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Sometimes a literal expansion pack world.

It's a simple and well received story - the main characters have explored a vast and magical realm, with limitless borders, fantastical races, and did I mention limitless borders?

The book was a hit, a veritable smash, and logic dictates that a new one must be penned. But there's a problem - the plot is resolved already. The Ultimate Evil has been destroyed, the tyrant king dethroned, ding-dong the witch is dead. How do you make a new story in this world?

Simple - expand the world.

It shouldn't be that hard. A little Scotch Tape, a little Retcon, and people won't notice. Use the same heroes for consistency and you can set the sequel in a neighbouring country in the same Magical Land!

This is effectively a Post Script Season for the series, but trying to create new plots from thin air can create inconsistencies. If four humans were all it took to defeat the White Witch in CS Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, then how did the neighbouring, human-filled kingdoms of Archenland and Calormen not pose a threat for a hundred years?

If a work was meant to be a one-shot story and they have to expand the universe to make a sequel, they effectively have to weld new kingdoms and landmasses onto the world - adding Backstory never even hinted at in the first book. And if you look close enough, you can see the seams. However, a good series will Retcon these cleanly, tying back to the original material, so that we don't notice or care. An even better series will have hinted at them in the first book, either to allow for this possibility, or just to satiate the creator's sheer pleasure in world-building.

Of course, this doesn't just apply to Trapped in Another World plots; it applies to any unexpected hit with its own, original setting, even outside the Speculative Fiction genres.

See also Retcon, Post Script Season, Apocalypse Not, World Sundering, Planet England. Compare Mythology Gag, where events in the previous works are referenced in the later releases.

Examples of Expansion Pack World include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the second season of Magic Knight Rayearth, it's revealed that the magic separating Cephiro from other countries is now gone. These "countries" are more similar to other planets; and it requires a ship and enormous magic/technology to traverse the gulf in between.
    • They pulled the same stunt in Slayers Try, the third season of Slayers. "The magical barrier" that surrounded the Known World (whose existence wasn't even so much as hinted at in the previous seasons) suddenly vanishes, opening the rest of the world to exploration for the first time in a thousand years. It is broadly hinted at that Our Heroes defeating the Big Bad in the previous season was what brought down the barrier.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's revealed more realms besides Earth, Mid-childa, and Precia's pocket dimension - although to be fair, the fact that there were other worlds out there was made clear in the first series; we just didn't see them.
    • Force outdid every series yet, by revealing worlds besides Mid-Childa and Earth, which includes the TSAB-administrated core worlds (5 besides Mid-Childa so far) and non-administrated ones.

Comic Books

  • Legion of Super-Heroes: In the late 60s, Jim Shooter introduced the Dominators to the title, at the end of a supposed war between them and the United Planets that had never been mentioned before. In fact, it had been previously established that war in general was now unknown. Amazingly enough, this was repeated in the "threeboot". It was stated explicitly at the start that there had been centuries of peace. Then came the Dominators, and then a reference to a "Khund War" in living memory... the latter written by Jim Shooter.


  • Of course, Star Wars is the obvious example from Hollywood. The backstory of the Sith lords is the most Egregious example, with numerous Expanded Universe novels putting it farther and farther into the Republic's 25,000+ year Backstory.
  • The Matrix Reloaded. The first Matrix film had a much smaller budget, with a relatively simple story. The second and third films had much larger budgets, with the Animatrix as reference material. As a result, there has been some debate as to whether or not the latter two films should be considered "true" sequels.


