Defictionalization

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The complete inverse of Product Placement, Defictionalization is the transformation of a product or object from a movie, book or other fictional source into a real item in the real world. Almost always done as a merchandising tie-in that helps promote the source, and provides an additional revenue stream to boot.

This can become strange if the product becomes highly recognized. A viewer who doesn't know about the defictionalization may see its appearance in the original source as blatant product placement, or even as a straight documentary.

Related to The Red Stapler and Life Imitates Art. Differs from Fake Real Turn in that the fictional element was never (mis)represented as real. Is often a result of a program that is Merchandise-Driven.

Not to be confused with Deconstruction.

(Examples should be listed under the genre of the work they originally appeared in.)

Examples of Defictionalization include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • A TV ad for Yellow Pages in the UK featured a man searching used bookstores for a hard-to-find book: Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley which at the end of the commercial, we find out that the man is (the fictional) J.R. Hartley. Later, a real book was published with the same title and byline.
  • Staples had a series of commercials in which office employees would press a Big Red Button labeled "EASY" to make needed office supplies appear. Staples later began selling "Easy Buttons" that, when pressed, play a recording of the ad's narrator saying "That was easy." A Spanish version also exists, which says "Así de fácil" when pressed. And a French-Canadian version, that goes "Y'a rien d'plus simple." (Nothing's simpler).
  • Like many retailers, Think Geek celebrates April Fools Day by advertising bogus, and often bizarre, products. Some of them have subsequently been made into real products at their customers' insistence, the most recent being the fully licensed by Lucasfilm Tauntaun Sleeping Bag (although many would argue that the real version isn't as cool as the April Fools Day one).
  • Czech washing powder ads used to always compare their product to a "regular laundry detergent" on a Split Screen. "Regular" later appeared on shelves.
  • Toyota Racing did a "Sponsafy Your Car" contest that asked fans to go the Toyota Racing website and design their own paint scheme. In the commercial, a young girl named “Kimmy” designs a pink racecar for NASCAR star Kyle Busch. He's actually driving the pink car from the commercial this NASCAR season.

Kyle Busch: "Who doesn’t like kittens, bunnies and little baby seals?"

  • Nescafé coffee had an ad campaign in the 1970s that showed people drinking from glass coffee cups resembling an Earth globe. This tied in with their slogan "If Nescafé can please the whole wide world, it can sure please you." Eventually, Nestlé made those cups available through a mail-in offer.
  • A Geico commercial "Do people use smartphones to do dumb things?" featured three office workers goofing off with stupid smartphone apps. One of those apps, the Brostache, became a real app available for download.
  • Alexandr, the main character from the Compare the Meerkat campaign, wrote an autobiography.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Kujibiki Unbalance was originally a Show Within a Show of Genshiken, but was eventually made into a real series with an altered premise. When the characters within the original watched the real series the changes were incorporated back into the show!
    • When the retooled Kujiun series became a manga, it included a bonus Omake chapter of Genshiken where they discussed the retooled Kujiun series becoming a manga and the changes made to it, including a Lampshade Hanging "Who the hell is Kio Shimoku?"). Reincorporation Combo Attack!
  • Puni Puni Poemi began as a Show Within a Show on Excel Saga. Before that, it was an in-joke among the production staff.
  • Getsumen to Heiki Mina, another Show Within a Show (this one on Densha Otoko) was made into its own show as well.
  • The fictional band Fire Bomber from Macross 7 has released over a dozen albums.
  • Sharon Apple of Macross Plus is basically a Vocaloid. See Virtual Celebrity for just how far this has gone.
  • There are notebooks made to look like Light Yagami/Ryuk's Death Note, right down to the names printed inside and the rules of how to use it. For better or worse they are not fully functional as anything but a notebook. They are such a hit in Asia, that Death Notes actually managed to scare the people in the Communist Party of China, and now Death Notes are Banned in China. They've caused some panics in America, as well.
  • It's been insinuated for awhile that a "real" version of the Show Within a Show Gekiganger 3 from Martian Successor Nadesico would be produced. It got a half-hour Short Anime Movie, but we're still waiting for the series.
    • Show Within a Show within a Show within a Show... The Nadesico recap episode, by the end, is Nadesico watching Gekigangar watching Nadesico watching Gekigangar.
  • In 1995, Studio Ghibli released a movie, Whisper of the Heart about a girl struggling to write a fantasy novel. The movie included short vignettes from various scenes she was struggling with. Sure enough, due to popular demand the book-within-the-movie got its own movie in 2002, titled The Cat Returns.
    • Which is interesting as, during the period when Ghibli films (specifically Miyazaki) were a big thing, The Cat Returns was constantly shown as a trailer with other Disney/Ghibli films, while Heart or its connection is never mentioned at all.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters Trading Card Game: Back when the manga revolved around The Other Yugi punishing evildoers with deadly games, Seto Kaiba was just another one-off villain. The "Magic & Wizards" card game was introduced for that one story, with Kaiba resorting to dirty tricks in order to steal Sugoroku's rare Blue-Eyes White Dragon card; when Yugi calls him on it and Kaiba refuses to return the card, things get ugly and The Other Yugi challenges Kaiba to a Shadow Game version of Magic & Wizards. Of course, Kaiba and the M&W card game became popular enough to make a comeback later on, and eventually they not only took over the entire premise, but also spawned a merchandising powerhouse.
They also tried that with Dungeon Dice Monsters, but with much less success. Probably 'cause of the limited selection of monsters and the hassle of finding another player of the game. The Gameboy Advance version sold a bit better.
Unfortunately, they only come in pendant form. If you want their Robo Speaking, steam releasing weapon form, you're gonna have to make them yourself.
  • A heck of a lot of Magical Girl series actually do this, come to think of it; in addition to being able to buy Sailor Moon's magical locket or various wands, you were also at one point able to purchase replicas of the Clow Cards from Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • xxxHolic invokes the trope in-world. There is an early chapter where Yuuko is showing Watanuki around her shop's storeroom. On one shelf is the Clow Wand from Cardcaptor Sakura, but then Yuuko reveals it to be the mass market light and noise making toy.
  • Anything Pokémon-related, usually in reference to the anime. More recently, Ash's Pikachu, Ash & friends' Pokémon sent over Wi-Fi, eggs, etc.
  • Naoki Urasawa made a real issue of the series that Those Two Guys are frequently seen drawing in 20th Century Boys, featuring huge amounts of Stylistic Suck. The iconic song Kenji sings on the street has also been recorded, sung by the manga-ka, no less.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - A piece of the Impossibly Cool Clothes is now available thanks to a Japanese clothing company; Yoshikage Kira's swank tie with the horned skulls. It's reportedly expensive, so one would be advised against using it for cosplay.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam - A 1/1 scale model of the RX-78-2 Gundam which can move its head around was created to celebrate the series's 30th anniversary. There is also an actual institution that is researching a real-live Psycommu. It even has "New Type" in its name.
  • One of the many Feelies included in the Mahou Sensei Negima Japanese Limited Edition manga volumes are the various Pactio Cards that had been revealed so far in the series.
  • One of the available merchandise from Saki is a real life Etopen. Now, you too can have your own plump penguin plushie to hug during Mahjong games.
  • A blue and white striped bowl went on the market after K-On! ended. It brings some... interesting implications as the bowl was featured as a Panty Discretion Shot.
    • The same thing happened to an audio cassette that the characters "recorded" at the end of the second season.
  • One of the more brain-tickling examples, the Laughing Man from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and his trademark smiley symbol, both identified as memes and used to examine the phenomenon within the show, have become memes in real life as well, appearing on sweatshirts, bags, and message boards. And Lazy cosplayers. You'd be surprised how effective a paper mask of the logo over a hooded sweatshirt actually works.
    • And what about the technology? Japanese scientists have created metamaterials that make things invisible by refracting light around the object.
  • In Junjou Romantica, Usagi writes BL novels using his own experiences and fantasies as inspiration. Naturally enough, some of the novels were written for real under the series title Junai Romantica.
  • Lucky Star author Kagami Yoshimizu's former home in Satte, Saitama, Japan was since reformed into a replica of Konata's house with a few museum exhibits. Look for yourself.
  • Urahara's Nice Hat from Bleach. Also Soul Candy.
    • Not to mention any number of zanpakutō, more commonly in their shikai form (as their normal form is a simple katana with a stylized tsuba (handguard)); no functionality though (Renji's is frequently sought after)
  • Durarara!! has an in-universe example where Walker and Erika have managed to defictionalize Darker than Black protagonist Hei's trademark grappling knives, complete with a miniature generator to mimic his Shock and Awe powers for the purposes of torture. In the real world, fans actually made a 'Dollars' board, complete with password and everything. (It's actually more along the lines of a fan forum, however.)
  • The State Alchemist pocket watch from Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Space Travelers: The Animation[1] was produced as a spinoff for a live action caper comedy also called Space Travelers. The gimmick was that the main characters of the live action film—a Ragtag Bunch of Misfit bank robbers and the hostages they take who help their captors try to escape take codenames from characters in the Show Within a Show that one of them was a fan of while planning the escape, and start Becoming the Mask. Media Blasters licensed the anime movie, but without the tie-in, all they had was a Sci Fi Cliché Storm and a cast of Awesome McCoolnames.
  • In MAR, the characters use magic powers through the use of accessories called ARMs. These same ARMs were then sold as jewelry in real life, although presumably sans magic powers.
  • The protagonist of Sakende Yaruze is a Seiyuu for an anime called "Diet Girl Miyuki." Afterwards the mangaka turned Diet Girl Miyuki/Miracle Dieter Miyuki into its own manga .
  • There are currently people trying to build gliders like those in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
  • The World from .hack.
    • The site seems to have gone dead, so this seems to be a case of Refictionalization.
  • Now yours is the Core Drill that will pierce heaven!
    • Also available in USB form.
  • For a time, the picture book The Nameless Monster by Emil Sebe from Monster was available...only in Japan though...
  • Siscalypse, the Game Within a Show from Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!, is seeing a Real Life version, albeit 2D rather than 3D as it was in the original.
  • Somebody in Japan actually built Kaneda's bike from Akira.
  • Satsuki and Mei's house from My Neighbor Totoro.
  • Inverted in Wandering Son. A previous manga by the mangaka was made into a play created by the protagonist.
  • Pokémon - Several apps for Apple's iOS devices turn it into a functional Pokedex, and do just about everything but talk.
  • Akagi: Washizu Mahjong was at first invented in the story, but now it actually exists.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Tabletop RPG Hackmaster from the gamer comic Knights of the Dinner Table. Rather than being created from scratch, the Hackmaster rules set was actually licensed from Wizards of the Coast and was, more or less, a reprint of the D&D 1st Edition rules with a great deal more snarkiness, genre savviness, and in-universe references thrown in. All but one page of the Players Handbook was written as though this were a book being published in-universe by the Hard 8 staff, including long diatribes about using male pronouns by default as a writing convention and insisting that female dwarfs have beards.
Hackmaster has now entered its second edition (or fifth, since the first edition was published as the fourth because the KODT characters were playing fourth edition in the comic at the time the system was licensed), and been seriously overhauled into a new system, as Kenzer & Co's license with Wizards expired.
Dawg the RPG: A failed game designed by BA in which you get to play a dog. The rules were recently published in the back half of the double-sized KODT #150.
  • The Thagomizer (the spiked tail on a Stegosaurus and similar dinosaurs) got its name from The Far Side, where it was named after "the late Thag Simmons". In an example of Sure Why Not and just overall fandom, paleontologists have been using the name themselves, as they realized that the part did not have a standardized name before. It even appears on placards in the dinosaur exhibit at New York's Museum of Natural History.
  • Calvin and Hobbes - As a matter of principle Bill Watterson always refused any kind of merchandizing. This does not stop people creating pirate products. A pair of hacks actually wrote a children's book called Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie. Watterson specifically never went into detail about what happens in the book to preserve the funny vagueness.
    • On a more positive note, many scientists have replaced the term "Big Bang" with Calvin's more accurate "Horrendous Space Kablooie" since Watterson coined the term in 1991.
  • In-universe example—in Planetary issue 9, "Planet Fiction", a secret lab builds a craft which can travel into a fictional world. When it returns, they discover that they've picked up a stow-away...
  • The new Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve has the same address as the Brussels flat in which Tintin lived in his early adventures: 26, rue du Labrador. (For the comic, Hergé had taken the address of his grandmother, 26, rue de Terre-Neuve (Newfoundland street) and slightly altered it).
  • The Life Story of the Flash, ostensibly by Iris Allen. In-universe, the appearance of a copy from the future (owned by Professor Zoom, no less) let her nephew know she'd be coming Back from the Dead to write it by 1997. DC put out a Real Life version in 1998.
  • Chess Boxing was directly inspired by Froid Equateur by Enki Bilal.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The creation of an entire line of Wonka-branded candies as a tie-in to the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Many of the signature chocolate bars from the film (and earlier book), such as "Everlasting Gobstoppers" and "Chocolate Scrumdiddilyumptious bars", were recreated as genuine products. Even now, over forty years later, the Wonka brand and many of those products still exist, no doubt buoyed by the 2005 remake and subsequent reimaging of the brand.
    • In fact, the 1971 film was designed specifically to market Wonka-brand chocolates. It was funded by Quaker Oats, who had planned to make a grand entry into the candy business. Unfortunately, the formula they used caused the bars to melt in stores, and they had to be withdrawn from sale. However, the harder sugar-based candies like Nerds and Gobstoppers were a big hit and remain popular to this day.
  • Harry Potter
    • "Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans" was incarnated into the real world by the good if twisted folks at JellyBelly as part of the promotional build-up to the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It helped that they'd already made plenty of bizarre jelly bean flavors—all they had to do was make all the gross ones. A lot of the gross ones are actually discarded, legitimate if not failed attempts at making good flavors—the vomit flavouring, for instance, was originally meant to be pizza.
    • Chocolate Frogs and Caramel Flies now exist as well, although the frogs are just Pop Rocks in a frog-shaped shell, which come with holographic trading cards.
    • In another Harry Potter reference, King's Cross train station in London now has a sign for "Platform 9 3/4", as well as a luggage cart half-embedded in a brick wall at which tourists can take pictures.
    • The Muggle world now has The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages.
    • In most of the DVD cases for the movies released in the US there's a small leaflet with merchandise you can buy, like replicas of the wands.
    • "Muggle Quidditch" on college campuses. Even though the part of the Snitch has to be played by a small fast-running student in a yellow T-shirt. There's even a movement for it to become an NCAA-sanctioned sport. You can't make this up, folks.
    • The life-size vibrating replica broomsticks. Not like those are likely to be repurposed.
    • A lot of Harry Potter products, like pumpkin juice and butterbeer, are getting their own official defictionalizations now with the opening of the Wizarding World park in Orlando, Florida.
    • With the launch of Pottermore, you can now be officially sorted into a Hogwarts House by a questionnaire designed by JK Rowling herself.
    • Spellcasting with an Ollivander wand has been defictionalized, at least to a limited degree in the Universal parks. Buy a special wand with an infrared reflector on its tip, and at certain locations in the park, specific wand movements will trigger special effects.
  • In November 2007, Brawndo "the thirst mutilator", a fictional brand of energy drink which appeared in the 2006 cult film Idiocracy, became a real product released by Omni Consumer Products, complete with ridiculously over-the-top ads. (It's like having sex with a tractor trailer in a parking lot!)
    • The TruTV series It Only Hurts When I Laugh is an everything-but-the-name Defictionalization of Ow, My Balls!.
  • RoboCop - Omni Consumer Products is now a real company. Appropriately it specializes in creating defictionalized products (including the aforementioned Brawndo):
    • Via OCP you can buy the Tru Blood drink from the show True Blood.
    • OCP also has created a real-world Sex Panther product, as seen in Anchorman.
    • Speaking of Robocop, there have also been airsoft copies of the titular character's "Auto 9" handgun.
    • Even better, there was an Indonesian concept gun that bore a striking resemblance to it.
  • The Terminator - Cyberdyne is now a real company, closer to the fictional one. Not expected to produce Skynet. Hopefully.
    • The British have beaten them to it.
    • Instead they've developed HAL... But it stands for Hybrid Assisted Limbs and it's for improving the human physical condition. However, they're only up to Model No. 5, so let's hope for the sake of the world that Cyberdyne doesn't Network Decay into making it an AI by the time they reach Model No. 9000.
    • Wait, Number Five?
    • In Malaysia, there's a telecoms provider called "Sky Net".
  • When the Flintstones movie came out, several McDonald's got Bedrock versions of their golden arches.
  • This Is Spinal Tap - The mock band Spinal Tap became a real band (performed by the actors from the movie), and have released three albums, toured the world and performed on multiple television shows. (The same actors also portrayed a folk band in the film A Mighty Wind, and for at least one tour were their own opening act.)
    • Likewise several producers of amplifiers and other audio equipment have calibrated the dials on their products to go Up to Eleven.
      • One of the members appeared in an ad for an amp that went up to twelve.
  • The Monkees - created for a TV series, the band recorded albums and did concert tours, and their career as a band continued past the end of the series. Singer/drummer Micky Dolenz will go on in every interview about how this was akin to "Leonard Nimoy becoming a Vulcan".
  • The Holiday Inn hotel chain was named for the eponymous inn from the 1942 Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire movie Holiday Inn—the same film which gave us the immortal song "White Christmas".
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is the fictional cartoon that Buzz in Toy Story was based on. It later got turned into a real series.
    • The Buzz Lightyear action figure was highly sought-after and implied to be impossible to lay your hands on in the film. Then it became a real figure and was initially highly sought-after and impossible to lay your hands on. Then mass production took over. This event was ported back into the movie world: in Toy Story 2, Tour Guide Barbie makes reference to it. Pull back to reveal an entire aisle of Buzz Lightyears.
