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From the very first page of Don Rosa's very first story, and he's already throwing several references to Carl Barks' stories at you.


Now, what part of this horrible, cheesy, low-budget television special would you expect to be official canon in the Star Wars Universe? The Answer? All of it. Life Day? Canonical. Itchy? Lumpy? Canonical. Harvey Korman in drag is an official part of the Star Wars Universe! Continuity Kills.


Primarily used in Comic Book fandom, Continuity Porn is a sometimes derogatory, sometimes affectionate, name for a story overly focused on continuity, to the detriment of the story.

There are two main types of continuity porn, although they often overlap:

  • The first is a story that exists primarily or only to resolve or explain continuity problems. The problem is that this often happens without having a strong story of its own—sort of a canonical Fan Wank or Fix Fic. However, anything that promises to "fix all those niggling little problems we've accumulated over the years" is likely to not do that to the satisfaction of anyone, but nearly always produces something that just manages to introduce even more problems. It often involves a thick soup of Retcon. This tends to be the most common type, especially for series with long histories and many writers/contributors behind it.
  • The other type is where the Continuity Nods became common as Mind Screwdriver, with extreme cases causing them to become so thick and integral to the plot that the story is incomprehensible without detailed knowledge of the continuity. Nobody likes stories where there's no continuity and writers just ignore whatever they feel like, unless it's firmly established that Status Quo Is God or Negative Continuity is in place. On the other hand, only the most hardcore fans appreciate a reference to something that happened 14 years ago in Weird Anthologies #224½ (the issue that only came out in Guatemala with a run of 42 copies) to explain a key plot point.

Drawing the line between good and bad continuity is pretty subjective for either type, though, since fans have different expectations of exactly how much continuity is a good thing for the series. One fan's shameless continuity porn is another's "taking advantage of the rich history" or "cleverly and entertainingly fixing a long-standing problem."

This usually only happens with Long Runners, because they're the only ones with enough continuity to support it. Usually the introduction of Continuity Porn is a good sign that the inmates have started Running the Asylum. Continuity Porn is also a form of Pandering to the Base.

Despite being primarily associated with comics, the term seems to have originated in Star Trek Fandom, perhaps (unsurprisingly). It reached a wider audience when Enterprise executive producer Brannon Braga, who read the Trek forums once in a while during his tenure, mentioned in a Cinescape interview that he found it an apt description.

Compare and contrast Continuity Cavalcade, where instead of the work being driven by continuity concerns, there is simply a single scene loaded with many Continuity Nods.

Compare Continuity Creep, Continuity Snarl and Armed with Canon.

Examples of Continuity Porn include:

Anime and Manga

  • Macross Frontier. Notably, the continuity porn is only really noticeable to people who have been following the Macross franchise from the very beginning; it isn't so much the plot, as it is nearly every single scene having a reference to a different Macross series.
  • One Piece author Eiichiro Oda is big on this. The newest Straw Hat Pirate Brook is a perfect example, but far from the only one. It begins in a self-contained arc in volume 12, where the crew meets a whale who wants to reunite with the pirate crew that presumably abandoned it, goes completely unmentioned for another 30-40 volumes, then comes back when we learn that Brook is the sole survivor of that very pirate crew.
    • A special manga chapter detailing the backstory of the tenth movie's Big Bad also has panels featuring from all over the One Piece continuity, up to and including a guy who only showed up for one chapter in volume 3 getting his body stuck in a treasure chest.
    • Don't forget Silvers Rayleigh, who first appeared in a flashback back in the first few volumes (it was either 1 or 2), and then showed up in the actual storyline nearly five hundred chapters later.
    • Lately, we've got Jinbe. Not even the One Piece Wiki remembered that one of the nicest, most helpful characters in the series is also the one who released Arlong into the East Blue. Luckily, Oda did, and the manga had a flashback regarding this.
  • Gundam Unicorn: Denham's Zaku from the first episode of the original Mobile Suit Gundam showing up in a museum is a fairly good example. All the stuff from previous series' that show up in Turn a Gundam might count, but it's extremely oblique how, or even if, that show fits into the timeline (s).
  • The fourth season of Bakugan is this. Characters who haven't been seen since the first season have reappeared, New Vestoria and Gundelia have been revisited with the Gundelia Invaders cast playing a large role, Spectra appears to answer a Gondor Calls for Aid, and the Big Bad Mag Mel turns out to be the previous season's Big Bad Emperor Barodius turned that way due to being punished by the Bakugan version of God, Code Eve. And the season isn't even half way over yet! However, this is a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, as it's actually helpped the story more than hurt it.
  • Persona 4: The Animation is this for those who have played the game. Video Game Interface Elements even make it into the show.
  • Since Natsu keep a memento of every event in Fairy Tail his house is this. Things he collects range from understandable (the flyers from the jobs he's gone on) to a little odd (the maid outfit he tricked Lucy into wearing on her first job) to just plain weird (rubble, which he has specifically labeled as being from the time he went berserk during Erza's trial)

