Author's Saving Throw

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

An especially brave idea is set forth to turn a character on his head and change the status quo in a big way... and the fans revolt. The writer then does a Retcon which seems openly apologetic. This is the saving throw. It assures the fans that the character either was not in control of his actions, or he was Actually a Doombot or events were not as they seemed.

Some "brave ideas" that have caused popular fandom backlash resulting in a saving throw have been depowering a Superhero for dramatic purposes and turning a good character evil. Depowering super-heroines, in particular, is a brave idea that is nearly always good for causing a fan revolt.

Note, however, that not all Author's Saving Throws are necessarily a good thing; many authors try to "fix" things that didn't really need it. This can be a highly subjective thing; one fan's Jumped the Shark moment is another fan's Growing the Beard.

If the screwup stays prominently in the fandom's memory, it adds to that character's Dork Age. Contrast with Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, where an originally loathed character or idea is made serviceable.

If an Author's Saving Throw attempts to fix an episode-specific problem (typically within that episode) and fails, then it becomes a Voodoo Shark. Generally, the best tool for making such a save is to provide for the possibility of a Schrödinger's Gun. Often, clumsier tools such as the Cosmic Retcon or the regular Retcon are used instead.

Compare Canon Discontinuity, which just flat out ignores something instead of trying to Retcon or otherwise explain it.

This is a subtrope of Pandering to the Base.

Not to be confused with Only the Author Can Save Them Now, where the in-story characters are trapped into a corner and escape through contrived circumstances.

Examples of Author's Saving Throw include:

Anime and Manga

  • Vegeta shaving off his mustache in Dragon Ball GT. It might have been too little, too late for some, but it marks the point in the series where it switches from early Dragon Ball-style slapstick to DBZ-style save-the-world fights.
  • In the H-anime, F³: Frantic, Frustrated, and Female, main character Hiroe is explicitly shown engaging in less-than-wholesome activities with her "sister", Mayaka. And the end of the episode shows their "mom" getting in on the act. Every subsequent sequel to has a tongue-in-cheek note that explains that Hiroe and Mayaka are just "like sisters" and "Mom" is actually their landlady, despite the fact that they all have the same family name.
  • Many City Hunter fans were angered when they learned that Ryo Saeba's partner, Kaori Makimura, was killed off in its sequel Angel Heart. Because of this, Tsukasa Hojo, the author of both titles, went on to proclaim that Angel Heart was not actually a City Hunter sequel, but a spin-off set in an Alternate Universe featuring most of the same characters. However, most fans that got over Kaori's death in Angel Heart now accept it as a genuine sequel to City Hunter.
  • When Naruto reached the Pain arc, characters started kicking the bucket left and right, and it actually seemed like it would conclude some character development, but then Nagato sacrificed himself to save all of his victims. On the other hand, some fans wonder if the series really would have been better with the deaths intact, even if Hinata technically did not die to begin with.
  • One of the many, many ways to interpret the results of Gundam Seed Destiny. The Spotlight-Stealing Squad made up of the old cast taking over, then occasionally losing focus could be the result of the staff trying to decide which way to throw the series.
  • Sword Art Online has Kirito torture the main villain Sugou before killing him... or his avatar anyway.[context?] It isn’t wrong for people to question if Kirito truly is the hero for this reason. Though in his defense, Kirito did try to persuade Sugou to stop what he was doing, and he was doing horrible things to both Asuna (his girlfriend) and himself. And no, persuading Sugou to stop did not work. He was far too gone. But how is there a saving throw? Kirito decides not to kill Sugou in the end, but have him go to prison and answer to what he had done there. And it’s actually justifiable, as putting him in prison traps him in a world of fear, and there is no way for him to hurt any teenage girls there, especially Asuna.

