Expanded Universe

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The Verse may branch out across different media as the Fandom demands. There may be comic books, tie-in novels, movies, novelizations, video games, etc. Sometimes the TV show is itself a branching-out of a verse that originated in another form (such as comics, as in the Marvel Universe or The DCU).

Expanded Universe refers to everything that is not the primary medium. All that other stuff.

This can create a schism in fans. Some believe the entire Expanded Universe is Canon. Others reject it all. Others pick and choose based on closeness to the writers of the primary medium. Expanded Universe material is usually written so that it can be fit in to the Canon without having to alter the Canon itself. However, later developments in the actual series can make it definitively out of Continuity, especially when the main series decides to explain a mystery (such as a character's future) in a way that the contradicts the Expanded Universe.

Even if it isn't Canon, the Expanded Universe often serves as a place to apply Scotch Tape to the Canon through RetCons; this may verge on professional-grade Fan Wank.

The term comes from Star Wars, which has an extensive Expanded Universe covering events before, during, and after the films. The Star Wars Expanded Universe has its own page.

Note: the "primary medium" is usually the original one, but not always. For instance, few would dispute that the primary medium of the Buffy Verse is the 1997 TV show, not the 1992 movie (which is only Canon for the television series in the form of its altered comic book adaptation which is based off of Joss' original script for it).

After a show's cancellation, the Expanded Universe may become the only place to get new material involving The Verse (outside of Fanfic, of course), continuing the Canon in the minds of the readers/viewers. However, if a show is later brought back, this "new Canon" may be cancelled out, creating yet more conflict.

Sometimes an element from the Expanded Universe is so popular (or just so good) that it gets put into the official Continuity of the original medium. This is a Canon Immigrant.

See also Restricted Expanded Universe.

Please do not abbreviate it to EU.

See also sequels, prequels, interquels and spinoffs for works that share same Continuity and the same medium as the primary work (i.e. a Video Game with a Prequel game, or an Anime series that spins off another series).

Not to be confused with the Robert A. Heinlein anthology known as Expanded Universe.

Examples of Expanded Universe include:

Anime and Manga


  • Blade Runner spawned three novel sequels and a Video Game taking place in the film's universe—as well as another film, Soldier, which (unofficially, due to rights issues) also takes place in the Blade Runner universe.
  • The aforementioned Star Wars expanded universe. All of it's vetted by either George Lucas or his employees, who have at times vetoed plot points, new characters, and entire stories. There are indeed people whose actual paid jobs are purely to assist in the management of all the disparate plot points in this vast, money-generating machine. Even in cases where an Expanded Universe story blatantly contradicts either the films (on account of many stories being written before the prequels existed) or the rest of the Expanded Universe, it usually remains Canon: in most cases the aforementioned employees are tasked with forming as many retcons as needed to resolve the discrepancy.
    • ...Except that George Lucas has said publicly and repeatedly that "only the films are Canon."
      • ...Except that's only with regards to his personal view of the series. The fact is that he appointed Leeland Chee as the official record keeper for Star Wars canon, and it is he, not Lucas, who ultimately determines the canonicity of Expanded Universe works.
    • Anyhow, after Disney got it, they said Expanded Universe continuity has to go. But failed to maintain even movie continuity. Or make much sense on their own. And, of course, the rest of cash cow's udder was still there, waiting to be milked. Which led to the situation Star Wars fans summarized in "Expanded Universe vs. Explanatory Universe" meme.
  • The cult favorite series Kolchak the Night Stalker has inspired a set of follow-on novels featuring the series characters. The latest one this editor can find was published in 2007–33 years after cancellation of the original series!
  • Darkman spawned a series of (quite good) novels, and a short-lived comic book series. Recently the character was licensed to Dynamite Comics, who will be publishing original stories. They've already put out an Evil Dead crossover.
  • Few people know that the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, itself based (very loosely) on the Gary Wolf novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, has some nicely concise Expanded Universe material. The novel Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? (it's really spelled that way, because Roger stutters his p's) is a direct Sequel to the film, and gives us plenty of more material on how the series' world functions, and much more about the life and family of Eddie Valiant. There are also comics and a couple of short stories.
  • Aliens and Predator have their own Expanded Universe, including several cross-over miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics during the late 80s and 90s. The first three miniseries for Aliens were originally a continuation of the second Alien movie; however, the release of Alien 3 rendered the events of those series incompatible with the movie's Continuity since it killed Newt and Hicks at the beginning of the movie, and Ripley at the very end. Dark Horse got around this by rereleasing the series in graphic novel format, with new names for the series as well as renaming Newt as Billie and Hicks as Wilkes, and stuck with using original characters after that. There have also been many Aliens and Predator novels and video games released, including a few Alien vs. Predator games for the PC.
  • Each of the eight major characters from Repo! The Genetic Opera have their own Myspace page. Whatever happens there is considered Canon. Rotti is understandably a very busy man and only occasionally present, but his children are there whenever they're supposed to be working, and Grave-Robber apparently drums up a lot of new clientele through the site.
  • Not counting (though some do) the In Name Only television series, Friday the 13th has a surprisingly large number of books and comics.
  • Other New Line Cinema horror properties such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre also have a large number of novels, short story collections, comic books, and in Freddy's case, a television series.
  • Hellraiser has a surprisingly huge, detailed Expanded Universe, primarily due to many of the cast and crew from the film series contributing, even series originator Clive Barker, and Peter Atkins (the writer of the second, third and fourth films).
  • Labyrinth had a four-volume OEL Manga followup, Return to Labyrinth, published over 2006-10.
  • Although not actually canon, Red Dawn got an Expanded Universe in the form of Red Dawn Plus 20.