  • It should go without saying, but just about any fictional toy in the films became a real toy, too, including the cast of Woody's Roundup, in both kid and adult collector's form. The latter becomes especially hilarious given a certain antagonist of a collector in Toy Story 2.
  • Shortly after the release of Grindhouse, it was announced that Machete, one of the fake trailers included therein, would be produced as its own theatrical release. It was released in 2010. This is also supposed to happen with Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the S.S. and Eli Roth's Thanksgiving. Hobo with a Shotgun was released in 2011, starring Rutger Hauer as the eponymous hero.
  • The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant chain came from the movie Forrest Gump.
  • The hockey team The Anaheim Ducks was founded by Disney as The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, based on their film The Mighty Ducks. It's even Lampshaded in the third movie. "You've never heard of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks? They named a pro team after us." They have since dropped the "Mighty" and the uniforms from the movie, since Disney no longer owns them, and have actually become quite a respectable team, having won the championship in 2007.
  • The Samsung SPH-N270 was created to resemble the cell phone used in The Matrix Reloaded. Neo used a Nokia 8110. While the film prop version had been modified by the film's production crew to have its keypad cover spring-loaded, the retail model did not have this function. In response, the Nokia 7110 was later released, with a spring-loaded cover inspired by the film.
  • Tropic Thunder: Yes, Alpa Chino's Booty Sweat energy drink is real, as are Portnoy's Engrish-laden "Jojo Jelly Beans." This means that the line that the beverage is "available at concessions" in the fake advertisement at the beginning of the film is either surprisingly blatant shilling or just that much funnier.
  • Back to The Future series.
    • The multicoloured caps from Back To The Future Part II have undergone several rounds of production.
    • Nike produced the Hyperdunk shoe, designed after the Air McFly. And now they've filed patents for self-lacing Nikes.
      • Nike released the Air MAG, which copies the look of the shoes down to the lights. The ads explain it doesn't have autolaces since they were released in 2011, not 2015.
        • However, in October 2015, just in time for "Back to the Future Day" (October 21, 2015), Nike finally produced autolacing Air MAGs. Michael J. Fox received the first pair; the rest of the small production run are to be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to Fox's foundation for fighting Parkinson's Disease.
  • In Man with a Plan (1996), elderly Vermont hill-farmer Fred Tuttle played a man just like himself who ran for Congress against a well-funded city-slicker incumbent. Two years later he sought, and won, the Republican Congressional nomination against a rich city-slicker who had moved from out of state just to run. Then he turned around, bowed out and endorsed his general-election opponent (who the movie opponent was an Expy of).
  • Stay Puft Marshmallows from Ghostbusters became a real product.
    • The firefighters at Hook & Ladder 8, the iconic New York City firehouse which was used as the Ghostbusters' headquarters in exterior shots, have adapted a modified version of the Ghostbusters "No Ghost" logo as their own; the cartoon ghost (now wearing firefighting gear) can be seen on their vehicles as well as painted on the sidewalk in front of the building. They also still have the prop sign from Ghostbusters II hanging on display in their garage.
  • Dolls based on Chucky and Tiffany are available in comic book stores.
  • Wedding rings and piercing rings based on the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings are also available. There are many different version of recipes for Lembas, Books of songs and a lot of other things.
  • Gremlins - Furbies are arguably defictionalized mogwai. Hasbro and Warner Bros. came to an agreement about the similarities between the two, and a "Gizmo: Friend of Furby" doll was released.
  • To promote the Speed Racer movie, NASCAR actually made the Mach 5. Its design is a mix between the car's actual design and NASCAR's traditional mold for cars.
  • The Talkboy from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was originally conceived as a non-working prop for the film, one letter-writing campaign from 1990s kids later and it was Defictionalized by Tiger Electronics. It sold well enough that several variants were created.
  • A Jumanji board game was produced when the movie came out. It plays much like the movie game, sans sucking in small children. Usually. Also features a few extra gameplay features using extra dice and an eight-second timer to stop the dangers from escaping into the outside world and, eventually, causing Armageddon. It featured additional nasty effects as well as those in the film, but one wonders how a player could finish the game if he or she were vaporized.
  • A good deal of things seen (usually t-shirts) in Kevin Smith's movies are sold online.
  • The red Swingline stapler from Office Space.
  • One could debate this, but with the release of the Watchmen film, an animated version of the the comic within the film Tales from the Black Freighter was put out on DVD (and was available on the huge extended super mega long director's gigantic untamed unrated cut of the film).
  • Excerpts of Philosophy of Time Travel books started being released after Donnie Darko became a cult classic.
  • The fictional Buffalo Chicken festival in Buffalo, NY in Osmosis Jones eventually became a real event.
  • Casablanca - There is a restaurant named Rick's in Casablanca, Morocco.
  • Half credit given to Big, with the famous piano scene in FAO Schwartz. The floor piano itself was real, but wasn't made in the scale the movie required, being a smaller 6' version compared to the near 16' needed to have the notes and width for two people. After the movie, the company did actually make the longer version, and it was indeed set up in FAO Schwarz for people to play on.
  • In what may be a Crowning Moment of Awesome for defictionalization, there are no less than three formulas for Transparent Aluminum after Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    • One of which, corundum, with the formula of Al2O3, is better known as rubies and sapphires. Aluminum Oxynitride may be a better fit, though, being entirely synthetic.
  • There was a commercial for a real-life "Heart of the Ocean" necklace shortly after the release of Titanic.
  • The classic Preston Sturges movie Sullivan's Travels is about a filmmaker who wants to make a movie called "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" He never makes the movie, but several decades later someone else did. The movie features several nods to Sullivan's Travels.
  • The set of Fried Green Tomatoes was purchased after the filming and made into an actual restaurant in Forsyth, Georgia. Eating here can be rather confusing as they kept all the memorabilia from the movie, including newspaper clippings about the restaurant dating to the 1920s. This can lead someone who isn't familiar with the real history of the restaurant to believe the movie was based on it, instead of the other way around.
  • Inspired by Tony Stark's digital assistant JARVIS in the Iron Man film, a hacker named Chad Barraford was working on a real-life Jarvis.
  • There were actually two versions of the Nostalgic Music Box made for the animated Anastasia movie. One was a plastic toy with Anastasia inside, while the other was based off the movie version.
  • The Detroit Zoo snowglobe featured in Coraline is another example the fans asked for.
  • The midichlorians from the Phantom Menace now have been used to name a species of bacteria that infect the mitochondria inside the cells of a species of tick. Fortunately, said ticks demonstrate no Force sensitivity.
  • The Shining - Jack Torrance's debut novel, All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy, is just the title phrase repeated on seventy pages—but you can buy it anyway.
  • The Turboman doll from Jingle All the Way was actually released through Wal-Mart for the 1996 Christmas season.
  • The Sleepy Kittens book from Despicable Me. Unfortunately though, it doesn't come with a small brush with which you can brush the kitties' fur. Aw.
    • The "it's so fluffy!" unicorn can also be had, complete with sticking out tongue.
  • As a way to add to the illusion of reality for the Japanese film All About Lily Chou-Chou, two singles and an album were released under the titular character's name.
  • The band from The Commitments also toured as a real band.
  • According to the IMDb trivia entry for Local Hero, "After the movie came out, many people went in search of the village with the phone booth. Since it didn't exist, they were always disappointed. The village where the movie was filmed finally decided to put up a phone booth for the sake of the visitors."
  • Wilson Sporting Goods still sells a volleyball just like the one in Cast Away.
  • The Fight Club soap is an exact copy of the one used in the film, very popular.
  • In what may be the most widespread and disturbing versions of defictionalization ever, there are actually people who have "Truman syndrome", or "The Truman Show Delusion", is the stark belief that they are secretly being filmed all the time. Several dozen cases have been reported since 1998, the year The Truman Show was released.
  • Since the release of Pineapple Express there have been several attempts by dealers to market their own strains of marijuana under the name "Pineapple Express". The results, invariably turn out far more disappointing than as they were described in the film.
  • A street-legal replica of the Tron: Legacy lightcycle.
  • There are now real-life Soylent Green wafers, produced by the Parallax Corporation. Unlike the film, there are no Human Resources involved.
  • There is a Bates Motel in Vale, Oregon.
  • The Red Lobster seafood restaurant, believe it or not.
  • There is actually a real-life version of the Shepherd's Journal created as a tie-in to Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as with a fake visitor's guide.
  • Maximum Overdrive: Residents in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the film was made, actually purchase the area where the Dixie Boy truck stop area to make a real one after many truckers mistook the set for a real truck stop.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • A few things in Discworld had since been turned into actual products. These include the Where's My Cow? children's book, and various badges (City Watch, Guilds, Überwald Blood Donor Group...)
    • The stamps introduced in Going Postal, and mentioned in later books. Which now exist, complete with sports, rare limited editions and a quarterly magazine for "flatalists".
