn of the twentieth century. The sequels add more, who have been involved with the Earth for far longer. This is not a contradiction so much as no one bothers to mention them.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done this on several occasions.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier reveals that H.Y.D.R.A infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D decades ago and has been slowly using its resources to play a very slow, subtle game of world domination.
    • Ant-Man reveals that Hank Pym and his wife Janet were secretly active as Ant-man and the Wasp in the 1980s, while it was previously assumed that Iron Man was the first superhero since Captain America.
    • Captain America: Civil War reveals that the death of Tony Stark's parents wasn't an accident, but an assassination carried out by Bucky. While the fact that it was an assassination was implied in The Winter Soldier, this is where we learn who did it.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming reveals that a gang of construction workers turned criminals led by Adrian Toomes have been stealing Chitauri, H.Y.D.R.A., S.H.I.E.L.D, Stark, and Ultron tech and selling it on the black market for nearly a decade.
    • Thor: Ragnarok reveals that Thor and Loki are not Odin's only children, as previously thought. In reality, they have an older sister, Hela, the Goddess of Death.
    • Avengers: Infinity War reveals that the Red Skull did not actually die from touching the Tessesact in Captain America: The First Avenger, but instead was warped to the planet Vormir and forced to serve as the guardian of one of the other Infinity Stones.
    • Captain Marvel (2019) reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. had knowledge of extraterrestrials and superhuman beings far more powerful than Captain America as early as 1995, due to their encounters with the Skrulls and Carol Danvers that year. This radically changes the perception of many scenes in the earlier films, especially where Nick Fury is concerned, because it's now clear he knows a lot more than he lets on.
  • Coming 2 America: It's revealed that Akeem had a bastard son from a one-night stand in America, but it's done in a manner that doesn't outright contradict what was established in the earlier film. Semmi hooked Akeem up with a bar-hopping girl from Queens before they met Lisa, but Akeem was too drunk to remember and Semmi too embarassed to bring it up in 30 years. The only reason he even learns of it is because the royal witch doctor had a vision.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum kicks off the third act by re-enacting the final scene that concluded The Bourne Supremacy, revealing that the entirety of Ultimatum to that point took place between the climax and denouement of Supremacy, then kicking into a resolution to this film. Small details are different between weather and expanded dialogue, but it adds that Landry was under surveillance at the time and she managed to pass a coded message to Bourne in that exchange.
  • Saw: From Saw III onwards, every film in the series' original seven-film runtime adds new information to events from the previous ones, mostly in the form of Once More, with Clarity flashbacks and plot twists. Jigsaw and Spiral (2021), on the other hand, only include entirely fresh events from the past that have relation to their respective present storylines.

  • The Legends novel Death Star explains why in Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope the superlaser's firing sequence (which, when destroying Alderaan, had been activated quickly and systematically) is so slow and deliberate when it comes time to blow up the Rebel base. And after reading it, you will never look at the climax of the movie in the same way again: The gunnery officer responsible for it suffered a nervous breakdown from sheer horror and remorse after the destruction of Alderaan, and is desperately stalling for time on Red Squadron's behalf whilst inwardly begging for death. It's one of the biggest Tear Jerkers in the Star Wars Legends, if not the entire franchise, canon or not.
    • Another Legends example. In the novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, Warlord Zsinj is a clueless cardboard cutout villain who just somehow controls a fleet large enough to be dangerous. The X-Wing Series, written years later, re-establishes him as a brilliant and pragmatic planner with a taste for showmanship, who likes to use Obfuscating Stupidity in order to keep his enemies (and subordinates) off balance.
  • This was demanded in-universe in Misery, when Paul originally simply rewrote the titular character's death and Annie thought that was 'cheating' and demanded he alter it to her having been buried alive and in a coma.
  • The 'fourth' and 'sixth' books (chronologically) in the Anne of Green Gables series were written after the rest of the books, to appease the fanbase. They work with information that L. M. Montgomery provided in other novels.
  • Although the Sherlock Holmes novels were published anachronistically, The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes was something of a revision, being published after Arthur Conan Doyle's death by his son and editor, and expanding upon small references in the series.
  • This is the concept at the core of the Dragonlance Lost Chronicles trilogy (2006-2009), which happen in between (or at the same time of) the events of the original Chronicles trilogy (1984-1985), by far the most successful of the series. It works well, because the original trilogy used to occasionally jump several weeks/months in between chapters, and the untold events that unfolded there were just briefly referenced in passing, without much explanation.
