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Word of Dante

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"Now that I have said it, it must be canon!"

Word of God is stuff that a work's primary creators (such as an author or director) have stated is true about their universe, even if it's not in the actual work.

Word of Saint Paul is stuff that the secondary creators (such as major actors in a movie) have said, or what those with close connections to the secondary or primary creators (such as close friends or family members) have said.

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Word of Dante is stuff that neither the creators nor anyone remotely involved with the work has said is true about their universe — but everyone assumes it is true because an independent authority, scholar of the work, Fandom VIP, or the creator of an adaptation has said it — often with supporting arguments. It's a kind of ascended Fanon (though not Ascended Fanon proper). A more literary criticism-friendly technical term for it would be deuterocanonicity.

Why does it matter? Because everyone thinks the Word of Dante applies to the original work, and so it gets mixed into future adaptations and popular allusions. It can even overrule original canonicity (if that isn't known as much as it's known of) or Word of God. Take our Trope Namer: if it weren't for Dante Alighieri and his Divine Comedy, later writers wouldn't speak of hell having circles with specific Karmic Punishments. Hell is depicted in broad strokes in The Bible. A place of darkness and wailing and gnashing of teeth, a lake of fire — that's really as specific as it gets. That there are specific places in Hell to send the unchaste, the literal infidels, and the betrayers is all Dante's idea.

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Ironically for this trope, although Dante's work is highly influential in Western culture, it should be noted that no branch of Christianity considers The Divine Comedy to be canon at all. Also, Dante didn't even intend for it to be considered as religious canon; it was more about political and social commentary of the time, with a bit of philosophizing about spiritual growth (a theme carried more with the Purgatorio and Paradisio, but nonetheless present in the Inferno).

This trope is especially likely to happen if there is no one who can unambiguously provide Word of God. Without Word of God or Word of Saint Paul, Word of Dante is the strongest authority you have on how to interpret the canon. Often created when an Expanded Universe claims to be "official" and thus canonical but is ignored by the primary canon. If there is a Word of God, however, then what Word of Dante does get produced is just as likely as Fanon to be Jossed at some point.

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Frequently creates Adaptation Displacement. May also help create Misaimed Fandom if the Dante's ideas contradict true canonicity or Word of God.

May be the cause of Newer Than They Think, especially if Dante is much younger than the work. Again, it's easier to have Word of Dante if there is no longer anyone to give Word of God.

Beam Me Up, Scotty! is a version of this, where the Word of Dante is a phrase.

Also related is the Death of the Author, a concept from the field of literary criticism which states that all theories about a work (regardless of their source) can be equally valid, and Staff-Created Fan Work, which sometimes leads to this. See also God Never Said That. If Word of Dante ever becomes canonical, it's Ascended Fanon.

Not to be confused with the words of Dante Basco, or Dante, Son of Sparda from Devil May Cry, or Dante from the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime, or the other Alighieri.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Quite a few Dragon Ball fans (including some on this wiki) believe that the name of Lunch's blond gun-crazy alter ego is "Kushami". The name was coined by an American translator in the mid-1990s in order to distinguish between "Good Lunch" and "Bad Lunch", using the Japanese word for "sneeze."
    • There are also quite a few fans who think that Dr. Gero hates Goku for killing his son (upon whom Android #16 is modeled); in reality, Akira Toriyama said that Gero's son was shot dead by an enemy soldier and Gero just hates Goku for destroying the Red Ribbon Army. The confusion seems to persist in part because Dragon Ball Z Abridged did pin the son's death on Goku (with a very memorable piece of original animation), and partly because the creators of Abridged reference obscure but canon pieces of Dragon Ball lore all the time.note 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The fangame Fullmetal Alchemist: Bluebird's Illusion was a source of something like this among some Fullmetal Alchemist fans back when Pride hadn't been introduced. There were quite a lot of fanworks based on the game.
  • The Director's Cut films of Death Note are not canonical, and not generally regarded as such... except for the funeral scene (and, more controversially, the scenes in the shinigami realm).
  • Naruto has a minor case of this over Haku's gender, due to both their short time in the series, only two volumes, and the translation having a statement translated as 'I'm a boy', with the only other support being a supposed Word of God statement by Kishimoto, which has never been found, and several fans to this day believe Haku was lying with the statement.
  • Ranma ½ has a fandom full of Saint Pauls, due to a group of early authors making a set of stock characterizations for the main cast.
    • Akane is depicted as being terrible at practically any task she attempts, as well as exclusively hitting Ranma with a hammer, not helped by several chapters showing she has Lethal Chef tendencies, her frankly average martial arts skill compared to several high ranking rivals, with her occasionally hitting people with blunt objects.
    • Nabiki is depicted scamming people out of what is implied to be large denominations of currency for practically everything and having a part of any morally ambiguous event, as well as having a permanent setup for selling photographs of Ranma and Akane, even ones she, canonically, couldn't possibly have been involved in.
    • Kasumi, as far as a lot of the fandom is concerned, doesn't exist, only appearing to be the Nice Girl compared to Akane's violence and Nabiki's mercenary tendencies, while whitewashing her own terrible incidents.
    • Shampoo, or Shan Pu, for years was given the name 'Xian Pu', a terrible grasp of Japanese language and a ruthless streak, along with a implied hatred of people getting her name 'wrong'. It's only recently that fans have pointed out it was always Shampoo in the manga.
    • And many more. There's practically no character in the entire Ranma narrative who isn't subject to constant and unintended flanderization since barely any writer is willing to sit down and actually read and/or watch the whole series.
  • Soul Eater:
    • The Funimation dub uses male pronouns to refer to the character Crona, leading many who watched the anime to believe that Crona is officially male. At the same time, an early online fan translation of a Soul Eater chapter refers to Crona as Medusa's "daughter" causing many of those who read the manga to believe that Crona is officially a girl. Unfortunately, neither is right. Crona, in both the original anime and manga, is referred to using genderless pronouns and as Medusa's "child". Funimation had to settle with male pronouns by default, and the translation in the manga is wrong. Many fans have decided to just call Crona with "they" pronouns.
    • It's commonly thought that the name of Maka's unseen mother is "Kami" because one translation group mistook part of the Japanese word for "wife" which her ex-husband Spirit used in reference to her, for her name. In actuality, her name is never given.
  • In Elfen Lied, Number Three (The Silpelit who infected Kurama, causing Mariko to be born a Diclonius) is often given the name Sanban by fans, even though that is simply the Number Three's Japanese translation, unlike Number Seven Nana, which is both a name and number. Further, a listing that only says it is from an official site states that Three is Nana's older sister. Nothing said in the manga or anime supports this.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: It is an absurdly common piece of fanon that Charlotte, aka Nagisa Momoe was a cancer patient. (There is some official material that seemingly contradicts this, but it's actually information about a prototype character, which gives it dubious canonicity.) This would later be comprehensively deconfirmed by the Magia Record mobile game, which expanded on her backstory.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fandom has tons of these, partly because of Real Life being something of an alternative source material, partly because the webcomic is scattered between the site, the author's blog and — in some cases — only on fansites because strips were removed or lost from the main site. There's also the scanlations with often questionable quality translations, although they have been easier to find as of late. You can find several examples in the Fanon page. Examples include:
    • Scotland's design. A fan artist drew an interpretation of Scotland and it's caught on to the point of being assumed canon.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • An early mistranslation of Yajima's name ended up calling him "Shitou" instead. Since subsequent chapters call him "Yajima", many fans were led to believe his full name was actually "Shitou Yajima", to the point where the character was briefly credited as "Shitou" in the English dub of the anime.
    • People outside of Japan have pegged Lucy's birth date as July 1 due to promotional text written by the editor-in-chief at Weekly Shonen Magazine with absolutely zero input from Mashima, who never revealed any of the characters' birthdays. This led to Mashima tweeting his confusion when foreign fans suddenly started wishing Lucy a happy birthday, and later reinforcing that Lucy's official birth date (at least in Japan) remains unknown.
  • Mashiro from The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is usually taken by Western viewers as autistic. However, this was never mentioned in the original; just that the descriptions about her follow textbook definitions of autism so closely that they just can't give any other explanation.
  • This trope itself is the method in which Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Appleseed and Real Drive are all established to take place in the same universe, though certain parts of each history have to be disregarded to accommodate the others.
    • Appleseed has a technical manual that details the history of Earth that leads up to the current world the series takes place in. It establishes that the Cold War came to a peaceful resolution in 1986 which resulted in one third of the United States becoming the Russo-American Alliance,note  that World War III broke out in 1996, and in 1997 a giant meteor struck Beijing, China. As a result of the war and the meteor, the upper hemisphere of the planet has been severely damaged, with new lakes and seas formed and scattered all over. A map of this world can be seen at the end of 2nd Gig despite there being no mention of these events.
    • Kenji Kamiyama took this foundation and added upon it in Stand Alone Complex, establishing that the 2nd American Civil War in 2016 resulted in the remaining two-thirds of the US being split again, with one-third of the states becoming Imperial Americana aka the American Empire. (The country was split up by each of the states themselves, resulting in Imperial Americana now occupying the greatest land mass of the United States.note  The United States Of America was reduced to the Rocky Mountain states and the border states along Canada. The series also establishes that World War IV begins in 2019 and that Japan has developed technology to lay the foundation for the existence of the Bioroids that appear in Appleseed.
    • Real Drive is an interesting example in this equation. Originally, it was going to take place in the Stand Alone Complex universe, but the director decided he would rather just make it its own universe instead, since it is mostly a Slice of Life series. However, Real Drive uses the exact same technologies established in Stand Alone Complex: cyberbrains, full prosthetic bodies, Operator androids, and a type of nanotechnology that was developed from the "Radiation Scrubber Nanotechnology" — which itself was the project that a prominent character in Stand Alone Complex was the director overseeing the development process. All of this technology is visually presented to look just like it does in Stand Alone Complex, which makes the similarities too close to simply accept that the director said that it takes place in its own universe.
  • One Piece has the Databooks, which are published to give supplementary material not crucial to the main storyline, but that many fans would probably like to know. Just how true they are, however, is up for debate as of April 2014, when something very important that was stated to be false in a Databook was confirmed as true in the main storyline: Sabo is alive.
  • Nowhere is Misty from Pokémon canonically referred to as "Misty Waterflower", but you'll rarely see her surname given as anything else. "Waterflower" comes from the dub title of Episode 7: "The Water Flowers of Cerulean City". This is a metaphor for her sisters due to their Floral Theme Naming, but they are not called this in canonicity either; the term used for said sisters as a group is "The Sensational Sisters". Several other characters are given last names in fanfics as well, but this is the only case with supposed in-show "evidence". The whole need for a last name in the first place came from the dub giving Ash a last name in order to avoid Lip Lock.note 
    • Some fans assume that Ash's birthday is May 22nd. The reason for this is due to a combination of the novelizations written by Takeshi Shudō, which state that Ash began his journey when he was exactly ten years, ten months and ten days of age, and that trainers start their journeys on April following their tenth birthday. The novels don't give an exact date at any point, but the anime began airing on April 1st, 1997, which most fans take as the reference date for Ash beginning his journey, and doing the math with the above data it gives May 22nd. However, none of this is referenced in the anime itself, and given for how many decades Ash has remained at 10 years of age, it seems unlikely that it'll be.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha, being a rather old Long Runner at this point, has built up quite a lot of fanon, with some of it managing to fit this trope more so than most, thanks to being either hosted on popular anime information sites and/or accidentally inspired by/derived in part from quirks of the popular Viz Media English translations of the series, particularly the dub of the anime. Chief among the issues is that since English doesn't use honorifics or politeness levels the way Japanese does, and the translations were made when anime was still "localized" quite a bit more for American audiences, they had to find creative ways to convey the especially-rude or especially-respectful ways that some characters spoke to each other with...and in some cases work around the lack of a known name or gender for a character. Issues that this helped cause include:
    • The assumption that Inuyasha curses a lot because his crude dialect and habit of not using honorifics in the original Japanese was rendered in English as "rough" speech with added cursing. Bonus points for fans assuming he likes to call Kagome a "bitch" because a rude form of "you" was translated as "you bitch" in a handful of early chapters.
    • Incorrect names circulating for some characters; of particular note here, Kagome's canonically unnamed mother got named "Kun-Loon" (which doesn't even look Japanese) by some random editor on "Absolute Anime", leading to a Word of Dante situation where people assumed it was correct because it was on an informative-looking website.
    • Confusion over Kagome's cat's sex (canonically it's unspecified), particularly notable since it resulted in fans assuming a calico cat was male, which as noted in that link is highly unlikely, but results from the English translation sticking a male pronoun where a pronoun happened to be required in English.
    • The English-speaking fandom largely and inaccurately concluding that Inuyasha's older brother Sesshomaru is some sort of demon noble with an official domain in "the Western Lands", whose father passed on the title "Lord of the Western Lands." It's extremely popular in fanworks and even discussion among fans who often work on the assumption it's canonical...and yet literally none of this is in the original manga or even anime. In fact, in contrast to the idea that he inherited some sort of land, servants and noble title, Sesshomaru at one point is shown pondering the possibility that his father might not have meant to leave him anything at all. Things like this are why there's at least one entire blog that got devoted to discussing widespread fanon for this one series — fanon and outright Word of Dante occurs in the fandom with frustrating regularity for anybody trying to keep canonicity straight.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Kurapika, the Sole Survivor of the Kurta clan, has never used his clan name like a surname in canon, and official sources give his full name as simply "Kurapika". However, several fans insist that "Kurta" is his surname, so much that "Kurapika Kurta" often shows up in Google results for search terms such as "hunter x hunter characters", and even on this very wiki.

