Fanfiction where fans of books and TV shows expand on the characters and the universe to create their own spins has become a huge part of Sci-fi and Fantasy fandoms especially with the ease of sharing content on the internet. Many of the reviews of the recent Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which depicts many of the characters from the main series as adults along with their own children, have claimed that the play reads a bit like fan fiction, which had me thinking about times when fan fiction ideas and creations have made the jump to becoming canonized as part of the actual series.
Twilight; Life and Death: A Reimagining of the Classic Novel, by Stephenie Meyer
In honor of the 10th Anniversary of Twilight last year, Stephenie Meyer released a double book with her Young Adult novel starring the vampire Edward and human Bella on one side and bound on the opposite the story told with the gender roles reversed so that it is the story of a human male who falls in love with a female vampire. She was inspired by fan fiction about the characters. Meyer had also released online a portion of Twilight rewritten from Edward’s perspective. Infamously also the very adult Fifty Shades series began as Twilight fanfiction; E.L. James also published Grey, with her first book told from Christian Grey’s perspective in 2015. Borrow all of the Twilight series and Life and Death from BCCLS libraries.
My Little Pony Equestria Girls
As a little girl I loved My Little Ponies–both the TV movies and the pastel colored toys. The ponies have since went through several different incarnations. The most recent series centers on Twilight Sparkles and her five new BFFs, who learns about friendship when Twilight takes up residence in Ponyville. I wasn’t sure about the new series based on my beloved childhood memories, but the fact that Twilight Sparkles loves books and resided, in the beginning of the series, in a library inside a tree won me over. The surprising thing about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was it wasn’t just little girls this time becoming fans of the show, but also young men who enjoyed the clever animation. There wasn’t just fan fiction springing up but remixes of the music in the episodes, a vast variety of art, and more. My Little Pony Fan Conventions popped up across the country. At the Cons fans often dressed up as human versions of their favorite ponies which were also depicted in some of the fan art. This inspired Hasbro to create movies based on an alternative universe where the ponies all have human counter parts. You can borrow the Equestria Girl movies Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games from Hoopla. BCCLS libraries also have the first in the series Equestria Girls and many of the cartoon series and movies that have appeared through the years.
Adventure Time’s Fionna and Cake
Although I am totally behind in my viewing of it Adventure Time about the last human boy, Finn, and his magical transforming dog, Jake, living in post-apocalyptic land with a candy kingdom, flying unicorn, and a crazy ice king is another cartoon with a lot of adult fans. Quirky characters and an intriguing story line make it fun for the whole family. The creator Pendleton Ward was inspired by Dungeon and Dragons (something I loved playing with my Dad and sister as a kid). My husband and I enjoy watching Adventure Time with our son, who is still a bit too young for D&D. Like Twilight its fan fiction moment that became canon comes from gender swapping the characters. Natasha Allegri who worked on the show created some sketches of Finn as Fionna and Jake as a female cat Cake. Not only were fans charmed, but so was Ward and Fionna and Cake have appeared in several of the episodes of the show. Fun fact: Neil Patrick Harris performs the voice of Prince Gumball (in place of Princess Bubblegum) in some of the gender swap episodes. You can borrow seasons One through Five of Adventure Time from BCCLS Libraries.
Some fantasy series start out strong and then burn out fast, but Supernatural has lasted for over ten seasons and survived the jump from the WB to the CW network. The show follows the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on their endless road trip fighting demons and saving the world time after time. Having been on so long there are few myths and legends the series hasn’t at some point focused on. The series has acknowledged fan fiction in several stories. Season 10’s fifth episode is even titled “Fan Fiction”; the episode focuses on a teacher’s disappearance at an all girl’s school, where they are performing a musical based on the Carver Edlund’s comic book series which is the story of the brother’s adventures. In earlier episodes, in a metafiction twist, Edlund was revealed as a sort of prophet, who has visions about the brother’s journey. These episodes allow the show to lovingly poke fun at some of what has become standard in both the series’s fan fiction as well as the series itself.
Have more examples of when Fan Fiction became Canon? Let us know in the comments!
-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference