Continuity Reboot

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The writers of a particular work are about to start working on a continuation story, but they have an irreparable issue with the prior continuity.

Maybe Continuity Lock Out is preventing new fans from being attracted to the series. Maybe Continuity Snarl has made writing an interesting plot increasingly difficult and tedious. Maybe the last episodes of the series were so disliked that subsequent episodes would suffer from being associated with it. Or maybe the writers just want to take the series in a new direction or style.

The solution? Initiate a Continuity Reboot.

A Continuity Reboot means the complete elimination of all continuity within that specific franchise. It's not a Reset Button or Snap Back: while those revert the continuity to a previous state, a Continuity Reboot erases it, providing the authors with a new clean slate to work on. In one form, as far as later works are concerned everything before it is Canon Discontinuity.

This is to be expected when it goes from animated to a Live Action Adaptation. The other way around is less common: The Animated Adaptation often tries to be in the same continuity as the original.

Frequently, a Continuity Reboot will include one (or more) Tone Shifts, usually to whatever is considered the best money-maker for the target demographic, Darker and Edgier being the most common, but could just as easily be Lighter and Softer.

Every once in a while, the project can be a complete Continuity Reboot without completely ignoring past incarnations. In this case, certain details of previous installments are used in Broad Strokes.

A close relative of the regular Retcon and Cosmic Retcon. The most extreme example of a Retool. Compare with Alternate Continuity, Adaptation Distillation, and The Remake, not related to Story Reset. Often called a "re-imagining". For a character that causes the reboot, see Continuity Rebooter.

