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Word of God

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"The preceding paragraph is all stuff I just made up. But it's canonical now."
Sarah Monette, writer.

A statement regarding some ambiguous or undefined aspect of a work, the Word of God comes from someone considered to be the ultimate authority, such as the creator, director or producer. Such edicts can even go against events as were broadcast, due to someone making a mistake.

Fans may look for the Word of God to settle Fanon disputes, but the Authority may have moved on and doesn't care to respond. In many cases the authority does not feel the need to respond; further pressure simply leads to suggestions that the fandom is misaimed. In point of fact, there are good reasons many creators don't respond to requests for this: they want the fans to make their own interpretations. Especially in an ongoing series where the creator knows facts the fans don't, they might very well know for a fact that both fan theories have truth in them and thus not wish to take sides. Alternatively, the author might view both readings of the story as equally acceptible, and thus not want to comment.

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It's important to keep in mind that just because someone wrote a character or setting, doesn't mean they decided on a correct answer to every question that could possibly be asked about that character or setting. It is not at all uncommon for fans to ask questions which they believe to be obvious, but which the creator has never considered. In particular, questions about a character's sexuality, gender identity or race often fall into this category. Everyone's creative process is different. Not all writers make highly detailed character charts, or decide on details of a character's identity that aren't directly plot-relevant. The fandom might consider those details important because the work happens to speak to people who have a particular identity: but that doesn't mean the author considered that fact important enough to spend time thinking about. Culture can play a role here as well, since what might be considered an essential fact about a person in one culture could be viewed as extraneous in another. Japanese creators, for example, will often decide what a character's blood type is: but may not pay any mind to their sexuality. Western fans can find this very strange and frustrating.

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The other reason creators often refuse to answer questions about character identity is of course, politics. This is particularly likely to be true when the creator is in a different country from the fandom. In the heat of internet discourse, it can be difficult to remember that what is a pedestrian factoid in your country can be a hot-button political issue in a different one. Creators may have good reason to fear social or even legal repercussions if they answer questions like this: something which fandoms are often not as sensitive to as they should be. Creators whose primary motivation is profit may additionally not want to alienate parts of the fandom: refusing to resolve Fanon disputes, especially if they are politically tinged, can be an effective strategy for doing that.

A number of people reject the notion of Word of God being equal to canon, considering something to be canon only if it appeared in the original source material. If the creator had wanted a certain fact to be canon, the thinking goes, they should have included it in the work to begin with. Other audience members go even further, considering the uncertainty and ambiguity of canon to be a good thing and decrying the Word of God as shackling the imagination and interpretations of the fans. These attitudes have found some acknowledgement in literary criticism: Wimsatt and Beardsley's "The Intentional Fallacy" and Barthes' Death of the Author essay both argue that the interpretation of a work cannot be limited to attempts to discern the "author's intentions."

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Something else to consider is that, often, particularly when it comes to comedy shows, creators may make statements that are meant as jokes, or at least, not meant to be taken seriously. It may sometimes be difficult for people to tell if certain creators are making a genuine statement of canon or not. So, be careful when relying on things like humorous DVD commentaries and interviews on comedic talk shows for confirmation about something.

Another thorny issue is that not all stories have a single creator, and the collaborators may not actually agree with interpretations of their story that weren't made explicit in the work. This is especially likely if they no longer work together, and particularly if they had a real-life falling out. In this case, there are multiple "Gods" given potentially contradictory explanations, so whose word is to be considered correct? Likewise, in many cases the writers of a story are not the copyright holders, meaning that they're not the highest authorities on its meaning even if you do subscribe to the Word of God theory.

If a work has more than one creator and they disagree with each other on a crucial point, you'll likely see fans embrace conflicting statements. What happens when multiple fans are equipped with the Word of God? What happens when one Word turns out to be more ridiculous than expected? Bible fight! The term 'Story Bible' is sometimes used for the definitive guidelines for writing an episode of a TV series. Two writers quoting the Story Bible back and forth are having a Bible Fight.

