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Writer Conflicts with Canon

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When the creator of the work has something to say about said work, the audience often deems their word as something that follows the Canon.

Sometimes, however, it's not the case — what the creator said and what's shown in the work are different.

What could that mean?

  • If Word of God comes later...
    • The author might have forgotten about what actually happened in the story.
    • The author is aiming for a Retcon or Broad Strokes, especially if there's more than one author or if the story writer changes (in which case it's related to Running the Asylum and Armed with Canon).
  • If the contradicting canonical facts come later...
    • The author might've changed their mind about what would work for the story (for better or worse).
    • There's more than one writer, or a new writer replaces the old; in either case they decide to ignore what the God said earlier. Or the holders of the rights to the work disagree with the writer's explanation and tells them to change it (examples of this either qualify as Executive Meddling or Executive Veto). The latter case brings the old debate into discussion: do the license owners determine what's canon and what's not or are the writers the one and only gods?

This is often why God may opt to be ambiguous instead. Depending on the case, this may lead to Canon Discontinuity or Author's Saving Throw.

Compare with Death of the Author (a belief that the writers have as much of an idea as the audience about the story and thus the writers' interpretation of the story is no more (or less) valid than the audience's), Voodoo Shark (when an explanation just causes more confusion), Flip-Flop of God (when the creator's statements regarding canon are inconsistent or multiple creators have different interpretations on what is canon), Negative Continuity (where it doesn't matter what's canon due to the series lacking a consistent continuity) or Schrödinger's Canon (where a derivative work is somehow both canon and non-canon). This trope often causes a Fan-Disliked Explanation, especially if what the creator says about canon goes against what the fandom has accepted as canon by then.

Please be particular when citing these claims. If second-hand accounts of authorial intent blatantly conflict canon, there's a good chance the author never said that at all.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In what is likely due to Platonic Writing, Romantic Reading, as per Word of God, Lelouch's and CC's feelings in Code Geass are platonic and CC's feelings for Lelouch are even called maternal. The two have too much Ship Tease for their relationship to be strictly familial.
  • Launch was a recurring character in Dragon Ball, but she didn't appear in Dragon Ball Z. When asked why, series creator Akira Toriyama claimed to have just forgotten she existed — but there were a handful of lines in the manga indicating that she was written out intentionally; he may have forgotten to bring her back afterward but that's not why she left in the first place.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Writer Takeshi Shudo claimed that the original intention was for it to take place in an Earth where aliens (Pokémon) have displaced all the animals. This is supported by the Broad Strokes novelization Pocket Monsters: The Animation and by some early Kanto episodes (namely, the Mt. Moon one). Shudo also said that the third movie's plot was originally meant to be about a dinosaur getting revived and no-one knowing what dinosaurs are, because Pokémon have replaced all the animals. Despite this, a number of early Kanto episodes show fish, bugs, and even non-human mammals such as cows, dogs, and other regular animals existing in the anime. Shudo's stance on the matter was that these were errors made by the animators, but regular animals (mostly small ones like insects) have continued to appear occasionally later on.
    • Word of God is that Misty and Ash are completely platonic. Despite this, they do have Ship Tease even in Japanese episodes. At the minimum, it's implied that Misty likes Ash while Ash, being Ash, is Oblivious to Love.
  • An early press release for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann states that Yoko and Simon are both 14 at series' start, while Kamina is 17. In series, there's nothing stating specific ages, nor any implication that the characters' appearances deviate from them. People going off the show itself almost universally perceive Simon's attraction to Yoko as a Precocious Crush on a girl much closer to Kamina's age.
  • Vampire Knight: One of the main characters, Kaname, is given a flashback with a woman that he's eventually shown kissing. The author came out a while later and said that he only saw the woman as a mother figure, which naturally had many fans raising an eyebrow.
  • In YuYu Hakusho Yusuke left for the demon world on what he stated to be his birthday, and that Kurama left 2 months later in July suggesting Yusuke's birthday to be sometime in May. However, Togashi later claimed that Yusuke's birthday was March 26th, making it impossible for Kurama to have left in July as he said.

