- List of retcons
The following are examples of
retcons (retroactive continuities).
*In the early '80's "
Uncanny X-Men" comics, Jean Grey merged with the Phoenix, which drove her insane and led to her death; Chris Claremonthas made it clear he intended this to be Jean (though the editor made him kill her off as punishment for her genocidal actions). This was eventually retconned so that the Phoenix was masquerading as Jean, and believed itself to be Jean, but had left Jean's dying body in a cocoon at the bottom of the ocean to heal, thus allowing other superheroes to discover her body and resuscitate her. Other popular comic book characters whose deaths were similarly retconned away include Green Goblin, Nick Fury, Magneto, and Spider-Man's Aunt May; see comic book deaths.
**In "Amazing Fantasy" #15 (his first appearance), Peter Parker only wore glasses at the insistence of his
Aunt May, to protect his eyes from his constant reading, and he stopped wearing them because they had been broken. In retellings of his origin, Peter's eyesight really was poor, but improved after he gained his superhuman powers.
**"Spider-Man: Chapter One" attempted to consolidate and simplify much of the earlier history of Spider-Man to become the new, official history. The series proved unpopular, and has been subsequently retconned back to the original origin.
**"" (2007) depicts Spider-Man's deal with the devil, in exchange for saving his Aunt May's life he sacrifices his marriage to Mary-Jane Watson, and the last twenty years of comic book history has been revised in accordance with this change.
*The first issue of Marvel's original "Transformers" comic begins by explaining the history of sentient mechanical life on
Cybertronas a natural evolutionprocess. This was later retconned in issues #60-#61 with the introduction of Primus, a god-like being dating back to the creation of the universe itself, who created the Transformers as a "last line of defense" against Unicron. The first issue also portrayed Cybertron as pushed out of its orbit and hurtling through space as a result of the violence of the Autobot-Decepticon War, an idea that was last mentioned in issue #17, then ignored.
*The one-shot and limited series "" involve much retconning; it purports to be the secret untold stories behind various crossovers and big events, with Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Namor, Professor X, Iron Man, and Black Bolt. However, the second issue of the series is not a real retcon, as it takes place in (approximately) present day, referencing recent events in "She-Hulk".
*Major DC crossovers:
**Prior to "
Crisis on Infinite Earths", DC Comics featured characters who lived on a variety of alternate versions of Earth; afterward, these characters were said to have always lived together on the same Earth. Many characters' origins or back-stories were altered, and Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and other characters were fully rebooted. Some people argue that this is not a true retcon, as the changes were caused by actions of the characters within the series (similar to time travel), not the writer; the key difference being that some characters in the universe are aware that their continuity is being changed.
**A second major set of similar "retcons" in DC Comics was in the event "Zero Hour", which rebooted the
Legion of Super-Heroes. In the 1998 limited series"The Kingdom", Mark Waidintroduced the concept of Hypertime, which showed that all continuities existed and could interact. Hypertime was just one of the many items removed from continuity in 2006 by the Infinite Crisis.
**The 2004 series "Identity Crisis" included a retcon involving the
rapeof Sue Dibny (wife of the Elongated Man) and the brainwashingof several other characters, notably Batman.
Batmanorigin story "" stated that Police Commissioner Gordon was the father of a boy named James, contradicting stories set in the present involving his daughter Barbara ( Batgirl). It was then retconned that Gordon was the uncle and adoptive father of Barbara. It was further retconned in "Gotham Knights" #6 by Devin Graysonthat James Gordon had an affair with his brother's wife, i.e. Barbara's mother and is in fact her biological father.
*In 1987, writer
Peter Davidretold Green LanternHal Jordan's origin, stating that instead of being born without fear, his power ring had altered his mind to make him so. Later stories ignored this unpopular explanation. In a controversial 1994 story " Emerald Twilight", Jordan went insane and either killed or depowered the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. A 2005 story retconned many of these deaths, and revealed that his mind had been controlled by an alien parasite throughout the duration of his time as a villain.
*Prior to 1988, the Joker had several different origins. Various writers would come along, discard the previous origin, and write a new one, which would then stand as canon until a new writer decided to re-write it. Alan Moore addressed this in "", where he used the origin that the Joker was originally the villain known as the
Red Hood, who fell into a pit of chemicals after running away from Batman, causing him to become the Joker (Moore added more details to the story, including fleshing out the Joker's past). In this comic, the Joker states that he has told so many contradictory origins, he himself is not sure how he got started, but that he "prefers his past to be multiple choice". Ironically, most subsequent Joker stories use Moore's version of the origin as the true one.
*In the "
Yu-Gi-Oh!" manga, it is explained by Sugoroku Mutouin the first chapter that a team of British archaeologists took the Millennium Puzzleout of a pharaoh's crypt in the Valley of the Kings, and that they all died afterwards. In a later chapter, it is revealed that Mutou himself discovered the puzzle in a tomb that had not been successfully breached by anyone else. Instead the British archaeologists tried and failed to bring the puzzle out of the tomb.
*In the final issue of "
X-O Manowar", it was revealed that the entire series up to that point (and perhaps the entire Valiant Universe as a whole) was a prophetic vision of a possible future. The final panel of "X-O Manowar" #68 features a slightly modified version of the first panel of "X-O Manowar" #1.
*In 2005, the
webcomic" Melonpool" was rebooted. Creator Steve Troop also temporarily removed the original material from the strip's online archives, including the storyline in which the reboot took place.