Comic Books

  • Dan Slott's She-Hulk run did this for a controversial issue of Punisher, when he poisoned and blew up a bar filled with two dozen C-List villains, revealing that they survived and had their stomach's pumped.
    • Subverted with Slott's handling of the issue of She-Hulk's one-night stand with the Juggernaut; Slott had She-Hulk deny it, while using it to slut shame She-Hulk via everyone accusing her of being a whore whenever She-Hulk denied the charge. The pay-off to the whole thing was her pulling out an alternate universe counterpart who claimed to have slept with Juggernaut, but the plotline was so widely reviled, that Peter David (who took over after Slott left the book) denounced it as lies and later writers have She-Hulk have the character herself wondering that maybe she did sleep with Juggernaut after all.
  • The return of Jean Grey in the '80s where it was revealed that the Phoenix (and thus Evil Planet Killing Dark Phoenix) was not Jean Grey at all. This like the Green Lantern example below (which it clearly inspired) was not done by the same author but the co-plotter of the original saga was involved[1] Since then, to what degree Jean and Phoenix are or are not the same person is something no two writers agree on.
  • The Marvel Universe had the potential for saving throws with the revelation that Skrulls have been secretly replacing people, as discovered by the New Avengers. This is even lampshaded when the characters, upon discovering this, discuss how this could provide an explanation of everything from Iron Man's sudden turn into a jerk, to why loner Wolverine is on so many teams, and even why Peter Parker would publicly reveal his identity. Iron Man himself (once he finds out) engages in it, wondering if it means Captain America (comics) (Steve Rogers) really isn't dead, and that Jean Grey didn't get a bridge dropped on her. But ultimately, the Skrull situation didn't touch any of those alleged problems, leaving them all as they were. Especially the big one: Iron Man's Face Heel Turn during Civil War. Totally not a Skrull, and Tony Stark must now deal with what he's done. The biggest change to come out of it is that Mockingbird is back, the one who got Stuffed Into the Fridge having been a Skrull.
  • The Spider-Man villain the Hobgoblin was created by writer Roger Stern as a replacement for the Green Goblin, complete with a mysterious true identity. The character was initially a success due to good writing, but then Stern departed from the title. At once, the Hobgoblin joined up in a gang war and the mystery surrounding his identity got out of hand. Finally, it was decided that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin... which was revealed after Leeds had already DIED (and at the hands of common snipers too, even though the Hobgoblin was supposed to have super-strength!) The Smug Snake Jason Philip Macendale took over the role of Hobgoblin and became such a poor villain that Roger Stern finally returned to write the three-part Hobgoblin Lives! miniseries that killed off Macendale, explained how Leeds was NOT the original Hobgoblin in a way that actually made sense, tied up all loose ends left by the mystery, and revealed the true Hobgoblin to be Roderick Kingsley, as Stern had always intended. This ended up backfiring, as Roderick Kingsley having been portrayed as a nondescript wimp in his civilian ID before, who had really made little impact on readers, while Ned Leeds at least had been someone fairly close to Peter Parker (as the husband of his first girlfriend, Betty Brant). To make matters worse, soon afterwards the Hobgoblin got his ass handed to him in a fight against the recently returned Norman Osborn. Since it was clearly felt that with the original Green Goblin now back in action his knock-off the Hobgoblin was now redundant, Roderick Kingsley was permanently sent off to a Carribean island, which in effect turned Hobgoblin Lives! into nothing more than an officially sanctioned Fix Fic. Roderick Kingsley was eventually brought back many years later in the post-OMD continuity, and serves as a major villain even without his Hobgoblin identity.
  • Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, went Ax Crazy after the destruction of his city becoming the villain Parallax. Some fans were not happy, seeing it as a Bridge Drop in favor of the Younger and Hipper Kyle Rayner, although others thought it was a logical and fitting end to Hal Jordan's story. Geoff Johns eventually retconned this into Parallax being an ancient alien fear monster who was responsible for the Lanterns' weakness to yellow and who slowly pulled Hal over to Brainwashed and Crazy. Many of the named characters Hal had killed were brought back to life, as well. This produced highly mixed reactions from fans, considering that many had warmed up to Kyle in the interim, and plenty had liked the "Emerald Twilight" story, and thought it made perfect sense given Hal's character. The subject remains something of a Base Breaker among Green Lantern fans.
    • Johns continued to arc weld Parallax with other existing Green Lantern concepts and expand on them to much critical and fan acclaim, arguably being an Authors Saving Throw for the Parallax retcon. It helped that while Hal was now the new "star" Lantern, Kyle was also written with respect and given a prominent place in the franchise instead of getting a reciprocal Bridge Drop. It doesn't hurt that both Green Lantern: Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War, the storylines providing the Saving Throws, are both awesome and made of win.
  • During The Clone Saga in Spider-Man, it was stated that new character Ben Reilly was the original Spider-Man and the character that had been in comics for the past 20 years was the clone, which wasn't even the original intention of the hook. This didn't sit well with fans and was taken out again; a hook had been added by the writer in case they needed to. The whole thing was really kind of a mess.
  • The editorially influenced attempt in the Batman comics to recreate Batgirl III/Cassandra Cain as Robin's erudite Dark Action Girl nemesis (explained by her returning to her supposed Assassin roots) provoked rather justifiable complaints that the writer and editor involved hadn't bothered to read Batgirl's solo title. A few months later, we found out that Deathstroke was feeding her mind-control drugs, really. Never mind that Cassandra's entire origin involves her complete and utter hatred of killing, even more so than Batman! Oh, and the who mind-control drug thing doesn't really work when in a Batgirl/The Ghost crossover she was able to overcome the effects of a deadly poison by herself. Yeah, no antidote or anything. Still, it was better than being stuck with the villainness that's Cassandra In Name Only.
    • DC then gave the writer of the screw-up a new Batgirl miniseries to allow him to explain all the events that led into her Face Heel Turn, thus tearing open a wound that was already considered closed (even if badly closed). General fan consensus was that he only succeeded in messing up the character even further. Even more confusing, parallel to this she also showed up in Batman and the Outsiders, coming out at the same time as the miniseries but taking place after showing her back to her normal awesome self. She then went into Comic Book Limbo for several years, and only recently starting appearing again in Batman Inc.. They were probably trying to make Batgirl into the new Jason Todd...the only problem with this is that people actually like Cassandra Cain.
  • An issue of Robin managed three author's saving throws in one fell swoop: Stephanie Brown never died, Leslie Thompkins only faked her death to keep Black Mask away from her. Batman suspected this—though he wasn't certain—and to give Stephanie Brown privacy never told Robin. This is why he never added Stephanie's Robin suit to the memorial (an Author's Saving Throw for using her absence from that memorial to justify the claim that she was never an official Robin) - along with Jason Todd, who was already Back from the Dead at the time.
  • Making Stephanie Brown the new Batgirl could be an added Saving Throw for both the above Cassandra/Stephanie issues. Fan reaction has been divided, especially among the Cassandra fans.
    • This itself resulted in yet ANOTHER saving throw, with it being retconned that Cassandra willingly gave the title to Stephanie as part of a plan that had her Commuting on a Bus to Batman Inc. and taking on the new identity of Blackbat... and it's now moot since Stephanie has been demoted to Spoiler again, and it's uncertain just how much of her history is intact. Oh, comics.
  • Whenever a period of time goes by where Batman acts more dickish than usual, it seems to be traditional to reveal that he's been unable to shake off a dose of Scarecrow's Fear Gas.
    • Hey, speaking of fear gas: remember all the wackiness that happened across the entire DC universe during the Silver Age, with Batman being the most out-of-character for getting into it? You know, the stuff that at least three Crisis Crossover events and numerous side-stories have either made non-canon or explicitly happened in an alternate dimension? Somewhere along the lines it was explained in Batman RIP that all of that was a series of hallucinations that Batman went through during a combination fear gas/sensory deprivation experiment. Yes, he hallucinated all that stuff that didn't happen and/or happened to someone else. Apparently someone thought it was still a burning issue.
  • At the end of the first Power Pack series, one of the kids had turned into a Kymellian (a horse-headed alien), their mother was going crazy, their father had developed superpowers, and they were all headed off to live on the Kymellian homeworld, all the result of a change in authorship designed to revive the series' popularity by going Darker and Edgier. A couple of years later, the original creators did a holiday special that wrote the whole thing off as a deception by the kids' enemies.
    • Even though it seemed pretty dickish of the characters to immediately stop giving a damn about the one who'd turned into a Kymellian when it was revealed that he was a clone who was made to think he was the real Alex - he wasn't a bad guy, and had worked alongside them since before the first time Alex's human hair had started falling out.
  • A curious example of an Author's Saving Throw that was held in reserve but wasn't used: Marv Wolfman, writer of Crisis on Infinite Earths, wrote in the intro to a collected edition that he left an "out" for bringing Barry Allen back from the dead if the fans objected too strenuously to his being replaced. He eventually revealed that the out was for someone to pull Barry through one of the "time windows" he was experiencing as he ran to his death.