This is also a way that a theory can be Jossed. It's important to remember that if you disagree with the Word of God, there's nothing wrong with writing fan fiction that contradicts it, just don't try to foist your preferred Fanon on fans who acknowledge the official canon or on the actual creator of the work.

Actors can be included under Word of God if they are the actual performers of the characters involved. This is because in order to perform their roles, most actors will spend time working out motivations, backstory, and even what a character is thinking in a particular scene. So even if a scene does not actually have two characters say "I love you" to each other, but the actors say that they played the roles as the two characters being in love, and the writer of the story says they were in love, then Word of God may then apply that they were in love.

When the word does not come from the creator themself but from someone involved in some ancillary role in production, that's Word of Saint Paul. When the word does not come from the original creators but over time is still treated as such it is Word of Dante. Doesn't always end up giving fans the answers they were looking for, such as in the case of a Flip-Flop of God or a Shrug of God. Cases of God deliberately misleading the audience go under Lying Creator or Trolling Creator. And then there are cases of fans either misinterpreting or just making up Word of God, resulting in God Never Said That.

Diagnosis of God and Word of Gay are subtropes. Compare All There in the Manual. Contrast Death of the Author, and What Could Have Been. See also: Canon Discontinuity, Creator Worship, Broken Base, and Revision. Not to be confused with actual scripture, which we have a whole index for.


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Who said it, and when or where they said it is included in these examples. If you don't know when or where, even in general, please add your examples to the section below, not here.


    Comic Books 
  • A Wizard magazine interview with then-current Avengers writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez asked each one to convey a factoid that nobody else could provide. The contrast is striking: Busiek went for a one-sentence retcon that filled in a dangling plot thread from an obscure story from the seventies; Perez revealed that the Scarlet Witch, his favorite character, does not wear underwear.
  • Brian Clevinger himself came onto TV Tropes to deliver a Word of God in regards to Atomic Robo.
  • Gerry Conway said in this podcast interview (about 34 minutes in) (http://wordballoon.blogspot.com/2009/06/gerry-conway-on-last-days-of-animal-man.html) that Gwen Stacy was killed because John Romita Sr. wanted to shake up Spider-Man by killing off a major character. Romita wanted to kill off Aunt May but Conway suggested killing Gwen because he thought she was a fairly standard superhero love interest and thought Mary Jane would make a more interesting love interest.
  • On December 15, 2010, Spider-Man creator Stan Lee posted the following tweet: "I herewith proclaim, for the world to see, that J. Jonah Jameson’s first name is — Jeremiah! And so it shall remain—till I change my mind!" (Although this does seem a bit contradictory, however; while Jameson never actually confirmed that his name was "John" in the comic, almost everyone assumed that it was, because it is the name of both his father and son.)
    • Speaking of Stan Lee and J. Jonah Jameson, Lee also admitted on Talk of the Nation that the character was designed as a grouchier caricature of himself, and also said that he would have jumped on the opportunity to portray him in a movie.
  • There's three things Brian Michael Bendis is particularly known for: A decompressed style that takes forever to advance the plot, his love of trolling readers, and this. For example, Bendis responded to reader revolt over his poor characterization of X-23 by stating on his Tumblr that her experiences on Murderworld changed her (rather than addressing it on-panel), claiming that Executive Meddling altered his plans for Battle of the Atom (and that the deviations in a second battle with the future brotherhood steer things where he originally planned them to go), or confirming that the time travel ending of the Will arc of Uncanny X-Men would not remove Xavier, Jr. from the timeline. And his Word Of God statements frequently get snarky, especially when combined with his love of trolling the readers or when responding to criticism.
  • Convergence writer Jeff King confirmed that all the characters held hostage by Telos regained their lost lives.
  • Robin Series Adam Beechen did not have Dana among those confirmed dead in the destruction of Bludhaven because he intended for her to have survived somehow, but this never made it into the comics.
  • Disney Kingdoms: Figment writer Jim Zub revealed on Twitter that Capri is 13 years old at the time of the events of Figment 2.