*The manga and anime "Dragon Ball" series had several major retcons. The foremost example is the revelation that Son Goku was in fact an alien, rather than his tail and
Oozarutransformation being due to "Dragon Ball"'s origins in " Journey to the West". The Saiyans were first said that they were mercenaries who sold off depopulated planets to the highest bidder, yet it was later revealed that they were in fact in the exclusive employ of Freeza.
*In the June 6, 1959 "
Peanuts" comic strip, Snoopy, following the birth of Charlie Brown's sister Sally, remarks that he has no brothers or sisters, and is an "only dog." This was later retconned with him frequently mentioned as having seven siblings, five of whom appeared at various times in the strip. Two more appear in the TV special, " Snoopy's Reunion". Additionally, Snoopy appears to switch owners throughout the strip's early years.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight" by Dark Horse Comicsretcons many aspects of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" TV series. Most notably, the controversial "Angel" realization that Buffy Summerswas dating a being called The Immortal (" The Girl in Question") is revealed as part of an elaborate joke by Andrew Wells. The apparent death of Season Six villain Warren Mears("Villains") is also retconned, adding a connection to now bad witch Amy Madison. In addition to this, "Season Eight" connects Warren's survival to Amy's curse on Willow in Season Seven (" The Killer in Me") where Willow is gradually transformed into Warren.
*The true identity of the
Disneycomics villain The Phantom Blotwas originally given as just a normal man, who had created a " super villain" alter ego by wearing a black cape covering his entire body. Later European comics partly retconned this with a more mystical origin, hinting at The Phantom Blot being a living, blot-shaped concentration of evil. The European version of the backstory was later used in an episode of " Disney's House of Mouse".
*In the manga/anime "Bleach" the character
Kuchiki Rukiahas her zanpakutōretconned. In the first two chapters it is the same as any other zanpakutō in soul society; it is also the same in the Shiba Kaienflashbacks (minus the shape of the guard, in the first chapter it's oval whereas it's rectangular there). Later, without explanation, both the sheath, blade, and guard are radically changed from what was previously pictured.
*The manga and anime series "
Fist of the North Star" had several retcons during its run. One of the most notable examples were the origins of brothers Raohand Toki. In the Toki vs. Raoh story arc, we are shown the graves of their parents as well as reserve tombstones for the two brothers. Later, it is revealed that Toki and Raoh are actually from the Land of Asura, which is located overseas from where the series was originally set and that the two brothers have a previously unmentioned long-lost older brother named Kaioh. Additionally, the brothers' mother is shown to be buried in a swamp somewhere in Asura. This also continued with the debut of " Fist of the Blue Sky", which retcons aspects of the story such as Kenshiro's birthplace and the origins of Hokuto Shinken.
*In the series "
My Favorite Husband", Lucille Ball's and Richard Denning's characters were originally named Liz and George Cugat, but their surname was later changed without explanation to "Cooper."
*On the prime time soap opera "Dallas", the seventh season finale and the entire eighth season were dismissed at the start of Season 9 as nothing more than a dream of Pamela Ewing. As a result, the death of Bobby Ewing at the end of Season 7 (and its aftermath in Season 8) was erased, a move punctuated by a widely-remembered scene in the final episode of Season 8 where Bobby emerges from the shower as if nothing had happened. The spin off series "
Knots Landing", which had incorporated Bobby's death into its story lines, continued as though the death had indeed occurred, and the two series never crossed paths again.
*The final episode of "
Newhart" revealed that the entire series had been a dream of Bob Newhart's character Bob Hartley from the earlier series " The Bob Newhart Show", by showing him wake up in bed with his former co-star Suzanne Pleshette, briefly reprising her role as Emily Hartley.
*A similar plot device was used in the final season of "Roseanne", stating that Roseanne's husband had died of a heart attack at the end of the previous season, and the entire series had been a book she was writing, changing things she did not like about the people around her, with the final season being the most fictionalized.
*At the beginning of "
Happy Days", Howard and Marion Cunningham have an oldest son Chuck who is never seen after the second season, and Richie and Joanie are later referred to as the couple's only children. This is the origin of the term " Chuck Cunningham Syndrome" as a name sometimes used for this particular form of retcon when a character just disappears.
1970sTV series "Wonder Woman", the character's backstorywas altered during the second season. During the first year, it was established that Wonder Woman had never left Paradise Island or encountered men prior to traveling to the US to help fight World War II. In the second season, the character dropped numerous hints that not only did she encounter various men previously (e.g. a Chinese acupressurespecialist she had met "centuries ago", and references to historical figures she had met) but that she may have been active as either Wonder Woman or in some other crime-fighting guise as early as the 19th century.
*Retcons abound in the British TV series "
Red Dwarf" - such matters as what century the characters originated from, how many people were on the ship and many others have been changed. Series co-creator Doug Naylorhas gone on record saying that they have always had a very relaxed attitude to continuity, and if something could be changed for the better, then they would change it.
*"The Odd Couple" had three episodes presenting different versions of how Oscar Madison and Felix Unger first met: in the Army, on jury duty, or as children.
*On the mystery series "Columbo", the title detective (
Peter Falk) frequently mentions his wife, who is never seen. In 1979, NBC's Fred Silvermanproduced "Mrs. Columbo", a television series starring Kate Mulgrew, initially as Lt. Columbo's wife Kate. The character's last name was changed to Callahan after an off-screen divorce, the series was renamed "Kate Loves a Mystery", and the character was established as "not" the woman to whom the lieutenant frequently referred.
*On the television series "
Cheers", Frasier Cranereferred to himself as an only child and stated that his father was a deceased prominent lawyer and judge, though the character's mother- introduced as a psychiatrist- made a guest appearance on the series "Cheers". When Frasier became the main character in his own sitcom his brother Niles was introduced (negating the only child claim) as was his father Martin Crane, who in addition to being alive was a retired and semi-disabled detective rather than a judge, though Frasier's mother was dead.