  • As mentioned above, the Narnia books needed a lot of expansion to facilitate more stories. This caused plot inconsistencies, some of which were explained in the Prequel, The Magician's Nephew.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had a similar expansion in its sequels. The Land of Oz was revealed to be surrounded by a vast desert with magical death-powers that separated it from other similarly fantastic realms. It was one of the few things in the Baum stories that actually retained consistency from one book to the next.
    • And even here, it will only be consistent if we grant it a Retcon. In the first two books, it was implied that the deadly desert was separating Oz from the normal world full of Muggles, and not from other magical lands.
    • Wicked attempts to justify this by placing Oz in an Alternate Universe, which sometimes could catch dim glimpses of our own ("cities of smoke and glass").
  • The Hobbit wasn't originally part of the same universe as The Silmarillion, which was written first despite being published later. The links were originally Shout Outs, but while the Hobbit's sequel, The Lord of the Rings, was being written, Tolkien decided to put both The Hobbit and its sequel into the Silmarillion's universe. In this process, inconsistencies were introduced; for instance, the One Ring seems a lot more innocent in The Hobbit.
    • Tolkien was at lest prudent enough to revise The Hobbit to clean up major inconsistencies — and the "innocence" of the Ring is explained in The Lord of the Rings as Bilbo not telling the whole story because of its evil effects.
  • Throughout David Eddings's Belgariad, the heroes stick primarily to the Aloria region of the world; countries like Cthol Murgos and Mallorea are only mentioned as where the opposing Redshirt Army comes from. In the sequel series, The Malloreon, the quest sends the heroes into the aforementioned countries - allowing Eddings the chance to lift the Always Chaotic Evil labels off of said country's inhabitants while he's at it. Then he did it again in The Elenium and The Tamuli.
    • In the Tamuli, the official reason the main characters come up with for the trip to Tamuli is that, what with the old Always Chaotic Evil regime in the country in between them fallen, and travel and contact easier, it is now time to establish official relations.
    • And the Belgariad not only mentioned Malloria, but actually went to it at the end of the first series, albeit only the extreme and virtually deserted northwest corner
  • Even though the whole thing has been mapped, we've seen less than 50% of the Discworld up close. Terry Pratchett initially said "There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humor", but later retracted said statement and commissioned official maps as the Discworld's setting was more firmly developed to respond more to the rules of plot than the Rule of Funny. The statements are still reprinted in some editions of the Discworld books despite the fact that yes, there are maps.
    • It's interesting that both the Anhk Morpork and Discworld maps have tonnes of un-used locations that eventually show up- for example, Borogrovia was first seen on the Map. Interestingly also, the first books DID talk about other worlds (such as the one of Tethys the Sea Troll), but these things haven't been really talked about since.
  • A number of Dragonlance novels pulled Expansion Pack Races. "Actually, there's also an entire underground kingdom of metal-working elves right beneath all the cities you know about!" Some of these would be integrated into the rest of the setting as it went forward, others would never be mentioned again outside of the book/series that particular author was working on. These races would tend to be "discovered" by the protagonist of the story that first featured them, helping to explain why we the reader haven't encountered them previously, but in at least one case (the Fair Folk in the Defenders of Magic trilogy) very shortly after they're first discovered, other characters refer to them casually as if they've known about them all along.