    Comic Books 
  • Jim Shooter, the writer of The Avengers, Vol. 1, #213, has repeatedly claimed that the infamous slap of The Wasp by Yellowjacket was intended to be due to Hank gesturing wildly and smacking Jan by accident and it was Bob Hall, who had been taught by John Buscema to always go for the most extreme action, who turned it into the slap. However, a number of factors suggest otherwise, including their relationship deteriorating in the issues prior, Thor noticing the black eye Jan sported and commenting on it, the fact that this led to Jan divorcing Hank, and Hall saying that Shooter never complained about it.
  • Cullen Bunn wrote Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars and Deadpool: Back in Black — two stories which proved divisive among the fandom, with many complaining about him shoehorning Deadpool into Venom's backstory and insisting that they have to be set in an alternate universe. For his part, Bunn went on record saying they are canon and included references to them in later stories like Poison-X and Deadpool: Assassin. Donny Cates, who took over writing Venom in 2018, went on-record stating that as far as he's concerned Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars and Deadpool: Back in Black are not canon, sparking an argument between the two writers — and even one of Marvel's editors — on Twitter when Cullen Bunn found out.
  • It was initially said Identity Crisis was still canon to New 52, despite a lot of it no longer being possible due to the drastic changes that had been made to the DC Universe (such as certain characters no longer existing or having widely different characterizations than they were originally depicted with). Later, in The Button (a Rebirth story), Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne actually witness a scene from it when running through the time stream and don't remember it.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ridley Scott has stated that — as shown in the final release of Alien: Covenant — David-8 created the Xenomorphs using the Engineers' biotechnology, but that the Engineers themselves had nothing to do with them. In light of fan backlash to this, Fox has disregarded Scott's statements and gone with the more popular theory — which Covenant and Prometheus were originally going to canonize — that the Engineers created the Xenomorphs, and David was trying to replicate their experiments.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Terminator:
    • James Cameron stated in an interview that Skynet sent the T-1000 back inside a "flesh sac" to get around the "nothing dead will travel through time" rule of time travel. Not only is this a Voodoo Shark which raises the question of why Skynet didn't send anything else like weapons or supplies inside the sac, but it also contradicts every single other piece of Terminator media which comes later — which state that mimetic polyalloy is just good enough to simulate flesh.
    • Cameron also stated that Skynet sent the T-1000 after realizing that the original Terminator failed in 1984. This contradicts several time travel rules established throughout the franchise, including raising the question of how Skynet would know that a Terminator failed.
    • And lastly, behind-the-scenes footage shows Cameron telling Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick that the battle between the T-800 and T-1000 was the first time that any Terminators had fought each other. This information never appears in the film and contradicts several other sources which state that reprogrammed Terminators fighting for the resistance was a common occurrence — so common that the machines created various ways to counter it.

  • J. K. Rowling's Word of God concerning Professor Quirrell (Voldemort's main henchman in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) is grossly inconsistent with the book.
    • Firstly, Rowling mentions that Quirrell was made fun of at school for his stutter. In the book, his stutter was implied to be an Obfuscating Disability, since he drops it as soon as he reveals his true colors; even if the stutter was genuine, he'd reportedly gained it "a few years ago" after confronting Hags, and didn't have it as a child.
    • Secondly, she says that Voldemort possessed Quirrell as soon as the two met. Although the Dark Lord was certainly the boss of Quirrell from day one, he only began directly possessing him as a way to "keep a closer watch" after his failure to rob Gringotts Bank. Indeed, Quirrell and Harry couldn't have shaken hands earlier that day if the former was already possessed then.
  • The writer of the first The Lion King: Six New Adventures book has stated that it is a prequel to The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. While fanon has Kopa as Kiara's missing/deceased older brother, canon has yet to acknowledge him. Kiara is Simba and Nala's firstborn according to the sequel and The Lion Guard, though in truth both Kopa and Kiara are Canon Foreigners as Disney doesn't acknowledge direct-to-video sequels or licensed books as canon.
  • A lot of the controversies over Starship Troopers are exacerbated by fans believing that things Robert A. Heinlein subsequently said about the novel's world-building in interviews and essays are contradicted by the actual content of the novel, in particular as to whether any form of public service can qualify you to vote or whether it has to be front-line military service.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Word of God is that Willowpelt and Patchpelt are Graystripe's parents. The problem is that they're full-siblings from different litters. The series occasionally ships distant relatives together but not close ones, especially siblings. It was clearly accidental, in-series they haven't been depicted as mates, and Graystripe's father is unknown.
    • Several characters have parentages that are confirmed by the writers but aren't mentioned in the text. This leads to oddities with canon, such as Sandstorm not reacting to her father Redtail's death in the first book and no one treating Sandstorm as Ashfur's half-sister through Brindleface.
    • Kate Cary has gone on record stating that Dovewing's eyes are blue, and to her, always would be. The sixth arc claims that they're green. Of course, this series has never been very consistent with eye and pelt colors, and Dovewing's eyes have changed colors a number of times beforehand. Plus, her official artwork doesn't help matters. The issue has led to many a Flame War.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Originally, Tetsuya Nomura stated that Nobodies don't age. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep shows some of Organization XIII ten years before Kingdom Hearts II. Although they would be Nobodies for nine of the next ten years, they look significantly more than one year younger.
  • Yoshio Sakamoto stated that in Metroid Fusion Samus absorbing the SA-X Core-X restored her to how she was before she received Metroid DNA, explaining how she was able to use the Ice Beam despite it being said her physiology would reject it due to inheriting the Metroids' cold vulnerability. This was seemingly ignored by Metroid Dread where she still has her Metroid DNA and cold vulnerability, the former becoming a major plot point.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Takashi Iizuka's explanation for the lack of humans in certain games, such as Sonic Forces, is due to Sonic and his friends living on a World of Funny Animals. They sometimes world-hop to a human-populated world whenever they wish. This idea, however, muddles up a lot of what was depicted in previous games. For example, Adventure clearly has Amy living in Station Square (with a NPC even mentioning she has an apartment there), both Knuckles and Tails live nearby Station Square in Adventure, and Shadow's entire backstory was that he was created by humans in Adventure 2. There are no mentions of the characters going between dimensions in-series and multiple games (including Sonic Battle and the two Sonic Adventure games) heavily imply that they live on Earth. The most damning evidence against this is the fact that Adventure (where this "split" allegedly dates back to according to internal documents at Sega) clearly showed Angel Island and Mystic Ruins being in the human world (which also implies that Sonic 3 and Sonic Advance took place there too). More recent statements have instead gone with the explanation that anthropomorphic animals and humans just live in separate parts of the Earth (islands and cities, respectively).
  • The information from the Shadaloo Combat Research Institute profiles on the Street Fighter V Character Encyclopedia website raises a number of questions, such as the suggestion that Unknown Soldier Red from Forgotten Worlds is Two P from Final Fight, or that characters from different Street Fighter adaptations and Street Fighter 2010 are in a shared continuity.
  • Toby Fox, creator of Undertale, has said that Sans is too lazy to date anybody. But Sans said in-game that he's not actually lazy, and it's all but directly stated that he's depressed and overworked. Lampshaded by Toby himself, who then said that nothing he wrote on Twitter is canon.