This inconsistency was addressed in a crossover episode when the character Sam Malone from "Cheers" visited Frasier in Seattle and stated that he thought Frasier was an only child with a dead father. The following retcon was given: when Frasier was in Boston during the time period of the series "Cheers", he was not on speaking terms with his father and brother due to their comments about his then wife, "Lilith Sternin", which though not filmed was very believable within the framework of the spin-off series. Since Frasier's father was "dead" anyway as far as his Boston friends knew, the social climbing Frasier converted him to a judge to make his family seem more distinguished. Frasier's mother, it was explained, was indeed the psychiatrist who had visited him at Cheers, and as she often indulged the eccentricities of her two sons she had maintained Frasier's charade about his father being a dead judge when speaking to his friends in Boston, but evidently she herself died between the fictional time-frame of the "Cheers" episode and the beginning episode of "Frasier" (a time frame of a few years). In a further
flashbackepisode of "Frasier", he recalled visiting Seattle at about the time "Cheers" ended and "Frasier" began, and in that episode Martin was still grieving his very recently departed wife.
*For the beginning of the sixth season of "
Married... with Children," both Peggy Bundy and Marcy D'Arcy announce they're pregnant. This was done to incorporate Katey Sagal's real life pregnancy into the show. When Sagal suffered a miscarriagehalfway through filming the season, rather than continue the storyline, it was revealed all those previous episodes had been a dream of Al Bundy's.
1994, UK Sitcom " The Brittas Empire" appeared to be winding up. Some characters, notably Gordon, Laura, Linda and Carole left to take up new challenges in the last regular episode of the season, and a Christmas Special called "In The Beginning" was produced. This showed the main characters having a reunion many years in the future, having had happy and successful lives. The flashback scenes in this episode related to the opening of the Leisure Centre. The following season was written by different authors, and while the character of Laura did not return, the rest of the cast inexplicably found themselves back at the centre. The special featured some retcons of its own: it was stated that the centre opened at Christmas time in 1989; in the original scripts, it opened at an unspecified date in 1990. The character of Julie was also seen working at the centre from the time it opened. Julie was not an original character; she arrived at the start of Series 2 to replace Angie. The final episode retconned every episode as just Brittas' dream whilst on a train.
South Park" frequently retcons; characters names change fairly often---Token Williams became Token Blackand Jimmy Swanson became Jimmy Valmer, for example. Other issues related to "South Park's" loose continuity---such as how Kenny returns to life, whether or not his friends realize he does, etc.---could also be considered retcons. It should be noted that how Saddam Hussein died was not a retcon, because his "death" in " Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus" is not real ("Not Without My Anus" is a TV-Movie in the South Park world); he is later said to have been killed by wild boars. They maintain consistent continuity with Saddam through most of his appearances: his death is referenced in the movie, which leads to him being sent to Hell; he is "killed" again in the movie, and is sent back to Hell in the episode " Do the Handicapped Go To Hell?"; in the follow-up episode, "Probably", he is sent to heaven, where he is later seen in the episode " A Ladder to Heaven". It is never explained how he wound up returning to Earth for " It's Christmas in Canada".
*"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" retcons a number of elements from the film (for example, in the series Buffy had burned down her old school's gym, which didn't happen in the film). The character of
Anyankawas also retconned both in powers and personality. In her initial appearance in "The Wish", dialog from Giles indicates that destroying her "power center" will reverse all of the wishes she's granted. When she re-appeared in "Doppelgangland" new, previously unspoken, dialog in the "previously" section substantially narrowed the effect.
*On the series "Alias", it's established that
Sydney Bristowdid not meet Arvin and Emily Sloaneuntil after she had been recruited to work for SD-6. In the series finale this is retconned so that the Sloanes had been Sydney's legal guardians for a time when she was a child. Additionally, in the final episode of season 3 Sydney discovered papers which seemed to relate to her being a subject of Project Christmas. With the premiere of season 4 this was apparently retconned into her discovering the assassination of her mother by her father (which itself was later retconned by having the assassination victim be a genetic duplicate of her mother).
*On the series "
Friends", Chandler comforted Monica and they ended up having sex in his hotel room beginning their relationship for the rest of the series (in "The One With Ross's Wedding"). However later on in the series, this is changed to Monica came to the hotel room looking for Joey (in "The One With The Truth About London").
animeseries " Lupin III", numerous stories are given for most major character events, such as the first meeting of Lupin and Jigen, Lupin's pre-series criminal career, and the origin and composition of Goemon's Zantetsuken sword (as well as the exact objects that the sword "cannot" cut).
*In wrestling, particularly
WWE, the creative writers have retconned numerous story lines with the wrestling characters to update them, etc. Examples include when The Undertakerand John Bradshaw Layfieldwere feuding and brought two members of Undertaker's former Ministry of Darknessto help him out but it was explained that he bought them off to attack 'Taker. This was later retconned when he later joined color commentating and once mentioned him actually being in the Ministry.
*In the cartoon series "
Biker Mice from Mars", the origins of the distinctive injuries of the three eponymous protagonists has been retconned on more than one occasion. Initially it was claimed that Modo had lost his right arm to Doctor Karbunklebut had received the bionic replacement elsewhere. This was later changed to Karbunkle having replaced the arm himself. Meanwhile the disfigurement of Vinnie's face which resulted in him wearing his metal mask was again the result of Karbunkle's experiments. However, in the extensive final story, "Once Upon A Time On Mars", it was revealed that both Modo and Vinnie received their injuries in battle due to an exploding missile. Throttle was also shown to have (faulty) bionic eyes (having been blinded in the same explosion), something which had never been alluded to previously and which was arguably contradicted by material in some earlier episodes.