    • A Legion of Super-Heroes one-shot later uses that exact plotline, leaving it open as to whether or not it actually happened or was just an inspirational story. Recent issues of Final Crisis hint at making this canon, thus explaining Allen's re-appearance, even though Barry's death was part of a Stable Time Loop that resulted in his own origin, so if you pull him out, he never becomes the Flash in the first place However, Marv Wolfman thought about that also, and would've set up that Barry Allen had to eventually return to fulfill his role in the Crisis and that Barry wouldn't know when that would happen, thus having the Fastest Man Alive living on borrowed time. Geoff Jones thought of that as well, establishing at the end of Flash: Rebirth that Barry and Wally's race to stop Professor Zoom from killing Iris in the past is the catalyst for giving Barry his powers
  • In The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, something called the "soft places" were introduced where time itself grew thin. Gaiman put that in there as an "escape hatch" in case something happened to his characters that he couldn't fix any other way. It was never used for that purpose, however.
  • The Toyman, A B-list Superman villain, was traditionally just a funny man in a striped suit who built dangerous giant toys to rob banks and give the Man of Steel a hard time, but in the Dark Age he was re-imagined as a bald child murderer in a black cloak. This didn't go over too well. Fast-forward to 2008, when it's revealed that the bald Toyman was a defective robot decoy created by the real Toyman, who is now once again a funny man in a striped suit, albeit a dangerously insane one, who will do anything (up to and including murder) to protect children.
    • Funny thing - the Darker and Edgier Toyman actually started out as a parody of the trend; he adopted the new persona and modus operandi because he was left out of the latest line of Superman action figures for not being a dangerous enough villain.
  • Magneto had long been established as a Jewish Well-Intentioned Extremist, but when Marvel decided to move him back into full-out villainy in the early 90's, they were worried about accusations of Antisemitism. So they presented the Retcon that he was really a Gypsy, delivering the Family-Unfriendly Aesop that Gypsies are Acceptable Targets. When people realized what a bad idea this was a few years later, Marvel established that Magneto's Gypsy identity was false, returning him to his Jewish roots.
    • Speaking of Magneto, the Retcon of the Planet X storyline counts too. Grant Morrison sees Mags as a Draco in Leather Pants and so when writing him, took Ron the Death Eater Up to Eleven to show him as he "truly" was in Morrison's eyes, and ended with him (intended as) Killed Off for Real. Needless to say, that didn't last very long. The retcon was exceptionally sloppy (two authors who didn't know what the other was doing each wrote the story of who Xorn-Magneto "really" was) but hey, Magneto's back to being the Magneto we know and that's what it was to accomplish.
  • Supergirl before the New 52: Kara Zor-El was reintroduced with a shockingly bad origin: Zor-El was evil and sent Kara to Earth to kill baby Kal-El. Fans hated it. Author after author has stepped up to try a saving throw (no, wait, she was sent back to babysit him, no, wait, Zor-El wanted her to kill him after all but she didn't want to but got brainwashed, no, wait, she was sent back to fight off ghosts from the Phantom Zone, and so on, and so forth). Supergirl #35 hand waved off all of the previous origins as dementia caused by Kryptonite poisoning and gave her back the classic Silver Age Origin Story, and Supergirl #34 had her finally take a Secret Identity ( Linda Lang. Cute, DC Comics, very cute).
  • There's a bit of a Saving Throw War going on between people at Marvel who like Squirrel Girl and those who don't: Originally, Squirrel Girl beat Dr. Doom by herself. A later comic indicated it was a Doombot. Another later comic revealed that it was not a Doombot. Then, Squirrel Girl beats Thanos (offscreen) and the Watcher himself is there verifying that it is not a "robot, clone, or simulacrum" and is indeed the real Thanos. Later on, Thanos reveals he can make really good clones that even fool the Watcher. But according to Word of God, that really really was the real Thanos. And to make things goofier, everything about the Thanos fight was written by Dan Slott. An even later Deadpool comic has her borrow a time machine from Doom, and announces its own canon.
  • The JLA arc featuring the Milestone characters and the female Dr. Light, started off with a monologue by the character used by Dwayne McDuffie to address recent conflicting appearances in other titles and attempt to fix the continuity problems that resulted from them.
    • An extremely similar tactic was used to explain the inconsistencies regarding Thunder's status after she was rendered comatose in Batman and the Outsiders. It is revealed that she had been "in and out of hospitals" since her accident, explaining how some stories had her out and about while others still had her in a coma.
  • The Zoo Crew were given a horrific fate at the end of their Final Ark mini-series where the editors ordered the creators to make trapped on the main DC Earth as mute ordinary animals. It was always intended that they could return in "The Final Ark", but that reappearance turned out to be a very brief and mostly inconsequential cameo. They got restored to normal, but they're still stranded on Main Earth, and their home Earth is still a flooded-out dystopia ruled by Starro. And who knows what's become of them post-Flashpoint.
  • The Punisher began life as a Spider-Man villain whose idea of "justice" was "anyone committing any crime eats lead" and went around killing people over things that were not heinous. The character as we know him today is actually a Retool made once Darker and Edgier came into vogue and it was decided he worked as a dark hero. So what do we do about his early appearances, which have things like him shooting a couple for littering, and a driver for running a stop sign when he was fleeing from the shots? In the first Punisher miniseries, it was explained away as Jigsaw arranging for him to be exposed to mind-altering drugs in prison.
  • The Titans: Villains For Hire one-shot managed to spark racial controversy after the series ended with Ryan Choi, the second Atom being killed and a new Atom series starring Ray Palmer (Choi's white predecessor) being launched during the same flipping event. The 2011 DC relaunch completely retconned the events of the story, with Ryan Choi once again retaking the Atom identity in the new Justice League series and Ray being demoted to a supporting character in another, far more obscure title.
  • The entire idea behind the one-shot Faces of Evil: Prometheus. The author didn't like the fact that the title character, created by Grant Morrison to be a Badass Normal so Badass that he could take on the whole JLA and only be defeated by cheating, had undergone Villain Decay to the point where he'd become little more than Elite Mooks for Batman villains. So the whole plot of the story is given over to explaining that the Prometheus who'd been appearing for the past nine years wasn't the real Prometheus, but rather a Costume Copycat, and showing us the real deal's Roaring Rampage of Revenge to get him back.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck has one for the richest duck in the universe, describing the incident where he chased a bunch of African villagers out of their homes as the biggest regret of his life that made his sisters sever all ties with him until years later.
  • Possible example from the ever-editorially-entroubled Sonic the Hedgehog comics; after a Time Skip, Antoine broke up with Bunnie, got an eye patch out of nowhere, and tried to force Sally into an Arranged Marriage. It turns out it was his Evil Twin from the Mirror Universe (previously established, mind) and the real Antoine came back and married Bunnie.
    • You might say that Ian Flynn's first year or so on the title was a series of Author's Saving Throws. Sonic going out with Fiona? She was in love with Evil Sonic/Scourge the Hedgehog and thought he'd be the same. Sonic's Jerkass attitude towards Tails? The little guy finally blows up and socks it to him, making him admit he was wrong. Sally and Sonic are back together, and Sally is de-chickified back to her Action Girl roots.
  • Another X-Men one: Early issues of X-Men: Legacy, when it was a Xavier solo title, had him revisit all the Jerkass things he did over the years. It was sometimes revealed that the more Egregious ones weren't quite as dickish as they seemed at the time. For instance, the reason he didn't release Danger when he realized she was sentient wasn't because she was just so gosh-darned useful, it was because he didn't know how to remove the code that made her a slave without affecting the code that made her sentient in the first place.
  • The controversial mini-series Justice League: Cry for Justice saw Roy Harper having his arm ripped off and his daughter Lian being violently crushed to death. This lead to an unpopular period where Roy relapsed and became addicted to heroin (which he had kicked in the 70's) and even became a supervillain. This whole series of events has been retconned out by the 2011 DC relaunch, with Roy once again clean and sober and with both arms intact.
    • Similarly, there was an outcry over the death of Tasmanian Devil, one of the few openly-gay superheroes DC has. James Robinson wrote a story several years later that ended in Tasmanian Devil's resurrection.
  • In Thor issue 301, Thor is visiting the various pantheons of Earth to gather energy to revive the Asgardians. All's well and good, until he gets to the Hindu gods, and Shiva demands a fight in exchange for the energy, and thanks to some rules-screwing, Thor manages to defeat him. This did not sit very well with Hindu fans, as Shiva is the Big Good to more than a few Hindus and his power is said to be limitless, and besides that it just didn't make much sense from a storytelling perspective, as Shiva was stated to be equal to Vishnu, who is stated to be equal to Odin; would changing the setting of the battle really make up for the power gap? Anyway, next time the Hindu gods showed up, it was revealed that Shiva was out that day and Indra, a far less powerful god, was filling in for him. The saving throw is hammered home even further by the Encyclopedia Mythologica, which states that the limits of power possessed by Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are completely unknown.