Comic Books

  • DC Comics
    • One of the common criticisms of Infinite Crisis was that it was continuity porn in both senses of the term. DC in general is perceived to engage in 'hard continuity' (i.e., inconsistencies are deliberately explained) versus Marvel's 'softer' kind (inconsistencies, especially bad ones, are eventually just ignored).
    • Zero Hour was explicitly supposed to clean up continuity problems caused by Crisis on Infinite Earths. Writer Geoff Johns' run on any book (Green Lantern, Flash, JSA, etc) will indulge on this at one point or another. As will Grant Morrison's.
    • 52 veers into the second variety of continuity porn, though that might depend on whom you ask. In its defence, though, it is hard to do a yearlong series touching on every character in the DC Universe without getting a little esoteric sometimes.
      • This was even commented on by one of the writers (Mark Waid), who mentioned that " good fiction ever came out of worrying first and foremost whether its events fit into 'continuity'."
    • Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is assuredly the ultimate embodiment of this trope, being continuity porn for all continuities ever. Many sequences and moments in the stories seem to have no purpose other than for Moore to reference as many fictional places and characters as possible. To the extent of explaining Hyde's slow transformation from human to monster, and having a very small date range for the actual events (1891-1894, during Sherlock Holmes' supposed death after falling off a cliff with Moriarty. It is actually considered one of the Holmes sub-works despite Holmes appearing only briefly in a flashback).
    • Roy Thomas's All-Star Squadron is the best example, often going to great lengths to "solve" continuity problems that nobody but Thomas even knew existed.
    • Gotham City Sirens has two cases of continuity porn, so far. When The Joker attacks the three 'reformed' villains he uses the phrase "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed," when powering up his super blimp in an obvious throwback to the Adam West series. Later it turns out to be a fake Joker who was really Gaggy, a circus midget who was one of Joker's first sidekicks who first appeared in 1966! Talk about a throwback.
    • In Pre Crisis Bronze Age Superman comics, DC's guy in charge of Superman continuity was Promoted Fanboy E. Nelson Bridwell. Bridwell adored the minutia of the Superman mythos, and whenever he personally penned a story, it was chock full of Continuity Nods, often to obscure Silver Age stuff. In stories focusing on the history of the character and his world (such as the original, pre-Crisis Krypton Chronicles and World of Krypton miniseries), this worked very well, but in stories that were set in the present day, the constant references did sometimes feel intrusive.
    • JLA: Year One and JLA: Incarnations were both written to show how the Justice League's history "really" happened in the Post-Crisis universe. It helped that both focused on the characters' personalities and interactions rather than harping on minutae, however.
    • Anytime an artist is directed to show a wide shot of the Batcave, this inevitably happens. Older versions of the Batmobile, artifacts from cases, etc. (Especially the eight-foot-high penny, the mechanical Tyrannosaurus, and the oversized Joker playing card hanging from the ceiling).
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Wolverine: Origins exists to "fully" detail Wolverine's mysterious past, has also been called continuity porn. Note that pretty much all of the hinted-at elements of Wolverine's past have already been revealed; Origins deals with this by making up an entirely new Ancient Conspiracy and trying to work it in around the edges. At this point, anything dealing with Wolverine's Expansion Pack Past is probably continuity porn by default.
    • Lampshade Hanging/parody in an issue of She-Hulk, which promised to fix almost all of Marvel's past and future continuity problems. And did, sort of: any appearances by a character you don't like are actually a tourist from another universe cosplaying as that character.
    • Not to mention that the entire Dan Slott run of She-Hulk abounded with often obscure jokes about Marvel continuity - to the point where they had the law firm with a COMIC BOOK COLLECTION and She-Hulk reads the first issue of... well, her.
    • Chris Claremont's quasi-trilogy X-Men: The End pulled together tons of old storylines he either left hanging or were quashed by editors/other writers, along with a number of others, into a semi-Bad Future story that tried to reconcile the tangle that the X-Books had become.
    • The infamous Continuity Xorn escapades. Three different writers gave three different takes in order to clean it up but each just got more and more convoluted and complicated that really the best thing to do was just throw it all into the sun.
    • Avengers Forever features this heavily. Among other things, it explains how almost every major event in the history of the Avengers - and the histories of the Avengers in every parallel universe - was either caused by Immortus or cleaned up by him afterwards as part of a massive Xanatos Gambit to save the human race from the Time Keepers. It also spent an entire issue detailing the history of sometime Big Bad Kang the Conquerer. However, because time travel is an important part of the series, and because the story is generally good, it usually manages to get away with it.
      • Avengers Forever was written by Kurt Busiek, who has proven quite capable of weaving disparate continuity threads into a cohesive (and entertaining) whole before with Marvels, a four-issue mini-series that managed to encapsulate the entire early history of Marvel Comics(from World War II to the Death of Gwen Stacy) and present it from a street-level point of view, showing how an average man sees the Marvel Universe.
      • Does Kurt Busiek write anything that isn't Continuity Porn?
    • Marvel recently pulled one of these with Secret Invasion. Character derailment you say? Alien mole! Too many of one guy to make sense in universe? Alien double! Character death of your favorite minor character, even though it was a powerful move and strongly effected the rest of the characters? Alien doppleganger!
    • Bit of a subversion here, since it was only teased that the alien double explanation was going to explain many continuity problems and character derailment when in actuality it didn't. Only a handful of minor characters were replaced, very few of them subject to the same sort of complaints that were directed at major characters like Iron Man.
    • Spider-Man's "Brand New Day", "Maximum Clonage", and a lot of JMS's writing went into heavy continuity nods and switches. And usually by the end a lot was left hanging.
      • And still left hanging. "One More Day"/"Brand New Day" seems to be going out of their way to avoid continuity porn and ignore the continuity problems that have been created because of the situation.
        • Eventually they wrote 'One Moment in Time, or OMIT, that explained exactly how continuity chaged because of OMD. Thankfully, it isn't much; the Wedding Annual and, ironically, One More Day itself are the only things in which anything beyond Spidey's maritial status was changed.
  • Don Rosa's epic comic book series The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, in which he carefully explains every single reference to the events of Scrooge's early life that Carl Barks ever made. Incredibly, despite Rosa's severe obsession with continuity, he still manages to tell a fantastic story at the same time. In his commentaries, he discusses the issue of how Barks kept changing the dates and timelines, and how many issues relating Scrooge's turn from a villain-character into a hero posed problems. He managed to insert some of them, like how Scrooge McDuck, who made his entire fortune square nevertheless managed to be a ruthless robber baron in Africa, but others he just gracefully ignored, such as a magic timeglass that was claimed to be the origin of Scrooge's wealth in one Barks story. If there's a lesson to be learned from these compromises, it is that knowing when to temper Continuity Porn with Broad Strokes helps make a great story.
  • Hellboy. One of the great things about the series is that its rich interconnected story rewards those who know the fine details of the Canon. The downside of this is that Hellboy's continuity spans 16 years worth of miniseries and one-shots spread out across five different comic series. That is a lot of baggage for the casual reader to unpack. A recent example of this problem is readers can only understand that the old man speaking to Gruagach in issue two of Hellboy: The Wild Hunt is the demon lord Astaroth if they read Hellboy: Box Full of Evil issue two (published about 8 years before Wild Hunt), which then means that Hell has offered its tacit support to the Queen of Blood and suggests that things are going to get much worse. For the informed all of this is implied without being stated, to the detriment of those who are only now entering the series. The best way to read the series is in trade paperback form from start to finish, or better yet with the oversized Hellboy Library Editions.
  • JLA/Avengers. It's nerd pornography from start to finish, from both universes.
  • The Conan one-off story Mirror of the Manticore in Savage Sword of Conan 58 exists only to explain how Olgerd Vladislav's hand, broken by Conan in A Witch Shall Be Born, can be whole when Conan kills him next time they meet.
  • Star Trek: Countdown, the prequel (or sequel???) to the 2009 film actually plays as a Mind Screwdriver for the fans. The author brilliantly bridged the event between the TNG saga and the new Alternate Universe to make the new film fit into Star Trek canon. The appearance of the TNG cast just scream for nerdgasm from the trekkies.
  • Sin City has a tight-knit continuity. Usually, every story will have at least one scene at Kadie's Bar which shows several characters in the background making references to past events. It is also common to see the same scene played more than once in different stories but from different characters' points of view. Also, it's not uncommon for a character to mention a certain event, only for that event to be played out in another story due to the series' Anachronic Order.
  • Atomic Robo plays with this. It's told in Anachronic Order, and the creators plotted out the major events of Robo's life. It is also designed to be accessible, so new readers can enjoy the story without knowing all the references to previous stories.

Fan Works

  • Almost all fanfiction will fall under this trope in one way or another, rarely or never giving explanations to things that can be found in canon. It is justified, however—what's the point of making a fanfic accessible to everyone if only fans of the original work will read it?
  • The epic Star Wars/Star Trek crossover The Unity Saga, which features tons of characters from both franchises, including dipping heavily into the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It's highly advisable to have Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia on standby while reading it.


  • The Star Wars prequel trilogy. Sure they're good, but the whole thing is devoted to explaining the retcons in the original trilogy. And, to get as many characters from the OT into the backstory.
  • Die Another Day - everything from the title onwards is a tongue-in-cheek reference to other films in the series. It was basically a 20th film Milestone Celebration special.
    • A deleted scene in A View to a Kill involved cameo appearances of numerous Bond gadgets from previous movies.
  • This is frequently cited as the biggest issue with the Saw films after Saw III. There are two big reasons for this: the fact that they killed off a major character (the main villain of the franchise!) in Saw III, and the franchise's love affair with badly-executed twist endings. It became a running joke in fandom that 90% of a Saw film is spent filling in the plot holes caused by the ending of the last one.


  • The Harry Potter series has more-or-less averted this. How? Basically, J. K. Rowling relegated Continuity Porn to Word of God, thus (mostly) keeping it out of the actual books.
    • Although some have accused the final book of this.
  • David Brin's Foundation's Triumph is an extremely well-executed example.
  • Thieves' World was a series of books created by Robert Asprin where various authors would write short stories in a Shared Universe, the town of Sanctuary. As time went on authors would make references to their and other's stories in earlier books. But since the authors were off writing their own stories and not sitting in a room together to make sure it all fit, various problems started to arise and eventually the idea was abandoned.
    • Which is a shame... The first book did mention something along the lines that any continuity errors you might notice are from people telling their stories as first person and...enhancing... their part in a story.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe is full of this. How full? Even Heir to the Empire, often considered where it truly began, includes references to the proceeding Star Wars Roleplaying Game. This was helped by an internally maintained database of canon that authors could reference.
    • There are a few books in the New Jedi Order which are basically nothing but recalls to previous plots strung together with a weak story. There wasn't much cooperation among most writers before then, and so each writer often tried to ignore every other writer's output; NJO sometimes took things too far in the other direction.
    • The Essential Guide to War details armed conflict from before the Republic to Star Wars Legacy. Large parts of it are expanding on names mentioned once in obscure books that had been out of print for decades.
  • Another one of the rare non-comic examples: The Magician(1908) of William Somerset Maugham is that thick of nods to that time topical literature, the spiritists-movement, illusion-magic, alchemy and other loudy figures (like Cagliostro) that people without a large background knowledge of at least two mentioned topics won't get anything. At the very least, one can enjoy the novel a whole lot more - some might even say it's the only interesting part of the novel.
  • "Ayla and the Tests", in the Whateley Universe, is probably this trope, since there is a ton of continuity polishing over every other character's stories for most of the Fall 2006 term, fixing a bunch of little tiny things the fans had spotted (or in a couple cases, things only the author had spotted).
  • The 2006 novel Friday the 13th: Carnival of Maniacs is ripe with this, with every Friday the 13th film released at the time (with the exception of Jason X, since it takes place in the future) getting lots and lots of references, with even minor elements being referred to.
  • The Super Mario Bros.-based Choose Your Own Adventure Doors to Doom, released in 1991, featured appearances by Donkey Kong, his son, the building from the original arcade game, Wart and Subcon, and also mentioned Mario's original girlfriend Pauline.
  • The Icelandic Sagas, being semi-accurate descriptions of major events in Icelandic history all happening in the narrow time frame of around 200 years. It's not uncommon for a main character from one saga to become a minor one in another, or vice versa.
  • Definately present in Bluestar's Prophecy. Scenes from later books replicated in full with detailed explanations of what was going on, lots of cameos of Field Guide characters, and backstories for all the major villains of the first arc. As well, the book did it's best to give backstories to almost all the characters in the main group. This was kind of difficult. It even gave a large role to a character who was only mentioned once in the entire series and didn't get on the cast list in that book ( Rosetail).
  • Stephen King's Needful Things is an entire book made up of characters, references and concepts from previous King novels. Billed as "The Last Castle Rock Novel" (a reference to the setting which many of King's books shared), the plot has a small-town sheriff named Alan Pangborn facing off against a supernatural creature who has possessed many of the local townspeople, including John Merrill from Stand by Me. The book references the Four Past Midnight novellas, a character who is related to the murderer from The Dead Zone, Shawshank Prison, It and The Dark Half. The final battle involves Alan and Big Bad Leland Gaunt summoning the spirits of the possessed car Christine and killer dog Cujo (from the books of the same name) to battle.