Cartoon Network's Cartoon Cartoon" The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy", several different versions of Grim's childhood and how he became the reaper are presented. For example, in one episode it is said that it was always his destiny to be the Grim Reaper, and he leaves home as the Grim Reaper. However, in a later episode, Grim states that he left home with his dad convinced that he was a country rockstar. In addition, the series has had several instances of episodes that were later retconned; typically, these are episodes that end in some sort of disaster that would likely wipe out many key elements and characters in the series.
*The Nickelodeon cartoon "
Invader Zim" includes an episode called "Bolognus Maximus". At the end of this episode, main characters Zim and Dib are transformed into bologna with no cure to the transformation. However, they are never seen as bologna afterwards. In addition, Dib mentions in a later episode ("Gaz, Taster of Pork") how he helped Zim when they were transformed into bologna, to which Zim responds, "YOU LIE!!" This could suggest that the episode had been retconned as not to interfere with the continuity of the series.
Guiding Light" moved its setting, the town of Springfield, from California to the mid-west without explanation.
One Life to Live", Dorian Lord originally tried to pass off her adopted grandson's girlfriend Adriana as her long-lost daughter. Later it was stated that Adriana is in fact her daughter.
Days of our Lives", an amnesiac mystery mannamed John Blackwas revealed in 1986 to be a supposedly-dead policeman/ex- secret agentnamed Roman Brady, who had been given a new face via plastic surgeryand was brainwashedto believe he was a mercenaryworking for arch-villainStefano DiMera's criminal organization. This explanation was further verified in 1988 with a story arc that involved flashbacks to his brainwashingand "training" by Stefano DiMera. However, in 1991 it was revealed that the real Roman Brady was still being held captive by Stefano and the man known as John Black was in fact a DiMera mercenarywith no memory of his true past.
Australian soap opera" Home and Away" Duncan Stewart, the son of Ailsa and Alf Stewart was originally born in 1989. As a child, Duncan was rarely seen in the show. In later years Duncan became a major character. To achieve this, however, the age of his character was increased by several years, ignoring the earlier storylines of the series.
Passions", Sheridan Crane originally believed she had killed her lover Luis' father Martin when she was a child. In 2004, it was revealed that Martin (and Sheridan's supposedly dead mother) were alive. Then it was revealed that Sheridan had stabbed Martin in the back. In 2005, the story was changed to say that Sheridan killed her aunt Rachel. Later, the story was again changed to say that Sheridan's father Alistair had actually been holding Rachel captive until she was presumed dead from falling off of a cliff. Sheridan had barely wounded Rachel the night of the alleged killing. Rachel was, in fact, alive.
All My Children", Erica Kanehad an abortion without the knowledge of her husband Jeff Martin in 1973. Coming mere weeks after the Supreme Court's decision in " Roe v. Wade", it was the first time that a character on an American television series had a legal abortion. In 2006, it was revealed that the obstetrician who performed the procedure -- Greg Madden -- had actually performed an experimental fetal transplant. The doctor placed the fetus into his own wife, who gave birth to Erica's biological son, Josh Madden. This retcon has been highly controversial because the procedure in question was all but impossible in 1973, and because this change unravels one of the most significant storylines in soap opera history.
Hollyoaks", the character of Zak Ramsey was originally called Zak Barnes, this was changed when he returned to avoid confusion between himself and the newly established Barnes family.
*In 2004, "
Coronation Street" retconned the Baldwin family when Mike Baldwin's nephew Danny and his wife Frankie moved to the area from Essex, with their two sons Jamie and Warren. Until this time, Mike had been portrayed as an only child, with his father appearing in the programme between 1980 and 1982 confirming the fact. [cite web
title = Corrie Blog: Corrie's history rewritten
accessdate = 2008-02-05 ]
*In the original ' film,
Obi Wan Kenobistates that Luke Skywalker's father Anakin was betrayed and killed by Darth Vader; in ' it is dramatically stated that Vader "is" Anakin. [http://www.secrethistoryofstarwars.com/book.html The Secret History of Star Wars] ] Similarly, Princess Leia Organa, an upper-class romantic interest for the farm boy Luke in the first film, is changed to be his sister in "". The final three films in the series, by their nature as prequels written later, introduce many new facts and reinterpretations into the earlier films' backstory.
animeseries " Mobile Suit Gundam" received a retcon courtesy of a trio of anthology movies. Through these movies, "Gundam" creator Yoshiyuki Tominochanged several elements of the show by changing the order of some events, removing others, and eliminating the "goofier" elements of the television series in favor of more realistic ones. The movies are typically accepted as the canon version of these events.:Similarly, the series " Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam" received an anthology trilogy. Though some events are changed, Tomino has said all the characters who died in the series will still die in the movies, though some may (and indeed have) died in different ways. At the same time, however, he promised a happier ending. The ending of the trilogy actually results in the original sequel to "Zeta Gundam", "Mobile Suit Gundam Double Zeta", being retconned out of existence.
OVAseries "", set between " Mobile Suit Gundam" and " Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam", changes the events that take place between the two series. It also includes the dropping of a space colony on North America, an area that was shown undamaged and normal in "Zeta Gundam", which is set only four years later.
