Retcon

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A retcon (short for retroactive continuity) is the alteration of previously established facts in the continuity of a fictional work.

Retcon is the supreme god of the Whoniverse, superseding Canon itself. It created Doctor Who and has been ruining it ever since. Those who refuse to acknowledge its supreme authority are condemned to be trapped forever in their own Headcanon. Those who have tried to use its power for themselves are fools. They will only become its puppet until all their work are erased by the next one.

All for the glory of Retcon! PRAISE HIM.

Retcon motivations

Retcon happens in Doctor Who all the time, unintentionally or otherwise.

There are various motivations for retconning. The changes may occur to accommodate sequels or derivative works, allowing newer authors or creators to revise the history to include a course of events that would not have been possible in the story's original continuity. Retcons allow for authors to reintroduce popular characters and resolve errors in chronology.

But more commonly it just allows for writers to get away with giant asspulls and fucking things up.

List of Retcons

  • All of Doctor Who after the unaired pilot.
  • TARDIS being a generic name.
  • The Time Lords' existence.
  • Regeneration.
  • The Doctor being a Time Lord.
  • The Time War
  • The U.N.I.T. dating controversy: Mike Yates is very interested in an American 17-year-old, but the age of consent in America is higher than the UK - oh! Wrong dating controsery. The frequent implication of the 1970s Doctor Who serials was that all stories took place in an alternate near-future, which aligns well with the declared years of The Web of Fear and The Invasion. Jon Pertwee even stated in an interview that it was set during the 1980s, in which things like space stations came true. However, Mawdryn Undead states that it was all in the 1970s, and therefore Doctor Who showruiners smugly declare this to be evidence that the whole series took place during the 1970s all along, and that the show never stated even once that the UNIT stuff took place during the 1980s...except, it actually did. Sarah Jane said that she came from 1980 in Pyramids of Mars. This proves is that Steven Moffat never really studied the show and should have been fired years ago.
  • The Deadly Assassin Time Lords: Not really a retcon, but Andrew Cartmel certainly seems to think so (because he's the kind of guy who could open the Box of Jhana without going insane). The Time Lords in The War Games appear to be pure and godly monks. The Time Lords in The Deadly Assassin are folly-prone and petulant. It apparently never occurred to fans from just studying the Doctor and the Master that maybe not all Time Lords are celibate gods, and that they probably come in different castes and have different types of training to suit their various occupations, because most writers for Doctor Who realized that not all members of the same species could have the same job, training, rank, demeanor, or even powers in the same society. Hell, the Daleks had a heirarchy before the Time Lords were even named for crying out loud! Regardless, this was largely regarded by fans as a retcon, one that really upset a lof of the Baby Boomer-aged fans in particular.
  • Sex Change Regeneration. 'nuff said. (This one also upset the Boomers, as well as the Abzorbaloff).
  • Every fucking thing that Steven Moffat wrote.
  • There is no retcon. Retcon does not exist. Retcon has never existed.

In-universe

In Doctor Who, the drug B67 is popularly known as "retcon". It can erase recent memories, or even replace them with false memories. As Torchwood 3 discovered, this drug has many uses. Not just the one obvious use; e.g., Gwen also used ti to allow her to confess her affair to her husband so she could stop feeling guilty, and then immediately make him forget it so she wouldn't get in trouble.

But before you judge Torchwood, remember that Superman has the same power, only he doesn't use a pill, he uses sexualized physical contact like kissing.