Live Action TV

  • Plenty of eighties Doctor Who stories began to suffer from this, such as Attack of the Cybermen.
    • Things went further in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, with the stand-out example being War of the Daleks by John Peel, which Armed with Canon, did a Retcon and Justifying Edit on thirty years of ad-hoc and contradictory Dalek history into a coherent whole and did a Take That against a particular Story Arc which the author abhorred. It did so by explaining entire stories as an elaborate Xanatos Gambit against the Doctor, who had set up a Xanatos Gambit in the already Continuity Porn-full Remembrance of the Daleks. There wasn't really much room for an actual story to fit in the book as well.
      • The Quantum Archangel by Craig Hinton (creator of the term Fan Wank - not a coincidence) beats War in the continuity stakes. It starts out as a sequel to The Time Monster, drags in The Daemons to tie together the two explanations for Atlantis, throws every Sufficiently Advanced Alien in the series and its spinoffs against the Mad Mind of Bophemeral, explains the origin of Mondas, and then chucks in a series of parallel universes involving Prime Minister Mel against the Cybermen; Lord President Doctor against the Daleks (with the inevitable nod to "The War" in the Eighth Doctor books); and Stuart Hyde against a teamup of the Master, Rani, Monk and Drax. Unlike War, however, it's fun.
      • Another Expanded Universe novel Who Killed Kennedy covered a large chunk of the series' history, mostly around the Jon Pertwee era, although other Doctors, past and future, are mentioned. The protagonist even started a romance with Dorothy "Dodo" Chaplet, a former companion from the William Hartnell years, while investigating the history of UNIT and confronting the Master over a plot to alter history during the Kennedy assassination. Writer David Bishop acknowledged the graphic novel Marvels as an influence on his story. The entire novel is available online for free with the author's permission.
    • In modern Who, "Turn Left" and "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", which referenced nigh-on every significant alien invasion etc. of Earth from four series since the show was revived in 2005. Even many obsessive fans of the new series were a bit confused. In the same vein, the whole conjoined era of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors was brought to a close in 2010's Season Finale The End of Time, which was not only fairly Continuity Porn-heavy as a whole but concluded with a pure, unadulterated ten-minute slab of the stuff just to emotionally revisit a whole string of the era's main characters one last time.
    • This is despite 'new' Doctor Who taking deliberate steps to avoid Continuity Porn when the programme was first brought back, by reintroducing its previous incarnation's 26 years of continuity only slowly and selectively.
    • And then there's Spin-Off show The Sarah Jane Adventures serial "Death of the Doctor", which is hardcore fetish Continuity Porn despite being not actually a Doctor Who episode. (And it's in a kids' show, ironically.) It's two half-hour episodes consisting almost entirely of references to classic Who, with former character Jo Grant brought back to star alongside Sarah-Jane Smith 37 1/2 years since she last played the Doctor's onscreen companion. This culminated in scriptwriter Russell T. Davies stopping the action dead just before the closing credits to allow Sarah Jane to fill us all in on what classic companions were doing, including Ian, Barbara, Harry, Tegan, and Ace. The target audience had no idea who these people were—but fans of the classic series did. Heartwarming ensued.
    • "The Doctor's Wife" by Neil Gaiman. Practically 80% references to the classic and new series!
  • Arguably, the entire fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise (specifically the first type), which went so far as to have an episode explaining why the Klingons in the original series lacked the ridges on their foreheads (although there was a brief reference to this by Worf in DS9). See Running the Asylum.
    • And yet, most fans consider the fourth season far superior to the first two seasons, and, as a prequel, feel that this was what the series should have been along.
    • Star Trek novels get even worse. There's a Data-focused novel out there ("Immortal Coil" by Jeffrey Lang) partially dedicated to explaining how Noonien Soong got into androids - and just to show off, they linked it to no less than two Star Trek: The Original Series episodes, "What Are Little Girls Made Of" and "Requiem for Methuselah". The actual plot got even worse, with every sentient machine in the history of Star Trek making an appearance.
      • And a reference to The Questor Tapes, Gene Roddenberry's other android!
      • What "Immortal Coil" does for Data, "Watching the Clock" By Christopher L. Bennett does for Time Travel. The author employs some heavy-duty Arc Welding to every. Single. Time Travel episode to smooth out Trek's notoriously tangeled Timey-Wimey Ball into something resembling a coherent whole. And it works. Awesomely.
      • Peter David is in love with this trope in his Star Trek Expanded Universe novels, most specifically Star Trek: New Frontier. Up to and including implying that Number One and Nurse Chapel were the same person, and explaining why the voice of Federation starships universally sounds like Majel Barrett Roddenberry. Number One, aka Captain Pike's XO, was a computer expert and programmed the voices.
      • And the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Relaunch, which managed to link the ever-popular first season of TNG neural parasites, the Trill, and an ancient civilization from a throw-away archaeology reference somewhere in TNG.
  • At times, Angel approached this in its references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, some fans appreciated this, as spinoffs all too often ignore the parent show altogether.
    • Buffy was better in this domain, but sometimes some episodes followed directly the Angel ones. Which wasn't that bad in the original run because the recap segment also recapped the Angel episodes. But if you're watching on DVD and don't remember the Angel episode it goes with, you're a bit lost.
    • Then there's the second series of Angel, during which Darla is back and we're treated to/forced through more backstory at least once an episode.
  • Season 8 of Charmed had a big stream of references to past episodes. The Seven Deadly Sins and Grams's cursed wedding ring were used against the sisters again in one of the last episodes, Greg Piper's brief fireman boyfriend from season 6 made a guest appearance, Billie references both Barbus and the B-plot of "Ex Libris" to make a criminal confess, the sisters get trapped inside the dollhouse again, the Angel of Destiny shows up as do the Elders and the Avatars and Phoebe gets a big flashback to her previous love lives. Then there's the whole Back for the Finale thing.
  • Lost gives us quite a lot in the last two seasons because of all the Aborted Arcs that left mysteries unresolved. Some of the more offending examples are the dismissively offhand revelations that the mysterious whispers in the jungle are dead people, the bird that cries "Hurley" was genetically modified by Dharma scientists, and that JACOB HAD A THING FOR NUMBERS. These examples clearly fall under the category that serves no purpose to the plot.
    • Conversely, the show is replete with episodes that manage to advance the plot while filling in the deliberate blanks quite satisfactorily. Most of season 5 attempts this using time travel, and episodes like "Across the Sea" make good use of the show's trademark flashback plot device.
  • Arrested Development is a rare example of a sitcom engaging in this. It works, as it was exploited for a number of excellent retroactive Brick Jokes and other forms of inside-humor. This really only shows up in Season 3, when it was all but confirmed that the show wasn't going to be renewed and a Channel Hop was unlikely, so Continuity Lock Out wasn't a problem.
  • How I Met Your Mother often ventures into this territory, invariably forcing Allison Hannigan to put on a wig for the hair color she had in a particular season during a flashback. Justified in that the narrator is one of the characters, looking back with nostalgia.
  • Community uses its ensemble cast to full effect. Masterfully subverted in a clip show that wasn't a clip show, creating continuity porn for stuff that never happened.
  • Los Simuladores: Former clients of the guys appear in every episode taking part in the drills.
  • Smallville having gone for ten years or so, has done this several times. Most notably, the episode "Abyss" has many flashbacks and changes to Chloe's memories of past episodes, and scenes that took place before the series, but were mentioned.
  • The Shield featured a continuity-heavy episode, "Co-Pilot", that exists for no other reason than to fill in plot holes and continuity errors no one had asked for (as well as give the show's makeup team time to figure out how they would depict Strike Team member Ronnie Gardocki's facial disfigurement). The episode, set weeks before the actual pilot, brought back most of the supporting characters who had died over the course of the first and second season (including Connie, the hooker who was killed two episodes prior, and Detective Terry Crowley, whose death motivated the entire series), cleared up unanswered questions from the first season and explained how the entire cast got to be where they are.
  • The fifth season of The Wire did this constantly, (possibly) to the detriment of the series as a whole. New viewers couldn't jump in to the story - the showrunners expected viewers to know who all of the former characters from previous seasons were, and how they related to the overarching story. Former one-shot characters (like Jeff Price, the reporter who had a single appearance in season 3) become main characters, while other major/supporting characters (down to some of the dock workers and Russians in season 2, and a one-scene character from a season 1 episode) show up to further various subplots. There are also entire story threads that were filmed solely to emphasize continuity with previous seasons - a key resolution of the final case is the discovery of a character's saliva sample from the previous season, which is emphasized when a cop visits the Baltimore morgue (which hadn't been seen since Season 3) to discuss his findings.
  • The final episode of Desperate Housewives. The whole season eight started with book end Call Back in form of a note that originally drove Mary Alice to suicide, but the double-lenght Finale really takes the cake. Not only it features Mary Alice and Martha Huber in a flashback opening, but it also makes numerous references to the earlier plotlines, brings several characters back, including a one-shot character that met Lynette randomly at the supermarket in the very FIRST episode and discussed choosing family over career with her in both the first and last episodes for the whole series. Then, at the end of the episode we see a huge Continuity Cavalcade including just about every character that died during the series.