*The movie "New Mobile Report Gundam Wing Endless Waltz" gives the five protagonists' Gundams much more stylish appearances, often removing weaponry. The official line is that the movie versions of the Gundams are the "true" versions, and that the Gundams depicted in the television series "
New Mobile Report Gundam Wing" never existed. Many fans disagree with this statement; some envision the "Endless Waltz" versions as upgrades to the television versions, while others view them as customizations made by the young pilots.
Spider-Man 3", it is revealed that Ben Parker was accidentally shot by Flint Marko, rather than the thief/carjacker previously believed to have committed the murder.
*In the 2002 version of "
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla", the original Godzilla's bones are used in the construction of Mechagodzilla. However, in the first film Godzilla's bones are clearly dissolved by the Oxygen Destroyer.
*In "", it is revealed that Laurie Myers killed a man wearing Michael's outfit, rather than Michael Myers.
*Perhaps the earliest and most famous retcon comes in
Arthur Conan Doyle's 1903 short story The Adventure of the Empty House, in which Sherlock Holmes's death in the 1893 story The Adventure of the Final Problemis undone.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", Toto, although brought to Oz, never speaks like the animals there, and continued not to speak through appearances in several books. Other animals brought to Oz did speak on their arrival. In " Tik-Tok of Oz", L. Frank Baumintroduces an explanation for the inconsistency: he had had the ability all along, but had chosen to never speak. [Michael O. Riley, "Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum", p 182, ISBN 0-7006-0832-X ]
Ozma of Oz" and " The Emerald City of Oz", the Nome Kingis called "Roquat". In a stage adaptation, he was called "Ruggedo". Baum explained that since at the end of "The Emerald City of Oz", the king had drunk of the Waters of Oblivion, he had forgotten his old name and taken a new one. [Michael O. Riley, "Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum", p 184, ISBN 0-7006-0832-X ]
J.R.R. Tolkienrewrote the way Bilbo Baggins acquired his Ring in " The Hobbit", to better suit the story he wanted to tell in " The Lord of the Rings"; originally Tolkien merely used the ring Bilbo found as a plot device for him to escape unnoticed, which he retconned to be 'The One Ring' later on. Narratively this was explained by depicting the original version as a misrepresentation perpetrated by Bilbo – already under the Ring's influence – and only later corrected.
*In his sequels to the novel version of "",
Arthur C. Clarkemade slight alterations to background history in order to keep each novel consistent with progressing developments in the real world. He also changed the location of the third monolith from Iapetus (orbiting Saturn) to Io (orbiting Jupiter), to conform with the film version of "2001" by Stanley Kubrick. Clarke has stated that each sequel to "2001" exists in its own continuity, though each borrows from its predecessors and all follow the film rather than the book.
*In the book "
Jurassic Park", Ian Malcolm is said to have died at the end. However, in its sequel, "The Lost World", Ian Malcolm's death turns out to be a misreporting of the incident, bringing the books into line with the movies, in which he did not die. Additionally, characters who survived in the book but were killed in the film (such as the lawyer Gennaro and the gamekeeper Muldoon), are mentioned in "The Lost World" novel as having died shortly after the park incident (e.g. from illness or a plane crash).
*In Isaac Asimov's Galactic history based on the
Foundation Series, many retcons appear as long as the saga continues. For example, in the last books "Foundations's Edge" and "Foundation and Earth" readers are informed that R. Daneel Olivaw was involved in the events related to Asimov's early novel "Pebble in the sky" and maybe to be identified with Bel Arvardan's character. The story of the interstellar drive is told differently in the robot stories related with Powell and Donovan, and in novel "Nemesis", the latter vaguely cited in Hari Seldon's life story. Asimov's "Lucky Starr" novels could benefit from retconning, the habitability of Venus (depicted as a watery planet) and Mars (an arid desert) being consistent with contemporary knowledge but since proved inaccurate. Asimov inserted disclaimers to this effect, but in fact the theoretical concept of "terraforming" could, if applied to Venus, allegedly result in a watery planet of the type depicted.
*E.E. "Doc" Smith retconned his serialized "
Lensman" stories for publication as paperbacks, adding an entire book ("First Lensman") of back-story and additionally making the existence, purpose and means of defeat of the ultimate enemy, the Eddorians, known to the reader in the earlier installments. In the original magazine serialization, the reader had been as blind to the big picture as the heroes until the very end; in the novelized version of "Triplanetary", the first in the sequence, the whole series is presented as past history, with the Eddorians described in the opening pages as having been vanquished. This spoiler probably did not matter to the intended readership, who would (at the time of publication) probably have been well aware of the ending through the serialization, but could be held to detract from the novelized sequence.
Isabel Allenderevised the history of Don Diego de la Vegas in her 2005 novel "Zorro". Originally, he was a Spaniard born in 1782 to a mother named Chiquita de la Cruz. Sometime after her death, the young man left California and was educated in Madrid, before returning to don the Zorro mask. Allende made him a mestizoborn in the 1790s, the son of Toypurnia, a Indian woman warrior. Both versions show his father as a Spaniard named Don Alejandro de la Vega.
Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, the characters of Walter o'Dim and Marten Broadcloak (who was later revealed to be Randall Flagg) were originally separate, and Walter had died after the climax at the end of the first book, " The Gunslinger". The next three books made reference to such events. Later, when writing the final volumes, King revised the first book making the drastic change that Walter had merely faked his death, and revealing that he too was another facet of Flagg's identity. The final three books reference these changes as if the characters knew it all along, with no explanation for the inconsistencies created in the prior novels.
*In Baroness Orczy's novel "
The Scarlet Pimpernel" Marguerite's brother Armand is older than her, but in the sequel, "El Dorado", he is a younger brother.
