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Salvaged Story

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Sometimes, writers misjudge things. A story doesn't work, or characters act out of character, or the end result cuts off lots of potential for interesting new stories. Most of the time, writers respond by simply ignoring the problem and moving on. But sometimes, they manage to salvage it with a few choice retcons. This trope is for when that happens.

In order to qualify, an example must meet the following criteria:

  • It only applies to the narrative portion of the work; technical aspects, structure, and game mechanics without significant narrative impact do not count.
  • It only applies to installments within the same continuity. This does include alternate universes and What If? stories if, and only if, they alter something from before the point of divergence.
  • Plot developments that were intended from the beginning do not count.
  • If it's about a character, the change has to apply to that character; it doesn't count if a different character gets a better version of the same arc.

Related tropes:


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Captain America: Although Rick Remender's run on All-New Captain America was controversial, most agreed that the retconning of "Snap" Wilson into being a racist lie formulated by the Red Skull to smear Sam Wilson's good name was an improvement for both characters: Sam by distancing the character from the stereotype that black people were violent criminals, and the Red Skull by displaying a horrific extreme of his hateful ideology.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016):
    • One of the biggest missed opportunities in Power Rangers Dino Charge was not using Deathryuger of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, even though a some foreshadowing in Super Dino Charge involved Heckyl being connected to the Dark Energem and part of his outfit having a similar color to the suit. The Beyond the Grid storyline corrects this by turning him into the Dark Ranger, giving him an origin story explaining how he became a Ranger, and explaining why this hadn't been done before, namely he lacked a morpher and had to build a custom one to handle the Dark Energem, and that it took Zenowing purifying the powers with his Heroic Sacrifice to prevent Heckyl from simply transforming back into Snide.
    • Because of Executive Meddling on Jonathan Tzachor's part, much of Gokaiger's footage with the unadapted Sentai teams remained in Megaforce with hardly an explanation beyond not being seen on Earth, meaning these unadapted teams had been shoehorned into canon, one of many reasons many felt the show was a disgrace of an anniversary. With that in mind, at least one of said unadapted teams is now, at least in the comics only, properly adapted and explained: Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman as the Supersonic Rangers from Trip's homeworld Xybria. Even better, not only do they explain their absence in the present day, but use them to provide the backstory of one of the comic's own Original Generation, Psycho Green from the 1969 story!
    • After fans were unhappy with the overall Beyond the Grid, mainly due to focusing on a different team than the titular team, Necessary Evil brought back said team.
    • With the exception of Ranger Slayer, the Canon Foreigner characters have had at best a lukewarm response. Come Necessary Evil, people have responded much more positively to the likes of Dayne and Kiya already.
  • The Avengers:
    • In the mid-80s, Quicksilver suddenly turns against the Avengers in a fit of paranoid jealousy, going as far as to have them arrested for treason and then building a supervillain team to destroy them. While Quicksilver was never really going to be in the running for any reader's "Most Lovable Character" award, it still comes out of nowhere. Eventually, it turned out his cousin in-law Maximus the Mad had been using his mind control powers to mess with Pietro's head.
    • During The Crossing, Iron Man turns out to have been brainwashed by Kang supposedly since the earliest days of the Avengers. A few years down the line, in Avengers Forever, this is revealed to have not been the case. It was actually Immortus (Kang's future self) who'd brainwashed Tony, and only since the events of Operation: Galactic Storm (helpfully also covering Tony's grabbing the Jerkass Ball through that story). Similarly, during that same crossover, Mantis inexplicably turns against the Avengers and helps Kang. Forever retcons this so that was actually a Space Phantom pretending to be Mantis, as part of Immortus's manipulations, and the real Mantis was actually just fine, thank you.
  • Finder: The attitudes of the Llaverac clan towards gender and how they identify internally are slightly altered between "Voice" and "Chase the Lady", reflecting increased social understanding of trans and non-binary people in the decade or so (real-world time) between the two stories.
  • After the third arc of Rat Queens went so bleak that the entire series faced cancellation, creator Kurtis Wiebe came back with a fourth arc that ignored the most-hated elements and restored some fan goodwill, and then the fifth arc revealed it was all an Alternate Timeline. Oh, and the hideously unpopular murder of Orc Dave was actually a doppelganger given away by Violet's knowledge of Dave's genitals.
  • Ironheart was a very divisive character under the pen of Brian Michael Bendis. Many people found her self-important, unpleasant and felt some of her actions (spontaneously declaring herself the ruler of Latveria) made her seem borderline-villainous. Zub's run on Champions would recontextualize her behavior and portray her as socially awkward and struggling to get along with people. The Eve Ewing solo would further examine some of Riri's behavior as she wonders if she's actually predisposed to evil, and tries to fight back against the notion.