  • An example from the Star Trek Novel 'Verse: The Sundered, a book of Star Trek: The Lost Era, introduces interphase tunnels that lead from the Milky Way to the Small Magellanic Cloud. The Star Trek: Titan novels later built on this by establishing a whole subspace topography that placed the Cloud "downstream" of the Milky Way. This served to allow two different ships in two different times and places to both reach the same region of space and interact with the Neyel race. Then, another Lost Era novel, The Buried Age, made a subtle offhand reference to ancient transportation networks created by the ancient Precursors, the Manraloth, offering an explanation for how this improbable situation came about.
  • The trope is used in-universe in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. In Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, a large portion of the population is wiped out by a plague (implied to be influenza), and a treatment is devised and must be delivered to the various holds. Queen rider Moreta volunteers for the mission, but her dragon Orlith has a clutch of eggs and must remain with them; so Moreta instead borrows Holth, the queen of a retired dragonrider. While jumping between, the elderly and exhausted Holth is unable to complete the passage through time and space, and both she and Moreta are lost. However, it is recorded for posterity that Moreta was on her own dragon at the time, and that Orlith deliberately sought the oblivion of between because Moreta was dying. This version of events is seen in the books which take place later in the planet's timeline, but were published earlier; until Moreta's release, there was no indication that this account was in any way historically inaccurate, nor do any of the characters from later books ever learn the truth.
  • A Story Within a Story version of this happens in Gregory Frost's Shadowbridge. The puppeteer's assistant Soter explains to his previous employer's daughter Leodora that there are only a small number of original stories in their world but many variations. He then gives the example of The Druid's Egg, which at it's basis has a thief fall in love with a princesss, but he's interfered with by an evil wizard that's also courting her. In disguise as a royal chancellor, the wizard gives the thief the dangerous task of finding the Druid's egg as a prerequisite for marrying the princess. Soter says that Leodora's father Bardsham did a famous revision. He added a Rape as Drama element to the story where none was mentioned before - the disguised wizard rapes the princess and Bardsham goes as far as to make an anatomically correct princess puppet with a tear-away dress. Leodora adds her own variation on her father's take, the princess leaves in self-imposed exile with her thief, whereas the other versions has the king give the thief wealth and lands.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: The Visual Dictionary for Rogue One previously stated that Cassian Andor's homeworld was Fest. Six years later, Andor reveals that Cassian (original name: Kassa) is actually from a planet called Kenari, and the claim of being from Fest is actually part of his forged identity.
  • In The Avengers (1960s) episode "The Forget-Me-Knot", Steed and Mrs Peel are revealed to have a never-before-seen superior called Mother. He (oh yes) subsequently became a recurring character for the rest of the show.
  • In Season 9 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it is shown that Willow met Giles' aunts while she was training on his estate in Bath after the events of season 6.
  • Caprica. Pretty much "Revision: The Series!". It helps that the parent show, Battlestar Galactica, revealed almost no backstory on the era of Colonial history that Caprica takes place in, giving the writers a very wide scope to tell stories without stepping on established canon.
  • Cheers. Since the beginning of the series, the bar's sign indicated that the bar was established in 1895. However, the episode "The Stork Brings a Crane" claimed that the number was made up by Carla because of her belief in numerology simply so that the writers could do a centennial episode in 1989 (since it was obvious that show would most likely not be on the air in 1995).
  • Cobra Kai.
    • The Karate Kid Part II had Daniel LaRusso and his girlfriend Ali break up offscreen with Daniel telling Mr. Miyagi Ali had dented his car and dumped him for a football player at UCLA. The series, which is a Distant Sequel, reveals through Ali (who's having dinner with Daniel, his wife, and Johnny Lawrence) that the football player was actually an old family friend she was chatting with. Daniel caught the two talking and, assuming the worst, confronted her and Ali, upset he assumed she was flirting with the guy, egged him on. Meanwhile, it was actually Daniel who dented his car after he ignored Ali's warnings that the brakes were faulty. He lied to Mr. Miyagi to save face.
    • Season 3 would establish that Terry Silver was addicted to cocaine during the events of The Karate Kid Part III. Not only does this not contradict any previous events, it also serves as a reasonable explanation for his more ridiculous behavior.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The episode "The Doctor's Wife" revises the ever-vague origin story of the Doctor himself. It's widely-known canon that the Doctor wanted to see the universe, so he "borrowed" a TARDIS and ran away from Gallifrey. Neil Gaiman's revision? The TARDIS wanted to see the universe, so she stole a Time Lord (by leaving her doors unlocked for the Doctor) and ran away from Gallifrey.