    • Pterry mentioned an example himself in the Author's Note to Wintersmith: a group of fans who danced the Dark Morris for him in Chicago.
    • The card game Cripple Mr. Onion has been turned into a playable game by fans. Several times over, in fact, because the rules seen in the books are vague enough to allow for a lot of interpretation.
    • You can also buy Nanny Ogg's Cookbook. Not entirely defictionalization, as this is not the same book as the one she wrote in Maskerade, which was called The Joye of Snackes.
    • You can get the Thud game. Thud was based on real life Tafl Games, although the rules were altered a bit. And the game appeared in real life first and then got added to the books.
  • Around the time the movie adaptation of John Irving's novel A Widow For A Year came out, the children's book A Sound Like Trying Not to Make a Sound (featured in the novel and the movie) was published for real.
  • A George Orwell essay describing the "Moon Under Water", his idea of a perfect British pub, inspired (at least in theory) the creation of the J.D. Wetherspoon chain. Many Wetherspoon's pubs are indeed called the Moon Under Water.
  • One of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut's fictional author Kilgore Trout was Venus on the Half-Shell. Philip Jose Farmer later wrote an actual novel title Venus on the Half-Shell that he published under the pseudonym Kilgore Trout.[2]
  • In Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein, the Framing Story is that the main character, Lazarus Long, is reluctantly recounting his life story. The computer recording his recollections is instructed to select quotable portions and compile them into a book of his quotes. These are presented within the book in interlude sections. However, in 1978 and 1988 actual books were published of only the quotes.
  • Lovecraft: it's quite easy to obtain Miskatonic University attire. Go Cephalopods! The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has some very impressive reproductions of assorted blasphemous idols, pages from the Necronomicon, and Professor Angell's Box, a very expensive, detailed and exhaustively complete copy of the box of documents and props from The Call of Cthulhu.
    • The Necronomicon is listed in the Ohio University Library card catalog. L. Sprague de Camp, fantasy author and linguist, acted as Abdul Alhazred's "translator".
  • The Book of Counted Sorrows by Dean Koontz.
  • In Michael Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, the protagonists create a comic book series called The Escapist. Then a 6-issue miniseries came out, printing various comic book stories from The Escapist, from the '40s through the present, with explanatory articles by real important figures in the comic book world, about the series' various publishers, and its place in the changing trends and values in the history of comics.
  • The War Against the Chtorr series features the Mode Training, which is kind of self-help training on acid. Guess what? David Gerrold, the author, is building an actual Mode Training program. Oddly, one of the books has him set aside some pages to point out that Mode Training is fictional and he never wants to see anyone creating "Mode Training" and charging people money for it, because it was rather dangerous. Perhaps this meant other people.
  • Several segments of the titular play of Robert W. Chambers' short story collection King in Yellow have been later written by other authors. Thom Ryng is the possibly the only one who has not only written the whole thing, but also had it actually played on stage. No reports of insanity have been made of the readers, but save for a few anachronisms in language and style, it's a very good and suitably bleak story of how You Can't Fight Fate in a world inhabited by Cosmic Horrors.
  • The Dragonlance Chronicles and subsequent campaign setting use the Inn of the Last Home as a starting point, which is known for Otik's famous spiced potatoes. Enthusiastic Dragonlance fans have created several recipes for the potatoes and one such recipe was listed as an notation in the Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles.
  • Around the World in Eighty Days inspired real people, like reporter Nelly Bly, to see if they circumnavigate the globe in eighty days or less. (She could, and did—without using automobiles or planes, since those didn't exist yet when she made her trip.)
  • A fan organization of Imperial cosplayers—the 501st Legion, Vader's Fist—was reverse-defictionalized first by Timothy Zahn, who wrote of the Empire's finest, the 501st, Lord Vader's personal legion. Others in the Star Wars Expanded Universe followed suit. The clones who marched with pre-Mustafar Vader to massacre Jedi in Revenge of the Sith? The 501st. Needless to say, the cosplayers are very pleased.
  • Andrea Camilleri's books are set in Vigata, a fictional town in Sicily, which is based on Porto Empedocle (Camilleri's birthplace) and Licata. In 2003, Porto Empedocle changed its official denomination to... Porto Empedocle Vigata.
  • Fans have created real-world playable rules and decks for Sabacc, a card game played in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
  • The Turner Diaries. It didn't end well. At all.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—The Guide itself, envisioned by Douglas Adams as a digital collaborative resource encompassing life, the Universe, and everything and contributed to by countless independent researchers, was created as a real-life online encyclopedia by Douglas Adams himself in 1999. It can be seen as a spiritual predecessor to That Other Wiki (due to the broadness of content) and even TV Tropes (due to its similarly casual tone) itself.
    • Fan-made recipes for the series' "Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster" drink have been circulating since the start.
    • When the Kindle was released with full web access, especially access to That Other Wiki, most people understood that meant The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had been truly defictionalized. XKCD points this out. Also, some people went and customized their Kindle to look more like the 'real' thing.
    • The film Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down is in a strangely similar format.
  • Orson Scott Card wrote a book called Speaker for the Dead, in which the speaker researches the life of the deceased, then tells the deceased's life story as they would have told it. According to OSC, people have started doing this in real life, and apparently, it is a very emotional experience.
  • Twilight - The Bella Italia restaurant in Port Angeles, Washington, started serving mushroom ravioli only after fans started requesting it, since Bella orders it during a diner with Edward.
  • "Poohsticks", introduced by that name in AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh [3] is a simple game doubtless imitated by many readers/viewers who come across it: Drop two sticks (or fir cones as were first used) into a river on one side of the bridge, first one out on the other side wins). Who'd have thought it could lead to an annual World Poohsticks Championship though?
  • Sherlock Holmes - Holmes' fictional address, 221B Baker Street, was turned into an actual address and is now a museum for Holmes fans. (Originally, Baker Street didn't extend far enough to have a #221, which is no doubt why Doyle chose that number.)
  • Michael Muhammad Knight wrote a book called The Taqwacores about a then-fictional Muslim punk scene. The idea struck the fancy of a number of punk-minded Muslim kids who proceeded to actually bring the Taqwacore scene into existence.
  • Icehouse, the game and game system from Looney Labs, started out as an idealized fictional game in Andrew Looney's short novel The Empty City.
  • Goosebumps: Goldberger Doll corporation started manufacturing and selling real Slappy the Dummy ventriloquist dolls after getting a request from a young fan.
  • The Arthur C. Clarke novel The City And The Stars begins with our heroes playing a virtual reality adventure game. This wasn't a new concept, even in 1956 when the book was published. However two small details indicate that Clarke thought the concept through more than his colleagues: the game contain a bona fide Quest Arrow showing our heroes where to go; and Alvin causes the game to crash by attempting Sequence Breaking. After the game crashes, the other players (who are each in their own apartments, connected together by a telecommunication link) accuse Alvin of griefing them.
  • U.S. Robotics, a company that manufactures dialup modems, took its name from the fictional U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men corporation featured in I, Robot, though the company has never manufactured robots itself.
  • A notable aversion would be the attempted Defictionalization of Dream Park, the holographic LARPing theme park from the Niven & Barnes novel. The fan-created corporation intended to establish such a park went bankrupt in 1999, although the MagiQuest live-action adventure franchise could be called its Spiritual Licensee.
    • The novel's game-regulating organization, the IFGS, actually has been Defictionalized into a LARPing club that stages its games outdoors.
  • There is a real Green Gables on Prince Edward Island. Actually, it already existed before the novels were written, and was owned by the MacNeill family, who were cousins of Lucy M. Montgomery, the author.
  • In 2003, AOL subsidiary Nullsoft (publishers of the WinAmp music player) released into the wild WASTE, a decentralized, peer-to-peer instant messaging/file sharing protocol. It was inspired by and named for the underground postage system W.A.S.T.E. from Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The sitcom Bob! was a show about Bob McKay, a man who created a Silver Age comic book character called "Mad Dog", which was revived and "reinvisioned" for the '90s. During the run of the show, Marvel Comics published a double covered comic book called "Mad Dog" that was one half the 50s version, and the other half the 90s, with things like an "Ask Bob McKay" feature in the middle.
  • In 2004, the American ABC and Wal-Mart teamed up to produce Enchantment, a perfume that previously had existed only as a product of Erica Kane's cosmetic company on All My Children.
  • Just about anything that can be defictionalized from Star Trek has been, though the line between simple replica prop and actual functional item can be blurred a bit more so for some iconic devices than others.
    • One example is the Klingon Bat'leth; a number of functional (read: deadly) replica swords have been fashioned by amateurs and production companies. A replica Bat'leth was even famously turned in during the UK's many Knife amnesties.
    • The Klingon language; it is almost recognized as an actual, legitimate language (but almost certainly not by linguists who would be the first to inform you that a language can't simply be invented), to the point where Oregon actually solicited Klingon interpreters for psychiatric hospital patients (for use in the unlikely event of a patient who insisted on speaking only in that language.). Also, a single quip about "enjoying Hamlet in its 'original' Klingon" in the sixth Star Trek movie resulted in Hamlet, along with many of Shakespeare's other works, being translated into Klingon. Also, the Bible has been translated into Klingon, and in some places you can get married by a minister in full Klingon regalia with the vows delivered in Klingon.