  • IDW's The Transformers:
    • Simon Furman reimagined the Autobot tactician Prowl as being a Combat Pragmatist willing to do dirty things for the sake of winning the war against the Decepticons. After Furman's departure, the aftermath of soft reboot The Transformers: All Hail Megatron had Prowl narrate his deep love for his comrades and all Cybertronians, willing to risk his life to save even a Decepticon. This change didn't go down well, partially because All Hail Megatron as a whole wasn't well received and partially because the darker take on Prowl actually appealed to many people. Later material such as in Lost Light and Sins of the Wreckers would reveal that Prowl went through such cycles of grim cynicism and optimism every so often throughout his life, retconning his "kinder and gentler" thought processes in All Hail Megatron into one of his bouts of optimism.
    • IDW's version of Arcee went through some unfortunate bouts of Unfortunate Implications. When she was first introduced, Simon Furman presented her as being a crazed berserker, with a big part of her instability caused by how she was a "she". Her creator, Jhiaxus, modified "her" into a female to "introduce gender" to Cybertron, simply to see what would happen. A later writer took offense to this, claiming that Furman was suggesting that "being female was an anamoly" and introduced a retcon that there were other female Transformers on other worlds, and it was simply on Cybertron that "female" as a gender simply fizzled out due to various factors.note 
  • X-Factor began with the original five X-Men forming a new team together with a plan to use anti-mutant prejudice to their own ends: they would pose as a team of mutant-hunters for hire named X-Factor, and would pretend to hunt down and detain mutants while actually rescuing them from hostile situations. Not addressed in X-Factor was the fact that having a team of high-profile mutant-hunters apparently urging people to report suspected mutants and then disappearing them would only inflame the public's fear of mutants while making other mutants more scared and isolated. Once Louise Simonson took over as writer of X-Factor it was soon revealed that recurring character Cameron Hodge, who had come up with the X-Factor idea, secretly had a deep hatred of mutants and had used X-Factor to deliberately make the public's fear and hatred of mutants even worse.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW):
    • For those who thought Babs Seed was too Easily Forgiven in her debut episode, her portrayal in issue #22 as feeling like she has to constantly prove she's no longer a bully should go a long way.
    • "Tempest's Tale" addresses Celestia and Luna's poor showing in The Movie by having Tempest outright admit she would have lost in a straight up fight and that the Taken for Granite bombs are implied to have been made specifically to take out ponies with their power level.
    • The "Written by Spike" short in the 10th anniversary reprint of Issue #1 reveals the comics were written by Spike in-universe, explaining their long contentious continuity issues were do to his not having all the facts or changing things to make a better story.
  • Gravity Falls: Lost Legends: One chapter was devoted to addressing fan criticism of Mabel's behavior in the show. While by no means hated, several of the show's fans were disappointed how Mabel's more selfish and insensitive moments were never addressed. The chapter "Don't Dimension It", which serves as an epilogue to "Weirdmageddon", has her finally acknowledging how detrimental her self-centered attitude is after witnessing similar behavior from all her alternate selves. The story even ends with Mabel properly apologizing to Dipper for the problems she's caused and even gifting him a new Pine Tree book.
  • It seems the Adventure Time post-finale comics were especially made to address some of the issues fans had with the animated series and its finale:
    • Adventure Time: Season 11's second arc was not only this for the lackluster first arc which had nothing to do with the main plot, but also to Finn in general after many fans felt disappointment to his role as a secondary character and his lack of closure in the finale. The arc in question, which is solely focused on Finn, takes place after the humans arrive at the Land of Ooo, where he questions where he belongs: with his friends or his own species. The second arc has a heartwarming reunion between Finn and his mother, turns him back into a competent fighter again, gets rid of his pacifist ways from the last episodes, implies that he and Huntress Wizard are still a couple and gives him a decent closure, even though the ending is bittersweet. The only downside is that this arc is too short compared to the first and its events were going to lead up to the final arc, but Cartoon Network and BOOM! Studios cancelled the comic with six issues due to Executive Meddling, leaving some unanswered questions still Left Hanging.
    • Adventure Time: Marcy and Simon is this to Simon, as the comic reverts his Bittersweet Ending in the finale into a Earn Your Happy Ending where he and Betty are finally reunited in the end. Not only that, but Finn and his friends fight GOLB properly this time, who actually fights back instead of doing nothing like the finale, although he's still an Anticlimax Boss in the end. It even has a new song by series composer Tim Kiefer and Marceline's voice actress and the comic's writer Olivia Olson.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014): Probably one of the more base-breaking moments of the Civil War II tie-in was Kamala's spat with Carol at the end. Issue #28 confirms that Kamala was actually truly scared Carol hated her (and even worse, she was afraid she hated Carol), but Carol had none of those issues, but saw the spat as Kamala growing up. The two end up making up after that.