Fan Works

  • Nobody Dies had a particularly weak fourth season, with lots of weird changes to the status quo that really didn't do much to move the overall plot forward and is generally considered the point of where all the stories weak bits began showing. This eventually required the author to retcon almost the entire season into being a shared dream.
  • Past Sins underwent a major rewrite and revamp in order to deal with various characters being out of character and add a few more characterizations.
  • In Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, Ronan's first decrees as King of the Shinobi include everyone who likes modern music being put to death "in less they r hot chicks", and outlaws homosexuality and religion. In the next chapter, he changes the sentence to life imprisonment for modern music fans (but keeps the death penalty for everyone except himself and Sakura), and allows gay people to have sex in their homes but not so much as kiss in public, in response to reviewer complaints about him being intolerant. The chapter after that, Ronan changes the sentence to life imprisonment for modern musicians, and while he orders churches to be bulldozed, says that people can pray in their homes.
    • The entire fic itself gets an Author's Saving Throw when Benji hacked into the author's account and wrote his own ending that killed Ronan and pretty much rerailed the entire Naruto cast.
  • In Lisa Is Pregnant, the author points out that Lisa is older in this fic after reviewers complained that she was too young to get pregnant.
  • Readers of the The Subsistence were baffled by Dawn's sudden prowess with guns with most complaining that it was an Ass Pull. Then Cornova wrote The Incipience and did some minor rewriting which better explained Dawn's sudden gain of Improbable Aiming Skills


  • Happy Death Day is a movie where the director planned one in advance. In the original ending, after Trey escapes the loop and confronts the true killer, she ends up in the hospital, where an assassin (presumably sent by The Man Behind The Man) shoots her. The reason for this sudden Downer Ending was, if the film did poorly at the box office, the explanation was, Trey is truly dead, but if the movie was a success, she is again trapped in the loop, which would occur in a sequel. However, test audiences didn't like it, feeling it cheated Trey out of the happy ending she had rightfully earned, so it was scrapped. It did indeed have a sequel, the scene with the assassins adapted into it.


  • An early (if arguable) example of this trope is the Palinode of Stesichorus (a Greek poet, who lived in the 7-6th centuries BCE), which recants an earlier poem. Legend says that having been struck with blindness after he wrote his original poem, in which the author bashed Helen for causing The Trojan War, he came up with a new story, and was immediately cured. The new version implausibly claims that the real Helen had spent the whole duration of the war in Egypt, and the Helen who went to Troy was just a duplicate made out of clouds. Euripides used a version of this story in his Helen. The palinode became a recognized literary form, in which a poet writes a second poem to disavow an earlier one.
  • Euripides, for his part, also had to recant one of his works. It is known that he wrote two versions of the story of Hippolytus. Only the second version survives, but it is widely believed that in the original version outraged the audience because Phaedra (wife of the great hero Theseus) lusts without shame after her step-son Hippolytus, and brazenly attempts to seduce him. The second, surviving version bends over backwards to make Phaedra blameless (she's deeply ashamed of her feelings, and only seems to come on to her step-son because her nurse betrays her). She still comes to no good end, committing suicide and attempting to frame Hippolytus for rape.
  • Another Older Than Feudalism example is the opening of The Aeneid. Vergil was in the difficult position of turning the losers of The Trojan War, the ones who fell for the Trojan Horse, into the heroes of his story. His solution was to add a Greek playing a sacrificial victim. This Greek actor was just too deceptive for the kindhearted, trusting, and heroic Trojans to disbelieve when he told them a story that made bringing the horse inside seem like a great idea.
  • Ian Malcolm didn't survive the novel Jurassic Park, but he lived through the movie. When it was decided that he would be the star of the next book/movie, Michael Crichton took advantage of the fact that his death took place offstage and said he was reported dead, but had in fact just barely survived his severe injuries.
  • A well-known example can be found in Sherlock Holmes stories. In The Adventure of the Final Problem Doyle had both Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty apparently die in a waterfall; after public outrage he retconned the event, allowing the detective to defeat the Big Bad and survive.
    • Well, public outrage and big sacks of cash.
      • His mama telling Doyle to revive Holmes doesn't hurt, either.
      • Doyle claimed that he refused to do that a few times, but publishers persisted and just increased the offers. At last, fed up, he told them he would do it for a price he regarded as utterly ludicrous, figuring that would shut them up. Much to his surprise, the offer was accepted, whereupon he felt he had to hold up his end of the deal.
  • Another modern example is in the novels of Evelyn Waugh. In Vile Bodies, his fictionalized Britain becomes a little too fictional, with the inclusion of the King of Ruritania as a minor character, and the novel ends with a badly predicted second world war which has trench warfare and the French as the allied army with Britain. His later novel, Put Out More Flags has some of the same characters several years older, but is set in real World War II Britain. The film of Vile Bodies, Bright Young Things showed awareness of these problems by changing the King of Ruritania to one of Romania and depicting the war at the end as it actually occurred in Britain.
  • The Magic: The Gathering novel Scourge had the Big Bad, Karona, gather five powerful beings representing the colors of magic, namely Multani, Teferi, Fiers, Llowalyn, and Yawgmoth, "revealing" that Yawgmoth (the Big Bad of the Weatherlight Saga), who was dramatically killed, was hanging on in some form. A few years later, the Time Spiral novel had Teferi deny his meeting with Karona in Scourge and suggest that it was a dream of hers. The next book, Planar Chaos, had several characters state that they'd personally confirmed that Yawgmoth was dead.
    • This is actually a double saving throw, it is implied that Karona might have brought them from different timelines (as in, Yawmoth from when he was still alive and Teferi sometime after denying meeting Karona), the fans can go by whichever theory they like the most.
  • In Piers Anthony's Xanth series, the novel Geis of The Gargoyle was used to both lampshade and explain numerous continuity errors that had crept up into the latter books (for instance, the Invisible Giants had shrunk to a third of the size they originally were, and The Gorgon's powers inexplicably worked on women, when they originally explicitly only worked on men). The explanation was that the Realm of Madness was expanding throughout Xanth, altering reality in increasingly drastic ways. Ironically, such errors seem to crop up in all of Anthony's extended series (most notably, Apprentice Adept, where several Adepts' magic powers were altered or changed outright between the third book and the fourth).
    • Harder to notice, but there is a minor saving throw about swearing. In the third book, the protagonist says "Hell!" out of exasperation. In later books, "Hell" became a forbidden word for minors to say or even to know, and it's magically enforced. So, how did it happen in the third book? It was an error by an in-world historian who miswrote the word "Well". Saving throw passed.
    • Word of God here is that "There are no continuity errors, only alternate pasts."
  • The Vampire Lestat begins with the title character reading the previous novel, Interview With A Vampire and dismissing much of it as either lies or misinterpretations by Louis. Anne Rice decided she liked Lestat better than the somewhat whiny Louis, and did this to somewhat redeem him so that he could become the protagonist of the series.
  • Similar to Holmes, Ian Fleming killed James Bond off in From Russia with Love the novel at the hands - or shoes - of Rosa Klebb. He had to bring him back for Dr. No.
  • Thanks to the magic of serial publication, not to mention possible litigation, Charles Dickens changed Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield from villain to hero in mid-plot.
  • One happens in the Anita Blake series, as Richard's rather... erratic behavior is finally explained as ANITA'S fault... he was possessed by her anger. When the possession is cured, he reverts to a more stable psyche.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has been up to its elbows in these:
    • The controversial New Jedi Order books introduced Vergere, and her philosophy that the Force was too complex to be summed up as simple light vs. dark. This ticked off a lot of fans, so the writers did the Dark Nest Trilogy and Legacy of the Force in response, which had Jacen Solo (Vergere's main pupil) become a Knight Templar and fall to The Dark Side as a result of her teachings. Problem was, many fans felt bothered with Jacen's fall, so the current Fate of the Jedi series is retconning it to have been not because of Vergere's teachings, but because he encountered something during a journey through the galaxy that made him go crazy. The jury is still out as to whether Fate of the Jedi will need an Author's Saving Throw too.
    • Karen Traviss's novels have been very polarizing, due to her single-minded approach to storytelling. After four novels of vicious anti-Jedi sentiment at the hands of the Mandalorian characters, she included two scenes in her last novel to try and fix things up. First, she made Maze call out Skirata for being an asshole, and the renegade clones a bunch of brainwashed slaves, effectively comparing Skirata to the Jedi he was trying to save his troops from. Then, she revealed Djinn Altis' rogue Jedi convent, giving a fresh perspective that was separate from both the Republic Jedi and the Mandalorians, putting a lampshade on the whole series focus.