    Fan Works 
  • Hrodvitnon, author of the MonsterVerse fanfiction Abraxas, has provided multiple expansions of the story's universe on her Tumblr and in the story's Archive of Our Own comments section. Such expansions include but are not limited to: revealing more details about Ghidorah's past, her Comic-Book Fantasy Casting of the Titans' voices, Monster X's or the Many's capabilities, Thor's hibernation cycle, and the characters' internal thoughts beyond what the story describes.
  • Nimbus Llewelyn is well known for his habit of exposition and explanation in the author notes before chapters, particularly in reply to anonymous reviewers on Child of the Storm. He's also known to sometimes explain or confirm things to individual readers, who then edit the tropes page to fit, or even to sometimes do so himself (he's admitted that he's a troper and occasionally "meddles" in the pages for his own amusement). Of course, his answers have also been known to be a Mathematician's Answer, or outright lies if he feels like it.
  • The author of The Lion King Adventures, ThatPersonYouMightKnow, has confirmed many things on the fan forum that pertain to the series. Here are some notable examples:
    • Tama and Tojo both went to heaven after dying, despite their sinister actions.
    • The Interceptor became the pride's best hunter after The End.
    • Haiba never entered a proper relationship when he grew up.
    • Haiba did eventually get over murdering Tama.
    • The fan nickname Anti-Haiba was accepted as canon.
    • Rafiki existed, hence why he is occasionally referenced, but ThatPersonYouMightKnow has confirmed that he died after Series 3.
    • Twiga, the giraffe from Haiba's Wish, is in fact gay.
  • The author of Kira Is Justice uses Author's Notes often to elaborate about facts in the story, and is always happy to give Word of God.
  • Sometimes used in White Devil of the Moon to address matters such as Nanoha's reactions to her past life as Serenity, and how four Inner Senshi are able to defeat six trained Bureau operatives despite being less well-trained and not having Usagi/Nanoha's leadership.
  • The character's corner and author's note in The Tainted Grimoire have both clarified a few things, such as reasons for making one thing the way it is. Also, through private messaging, cuttingmoon57 revealed him/herself to be a fan of TV Tropes.
  • Monica Gilbey-Bieber, the author of the Troll Fic One Less Lonely Gurl, has a commentary of his own fanfic in his blog. The commentary reveals interesting bits and trivia about the fanfic.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, the author notes detail information about things such as how characters (both the canon characters and SUEs) are portrayed, some of what the author hoped to get across, and various other information, such as the fact that any attempt at collaboration between the SUEs would fail.
  • Magic Conan 14 gives bits of trivia on her profile page, on her blog and in author notes. One reference in The Dove Thief gets the award for most notable because there's an asterisk sitting in the middle of the fic.
  • Bait and Switch has an "Author's Notes" section at the end of each chapter that explains various things (e.g. why the USS Bajor has more Beam Spam than the Enterprise-D ever did, that Tess Phohl is an agnostic despite her taking the name of an Andorian war goddess in vain, and why Section 31 Agent Grell is tolerated). The author has also posted a number of characters' backstories on the Star Trek fanon wiki Memory Gamma. StarSword later did the same thing with another fic, Red Fire, Red Planet.
  • The author of Sonic X: Dark Chaos keeps updates on his works and answers questions about the story. He also has explained many parts of the backstory and fleshed out the setting, and he has explained his reasoning for rewriting his story.
  • The author of Post MU: Life's a Scream!! has given bits and pieces of her characters' relationships and background information about Monsters University as well as the Monster World, which can be found here.