    • The Time Lords went through this twice. From "The War Games" onwards they were depicted as All Powerful Bystanders, with limitless power over the universe but choosing not to interfere in the affairs of lesser species. "The Deadly Assassin" onward showed that this was merely an image they like to project, as in reality Time Lord society is immensely corrupt and stagnant, the people themselves content to sit back in luxury while the universe goes on without them, even forgetting much of their own history. The Doctor Who Expanded Universe and "The End of Time" showed that this was a deliberate restraint their ancestors had put on themselves, as when Time Lords start messing with the universe they become anything from Evil Overlords to full-blown Omnicidal Maniacs; the Doctor is a very, very rare exception.
  • Frasier, a Spin-Off of Cheers features Frasier Crane's father Martin and brother Niles as major characters, despite Cheers previously establishing that Frasier's father had passed away and he doesn't have any siblings. This is explained in "The Show Where Sam Shows Up" where Sam Malone visits Frasier and tells Martin and Niles what Frasier had said. Frasier explains to Martin that he was asked about his family after they had an argument and lied because he was still mad.
  • Novels and films gave us some details about Hannibal Lecter's history with Will Graham, but Hannibal adds a whole lot more details: Graham and Lecter becoming friends, bonding with a survivor of the Garret Jacob Hobbes case, Graham being framed for murder, Graham being there for Lecter's mutilation of Mason Verger, Graham's empathy being borderline supernatural... The whole thing goes off the rails by Season 4, where it's full blown Alternate Continuity.
  • Inverted in the second season of The Good Place; after it's revealed that Neighborhood 12358W is completely fake, Michael has to justify why everything established in the first season isn't a lie.
    Chidi: Why even tell us about any real thing? Why not just lie about all of it?
    Michael: Lies are always more convincing when they're close to the truth.
  • Bonus materials for the Highlander tv series often give far more background to the Villain of the Week, or sometimes turn background or bit characters into members of the Watchers Organization which tracks and documents the lives of Immortals.
  • Invoked in Kamen Rider Saber by Touma, in order to help ease Primitive Dragon's loneliness, adding onto the Forbidden Tome's ending to ensure the young dragon did not die alone. Instead of passing away with no one around, the very elements of the world became his friends, keeping him company in his final moments. This ends up getting him Elemental Dragon while also stopping Primitive Dragon's rampages.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise, especially in its final season, was very fond of carefully challenging the common assumptions about past continuity while ensuring that everything we had heard before was still literally true (most notably, the meeting with the Borg, and the ultimate explanation of the Klingon Forehead Issue). Undoubtedly an interesting mental exercise (see Fanwank), but quite often, the viewers are left feeling like the writers just pulled a fast one.
    • Star Trek: Discovery does this most notably with Spock, revealing that he had dyslexia as a child and expressed himself in art (drawing, specifically), and expanding on the reasons for his long estrangement from his father.note 
  • Supernatural: Sam's girlfriend Jessica was killed by a demon in the pilot episode in the same manner (burned to death on the ceiling) as the Winchesters' mother. It was pretty clearly intended to be the Yellow-Eyed Demon/Azazel, whom Sam and Dean finally took out at the end of season 2 to avenge Mary and Jes. Then a season 5 episode revealed that one of Azazel's former minions was the actual hitman, a demon who possessed Sam's college friend Brady.
  • The Santa Clauses: A lot of elements and issues around Scott becoming Santa that were implied in the original film trilogy are revisited here. Episode 5 especially "corrects" some previous thoughts. It isn't fully a Retcon, as the details of the magic and the legacy of Santa was never explored that much previously:
    • It's revealed that Scott is actually the first human Santa. The Santas before him were all magical beings, just like the elves. So before Scott, there was no human recruited to become Santa.
    • It's also revealed that the previous Santa falling from his house leading to Scott taking the mantle as shown in the first movie wasn't a coincidence as Scott (and the audience) thought. The previous Santa planned the accident. Also, Scott was handpicked to be the first human Santa thanks to an exchange between him and Santa when he was still a boy which Scott forgot about. The previous films played Scott becoming Santa as a happy incident that made Scott a better person. This also explains why the elves weren't really shocked or moaning for the old Santa after Scott came as the new Santa in the first movie - they were aware of his arrival.