  • The Cthulhu Mythos is a particularly informal Expanded Universe based around the works of H.P. Lovecraft, all writers (and Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game) game designers) after him are generally considered to be outside "The Mythos Proper".
  • Warrior Cats has 13 comic books, 2 plays and 4 guidebooks (as well as one that was cancelled). These are all canon, being written by the authors themselves, except possibly Brightspirit's Mercy, which happens in the middle of a book's story rather than in one the series' plentiful time skips.

Live Action TV

  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe may in fact be Canon to the TV series as two episodes directly reference it in Mythology Gags. Other parts contradict it. But then the Whoniverse (Expanded and otherwise) tends towards Broad Strokes Continuity and to a large extent anything goes within it. Former producer Russell T. Davies has stated that he considers the Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays to be in-Continuity. That statement was made back when the audio plays explicitly broke from Continuity with the books; they've since been amended into a single Continuity by the audio play The Company of Friends. The Series 3 episodes "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood" have been acknowledged as an adaptation of the Seventh Doctor New Adventures novel Human Nature (the novels themselves form two distinct and only semi-compatible continuities) and, confusing things yet further, some writers of the spin-off material took the view they took place in Alternate Universes to each other.
  • Doctor Who's spin-off Torchwood has its own expanded materials in the form of novels, magazine strips, and audios. Perhaps the most interesting one so far is the magazine strip "Shrouded", penned by Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones' actor). Our Ianto is quite dead, but an evil Ianto from an alternate timeline is very much alive, and saw the funeral. Is this Canon?
  • The novel-based Star Trek Expanded Universe, published by Simon & Schuster, primarily carries forward the future history of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. It's been given full rein over Trek stories post-Nemesis, as it's likely that version of the Trek universe won't appear on-screen again. The Star Trek Expanded Universe most recently includes a fan series called Star Trek: New Voyages, which is attempting complete the "five year mission" of the original series. It's being supported by a number of people with professional links to the official series runs, most notably Walter Koenig and George Takei, who reprise their roles of Chekov and Sulu, respectively.
  • Lost has a relatively small Expanded Universe so far—a few books, two Alternate Reality Games, and a Video Game. The only one of these that's been declared Canon is the first ARG, The Lost Experience—and that only applies to the backstory information given relating to the series, not the main plot.
  • Glee has its own Prequel book now.
  • Heroes has a small Expanded Universe with comic books and graphic novels, not much of it Canon and the rest getting smaller the longer the show goes on. Now that the show itself has been canceled, the Expanded Universe presumably has free rein again.
  • Babylon 5 has Expanded Universe in the form of Role-playing game sourcebooks. There are canonical comics and a lot of novels. Of the novels, only To Dream in the City of Sorrows, the Psi Corps trilogy, the Passing of the Techno-mages trilogy, the Legions of Fire trilogy, and the Anna Sheridan plot of The Shadow Within are Canon. The John Sheridan plot of The Shadow Within is not Canon. That's right, Canon and non-Canon in the same book.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has many novels and comic books written by writers of the series that are of varying apocryphal status, and a Whedon-helmed comic-book series (along with a similar comic-book series for its Spin-Off series Angel) that's considered the Canon post-television storyline.
    • The other, Non-Season 8/After The Fall comics are up in the air in Continuity, as are all non-Post Chosen novels (those that are Post-Chosen are just non-Canon). Many of the novels are either side stories or prequels. The novel Go Ask Malice, for example, is a backstory for Faith that goes up until the episode Faith, Hope, Trick. It's status as Canon, like all of the novels, is unknown, but it does give a backstory for a character with very little and it doesn't violate Canon.
      • The only bit of non-show or non-Season 8 comic that is considered "Canon" came from the fairly short-lived Buffy the Vampire Slayer role-playing game, and that is Faith's last name; Lehane. This has been confirmed as Canon by its use in the Joss-Whedon-written last issue of the Season 8 comics.
  • Charmed has novels of both original stories and several based on actual episodes.
  • Firefly (the original Verse) has a small Expanded Universe in form of comics, RPG supplements and one novelization (of Serenity).