  • The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars:
    • Part 1 focuses pretty heavily on Korra and Asami's relationship and what exactly led up to it as well as the aftermath, which has made many fans happy due to many feeling that their relationship in the series was rushed.
    • Bolin has joined Mako on the police force, after many fans pointed out that as an earthbender, he made far more sense in this role than his brother in the first place. However, he does leave the force again at the end of Part 3.
  • The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire:
    • Toph is given a bigger role as the Krew convince her to run for governor of her homestate, after her limited appearances in the show were seen as They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
    • For those who thought it was rather unnatural that Asami didn't express any significant emotional response towards Kuvira for killing her father in the finale (especially since she had just reconciled with him then and there), it's finally made clear that Asami is livid at Kuvira for killing her father.
    • Likewise, for people who thought Suyin was hypocritical for forgiving Bataar Jr. and not Kuvira, her reasoning is explored more after Kuvira's trial. Suyin is angry that Kuvira tried to kill her son and thinks an apology is enough to make up for that as well as the whole conquering Zaofu and subverting its purpose as a haven. Bataar Jr. for her suffered punishment enough due to Kuvira trying to kill him and realizing everything she promised, including their love, was a lie. Kuvira for her part does point out that Suyin and the other Earth Kingdom politicians in scapegoating her when she at least is trying to make amends. That being said, the story very much highlights their conflict is goes beyond ideological differences.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Kissing Booth trilogy:
    • The Kissing Booth 2: Those who didn't like Noah in the first movie for his Hair-Trigger Temper and the Unfortunate Implications it created regarding his relationship with Elle will like that these qualities are nearly non-existent due to Noah's Character Development. He even decides against giving in to Marco's attempts to goad him into hitting him at the Homecoming game—something Noah did do in the first movie when Warren did the same.
    • The Kissing Booth 3: A complaint of the first two movies was that most of Elle's decisions appear to revolve around keeping either her best friend Lee or boyfriend Noah happy, as opposed to what she wants for herself. This movie puts a big emphasis on the importance of Elle putting her own wellbeing first and not making decisions that could affect her whole life just to please other people, no matter how much they mean to her. Noah even decides to let Elle go despite loving her, as he wants her to be happy and feels their relationship is holding her back from achieving this.
    • Right from the start of the trilogy, many critics and audience members have criticized Elle and Noah's relationship as being dysfunctional at best. This movie highlights several of these issues and actually sees them breaking up after realizing their relationship just isn't working and will only hold them both back. The ending does imply they may get back together, although this is after six years have passed, so feasibly they could both have matured a lot in the meantime and wouldn't repeat the same mistakes.
    • Similar complaints were waged against Elle's friendship with Lee, arguing he was just as toxic and possessive as Noah was and that his constant whining about it made him come off like a Spoiled Brat. After Elle inadvertently misses out on their last chance to play the Dance Dance Mania machine and Lee screams at her for supposedly always choosing Noah over him, Elle gives Lee a furious "Reason You Suck" Speech about how he's always gotten everything he could ever want, how she's felt so pressured to "make it up to Lee" for choosing Harvard over Berkeley, and how Lee needs to grow up and accept change as a fact of life. She finally caps it off by telling him that their friendship rules are over, leaving Lee dumbfounded. To complete the throw, Lee later admits to Elle when she apologizes that a lot of what she said was true.
  • The Marvels (2023):
    • Carol's desertion of Earth for over 30 years was seen as a weak Hand Wave for her absence in the overall MCU up until now, with many people expressing grievance with how her actions seemed callous in the grand scheme of things. In this film, Monica explicitly calls her out for ignoring her for so many years of her life, and Carol herself explains her absence: having destroyed the Supreme Intelligence and indirectly caused the Kree Civil War which resulted in the planet’s resources drying up, Carol was ashamed of her actions and felt like she didn't deserve to return home until after she fixed it herself.
    • Gravik's plan to Kill All Humans in Secret Invasion was criticized for being downright stupid since the Skrulls were on Earth to hide from the Kree, and the genocide of all its inhabitants would give them no defense against the Empire whatsoever. This film reveals that the Kree Empire essentially collapsed after the destruction of the Supreme Intelligence, and their homeworld of Hala is barely habitable, leaving the Empire to struggle to survive on their own and not prioritize killing the Skrulls.