    • This also means that all the clauses weren't even a thing before Scott took on the mantle. All this clauses were made especially for Scott in his role as first human Santa, to help him fulfill the role. Especially the Mrs. Clause is revealed to have been made to make Santa have human offspring with magical powers.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Stretched to its absolute limit in the comic strip Candorville. Then again, we were never told that Roxanne wasn't a powerful vampire trying to Take Over the World, so it was entirely possible she could be one.

  • In BIONICLE, the storyline had a unique way of expanding both ways: as it progressed in the present, various Flashback bits delved deeper and deeper into the past, all the while explaining or even completely rewriting present story details (or the way we perceive them) without resorting to changing the exact details themselves or contradicting facts. How much sense these revisions made, from the stories' and our own standpoint, varied greatly. Many of these revelations were planned years in advance, but some were not, including:
    • Takua always belonged to the Ta-Matoran fire tribe, his colors being red and yellow, only standing out from the rest because he wore a blue mask, but blue can technically be a flame color. In the 2003 arc, Takua became Takanuva, the Toa of Light, seemingly having changed his element from fire to light. In 2008, it was explained that Takua had been a light element Av-Matoran the entire time who was mind-wiped and hid among a Ta-Matoran tribe to keep him safe, as light Matoran were being hunted down. He was originally white and gold, but people of the light element could change their appearance, hence his 2001-2003 colors. Turning into Takanuva revealed his actual identity.
    • The 2008 also revealed the mindless and monstrous Bohrok swarm of the 2002 saga was partially made up of dead Av-Matoran, and it was a "natural" thing for their kind to be transfigured into soulless mechanoids with no organic tissue. While a connection between the seemingly evil Bohrok and peaceful Matoran had been hinted at back in 2002, the idea wasn't expanded on, instead author Greg Farshtey came up with a more morbid link between them purely for shock value. It didn't contradict anything, but it made the Bohrok saga much darker in retrospect as the Matoran had been unknowingly waging a war against and destroying their own brethren.
    • The quirky and good natured inventor Velika was revealed to be an evil, mass murdering Great Being in disguise as a mere Matoran 5 years after his introduction, not in the official story but via Farshtey's correspondance with fans. He was also apparently one of the main instigators of the story, having tinkered with the Matoran race's programming to let them become sentient ages ago.

    Video Games 
  • AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative reveals that Mizuki Okiura/Date is in fact not the biological child of Renju Okiura and Shoko Nadami, as implied in the first game, but rather a genetically engineered clone created by new character Chikara Horadori adopted by the Okiuras when she was three, providing an origin for her previously-unexplained superhuman abilities.
  • Alice: Madness Returns has one, where it is revealed that the cat never knocked over a lamp, and the cause of the fire was something completely different (Dr. Bumby did it to cover up his rape and murder of Alice's sister). The cutscene in the original game is now implied to be Alice's attempt to understand the past she has forgotten.
  • Alien: Isolation explains why Weyland-Yutani never found the derelict ship before the events shown in Aliens despite setting a colony on the same planet: Marlow and his crew disabled the radiobeacon to assure they would get salvage rights, thus preventing anyone else to locate the ship.
  • Another Code: The second game, R - A Journey into Lost Memories, added that Ashley received a pendant from her mother as a gift on her third birthday, which becomes vital to the plot of this game. This doesn't necessarily contradict anything, but it comes across as odd considering that this keepsake is never seen or mentioned in the previous game, Two Memories, where Ashley wanting to learn more about her mother is a plot point. When the games were remade for Recollection, this story element was altered so that Ashley instead receives her mother's pendant towards the end of Two Memories, and her mother can be seen wearing it in the game's memory sequences.
  • Bayonetta 2 revisits the character of Father Balder and the prologue starts by showing him dying...completely dignified and thanking his daughter, which should already tell you he was more complex than it appeared in the first game. Later shown to be his release from the Demonic Possession of Loptr-before he had to contain Loptr's soul, he was actually a pretty decent person.
  • BioShock:
    • BioShock 2 introduces Sofia Lamb, who is not only the collectivist foil to objectivist Andrew Ryan but also his first true rival in Rapture before Fontaine. She is established as the reason that Ryan started all the imprisonments and executions in the first place, and why he cracked down on Fontaine so viciously, as he didn't want a repeat of Lamb.
      • The player character is an Alpha Series Big Daddy (the first Alpha Series), Super Prototypes that were made before the other Big Daddies. Why does the player character in the first game never encounter them? They're all dead or insane from losing their Little Sisters, which is why the weaker Big Daddy models were used instead, because they don't have such a strong attachment.