Professional Wrestling

  • Back in the days before the internet, when Kayfabe reigned supreme, pro wrestling had the Apter magazines (named for Bill Apter, the most prolific publisher of such), which were something between an Expanded Universe and a Massively Multiplayer Crossover of all wrestling federations. While the Apter mags were not endorsed by any of the promotions they covered, and nothing reported in them (from rankings, to wrestler bios, to interviews, to "who would win?" fantasy supercards between promotions, etc.) could be considered Canon to any promotion in particular, the promoters of the time certainly didn't mind the help in exposing their characters and storylines to audiences.

Tabletop Games

Theme Parks

Video Games

  • Assassin's Creed took its first stab at this with Assassin's Creed: The Fall, a comic miniseries. It's canon, too.
  • Halo's Expanded Universe consists of multiple novels, comics, guidebooks, online exclusives, live-action commercials, and Alternate Reality Games, along with an anime series. All of it, whether created directly by staff from Bungie or 343 (the studios behind the games), or by third parties working under their direct control, is not only completely canonical, but is closely integrated with the games. For example, much of Halo: Reach will only be understood by people who read the books; heck, this disclaimer even applies to its official website.
    • When canon does conflict, policy is that new material overrides old material, and that games and other media created directly by Bungie/343 staff take precedence over everything else.
  • Some games like StarCraft, Diablo and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri have a small Expanded Universe, mainly consisting of a few books.
  • The Warcraft Expanded Universe consists of about ten books, one trilogy of manga, two western comic series and two tabletop RPGs.
  • The Final Fantasy series has built up an increasingly large Expanded Universe over time, particularly with regard to Final Fantasy VII, which, in addition to its Prequel and Spin-Off games, has the Advent Children movie, two Anime OVA's and several novellas. There's also the Legend of the Crystals Anime OVA, which takes place 200 years after Final Fantasy V, and the Final Fantasy Unlimited Anime series and the Final Fantasy the Spirits Within movie (though their relationship to the games is mostly thematic).
  • Mass Effect and Dragon Age have expanded universes. Rather than having books or comics that are simply adaptations, they tell their own coherent story. The novels and comics are often a source of critical plot related information, leading to some events or people being referenced that the gamer may never have heard of. One notable feature is that both novel series are written by the games' lead writers, which is different from the usual operating procedure of Expanded Universe materials. The comics, on the other hand, are written by other people (in both series).
  • Wing Commander's Expanded Universe includes ten novels (both adaptations of other material and original stories), multiple game guides, a Western Animation series, a Collectible Card Game, and a movie, all of which officially count towards Continuity.
  • Disgaea’s Expanded Universe, the Disgaea Novels, has currently 15 books. It introduces new family members of the game’s cast and is plays out like traditional Disgaea crossed with the Harem Genre.
  • Game Mod Red Alert 3: Paradox has an Expanded Universe (ATT page here). It consists of fan-made factions with the goal of building them into their own game mod.
  • Super Mario Bros. has/had one, having multiple TV shows, the movie, the anime movie, the various comics and the choose your own adventure books in various different 'continuities'. They tend to be even stranger than the original games.
    • Note that Mario does not have a continuity, which means that each of these is as canon as any of the games.
  • Surprisingly Gears of War has a very big one that includes the games, several books, and a comic book that as of 2012 is still going.

Web Animation

  • Homestar Runner actually directly references the concept; in the Cheat Commandos toon "The Next Epi-Snowed", the in-universe writer of the series, A. Chimendez, puts in the Author Avatar character "Agent Chimendez" and Hand Waves the addition by explaining he's an Expanded Universe character, who appears in novelizations and read-along storybooks.

Web Comic

Web Original

  • In an interesting case, The Slender Man Mythos consists entirely of an Expanded Universe; you see, there's no real official Canon, so its the fans who come up with everything.
  • The film Red Dawn got an Expanded Universe in the form of a fan collaboration known as Red Dawn Plus 20, which is a forum in which posters role play as veterans of the war in the present day, two decades after World War III's conclusion.

Western Animation

  • Transformers. A bunchload of comic books. A number of text stories. A handful of video games. And that's not even counting that not all the cartoons are in the same Continuity. Many fans are split over what the primary source really is: the original cartoon is named as such by most, but many others choose the original comic series instead, or the British version thereof, with mixing-and-matching becoming increasingly popular. The term Canon is hard to apply here: It all happened, but didn't all happen in the same timeline. And with all the other continuities created since, it's become an expanded multiverse.
    • Beast Wars itself is an example of an Expanded Universe. The TV series, due to the expense of CGI, could only have a limited roster of characters, which meant that most of the toyline didn't get to be in it. The later IDW Beast Wars comics exploited this situation by using all the toy-only characters they could, as well as some from the Japanese-only Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo shows-albeit chronally displaced or on Cybertron, so the TV series and the comics didn't clash.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a number of comics that chronicle the adventures of the Gaang that are not shown in the TV series.
  • Daria has one, including the show, its two published manuals, its parent show Beavis and Butthead and any of its spin-offs. However, the term "Expanded Universe" usually refers to a group of interconnected Fan Verses that most serious fans know, with its own set of Original Characters who appear in multiple creators' fanworks.
  • Looney Tunes has had comic books, movies, picture books, TV specials, spinoffs, and story CDs galore.