  • When The Police got back together to remake 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', the Music Video featured primarily excerpts from prior Police videos. The other components are either CGI of Police-related items and features, and the Police themselves standing and rotating (although Sting's costume is well as what's in the costume, too). At least among the videos were bits from the original song's video.
    • Done by necessity rather than choice: the original idea had been for the group to begin their reformation by making a whole album of old songs revisited, but in the event they got on so badly that only one track was completed for release, and when it came to doing a video they refused to appear in it together.
  • Blink-182 in their video for Man Overboard, use What's My Age Again?, All the Small Things and Adam's Song as nightmares.
  • The Beatles: listen to the lyrics in "Glass Onion" (Queen would do the same on "Soul Brother").
    • In the music video for "Free as a Bird" as well.
  • Done in Barenaked Ladies' "Thanks, That Was Fun". The video (made in 2005) references 15 years of the band's career, including all of their music videos, as well as live performances. The video clip also uses digital trickery to make it look as if singers Steven Page and Ed Robertson are "singing" the lyrics to this song in their older works - done by using CGI to move their mouths to match the new lyrics.
    • Also used in Alanis Morissette's "Three Easy Steps" video. It even references videos from her "pre-Jagged Little Pill" period, and goes so far as to reference You Can't Do That on Television, which she appeared on long before her music career.
  • Destroyer, aka Dan Bejar of The New Pornographers, IS this trope. There's even a lyrics wiki and a drinking game that revolve around his use of the trope.
  • Funeral for a Friend have spent most of their career paying homage to their early E Ps and their first album Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation. Their 2007 EP The Great Wide Open features both their first two E Ps played live in full, and their old logo from 2003 made a reappearance on their best of compilation Your History Is Mine in 2009. Their 2008 album Memory And Humanity features a reworked version of this logo and it also has similar Scenery Porn for its album cover. Their 2011 album Welcome Home Armageddon features a song called Old Hymns, which seems to be about how fans take the band's early work religiously and no matter what they do people will always compare their new stuff to it. It is in a similar musical style to that album, as well. It was even released on the label who released their E Ps and first album, who they rejoined with for it.