Live-Action TV

  • The Stargate SG-1 series introduces a vast Backstory (and several thousand planets) not hinted at in the film. The creators of the film had their own backstory in mind, which was elaborated on in spin-off novels, but the series ignored it.
    • Not to mention the fact that after the main immortal godlike alien bad guys of SG-1 got defeated, they decided to piss off immortal, godlike aliens from another galaxy, or that the spin-off series, Atlantis, is set in a third, unique galaxy.
  • Adding new planets and species to a space setting is normal. The problem comes when, for example, you introduce a species/planet and say it was already relevant. For example, the Cardassians in Star Trek: The Next Generation. When they were introduced, the Federation was just supposed to have ended a war with them. A war that would have spanned the early seasons of the show.
      • Well space is rather big, and the Federation is probably much bigger then the Cardassian Empire so Star Fleet could have simply not have put all it's resources into the conflict, mostly because by the time other ships could get across Federation space the war would probably be either going horribly for the Federation so their reserves would end up fighting much closer to the center of Federation space and get there faster while if they set out right away they might get there right in time to see the end of the war. Also, because the Cardassians were apparently fighting the Klingons as wall it is doubtful the war was going to last long enough to justify the costs of moving every ship in the fleet to go to war. Think of Iraq invading Kuwait, Iraq made it deep into Kuwait and caused a lot of problems, but then when the UN finally goes into action Iraq isn't much of a threat anymore. The UN didn't need to call for every member of every nation's military, just more then enough to get the job done.
    • A worse example is Enterprise. At least three major species (Denobulans, Xindi, and Sulaban) are introduced in the expansion pack prequel. Since they were never mentioned before, it means at least three species have vanished entirely from the galaxy.
      • Actually the last two not appearing in the other series could be explained by the alternations to the time line caused by the temporal war, which in Star Trek altering the time line causes a a new universe to form instead of actually changing your own past. Since the Xindi only attacked Earth because of the tampering by time travelers and the Sulaban only have their tech as payment from the future it is quite plausible contact between the Federation and those two races simply hadn't occurred in the first timeline. This would also explain many differences in Enterprise from Star Trek cannon.
      • Or How about the fact that Captain Archer's ship is never seen amongst the models of previous ships named Enterprise that graced the walls on Picard's ship?
  • The 1990's remake of Land of the Lost 1991 had better special effects than the original, but dumbed down a lot of the cool concepts of the original; in particular, it abandoned the idea of the Land being a closed universe which loops on itself (where if you run far enough in one direction, you wind up where you started). The second season, though, which was markedly better written, took advantage of this difference by recognizing that the characters now had an entire planet to explore and didn't need to stay in the same place all the time.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40000 pulls these to add new races, especially with the Tau and Kroot. Of course, discovering new planets in a large universe is more believable than most of the examples that take place on a single world. Not to mention that sheer size of imperial databases makes it easy to forget about already discovered ones.
  • This was done EXTENSIVELY to The Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons, adding entire new continents from out of nowhere. Kara-Tur, anyone?
    • The more outrageous example is Zakhara, the setting for the Al-Qadim game that was set in the same world as the Realms, and around about 1992 suddenly materialized to the south of both Faerun and Kara-Tur (and even connected to both by a land-bridge) despite never being referred to before; references to it became strangely fashionable after that point.
    • Kara-Tur is at least somewhat justified; as in real life, Asia was largely unknown to Europeans for a long time.
    • Also at least slightly plausible was introducing Maztica, which was basically the Americas before Columbus, and located on an entirely separate continent.