    Comic Books 
  • An unpublished story by Steve Gerber would have established the Howard the Duck stories not written by Steve Gerber as techno-art by the Krylorian Chireep, depicting an alternate reality version of Howard the Duck. The unofficial crossover in Spider-Man Team-Up #5 and Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck suggests Howard's further appearances are depicting Howard's clone replacement. Marvel has not confirmed either story as canon, and Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck Volume 3 treats Howard as the original.
  • Adrian "Ozymandias" Veidt from Watchmen is often, in fandom, depicted as German, the son of a Nazi officer, and driven to his own well-intentioned extremism out of a keen desire to atone for what he feels is an inherited murderous stain. All of this was invented by Matthew Goode, who played him in the film version — in fact, there are hints that despite his looking like the Nazi party's own invented Aryan ideal, Veidt in the graphic novel very well might be the son of Jews who fled the Nazis. He's presumably named for actor Conrad Veidt, a German socialist who left the country because of how much he hated the Nazis. Before Watchmen makes it explicit that something similar to the latter is what happened, though whether the Veidts were Jewish is never established for certain.
    • Veidt is also commonly believed in Internet circles to have an artificial right hand. This dates back to an Intercontinuity Crossover roleplaying board in 2010, where it happened as a function of the plot specific to that board, and permanently remained the case in that continuity afterwards. What happened was that the board’s wiki was accidentally taken for canon by unwitting fans, most likely due to a high level of hits from the main image link. There are related words of Dante from the same RP, such as a deceased younger sister named Klara, but the Artificial Limbs idea was the stickiest.