    • BioShock Infinite's Daisy Fitzroy is presented as a violent revolutionary no better than the despot she wishes to overthrow, and is even prepared to murder the children of her enemies. Burial at Sea reveals that she was deeply conflicted about the violence that her movement created and that she knew that her (empty) threat to kill a child would ultimately lead to her own death; she was actually quite disturbed by even being told to make the threat, and she went through with it only because she knew that her own death would eventually allow for the downfall of the Big Bad.
  • The major Reveal of Bravely Default is that activating all four crystals is bad, because it summons the Holy Pillar in this universe and creates a connected Great Chasm in the next one. In the sequel, Bravely Second, Tiz mentions that this is not the normal function of crystals, and only by overcharging them until they "go wild" will the aforementioned spoiler occur. The real function of crystal vestals, then, is to keep the crystals at a not-previously-mentioned lower level of power which has more mundanely beneficial effects.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (being a prequel) is an entire game full of this to the original Deus Ex.
  • Dragon Quest III reveals the ancestor of the hero of Dragon Quest wasn't originally from Alefgard, but did travel through Alefgard on foot and by sea with three other adventurers, wielding a sword that could cast spells, fighting monsters more powerful than anything the hero would encounter until defeating something far worse than the Dragon Lord, and so the Dragon Lord is not the greatest threat the land has ever faced, but don't stay focused on the past.
  • Up until The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the in-universe historical writings that make up most of Tamriel's lore considered St. Alessia to have been the first Dragonborn (a mortal given the soul and powers of a dragon and the plot device which the legitimacy of the prior lines of Emperors and the main quest of Skyrim depends on). Then the DLC Dragonborn introduced the actual first Dragonborn from the time Dragons ruled Men... so long ago that the only knowledge available to modern historians are artefacts, fragments of myth and oral tradition in a few isolated groups.
  • Fallout has one with the commonly-used chem (in-universe addictive drug) known as "Jet". In Fallout 2, set 160 years after the Great War, Jet was invented by the Teenage Chemist Myron, an arrogant, insufferable, amoral Scumbag hated by everyone in the wasteland. In Fallout 4 however, Jet is then established to have existed since before the Great War, with the logs from one pre-war Vault mentioning how the chem was supplied during its construction. Considering how much of a smug, attention-seeking constant-liar Myron was back in 2, along with the fact that a high-intelligence Player Character in-game can question his chemistry skills, it wouldn't have been the least bit out-of-character if he simply rediscovered how to synthesize Jet and then claimed it was his original creation.
  • In Halo, the position of Arbiter has been expanded greatly upon since its introduction in Halo 2, where it was simply described as being the Covenant's most elite enforcer, albeit one who is expected to die on the job. Later media clarified that the position is largely reserved for decorated Sangheili who nonetheless committed a major crime or "heresy" that they had to make up for with their lives. Even later, both Halo Legends and the Halo 2: Anniversary terminals revealed that the role of Arbiter not only predates the formation of the Covenant, but that it used to be a wholly esteemed rank until Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee committed heresy and turned it into the badge of both shame and respect that we see in Halo 2 and Halo Wars.
  • This happens In-Universe in Genshin Impact when someone tries to delete records from Irminsul, the World Tree. The events that have previously happened will still have taken place, but people's memories and historical texts will be changed to remove whatever records existed of them. For instance, when the Greater Lord Rukkadevata was removed from Irminsul, everyone substituted Nahida in her place, believing she was reduced to her current power and memories after a calamitous incident. When Scaramouche removed himself from Irminsul in an attempt to save a friend, Il Dottore still ended up killing his friend anyway for other reasons.
  • In general, any retcons in the Kingdom Hearts games are usually some form of this, with information previously assumed to have been factual turning out to be either a lie or an incorrect hypothesis. For starters, the Big Bad of the first game is presented as a Fallen Hero whose descent into a villainous Mad Scientist is detailed in the Ansem Reports you’ve been collecting throughout the game. Then Kingdom Hearts II claims he was an identity thief who wrote most of them under the stolen name of the real Ansem, who only wrote Ansem Report 1, and it’s not until after the first game that there’s any indication of the first Ansem we meet being anyone other than the real deal.