Examples of Continuity Reboots include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Rozen Maiden was originally Cut Short in the middle of the story with none of the major mysteries solved. A new version of the manga is being produced but all signs point to a Continuity Reboot, perhaps to erase the stink of the conflict between the publishers and producers that caused the original manga's death. Of course, the original plot had a ton of metaphysical reality crap mixed in there so who knows?
  • Casshern Sins is a Darker and Edgier reboot of Neo-Human Casshern, featuring a radically different and more cynical interpretation of the eponymous protagonist.
  • Part 6 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure ends with the Big Bad, Pucci, activating his final stand, Stairway to Heaven, which speeds up time and causes the universe to end and reset according to fate. As a result, Part 7, AKA Steel Ball Run, is a retooled alternate timeline of Part 1 with many parallel characters, but a new setting and a new battle system that seems to combine aspects of the Ripple (from Parts 1 and 2) and Stands (from Parts 3-6).
  • Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040
  • Dirty Pair Flash
  • The 1994 Science Ninja Team Gatchaman OVA.
  • Gall Force: The Revolution
  • Both Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo for the Tenchi Muyo! OVA, and afterwards there was a return to the original Tenchi Muyo! OVA continuity.
  • Every time Negima gets a new adaptation, it tends to be in a new continuity. Only the original manga and the most recent set of OVAs seem to share continuities.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The DC Universe has had a couple of these justified by Cosmic Retcon; most famous is the Crisis on Infinite Earths which was a full-on history-redefining reboot but kept the characters the same, Infinite Crisis, which was more of a tweaking than a full reboot, and the upcoming post-Flashpoint reboot which will be another full-on reboot (as far as can be told so far) with lots of new costumes and character redefinitions, and the renumbering of all titles back to #1. Reaction to this has been about what you'd expect.
    • The Silver Age was originally started by DC rebooting most of the its lines of comics starting with The Flash in 1956, but later extending to the Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Atom, Wonder Woman, and the Justice Society of America whose reboot included a slight name change to the Justice League of America. Most of these reboots also included Retools as well to make the series more sci-fi oriented. The original continuity that was displaced by these reboots was later shown to take place in an alternate universe, Earth-Two, which would later regularly crossover with the reboot universe, which was dubbed Earth-One.
    • Technically, Barry Allen and Booster Gold survive the old universe but only remember their new lives (Barry does apparently remember his time in the Flashpoint universe but not his old life in the original). And the recent Green Lantern and Batman continuity has been reproduced in this universe but otherwise its a complete reboot, although all the major stories of the past apparently did still take place.
  • Wonder Woman was retooled very heavily several times between 1965 and 1985. They finally gave up and restarted at #1, throwing out all previous continuity. Fans who only knew her from her job as token woman in Justice League/Superfriends didn't understand why suddenly she was ten years younger and could hover, but really, the new Wondie as published was less revisionist than planned. It had gotten that bad.
    • Somewhat averted in the post-Flashpoint relaunch. Writer Brian Azzarello says he doesn't intend to retcon anything or give Diana a new origin, but that he does not plan on revisiting or referencing past storylines, deliberately making it unclear as to just how much of Wonder Wonder Womans's history is still canon.
    • Wonder Woman was also rebooted corresponding to the start of the Silver Age in 1956 with issue Wonder Woman #98. Unlike a lot of DC's other Silver Age reboots which completely revamped the characters, Wonder Woman's reboot kept the character mostly the same with a few slight changes. Among other changes, Wonder Woman was given the ability to glide on air currents and Hippolyta was changed into a blonde.
  • This is actually a plot point in the Grant Morrison run on Animal Man. Because of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Buddy, the titular hero, literally has to reboot his life to avoid a paradox. It's like this: Buddy, the Animal Man, was a Silver Age hero, and thus lived on Earth-Two. After the Crisis, all of the Earths were folded into one, so while Buddy still existed, he was a completely different person but still drew from his Silver Age origin (the accident which gave the original Buddy powers sterilized him, while Modern Age Buddy sired two children after he got his powers, not to mention Modern Buddy suddenly became years younger than the original). In order to prevent the paradox, Buddy had to use a Reality Warper machine to rewrite his personal history so it made sense. Got all that?
  • How about The Punisher? Garth Ennis basically rebooted the story TWICE. Once staring with "Welcome Back, Frank" and AGAIN with the "Punisher Max" series. While the former basically paints over the previous continuity and ignores it (mentioning some of it only in "broad strokes" like the "Angel-Punisher" arc) the latter is a complete reboot set in its own, new "grittier" reality with no super hero characters (although some characters from other Marvel comics, like Microchip, are roped in - albeit with a more "realistic" spin).
  • The protagonist of Strontium Dog died in a Heroic Sacrifice in a 1990 story, and was then killed again, quite horribly, at the end of the Darkest Star arc. The series was revived in 1999; this Revival established that the prior stories were 'folklore', and the new series was 'what really happened'. This lasted for all of one Story Arc before returning to the original continuity with a series of Prequel stories.
  • Rogue Trooper was rebooted in 1989 with a new character, new war, and new planet, but the same basic plot (though with a variant story and different facets emphasized). Later on, the two versions were brought together.
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes did this twice. The first time was set up by Zero Hour and the second more vaguely by Infinite Crisis. Final Crisis then did it a third time, restoring a version of the Legion mostly like the original.
    • It was later revealed that all three Legions were canon. At the same time. The first Legion is canon to the main DCU. The Zero Hour one is from a universe that was destroyed during Crisis on Infinite Earths which "replaced" the first one because of Time Trapper's interference. The Threeboot universe is Legion from an existing Alternate Universe, Earth-Prime, which Time Trapper tried to replace after the Zero Hour Legion got thrown into the Bleed (or Limbo or whatever).