*In the novel "
Twelve Chairs" by Ilf and Petrov, protagonist Ostap Benderdies in the final chapter, stabbed by his partner in crime. In the sequel, " The Little Golden Calf" he's alive and well, providing the following brief explanation to the reader: "Surgeons were able to save my life."
tar Trek in various media
*The 1967 ' episode "
Space Seed" referred to the Eugenics Warsas a conflict taking place in the 1990s. A 1996 episode of ' (" Future's End") was set in a year when the wars should have been a current or recent event, yet no mention of them was made except for a model of the SS "Botany Bay" (the sleeper ship Khan Noonien Singhand his crew were imprisoned on) in the background of one scene. A 1998 episode of ' (" Doctor Bashir, I Presume?") contained a statement that suggested the wars took place in the 22nd Century. (This was later said to be an error; in " Trials and Tribble-ations", Bashir admits, "I'm a doctor, not a historian.") Greg Cox's series of "The Eugenics Wars" novels, published in the early 2000s, retconned the wars into shadow affairs hidden by real-life major conflicts, but the producers of the TV series don't consider the novels to be canon. A 2004 episode of ' stated that the Eugenics Wars were a wide conflict in which 30 million people died, but without identifying the timeframe; the producer of the series, however, stated that the Eugenics Wars as referenced in the episode still occurred in the 1990s.
*When ' was released in 1979,
Gene Roddenberryclaimed that the radically different appearance of the Klingons in the film was how they were always supposed to have looked, but they didn't have the budget for it in the 1960s. Books of Pioneer Pressclaimed their true form was revealed by the cloud they passed through at the beginning of the film. In the 1990s, an episode of ' featured three Klingon characters from the original series, made up to fit the new look. However, the later episode " Trials and Tribble-ations", used footage from the original series with old-look Klingons; Commander Worfacknowledged their different appearance, adding that it was "a long story" that Klingons "do not discuss with outsiders." A two episode arc of "Star Trek: Enterprise" ("Affliction"/"Divergence") in 2005 indicated that Klingons resembling the 1960s portrayal were the product of genetic engineering using augmented human genes, essentially retconning the retcon. This explanation is also used in Shane Johnson's 1989 " The Worlds of the Federation": "The 'Klingons' encountered along the Federation border with the Empire were a Klingon-human fusion, genetically created to make infiltration into the Federation easier. The interception of the Amar transmission during the V'Ger incident revealed the true nature of the Imperial Klingon race and stunned Federation science. Before that time, no one had suspected the Klingons were capable of such advanced genetic engineering, and a great deal of rethinking was done concerning the level of Klingon technology." [p. 114] John M. Ford, in THE FINAL REFLECTION, suggests that Human-Klingon fusions are similar to the Human-Vulcan fusion that resulted in Spock's birth.
*Going by the teaser trailer and comments from the writers/producers, many fans believe the upcoming 2009 "Star Trek" film will be a retcon of "". However, there is also speculation that the film may be a
Super Mario 64", Princess Peachoriginally had her traditional " big hair". After her vacation in " Super Mario Sunshine", where she was featured in a sleeveless dress and with a ponytail as part of her casual vacationer look, she was incorrectly depicted with the same ponytail in the " Super Mario 64" remake, " Super Mario 64 DS". After " Super Mario Sunshine", she was also depicted with the ponytail in other games such as the Mario Tennis series, where it makes sense, " Mario Kart DS", etc. Her traditional look returned for a game featuring her character, " Super Princess Peach".
Yoshi's Story", the baby Yoshis were given a voice-like sound different from the iconic sound Yoshis traditionally had. This persisted with adult Yoshis in later games such as " Super Mario Sunshine" and even remakes such as "Yoshi's Island Super Mario Advance 3".
Metroid", Samus Aranencounters Kraid and Ridley in the depths of planet Zebes, and they are shown to be about as tall as Samus herself. In the remake/retelling, "" both are shown to be much larger; Kraid is almost 2 screens tall, Ridley is several times larger than Samus, presumably to standardize the sizes to those of " Super Metroid" and " Metroid Prime".
*The "Metal Gear" prequels ' and ' revised much of the established backstory of the previous "Metal Gear" games (particularly the MSX2 games "
Metal Gear" and ""). For example: Big Boss' profile in the "Metal Gear 2" manual states that Big Boss lost his right eye during the 1980's, while "Snake Eater" depicts that particular event in 1964.
Ninja Gaidenseries started by Shuichi Sakurazaki [cite news
title = Shuichi Sakurazaki on IMDb
url = http://us.vdc.imdb.com/name/nm2057944/
accessdate = 2008-07-04 ] in 1988 is later continued by
Tomonobu Itagakiin 2004 as a retcon. However, the second generation Ninja Gaiden series, being prequels to Sakurazaki's first generation [cite news
last = Mielke
first = James
title = Previews: Ninja Gaiden 2, "This is a new story starring Ryu Hayabusa. It takes place after Ninja Gaiden 1 for Xbox, and before the timeframe of the old Ninja Gaiden games on the NES."
url = http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=1&cId=3164447
accessdate = 2008-07-04 ] [cite news
last = Yin-Poole
first = Wesley
title = Ninja Gaiden 2 Interview, "Story chronologically as well, this takes place after the fist Ninja Gaiden for Xbox, then after this, the story for this game from a chronological stand point leads into the old Ninja Gaiden for the NES. I think we have a nice continuity there."