    Films — Animated 
  • Walt Disney has changed many classic fairy tales and literary classics in ways the general audience now considers to be the "official" version.
    • The Three Little Pigs originally had the wolf eat the first two pigs with the one that built his house from bricks being the sole survivor. Disney's cartoon made it standard that the two pigs just run to the third pig's house and survive from the wolf's hungry stomach.
    • Snow White: Most people base this fairy tale on Disney's iconic film adaptation. For instance: many theatre actresses wear the same dress Snow White does in this film, even if their version is closer to the original fairy tale! Several things people now associate with the fairy tale are actually inventions by Disney — including the seven distinct personalities of the dwarfs, their names (which are actually trademarked and don't you forget it!), and even the famous scene where Snow White is kissed back to life by the prince! (In the original the prince's servants accidentally drop Snow White's coffin on the ground, causing the piece of poison apple to dislodge from her throat, thus curing her.)
    • The happy ending of The Little Mermaid (1989) is now better known than the character's much sadder fate in the original story.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Predators states the events of Predator took place in Guatemala. Though Dutch's team was briefed in Guatemala at the beginning of the movie, Steven E. de Souza included the country Val Verde in shows and movies he has co-written, including Adventure Inc., Commando, Die Hard 2, and Supercarrier, and has stated in interviews that Predator takes place in Val Verde. The Xenopedia wiki goes with de Souza's explanation, calling the explanation in Predators incorrect.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Technical Commentaries fit this trope so well that much of their information overrides canonicity in the eyes of fans. The best example is the class name of the Star Destroyers from the original trilogy. Canonically, they're Imperial-Class according to the EU, the official website, and Word of God. Dr. Saxton, who wrote the technical commentaries, dubbed them "Imperator-Class" on the grounds that "Imperial" is a stupid name for a warship. He assumed that the Empire followed American and British tradition in naming ships and classes. Many fan works use "Imperator-class" and the name was eventually canonized in Revenge of the Sith: Incredible Cross-Sections (penned by Saxton as an author for Lucasfilm Licensing). Go, Roman naming-schemes!
    • Though there has been an HMS Imperial, so the name isn't that unlikely...
    • Though it's still established that, presumably out of pure ego, the Emperor changed the name to Imperial-class after he turned the Republic into The Empire.
    • Probably the most widely accepted piece of fanon (even on this very wiki) is the idea that Palpatine, Thrawn (and sometimes even Revan) were actually Well Intentioned Extremists, uniting the galaxy under a single powerful rule to best prepare them for the arrival of an even more powerful foe, specifically the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • Not mentioned explicitly as the Vong, but Palpatine's agent in Outbound Flight tells Thrawn that the Emperor is trying to unite the galaxy in an attempt to stand against an (at the time unnamed) enemy from beyond the Galactic Rim. This is what first convinces Thrawn to side with the Emperor, as he had encountered an unknown extra-galactic enemy before. Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords makes a similar comment about Revan, but that later turned out to be the True Sith, members of the order that fled into solitude sometime around or before the Great Hyperspace War.
  • Stanley Kubrick's films have long inspired high profile speculation:
    • Room 237 is a documentary profiling many of the theories posited by critics and obsessive internet fans about Kubrick's The Shining. Some of these theories have proliferated elsewhere. For example, Cracked included the theory that the film is a metaphor for American Indian oppression in an article, presenting the theory as definitively true.
    • Cracked also brought visibility to filmmaker/critic Rob Ager's evidence that HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey was designed to be a criticism of the company IBM.
  • Inception shows the agents to have Reality Warper powers within a dream allowing them to alter it as they see fit. Many fans have since adopted the belief that this altering is what's allowing them to use the various action movie tropes, like the Pin-Pulling Teeth or the Bloodless Carnage. This would make the use of almost any trope justified by the narrative, at least in the scenes that take place inside a dream. (And as for the rest...)