Film[edit | hide]

  • Batman Begins provided a Continuity Reboot to the Batman movie universe: Rewriting Batman's and every other character's story, and treating it to a new cinematic style.
    • After The Dark Knight Rises completes the planned trilogy, the series will be rebooted yet again: this time, to bring it in line with a planned Justice League movie. Nolan is still attached as a producer.
    • Nolan's continuity is already the fourth. The previous two reboots lasted 2 movies each.
  • Casino Royale was intended as an Continuity Reboot of the James Bond movie series, showing Bond as a 00 agent on his first mission, and giving the movie a much more realistic and serious setting and style than those before it.
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) was possibly the quickest a franchise has been rebooted. To give you an idea of how fast: 5 years and after a single movie from the previous "continuity". They had been trying to do it in a way that the first film could be counted or discounted as the audience saw fit, but Edward Norton insisted on changing the details of the origin to make them incompatable.
  • Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes: considering how much was changed, and the fact they were planning to make sequels based off of this film before it bombed too badly, it's more a reboot than a straight remake of the 1968 film.
  • Superman Returns was a partial Continuity Reboot. It was intended as a Broad Strokes type of sequel to Superman and II, while it completely ignored III and IV, and was intended to restart the film series. However, no further sequels were made.
    • The Man of Steel, due for release in 2012, is a full Continuity Reboot.
  • Halloween: H20 ignored all the Halloween movies that occurred after Halloween II (in the original continuity, Jamie Lee Curtis' character had died before part IV).
  • The 2006 version of The Pink Panther starring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau starts with a clean slate and only two characters held over from the original series (Clouseau and Dreyfus). Its 2009 sequel is simply titled The Pink Panther 2, avoiding the original series' Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
  • The Karate Kid has a new movie, staring Jaden Smith as the titular kid and Jackie Chan as the old mentor. It borrows elements from the first film in the series.
  • The 2009 Star Trek movie tells of Kirk and Spock's early years, mixing this trope with Alternate Continuity through use of the Timey-Wimey Ball. It seems to have worked.
  • The Godzilla series first did it with Godzilla 1985, which was presented as a direct sequel to the original film Godzilla: King of the Monsters and ignored the numerous films in between. Later the concept was taken to ludicrous extremes when, starting with Godzilla 2000, four films in a row all were made as direct sequels to the first film, like the production team immediately saw each film as an embarrassment that had to be taken out of continuity.
  • The Punisher has had three films, none of which is connected to the other in any way. It also beats out The Hulk for turnaround time, four years to Hulk's five.
    • This was largely because the second film was actually successful. War Zone was intended as a direct sequel, and became a reboot only when Thomas Jane dropped out.
  • The Spider-Man film series will be rebooted in 2012, a decade after it started.
  • Friday the 13 th was rebooted in 2009.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street was rebooted in 2010, with Jackie Earle Haley taking over the role of Freddy.
  • Cloud Ten Pictures is aiming to reboot the Left Behind film series, starting with the first book.
  • The original Highlander had four direct sequels ignoring each other. The reboot of the first movie is currently in Development Hell.
  • The Fantastic Four film franchise was rebooted in 2015 with an ill-considered partial Retool that made all four about the same age, the Storms black (except for Sue, who was adopted), and the space flight origin turned into extradimensional travel.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • When writing the novel of The Worthing Saga, Orson Scott Card didn't have access to his original short stories, and while he did his best to recreate their plots from memory, upon finding the stories again he decided the novel had become too different to fit with them again. Later editions, however, include the best stories in the back of the book as an Alternate Continuity.
  • James Bond got one in 2011 when Jeffery Deaver was commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications to write a new James Bond book. The title of that book? Carte Blanche.
  • A series of Tarzan novels by Andy Briggs features a setting update and Tarzan at age 18 serves as a reboot.
  • Isabelle Allende wrote an origin story Zorro novel, as well as a short story for a Moonstone Books anthology called Tales of Zorro. Jan Adkins wrote a short novel called The Iron Brand in continuity with this novel by Allende. However, due to the sloppy continuity of Johnston McCulley's original Zorro novels and short stories, whether this counts as a reboot stands as unclear. (In the late 1990's, a series of novels with Zorro came out from Tor.)
  • Martin Caidin wrote an origin novel for Buck Rogers called Buck Rogers: A Life in the Future. (Buck Rogers debuted in the novel Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan. John Eric Holmes wrote a sequel to Armageddon 2419 A.D. called Mordred.)