    • The first game implies that Sora's Keyblade is one-of-a-kind, and it's only at the end of the game when Mickey pulls out his own Keyblade he retrieved from the Realm of Darkness. Later games introduce other keyblade wielders, but the prequel Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep explains that the Keyblade is actually a power that can be bestowed upon others by current keyblade wielders, and while it's rarer in the present day, there used to be thousands of Keyblade wielders that fought against each other in a Keyblade War.
    • Hoo boy, where do we start with Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]? It turns out Ansem/Xehanort’s Heartless’s actions in the first game, such as making Maleficent gather the Seven Princesses of Heart were to facilitate the recreation of the χ-blade, rather than obtain Kingdom Hearts (though the χ-blade is necesary to open Kingdom Hearts), Xemnas founding Organization XIII was not to obtain hearts of their own while keeping their bodily will, but to turn them into vessels for Xehanort's heart for again, the χ-blade. Have we mentioned that Xemnas lied to them about their nature as emotionless, heart-lacking beings and that they could eventually grow new ones? Oh, again in the first game, that Brown Robed guy who was "Ansem" you met in Destiny Islands? He is not the Ansem from that instance of time, rather, he time travelled to the past the moment he got word from Xemnas that his task isn't doing so well due to the Organization's members' independence (he originally came from 10 years ago from the events of Kingdom Hearts) making a pitstop to visit his younger, human self to get him gather 13 incarnations of Xehanort throughout time as a backup plan, before traveling into the future setting his sights on Sora and Riku.
    • At the end of Birth by Sleep, Aqua, one of the heroes, ends up lost in the Realm of Darkness, and remains stuck in the present day. However, during the first game, Mickey was exploring the Realm of Darkness himself. Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, reveals that Mickey did indeed run into Aqua and she even helped him up until his appearance during the ending of the first game, where it turns out that Aqua was just off-screen dealing with Heartless, which end up dragging her back into the Realm of Darkness. When Riku calls Mickey and Yen Sid out for not talking about it before, they explain that they didn't want Riku or Sora to mount any reckless rescue attempts before they were strong enough and end up getting lost themselves.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, a big twist near the end of the game was that the Riku encountered in Sora's story was a clone made by the villains to manipulate Sora and generally act as their pawn. Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days expands on that particular plot point by revealing that it was part of a larger project called the Replica Program that also resulted in the creation of Xion. However, only the aforementioned two were created before the one in charge of the project was killed in Chain of Memories. The third game once again revisits this plot point by revealing that the purpose of the project was to create vessels for the hearts of Xehanort's past incarnations to get around the rules of Time Travel. It also reveals that there were eighteen failed models from early experiments, which, thanks to their maker coming Back from the Dead, were either updated for this purpose, or repurposed into backup cannon fodder.
  • In some ways, Knights of the Old Republic 2 takes this attitude towards the original game. The Mandalorian Wars, Jedi Civil War, and Revan's capture and return all happened, but the motivations and goals of most of the major players are called into question. Star Wars: The Old Republic, set a few hundred years later, adds another layer of this onto both previous games (for instance, suggesting that the Eternal Sith Emperor was responsible for Revan and Malak's fall to the Dark Side, the cause of which was never established). It can get a little confusing, especially since few of the narrators have any pressing reason to tell the truth.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 does this to several events mentioned or shown in the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, thanks to Time Travel:
    • In the original Blood Omen, it's hinted that Malek failed to reach the Circle of Nine in time during Vorador's attack because he was busy carousing. Here, it's revealed that he was helping Moebius detain Raziel and wanted to rush off to help them right away, but Moebius refused to let him do so until Raziel took up the physical Reaver.
    • In regards to Vorador's attack on the Circle, it was initially stated that said attack was motivated by Vorador's outrage at the slaughter of his race, and the Circle's support of the Sarafan's crusades. Here, he's given another motive: the death of his sire, Janos Audron.
    • The game expands upon how Kain was able to kill William the Just and rewrite history despite making it clear in this game that history is supposed to be immutable. As it turns out, Moebius ensured that both Kain and William were armed with different incarnations of the Soul Reaver, which triggered a temporal distortion allowing for history's alteration.
  • In Mass Effect 2, it's revealed that Tali'Zorah has been nurturing a crush on the Male Commander Shepard since the events of the first game. Naturally everyone onboard the Normandy already knew.