    • Maria Rambeau dying of cancer offscreen in WandaVision was treated as little more than an afterthought in the show, with Monica only bringing up the grief she has as a way of helping Wanda and not dealing with her own trauma. This movie addresses both Monica and Carol's feelings about losing Maria, and it helps them forge a stronger relationship after the falling out that was implied to have happend in WandaVision.
    • In general, this film helps explain some Early-Installment Weirdness regarding the Kree Empire in Guardians of the Galaxy, and why they haven't been an active threat since The '90s despite how strong and formidable they were as a space military force. The Supreme Intelligence's destruction completely fractured Kree society and made their influence far less prevalent, thus explaining their lack of focus throughout the Infinity Saga.
    • After having many younger heroes introduced into the MCU without any indication that they would ever encounter or get to work with one another, Kamala is shown meeting up with Kate Bishop near the end of the movie and inviting her to join a team she’s putting together, finally setting the stage for the Young Avengers to come into formation.
  • Now You See Me had a plot twist that a member of the FBI was not only The Mole for the heroes, but the real mastermind of their heists, and the whole plot was his revenge plan against Thaddeus (played by Morgan Freeman), a character who never came across as villainous before. This made the Horsemen and Dylan (the mole) look like Designated Heroes to many viewers. Now You See Me 2 deconstructs Dylan's revenge scheme and has him show regret for his actions, reveals that Thaddeus was Good All Along and acting as a Stealth Mentor to Dylan and the Horsemen for both films, and that the first film's more Obviously Evil character (played by Michael Caine) was the true Big Bad of both films.
  • The Purge is a horror/thriller which details a suburban American family's struggle to survive the titular event, which is basically an annual government-sanctioned crime spree, purportedly to give the people a chance to act out their violent urges and keep crime down. The result is a home invasion flick with a flimsy Hand Wave explaining away why the family can't just call the cops. After a year of various people snarking at the idea, the sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, attempts to remedy things by revealing that the Purge is simply a scheme by the corrupt ruling oligarchy to terrorise and murder working-class people for fun and profit. The vast majority of citizens hide from the Purge rather than participate in it, so state-sanctioned death squads roam around massacring people to keep up the statistics, and of course, the rich and powerful are completely safe from the Purge and its consequences. The sequel follows a Working-Class Anti-Hero protagonist protecting a bunch of people caught up in the Purge and way in over their heads from government death squads. This simultaneously addresses the first film's copious Fridge Logic while tying it all up with a nice political satire and anti-establishment message.
  • The original Puppet Master is effectively a Haunted House movie about a group of psychic researchers who are summoned to a seemingly cursed hotel following the death of a colleague, only to be stalked and murdered by a gang of evil sentient marionettes who secretly live there. While the film was initially met with a mixed reception from critics and viewers upon its release, many people really loved the puppets, and generally found the film's rather elaborate backstory—involving a French marionette maker in the 1930s who brings his creations to life using Ancient Egyptian magic, and ultimately commits suicide when the Nazis try to steal his secrets—far more interesting than its actual main plot. The sequels notably leaned into this in a big way, gradually bringing Andre Toulon and his puppets to the forefront of the story: Puppet Master II features a resurrected Toulon as the primary villain, while Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge is a prequel set in Nazi Germany that expands upon the original film's backstory. Largely due to this, the first few sequels are widely considered to be a significant improvement on the original, and they played a major role in the Puppet Master films gradually developing into widely loved cult classics.