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The new Battlestar Galactica Reimagined is a "re-imagining" of the original series. Notably, only the pilot Miniseries, The Hand of God, and Pegasus/Resurrection Ship directly adapt events or characters from the original series.
  • The new Bionic Woman is an example of a reboot which was not well-received.
    • Which was NBC's fault for replacing the original writing staff with writers from Friday Night Lights. Because after all, female cyborgs and Texas high school football are EXACTLY alike.
      • There never was much chance they could do it right, because doing it right requires ignoring some of the accepted conventions of 'action adventure TV' in today's climate.
  • The All-New Kamen Rider (a.k.a. Sky Rider) and Kamen Rider Black were originally intended as reboots of the Kamen Rider franchise, but they ended up being in the same continuity as the original shows (for Black, the Retcon occurred in its sequel series Kamen Rider Black RX when the ten previous Riders guest-starred in the final story arc). The franchise's Heisei era (from 2000 and onward) was a reboot into a new multiverse, of which the previous Riders' single shared universe was not part of... until Kamen Rider Decade reincluded it in the multiverse.
  • The 2009 V-2009 series is a reboot of |the two miniseries and regular series from the 1980s.
  • "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (the cable series that ran for ten seasons) is actually a reboot of a local Minnesota series that aired on KTMA TV-23. When the show's creators began making episodes for The Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central) they decided to retroactively treat the KTMA series as a 40 hour long pilot for the cable series. Their first season of episodes for The Comedy Channel is, therefore, treated as the show's first official season. This allowed them to rethink various aspects of the show. Notably they ended up re-watching nine movies in the third season without mentioning that they'd actually seen them before, unofficially.
  • There was a 2009 miniseries version of The Prisoner that took the basic concept of the Village and a few character names (such as Two and Six), then took the whole thing in a totally different direction (including providing an explanation for the existence of the Village that would be impossible in the continuity of the original series).
  • The Tomorrow People - while both series were created by Roger Damon Price and had the same basic premise, the 90s remake of the 70s children's TV series shared no continuity.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • A rare in-company example would be WCW, which was rebooted from scratch when Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo became the new creative team in April 2000.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The New World of Darkness was a reboot of the tangled continuity of the Old World of Darkness.
  • The fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons discarded the backstory and cosmology used in previous editions.
  • Clue had been establishing a continuity/timeline for some time, before it received a reboot that changed the setting from the 1920s to the modern day.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Spyro the Dragon franchise has two reboots: The Legend of Spyro Trilogy and Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.
  • After the bombing of Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, the switch to Crystal Dynamics also brought in a complete shake-up of Lara's back story and general canon, however, various hints throughout the last few games and background material makes it obvious that most of the previous games did still happen in the new continuity.
    • The Square Enix-published upcoming[when?] Tomb Raider is a complete reboot, at least as far as we know. Even Lara has been given a full, very humanlike makeover, as well as now being 19, so expect an origin redux.
      • The new continuity features a fresh out of university Lara, with very little combat experience. This Lara is very down to earth and though she is still very brave and crafty she still easily succumbs to fear and panic when she gets captured, is alone or is forced to kill. Though this change is not a bad thing in most respects it's still an extremely jarring departure if you've always known her as the semi-cocky, self-reliant, one woman army who almost literally spits in the face of danger. The devs are using this game to show how she eventually becomes the current generation Lara meaning tons of very dark character development which is also very jarring for those who like the new Lara. Really very jarring all around.
  • Bomberman: Act Zero was intended to be a Darker and Edgier reboot of the Bomberman franchise. It failed so spectacularly, the series returned to normal immediately after and Act Zero became an Old Shame and Canon Discontinuity.
  • Conker's Pocket Tales was a forgettable game in every sense. Even those who did know about it (and of Conker's Early-Bird Cameo in Diddy Kong Racing) pretend it didn't happen and that Conkers Bad Fur Day is where the squirrel started.
  • Supposedly Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was to be an event within the original game franchise obliquely, giving obscure continuity nods to those familiar with the earlier games. When Warrior Within came out, it changed much of the tone and storyline of the game to make the new games into a Continuity Reboot, and since The Sands of Time wasn't linking it to past games, it wasn't too jarring. The 2008 game is another continuity reboot entirely, with a completely different game style.
  • Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare disregarded the story of the original trilogy and changed the timeframe from the 1920's to the modern era. The franchise was rebooted again in 2008, although it is implied that Carnby there is the same one as the original trilogy, having been kept in stasis by Lucifer for 70 years.
  • Mega Ten seems to do this a lot, particularly on the third main game in a subseries. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Persona 3, and the generally-despised Majin Tensei: Ronde were all continuity reboots, and there may be more examples. The Devil Summoner series instead took the route of switching over to prequels.