Video Games

  • Zelda II the Adventure of Link series was set in North Hyrule, a region directly north of where the first game occurred. Death Mountain, located at the extreme north of the map in the first The Legend of Zelda, is now located at the extreme south, and two additional continents come into play. Future Zelda games were set in either Alternate Continuity or time-displaced versions of Hyrule, eliminating the need to find further locales.
    • Some side games like the The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games, The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening, and The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass are a straight example, though. The Oracle games take place in Holodrum and Labrynna, countries bordering Hyrule, and Link's Awakening takes place on Koholint Island which turns out to be All Just a Dream, and Phantom Hourglass is in some other region of the Great Sea we saw in its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker that is also a parallel world. Spirit Tracks takes place in a totally new Hyrule founded by the WW/PH Link and Zelda (aka Tetra) about a hundred years after its foundation.
    • The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess adds a parallel world of twilight, [1], connected to Hyrule only by a mirror, [2] which has an otherworldly glow to it filled with the shadowy descendants of dark wizards trapped by the Goddesses. They were the creators of the first set of Plot Coupons in the game, the Fused Shadows. This world starts to be merged with the world of light, aka Hyrule and its plane of existence by Ganon for revenge. It's also the home of Midna and Zant. Oh, and Hyrule has an icy peak in this game. Wait, what?
    • Majora's Mask is set in Termina, a land in a parallel world to Hyrule with character models taken from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time alternate versions of familiar secondary and tertiary characters. The series seems to love alternate universes; no wonder Hyrule could be said to be a Planet England.
  • Something similar to Zelda II occurs in Fallout 2, which takes place to the north of the events of the previous game. The most northern (AND most significant) locations in the previous game are relegated to Bonus Dungeons at the southern end of the map.
    • Fallout 3 takes place on the east coast, around DC in a region called The Capital Wastelands.
      • Fallout 3's DLC further adds to this. Operation Anchorage places the player in a simulation of a battle between the US Army and Communist Chinese in Alaska, and The Pitt allows the player to visit the remnants of Pittsburgh. Broken Steel adds a small area south west of DC, and Andrews Adams Air Force Base. Point Lookout adds a new, swampy portion on the Maryland coast, and Mothership Zeta is set on an alien spaceship.
    • Fallout: New Vegas runs on the same engine as 3, but is set in the area of Las Vegas, near where the first two games took place. It's been referred to - often favorably - as like a huge expansion to 3.
      • New Vegas's DLC also do this. The first, Dead Money takes place at the Seirra Madre casino and the villa surrounding it. Honest Hearts is set in Zion National Park in Utah while Old World Blues takes place in a crater/old world research facility known as the Big Empty. The final DLC, Lonesome Road, takes place in an area known as the Divide, which was apparently the site of a old world missile base and the town that sprang up around it that was torn asunder by a cataclysmic event in the Courier's past.
  • Similarly, in the sequels to the Pokémon games, it's revealed that Red and Blue took place in the region of Kanto, which is just one region within a larger nation. Gold and Silver takes place in the region of Johto, just to the west. Ruby and Sapphire takes place on Hoenn, an island far to the south, and Diamond and Pearl on Sinnoh, far to the north - but they are all encapsulated within the same country, a thinly-veiled approximation of Japan. Pokémon Colosseum, meanwhile, takes place in a different area (Orre), and its sequel, Pokémon XD, adds a new section to the northwest of the region, while keeping most of the original game's locations.
    • This hasn't created that many inconsistencies, except we're supposed to believe that every 3 years a 100-130 "new" Pokémon come out that always existed in the game's world. Ruby and Sapphire are implied to take place at the same time as Red and Blue too, which raises further questions. Also, the rank of Pokémon League Champion in the first games is supposed to be the title of the world's strongest trainer. Then we find out that it's a regional competition. Not international. Not even national. Quite overblown to say being the best Pokémon trainer in a country's single province equates with being the world's best . . .
      • Granted, the only one stating being a regional league Champion made you "the strongest trainer in the world" was your rival, and it's far from out of character for him to let it go to his head.
      • Even the new Pokémon thing wasn't a problem until the third generation revealed that many of the "newly discovered" Pokémon in generation two were already perfectly well known in Hoenn, and Professor Oak was just an idiot.
        • That would explain why he asks you if you're a boy or a girl and what his grandson's name is.
      • Note that it's not the global Pokédex which has the 649 Pokémon introduced so far, but National. Are Pokédexes really that new and communications that bad? Kanto definitely has had an odd influx of Johto Pokémon in those three years since the originals (Sentret, Hoothoot, Ledyba, Spinarak...) Even more Egregious, Murkrow and Houndour, both known as "Johto" Pokémon and introduced in Generation II, appear in Kanto, but not Johto. Note as of Genration 5 the 'National' Pokedex can be considered at the very least multinational as the Unova region is said to be part of a different country to the previous four regions.