    Web Original 
  • When asked about the age of Parian in Worm, writer Wildbow said she was probably 21, because she was midway through her fashion degree after having spent several years working on an engineering degree. In-story, a Stalker with a Crush being the only classmate she spoke to led her to switch out after months. To be fair to Wildbow, when he gave that answer he said he wasn't sure on her age.

    Western Animation 
  • This is directly addressed by the creator of Amphibia, who would preemptively state before the release of a post-series book that the show and said book override whatever conflicting information he might have said during any prior interview. He uses the ages of the characters as an example, noting that he doesn't even remember saying that Sasha was the oldest.
  • Word of God is that Avengers Assemble is meant to be a sequel to The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, with a flashback in one episode showing the Avengers in their costumes and art style from EMH. However, this is contradicted by events both show (The Falcon makes his debut as a hero in Assemble, while he was already active in EMH), and implied (in Avengers Assemble, the characters make a reference to a team of high-schoolers that Nick Fury is training in Ultimate Spider-Man, but two of them, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, are clearly shown as adults and members of Heroes for Hire in EMH).
  • Danny Phantom:
    • The creator, Butch Hartman, insists that "ghosts" are not deceased people, but creatures from the Ghost Zone that takes on the memories and appearances of dead people. While the show has one throwaway line in this regard, overwhelming in-series evidence establishes that while some ghosts are an example of this, most ghosts are deceased humans.
    • Hartman has stated that Ember is in her twenties, despite her being called a teenager in her debut episode.
  • According to writer Tad Stones, DuckTales and Darkwing Duck don't have a true Shared Universe, and the characters in both are actually different versions thereof. However, the continuation comics several years later imply they take place in the same world. At one point in the comics, Launchpad (seeing a magical clone of himself) asks if this means he can have one "him" with both Scrooge and Darkwing now, all but blatantly stating that it's a single universe.
  • Word of God is that Plank from Ed, Edd n Eddy is just a normal piece of wood. The series itself presents him as doing things that a block of wood couldn't do on its own.
  • Final Space:
    • When asked, series creator Olan Rogers claimed Mooncake to be 5001 years old. However, flashbacks show that Mooncake was created when John Goodspeed closed a breach to Final Space, which can't have been more than 25 to 30 years prior to the events of Season 1 considering John's son Gary, who is 32, was a child when this happened.
    • On a related note, before Gary was explicitly stated to be 32 in the last episode of Season 2, Olan mentioned that he was 30 years old.
  • Gravity Falls: In the episode commentary for "Boyz Crazy", Alex Hirsch says the show does not take place in any specific year. However, there are numerous in-show details that specifically set it in the summer of 2012 (the year it first started airing). Present-day calendars from episodes such as "Summerween" and "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future" are that of 2012; and while everything revolving around the Author's disappearance is simply stated to have been "thirty years ago", calendars in locations not touched since the incident (as well as some character dialogue) explicitly place as it happening in 1982.
  • Several things from the Jem Series Bible are ignored in the series itself. For example Clash and Video were supposed to be born on the same day according to the Series Bible, but the series shows that Video was already a toddler when Clash was born.
  • Word of God is that Lincoln from The Loud House is not naturally white-haired. Photos and flashbacks from his younger days, including infancy, however, always depict him with white hair, not brown or blond like the rest of his family.
  • The various writers of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are happy enough to answer fan questions about the show, but they're pretty upfront about the fact that the show is the only real canon — and anything they say might be overruled by future episodes. In particular, things that Lauren Faust, the creator, say are often ignored by the series as she stopped being involved with it after season 2. Examples include:
    • Word of God has stated that, if Nightmare Moon had won in the series premiere, then her eternal night would have resulted in all plants and animals dying. Later, the season 5 finale "The Cutie Re-Mark" shows a Bad Future where Nightmare Moon did win and has ruled for years, but with no negative effect on the environment — or at least what little of it is seen during Twilight's very brief stay there.
    • According to Faust, the reason for Luna's season one design, which is markedly different from her appearance in other episodes, was that she lacked most of her magic at the time. She has said it was an on-the-spot explanation and that the writers could explain it some other way. No writer would try, with the IDW comics randomly using her original design at different points, and the show featuring Luna with little-to-no magic but keeping her redesign and ethereal mane.
    • In season 1, one of the writers stated that all hooved animals were Civilized Animals. The show itself hasn't seemed to take note of this. While the IDW comics featured sapient deer and there were once plans for an episode featuring deer, the show itself ultimately presents them as just another animal, aside from reindeer. Pigs and giraffes are also Nearly Normal Animals as well. The rule seems to be less "all hooved animals, and several mythological creatures, are sapient" and more "all equine and bovine, and several mythological creatures, are sapient".
    • Faust has stated that, in her opinion, Celestia raised Spike growing up, not Twilight. The episode "Sparkle's Seven" would eventually show that Spike was raised alongside Twilight as her adopted brother.
    • Lauren Faust has suggested that Luna is still growing and is physically a teenager. The series itself treats Luna as a full-grown adult.
    • The official word after Twilight's ascension was that the title of Princess (and the alicornhood it entails) was a merit-based one in Equestria, being granted based on great deeds rather than based on royal blood. This explanation was seemingly abandoned by the introduction of the alicorn-by-birth Princess Flurry Heart, although her existence is treated as an anomaly by characters in-universe.
    • Meghan McCarthy once stated that "Twilight will not outlive her friends." This is contradicted in the Grand Finale where Twilight has grown to the same stature as Celestia and appears to have become The Ageless while her friends have visibly aged.
  • Rocky Kwaterner: The official backstory for the show as given on the website of Peekaboo Animation is that Rocky became a Human Popsicle for 35000 years when he fell through the ice while trying to take a shortcut across a frozen lake. However, in the episode "The Twist", there's a brief flashback that shows Rocky was frozen because het got burried under an avalanche.
  • In the 1990s, when asked, producers involved with The Simpsons would claim Smithers was not generally attracted to men, but just Mr. Burns specifically (the phrase "Burns-sexual" was sometimes used). As the series progressed, this logic was clearly abandoned and Smithers was shown dating and interested in men other than Burns. Although this could be because Burns rejected him in "The Burns Cage" so Smithers decided to pursue other romantic relationships.
  • The South Park writers had said that they wouldn't allow Cartman to murder anyone. This was after Cartman tricked a farmer into killing Scott Tenorman's parents in "Scott Tenorman Must Die". Cartman would later run over numerous people in "Poor and Stupid" and had Cthulhu kill tons of people in the "Coon vs. Coon and Friends". The "Scott Tenorman" and "Coon and Friends" examples might count under Loophole Abuse, as Cartman does not directly kill anyone, but rather arranges for their deaths.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Former supervising director Ian Jones-Quartey stated on Something Awful that "Steven was never 12 onscreen". This contradicts the timeline evident in the actual show, where one summer begins, fall and winter pass, and it's the next summer by Steven's 14th birthday. There were even two annual Beach-a-Paloozas in the meantime.
    • While on the show's podcast, the co-head writers concluded Lapis did not take all the Earth's oceans in "Ocean Gem", just in the area around Beach City. However, that raises the question of why the surrounding water didn't flow in, and several shots in the episode from space appear to show the planet with no oceans. Granted, the whole scenario is bizarre and highly unrealistic no matter how you cut it.
  • One of the main writers from W.I.T.C.H. has stated that Irma is a lesbian. Even considering this was a Disney cartoon in the mid-2000s, Irma showed not even the vaguest hints of romantic interest in other girls and had male love interests. It's unknown whether he meant that she's bisexual, a strong closet case, or she hasn't realized her sexuality yet.