    • 3D-chess boards, played by characters in some of the Star Trek series, are another item. An actual set of rules was created to make the game playable.
    • People have been crediting the flip-open TOS communicators for inspiring modern flip phones since the start. Plus there's a licensed communicator replica that actually works as a VOIP phone.
Also, hackers have created and circulated plans to turn a toy communicator into a working bluetooth phone.
    • You can buy six-packs of Romulan Ale. At first glance, it appears to come in blue bottles. After you pour it out you discover that the bottles are transparent: the ale itself is blue.
    • Also, while there may not have a Starship Enterprise yet, NASA did build a Space Shuttle which was named Enterprise due to a petition campaign spearheaded by Trek fans, though it never actually flew in space (it was only used for in-atmosphere tests, so they didn't bother including engines or a reentry-capable heat shield). Weirdly, Star Trek: Enterprise implies that the starship was named at least in part after the shuttle.
      • Since several notable US naval vessels have been named Enterprise, it's quite believable that NASA could have ended up naming a space vessel Enterprise and that if there ever was a United Earth or United Federation of Planets, it would include a USS Enterprise as well. Star Trek includes several other ships named after real-life naval vessels, such as Saratoga and Yamato.
And Virgin Galactic's first commercial spacecraft is named—what else? The VSS Enterprise. Trek fans everywhere cried.
      • It will have a sibling ship called VSS Voyager.
    • In the mid 1990s you could go out and buy yourself a functional tricorder. There was a clause in Gene Roddenberry's contract that anyone who could make a working Tricorder was allowed to call it that; a now defunct Canadian company produced the "TR-107 Tricorder Mark I." It was about the size of a huge novelty universal remote, was done up to look like a TNG tricorder and loaded with the appropriate sound effects, and could detect EM fields, barometric pressure, temperature, light values and colour values.
      • An Android smartphone developer known as moonblink made a Tricorder app which used the phone's built-in GPS, microphone, wifi, and other functionality to actually scan for and detect magnetic fields, sound levels, and so on. All was well and fans had defictionalized tricorders, until CBS made them take the app down.
      • Real tricorders are being developed again.
    • Eddie Izzard has used a variant on this line in several of his shows; "Those doors from Star Trek? (He may, or may not, make the door-opening noise at this point) We've got them now!"
    • "Far Beyond the Stars," a fictional 1950s scifi novel from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode of the same name, was actually written and released after the fact as part of Paramount's Tie-in Novel line.
    • Planet classifications (Class M, et cetera).
    • Laser enthusiast Trekkies have put burning laser diodes into toy phasers.
    • The creator of "Watson", an AI that is able to parse natural language, compares it to LCARS, the computer on Star Trek, in its ability to answer casually worded questions. This ability led it to trounce, by a 3-to-1 margin, both Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at Jeopardy.
    • The official Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual contained the assertion that thanks to the fluidity of the LCARS interface, a crewmember could theoretically fly the entire ship from a PADD (the little touchscreen gadgets everyone carried around) while walking down a corridor. There are now iPhones being customized for use on the International Space Station which include navigation software; theoretically astronauts could navigate the station through space with their iPhones.
      • And if they trade in the iPhones for iPads, Playbooks, Galaxy Tab, or some other tablet, they've now got a perfect real-life example of a PADD, right down to the size.
    • The camera-friendly bridge design of the series inspired the bridge design of the US littoral combat ship (and potentially future designs) due to allowing easy communication between officers.
  • iCarly, of course, has the website from the show itself; a recent addition to its list of merchandise is Sam's Laugh Track remote. In addition, some people have begun making their very own spaghetti tacos after seeing them on the show.
  • In a double-layer case: Al Yeganeh, the stern soup-making chef that inspired Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, has packaged versions of his soup in stores under the "Original Soup Man" brand. So it's real soup, made fictional, and then defictionalized again. The tagline on the box is "Soup For You"—an obvious callback to his fictional counterpart's belligerent "No soup for you!" Catch Phrase.
    • Muffin tops are finally available for sale, in the frozen breakfast aisle.
  • You can go into a real bookstore and purchase mystery novels "written" by J.B. Fletcher, Angela Lansbury's character from Murder, She Wrote.
  • Richard Castle's most recent novels in the "Nikki Heat" series have been released (and made the New York Times bestseller list), along with a graphic novel adaptation of Deadly Storm. He also has a website, Twitter feed and Facebook account. The catch, of course, is that Richard Castle is the entirely fictional mystery-writer-turned-police-consultant on Castle. The production team are clearly having fun with it, having put on the website an entire bibliography for a fictional author consisting of over twenty books, of which only three or four are actually 'real'.
  • In the UK the famous advert for the "yellow pages" business directory that showed an elderly author called J.R.Hartley looking for an old book on "fly fishing" he had published, was popular enough that many years after the advert, "Fly Fishing" by "J.R.Hartley" was actually published.
  • You, too can own Buffy's scythe! It slices, it dices, it even makes Julienned Vampire (right before they dust). You can also buy a Puppet Angel.
  • Stephen Colbert
    • Tek Jansen has been made into a real comic by Oni Press, an independent comic company. One can argue that the original prose novel which served as the first appearances of Tek Jensen (with a outdated character design of Colbert photoshopped in a spacesuit) has not been released, so there is no true defictionalization yet.
    • The Colbert Report itself began as a series of fake trailers on The Daily Show; they originally had no intention of actually making a spinoff. The trailers rip off The O'Reilly Factor even more than the actual show does.
"It was a vehicle where Stephen Colbert would basically, in a megalomaniacal way, bring his opinions to the fore of the issue of the day. It was very funny... quite a joke... Anyway, Comedy Central ended up buying the show." Jon was quite baffled.
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • The show's resident Wacky Guy/lech Barney proudly proclaimed that there was a written Bro Code, that all Bros must follow. An actual written version was released into book stores.
      • Also now available are "Bro on the Go" and "The Playbook".
    • Pretty much every website that the show mentions has been set up before airing by the showrunners.
    • Robin's music videos from her "Robin Sparkles" Canadian teen idol days were only seen in excerpts in the show, but are available in full online (and are awesomely bad) at Robin Sparkle's Myspace page.
    • Ted Mosby is a Jerk!, which includes a 22-minute song about how horrible Ted (actually, Barney using his name) was to the woman who made the webpage.
    • Barney Stinson's Video Resume (sponsored by Barney's fictional employer Goliath National Bank), which is available in both "awesome" and "not-as-awesome" resolutions. They're not wrong. It's awesome!
    • http://www.guyforceshiswifetodressinagarbagebagforthenextthreeyears.com, which is basically Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Along with being one of the longest of Long URLs.
    • Lily And Marshall Sell Their Stuff was a real-life charity auction of How I Met Your Mother swag. Sadly now defunct.
    • CanadianSexActs.Org, which includes every single act mentioned in the show, complete with an age verification system, bilingual warnings from the Canadian government about content, and a disclaimer regarding "any possible physical or emotional trauma suffered as a result of undertaking any of the acts described". The links for each act are hilarious. Every link is to a different picture of Alan Thicke (of Growing Pains) captioned with a variety of "sorry, we're experiencing technical difficulties" explanations in exaggerated Canadian English
    • There was a Slap Countdown too, counting down to the Slapsgiving episode, but honestly it was just a timer so it was pretty boring.
      • As of right now it is counting down again, at just over 299 days.
    • And now there's itwasthebestnightever.com, which is hilarious. Basically if you hear them mention a ridiculous website in-show, it's probably already been Defictionalized.
  • Lost has had a few examples.
    • The novel Bad Twin is supposedly written by a passenger in the plane crash which occurred in the pilot episode. Remember the guy who got sucked into the airplane engine before it blew up? That's supposed to be him.
    • Apollo Candy Bars were released in the real world.
    • The show's fictitious band Geronimo Jackson is evidently soon to be heard on iTunes.
    • "You All Everybody" (the single that Drive Shaft, Charlie's band, wrote) and "Dharma Lady" have both been adopted into DLC for Rock Band.
    • In a recent large multi-state lottery, over 26,000 players across the United States played Hurley's cursed winning lottery numbers, which while not winning the jackpot did match enough of the drawn digits to win them each $150. Jorge Garcia, who played Hurley, good-naturedly congratulated the winners on their "cursed" winnings on his blog.
  • An episode of L.A. Law introduced the world to a sexual technique called "The Venus Butterfly", which Stuart uses to great effect on his wife, Ann. Or at least that's what we're told, afterward. Not only is the act or actions never described or shown on screen, the writers made the whole thing up. Despite this, the show's writers were flooded with requests to describe the technique. Dr. Sue Johnson finally officially put moves to the name in a 2005 book. (Google it, if you must know what it entails).