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE: The first five years of the storyline were particularly suspect to being Hijacked by Ganon, due to Makuta not only being The Man Behind the Man to the Bohrok, Turaga Dume and the Vahki, and the Visorak horde, but also being defeated by the Toa Metru and Toa Mata every single time, despite him being a malevolent entity of darkness. The novel Time Trap rectified this by instead turning Makuta into The Chessmaster, whose defeats happened All According to Plan and who is Crazy-Prepared for pretty much any outcome that comes his way, to the point where he tells Vakama point-blank that he is incapable of comprehending the vastness and complexity of Makuta's Grand Plan. From that point onwards, that characterization stuck with Makuta, as Ignition arc has him once again being The Man Behind the Man to the Piraka, albeit much more subtly, getting directly involved in Mahri Nui by teaming up with the Toa Mahri against the Barraki while also working against them to claim the Staff of Artahka, the Nui Stone, and the Mask of Life for his own advantages, and sending the members of the Brotherhood of Makuta to Karda Nui to die in an Uriah Gambit as the Toa Nuva reawakened Mata Nui's body, which Makuta had already possessed during the period in the 2007 story when Mata Nui briefly died. As a result of all of this, Makuta ended winning at the end of the 2008 story by taking control over the Great Spirit Robot, banishing Mata Nui and the Mask of Life to parts unknown (which later turned out to be the setting of the 2009 story), and thoroughly defeated anyone who could pose a realistic threat to his rule. Oh, and his claim about his plans being too complex and vast to interpret? This wasn't even a lie - the 2006 storyline had Zaktan coming across a detailing of the Grand Plan, which resulted in him being driven partially insane as a result of what he found out.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • As epic and iconic as Dr. Serizawa's "arrogance of man, let them fight" Wham Line in the Godzilla (2014) was and still is, there were those who felt like his advocation of letting the Kaiju fight so that Godzilla can save the world was a Broken Aesop; because the MUTOs which were decisively the real threat to the world at large were beating Godzilla, until human intervention (the very thing Serizawa advocated against) turned the battle's tide back in Godzilla's favor twofold by distracting the MUTOs. In both of Serizawa's subsequent and final appearances in Godzilla: Aftershock and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) respectively, Serizawa is forced to break his own rule against human intervention; when he advocates for human intervention on Godzilla's behalf to ensure Jinshin-Mushi's tactics can't guarantee his fall (with the suicidally-idiotic U.N. Security Council even throwing Serizawa's original wham line back in his face when they refute him), and when Serizawa detonates a nuke to revive a near-dead Godzilla so the latter can prevent King Ghidorah's otherwise-certain victory.
    • Something which 2014 viewers criticized Dr. Serizawa for was his and Dr. Graham's advocation against the military's plan to nuke all three Kaiju, taking the military's side on the matter due to that film presenting the military as (mostly) rational if out of their depth and due to the fact the film doesn't explicitly vindicate Serizawa and Graham's worries — although that film did give the military some intelligence and sympathetic points, ultimately, it was clearly intending to portray their decision to use the nuke as a Nuke 'em move which likely would have made things worse rather than better if used against the Kaiju. And the 2014 film's graphic novel prequel Godzilla: Awakening did not help its case, with how the '54 bombing against Godzilla and Shinomura ultimately solved everyone's problems without any catches. King of the Monsters explicitly demonstrates when Godzilla is nuked point-blank to revitalize him that nuking a Kaiju runs the risk of turning them into a walking, ticking, invincible hydrogen bomb which is basically running on steroids for a matter of hours before it explodes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Roman Reigns went solo after having spent much of his time in the three-man tag team The Shield, he kept using the old theme music, SWAT-style outfit, and presentation he always had for years on end, maintaining it even after Ambrose and Rollins, his two former teammates, had branched out. Out-of-universe, this was because WWE didn't really have a strong idea for what to do with Roman, other than that he should be their new big star. Years later, this would be recontextualized into the idea that Roman Reigns the character had also never fully moved on from being a member of the Shield, and that the attempt at a Breakup Breakout had actually left him rudderless and missing his old friends. When he ultimately snapped and became a Fallen Hero, it coincided with him abandoning all the trappings of his former persona and assuming a new one, now determined to build a new team by force and starting with the members of his own family.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: One of the main criticisms of the story of AC2 was that Claudia and Maria are very quickly Demoted to Extra once you arrive at the Villa in Tuscany. Maria in particular gets the worst of it since she more or less goes completely catatonic after the death of her husband and sons, and gets no lines in the game unless Ezio went through the effort of collecting all 100 feathers. Ubisoft seemed to have taken that criticism to heart and gave them a more active role in the Assassin order.
  • Assassin's Creed III:
    • Following some lackluster novelisations of AC2, Brotherhood, Revelations and the first game, Assassin's Creed: Forsaken is a novel that blows expectations out of the water, largely for being mostly original and expanding on Haytham. It also marked the point where the novels got good, and more importantly, stayed good.
    • It's a a bit retroactive, but the sequels implied that Connor's life after the game would be full of problems; even some of those who didn't find him to be as interesting as Ezio felt that some of these things were a bit cruel, since they seemed be some sort of punishment for, well, not being as well received as Ezio was. After a few years of the above, comics not only brought him back, they also explain that the claims of his life turning terrible were lies created by Abstergo, and that he lived happily with his family until his death.
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate: The game received massive criticism for pushing Evie Frye Out of Focus during the final act of the game, doubly so because this was during a time where Ubisoft was coming under fire for refusing to make a Female Protagonist the main focus of any of their games. Almost in response to this the DLC expansion, Jack the Ripper features Evie as the sole playable character, with Jacob now taking the backseat.