Professional Wrestling


Yes, despite rampant Fanon Discontinuity and Canon Discontinuity, there are wrestling examples.

  • Chikara Pro's Wham! Episode at their Season 9 finale pulled the pin on a storyline at least two years in the making. Initial plotpoints that were dismissed as some oddity (a last minute contract negotiation in September 2007, one confusing end to a match two months later [UltraMantis seemingly missing his man's opponent and knocking out his own man, then not showing any surprise], the rather unexplained disappearance of Chris Hero after the following show, a supernatural-themed site becoming a website sponsor in 2008/2009) were all tied together and then elaborated on in the following months.
  • A big part of the problem with Vince Russo's writing style is his almost-schizophrenic wavering between Continuity Porn and Canon Discontinuity. In order to appreciate many of Russo's storylines, you must remember exactly what he wants you to remember (even if it goes back to the '80s), and forget exactly what he doesn't want you to remember (even if it happened three months ago).


  • Long story short, The Bible is probably the only example on this list which has thousands of essays, hundreds of books, and even entire university courses dedicated to analyzing the sheer tidal wave of Call Backs and Continuity Nods and what they all mean.


  • Bionicle ventured into this area from time to time, the most noteworthy example being the two-year flashback story of the Metru Nui Saga. Various other Flashbacks had a tendency to become this, though to some, they may have lead to a Continuity Lock Out, especially if they referenced minor side-stories.

Video Games

  • A major complaint about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is that a lot of the story falls between this and Continuity Lock Out; containing references and themes from even the games on the MSX; bringing back minor dangling plot threads and references as MacGuffins, Applied Phlebotinum, and Chekhovs Guns; and fitting in fanservice cameos from almost every character who wasn't confirmed dead - as well as a couple of fanservice cameos from characters who were. Even a lot of the camera angles and character motions were lifted from previous games as blink-and-you'll-miss-it symbolism for the kind of hardcore fans who'd memorised every single cutscene. Of course, to some extent this was the whole point of the game, and anyone who wasn't extremely familiar with the whole saga really has no business playing a game designed to wrap everything up. Or a game with '4' in the title, for that matter.
  • Mortal Kombat had at least four examples of this: the Konquest mode of Deception (which was quickly thrown into Canon Discontinuity despite a halfway-decent attempt to explain Where Are They Now for each of the forgotten characters), Armageddon (which was what Deception's Konquest Mode would've been if They Just Didn't Care), Annihilation (which tried to cram as many character references as possible, to the detriment of the plot), and Conquest (with a C, which gave several mortal characters Identical Grandfathers just so fans of the show can see them despite being 500 years before they were technically supposed to appear). And one has to wonder why people say plot doesn't matter in an MK game...
  • Though any newcomer can jump into The Legend of Zelda at any point without having to know what the general plot is for the series, they won't experience the deep appreciation a longtime fan will have over all the subtle references to previous games.
  • Sonic Chronicles was one of these. It had references to various games and cartoons, including: Chili Dogs, Swat-bots from SatAm, the use of the name "Robotnik" (something which hadn't been mentioned for a while), old level names re-used, recycled sound effects and (poorly emulated) re-used music from old games, old badniks in the backgrounds, an old Mega Drive in a background, a reference to Amy's tarot card reading (which was a plot point in the Sonic the Hedgehog CD instruction manual that was long since forgotten), a nod to Sonic X (Tails' workshop contains a plantpot, arguably with Cosmo's seed in it), an explanation of the gizoids and Emerl, an evil albino echidna (just like the two separate evil albino echidnas from the Archie and Fleetway comics) and an ending which mirrors the opening plot of Sonic the Comic.
    • Ironically, Word of God has stated that Chronicles is Canon Discontinuity.
    • Sonic Generations is also continuity porn. It features levels from almost every major title in the series, with many references to (and elements such as level gimmicks from) levels within that didn't make it, musical nods and remixes, and even tiny little details that only the most dedicated fans would notice. It also features both the current and the old Sonic models.
  • The Halo series has gotten pretty insane about this in the later games, as more and more elements from the Expanded Universe are brought in. Even disregarding that, each game seems to assume that you've played the previous releases; this is particularly apparent in with regards to Halo 3, since it was originally intended to be part of the same game as Halo 2.
    • Halo 3: ODST is somewhat better about this than the other games, despite being technically an expansion pack; it contains an opening scroll that explains the backstory a bit, and has a fairly self-contained plot. You'll still need to play the other games to understand who Sergeant Johnson is, what an "Elite" is and why everyone is shocked to find them being killed by Brutes, as well as the meaning of The Stinger if the player beats the game on Legendary.
    • Halo also has the dubious honor of being a series where someone who only has partial knowledge about the expanded universe will often be more confused than someone who has no knowledge about it. For example, most of Halo: Reach's apparent contradictions with earlier canonical sources are perfectly explainable...but only if one has read Dr. Halsey's Journal, the 2010 and 2011 reprints of The Fall of Reach (which contain several retcons and bonus sections intended to smooth over the original 2001 version's contradictions with later canon), Halo Waypoint's Data Drops, and this message from LCDR Kurt Ambrose to SCPO Franklin Mendez.
    • Not even Halo: Combat Evolved is immune to this; in the remake, much of what is revealed in the terminals will only be comprehensible to the people who have read the Forerunner novel trilogy.
  • Star Trek Online is filled with continuity nods of various degrees, from meeting Tom Paris' and Belanna Torres' kid, to referencing Spock's disappearance prior to the new Trek movie.
  • While Dead Space Extraction is a pretty solid game on its own right, it's also sheer continuity porn for those who have played Dead Space. Makes sense, since the game goes through Dead Space backwards right before Dead Space happens.
  • The whole point of Final Fantasy VII titles such as Advent Children, Last Order, Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core and Before Crisis.
    • 'The whole point' is a bit of an exaggeration. It doesn't really go beyond what you'd usually expect from direct sequels or prequels.
      • Still, quite a bit of it is. They get the entire team back during Advent Children. Outside the Bahamut Sin fight, the ONLY ones to do anything plot-related are Cloud, Tifa, and Vincent (and Aerith, technically). That leaves Barret, Cid, Red XIII, Cait Sith, and Yuffie doing... nothing. They actually have to explain (poorly) why they don't join in the fight against Sephiroth.
  • Ace Attorney: Investigations doesn't even try to disguise the fact that it assumes you've played at least the entire 'Phoenix Arc'. Besides starring several major supporting characters from said games, cameos and background gags abound throughout every case, most of which will not make any sense whatsoever if you haven't already beaten most of the series.
    • Ace Attorney is oddly attached to its first game more than the others in more than a few ways. While it is good at referencing every game in the set, especially when it comes to major characters (spot the future reference to Ace Attorney 4 in AAI Case 3!), the first game is the one they tend to turn to if they need a random minor character, callback piece of background music, or gag.
  • Tom Clancy's EndWar lives and breathes this trope, as numerous organizations and characters are present in the game and narrative without being given any proper explanation. You are expected to know who Third Echelon, Team Rainbow, the H.A.W.X. aircraft and The Ghosts are. Better yet, this is the canoncial continuation for the JSF's leader, Captain Scott Mitchell, who was last seen near death in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2.
  • In Command & Conquer: Kane's Wrath, one of the campaign missions has the player character leading an attack on an enemy base in South Africa. Early in the mission, one of the player's soldiers remarks that the battlefield "feels familiar...almost as if [he'd] fought here before...". The final mission of the Nod Campaign in the first Command and Conquer game took place in South Africa...and was set fifty years before the events of Kane's Wrath.
  • One of the main draws of The Simpsons Hit & Run.
  • During the intro to Epic Mickey, after Mickey practically ruined Wasteland for everyone in it, we're reintroduced to Mickey's overall history throughout the years, from Steamboat Willie, to Fantasia, to Mickey's Christmas Carol.
    • The entire game is a Continuity Porno; featuring the long, lost, forgotten character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, that only the biggest of animation fanatics would have known about before hand, characters that were one-offs or used sparingly (IE The Lonesome Ghosts), levels based on Mickey Mouse, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and even a Pluto cartoon, old rides, nevermind the fact that the world is based on Disneyland, and creator Warren Spector claims almost everything in the game is from Disney's history.
  • The Harvest Moon franchise is filled with it, which seem rather bizarre since the timeline is ridiculously confusing. What do you expect from these games?
  • The cutscenes of Transformers: Call Of The Future (placed in the Transformers Generation 1 cartoon continuity) mention events of the TV series anytime they can.
    • This glorious tradition is followed by Transformers: War for Cybertron - while it is, in theory, rebooting continuity, in practice, the designers were clearly homaging the G! material of their childhoods heavily.
  • Fallout: New Vegas is full of continuity porn. Most overtly it's references to Fallout 1 and 2, particularly 2. Old characters, settlements, events, and groups are referenced. Old characters show up on Republican Money and old symbols appear on flags or walls. The game even delves into the backstory of pre-war factions like Rob Co electronics is explored. However, the bulk of continuity porn is actually references to cut content. Most of the setup, factions and history are cribbed from a never-finished version of Fallout 3 which shares several designers with New Vegas. Most recently, cut enemies from Fallout 2 have appeared in promotional clips for downloadable content.
    • Additionally, it can be difficult to deduce that New Vegas is even post-apocalyptic for the first several hours. Unlike the sealed Vault of Fallout 3 followed by its "Scenic Overlook', most of the Mojave either never was inhabited or has been rebuilt.
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution revels in this. To note, the game begins with references to two of the villains from the first game and a leitmotif that references the original UNATCO theme, and ends with a secret conversation that namedrops the eventual head of the Illuminati and a virus that may become the plague from the first game. Left and right, you'll find important names being dropped, foreshadowing of future events discussed, and concepts that the original game had in their infancy.
  • In the demo for Space Quest 6, several mementos from previous games can be found in Roger's quarters.