Live-Action TV

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sixth season, magic was portrayed as akin to a drug, which was highly dangerous and addictive, and could even lead to users becoming "junkies" willing to do anything for a "fix," as happened to Willow slowly over the course of the season. Joss Whedon himself didn't like this development, and the fans agreed; season seven's first episode featured a scene where Giles explicitly states that magic is not addictive, and it's explained that Willow's actions were actually due to her not using magic. This, of course, made hash of most of the storyline of season six.
    • It does qualify as an author's saving throw, or at least close, but it's not a retcon. Giles' line is "This isn't a hobby or an addiction. It's inside you now," implying that this is a change for Willow due to her actions at the end of the last season. Willow got addicted to magic because she has an addictive personality, as much to power as to magic. What with Tara expressing her concern in Season 5, this was already on its way to becoming Willow's character arc, and 'Tabula Rasa' is very much in tune with her behavior in the rest of the series. Unfortunately, 'Smashed' and 'Wrecked', which bring her addiction to its climax, are about the most Anvilicious episodes in the whole series. In the latter, she realizes she has a problem because she hurt Dawn with magic. Or rather, wrecked the car she and Dawn were in because she was high on magic. Just like addicts in real life!
  • The writers of the Disney Adventure Power Rangers SPD comic conveniently retconned the reasons behind A-Squad's defection, turning it into Mind Control instead of a voluntary Face Heel Turn. Apparently, they don't like the idea of Not Brainwashed Rangers (up until then, most evil Rangers were either created that way as monsters, or were Brainwashed and Crazy if they were to join the team). As well, the turn itself was considered fairly random, and the Big Bad had already-established Mind Control powers.
  • Kamen Rider Decade throws a rather tricky one. The very serious and nihilistic Doctor Shinigami suddenly appears in the first film, after being Natsumi's rather quirky grandfather for the whole season. Seriously, that doesn't make sense. So, in the second film, they make him that way again. But this time, they reveal that he's under the effect of a "Doctor Shinigami" type Gaia Memory. Which is an obvious throw, as those are introduced in the next, only-barely-related Kamen Rider series, Double.
    • On the other hand, many, many other confusing problems with characterisation are simply ignored.
  • A month after the Prison Break Season 3 finale, it was announced that, in part due to fan reaction, it wasn't Sara Tancredi's head in the box, and she'll be back next season. The other big part of the decision was the fact that Sara had only been killed in the first place because of behind-the-scenes drama between the then-pregnant actress and the executive producers. By the fourth season, everyone was friends again so the character returned. And ironically got pregnant.
  • The third season finale of Bones: Zack is an apprentice cannibalistic serial killer who admits he murdered a man! First couple of episodes of the new season: Oh, he really didn't kill him, he just pointed him out to the serial killer. Yeesh.
  • In The Sopranos, Tony entertained a number of gangster cronies while wearing shorts. On the DVD commentary, the Voice of God admitted that a mobster of his position would never wear shorts in such a situation. A few seasons later, one of Tony's respected business associates commented to him that "A Don doesn't wear shorts," making it no longer a mistake of the show, but just another of Tony's quirks.
  • Heroes has had multiple saving throws: reducing a character's powers (Peter, Sylar) and granting powers to others (Mohinder, Ando). A full list of all the throw attempts over the life of the show would take a while... And in addition to these throws, people involved in the show have publicly apologized to fans.
    • Reportedly, creator Tim Kring actually went into several interviews personally apologizing for Volume 2 "Generations" suckiness. He also promised Volume 3 "Villains" would be much better, promoting it heavily and claiming it would completely change the formula. Ironically, it turned out to be a hundred times worse.
      • There's a reason they decided to call Volume 5 "Redemption".
  • During Elisabeth Rohm's time on Law and Order, her character (Serena Southerlyn) was often used as a Liberal counterpoint to Arthur Branch's staunch Conservative. Problem was, when she wasn't basically arguing the defense's case for them, she came across as a Fox News Liberal so frequently whiny and petulant, it was a wonder how she kept her job. So when Rohm left the show, the writers used Serena's frequent petulance as the reason for her firing (She was acting more like a defense attorney than a prosecutor). But then they had to crap on things with those six infamous last words.
  • The Doctor Who 1996 TV movie included a scene in which the Doctor says that he is half-human; this was widely disliked and subject to Fanon Discontinuity. However, in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe comic Doctor Who: The Forgotten, the Doctor notes that he said that just to screw with his enemy's head.
    • Steven Moffat has stated, when asked about the canonicity of this, that the Doctor did indeed utter those words, very carefully not specifying whether they were true. After all "The Doctor lies".
      • He has gone further, arguing that "a television series which embraces both the ideas of parallel universes and the concept of changing time can't have a continuity error--it's impossible for Doctor Who to get it wrong, because we can just say 'he changed time--it's a time ripple from the Time War'."
    • There was an earlier attempt at Saving Throwing the half-human line by some of the Eighth Doctor Adventures writers. Unfortunately other EDA writers liked the half-human idea, but had their own radical interpretations of it; there was an Armed with Canon war; and the whole question became a Continuity Snarl.
    • A smaller-scale saving throw took place after "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit", in which the Happiness in Slavery depiction of the Ood as a happy servitor race and the Doctor's acceptance of it as unproblematic were seen by many fans as gross breaches of the series's and the character's usual moral positions. Two years later the "Planet of the Ood" story returned to the same setting and revealed that the slave Ood were only happy because the evil humans had been lobotomising them, and that the Doctor only accepted their servitude because he was a bit preoccupied with a planet orbiting a black hole and Satan trying to kill them all.
    • The show's first example of this occurred with The Daleks and The Dalek Invasion of Earth: in the first, Terry Nation killed off his malevolent creations, but when it came time to bring them back for a sequel, he said: "the trusty TARDIS came along and took me to a point in time before they were exterminated!"