    Literature 
  • In the Warrior Cats fandom, there was a superfan called Su Susann who claimed her headcanons (of which a few were thought to be absurd by the fandom) to have been confirmed to be canon by Vicky Holmes, who was (at the time) one of the authors of the series. Vicky later refuted these claims and stated that while she was grateful for Su being such an active contributor on the Warrior Cats Wiki and liked that she was sharing her headcanons and Original Characters, none of Su’s headcanons and OCs were canon. This revelation, along with Vicky leaving the Warrior Cats team of authors sometime after, caused the admins of the wiki to send out an apology and get to work on removing Su’s headcanons and OCs from the site.
  • The Cthulhu Mythos;
    • The Mythos includes various authors contemporaneous with and following after H. P. Lovecraft whose stories are considered canonical. Some works written previous to the original Mythos are also considered canonically part of it, like some of the works of Ambrose Bierce and The King in Yellow. It's worth noting that Lovecraft himself actively encouraged other authors to play around in his universe.
    • The Necronomicon being able to resurrect the dead as zombies comes from Evil Dead 2 rather than any of the Cthulhu Mythos stories.
  • Gone writer Michael Grant never specifically said that Zil Sperry was gay or bi. But judging from his narration chapters, you can see where one would get this idea, so it's basically Fanon.
  • Before Perrault got hold of the "Sleeping Beauty", the prince found her asleep in the forest and raped her without waking her. It was only one of their children sucking the splinter from her finger that finally woke her. Whereupon the prince went home to his wife
  • In the best-known version of "Rapunzel", the old witch learns that Rapunzel has been visited in her tower when Rapunzel foolishly asks her, "Mother Gothel, why are you so much harder to pull up than my prince?" In the first printing of the Grimms' story collection, Rapunzel's question is, "Mother Gothel, why have my dresses grown so tight around the waist?"
  • This has been the case with most editions of William Shakespeare's works since the 1800s.
    • When old Bill was alive, it's uncertain if he ever officially sanctioned any publication of his works. Printed versions from the time vary wildly in quality: the first quarto edition of Hamlet is widely considered to be a garbled bootlegnote  whereas the second quarto is much more coherent. The Word of Saint Paul version of his plays is the First Folio, a collection put together in 1623 by some actor pals in The King's Men. By the 1800s, editors had begun to assemble their own editions by cutting and pasting together what they regarded as probably the most authentic bits from the good quartos and the Folio, and this is still done with most editions for school or professional use (e.g. the Penguin edition) — these are the Word of Dante versions. Basically, scholars have been in an echo chamber for two centuries, debating what can be considered "authentic" Shakespeare. Today, some editions of Hamlet and King Lear include different versions of the play, leaving it entirely up to readers to decide their own version to use.note 
    • In no surviving notes on "Romeo and Juliet" are there any references to a balcony — the word didn't exist in English until decades later. Act II Scene ii, the infamous Balcony Scene, is largely a product of a later play that copied some of the same dialogue — Thomas Otway's "The History and Fall of Caius Marius". It does, however, appear in most movie versions, and Otway borrowed some of the same dialogue that appeared first in "Romeo and Juliet," so it's understandable that the two would get crossed.
    • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is often taken as canonical for Hamlet, even if incorporating a postmodern look at the nature of theatre into a straightforward if rich story about revenge makes no sense. (It helps that Tom Stoppard is careful about making sure when in Hamlet the various events of his own play happen.) Even people who can't consider the events canonical "know" that they must be either allowed for or explicitly ruled out, which gives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern importance they would not otherwise have. The film of Hamlet with Laurence Olivier cut out the pair entirely because they were minor characters with little effect on the main plot — which is why Tom Stoppard wrote his play in the first place. In modern versions, even ones that don't consider Stoppard canonical, this is all but unthinkable. (The Mel Gibson version shows their execution, for instance.)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes:
    • The author never described the eponymous character as wearing a deerstalker cap or smoking a calabash pipe.note  Those are elements that were popularized by illustrations — including the pictures printed with the storiesnote  — and stage productions. So many people consider them canonical that the 2009 film got criticized for dropping those elements. Basil Rathbone wore them in his classic 1939 films, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, more reason to associate this outfit with the great detective.
    • It's generally accepted these days to present Mycroft Holmes and the Diogenes Club as some sort of cover organization or outpost of the British secret service. This is largely an invention of later pastiches. Aside from a few hints that Mycroft's job in the British government is a bit more extensive than he likes to admit ("on certain occasions he is the British government"), it's never really suggested in the original canon that either the club nor Mycroft are anything other than what they appear to be (a near-silent club for reclusive eccentrics and a Brilliant, but Lazy low-level civil servant respectively).
    • Holmes' relationship with "The Woman", Irene Adler, has largely been expanded from a healthy respect for the one person we ever see outsmarting Holmes to a Dating Catwoman-like Unresolved Sexual Tension situation at the very least, thanks more or less to this trope combined with Promoted to Love Interest. This gets even weirder when one remembers that Irene married her own lawyer during that case and had no romantic interest in Holmes whatsoever. And there's the fact that he only has any contact with her once (briefly) when he's casing her house under an assumed identity. The closest that they come to even having a conversation is when Irene leaves an extended letter for Holmes after she's already escaped.
    • Moriarty was never intended by Doyle to be Sherlock's arch-nemesis — this got applied to him by fans and later adaptations of the stories of Holmes. Holmes does describe Moriarty as "the Napoleon of crime" and Moriarty does play a role in two different stories, but that's as far as it got in Doyle's work in crafting Moriarty as an arch-villain — although the fact that one of these stories ended with Holmes and Moriarty fighting each other to the death and Holmes apparently killed off for good doesn't exactly hurt Moriarty's claim to the title.
  • Tolkien never explicitly stated that Elves in The Lord of the Rings and related works had pointy ears — in fact, no special physical traits are given except that they seem to be more slender, more elegant, and taller than men (thus implying that they might, apart from that, look more or less alike). In his letters, he shows the assumption that such an appearance was obvious (since English "elfs" have always been described as such), and explains how the Sindarin word for "ear" originates from their word for "leaf". It's also widely accepted in Tolkien fandom that Smaug was the last dragon. In fact, this is never stated anywhere in the books, and indeed some of Gandalf's dialogue with Frodo implies that there are still dragons out there — Smaug was merely the greatest of his age.
  • Arthurian Legend has gone through many cycles over the centuries, so that many of the familiar features may be newer than you'd assume. The character of Lancelot, his affair with Guinevere, Mordred's incestuous parentage, and the quest for the Holy Grail all came about during the legend's resurgence in popularity during the Late Middle Ages. Some of them likely came to us by way of Le Morte d'Arthur, which appears to be one of the older in-depth codifications of the legend. The best-known version of the "sword in the stone" story, as well as many now-common attributes of Merlin, were introduced in the 20th century with T.H. White's The Once and Future King.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • This series is among the few fantasy epics that doesn't have any Doorstoppers among its volumes because C. S. Lewis, while not neglecting Character Development and worldbuilding, didn't take it as seriously as either Tolkien or modern Young Adult fantasy writers. As a result, the live-action films from the 2000s have more of such activity than the books do. The Prince Caspian film deviates enough from the book that the film continuity is considered an Alternate Continuity from the books, but even Fan Fic writers who explicitly reject film continuity may unconsciously accept film characterization for the Pevensies. There is subtle Values Dissonance between the two. When there was just one film, the fandom started to accept the film's version of life for the Pevensies before going to Professor Kirke's place, since C. S. Lewis didn't consider it relevant. Technically, it wasn't, but modern fans enjoy that sort of thing. Thus the Pevensies come from Finchley since it's nice to narrow it down from "England".
    • World War II in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is simply there to get the Pevensies where they need to go. The live-action film pushed what was implied to the foreground, reminding people that you can't ignore that war if you are in the warzone. Fanfic post-film reflects this and is likely to include Mr. Pevensie at war rather than at university (which The Voyage of the Dawn Treader implied). The second film similarly reminded writers that the war had not stopped during the intervening year.
    • Lots of people think Caspian/Susan is canonical when actually they barely talk to each other in the Prince Caspian book. The movie, however, did make it canonical. In the first book in which he appears, Caspian and Susan are both 13 years old, and he has more interactions with the 9-year-old Lucy than he ever does with her older sister. There are rumors that the movies were planning on foreshadowing Lucy/Caspian, to be properly set up in Dawn Treader, but when 26-year-old Ben Barnes was cast against 12-year-old Georgie Henley and 19-year-old Anna Popplewell, they decided not to go down that road.
  • The Terrible Dogfish from The Adventures of Pinocchio is a shark. The popular misconception as a whale parallels that from the story of Jonah (see "Mythology and Religion" below), but this time we can blame Disney.
  • Some critics find Plato's writing of Socrates to be this since Socrates was emphatically opposed to writing any philosophical wisdom. Which statements were genuinely Socrates' and which ones were put in his mouth by Plato is a subject of much analytical debate. Plato certainly backpedaled on the statements that led to Socrates' execution.
  • In Another Note:
    • There is no explicit mention (or even hint) of Beyond Birthday consuming blood and/or flesh from any of his victims. Yet most fans depict him as a cannibal. Nor is there any mention or implication of him raping any of them. Though the idea of him being a rapist is at least more plausible, because he proudly describes himself as "an aggressive top".
    • Most fanart portrays him as splattered in blood and/or wearing a black shirt. Though canonically, he wears a white shirt (to match L), and he is meticulous about cleaning up after his grisly murders. This is most likely done to distinguish him from L, especially in fanarts where they appear together.
  • Harry Potter: The films instilled the idea that Hogwarts has free dress when the students aren't in class, that Ravenclaw house has a raven mascot and their secondary colour is white or silver (in the books, Ravenclaw's symbolic animal is an eagle, and their colours are blue and bronze), and that the students wear modern school uniforms under their robes (in the book, the robes are the pull-over-the-head type). Students also wear pointed hats all day, not just at feasts. The movies also got fans to believe Beauxbatons is an all-girls school and that Durmstrang is an all-boys school, when both are co-ed.
  • For almost 20 years, the Goosebumps fandom universally accepted that "Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano" translates to "You and I are one now" in English, despite this never being established by any book, TV episode, game, Word of God or any official source whatsoever until 2015 (and that was just a promotional booklet released for the film adaptation). The closest was a line spoken by Slappy in the TV adaptation of "Night of the Living Dummy II": "You read the magic words. Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano. You and I are one now. You are my slave..." In context, it seems highly unlikely he was translating the incantation in that scene, but the idea stuck.
  • An inversion in Discworld: In discussions of canonicity, some fans will discount the diaries, cookbook, railway guide and sometimes even the maps, on the assumption they were mostly or entirely written by the co-writers and had Terry Pratchett's name slapped on them for marketing reasons. According to Sir Terry and the co-writers, this was very much not the case. If a book credits him as the main writer, he was.
  • Land of Oz has very loose canon even going by L. Frank Baum's books. Over the decades, various non-canon or dubiously canon things have made their way into the general consensus:
    • In The Marvelous Land of Oz, the protagonist Tip is revealed to be Princess Ozma put under a spell as an infant and Raised as the Opposite Gender. Despite protesting before changing back to Ozma, Ozma herself has no issue with the change and is never boyish afterwards. Derivative works, published fan works, and adaptations often either make Ozma into a Tomboy Princess or show Ozma being uncomfortable with the change in the period between the second and third books.
    • Lurline is the fairy who created Oz. Over the years, Lurline has been upgraded from a fairy queen into a goddess. This appears in several derivative works such as The Wicked Years.
    • The two most commonly accepted designs for Dorothy are W.W. Denslow's brunette 5-to-7-year-old-looking Dorothy and John R. Neil's blonde 9-to-12-year-old-looking Dorothy. Both appear in derivative works, with Denslow's design being more popular due to it matching the more well-known MGM film. In canon, Dorothy's hair colour isn't noted. Ozma's hair is also described as reddish blonde but she's almost always depicted as a brunette in (even the original) illustrations and adaptations.
  • The afterword of Quest for Fire's 2020 English edition has a fun section identifying the various tribes in the story with real hominid species known from the fossil record: The Oulhamr with Homo neandertalensis, the Kzamm with Homo antecessor, the Wah with Homo sapiens, the Red dwarves with Homo luzonensis, the Blue-haired men with Gigantopithecus blacki and the Men of the trees with Pierolapithecus catalaunicus. with the obvious exception of Homo sapiens and Homo neandertalensis, none of these species would have been known to the author in 1911 but it is fun to interpret the story and setting through the lens of modern paleontology.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Much The Man from U.N.C.L.E. fanon (THRUSH being formed by the remnants of Moriarty's organisation, Solo being Waverly's designated successor, "the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and Subjugation of Humanity", the Ultimate Computer, etc.) derives from David McDaniel's entries in the Ace Books series of UNCLE novels.
  • Star Trek:
    • Fans referred to an unnamed, silhouetted character in Star Trek: Enterprise as "Future Guy" and, let's just say, the name caught on with the writers.
    • There are quite a few Trek examples, leading to cases where newer Trek — particularly Star Trek: Enterprise — was accused by many of being "inaccurate". Many aspects of fanon were confused with canonicity. Whether Enterprise did or did not deviate from established canonicity (and keeping in mind Trek has never been 100% consistent anyway, simply by virtue of how big it is), many of the more frequent claims were in fact based on widely-accepted but non-canonical fan assumptions. Among the biggest Word Of Dante was the whole "Spock was the first Vulcan in Starfleet" idea. Another is the "2218 Klingon First Contact". Neither was canonical but were widely accepted along Word Of Dante principles for years. In these two aspects at least, Enterprise didn't deviate from canonicity.
    • Among the biggest Word of Dantes, used in authorized but noncanonical reference books and the Expanded Universe, was that many of the major races such as Klingons and Romulans come from the rarely-mentioned-in-canonicity Beta Quadrant. More specifically:
      • The Federation is mostly located in the Alpha Quadrant, but has a few worlds in Beta. The Solar system in particular defines the boundary between the two quadrants like a galactic Greenwich.
      • The Romulan and Klingon empires are mostly located in the Beta Quadrant, but spill over into Alpha
      • The Cardassian Union, Ferenginar, and Bajor are in the Alpha Quadrant
    • Starship combat in Trek video games almost universally assumes that phasers and disruptors work best against shields, and photon torpedoes work best against the hull. This is never stated in any episode or film, however. It's driven almost entirely by the fact that carving a hole in the enemy's shield coverage and then maneuvering a torpedo into the unprotected arc makes for more compelling gameplay than simply standing still and blasting directly at each other. In the shows and films, they never fire torpedoes unless the enemy shields are down.
  • Linkara's Theory as to the cause of Power Rangers suits sparking upon being struck (essentially a Power Surge) has been adopted as canonical by the franchise's fandom.
  • The TV adaptation of The Green Hornet established Kato as a martial-arts expert and now audiences expect it.
  • Doctor Who:
    • A Fandom VIP named Jean-Marc Lofficier wrote some reference books in the eighties and nineties, which had quasi-official status through being published by Target, who also did the Doctor Who Novelisations. Although the real-world information about the series was mostly reliable, much of the Universe Concordance material included consisted of extremely speculative extrapolations from canonicity or pure fanfic, without any disclaimer being put in. It's still possible to find older Who fans quoting some of this stuff as canonical.
    • A common belief has been that the Ice Warriors of Mars have a ruling caste of Ice Lords. However, according to Doctor Who Magazine #489's "Fact of Fiction" article on "The Monster of Peladon", while the Ice Warriors do have an aristocracy, the term 'Ice Lords' is never used in the TV series. Though at least three Ice Warriors in the show have been tagged as Ice Lords by fandom - Slaar in "The Seeds of Death", Izlyr in "The Curse of Peladon", and Azaxyr in "The Monster of Peladon", all three wearing more streamlined and less crocodilian armour - only Izlyr is actually nobility, the other two being military officers. The term 'Ice Lords' apparently came from DWM themselves, back when they were Doctor Who Weekly, and quickly passed into fan consciousness.
    • The drive during the eighties and nineties to desexualise the Doctor, despite the fact he was canonically a grandparent, is more properly Word of God or Word of Saint Paul, given that some of the TV series' writers were putting out non-televised stories to support it. The whole thing was largely blown away anyway by the Doctor's romances in the TV Movie and especially the new series.
  • Avon surviving the Kill 'Em All Bolivian Army Ending of Blake's 7 is pretty generally accepted in the Fandom and might be a case of Ascended Fanon now that the possibility of a sequel/reboot including the character has been floated. The fact that one of the fans in question is Paul Darrow, the actor who played Avon, doesn't hurt this one's chances one bit.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Fans will occasionally invent names for forms and techniques to fill in gaps left behind in official information. One such example: fans tend to refer to the base forms of Kamen Rider Blade's Riders as "Ace Form", following the show's playing card theme (especially since the Mid-Season Upgrade and Super Mode are named Jack and King Form, respectively). However, Japanese sources actually use the term "Normal Form" (通常形態, Tsuujou Keitai), which is the name given to any Rider whose primary form doesn't have its own distinct name, like Ryuki, Faiz, and Hibiki.
    • Another example is how many Western Rider fans have adopted the term "Neo-Heisei" to refer to the post-Kamen Rider Decade era of the franchise. Japanese Wikipedia uses the terms "First Era" and "Second Era", which are occasionally used by Western fans (usually those who despise the phrase "Neo-Heisei"), though most don't even bother splitting the Heisei Era up in the first place.