  • UFO. Funds were raised for "The Explorer Motor Company to produce a real-life version of the futuristic, gull-winged car driven by Commander Straker in this British sci-fi series. A plastic mold of the vehicle was made (to be called "Quest"), but the company never got off the ground.
  • Frak. (The set designers gave Adama an actual FRÄCK to use for shaving.)
  • Late Night With Conan O'Brien: In an example of a Justified Trope, one of Conan's skits at one point featured a guy watching a "webcam manatee". Riffing a bit at the end, he joked that the man was at http://hornymanatee.com, unaware that he had just forced NBC to buy that domain name (to avoid some random person buying the site and putting on offensive material). Making the most of things, Conan's staff decided to actually put content on the webpage, and made it into an example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Since Conan got Screwed by the Network, the URL now redirects to NBC.com.
  • You can now buy Grey's Anatomy inspired scrubs in hospital uniform stores. They're ridiculously soft, too.
  • Kids' TV show The Teletubbies was so popular in the UK it prompted real life version of the characters' favourite foods: Tubby Custard and Tubby Toast.
  • Mackenzie Falls, one of the Shows Within A Show of Sonny With a Chance.
    • And now, So Random! as a real life show, which recently premiered.
  • Kamen Rider Double has the radio show Healing Princess, which has actually been released on TV Asahi's website and has even been fansubbed. They are also marketing real-world copies of the heroes' clothing, complete with the Windscale designer's imprint. Naturally, the belts for all the riders can be bought. Some series even have a 1:1 scale replica made for adult fans.
  • Copies of the outlaw tags worn by the main characters in the BBC's version of Robin Hood were marketed. Since they served no practical purpose on the show, one suspects that this was the only reason why they were included at all.
In the first season, they provided a plot point when Little John was captured and were rarely mentioned otherwise. In one of the earliest episodes of the second season, a bunch of kids help the gang, and are honored with tags... just like you can be, too! The tags came out between season one and two.
  • Fans of True Blood can now enjoy the eponymous drink. Well, okay, it's not quite the blood substitute advertised in the show, but it has the same packaging. The drink is manufactured by Omni Consumer Products, a company that makes Defictionalization their business.
  • Fans of Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes can buy two police handbooks supposedly written by Gene Hunt, in which he explains what being a copper is really all about.
  • Satirised in an episode of The Daily Show. John Oliver announced that scientists were working on Iron Man armor and using genetics to turn lizards into dragons.
    • There are companies making powered exoskeletons in real life. The two leading models are Raytheon Sarcos' XOS, which deliberately played up the Iron Man connection by holding a press conference about the XOS-2 on the day Iron Man 2 was released to DVD, with a member of the movie's cast present, and Lockheed Martin's HULC. So far, they have been made with intent of aiding with heavy lifting, not direct combat, and cannot fly.
  • The Bones episode "The Gamer in the Grease" had the fictional retro arcade game Punky Pong, which actually exists on Fox's website.
  • "I have my own Amanda website you know, www dot amanda please dot com"
  • Doctor Who
    • Fans can buy a genuine (albeit smaller) Journal of Impossible Things (from "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood") with a whopping 78 pages of writings and illustrations (we only got to see a few of them in the show proper).
    • In a reverse-defictionalization, the TARDIS key props used in the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie were licensed replicas of the classic series' TARDIS key in production at the time, which the production team bought from an American scifi memorabilia catalog.
    • Similarly, after the first series of NuWho, a replica/toy Sonic Screwdriver was created. Slightly larger than the one in the show, and thus slightly more robust in use, it caught the attention of the prop department at the BBC. They requested that the toy company give them the molds for the toy; from the second series all the way through the first episode of the fifth, the toy you could buy was identical to the one on the screen because it was the one on the screen.
    • There was an online petition to let David Tennant carry the Olympic torch as he did in "Fear Her". This partially became true, with Tennant's successor, Matt Smith, carrying the torch.
    • In "Blink", a character mentions having a T-shirt that says "The Angels have the phone box". Online retailers such as Think Geek, Zazzle, and Cafe Press soon began selling versions of the T-shirt.
  • There are not one, but two pubs in Boston based on the bar from Cheers, both in Faneuil Hall. This is in addition to The Bull & Finch Pub, the real Boston pub that Cheers was based on.
  • In 2003, Chapelle's Show had a sketch that parodied the Discovery Channel show Trading Spaces. The sketch was called "Trading Spouses" and it was about two families, one white, one black, who appear on a reality TV show in which they exchange husbands for a month. (Both husbands were played by Dave Chapelle.) Three years later, by what they insist is pure coincidence, Fox Network released an actual show called Trading Spouses with basically the same premise, except that the wives switch instead of husbands.
  • "Mocny Full" beer from the Polish sitcom Swiat Wedlug Kiepskich was at one point defictionalized but it was discontinued due to copyright infringement—the company had no rights for the mark and its logo.
  • The producers of Fringe defictionalized the 70's psychedelic rock album Seven Suns by Violet Sedan Chair (an anagram of Olive Can Read This) that appears in an episode of season 3. The producers went to great effort to make the defictionalization authentic by releasing the album only in the form of beat-up LPs in the bargain bins of used record shops. More info at Fringe Bloggers.
  • Similar to the Machete example above, medical drama-parody Childrens Hospital included ads for a fake action-drama spoof in the vein of 24 called National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle:: (or NTSF:SD:SUV::). Adult Swim has since commissioned twelve episodes of NTSF:SD:SUV:: be filmed.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie's ridiculous stage play "The Nightman Cometh" proved so popular that the gang staged it in real life in 2009 and took it on a six city sold-out tour.
    • People have also come up with recipes for Charlie's favorite foods, the Grilled Charlie and milk steak.
    • Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Dicktowel.com. Very NSFW.
  • There are a surprising number of Degrassi related items for sale for fans. Most notably, you can buy the t-shirt worn by employees at The Dot. Other items can be seen here (some of which are unfortunately out of stock now)
  • The quirky American ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry's has made Saturday Night Live's infamous Schweddy Balls into a flavor. (They're rum balls, if you need to know.)
  • Allegedly, during the run of the original Knight Rider, Pontiac was deluged with requests for a Knight Rider edition Trans Am. Potential liability kept it from happening officially, but to this day there's a decent market for conversion parts of varying fidelity to the show to make KITT replicas. Some people have even worked to integrate various computer AI/bots into them, though naturally none is anywhere close to what was seen on the show.
  • For the the long running comedy The Office novelty items branded with the name and logo of fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin have been available for years, however in 2011 Staples announced it would begin to sell actual Dunder Mifflin branded paper products in its stores.
    • Also, Replicas of Michael's iconic "World's best boss" mug are sold by NBC as official merchandise.
    • Dwight Schrute's bobble head figure of himself can be bought as well as bobble heads of the whole main cast.
    • In the episode "The Chump", mention of a fictional video game, Rock Band: Billy Joel, made one Entertainment Weekly reviewer comment that "let's hope that never gets made". In a Take That, Billy Joel contacted Harmonix Music Systems, the makers of Rock Band, insisting they include his songs within the game, which Harmonix was very happy to oblige.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket, originally mentioned in a "Rock Notes" segment on a Monty Python album.
  • In a similar manner, Heaven 17 are one of the fictional bands mentioned in A Clockwork Orange. A real band of the same name would form in 1980.
  • Gakupo, a voice synthesizer program, was based on the likeliness and voice samples from Japanese Singer Gackt. Then Nico Nico held a Vocaloid contest hosted by Gackt, where they asked him to sing the winning songs, Episode.0 and Paranoid doll. Gackt not only remixed Episode.0, but he also recreated the original Episode 0 video with the pictures of Gakupo replaced with pictures of Gackt dressed as Gakupo. And here's the version featuring Gackt dressed as a program based of himself.
  • The band Gorillaz originally existed solely as animated characters, but through CGI coupled with a clever projection system was able to make several "live" appearances.
    • The human band behind the cartoon characters have recently taken to openly performing as Gorillaz without the fictional trappings, save for some looped Gorillaz cartoons in their video wall.
  • Hatsune Miku has been able to make several live concert tours using a similar technique.
  • Hannah Montana—Hannah was a pretty creepy example. Disney sometimes double-billed the character and the actress in the same albums and concerts, as though they were two different people. Not so much now since Miley Cyrus has broken so thoroughly with her Disney roots.
  • Other fake Disney bands have also become real. The Cheetah Girls became a real band after debuting in a Disney Channel Original Movie(which was based on a book) -- which, conversely, led to the need to phase Raven Symone's character from the first movie out of the third movie since she wasn't a part of the group outside of the movie world and due to disagreements with the rest of the cast. Although, in reality, you could just call them 3LW-2.
  • The Monkees for all intents and purposes, was a real band.
  • Spinal Tap.
  • The Rutles finally stepped completely out of fictional territory with the release of their CD Archaeology in 1996 (purely by coincidence paralleling the release of the Beatles' Anthology). While there had been earlier Rutles releases, none of them purported to be a "genuine" Rutles album; instead they were soundtracks. There's even a Beatles tribute band who do occassional Rutle shows.