url = http://www.videogamer.com/xbox360/ninja_gaiden_2/preview-948.html
accessdate = 2008-07-04 ] [cite news
last = Luke
first = Anderson
title = Ninja Gaiden II: Q&A with Tomonobu Itagaki, "In story chronology as well, this takes place after the first Ninja Gaiden for Xbox and then after the story of this game it leads into the old NES ones, so I think we have a nice continuity there."
url = http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/ninjagaidenii/news.html?sid=6191514&part=rss&subj=6191514
accessdate = 2008-07-04 ] had many alternations made, as Itagaki used his version of
Ryu Hayabusafrom Dead or Alive with long hair and green eyes as opposed to the original Ryu Hayabusa with short hair and brown eyes, updated the look of Ryu's father as well as using his name from the Japanese Ninja Ryukendeninstead of the more well known American version, and hints that the female supporting character of Ninja Gaiden 2"Sonia" may be a codename for Ryu's love interest, "Irene Lew", from the first generation series. [cite news
last = Luke
first = Anderson
title = Ninja Gaiden II: Q&A with Tomonobu Itagaki, "Maybe some of you will get the reference but Sonia, in NGII, is a CIA agent, and her name in this game is Sonia, but who knows if that is really her true name or not?"
url = http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/ninjagaidenii/news.html?sid=6191514&part=rss&subj=6191514
accessdate = 2008-07-04 ]
*The "Mortal Kombat" character Kano was originally an American born in
Japan. Following Trevor Goddard's portrayal of Kano as an Australian in the movie adaptation, the character was retconned to be Australian in "".
Mortal Kombat Trilogy", Johnny Cagewas murdered at the beginning of Shao Kahn's invasion by his Extermination squad, only to return to fight after Kahn's merger of Earth with Outworld blocked his way to Heaven. He eventually ascends to the Heavens afterwards, but is permanently revived by Raiden during the events of " Mortal Kombat Gold". In ', however, Cage's bio retcons these events as the story idea for another "Mortal Kombat" movie in the works by his studio (ironically named "The Death of Johnny Cage"), and he has only officially died and been revived once, at the hands of the Deadly Alliance and Onagaimmediately prior to '.
*', set between the first two "Mortal Kombat" games, changes many of the events and character story points in "
Mortal Kombat II", as well as some plot points from ' and " Mortal Kombat Gold".
Myst", the brothers Sirrusand Achenarwere trapped in Trap Books, in the void between the Ages. If the player frees them, he is trapped himself. Originally, Atruspresumably burned the books, thus trapping or killing his sons forever. This was revised to say that the brothers were not trapped in the void, but in desolate Ages.
*Similar to "", the
Kilrathiof the "Wing Commander" movie were different in appearance to those in the "Wing Commander" games. Chris Robertsclaimed that this was how they were supposed to have looked, but they didn't come up with their definite appearance while making the games.
*The storyline of the "Street Fighter" series of video games has gone through a few retcons, many of them being established in the game "Street Fighter Alpha 3"; in this game, it is shown that Charlie sacrificed his life to destroy
M. Bisonand the Psycho Drive (in " Street Fighter II", Bison actually killed Charlie), and Sagat's vicious rivalry with Ryu ends (whereas it is shown to be ongoing in "Street Fighter II").
*The "King of Fighters" character, Foxy, was killed by her teammate
K9999in "The King of Fighters 2001". However, she appears alive and well in "The King of Fighters XI". The likeliest explanation is that because her murderer was an Eolith-created character, her death, as well as K9999's existence, was erased from continuity when SNK took back the control of "KOF".
*In the instruction manual for the original "Resident Evil" (and other published materials), there is a twelfth member of
S.T.A.R.S.listed who does not appear in the game; Bravo Team's pilot Edward Dewey, leaving players to assume that a disembodied hand found by another character belonged to him. However, the GameCube remake of the first game and " Resident Evil 0" reveals that Edward actually died in a nearby train and that the pilot found by Alpha Team is actually an RPD pilot named Kevin Dooley.
*In ' the Prince states that he is from "
Babylon". However, in the previous game, ', during the sequence when he is in the soldiers barracks, he states that he is from " Shiraz", saying, "joking in camaraderie over their evening meal, just as my father's men do back in Shiraz." This was probably a mistake by the writers of the sequel, who overlooked many points in the original story when Jordan Mechnerleft.
*The ending of "" showed Guybrush traveling through a portal and leaving the game's universe and entering into "our" world as a small child. The game has an uncertain ending. The next part of the saga, "The Curse of Monkey Island", opens with an adult Guybrush, back in the game's world, who explains he had been imprisoned by LeChuck in a magical amusement park. Later on in the game it is explained that the entire sequence with the child Guybrush was simply the result of a "spell" cast by LeChuck.
*In the "
Legacy of Kain" series, the time travel themes in ' and ' try to fit in new storyline elements, such as the Hyldenand the origins of the Sarafan, into the original "" timeline.
*All "Grand Theft Auto" ("GTA") videos games released following "Grand Theft Auto III" ("GTA III") and set within "GTA III" canon, serve as prequels to "GTA III" and contain retcon pertaining to characters featured in "GTA III". Examples include: Donald Love's prior apprenticeship with , love for human flesh and killing of Carrington (explored in ' and '); Salvatore Leone's paranoia, and Maria's behavior and relation with Salvatore (explored in "" and "GTA: Liberty City Stories"); 8-Ball's injuries (explored in "GTA Advance", although it conflicts "GTA III"
's earlier claim); and Catalina and the player character's exploits in 1992 San Andreas (explored in "GTA: San Andreas").