    Music 
  • The second movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's 8th Symphony allegedly originated as a canon honoring Johann Nepomuk Maelzel for his invention of the metronome. This canon (WoO 162) is now considered non-canonical, merely one of Anton Schindler's more elaborate fabrications about Beethoven's life. Or in more simple terms, Schindler's "canonical" canon about Beethoven's canon ISN'T canonical.
  • The common myth that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri were enemies, or that Salieri killed Mozart, originates with the 1830 verse drama Mozart and Salieri by Alexander Pushkin, though most people know it from the film Amadeus. In real life, Mozart and Salieri stood on amicable terms, even writing a piece (unfortunately lost now) together, but a lot of people who should know better still discuss Salieri's supposed ill will toward Mozart as though it were historical fact.
  • Thanks to Revo's complete refusal to clear up any ambiguities in the albums, most Sound Horizon "canonicity" is really just a large swath of widely-accepted fan theories.
  • The most popular origin story of John Newton's Amazing Grace claims the author's slave ship was caught in a sudden storm, causing him to repent his evil ways on the spot, and that the song was written shortly thereafter. What is true is that John Newton was a slave trader, he did pen the first verse of the song following a brutal storm at sea, and he did finish the song after giving up his slaving ways. However, it wasn't the storm that made him change his ways, he continued shipping slaves for years after that. The Damascus Road-esque instant conversion story was made up after the fact by people who didn't think the original was uplifting enough.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: It is widely accepted that the Orks consider purple the 'sneaky' colour. This is based on two supporting factors. First, Orks already have a series of superstitions involving the effects of colour, and their gestalt psychic powers make these superstitions a reality. note  Second, Orks often copy the tactics and features of other armies without comprehending the purpose of said features, notably by using garish colours for camouflage without understanding that the point of camouflage is to blend in with the terrain you expect to be fighting in. Thus, combining the two led to a running gag that Orks consider purple the sneakiest colour because "'Ave you ever seen a purple Ork?"