  • A literal expansion pack world occurred in The Elder Scrolls IV: the expansion pack Shivering Isles takes place in the domain of the god of madness, which is almost completely disconnected from the original world. The link is a portal on an island that magically appears in the middle of lake. The game even lampshades the island's sudden appearance.
  • Dragon Quest II revealed that the country of Alefgard is just a small part of the planet. The third game returns to Alefgard being the entire world available again, even if you travel around it in a boat. Though, of course, this could be justified by it being sealed away... and it's not the world you start out on.
  • In a reversal, Ultima I had 4 continents, but became one continent with Ultima III. Much retconning was done to explain this in the later games, with at least one continent still unaccounted for.
  • The first Warcraft game was set on a single continent, home to the kingdom of Azeroth and featured humans and orcs as the only intelligent races. Its sequels added three additional continents (and expanded the original greatly), four other inhabited planets, and no less than two dozen additional races; additionally, the name "Azeroth" somehow came to apply to the entire planet rather than the human kingdom, which was retroactively renamed "Stormwind".
    • To be more specific: In the first game, we had the one Kingdom, Azeroth. The second game expanded the word "Azeroth" to the entire original continent, which included a region called Khaz Modan, and revealed there was also another continent named Lordaeron to the north of Azeroth, as well as another world named Draenor where the orcs came from. Then in Warcraft 3 the "lost" continent of Kalimdor was found, along with an even more northerly continent of Northrend. World of Warcraft added little or no actual geography but renamed the original continents the "Eastern Kingdoms", consisting of Azeroth (where the kingdom formerly known as Azeroth lies), Lordaeron and Khaz Modan. For the most part the franchise has avoided making places up entirely. The Burning Crusade expansion to WoW returned to the already established Draenor, although they were revealed to be a bit more intact than most had though. Admittedly, it also added a bit onto one of the existing continents for the Blood Elves to live in, and revealed the presence of a previously invisible (and previously quite unimportant) island where the Draenei crashed. Wrath of the Lich King allowed players access to Northrend. Which, while it hadn't previously been on the maps, was known to exist already and had in fact sent a number of flying ziggurats to invade the other kingdoms. The Cataclysm expansion allows players access to the oceans, previously empty and inaccessible in the game, and to elemental planes, likewise in lore but not developed or accessible. World of Warcraft ascribes to the rule that if you can't go there yourself, it's not on the map, since that would make your map a bit confusing. But most of the locations are theoretically out there already.
      • And now a new continent that had previously been hidden is being discovered in the newest expansion, Mists of Pandaria.
  • Each successive game in the Suikoden series took place in a different region of the world. Averted though in that all these regions, and some bits of their culture, were already mentioned to have existed.
    • Also, some of the events that are set in another region (and another game) are also referenced before the player even plays them, such as Georg Prime's killing of Queen Arshtat, first mentioned in II and occurred in V (due to Anachronic Order of the games).
  • The Squaresoft realm of Ivalice was well prepared for this. In Final Fantasy Tactics the game focused on one country in civil war. Vagrant Story included Shout Outs to Tactics, and then Final Fantasy XII showed Ivalice to also be a region of the world in which the former stories were located. Despite all of this, the world (and the Ivalice region, for that matter) has yet to be seen in its entirety, and FFXII goes to great lengths in mentioning other lands and countries beyond the borders of the game's map. This all worked rather well, geographically speaking. However, the timeline seemed to mystify, at least until the Word of God made itself heard. This was further muddled by Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, which featured Ivalice as part of a Trapped in Another World plot based in a fictional version of Ivalice. Its sequel looks set to go even further, transporting its character into Ivalice proper (and therefore expanding true Ivalice yet again).
    • While we're talking about Square, let's talk about Final Fantasy XI. The first expansion introduced the Hidden Elf Village hometown/island of the Mithra and the third expansion pack introduced a whole foreign continent that had somehow been missed up to this point. There's also the parallel world of Dynamis. The fourth expansion pack used Time Travel to introduce new areas without actually changing the world, by allowing players to travel back in time to the age of the Crystal War and experience key events of the war.
      • That's not even the end of it, there are many more areas in the world that various npc's and item descriptions mention including: The southern continent (where mithra really come from), the far west (which seems to have a culture similar to that of native Americans), the other half of the near east (adventurers aren't allowed to enter the eastern half of Aht Urghan making it impossible to get to any part of the continent that is east of the city), and the far east (the Doomed Hometown of an important npc). Suffice it to say that SE won't run out of expansion fodder anytime soon.
