Growing up on a steady diet of comic books, with a strong showing from the Legion of Super-Heroes, I’ve never had a problem with retcon, time-travel or story-telling shenanigans.  My favorite movie in the ‘Men In Black’ franchise is MiB3, wherein we find that, due to time-travel, Thanos Agent K has been secretly protecting J all his life, after the death of J’s father in the past.  It’s a really strong premise that makes for a successful retcon, pulled together by the wild alien technologies and impossible premises of the series, and works to add depth to the main leads’ relationship.  Many of my friends cite the altered reality created by the time-traveling Nero as the reason that they are able to accept J.J. Abrams revamped Star Trek universe, since it’s NOT a reboot, but in fact an altered timeline from the Star Trek of old that doesn’t invalidate the original.  We live in the age of the “shocking twist”, so finding that Nick Fury was always an amoral jerk or that Reed Richards intentionally created the Fantastic Four or that Bucky survived his seeming death in the 40s has become commonplace, which leads us to today’s “Everything you know is WRONG!” query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) also finds the involvement of the Deep Space 9 crew in the past during ‘Trials And Tribbleations’ to be a strong contender, asking: What is the most successful retcon in your favorite pop culture stories?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


    • Actually, I suppose that this one doesn’t count as a retcon since JMS had intended it from the beginning, but it was still a hell of a twist on what we knew to be the backstory of the Babylon 5 Universe.

  1. Daniel Langsdale on

    Successful? It’s that the Doctor can rejuvenate/regenerate. Favorite? Today I’ll say Cable being the son of Cyclops and Madeline Prior.

  2. An Alex of Sorts on

    For all its faults, Borderlands 3 did a lot to flesh out the lore behind the series’ iconic sirens and vault monsters, much to my delight. In doing so, it also retconned the final boss of the first game, a supposedly unstoppable entity known as the Destroyer, as having been only a small fragment of the being’s true from. This effectively patches the gameplay/story conflict of the Destroyer canonically requiring the combined might of an ancient alien empire to imprison, despite it being nothing more than a dopey bullet sponge when encountered in game.

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