    • Although, said Devil Summoner prequel implies these might not actually be continuity reboots, and they all exist in one continuous continuity... but the nature of the games makes this virtually impossible, so take it with a grain of salt.
  • Thanks to an Updated Rerelease, Super Robot Wars Original Generations resets continuity with the inclusion of new characters and scenarios not seen in the original Game Boy Advance incarnations, and thanks to Banpresto rectifying a massive Flanderization on a certain villainous character, OGs allowed Original Generation Gaiden to occur, wherein said character pulls a massive, well-deserved Heel Face Turn to help the heroes during their times of woe
  • Xenosaga is a reimagining of Xenogears, partly because its creator wanted to widen the scope of the story, and partly because he was working for Namco, and didn't have access to Squaresoft's copyrights.
  • Backyard Baseball 2007 is essentially a reboot of the series, even though the writers do not say so. Several characters have been removed and replaced with more annoying characters, and the ones left in have a new backstory (with a few exceptions).
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a reboot of the Silent Hill universe.
    • It's an Alternate Universe entry, a one-off thing. There are no plans to continue the storyline, and the new game returns to the original canon.
  • The Rune Factory series is basically a re-imagining of Harvest Moon.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a reboot of the Castlevania franchise, set outside of Koji Igarashi's official timeline.
  • One oft-cited possible reason for Armored Core's Capcom Sequel Stagnation is this: Every time they start with a new number, it is always a new continuity almost unconnected with previous games ala Final Fantasy. Example: the Earth-centric original Armored Core, which shifts to Mars-based Armored Core 2, which reboots back to Earth-based Armored Core 3 (the longest continuity with 5 games under this setting), and then the Present Day Present Time Armored Core 4.
  • Turok did one by Disney (seriously, though under their Touchstone brand) in 2008, adapting a more generic Space Marine theme. It wasn't a bad game, with great graphics and some fun gameplay elements, but sadly it only managed to attain So Okay It's Average status as a whole. Due to the ho-hum response both critically and commercially, the planned sequel was scrapped.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV rebooted the canon established by the Grand Theft Auto III-series games. Though cities' names are the same, they look completely different and no characters from the previous games appear. It also has a Darker and Edgier storyline while still retaining the humor of the series.
    • Well, the game rebooted, but there's still some vestiges of ongoing canon in the radio, particularly with the "return" of Lazlo (who in reality is the Sound Director).
  • In the sixth game of the Touhou Project series, the series shifted from the PC-98 to Windows. While some things from the PC-98 era were kept, the continuity began anew for the Windows era.
  • Mortal Kombat 9, the first Mortal Kombat game published by Warner Bros, mixes this trope with Alternate Continuity: picking up right where Mortal Kombat Armageddon left off, Raiden is about to be killed by Shao Kahn and thus invokes the Timey-Wimey Ball by sending a telepathic message to his Mortal Kombat self, warning him of events to come. The game thus visits altered versions of the first three games as twisted by a Raiden with knowledge he wasn't supposed to have back then, attempting to prevent Armageddon from even happening.
  • When Ubisoft acquired the rights to the Might and Magic series following 3D0's bankruptcy, they decided to make an entirely new setting from scratch.
  • Steel Battalion is set around 2080 (to begin with) and revolves around a conflict between the Pacific Rim Forces and the Hai Shi Dao, mostly involving advanced Vertical Tanks with extreme computerization. Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is set in 2082, features some United States soldiers landing on Manhattan in a very Omaha Beach-esque sequence to confront an unknown enemy, and the Vertical Tanks are all now squat-looking things without computers to ease their operation, for microprocessor production has ceased and thrown the world into a Dieselpunk setting. This trope is the only remotely plausible explanation for such drastic changes, besides In Name Only.
  • Epic Mickey made it fairly clear that any Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons that weren't made by Walt Disney no longer exist. Or at least we're going to pretend they don't. And considering that Disney has waited a good 80 years to get the rights to Oswald back, hell, they can do what they want.
  • Twisted Metal: Head On disregarded the two 989 Studios developed games and continued directly from TM2. Now the series is being completely rebooted on the Play Station 3.
  • The recently announced Bloody Roar 5 seems to be heading this route, with announcements that the entire cast of the first game (including the long-gone Mitsuko, Hans, and Greg) will be returning. However, like Mortal Kombat 9 above, they seem to be shaking up the dynamic with the roster, which will include pre-existing characters not from the original Bloody Roar like Kenji (from 2, taking up the mantle of Bakuryu from Ryozo Kato, who was the Bakuryu of the first game and is already dead in this timeline) and Uranus (debuting in 3, although she's implied to be heavily connected to Uriko, the Final Boss of the first game and a recurring character in the series), as well as some new blood.
    • A damn shame it turned out to be a hoax.
  • DmC will be this to the Devil May Cry franchise. The new Dante has little to do with his white-haired counterpart, he uses a Whip Sword and has apparently angelic powers. The universe seems quite different too.
  • Pokémon rebooted a lot of things in Gen III. It told that there actually were Dark- and Steel-types before Gen II and even more Pokémon than Gen II featured; essentially, it changed the nature of introducing new Pokémon from that of "new discoveries" to "Pokémon that have always existed but are only just being featured for the first time". Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver fixed the plothole by changing Jasmine's original comment about Steel-types in Gen II.