    Films — Animation 

    Music 
  • It's often speculated that the Generation X/Billy Idol song "Dancing with Myself" is about masturbation, but according to Idol, no, it really is about actually dancing without a partner (he claims he was inspired by a Japanese disco where the patrons chose to dance in front of mirrors, rather than with each other). The clip shows him dancing by himself because everybody else died and became zombies.
  • Unusually for Bob Dylan, he has officially confirmed the subject of his song "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" - it's about his wife Sara. (See his song 'Sara' which contains the lyric 'Writing Sad Eyed Lady for you'.)
  • The website Rap Genius, which allows users to provide analysis of rap songs, also allows for musicians/producers to provide insight on the lyrics.
  • Paul McCartney officially confirmed in his 1998 book Many Years From Now that one of his Beatles songs, "Got To Get You Into My Life", is about his love for marijuana.
  • The website For Everyone Now, which daily discloses new artists and hits with lyrics and videos.
  • sasakure.UK's live broadcast on June 1, 2016 reveals that Nagare is the name of the boy in a gakuran in the Ayakashi series.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • When he was asked about the gender of his character Krazy Kat, George Herriman is quoted as having said:
    "I don't know. I fooled around with it once; began to think the Kat is a girl, even drew up some strips with her being pregnant. It wasn't the Kat any more. Then I realized Krazy was something like a sprite, an elf. They have no sex. So the Kat can't be a he or a she. The Kat's a spirit- a pixie- free to butt into anything. See what I mean?"
    • Despite this, the 1962 animated series made Krazy explicitly female, to avoid controversy.
  • Concerning the middle initial of Olivier B. Bommel, Oliver B. Bumble for the anglophones, there is a historic disagreement of Words of Gods, it was declared to be short for "Berendinus" on the letter page of the Tom Poes weekly magazine by an editor, but the author and creator stated clearly that the B. was just an initial.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The CCG Yu-Gi-Oh! game has what's known as "BKSS — Because Konami Said So", a phenomenon where certain cards are given rulings that make no sense whatsoever, but are rendered iron-clad enforceable, because Konami — the game's creator — said that's how it went. At one point, UDE, the English Yu-Gi-Oh distributor, refused to administer a ruling on the card "Elemental Hero Rampart Blaster" that completely contradicted the card's text itself; when this discrepancy was pointed out to them, even Konami themselves admitted that the ruling was in error, yet still refused to change it.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a seasonally updated database that updates the wording of every card in the game, to the point that year-old cards already have official wordings that differ from what is printed on the cards. While these changes do not usually affect how the cards work, every so often the game is given a major overhaul that changes many things at once. Changes to timing rules with the advent of 6th Edition, the Grand Creature Type Update of 2007, and the changes to combat rules and terminology for Magic 2010 come to mind.
    • The card Time Vault. For many years, Wizards of the Coast had evoked errata to curb card power and keep what were considered the 'functional intent' cards in place. After sweeping cleanup of power controlling errata on other cards, Time Vault continued to suffer with such errata under the claim that it was the functional intent of the card. Eventually, a player was able to address Richard Garfield, creator of Magic, about the card. Garfield confirmed the card was supposed to function as it was originally printed. The errata was fully undone shortly afterwards.
  • Gary Gygax, in the years before his death, went onto a number of Internet forums and served as something of a Word of God in that he offered rules clarifications and design justifications for the Dungeons & Dragons rules system he created.
  • Another example in D&D comes from Keith Baker's presence on the official Dungeons and Dragons forums, where he goes by the handle HellCow. As creator of the Eberron Campaign Setting, his posts regarding the world of Eberron are largely taken as "Word of God" for the setting, though he purposefully makes sure that he is ambiguous enough that DMs can make their own choices on how they want their world to run.
  • GURPS has the "Word of Kromm", referring to the rule interpretations of Sean Punch who not only designed much of the third and fourth editions but is the editor of all official material put out for the game.
  • After going "it's only the most popular theory" for dozens of books, in the Gehenna book White Wolf make it very clear: Caine was the first vampire.
  • The writers for Exalted appear regularly on both the White Wolf forums and rpgnet and say a great deal...or, more often, offer a few tidbits for a forthcoming release while giggling and waving non-disclosure agreements. Here and here are collections of said Words, the latter skewing more towards the current writing team.
  • 2E Mutants & Masterminds had a forum for system developer Steve Kenson to answer the questions of the players although he often answered questions indicating that a particular ruling was only his opinion in his games.
  • Almost everything we know about the backstory and lore of Sentinels of the Multiverse is this. Christopher and Adam, the games creators, hold a podcast called The Letters Page talking about the lore of heroes, villains, environments, and more. New episodes come out twice a week on tuesdays and thursdays.