  • Assassin's Creed Origins: Part of the Broken Base has lamented the increased lack of focus on the modern-day story. This game marks a return to the third-person modern gameplay that had been absent from the series since Assassin's Creed III, with a brand-new protagonist, Layla Hassan.
  • Devil May Cry 2: Dante is mostly mellow and stoic in this game, which is Out of Character in contrast to his snarky, energetic, and cocky personality from DMC1. On its own, this game doesn't explain why he changed, but the fandom retroactively found some justification for it twice after Capcom revealed additional info and context:
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • Etrian Odyssey: Millenium Girl addressed the shortcomings of the original game's plot. After the original version's plot was heavily criticized for portraying your Guild as little more than loot-obsessed sociopaths who literally commit genocide and doom the world purely for the sake of finding treasure, Millenium Girl retooled the plot heavily to make things less grim, such as the entire Forest People subplot being rewritten so the heroes are fighting plague-crazed members of the tribe instead of slaughtering them to the last man, and while Visil is still a Well-Intentioned Extremist, the party is given actually genuine motivations to oppose him beyond "he's in the way of our treasure", the consequences of his defeat are far less dire.
    • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: Fafnir Knight improved 2's less than savory plot elements. In the original, the Overlord was a genuinely noble man with a genuinely noble goal, and his experiments only ended up becoming threats as a direct result of the party's meddling in his affairs, and his senseless death and the destruction of his world-changing work are treated as afterthoughts to the treasures he was "in the way of". In Fafnir Knight, the Overlord is considerably more villainous, his hunt for immortality combined with elongated solitude corrupts his noble goal into one of selfishness (also allowing him to contrast with Bertrand), and he possesses a shortsighted disregard for containing his experiments and the damage they cause. This all serves to let the party's opposition to him feel much more natural.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The revelation in Dead Money that Matter Replicators were "a common pre-War convenience" created all kinds of strange continuity issues, seeing as how the Great War was fought over resource scarcity, broken replicators have never been scavenged from ruins, no replicators are found in the possession of the Brotherhood or the Enclave, etc. So when Old World Blues came out, it was "revealed" that the replicators were an experimental technology developed at Big MT and the characters who told you how common they were, Dean and Elijah, were wrong for one reason or another; Elijah's obsessed with the Sierra Madre and not thinking straight, and Domino either deliberately lied to you or simply forgot after over two centuries that they aren't common outside of the casino.
  • After the release of Half-Life 2, the fanbase was extremely displeased by what, to Gordon, amounts to a Shoot the Shaggy Dog even worse than the first game. Episode One blows the rage away through a Moment of Awesome for the Vortigaunts that both retcons Alyx's implied death, and changes the whole storyline, showing the G-Man isn't as all-powerful as thought before.
  • Bowser's role in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was criticized by some for turning him into a complete joke of a Butt-Monkey and giving him barely any opportunity to shine. While the 3DS remake doesn't turn him into the complete badass that he was in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, it gives him more exposure, insight and depth via the Minion Quest mode where his minions work to save him, and shows he's just fine in the ending. The mode also fleshes out his story a bit more, giving him more moments where he fights back and turning his transformation into Rookie into a heartwarming moment rather than a cheap joke.
  • The World Ends with You: A New Day, the bonus chapter added on to the Switch version's Updated Re-release as a Sequel Hook, ended with Joshua coldly leaving Neku to his fate and dismissing him as irrelevant after having served his purpose. Given that the entire game was about Neku learning to open up and trust others which in turn restored Joshua's faith in humanity, this Out-of-Character Moment went about as well as expected, especially since it was adding a Cliffhanger ending to a decade old game that had been teasing a sequel for 6 years at that point with the previous port to iOS. Come NEO: The World Ends with You, the events were changed so that Joshua had intervened after all and his trust in Neku is on full display when he shows up.