    • Also a hint of it towards Fem!Shep, but it goes nowhere.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is able to pull this off. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the Patriots were apparently a bunch of long-dead men and "the collective consciousness" of the White House who controlled America via viruses, trickery, and artificial intelligences, and wanted total information control of the Earth to "save society from itself" and might have launched the ultimate Shadow Dictatorship to do this, but were stopped. It makes a lot less sense in context. However, it's revealed the "collective consciousness" was an overblown metaphor for AIs, who were originally supposed to simply guide governments away from war and towards peace. They went berserk (though it is hinted it was more in the manner of a programming bug rather than they suddenly gaining sentience) and decided that the best way to obtain peace was total control of the populace. Great job on the scriptwriters for being able to subvert the Gainax Ending of MGS2. Oh, and Vamp isn't an actual vampire.
    • Done to a more subtle degree between Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, reaching its apex in Metal Gear Solid. The events of Metal Gear were very 'video-gamey' - while there was a clever plot twist which was mindblowing at the time (a subversion of the Exposition Fairy where they were actually aiming to confuse and harass you), there wasn't anything close to Character Development. Metal Gear 2 began to give Snake some personal trauma, and by Solid, in order for the plot to make any sense, we must believe that the (near-plotless to our eyes) Metal Gear was, in fact, an epic war drama full of blood and terror and Heroic BSoD and Luke, I Am Your Father. It actually works very well (and is a heaven for Fix Fic writers) - until you actually replay Metal Gear. Then...
  • In Modern Warfare 3, Yuri is shown to have played a background role during several key events in the Modern Warfare timeline. He is first seen during the nuke deal held in the "One Shot, One Kill" mission from the first game (where he and Vladimir Makarov are the ones who drive the injured Imran Zakhaev to safety), as well as being present when Makarov (standing in Khaled Al-Asad's safehouse) detonates the nuke in the "Shock And Awe" mission. He is then revealed to have been present during the "No Russian" mission from the second game - Makarov shoots him in the stomach before he, Private Allen and the other Ultranationalists massacre the civilians in the airport. Yuri makes it to the lobby and witnesses the aftermath of the massacre before collapsing and being treated by paramedics. These are cleaned up in the remastered campaigns of the first and second games, where he is placed into the scenes that the third game flashes back to (along with Makarov during “One Shot, One Kill”).
  • A minor case occurs in the Pikmin series regarding the Emperor Bulblax. The one that serves as the Final Boss of the first game is enormous and extremely powerful, but the ones that appear in Pikmin 2 are smaller and a significant case of Degraded Boss. Both versions appear in Pikmin 4, with Olimar's notes explaining that the larger version is older and naming this variant Sovereign Bulblax.
  • Actually seen to change in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Playing Sonic 3 alone, at the end of the game, the Death Egg gets destroyed and you saved the day. Playing the game locked-on to Sonic & Knuckles in one run-through however will show the Death Egg not exploding like it did in Sonic 3 alone playthrough, it merely crash lands. You then go after it for the remainder of the game. A byproduct of the splitting up of the game into two games.
    • The ROM hack Sonic 3 Complete features a slightly Revised Ending in light of this — when you play the original Sonic 3 through this hack, when the screen flashes white during the ending, the Death Egg doesn't disappear and continues to fall in the background (the only thing flash serves to do is to remove the Heads-Up Display, as it did in the unaltered Sonic 3). There's also a "To Be Continued" screen added after the credits depicting the Death Egg crashing into the volcano (as seen in the title screen of Sonic & Knuckles).
  • Quite common in the Warcraft universe, probably slightly outnumbering outright retcons. The most famous one would be the orcs' shamanic heritage, though as they've continued fleshing that out details can get a little inconsistent.
    • Even that has been All There in the Manual since the second game, and since in the first they didn't even mention there were races other than humans on Azeroth it wasn't much of a stretch.
    • Probably the biggest revision is the geography of Azeroth itself. In Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, the fighting took place between the humans of what is now called Stormwind and the orcish invaders, with no mention made of lands and races outside those borders; in the modern era the world has four more continents (not counting Outland) and at least a dozen major civilization-building species, built up in a half-dozen rounds of writing in new parts of the world that had never been shown but never conclusively denied either.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, the main villain is Zanza, an evil god-like being that the ending reveals was once a human scientist named Klaus, who had a god complex. He used a device that destroyed the entire universe and rebuilt it, and sought to keep destroying and rebirthing it to stay alive. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 reveals his story is a lot more grey. While having a god complex, he was ultimately trying to use the Conduit to save humanity from its own self-destruction. Instead, he accidentally brought the destruction early and flung everyone he cared about into different dimensions. His personality split into two, with the evil side being flung into the dimension Shulk would inhabit and becoming Zanza. His good half would remain in his own universe, but retaining the memories of his past deeds and feeling immense guilt. He would repopulate the world of Alrest and watch over it while simultaneously being forced to watch Zanza's deeds until Shulk puts an end to Zanza's evil and Klaus' suffering.