Web Animation

  • Slowly but surely Homestar Runner is getting there.
    • And there's DNA evidence to prove it! Witness how an Orphaned Punchline turned into a Call Back turned into a Running Gag gained a short of its own in just seven episodes.
    • And then there's the cartoon "hremail #7". It exists to provide an origin story for the Strong Bad Email shorts and to parody the early years of the Homestar Runner website (the artwork is a pseudo-reversion to their earlier art style, and the jokes reference many abandoned early running gags). However, as the H*R wiki is quick to point out, the cartoon actually contradicts many prior cartoons, both old and recent.

Web Comics

  • Parodied in Narbonic, with "Continuity Repairs with Rob & Andy".
  • Happens quite a bit during the "bROKEN" arc from Sluggy Freelance. It seems like practically every strip for months on end has a footnote linking back to the past strips it references, some of which haven't been mentioned for nearly a decade.
    • This was probably because bROKEN's plot was planned to air far earlier than a decade. A similar problem occurs in El Goonish Shive's Sister 2 storyline. It stands to reason that a surprise ending delayed for years is no longer a surprise, but webcomics are written seat-of-your-pants that it's easy to lose control. In the end, it's just as much the author's fault as though they had done it on purpose.
  • A noteworthy example is Bob & George. So much weird stuff happens all the damn time that it's impossible for everything to work. And it still does. Nothing happens by accident, everything is explained, everything fits. David Anez is a god when it comes to retconning.
  • The final arc of Casey and Andy has things that wrap up every odd little throwaway gag for years, including odd things about their neighbor Jen, and even why a deceased president hates them.
  • It's Walky spin-off Shortpacked! intentionally avoided this for much of its run, due to the latter having a much different tone. This let Shortpacked! stand on its own as a comic about a toy store. In recent strips, however, David Willis has started including more and more connections, cameos and guest-stars from the parent strip, often having to use his accompanying commentary to explain things to new readers.
  • Everything in Homestuck is a Call Back of some sort. No exceptions.
    • As in most of the MS Paint Adventures comics. Problem Sleuth is also extremely confusing unless read from the beginning.
  • The "Strip Club of the Damned" story in Something*Positive highlights this. Every one of the strippers is an Expy of a woman Davan's had sex with.