    • There are some fans who have shown distaste for the Cybus Cybermen from "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel". When "The Pandorica Opens" aired, the Mondasion Cybermen make their return (Steven Moffat confirmed that these were the Mondas Cybermen; they just didn't have the budget to change the costume.), and also being much more frightening and dangerous.
  • Lost
    • A season two episode changes Charlie into a baby-napping maniac who may or may not have been using heroin again. And then Locke beat the crap out of him while everyone else watched. The season two finale basically rebooted his relationship with Claire, and in the third season, when Locke asked for Charlie's help, Charlie asked why he should after Locke falsely accused him of using heroin, beat him up, and exiled him from the camp.
    • The producers originally intended for Paolo and Nikki to be major characters. After a fan revolt, they changed their plans by not only killing off the characters, but doing so in an incredibly sadistic way.
  • Numb3rs: Colby is a double agent for the Chinese. No, wait, he's a triple agent working to bring them down.
  • On Smallville, Season 3 ended with Chloe walking into her house, closing the door, and the house promptly exploding. Then, in the beginning of Season 4, we see a flashback of Lex and his guys getting Chloe and her family out before the explosion goes down. Never mind that it happened the second the door clicked shut. Or that, per the Season 3 finale, Lex was too busy being poisoned at the time to actually have been there. This troper, at least, doesn't really mind, however.
  • In the seventh season finale of House the titular character drives his car through Cuddy's dining room window in revenge for breaking up with him and escaping to a tropical beach. This caused a full blown fan revolt with claims that House became no better than a psychotic murderous Domestic Abuser and that his stunt could have ended with the deaths of several people. The creators responded to this on Twitter claiming that House had made sure that everyone was gone by looking through the window which prompted the fans to point out that Cuddy's daughter was likely in the room and she wasn't tall enough to be seen. Come the season 8 premiere and we get a scene where House turns himself in to the authorities and explains that he had made sure that everyone in the room had left and that he knew that Cuddy's daughter was at a sleepover. YMMV if this makes things that much better, mind you.
  • For the first three seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise the show was criticised for wasting the potential of its prequel setting by neglecting the Romulans as recurring villains (rather than properly leading up to the known canonical Romulan War) and instead embarking on a long confused Myth Arc involving a "Temporal Cold War" which soon fell prey to The Chris Carter Effect, as well as for depicting the Vulcans as a race of hypocritical Jerkasses. When Manny Coto took over as showrunner for the fourth season, multiple Saving Throws were given: the Temporal Cold War was resolved in the two-part premiere, a three-part story involved a major spiritual revolution in Vulcan society that brought them closer to the aliens we knew and loved, and a major story arc throughout the season involved a resurgence in Romulan aggression which also served to forge alliances between the future founding members of the Federation. The Enterprise relaunch books manage to take this even further by retconning Trip's death into a faked death, as well as dealing with the Romulan War and founding of the Federation.
  • At the end of Season 3 of The Mentalist, Jane kills Red John and sits peacefully waiting to be arrested. In the first episode of Season 4, it turns out that that wasn't Red John and he's found not guilty in a spectacular example of Hollywood Law, so the series can continue as before.
  • In Supernatural's fourth season, Sam was revealed to be in a sexual relationship with the demon Ruby. Even putting Shipping aside, the fanbase took a major issue with this -As Ruby was a demon with no corporeal body of her own, she had to possess another woman to use for her, uh, interactions with Sam. By having sex with her, Sam was either raping the host (who had not given consent) or engaging in necrophilia (if the host was a corpse). The writers "solved" this by revealing that Ruby's host was a comatose girl about to be taken off life support, whose body was still alive but spirit had moved on to the afterlife. Mileage varied as to whether or not this made the situation any less squicky.


Tabletop Games

  • With the transition to Pathfinder (the system) from the 3.5 edition of the world's most popular role playing game Wizards no longer lose access to their opposition schools, it just took double effort to cast them. While this was nice for players, it created problems with the ancient civilization of Thassilonian, which was introduced in the very first Pathfinder (the product line) product Rise of the Runelords and based on how Wizards worked in 3.5. Thassilonian was ruled by several evil Wizards, the Runelords, and much of their culture was defined by opposition schools being impossible to cast. Eventually a variant Wizard option called Thassilonian Specialist, which further specialized in a school at the cost of opposition schools being impossible to cast from.


  • The characterisation of Bionicle's Big Bad, Makuta, was literally saved by this. Through the first couple arcs, he was ridiculously easily defeated each time, considering all the powers he had. Writer Greg Farshtey had enough of this, and in the book Time Trap, explained that Makuta had planned most of his defeats beforehand; out of three defeats he suffered, one was just testing to see if his foes were the heroes they claimed, one fight was thrown so the heroes would think they won and wouldn't go looking for deeper plans, and only the third was legitimate. His unplanned-for defeat in the movie Legends of Metru Nui was also explained in the same book: having recently Devoured the Dragons, he had trouble suppressing their collective minds into his own, which made it harder for him to concentrate.
    • Greg also went on to include Makuta in a few scenes where he could really show his power without being forced to lose due to plot (such as when he momentarily teams up with one of the heroes to further his own goals). He kicks ass.
    • The rest of his species also counts, as they have just as many powers but still had to lose easily because the grand plan required them to. If they had been kept off the leash, they could likely have killed the Toa in a matter of seconds, as was clearly shown when they battled Icarax alone earlier. Just one Makuta, and he downed five of the six heroes without them being able to retaliate properly. Gali was the only one left standing, and she only "won" the battle due to her own Crowning Moment of Awesome: Flooding the entire land they were in as a desperate measure for killing Icarax. He was washed away, he survived, and he got the artifact he came for. The Toa were left wet and discouraged. With this, Greg is essentially saying "don't underestimate these guys".