Gen II Jasmine: Do you know about the Steel type? It's a type that is only recently discovered.
Gen IV Jasmine: Do you know about the Steel type? They are very hard, cold, sharp, and really strong!

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • The main comic of Ultima Java underwent a reboot after a change in the creative team, resulting in the creation of Ultima-Java: History. The original web comic was then rehosted as another universe, and retitled Universe 2. Since then, the Multiverse has been removed but the comic title remains as Universe 2 as a reference to DC comics Earth 2, where the Golden Age originally took place.
  • Melonpool.
  • Zortic.
  • Sore Thumbs.
  • Another web comic example would be Furthia High, which has been rebooted at least once, while keeping most of the main characters (with some names changed), but with new plotlines and format (a page instead of a strip).
  • Played for Laughs in this Sinfest.
  • Dumbing of Age will do this for the Walkyverse, not because of Snarl or Lockout but simply because Willis feels the "what if?" is worth exploring.
  • Fuzzy Things changed from being about adventurer kids in training to somewhat ordinary kids in a sci-fi/fantasy world. Most of the characters retained their previous personalities though, with the exception of Ixiah who changed completely (from a blue-furred psionic semi-Well-Intentioned Extremist the same age as the other kids to Fox's older brother who has his own Middle-school aged group).
  • Voodoo Walrus went through a reboot after only six updates that that completely removed half the cast.
    • Despite Word of God that the original six pages had nothing to do with the post reboot continuity, some of the characters only seen in said pages have recently appeared in the normal run of the comic.
  • Dresden Codak played with the concept, specifically DC's post-Flashpoint reboot, by giving a new set of revised characters here, then mocked when he had a DC-style reboot of his own characters.
  • Dorkly State of the Reboots page interrupts for an important announcement: "The 1980s Reloaded". It's official now.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]