  • World of Warcraft: The alternate Draenor version of Grom Hellscream was Easily Forgiven in the end of the Warlords of Draenor expansion with the defeat of the Burning Legion and exile of Gul'dan, despite leading the Iron Horde in their attempts to genocide the draenei and invade Azeroth. The Mag'har allied race quest in Battle for Azeroth reveals that after the high of victory wore off, no one was willing to forgive Grom for his crimes. He would spend the next thirty years of his life as The Atoner to win back his people's favor. He also found redemption in death by holding back the Lightbound to ensure as many of his people could escape to Azeroth as they could.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links: After both Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V and Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS wrapped up with endings deemed esoteric for the former and Cut Short for the latter, Duel Links works to resolve both in a more satisfactory manner, with the ARC-V world giving the characters trapped inside Yuya and Yuzu the chance to live separately again, with other characters acknowledging this, allowing characters who were separated for most of the series to finally reunite again (e.g. Yuto with Kurosaki). The VRAINS world takes it further in being an outright continuation of where the anime left off and moving to conclude its story.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories left people feeling unhappy about the Good Ending of Toma's route because he got forgiven for having drugged and imprisoned the heroine, and both of them entering a romantic relationship. The fandisc Amnesia LATER tells the After Story for each of the original five boyfriends, and Toma mentions in his route that he is blaming himself horrendously for what he did to her. He feels like he can't really permit himself to get into a happy relationship with the heroine because he shouldn't go unpunished. And Toma eventually reveals everything he did to Shin, who proceeds to give him two good punches and quite a talking to. It's not the severe punishment some people had hoped for, given how severe his actions were — which included trying to assault the heroine, but he doesn't get off scot-free like in the first game.
  • Highway Blossoms:
    • When the game was first released, there was a scene in which Amber and Marina stop at a rest stop, and encounter a sleazy trucker named Jumbo. Amber left Marina, a rather naive and sheltered girl, to talk to Jumbo while she let the air out of his tires, and returned to extricate Marina from the situation once she was done. Some players complained about the scene trivializing the danger two women might face in a danger like this, as well as Amber leaving Marina in a potentially hazardous situation. The developers also disliked the scene, so they removed the scene from the main storyline and moved it to the "Legacy Content" menu for posterity's sake, although Amber still occasionally references the event.
    • The game has an achievement for completing "Extreme Mode," in which Amber and Marina's cross-country road trip takes the same amount of time it would in real time- a total of 170 hours. After players complained, the developers changed the achievement so it only required completing the first day- 30 minutes each way to and from the convenience store, a three hour drive until sundown and eight hours of sleep, for a total of 12 hours.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair and related works:
    • The fourth anniversary update for Shinrai changed some of Taiko's dialogue in the variation of the good ending in which Kotoba lives. In the original version, Taiko asks the deceased Momoko for forgiveness for himself and Kotoba, who'd stalked Momoko, which some felt let Kotoba off the hook too easily. In the revised version of the ending, Taiko instead says that Kotoba stalking Momoko is something he cannot forgive(although he hopes Kotoba will come out of his experience as a better person), and he believes he shares a certain portion of the blame, something that better fits Taiko's strong sense of justice.
    • The demo of GENBA no Kizuna seems to be made to address some complaints about how Shinrai had a Slow-Paced Beginning. While few obviously important events happened in the first two chapters of Shinrai (out of five) and it took until the end of the second chapter for the first person to die, Genba has Keiichi arrive at the mansion knowing that a crime has been committed, and he finds the body in the second scene.

    Web Animation 
  • gen:LOCK: The Union were heavily criticised in Season 1 for being generic villains with no backstory, with the series never explaining why they seek to control the world. Season 2's press summary makes a point to mention that the series will gain several Union characters as POVs to show their side of the war and why they fight.
  • Helluva Boss:
    • After so many episodes of Moxxie being rendered a Butt-Monkey or a Distressed Dude for his wife to save, "Western Energy" has him get several badass moments, such as his Curb-Stomp Battle against the cowboys or being the one to outsmart and defeat Striker at the end.
    • Many fans are actually relieved that Mammon turned out to be a genuinely evil bastard, arguing that previously established Sins having overt redeeming qualities (Beelzebub and Asmodeus) makes the setting much tamer and more wholesome than it often strives to be.

    Web Comics 
  • College Roomies from Hell!!!: early on in the comic, Maritza chose to kill off Dave, but there was such an outrage among the fans that she decided to bring him back.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when asked whether she was bisexual, Ashley answered that she "doesn't like labels". This caused some hostile reaction among bi readers, due to a more general trend of "not liking labels" as the latest form of bi erasure among various works. The next page has Ashley explain herself and Ellen explicitly identifying herself as bisexual homoromantic.
  • Las Lindas:
    • For some, Chapter 27 for the Miles + Rachael pairing, if only because it actually attempts to acknowledge, address and fix the most toxic aspects of their relationship (Miles being told of his constant entitlement that he claims to outgrow but never does and Rachael properly calling him out for it instead of resorting to violence or taking cheap potshots), and shows that they both needed to grow up and get their shit together if they wanted it to work.
    • While Mora is still a very divisive Karma Houdini, Chapters 28-31 have her actually take charge of her farm like an adult should, apologize to Idward for her horrible treatment of him and endure a conflict where the solution just doesn't miraculously fall from the sky on her lap for once.