Video Games

  • Persona 2 Eternal Punishment (English version) pretty much serves as a retroactive Author's Saving Throw for the badly translated first game by compensating for the lousy translation of most of the names like how Takahisa Kandori became Guido Sardenia by breaking even and establishing his real name was Guido Kandori (since Guido is spoken in the first game cutscenes, this was unavoidable), and that his name in the first game was an alias. They also pretend Kei/Nate never had his last name changed from Nanjo to Trinity, among a few other changes to compensate for both continuity and to apparently apologize for doing such a miserable job.
  • Fallout 3's ending caused some rather... negative reactions, in no small part thanks to its Diabolus Ex Machina. The DLC/Expansion pack Broken Steel changes the ending, allowing the game to remain playable after this. Word of God says the game's default endings (without the expansion) are non-canon.
  • After many players called out Metal Gear Solid for its extremely loose understanding of basic genetics (as relayed by the main antagonist, Liquid Snake), Hideo Kojima stepped up and established that Liquid himself has an extremely flimsy grasp on the subject and didn't actually know a word of what he was saying. It doesn't explain how a man with a supposed I.Q. of 180 and a fluency in seven languages could get such simple scientific facts wrong, or why Ocelot refers to Solid as the "inferior one".
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater introduced a Close-Quarters Combat (CQC) system that allows the player to subdue enemy soldiers using various martial art techniques. This combat system is explained in the game's plot as a fighting style that Naked Snake (the protagonist, who later becomes Big Boss) learned from his mentor The Boss. Solid Snake (the protagonist of the previous games and the cloned son of Big Boss) couldn't use this style in the previous MGS games, so when the CQC system was implemented in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, they had to come up with a reason why Solid Snake never used it in previous games. It turns out Solid Snake always knew CQC, but refused to use it because of his disdain for Big Boss, who taught him the style. After the events of Operation: Snake Eater were "declassified" (i.e. MGS3 came out), many soldiers began developing their own variations of the CQC style, leaving Solid Snake with no choice but to use the skills he learned from Big Boss.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was written with a mandate from marketing to turn the series away from the Arabian Nights feel and make it Darker and Edgier, complete with emo Anti-Hero Prince and heavy metal music. The fans bashed the change mercilessly, and the writers answered rather innovatively by working the Dork Age into the plot of the third, making the Warrior Within Prince into a manifestation of the hero's irresponsibility and not the real thing. It also acknowledges the selfishness inherent in trying to fix the timeline in order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and when the Dark Prince taunts him with this near the end, he finally realizes that he needs to stop trying to change the past and solve his problems in the present. This qualifies as some pretty damn good Character Development, which is why it was so well received.
  • Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days pulls this to Retcon Axel and Roxas' previously ambiguous Ho Yay relationship into one of big brother/little brother—while still leaving plenty of potential Ship Tease for those who choose to see it that way. Turns out that when Roxas was formed without memories, Axel basically took it upon himself to raise him.
  • The King of Fighters had this in the 2002 edition. After 98, the gameplay was changed as there would be four characters being selectable for the fight, with one (or more, in 2001) being a Striker, a supportive character that would be called to perform a move in order to stop an opponent or open his guard for your attacks. This, of course, didn't work well, with several bugs and infinite combos as result. In 2002, the game went back to 3-on-3 fights with no strikers, like 98 and the titles before it.
    • Also, there's one involving the storyline. See, most fans were unhappy (euphemism) about Ash Crimson taking the role of protagonist previously covered by Kyo and K', just as much as they were unhappy about him stealing both Chizuru and Iori's Sacred Treasures powers. Come XIII, Ash enacts a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Big Bad of that Story Arc. Mind you, he doesn't die... he is erased from existence. Retroactively! So he never really existed in the first place!
    • XIII itself counts as an example. XII was labelled as a Dream Match Game, but it really was an Obvious Beta released to earn SNK Playmore some quick cash in order to alleviate the production costs for redrawing the large cast of characters in high-definition. The end result? XII was crawling with bugs and infinites, not to mention a drastically reduced roster total from previous games. XIII addressed these complaints by ironing out most of the gameplay problems and bringing back several fighters who skipped out on the last few titles. Also, while the Kizuna Encounter/Marvel vs. Capcom/Neo Geo Battle Coliseum-esque Tactical Shift system in 2003 and XI was actually well-liked by most fans, XIII assumes the traditional 3-on-3, round-robin format from the series' inception.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kuja, originally an arrogant, cunning, cruel, and poetic mage was reduced to what was essentially a child throwing an eternal temper tantrum, throwing fits when his plans failed, being mocked by the other villains and having his arrogance and faux-Shakespearean dialogue exaggerated heavily. Then Dissidia 012 was released as a prequel, and it reveals that Kefka set Kuja up to be killed in the 12th cycle of the war, and used this time to implant false memories in him that twisted him into the Kuja seen in the 13th cycle of Dissidia. The "real" Kuja seen in Dissidia 012 unaffected by Kefka's manipulations is much more affable, calm, and collected, and even tries to help the heroes before the other villains catch onto his ruse. This both made him a much deeper and sympathetic character and brought his characterization back in-line with the redeemed Kuja glimpsed at the end of his original game.
  • Half-Life 2 Episode 1. After the second game, the fanbase was extremely displeased by what, to Gordon, amounts to a Shoot the Shaggy Dog even worse than the first. The Episode blows the rage away through a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the Vortigaunts that both retcons Alyx's implied death, and changes the whole storyline, showing the G-Man isn't as all-powerful as thought before.
  • The debut trailer for the 2011 SSX game had an extremely Darker and Edgier feel, realistic and "gritty" graphics, some plot revolving around rival teams of boarders competing to race in the most inhospitable places on Earth and the title SSX: Deadly Descents. Cue numerous cries of Ruined FOREVER and derogatory nicknames like "Call of SSX: Winter Assault" and variants. Every single game related media since then has the developers insisting that the characters and the cartoony and over the top feel of the game are still there and that the "Deadly Descents" are just a small part of the game, the others being the classic racing and trick modes. The subtitle was eventually removed.
  • Perhaps the Ur Example for Video Games: Zilpha Keatley Snyder agreed to allow Spinnaker to make a game based on the Green-Sky Trilogy...OnOneCondition. She realized her True Art Is Angsty ending to the books was a huge goof and wanted the game's plot to center around one of Raamo's True Companions coming to his rescue. This being made in 1984, makes it possibly the first Canon sequel in video game form to something written for other media.
  • Remember the outrage that ensued when it was revealed that DmC: Devil May Cry was some odd Prequelboot set before 3, but with drastic changes to Dante's character and backstory that made it completely incompatible with pre-existing canon (to the point of sounding like a Self-Insert Fic running on Canon Defilement)? Yeah, about that.
  • The best ending of Mass Effect 3 had caused an Internet Backdraft of epic proportions. Official polls from Bioware showed ninety-plus percent of people hated the ending for various reasons. The outrage culminated in several campaigns aimed at getting Bioware to notice, including donating tens of thousands of dollars to Child's Play. Finally, two weeks after the game's release, Bioware announced they'd be releasing an extended version of the endings to (hopefully) clear up everything that happened. Only time will tell if this pacifies the fanbase or just makes them angrier.
  • The ending of Syphon Filter 2 apparently had Teresa permanently killed off, but the third game retconned this as Faking the Dead.
  • When Ratchet & Clank came out, a recurring complaint among critics was Ratchet's characterization (acting like a selfish {{Jerkass]] towards the much more sympathetic Clank). When Ratchet and Clank Going Commando was in development, Insomniac made sure to include several cutscenes where Ratchet gets angry and defends Clank when he is threatened, all with the explicitly stated purpose of "fixing" Ratchet's character.