*Retcon in "GTA: Liberty City Stories" has also served to explain the origins of several features in "GTA III"
's Liberty City, including a large construction site in the city (originally the site of an entire district of low rises devastated by underground bombs), gang activities, and the absence of motorcycles (which is evidenced in "GTA: Liberty City Stories" 's official website to be the result of a citywide ban on the vehicle).
TimeSplitters Future Perfect", the Harry Tipper levels were retconned to taking place in the 60's instead of the 70's, unfortunately, the designers neglected to explain this ingame, which caused confusion among fans. The Timesplitters themselves were retconned from being aliens to being genetic projects.
World of Warcraft", Eredar were retconned to make them not the ones who corrupted Sargeras, but were instead corrupted by him. The old sources were not removed, and the whole thing has annoyed a terrible amount of fans. Also, though not technically a retcon as no actual history had been given, the Draenei from previous Warcraft games appeared to have been humanlike natives of Draenor, but were changed to be a group of Eredar from another world.
*It was originally established that
Marioand Luigiwere Italian-Americanswho lived in Brooklyn. However, according to ' and later ' they were apparently born and raised in the Mushroom World. Additionally, the spin-off title " Donkey Kong Land" claims Big Ape City (part of Donkey Kong Island) to be the setting for the original arcade game.
Sonic Rush" the characters Blaze the Catand Eggman Nega come from an alternate universe, but in "Sonic the Hedgehog" they instead come from the future, with Eggman Nega being the current of Eggman's descendants. A few fans have attempted to rectify this discrepancy, mainly by rearranging the order of the games (with Sonic Rush coming after Sonic the Hedgehog, despite being released before), but contradictory evidence in the latter game still makes it awkward.
Super Robot Wars Original Generations", a PlayStation 2remake of the first two Game Boy AdvanceOriginal Generation games, largely retconned the Original Generation story by making the PlayStation 2 incarnation the official starting point of the story. Some of the few retcons include:
**At the end of "Original Generation 2",
Excellen Browning's Rein Weiss Ritterreverts back into the original Weiss Ritter; in the remake, the Rein Weiss Ritter stays as it is.
**Lee Linjun is killed in the Original Generation 2 story, but is spared such a fate in the remake.
**Original Generations follow-up game, "
Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden", retcons the events of the bonus segment, "Original Generation 2.5: Unified Wisdom".
Backyard Sports seriesgames up to Backyard Baseball 2005, the Junior Sports Neighborhood has baseball, soccer, and football fields, basketball courts, and hockey rinks. However, in Backyard Skateboarding, the neighborhood has none of those. Some fans rearrange the games so that Backyard Skateboarding takes place before the other games and that the fields/courts/rinks were built after Backyard Skateboarding took place. However, this is still awkward, because the kids in Backyard Skateboarding look about one to two years older than they do in the first Backyard Sports game ever published, Backyard Baseball.
*The ending of
Sonic the Hedgehog 3clearly shows Dr Eggman's ship "Death Egg"' explode. For its immediate sequel Sonic & Knuckles, the ship was retconned to have not exploded, but landed on a volcano in one part, almost functional and only lacking fuel.
Ignored sequels in various media
*The film "
Superman Returns" is loosely based on the storylines from "Superman" and " Superman II". It disregards the events of " Superman III" and "". [cite web | url=http://www.supermanhomepage.com/movies/movies.php?topic=superman-returns | title=Superman Returns - Comments from Bryan Singer and Staff: |accessdate=2008-01-19]
*The film ' is a direct sequel to "Halloween" and "
Halloween II", dismissing the events that take place in the sequels ', ', and ' (' was an unrelated story unaffected by the retcon). The subsequent film ' follows the new continuity of "Halloween H20". [cite web | url=http://www.horrorfilmhistory.com/index.php?pageID=1970s | title=Horror Film History — A Decade by Decade Guide to the Horror Movie Genre |accessdate=2008-01-19]
*The film "
The Exorcist III" is a sequel to "The Exorcist" and ignores the events of "". [cite web | url=http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/64113/the-exorcist-iii.html | title=Time Out London - Film - The Exorcist III movie review |accessdate=2008-01-19]
*The film "
Godzilla 1985" was made as a direct sequel to the first film in the series, ignoring each of the fourteen films in between and paving the way for the quasi-returns of such characters as Mechagodzillaand King Ghidorahin the films following it. This was repeated with " Godzilla 2000", which was also a direct sequel to the first film, and ignored all previous films. See " Godzilla (series)".
*"" is ignored by the later films in the series. [cite web | url=http://www.qwipster.net/highlander3.htm | title=Qwipster's Movie Reviews - Highlander: The Final Dimension| author=Vince Leo |accessdate=2008-01-19]
Casino Royale", the 21st film in the James Bondseries, provides a new backstory for the character set in modern times. [ [http://www.mi6.co.uk/sections/articles/bond_21_retcon.php3 Prequel, Reboot Or Retcon?] ] .
*The film "
Wes Craven's New Nightmare" is based on the Nightmare on Elm Street series of films, however it discards all previous films by portraying them as fictional events.
Digimon Tamerstakes place in "reality" compared to the previous two series, " Digimon Adventure" and "Adventure 02" which were said to take place in an alternate dimension and that of a TV show in the universe of Digimon Tamers. It's complicated by the character of Ryo Akiyamawho could travel through dimensions and was part of the backstory of Ken Ichijoujiof Digimon Adventure 02. Ryo also made a minor appearance of in a film based in the Adventure universe. This was to start a new storyline with different characters, which happened in every series after; Digimon Frontier and Digimon Data Squad, which all established their own versions of the Digital World but still keeping certain information common; although neither of these seasons make an explicit references to any other.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.