  • Done in Portal, with a new achievement and a patch to change the game ending. The whole point is to set up Portal 2.

    Web Animation 
  • Battle for BFDI: In "SOS: (Save Our Show)", the Announcer Speaker Box calls out how Gelatin has never been eliminated in BFDI history, but later in BFDIA's continuation, "Taste the Sweetness", Gelatin actually does get eliminated, so before his departure, he asks for the Puffball Speaker Box to keep his elimination a secret from the Announcer, as he finds him scary.

  • In the first season of Red vs. Blue, Church talks about his time in Sidewinder, where Tex killed a slew of soldiers including one "Private Jimmy". This was later contradicted in The Recollection saga, with revelations about the Alpha AI and Project Freelancer. In season 14 episode "Why They're There" we learn that Church never knew Private Jimmy. Poor Jimmy was lobotomized and had the Alpha AI implanted into his skull. Church's memories are an amalgamation of the Alpha and Jimmy's, which was why Church's recollections were later proven wrong.

  • Done in El Goonish Shive, with the background character of the Shy Girl being merged with the minor character Rhoda.
    • One background character was originally drawn with a ridiculous number of pockets on his jacket, which Dan Shive only did because he thought it would look funny and he had no plans to develop the character. Later, when Dan choose the character to play a larger role in the story, it was revealed that the character, Sam, is trans and in a bit of accidental Fridge Brilliance and Foreshadowing, wearing a jacket with a large number of bulging pockets was to help disguise the fact he had a female figure.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time does this twice with the Ice King. "Holly Jolly Secrets" details his backstory, as well as providing an explanation for his constant Aesop Amnesia, while "I Remember You" reveals he played a major role in the backstory of another major character (and giving an explanation for part of said character's behavior in their introductory episode).
  • If the major and most of the minor retcons made within the Ben 10 multi-series don't fall under this, they eventually will. The writers have an uncanny ability to bring up plot points established earlier and reshape them to make sense. (i.e, why Kevin changed between the first and second series, how Gwen was able to adapt to magic so easily, etc.) A significant example is Ultimate Alien's "Moonstruck", which brings up small story elements taken from both previous series.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse looks to be doing this as well, though they're doing it in such a manner that they're showing some of Ben's adventures pre-timeskip.
  • In Bob's Burgers, when Tammy first debuted in "Bad Tina," her hair was brown, but in later episodes, her hair is blonde. This is then explained in "Sit Me Baby One More Time" that it reveals that she dyes her hair and that blonde isn't her natural color. As she had to wear a purple headband to hide her "dirty roots" in that episode.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Nearly every instancenote  of one of the mane cast having a sibling is one of these. In particular, the season 2 finale introduced Twilight's older brother, who had never been seen or mentioned before that point and was at odds with Twilight having been portrayed as not close enough with anyone to understand the worth of companionship.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, In "Krusty Love", Mr. Krabs falls in love with Mrs. Puff and learns she's single despite her prefix.
    Mr. Krabs: Then what happened to Mr. Puff?
    (cut to a live-action shot of a hand turning on a blowfish lamp)
    SpongeBob: She doesn't like to talk about it.
  • South Park lampshades Tolkien's Sudden Name Change twenty years after his debut in "The Big Fix": when Stan, acting as the Audience Surrogate, asks why certain characters like Cartman would write Tolkien's name as Token beforehand. It's justified that Cartman is either too ignorant to know the proper spelling, or too racist to care. It just so happens that this explanation also perfectly works with Tolkien's teacher, Mr. Garrison, the other resident Angry White Man who clearly wrote his name as "Token". So, why did the audience assume his name was "Token"? Because we're ignorant racists, too. To really sell the gag, they made sure to change every instance of Token's name in subtitles or descriptions to say "Tolkien."
  • Transformers: Beast Wars did this quite nicely: The revelation of Tarantulas's true loyalties in "The Agenda" is a particularly well-done example. It contradicted nothing, fit in seamlessly, and added another layer to both the plot and the character. Of course, even that wasn't the whole truth - fans Running the Asylum took a couple of minor references made in-passing during the series and turned them into a whole new layer of backstory for Tarantulas.