Web Comics

  • Collar 6. After the drugging incident, Wolfe took two months real-time having the characters discuss how dysfunctional their relationship had become.
  • CRFH: early on in the comic, Maritza wanted to kill off Dave, but there was such an outrage among the fans that she decided to bring him back. Thank God.

Web Original

  • In Survival of the Fittest, Madison Conner's Face Heel Turn and subsequent Ax Crazy rampage was explained to have been because she suffers from bipolar disorder, which had been hinted at but never elaborated on. It didn't work too well.
  • The creepypasta Happy Appy, which was experiencing a massive drop in quality due to the Narminess of the later posts, decided to remove all posts that weren't by Dronian. It became better as a result.
  • The NChick team were getting a lot of flack over the "Nella abuse", which Fan Dumb took way too seriously and thought it was happening in real life. So Lindsay made a "Thanks For Your Feedback", detailing that The Nostalgia Chick had sinfully low self-esteem and was paying Nella to make her look better.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall during The Entity storyline has the writer Lewis Luvhuag acknowledged during the commentary of "Pokemon: The Electric Tale of Pickachu" that he ended pulling one with why Missingno was afraid of Lord Vyce, aware that with how he built it up as an unstoppable universe devouring Lovecraftian demon, used the plot that Vyce's attacks were able to hurt it, but, according to Missingno, at least, couldn't kill it, but if found getting rid off him to be enough of an inconvenience that it hid out in our dimension so Linkara would defeat Vyce. Note that even Lewis comments that Vyce not being able to kill it was it at least from Missingo's point of view, and Missingno is full of itself even for a god.

Western Animation

  • "Janine, You've Changed" from The Real Ghostbusters is generally considered to be one of the most tragically hilarious attempts at this ever made; the show's former writer, J. Michael Straczynski, is asked to come back and try to explain all the design changes made to a member of the secondary cast over the years. The end result... was actually fairly funny, had a pretty era-relevant Aesop for female viewers and had a bit of payoff for long-time watchers. That it needed to be done at all is where the tragedy lies.
  • In Teen Titans Cyborg was always shown firing his sonic Arm Cannon from his right arm, until one day he used his left. Fans pointed out this apparent plot hole, and some time later, during a crucial fight, he simply converts both arms to cannons. It's hard to tell whether it was planned or this trope, since it makes perfect sense that he can convert both arms, and is simply right-dominant.
  • The Fully-Absorbed Finale for Batman Beyond had it revealed that CADMUS had overwritten Warren McGinnis' genetic material with that of Bruce Wayne, making him Terry and Matt's biological father. According to the creators, this was due to a realization on their part that the boys' black hair is genetically improbable given Mary's hair is red and Warren's light brown.
  • In order to make his Heel Face Turn work, Kevin 11's character was changed from Ben 10 to Ben 10 Alien Force, going from an Ax Crazy sociopath to a perfectly sane Jerk with a Heart of Gold. His powers were also different; from absorbing energy to absorbing physical matter. All of Alien Force passed with no explanation. Finally, in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, it was revealed that Kevin is half Osmosian and absorbing energy turns Osmosians insane; undergoing the tutelage of The Obi-Wan when imprisoned taught him to suppress that side by absorbing physical matter. Thus, the explanation behind Kevin's conflicting character presentations and use of powers was finally given a plausible explanation.
    • Word of God Dwayne McDuffie said on his website for years that Kevin could always absorb energy, but that it made him crazy. It just took a while for it to be stated on the show itself.
  • In South Park, Kenny was killed off for the sixth season and the status quo was experimented with. By the last scene of the season finale, Kenny inexplicably walks back in because, in Trey Parker's own words, "that's just what he does." However, the big change in the status quo (Butters as the fifth main character) stuck; it's just "unofficial".
    • Recently, they've given an explanation for his continual appearance; Kenny turns out to be the heroic Mysterion, a "superhero" in South Park with the power to be reborn continually after death; his mother spontaniously gives birth to a new Kenny after the last one's death, which then proceeds to grow to the previous one's age. And he remembers everything, but everyone else forgets his death almost instantly.
  • The Japanese dub of The Simpsons Movie tried to pull an inverted Poor Man's Substitute by replacing the cast used in the regular series with bigger-name actors, but fell straight into The Other Darrin instead, forcing them to try and make up for it by redubbing the movie with the original cast for DVD.
  • Robbie the Reindeer had Blitzen be thrown in prison at the end of Hooves of Fire…simply because he cheated at a race. However, the sequel Legend of the Lost Tribe has Blitzen be released early for good behavior….and makes him much more evil, so that when he goes to prison, the audience doesn’t feel sorry for him this time.


  • There's an apocryphal story stating the Prophet Muhammad once spoke positively of three pagan Meccan goddesses (why is not clear). However (the story goes) Muhammad later recanted these passages, claiming that Satan must have influenced him to say them. The tale lived on in the folklore of many Muslim countries, and the story was transmitted to the West by means of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, whose title is a reference to the tale.
  1. It turns out that they not plan to kill Jean off in the first place, that was forced on them because Jim Shooter did not want the Phoenix's destruction of an inhabited planet go unpunished. Which destruction had been added at the last moment by Byrne (Claremont's plot had only had the Dark Phoenix cause a star go supernova but made no mention of inhabited planets). How Jean Grey was brought back was entirely preconditioned on Shooter's wishes, Claremont and Byrne viewed Jean's had planned to have UXM #137 end with Jean being stripped of her powers but surviving.