Normally a retcon involves changing the past to reflect changes in the future of the cannon. A characters history can change at the stroke of a pen.

In the Thursday Next books, the opposite happens. The series involves characters travelling into books and being able to change them. In "One of our Thursday's is missing" events in the past are slightly different to first 4 books (ie, a retcon). However, this is changed by the events of the book so that in the end continuity is restored!

This probably makes more sense to people who have read the books, but I was wondering if there were any prior examples of the reverse ret-con?

An analogy would be a time-travel series where in a later book/episode the past history is retconned to be different, but by the end of the series history gets changed to match the old timeline.

  • Make-a-list question. Not constructive. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Oct 24 '12 at 14:09
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    ...so, like most "travel back in time to do something but then make sure the future isn't changed" stories? Like "Back to the Future"? – Gorchestopher H Oct 24 '12 at 14:11
  • @GorchestopherH No, as Back to the Future was a self-contained story. Also, in this case the future DOES change, just it turns out what you thought was the past is the new past, not the old past. – Nick Oct 24 '12 at 14:14
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    @Nick So, you are looking for a series of books where the end of the first book apparently does not match the beginning of the second book, but then somewhere during the second book it is revealed that something happened wherein the first and second books now do follow. Additionally, it must involve time travel. Sounds a little localized. – Gorchestopher H Oct 24 '12 at 14:34
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    @GorchestopherH It doesn't have to involve time travel, the Thursday Next books don't. But time travel was another conceivable way it could be done. – Nick Oct 24 '12 at 14:42

I think Futurama might be quite a good example of this. There are numerous "trapdoors" built into earlier episodes that give the writers the opportunity to add retcons without the need to re-animate.

The most famous is of course in the Pilot episode where you briefly see Nibbler's shadow under Fry's chair, a fact that isn't then mentioned until the 7th episode of Season 3.

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