  • Chrono Cross takes place mostly on the El Nido Archipelago, a group of small islands off the coast of Porre, in the same world as Chrono Trigger. The archipelago is not visible in Chrono Trigger (although its World Map is amazingly simplified, with all of four towns visible on the planet). To be fair, the archipelago didn't actually exist in Chrono Trigger, as a future civilization that found itself in the distant past as a side-effect of the events of the first game terraformed the islands.
  • Lampshaded in Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords, where realms ruled by Bane and Sartek's fellow Horsemen (Band and Sartek are Death and War, respectively) are explicitly mentioned, as well as other elf kingdoms.
    • Well, it is based on the pre-existing Warlords series, which had four games and three spinoffs prior to this, so it's not like they had a shortage of locations.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, aside of the nine worlds that the game lets you explore, the game takes place at Spiral Mountain, which is also home to Gruntilda's Lair. Then in Banjo-Tooie, a digger tunnel was created, expanding the world into the Isle o' Hags, and every main world, unlike the original game and apart from the sky level, is explicitly a region of the overworld. In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, the Isle o' Hags is once again limited to Spiral Mountain, but the majority of the game takes place in the new Showdown Town and the game-worlds created by the Lord Of Games.
  • The Ace Combat series almost does this in reverse- the geography of the world was revealed early on and has remained consistent, but only one continent was actually used, with each new instalment simply filling in the blanks. As of AC 6, there are still a few countries that haven't even been named, and many more that we know very litle about.
  • City of Heroes added the Rogue Isles in its 'exphanshalone' pack City of Villains, as a bunch of fictional Caribbean islands. Both cities were eventually consolidated into a single game (granting anyone who purchased one complete access to the other.)
    • The second expansion, Going Rogue, adds Praetoria, a Dystopian Mirror Universe of the main game world rife with Grey and Grey Morality. Unlike City of Villains, Going Rogue cannot be played on it's own. Praetorian content only goes up to level 20. The real star of Going Rogue is the Alignment System, which essentially turns Paragon and the Rogue Isles into Expansion Pack Worlds for each other.
  • Eve Online added around 2000 star systems in the Apocrypha expansion. The in-universe explanation is a Negative Space Wedgie that caused wormholes (that lead into the new systems) to appear all around the galaxy.
  • Generally speaking, each new main game of the Touhou series has introduced a new area. Mountain of Faith is a partial exception, though.
  • Guild Wars added new continents, Cantha and Elona, for its second and third campaigns. The fourth instead expanded the original continent.
    • The new continents were foreshadowed in the first game, and players could see Elona, if they knew where to go.
  • The Super Mario Bros. games, as well as all the RPG spinoffs, at least when it doesn't just seem to rebuild the entire Mushroom Kingdom from scratch, like to suddenly reveal all new countries just across the border from the main area, such as the lands of Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, Sarasara Land from Super Mario Land, Mario's own (unexplained in subsequent games) kingdom in Super Mario Land 2, Beanbean Kingdom from Mario and Luigi and Rogueport and the surrounding areas (plus the offscreen adventures of Luigi in the Waffle Kingdom and nearby lands) from Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door.
  • Happens with the Dungeon Siege expansion pack Legends of Aranna: The entirety of the expansion pack occurs in a part of Ehb that had not been known about, and features a race thought to be long dead in the multiplayer campaign. Less so with the sequel, Dungeon Siege II, as the original stated that Ehb was formed by the Tenth Legion as they fled the collapse of the Empire of Stars. Subverted in DSII: Broken World as the Second Great Cataclysm at the end of DSII caused massive changes to the land allowing the overall layout to remain the same while still adding new areas to explore.
  • Majesty plays this so straight it's almost a Lampshade Hanging with the aptly-named Northern Expansion Expansion Pack, which reveals a previously inaccessible northern half of the world map. Possibly a subversion, as it's visibly the same world map graphic save for the fact you can now scroll north of the mountain range in the middle of the continent; perhaps the new content was cut from the original game due to time constraints?
  • Dragon Age II takes place in the city of Kirkwall, nearby Sundermount and the Wounded Coast. Legacy expands on this with Hawke travelling to a Grey Warden fortress in the Vimmark Mountains, while Mark of the Assassin has Hawke take part in a heist at Chateau-Haine, near the border with Nevarra.
  • While it was clear from the start that there were other worlds (it was a spinoff, after all), Heroes of Might and Magic started out with a single continent, Enroth, and then added another continent in the third game. Then the eight game in the Might and Magic series took place on another previously unmentioned continent on the same world (although one of the regions of the continent had been mentioned before).

Web Original

  • New installments of Chaos Fighters take place in entirely new areas or planets.
  1. not to be confused with the Dark World from The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past
  2. also nothing like A Link to the Past either