    Theatre 

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Circa 2007 edits to its Wikipedia article, most have taken to calling the CarnEvil main characters Jacob and Lisa respectively. This is despite the fact that no official sources gave the protagonist a name, and there being no indication at all that the player had a fellow gun-toting companion in the first place.
  • In Dark Souls, the identity of Lord Gwyn's firstborn son is kept ambiguous, with only a few vague hints given that he even exists. However, certain high-profile members of the Dark Souls fanbase like EpicNameBro have suggested (based on some very valid in-game clues) that it is Solaire, a theory which has become so popular among the Dark Souls community that many fans accept it as canonical despite From Software's silence on the matter. This may have even been Jossed with the release of Dark Souls III, however, which features a character (definitely not Solaire) whom the game hints to be Gwyn's firstborn about as heavily as it can without actually coming out and saying it.
  • Bungie imported the concept of rampancy from Marathon into the Halo series, and made it part of an A.I.'s natural life cycle after seven years of existence. Nowhere, however, is it stated that Halo's A.I.s follow the same rampancy pattern of "Melancholia - Anger - Envy" as Marathon's A.I.s, or that there is a possibility for AIs to advance past those stages and become Metastable. Regardless, this has become a basic concept in the fandom, and appears commonly in post-Halo 3 fanfiction surrounding Cortana. This probably has something to do with the old common fan theory that the two series share a universe.
    • Additionally, Jul 'Mdama's Covenant remnant has no official name (other than "The Covenant"). However, several fans call them "The Storm", thanks to a mistake made by an Official Xbox Magazine article. This hasn't been helped by the fact that the remnant's lowest ranks are officially called "[Species's name] Storm", even though Word of God states that "Storm" is simply a generic designation for any Covenant soldier who specializes in stormtrooper-type tactics.
  • Herobrine is a character from a Minecraft creepypasta. Many people now think he's a real character, either Notch's dead brother or a dead miner. It eventually became Ascended Fanon by constantly appearing in official release notes as a Running Gag. Herobrine has now been "removed" several times from the gamenote , and another bugfix stated that "all ghost entities under the command of Lord Herobrine" had been removed.
  • Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe, the third fighting game in the series (numbered 12.3) had no official English title, a first for the series. For a few months after its release (and intermittently afterwards) the game was referred to as Unthinkable Natural Law, after a loose translation of its Japanese title.
  • 8-Bit Theater has led to many people assuming characterizations and personalities in the comic are canonical to the Final Fantasy games. In particular, that White Mage is a girl (though many people already assumed this long before 8-Bit Theater existed), to the chagrin of male White Mage cosplayers everywhere. Or that black mages in general are psychopathic murderers, which is hinted at in Captain SNES: The Game Masta, even though no appearances of playable Black Mages in the rest of the series have portrayed them as anything even close (worst would probably be Palom, who was a little bit rude, but definitely not evil). And no, despite his ears, Thief is not an elf.
    • In the original Final Fantasy, the White Wizard was either a male or a Bifauxnen, with the latter being more widely believed. However, since most healers in the series since have tended to be female, and 8-Bit Theater had White Mage as a female, most fans assume the original NES White Mage is also a female. The developers seem to have gone with this, since in the remakes the White Mage's higher-resolution sprites are female or otherwise androgynous, and the games that suggest names for the party members pick mostly female names for the White Mage. In addition, Square Enix developed Mario Hoops 3-on-3 and Mario Sports Mix, in which White Mage is a playable character and is undeniably female.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series has this in the form of "Obscure Texts", supplementary items written by the series' developers and former developers. They're essentially treated as canonical by most of the fanbase (or at least the equivalent of the series' famous in-universe Unreliable Canon), but Bethesda has no official stance either way. Most prolific is former developer Michael Kirkbride, who still does some freelance work for the series. Most of what he writes about are the more obscure aspects of universe's cosmology which don't get expanded on in the games, as well as lore figures the games never touch upon or that Bethesda is simply finished with (like Vivec). However, since some of them either might be subsequently quoted or used as a mythopoeic basis for the games, the line between Word of God and Word of Dante is blurred concerning his writings. As of Skyrim, some of the concepts in his works have been officially referenced in-game (the idea of "kalpas," Ysgramor and his 500 companions, and some of the motivations of the Thalmor), moving them to Canon Immigrant status.
    • Among the fandom, there's the notion that Sheogorath is the only person in the Shivering Isles allowed to grow a beard, which is generally agreed upon to the point where it was stated on the wiki. The evidence for this one comes from the fact that Sheogorath has a beard and that if the player goes to the place Sheogorath teleports you to when you try to attack him, where he drops criminals from multiple feet in the sky, there's a body with a note saying that the man was executed for having a beard. However, the note doesn't specify anything other than that he had a beard — for all we know, the crime could be that it was longer than Sheogorath's, not that it was there in the first place. This being Sheogorath, he might just have made up a random baseless excuse to kill the guy.
  • Mega Man:
    • People who found Mega Man (Classic) through Bob and George are often confused by the fan-character "Ran," usually asking which game he came from. A lot of this has to do with the fact that, for a while, Ran's creator let just about anyone who asked use the character, meaning he showed up everywhere. This (and the very large sprite-sheet leading to him having as many or more poses as game characters) led people to believe so ubiquitous a character must have come from the games.
    • If Ran himself is asked, he will often answer that he is from Rockboard, an obscure Japanese only Mega Man themed NES board game video game.
    • Thanks to the thousands of loose threads the franchise has, newer/more casual fans swear on their life that Zero killed off the Classic characters before being sealed again for a hundred years. There were certainly hints in that direction, but Word of God is that it never happened — and anyway, who could have sealed Zero if the whole cast was dead? Bob and George bears some responsibility for this one too, as Zero is supposed to kill everybody in its storyline, and its author even made a few parts of a multi-part Flash movie depicting Zero's rampage; the term the comic used for this event, the Cataclysm, is now universal.
  • For Final Fantasy VI, a fan art or cosplay of the exact same character will differ so vastly from one interpretation to the next... but then, a world populated by small pixelated figures tends to leave a lot to the imagination. Especially when the same game also occasionally features Amano's Darker and Edgier fairy-tale gothic designs of the same characters.
  • Reno's backstory is never mentioned anywhere in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Yet most fanfiction has him depicted as a former Street Urchin who later became a government assassin. This probably originated by someone attempting to use Rule of Drama to make for a Darker and Edgier story or a Hurt/Comfort Fic. And since this character had a past that was (at best) sketchy, everyone just went along with it, not only because it provided the Angst for whatever Ur-Example fanfiction that was/might have been, but because it somehow became one of those things that "everybody knows." Thus it is still a popular motif for many a fanfic that involves Reno.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Any prominent Magikoopa in the Mario series is assumed to be Kamek. It doesn't help that Kamek is Magikoopa's Japanese name. The same issue happens with Toads that have red spots on their hats being assumed to be the Toad, and green Yoshis being the Yoshi.
    • Rosalina being a princess isn't canonical, despite her wearing a crown; however, fans overwhelmingly consider her one. No game has her listed as "Princess Rosalina", but Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina are considered the princess Power Trio. It doesn't help that early promotional material for Super Mario Galaxy did portray Rosalina as a princess before it became Canon Discontinuity by the time of the game's release. Some non-canon media accidentally refers to her as "Princess Rosalina", which helps the misconception.
    • Daisy and Peach are frequently depicted as cousins in fan works; officially, however, they are just best friends. This concept comes from a Prima Strategy Guide mentioning them being cousins.
    • Those who grew up in the 1990s might remember a 1993 character guide published by Nintendo's American branch, that "confirms" that Yoshi's full name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. Said character guide was not published by Nintendo's Japanese branch, was written by somebody unaffiliated with Nintendo, and its whimsical sense of humor throughout indicates it is not meant to be taken seriously. However, some fans didn't understand the guide's tongue-in-cheek nature and took "T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas" as canonical, much to the exasperation of fans who understood it was a joke.
  • Chuggaaconroy is well-known for his Let's Play videos being incredibly well-researched, with several months of planning often going into each series, which means that the rare occasions that he screws up end up becoming this:
    • The Ōkami fandom is quite pissed at the idea that Yami's different forms represent mankind's destructive nature. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if it wasn't a theory by Chugga that dozens of people accepted as canonical. The Ōkami Wiki even once had a notice on Yami's page warning that anyone who tries to post any theories about what his forms represent will be banned, and that "just because Chuggaaconroy mentioned the definitions of Yami's forms does not make him a reliable source". Chugga later explained when he updated the series years later that he got the theory from a YouTube comment on Ōkami's OST, added it to his list of things to research later but it accidentally got mixed up with his list of confirmed information and so ended up in the video, and he deeply regrets it.
    • Chugga also posed the theory that Wes, the protagonist of Pokémon Colosseum, was originally planned to be the villain of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. There is so far no Word of God to back this up, but many fans still take it as being true because Chuggaaconroy is otherwise trustworthy when it comes to Pokémon knowledge.
    • Chugga also got into this with the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 fandom over the ending of the game. One of the last shots in the ending cutscene is a close-up of a character's mouth, with their lips moving but no audio or subtitles to indicate what's being said. Chugga added a card giving a specific line of dialogue (based on Dummied Out text for that scene) to that character. While he went to great lengths to justify putting in that line, many saw it as detracting from the intended Ambiguous Ending.
  • A large number of accepted facts about the lore of F-Zero X, such as Captain Falcon's real name being Douglas Jay Falcon, The Skull's real name being Sterling LaVaughn (His actual name is Arbin Gordon), Mighty Gazelle's name being Clint and his fiancee rejecting him after he became a cyborg, and Jody Summer having a deceased father named Mason Summer, originated from a fan-made Angelfire site created sometime between the releases of F-Zero X and F-Zero GX.
  • Most of the MegaTen fans are absolutely convinced that Hijiri, the reporter from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is actually the reincarnation of Aleph. This belief comes from both vague in-game hints saying that Hijiri is being "punished", and the physical resemblance between the two characters. So far, Atlus has not denied this or produced any evidence to defy it.
  • A popular fan-theory for Fire Emblem: Three Houses proposed by a Reddit user states that the Flame Emperor's bandit attack at the beginning of the game was intended to scare off the Monastery's professor candidate and instill Jeritza in his place, giving Edelgard someone on the inside. This is never confirmed in-game: all Kostas has to say on the matter was that he was "told to kill as many noble pipsqueaks as possible". Despite this, the theory is often assumed canon by fans.
  • A subsection of Shantae fans tend to assert that the titular half-genie is "canonically" 16 years of age, pointing to a tweet the series' official Twitter account posted in 2015 in response to a fan inquiry on the topic. However, when pressed about the tweet, series designer James Montagna stated that it was posted by an intern without approval, that Shantae as a character was never designed with the intention of portraying her as a minor, and that they never intended to do anything with Shantae's fanservicey elements that would make them or other people uncomfortable.
  • Due to a translation error by a vocal lore theorist for the series, fans of Guilty Gear often assume Johnny's last name to be "Sfondi." This is not the case, he's never referred to by anything more than his given name.
  • The speculation about what characters will join the Super Smash Bros. roster for any given installment is usually guided by an understanding that there are a certain set of rules denoting what characters "can't" or "won't" be added to the games. The problem is that there's only one official rule according to series creator Masahiro Sakurai: video game characters only (so no Goku, Shrek or Spider-Man). Everything else is just patterns that fans have locked onto and continue to perpetuate, despite many being proven false. These include:
    • "Characters need to appear in more than a single game" was disproven as early as Ness in the first game, with later additions like the Ice Climbers, Sheik, Lucas, Duck Hunt, and almost every Fire Emblem character.
    • "They can't be a Assist Trophy or Spirit in the same entry" is the most lauded fanrule. The second half of this was debunked by Min Min and Pyra and Mythra being DLC characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
    • "They can't be a Mii costume in the same entry" was debunked in the game they debuted in when Meta Knight's Mii helmet was revealed before the character himself was. The closest this is to being "true" is that the downloadable Mii Costumes for anticipated fighters tend to serve as consolation prizes, but even then, Sakurai admitted that he was still considering Rex as a fighter even after he had already received a bundled costume for Fighters Pass 1. He only ditched the idea when the three fighters concept he wanted to use proved too hard to implement, settling on Pyra and Mythra by themselves.
    • "Not having moveset potential" is an interesting one, as while Sakurai has rejected characters before because he couldn't think of a moveset for them... but he would go on to add such characters in later entries once he did think of one, and he has also said that when it came to Nintendo's suggestions for DLC characters in Ultimate, lack of gameplay ideas wasn't a reason for dismissing any.
    • "Not being well-known by the general public" is another intriguing one, as fighters have been dismissed over a lack of international recognition. Regardless, Sakurai is also on record as saying in "Mr. Sakurai Presents "Terry Bogard", that "whether or not the character is fun to play as is more important than whether the character is new or old, or whether the character is recognizable to everyone."
    • "Not being from a Japanese game developer" has a basis in most of the Fighter Roster consisting of characters from Japanese-made games, but the Twycross-based Rare got two reps from their Donkey Kong Country series as well as Banjo & Kazooie, Swedish video game developer Mojang got Minecraft represented with Steve, Alex, Zombie and Enderman, Samus got an Echo Fighter in Dark Samus from Retro Studios in Austin, Texas, and several Mii Costumes are based on characters from Western studios. This can even be disproven all the way back to the first game in the series, which had one of the playable characters being the version of Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong Country, again by Rare.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: On its fansite, the Homestar Runner Fanstuff Wiki, many aspects of the 20X6 characters added in the more popular fan works seem to be thought of as canonical by many of the wiki's members, such as Stlunko not using contractions (only appearing in the game Stinkoman 20X6, Stlunko only had one line in the manual which had no place for a contraction in it), the most major example being 1-up's obsession with pudding, whereas in the canon pudding appeared in a single toon, and 1-up said "I want pudding" once. It also influenced the creators, giving names to the minor characters (the Visor Robot, for example) among other things.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • A related example to the Halo/Marathon one above comes into play. The show has never officially been stated to take place in the Halo universe; while a number of things do hint at it, a lot of other things imply otherwise (or at least imply things took place in a different order from in Halo). Still, many theories revolve around how things work in the Halo universe. Interestingly enough, considering the above discussion on Halo and Marathon AIs, an episode of season 10 implies that the Marathon concept of AI development actually does hold true in the RvB universe.
    • Another RvB example is how Fandom VIP Luke McKay did a well-known series of what the various characters look like underneath their helmets. Since McKay both eventually did official (albeit not related to RvB) art for RT, and some of the RT guys expressed appreciation of the designs, the fandom latched into the designs as "canonical". Which has led to the revelation of some of the characters turning out to not canonically look like McKay's designs (notably, South looking completely different, Wash being blond rather than brunet, and Maine being bald instead of ginger) causing some grumpiness in the fandom. However, Wyoming actually looks pretty close to McKay's design.
    • Fans were also fairly annoyed when Allison/Tex was shown to be blonde and not a redhead as McKay had drawn.
  • RWBY: Yang has a reputation for spouting puns and one-liners all the time. Yang, however, only makes one solitary pun in the first six Volumes of the show (specifically in the premiere of Volume 3). It's her voice actress who has a love of wordplay, which rubbed off onto Yang's portrayal in fan-works and has since become what she's known for. RWBY Chibi doesn't help as it exaggerates the comedic nature of her character so that she's punny.