  • The cartoon band Dethklok from the show Metalocalypse, released two albums of songs from the show, and there have been tours supporting said albums feauring the show's creators doing the songs. The band's two albums are the two highest charting death metal albums in the history of the Billboard 200 album chart.
  • The Blues Brothers. Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi still perform today.
  • "Satanic backmasking" might be considered an example. A 1980s-and-90s hysteria held that The New Rock and Roll was creating Subliminal Seduction by using seemingly innocuous lyrics which, run backwards, vaguely sounded like Satanic messages. Following this, both metal and comedy musicians did this deliberately, For the Lulz. (Artists had already been backmasking for a while, but not Satanically.) The results, of course, actually sound like backwards talking/singing and are therefore unintelligible if listened to forwards. Playing the record backwards to hear the message often reveals a silly or comically mundane message, often lampshading the practice of backmasking.
  • Adam Banjo and Roy Sullivan were a pair of fictional country musicians in The Devil's Rejects. The same year the movie came out, a supposed Banjo & Sullivan Greatest Hits Album was also released. In reality, of course, Rob Zombie had commissioned real life country musician Jesse Dayton to write and perform the music.
  • Offical replicas of the cool jackets worn by The Killjoys from The My Chemical Romance music videos are being sold in their online store.
  • Apollonia 6's album was released about two months after the group's appearance in the Purple Rain film.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • The "Lisa's Legacy" breast cancer walk featured in Funky Winkerbean has become a real event.
  • One FoxTrot strip has Jason finding a superpowered mace by the name of "Doomulus Prime" while playing "World of Warquest". Blizzard put it in the game.
  • The Li'l Abner comic featured an annual event called Sadie Hawkins Day, an event where women would chase men down and forcibly marry them. To this day, schools often hold Sadie Hawkins Day dances in which female students are expected to invite boys instead of the usual arrangement. This, despite the fact that Li'l Abner went out of print over thirty years ago.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The original character Suicide, originally designed for the TNA Impact video game, started appearing at real life events in late 2008.
  • Similarly, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, who played Zeus in No Holds Barred, would continue to play the character into a short-lived WWF career.
  • The crossover at times between MMA and pro wrestling doesn't just stop at the long history of crossover between the two in Japan or MMA moves being borrowed for use in pro wrestling (i.e. Samoa Joe's use of the rear naked choke as the "Coquina Clutch," Bryan Danielson's use of the triangle choke, or the Undertaker's first using the triangle choke followed by the gogoplata as the "Hell's Gate"), but pro wrestling moves being done in actual MMA competition. Trivia: It does look like the DDT example is basically an accident—but that's exactly how the pro wrestling version was "created" in the first place.
  • There is an anime and manga from the 1960's called "Tiger Mask" whose title character is a pro wrestler (he inspired the creation of both King and Armor King from Tekken). The character was so popular that he became a real life wrestler at Japanese wrestling events. He has been played by a few different people.
    • The same is true of Jushin "Thunder" Liger, named (and kind of modeled) after an anime series from the late 80s.
  • Arguably, the whole concept of Kayfabe.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Band Waggon, a BBC Radio comedy from the 1930s, featured a fictional cleaning product called Askitoff (slogan: Askitoff Will Take It Off), named after the star, Arthur Askey. Askey was prohibited from taking advantage of this new brand name by his BBC contract, but this didn't stop an unofficial product reaching the marketplace within weeks.
  • Radio Norwich used to be a spoof radio station which employed Alan Partridge. In 2006, a real commercial station named 99.9 Radio Norwich was launched (and still exists as of 2012).


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, an ever-so-helpful handbook given to members of the Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40,000, is actually available for purchase. It's filled with the amount of propaganda, disinformation, and blatant lies that you'd expect for the setting ("while sneaking up on the enemy, recite the Litany of Stealth to reduce your chances of being heard"). Also the lengthy "Blessing of the Bomb", to be recited after pulling the pin of a grenade but before throwing it to ensure accuracy.
  • White Wolf has produced a few published versions of Fictional Documents (Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth for Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Rites of the Dragon for Vampire: The Requiem), game symbols (clan pins for Vampire: The Masquerade, tribal glyph necklaces for Werewolf, and clan and covenant pins for Requiem), and even Tarot decks (one for Ascension, and one for Awakening) for its Worlds of Darkness. The darker materials above and many others were released under the label "Black Dog," White Wolf's in-universe analogue of themselves in Old World of Darkness (a subsidiary of Pentex, of course—so they naturally produce role-playing games that actually have the effects on children that Jack Chick warns of).
    • White Wolf's Arthaus, like TSR before it, also produced Tarokka decks like those used by the Vistani of Ravenloft. Though intended as game props, some people have used them as a Tarot substitute in actual attempts at fortune-telling.
  • Although its philosophical underpinnings were already well established in the real world at the time of writing, infosocialism was first codified and named in GURPS Transhuman Space as the basis of a speculative future economic system. Ironically, within the game world itself it wouldn't be invented until the 2030s.
  • Dungeons & Dragons - The Book of Exalted Deeds and The Book of Vile Darkness are minor artifacts that, when read, grant power to the reader if he is of the correct alignment. Wizards later released splatbooks by the same names that enabled you to make your characters more powerful.
    • It is possible to buy a Bag of Holding. (Nondimentional space not included)
  • Several legendary in-universe books from Exalted have seen print as sourcebooks in Real Life, including The Book of Three Circles, The White Treatise, The Black Treatise, Oadenol's Codex, and The Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Soldier.
    • Sadly, perhaps the most prominent and significant of these in the setting, The Broken-Winged Crane, only exists as a PDF containing material that should have been in Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals, but had to be cut for word count reasons.
  • The Hackmaster RPG published by Kenzerco began as a parody of the more over-the-top and wacky elements in Dungeons and Dragons in the Knights of the Dinner Table comic which ran in Dragon magazine.


Toys[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The special Edition version of Fallout 3 came in a lunchbox designed like the one in the game (An item that in-game is used to build land mines), and came packaged with 1 limited edition bobblehead, which can be collected in meatspace as well as in the game world.
    • Another special edition came with a pip-boy alarm clock that could actually be worn. (for those wishing to emulate the Vault Dweller)
  • Sheng Long, the character EGM cooked up for its infamous Street Fighter II April Fool's gag in 1992 and whose name was based on a mistranslation of Ryu's win quote, became a reality in 2008, when Capcom announced that Gouken (the legendary master of Ryu and Ken and the brother of Akuma) would be a hidden character in Street Fighter IV. What makes this even better? Gouken resembles the original Sheng Long images EGM made for the gag and (in one way or another) has every move that EGM listed Sheng Long as having.
  • For the Japanese release of MOTHER 2 (and later the Mother 3 Deluxe Box), a promotional item based on the Franklin Badge was made. As there are no item sprites in the games, an all new design had to be made. The design later appeared unmodified in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a usable item.
  • A few Japanese online shops sell drinkable potions from the Final Fantasy series. No guarantee it will actually heal bodily damage, though.
The Final Fantasy VII edition actually worked as a fairly decent energy drink during conventions. There are tales though of the legendary medicine taste of the Final Fantasy XII edition still floating around the internet. The Dissidia version tastes like flat Dr Pepper (23!) with a strong aftertaste of persimmon.
The red, blue and green potions sell at Fry's Electronics. The guitar used in Majoras Mask exists, and works. It's called the Zoraxe. They didn't make that many, if more than one, and you'll probably pay more than you did for your house.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Homestar Runner
    • Fake Band Limozeen held a live performance. It included a guest appearance by Schenkel McDoo, the fictional lead singer of Taranchula, another Fake Band in the Homestar Runner universe.
    • Before that, Strong Bad's song "Trogdor" and Limozeen's hit song "Because, It's Midnite" appeared in Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The Eighties respectively (the CD containing the songs was actually released in 2003).
    • Strong Bad has long used a lighter with the BMW logo on it. At the time, there was no such lighter in real life, but BMW would later give their license for BMW lighters, very likely due to Strong Bad's influence.
  • Sarge of Red vs. Blue once made an off-hand joke about turning his least favorite soldier into target practice being "the best game since Grifball!" Then the Forge map creator came out for Halo 3, and the makers of the machinima suddenly had the tools to design their own custom match type.
Bungie even went so far as to make the underground segment to an additional map, Sandpit, to the exact specifications of the original Grifball arena. Grifball is also extremely popular as a weekend playlist in matchmaking. There even exist official leagues for Grifball Originally in Halo 3 but soon moving to Halo Reach). Link here.
    • Is that a re-de-fictionalization?
  • Genki Rockets, the virtual in-house band of Q Entertainment (Rez, Child of Eden, Lumines, etc.), have two real albums.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • A good half of the products in the Megatokyo store were actually items worn by the characters in the comic. Piro comments in the first Megatokyo book how no one was really sure what Largo's "cool thing" purchase was. Dom comments "When we do, it'll be on our online store in less than two weeks. God bless America."