    • Sarah was sometimes criticized for her constant, seemingly neverending immaturity and not really developing as a character since the Digit incident. Perhaps for that reason, Idward was seemingly brought back so she could resume her studies and mature a bit more.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • In early volumes, Gary suffered some terrible luck, often through no fault of his own, and even some of the good things that happened to him ended up having drawbacks down the line. This culminated during volume five with Gary and Yuki's one-sided relationship, which led to the fanbase blowing up and an increasing number of readers complaining that Gary's suffering had long since crossed the line from slapstick to unfunny. Volume six, though, has things going fairly smoothly for him, with most of the bad things that happen to him being clearly because of his own blunders instead of bad luck. As time goes on, his luck seems more weird than uniformly hostile.
    • Conversely, in those same early volumes, Zii seemed to some readers to be able to do whatever she wanted with no repercussions. However, she subsequently had her past come back to bite her in the ass from multiple directions, with two stalkers among other problems, along with her worldview being seriously shaken when she first falls hard for a guy and then finds out what Gary's been up to. This scene in Sticky Dilly Buns also showed her being a reasonably cool and likeable person when her own appetites weren't in play, and having a functional conscience of sorts. Her life subsequently involved a fair number of ups and downs; while she can evidently get away with a lot, it’s hard to argue that she’s totally immune to the consequences of her actions.
    • One of Zii's most controversial actions was when dealing with an underage internet troll she finds his home address and proceeds to go there, sleep with the child's mother, and causes the kid's parents to get divorced ... and that was the joke, that she broke up some poor kid's parents because he was an A-hole online. This gets a revisit much later in the comic, however, when Zii meets back up with the kid and while he admits the divorce was difficult, he admits that his father really was a total bastard and now that they were divorced, his mother doesn't cry at night like she used to. It helps that during the second interaction Zii actually tries to genuinely apologizing for crossing the line, showing that she knew she crossed it, and the kid to instead thank Zii for helping his mother find happiness again.
    • The whole notion that the authors make changes to their story in reaction to fan complaining (and that the previous examples prove it) is, however, highly debatable — as Giz has confirmed that neither she nor co-author Dave pay much attention to the forum and the opinions expressed there by the fans.
  • The Order of the Stick: Even after the tragic circumstances of her death, Miko was still a highly-disliked character for many readers, although the Giant was always clear that she wasn't supposed to be likable. Years later, "How the Paladin Got His Scar" revealed that much of the Knight Templar and Black-and-White Insanity traits which made her so annoying can be traced back to her tutelage under the poor example of Gin-Jun, a paladin who was just as fanatical (and arguably even more unpleasant) than her. As an added bonus, said story ended with Miko killing him.
  • Sabrina Online: Funny as it was, a lot of readers felt that Zig Zag banging a ten-year-old's mom as revenge for cyber bullying wasn't so much a fun revenge fantasy as it was psychological child abuse. A follow-up NSFW comic, Adventure Begins At Home, establishes that the mother was the one who initiated their sex, which was completely consensual, and that Zig Zag hadn't even planned on using it as revenge so much as lucked into it. She also reconsiders taking revenge on the bully at all when she finds out that he's a child (though he's retconned from 10 to 15 here, presumably so he'll be less traumatized), but decides that she can basically kill two birds with one stone this way.
    • A lot of Zig Zag's actions towards Sabrina and other characters can be seen as sexual or verbal harassment especially early on in the series. Its revealed later in the series that Zig Zag grew up in an abusive home, and a therapist finally gets Zig Zag to recognize her actions were perpetuating the cycle of abuse and encourages her to change for the better.
  • Sinfest:
    • When Maverick pulled a gun on Slick and threatened him, it garnered heavy criticism, so the author had a scene a few strips later where another character picks up the gun and mention "it wasn't loaded". Readers pointed out that it wasn't clear whether Maverick actually knew that, so the author posted a flashback of her unloading the gun to hammer the point home.
    • September 2016 has an arc involving a hacked payment processing machine at a brothel, "fining" cheap patrons and announcing their purchase history was now posted on the Internet. Even fans felt this may be "too extreme", so it was soon retconned into "random messages" inserted into the payment program.
  • Unordinary: After many complaints about Isen not developing beyond being a cowardly comic-relief character to the point of being considered wasted potential, chapter 259 finally throws him a bone. Instead of cowering in fear like he always does, he's finally seen having a spine, standing up to John after the latter screamed at him for letting Terrence go.
  • VG Cats: After backlash for the joke about the death of Iwata being tasteless, the strip that had that joke was republished, with the joke and part of what led to it being removed, changing the strip's punchline.

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