    Webcomics 
  • MSF High suffers from this at times. Since the Question and Answer threads are sometimes answered by people other than Wraith, they run the risk of being Word Of Dante. Also, a lot of people use elements that haven't fully been fleshed out, which can lead to embarrassments in the forum roleplay. Such as thinking Legion have green blood.
  • Homestuck has a large body of Dante-isms, since canonicity is often no more than "ambiguous trolling statement from Andrew Hussie two years ago on an inactive Formspring" and the fandom is especially active and prolific.
    • Ask just about any fan what the currency of the Alternian Empire is and they'll answer "caegars." The only caegar we see on screen is only used for coinflips, and their use as currency is implied only once (when Karkat described Vriska as a "run of the mill little psycho girl, a troll caegar a dozen"). Caegars as the official imperial currency has been widespread in Fanon since Nepeta Quest 2011 featured the titular character using them to pay for a map.
    • The troll deity is widely assumed to be "Gog," thanks to trolls referencing "Gog" and "Jegus" in conversations with the kids. The fantroll community has pointed out that the canon uses of the term "Gog" are intentional references to a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff misspelling. In other instances, the trolls say "oh my god" instead.
    • Due to limited true canonicity on the workings of troll society, the fantroll community has a lot of accepted fanon that the "Stop Having Fun" Guys see it as their responsibility to defend against Canon Defilement by non-conforming fantrolls. Among these:
      • That trolls see themselves as a Master Race and wipe out any species they conquer (canonicity never states why or how they invade planets).
      • That trolls are drafted offworld when they reach 10 sweeps (canonicity never specifies the exact age at which this happens).
      • And that they are visited by the Imperial Drone at the same time and then never again (also never specified in canonicity, which, in fact, seems to imply that mandatory pailing comes around on a regular basis).
    • Hussie intentionally left the human characters' race and ethnicity unspecified, stating only that the sibling pairs should have similar genetics. (He did accidentally let slip a reference to Bro as a "white guy", but when this was pointed out he temporarily turned it into a blob of gibberish, suggesting that this may be Canon Discontinuity.) However, generally accepted fanon was that all the kids were white but John and Jade had black hair while Rose and Dave had blond hair. Depictions of Dave with red hair used to be much more common until he was revealed to be Rose's ectosibling. As the fandom evolved so did these interpretations. For a while it was accepted that Jade and Jake were simply slightly darker skinned than everyone else. In the later stages of the fandom, an interpretation of Dirk as white, Roxy as black, Jane as asian and Jake as ambiguously brown became popular.
    • The fan base speculated and theorized at length about the Class of Aspect titles assigned to player characters. A generally-accepted pseudo-canon has accumulated to explain their mythological significance, connections to personality and characterization, and implications for future plot developments. Calliope's lecture to Roxy on the nuances of the class system (passive vs. active, gender-specific, and master classes) may actually be taken as a reference to and parody of the class/aspect Word of Dante, since the narration and some of Hussie's Tumblr statements imply that she's overgeneralized based on a limited sample size.
    • Gamzee is to this day widely considered to be under mind control of Lil Cal, since Gamzee stared into the puppet's eyes around the time he became violent. However, the one character confirmed to be possessed by Lil Cal (Jack Noir) undergoes a much more obvious possession by ripping his own eyeballs and replacing it with the Lil Cal's, while leaving behind the puppet's empty vessel.
  • By Word of God, characters in The Order of the Stick have most of their stats left undefined so that Rich can have them do what serves the plot's purposes without realizing he's accidentally painted himself into a corner. This doesn't stop the Class and Level Geekery thread on the forums from trying to analyze everyone's actions and work out what level they "need to" be to do what they've done.