  • Achewood has two short stories "written" by character Nice Pete, as well as six issues of Roast Beef's 'zine and greeting cards (from this storyline) in the shop. Phoneballs exist now, though they seem to have been created independently of the Achewood strips.
  • The creators of Erfworld created a website for Hamstard, which was Parson Gotti's So Bad It's Good (deliberately in its real world incarnation) webcomic before he got plotted into Erfworld. It's actually been up since before the comic that shows it was posted—hasn't been updated since then either. Presumably it'll get some fresh content when (if) he makes it back to the "real world".
  • After an Xkcd joke about Rule 34, the author (and some, ahem, artistically-minded fans) went on to create a tongue-in-cheek site of guitar-in-shower porn. Oh, yes, and when a gag hinged upon stupid Youtube comments being read back to the authors, Youtube responded by adding an audio preview. That Other Wiki has an impressively large list of life imitating xkcd.
    • xkcd also managed to get this trope backwards with this infamous strip. Before this comic, there were only two hits on Google for "died in a blogging accident", but within hours of the strip going live, there were several tens of thousands. In future strips where Randall has referenced Google search strings, fans have been careful not to replicate them exactly when discussing them.
    • probably the most famous is Chesscoaster, inspired by this comic.
  • Dinosaur Comics brings us a so-called children's book named Happy Dog the Happy Dog, written by webcomic author Ryan North and illustrated by Allene Chomyn. The book originally came from this comic where the T-Rex announces that he has written the book and quotes a few excerpts from it, namely, "Happy Dog the happy dog is the happiest dog on his street! He loves to play in the grass. Everyone you know will one day be dead!"
  • Many examples in The Merch debuted in the comics they're selling. For example, Marten's iconic "TEH" shirt from the first strip of Questionable Content. (Unfortunately, Jeph Jacques has yet to perfect the AnthroPC.)
Jeph has also been releasing music under the name of Deathmøle, the band from the comic, as well as one or two by Dystynt Hollerin, from a one-off reference in Overcompensating, a different comic entirely. As he says:

Also it is extremely weird to have multiple albums' worth of music by a fictional (for now?) band.

  • The chupaqueso from Schlock Mercenary was originally a fictional food that resembled a burrito in appearance and sold at the Tacobufa restaurants and vending machines. After enough fans asked the author, Howard Tayler, finally posted a recipe.
  • ibuyextradomainscuzihavenopenis.com as seen in this Shortpacked strip.
  • This strip of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella features Hitlerella relaxing with a blanket adorned with swastikas. The Alt Text reads "If anyone actually creates a blanket like this, do me a favor and never ever tell me."
  • The MS Paint Adventures website has a store where you can buy, among other things, the distinctive shirts worn by the four kids in the latest series, Homestuck. The fans have also been working on coding some of the fictional computer programs shown in the adventure, most notably the PesterChum instant messaging service, now availalble here.
Additionally, the Show Within a Show Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff has a real webpage, which is shown just as it looks in the comic and even has a redirect from sweetbroandhellajeff.com. Sadly, Sweet Bro's Hella Blog is an aversion, as it consists entirely of a page saying "No, no one registered this account name."
    • Homestuck's crafty Deviant ART fandom are responsible for a few migrations to reality; among them the puppet Lil' Cal, plush Squiddles, and the Warhammer of Zillyhoo.
  • In Lackadaisy, access to the titular speakeasy is granted by showing a club-shaped pin, which was made available in their online store alongside their comics and prints.
  • One fan of Eight Bit Theater took their devotion a little too far by inventing and wielding the fictional sword-chucks. And then he lit them on fire.
  • Kevin from Kevin and Kell started an ISP in-universe named HareLink. Wanna hire them yourself? Granted, it seems more of a webhost than an ISP ...
  • Girl Genius used to sell trilobite pins (symbol of the Heterodynes). Currently they sell winged castle pins (symbol of the Wulfenbachs) and fanged monster pins (symbol of the Jagerkin). Plus the comic books, of course.
  • In Brawl in the Family the Dededoll was originally a gift from Kirby to King Dedede, and then was later made available in their online store.
  • Skin Deep has Medallions and Borogove as examples of comic items that have made it into the real world.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Metalocalypse - Dethklok released an album in 2006 The Dethalbum, which according to Billboard is the biggest selling death metal album of all time and followed it with a brief tour as opening act for the indie rock band And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, and later a headlining tour in 2008.
  • Futurama - In the show Slurm is the heavenly tasting soft drink made from "alien behind". It is now available in some comic book stores. It's just relabelled Red Bull though.
  • The Simpsons
    • A few weeks before The Simpsons Movie was released, many 7-Eleven stores throughout the United States were temporarily converted into Kwik-E-Marts. They sold genuine Springfield products like Squishees (Slurpees), Krusty-O Cereal, and Buzz Cola. These items are sold at Krustyland Amusement Park, at Universal Studios.
    • Duff Beer is now a Mexican beer brand. Matt Groening does not want an alcoholic product to be licensed because he is worried kids would want to drink it. Officially the nearest thing is a Duff branded energy drink.
      • Duff brand beer was sold in Australia in the mid 1990s. Though the cans bore no resemblance to the ones on The Simpsons, the homage was obvious, and the beer was pulled from sale at the insistence of Twentieth Century Fox. Cans now turn up on Ebay for sizeable amounts.
      • You can actually buy Duff beer in Italy, right near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It may or may not be bootlegged.
    • To promote the movie, Burger King released a burger that was pretty much the same as the one on the movie, only with beef patties instead of pork ones.
    • LA Dodgers' minor league farm team call themselves the Albuquerque Isotopes after a move to New Mexico.
    • Radioactive Man. Bongo Comics has published issues of the comic, and in Anachronic Order to boot so they could mock The Ages of Super Hero Comics more easily. Usually they're published as part of the existing Simpsons comics.
    • There is now a Gummi Venus de Milo.
    • Behold the Tomacco. The first defictionalized lifeform.
    • What Badgers Eat was, at one point, an actual minisite on the Simpsons website (the link goes to an archived version).
    • This article has a few examples.
  • Now you too can be strong to the finish with Popeye's brand spinach. At least it doesn't come with taurine in it.
  • Real versions of Cheesy Poofs and Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls appeared early in the flood of South Park merchandise.
    • I love cheesy poofs, You love cheesy poofs. If we didn't eat cheesy poofs, We'd be...Lame.
    • And now Cheesy Poofs are coming back for a bit at Comic Con and Walmart.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants - Burger King released a Krabby Patty, only with beef patties instead of imitation crabmeat patties.
  • One of the places you can eat at Disney World's Disney Hollywood Studios is Pizza Planet from Toy Story.
  • Scooby Snacks now exist.
  • In a strange sort of semi-example, the Transformers Animated version of Soundwave is essentially a Scion xB with Serial Numbers Filed Off—more streamlined and slightly more futurey. The Scion xB was recently redesigned... and it looks like Soundwave.
  • Goodwood's Junior Festival of Speed has defictionalized all eleven vehicles from Wacky Races into "full-size working cars".
  • The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon introduced several character classes (such as the acrobat) that were not part of the AD&D rules at the time. Naturally, they were added in a later revision.
  • And let's not forget Pai Sho! The game of strategy in Avatar: The Last Airbender, now with fan made rules.
  • A Guitar Hero arcade machine was released about a year or two after the South Park episode "Guitar Queer-o" aired. Cartman played Poker Face on Rock Band which wasn't actually available until later. You can tell this defictionalization was a response to the scene in question since there is also a Cartman version.
  • There are now official Adventure Time Finn hats
  • Mooslyvania from Rocky and Bullwinkle nearly became the name of a small state next to Minnesota. The "Mooslvania for Statehood" campaign was cut short when the petition reached the White House just as the Cuban Missile Crisis was unfolding.
  • The house from Up has been recreated at full scale in Herriman, Utah. Disney approved of the house, and it was put on the market for sale to buyers.
  • In August 2010, a number of Disney Stores across America held events where kids could make their own Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure, like the ones from the Phineas and Ferb episode "Toy to the World".
  • The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Lesson Zero" featured a stuffed doll called "Ms. Smartypants". A real-life version was completed within 7 hours of the episode's airing. Not to mention that many fans have gone out of their way to make their own version of toys and plush to be more consistent with the show than the actual products offered by Hasbro.
    • The fans even go so far as to try out various recipes on the show, which range from the baked bads from Applebuck Season, to the surprisingly appetizing Chimmicherrychongas from The Last Roundup.
  • Charlie Brown Christmas trees (not to be confused with Aluminum Christmas Trees, which existed before the animated special).


Other[edit | hide]

  1. Not related to the re-branded version of Marooned seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000
  2. Some critics thought Kilgore was Vonnegut and the book a "worthy addition to his canon" pissing off Vonnegut no end, even though he had given permission to Farmer to use the name.
  3. and portrayed in the Disney short A Day for Eeyore