    Theatre 
  • Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot:
    • He told Colin Duckworth that Pozzo is not Godot. The statement is quoted in the introduction to Duckworth’s En attendant Godot
    • He also said numerous times that "Godot is not God".

    TV Tropes 

    Web Original 

Need identification of the source:

If you know when or where this was said, please add that information and move the example to the section above.


    Comic Books 
  • Scott Lobdell himself stated he was very surprised at the amount of controversy the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws caused. He goes on to say that he doesn't see why people see Starfire as an ADD-stricken Ethical Slut. He also assures disgruntled readers to keep reading, as answers will be revealed later, not that this has stopped some people from dropping the book outright.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The episode "The Brain of Morbius" shows the faces of several actors who, depending on your interpretation of the scene, may be Doctors predating the canonical first Doctor. Despite the fact that the canon is very clear on the fact that the Doctor's lives are all accounted for, some people on the production staff have affirmed that they intended the faces to be earlier Doctors. This was eventually made canon onscreen in "The Timeless Children", making these people retroactively right.
    • What today is regarded as canon was actually only settled on relatively late in the day. For example, it wasn't even established during "The Brain of Morbius" that Time Lords are limited to twelve regenerations (that was first mentioned in "The Deadly Assassin", broadcast the following year). Terrance Dicks, onetime script editor of Doctor Who and the man who introduced the concept of the Time Lords themselves to the show, famously once stated that 'canon was what the production team could remember on any given day.'
    • When "The End of Time" aired, there was considerable dispute over the true identity of The Woman who kept showing up. Russell T Davies has confirmed that she is in fact meant to be the Doctor's mother, although they intentionally left it open to interpretation.
  • Creator of the tragically short lived Pushing Daisies Bryan Fuller revealed how he envisioned the show ending in a TV Guide interview: Emerson gets back together with his wife. The watches only led to a buried treasure and had no bearing on Ned's powers. The world finds out about Chuck and she goes off and travels with her parents to hide from the attention. She and Ned have a long, loving relationship. Many, many years later they finally kiss when Ned is on his deathbed and Chuck hasn't aged a day.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) has occasionally relied on this, such as producer Mark Verheiden confirming that Six was released from prison as part of President Lee Adama's amnesty to the rebel and Final Five Cylons in the episode "Revelations". At times, the Word of God has simply made things more confused. In the episode "Hero" it is stated that Tigh and Adama served on the battlestar Valkyrie one year before the series begins and were moved to Galactica as punishment after a vital mission failed. This contradicts statements made in several other episodes that Adama had commanded Galactica for 2-3 years prior to the series. And worse still, a document seen on-screen in the very same episode suggested he'd actually been in command of Galactica for six years. When asked about the problem, producer Ronald D. Moore said there wasn't a problem, they'd worked it out behind the scenes and it all tracked, but didn't share this explanation with fans, leaving the situation unresolved. Many people resolve this by assuming they were moved back to Galactica from active duty on the Valkyrie, the punishment being command of an inactive ship.
  • Power Rangers RPM:
    • The series is stated to take place in an Alternate Universe, separate from the other Ranger series. Good thing too, or else that would have meant all the previous Rangers and/or their descendants would have been horribly killed in the end and all their work for naught. This was later canonized when Scott crossed dimensions and guest-starred in Power Rangers Samurai.
    • On a lighter note, Tommy really does end up marrying Kat and Kimberly eventually marries Skull, although for obvious reasons, those little tidbits are all but ignored. Even when such relationships should get referenced in later series, the subject never comes up (Tommy's a regular in Dino Thunder but apparently still single, Skull's son appears in Samurai but his mom is never mentioned).
    • Also, Power Rangers S.P.D. had the writers explain a lot of things that had not been competently conveyed in the series itself.
    • Johnathan Tzachor, producer of the franchise for all of Saban's seasons, has claimed that any season he didn't produce either in part or full (Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Power Rangers S.P.D., Power Rangers Mystic Force, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Power Rangers Jungle Fury and Power Rangers RPM) are no longer considered as being part of the franchise's canon. However, in this case he's been overruled by Saban. Ironically, due to the ending of Power Rangers Dino Chargenote , all of the series he produced might not be canon eitherspoiler .
  • There was some speculation that the Father Ted character Father Noel Furlong, a youth group leader, was having sex with the young people in his charge and was therefore a comment on paedophillia in the Catholic Church. (The fact that the character was played by Graham Norton helped this view). The creators have confirmed that the character is actually asexual and the joke is that the character is too enthusiastic about the quite normal behaviour of the young people.
  • A strange example of this trope is Twin Peaks, as creator David Lynch has stated that he does not support the identity of Laura Palmer's killer being her father, as he was a victim to Executive Meddling, and wanted the mystery of the killer to go on for the entire series. He therefore claims that the killer could be anybody.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Charles Schulz of Peanuts stated that Linus' belief in the Great Pumpkin is not and was never intended to be a metaphor for faith. Strips later in the run (featuring such things as Linus going door to door to spread the word of the Great Pumpkin, convincing Marcie before she is sent to be "deprogrammed" by her parents) suggest he was open to playing with the idea. Other issues for which Schulz gave official answers include stating that the comic strip was canon and the animated specials and movies weren't, explaining how Snoopy can sleep on top of his doghouse (his ears lock him into place), confirming that Charlie Brown isn't bald (he has really short blond hair), and perhaps indirectly the Peppermint Patty-Marcie-lesbian issue (when asked whether he ever dealt with sexuality in Peanuts, he said "These are just little kids. That really puts a lid on it right there.")