    Web Original 
  • In addition to the above quote, LittleKuriboh mentioned in his commentary for SPOOF MOVIE NO JUTSU!~ that a passing joke he made in that video turned into a rumour that Masako and Vegeta went to Six Flags when they were supposed to be making their version of the first Naruto movie.
  • A poignant final line in his first (and, for over a year, only) appearance led a fair chunk of the Welcome to Night Vale fandom to conclude that Scoutmaster Earl Harlan either had or wanted to have a romantic relationship with narrator Cecil Palmer. This, in turn, led to quite a fracas when Earl returned voiced by Wil Wheaton, due to Wheaton being straight (the creators had previously made a point of re-casting another role so that a gay Latino character would be played by a gay Latino actor.) Shortly after, Wheaton offered up Word of Saint Paul stating that the two were only good friends, proving the original romantic assumption to be this.
  • Matthew Patrick of Game Theory is one of the most prolific and notorious Word of Dante spreaders about video games, films, and TV shows, usually using evidence from real life equivalents or interpretations of the subject's lore to prove his point. He is also one of the more criticized examples due to the Fan Dumb spreading his theories as canonical everywhere, sometimes even engaging Flame Wars against people who disagree with him. To somewhat prevent this, Matt now set up polls at the end of most of his Wild Mass Guessing videos, asking the audience if it agrees with him.
  • Before it was publicily debunked by the creator, Local58's alien invasion theory was so popular that this very wiki's article on the series was written with that in mind.

    Western Animation 
  • Michael Demcio was the first to use the names Chip "Maplewood" and Dale "Oakmont" in his epic Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Fan Fic Rhyme and Reason, released in 1996 as the first of its kind. Ever since, these names have been established as fanon.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons (1983) cartoon proper, only first names are used — except for Presto, who is only known by his nickname. An early fanfic by Victoria Bishop, "The Gathering," gives everyone full names, since it's depicting how they all met. The story in full is not part of general fanon, but most of the invented names have been reused. Two naming concepts in particular are widespread:
    • Eric having the last name Montgomery. He must just look it. This concept is so established in fanon that it can easily be mistaken for canonicity.
    • "Presto" being short for Preston. This one is probably because of elegance — making a double meaning, making the nickname a Line-of-Sight Name, and explaining why everyone uses it when names are used in true canonicity. The main reminder that this isn't canonical is there still disagreement on whether Preston is a given name or surname...
  • Total Drama Comeback gets a good deal of this for Total Drama, especially concerning Ezekiel. Ezekiel's popularity in the fandom appears to owe more to Comeback's reinterpretation of him than to anything he did on the actual show.
  • Megas XLR: The main character is always called Coop, with his last name shown as Cooplowski. His real name is never revealed. Online, a persistent rumour exists that his real name is Harold, though no source is known for this. The name likely came from a fanfic writer.
  • Numerous background characters in SpongeBob SquarePants are often reffered to by fans with given names, like "Fred" (brown fish with trousers) or "Harold" (blue fish with white shirt). However according to the production crew none of the background characters are meant to be named and internally are simply reffered to by their code on the model sheet.
    • In the case of Fred, he actually became canonized thanks to his memetic status as the "my leg!" guy.

    Real Life 
  • Many legal concepts and bits of phraseology that are treated as part of the U.S. Constitution actually originate from contemporaneous letters, speeches, or Supreme Court decisions. These are not binding legal precedent unless and until they are cited by the Supreme Court in a ruling... as many have been over the years. In accordance with The Common Law, The Supreme Court relies on such sources to determine the intended meaning of sections of the Constitution. James Madison's secret notes from the 1787 Philadelphia Convention are considered very strong evidence of original intent. The Federalist Papers are also considered particularly persuasive as they were written by major figures from the Constitutional Convention shortly after the document was drafted and sent to the states for ratification.
    • Ideas and phrases from the Declaration of Independence are frequently conflated with the Preamble to the Constitution. Religious conservatives use the Declaration's mentions of "Nature's God" or "Creator" to argue that the United States was intended to be a specifically Christian nation. Leaving aside the fact that many of the Founders were deists and may not have associated "Nature's God" with Christ, the Declaration holds as much legal standing as the Articles of Confederation (which is to say, none whatsoever). The only reference to religion in the original articles of the Constitution is a specific prohibition on religious tests (i.e., requiring membership in a church or profession of faith) for any federal office.
    • While the phrase "separation of church and state" (and variations thereof) is always cited in discussions of the First Amendment, it derives from Thomas Jefferson's description of the intent behind the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clausesnote  in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. The phrase has since been cited in Supreme Court rulings and thus become valid legal precedent, but it is nowhere in the original text of the First Amendment.
    • The Supreme Court's power of judicial review (i.e. deciding whether or not a law is constitutional) is not enshrined in the Constitution, but was established in 1804 via the landmark decision Marbury v. Madison. This isn't to say that judicial review was created out of thin air by the Supreme Court: the Constitution is (obviously and by its own admissionnote ) a law and under The Common Law laws are subject to judicial interpretation. Marbury is simply the Supreme Court (or rather John Marshall) explaining the consequences of common law jurisprudence interacting with an entrenched, written constitution.note 
  • Many details about the events and people William Shakespeare wrote about in his historical plays were written with more of a mind for good storytelling than creating an accurate retelling. Much of his work was also colored by who was funding the theatre at the time, which likely affected what he chose to include or exclude from his plays. note 
    • King Richard III:
      • While the eponymous king appears to have suffered from scoliosis (a curved spine possibly responsible for creating the "hunchback" he's historically been distinguished with), he was not as severely and grotesquely deformed as Shakespeare suggested.
      • Informed opinion is evenly divided as to whether Richard was responsible for the deaths of the Princes in the Tower. Even if the princes were murdered by a member of Richard's faction, that person may well have been acting alone instead of on his orders.
      • The Duke of Somerset, killed by Richard in Shakespeare's play, died when Richard was three years old.
      • Richard is widely believed to have ordered the extrajudicial execution of his own supporter Lord Hastings (who may have opposed his decision to depose Edward V) and of the Woodville supporters who had been escorting the prince. However, this accusation was recorded in the Croyland Chronicle by a former chancellor of Richard's who may have been currying favor with Henry Tudor. Other sources put Hastings' arrest on the 13th of June (the day of the council chamber meeting) and his execution, after a trial, on the 20th. He had legal justification for doing so, as the Woodvilles were trying to circumvent Edward IV’s will naming Richard Lord Protector.
      • All of this is addressed, in a well-written and fun-to-read story, in Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time. (But don't necessarily take her word for it, either.)
    • While most people, of course, know that the magical and supernatural parts of Macbeth aren't real, they generally take for granted his characterisation as a power-hungry tyrant, and assume he murdered his predecessor Duncan because that's what is portrayed in Shakespeare's play. In fact, before the play was written Macbeth was generally considered to have been a good King. Duncan was killed by Macbeth's men but in a battle, not a planned murder. The whole thing may well have been Stuart propaganda, since James I claimed descent from Banquo and Fleance. Gargoyles was more truth to history!
  • France's national motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" is generally referred to as dating back to The French Revolution. The phrase definitely originated during the revolutionnote . The phrase did not gain popularity until the 1848 Revolution and did not become France's official motto until the 1870s. It was not an official or even common motto at the time. In fact there was no "official" motto as such and the motto competed with "Liberty, Unity, Fraternity" or "Liberty or Death". The phrase fell out of disfavour when the National Convention poster during the Reign of Terror adopted it: Unity; Indivisibility of the Republic. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death and it was seen as too revolutionary for most of the governments until the Second and Third Republic.
  • Napoléon Bonaparte is commonly depicted as being short, almost to the point of being a dwarf in cartoons and comics. This image is mostly based on British political cartoons who portrayed him as a pathetic little man.note  In reality Napoleon's height was thought to be around 5' 7'', slightly taller than the average man in his day, and not even that unusual in modern times. It didn't help that he was almost universally seen with his royal guardsmen, chosen from the Grenadiers, who were always very tall.
  • Many of the things people think they know about the famous warrior Miyamoto Musashi aren't actually historical facts, but come from the classic novel Musashi.
  • In an interview with The Paris Review, Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel discusses how this trope often comes into play when (made-up) details from works of historical fiction are later taken to be true. She gives an example from her own novel of the French Revolution, A Place of Greater Safety: "In [the novel], Camille Desmoulins wonders why he was always running into Antoine Saint-Just. We must be some sort of cousins because I used to see him at christenings, he says. It’s now become a 'fact' that they were cousins. Things get passed around so easily on the Internet. And fact becomes fiction and fiction becomes fact, without anyone stepping in to ­arbitrate and say, What are your sources?" She also mentions a short story by Raymond Carver about the death of Anton Chekhov. Carver invented a character for the sake of the story, and the invented character has gone on to be included in subsequent biographies of Chekhov!

Alternative Title(s): Deuterocanon

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