Western Animation

  • Arguably happened to Bender's Big Score, the first Futurama movie, though it could be argued that the film's time travel plot is a subversion, or even a deconstruction, of continuity porn itself. Also, when the population of Earth exits the Planet Express ship on Neptune, many characters from previous episodes can be seen.
    • In many respects, Futurama has taken continuity porn to an art form. At this point, there is very little about Fry's personal timeline that has not been elaborately explained and correlated with other, often seemingly incidental events in the show's history, both via "Bender's Big Score," and several other episodes involving the Niblobian/Brain war.
      • Futurama is one of the few shows in which the destruction of New York City twice as a result of a main character's actions could be considered 'incidental.'
      • They also managed to change two really tear-jerking endings into a somewhat happy and comical one. Before the movie came out everyone thought Fry's Dog was doomed to live out the rest of his life alone, with Fry mistakingly believing he has lived a long and happy life and choosing not to revive him. We're then shown that Fry did indeed live with Seymour until the dog's last moments, before both were promptly blasted by bender turning Fry into Lars and Seymour into a Flash Fossil. We're also introduced to Fry Jr, before he was famous. Seeing his uncle as a deadbeat-whale chaser might have been the reason for Jr to work as hard as he did, instead of "carrying on Fry's Memory" as the original ending implied.
    • The time lapse near the end of "The Late Philip J. Fry" features scenes from "Space Pilot 3000", "Love's Labours Lost in Space", "Amazon Women in the Mood", "Future Stock", "A Taste of Freedom", "The Beast with a Billion Backs", and "Attack of the Killer App", all viewed in the perspective of Fry, Bender and Farnsworth in their time machine.
    • The Comedy Central episodes have been accused of doing this by some as well, such as Zoidberg's mating fin coming out when he's not in his mating frenzy, more mentions of Seymour, and seemingly as many plots involving recurring background characters as the writers can think of.
  • Animated adaptions of DC comics revel in this trope, especially when it comes to the DCAU:
    • The Fully-Absorbed Finale Batman Beyond episode of Justice League Unlimited, "Epilogue". In spades. And it was so worth it.
    • The Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Return of Batgirl" is a minor example. It contains a number of references to earlier episodes that don't relate directly to the plot, which stands out in a series that is far more episodic than later DCAU series. This is just one of the elements that make the episode feel more like a fanfic episode that happened to get produced.
    • Batman the Brave And The Bold. All of it is a reference to any event, character, concept, place, etc. of varying obscurity within the DC Universe.
      • Any scene with Bat-Mite is subject to this to various degrees.
      • Even more so in Mite Fall which has a cameo appearance of just about every character that ever appeared in the show and references to just about every Batman incarnation. Even way back when Batman used guns.
    • Same goes for Young Justice. Every minor hero or villain introduced seems to have been chosen to make some fan somewhere happy.
    • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. The movie does its best to introduce all its characters and plot points for novice viewers, but unless you've watched the Justice League show and are a long time DC comic reader, half the movie will go straight over your head.
  • The revised HD intro of The Simpsons arguably does this, featuring fan-favorite minor characters more than ever before; in fact, one of the first characters you see in this version of the intro is Ralph Wiggum, as opposed to a member of the Simpson family.
    • The show itself is full of this.
  • The Allspark Allmanac is a continuity porno if there ever was one. A reference to a magazine-contest-winning fancharacter in the 80s in Japan, never featured in a story ever? Sure, why not?
    • Transformers Animated itself is at least a continuity pink film. While there'll be no Continuity Lock Out if you aren't a day-one TF-aholic, if you are one (but not a GEEWUNner) you'll enjoy the onslaught of references, injokes, and ironic twists on past characters and lines. The Allspark Almanac takes it Beyond the Impossible.
      • And Transformers Prime is ramping up to do the same. It's set in a new "Universe" referred to in-house as the Aligned continuity, which includes War for Cybertron, the novel Exodus, Fall of Cybertron, and the Prime cartoon... so far. There are plans to add more very soon, and a main selling point of it is a new, overarching story that will incorporate elements of previous stories in a way to make the vast majority of fans happy. And it's working.
  • Moral Orel, despite being an 11-minute claymation comedy series, has plenty. Orel has a poster for a band mentioned in episode one, and the entire basis for season 3 is a single, seemingly throw-away musical episode.
  • The 200th and 201st episodes of South Park. It's a half-hour full-hour of non-stop references to older episodes that mocks the show's reliance on repeated plots.
  • Phineas and Ferb. A lot of references are made to minor gags, characters, events, and places seen earlier in the series.
    • Special mention must go to the hour-long special "Summer Belongs To You." The Continuity Nods flew as fast as the group did—and they went around the world in a day.
    • Roller coaster the musical turns this Up to Eleven. Some of the bigger examples include one of Candace's songs listing a ton of the things that Phineas and Ferb had done up to that point and the finale song which features almost every character that had ever appeared in the show.
    • If Rollercoaster: The Musical turns it up to eleven, then Across the Second Dimension cranks it up past thirteen. Not only do continuity nods proliferate the work, but many become significant plot points or action sequences, and the climax is a continuity orgy every bit as big as the end of Rollercoaster: The Musical, except this time it has the benefit of not breaking the fourth wall to do it.
  • Frisky Dingo does this so much that in one episode the part that says previously on Frisky Dingo just has Killface saying if you want to know what happened I recommend iTunes.
  • The final episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • The episode "A New Leaf" of SpongeBob SquarePants, where Mr. Krabs throws Plankton's most recent invention into a room filled with every other invention he used earlier in the series.