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 creator Rick Priestly has confirmed that the two "missing" Primarchs exist to provide fodder for player-created Space Marine chapters and Chaos Space Marine Legions, and will never be identified.

    Other 
  • BIONICLE story writer Greg Farshtey kept a good relationship with the fan community. Not only did Greg provide Word of God for any question a fan might have had, but he sometimes distributed advance information and occasionally allowed fans to influence minor details, with "Sure Why Not"? Around the time the franchise ended, Greg wanted and give the fans more of a say in where the story should go, but his newborn child kept him from this, and later LEGO adopted a rule that forbid him from talking to fans online. However, they still let him occasionally use the official LEGO message boards to answer fan questions.
  • When Matthew Santoro was asked which of his clones would win in a fight to the death, he said that surprisingly, it would be Eugene, the nerd - despite being physically weak, he would be able to build something like a tank to defend himself, because he's the only clone intelligent enough to do so.
  • An unusual in-universe and The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You example in Daisy Brown; someone uses YouTube closed captions to give some weird introspective insights into Daisy's life and state of being. Some of the more disturbing ones include Daisy (probably, maybe) remembering (or at least interpreting) her mother's Death by Childbirth and her father in vicious denial of it.
  • The infamous "Mollusks, snails" image is known for appearing in DeviantArt search results thanks to a number of "tags" in the description. When asked about the tags, the original poster, Ger-hard, claimed that he was in some sort of competition with another Deviant who posted a photo of a roadside traffic sign with the same type of description to see who could get closest to the top in as many searches as possible.

Alternative Title(s): Words Of God

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