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Fanfic Fuel

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Many times a creative work will leave large gaps in a character's backstory, or not mention what happened between two instances of seeing a character, or object or place. We might get a bit of explanation, usually a throwaway line that suggests a Noodle Incident, but either way we are left to imagine it ourselves.
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_1'); })So, someone else will, of course, do it for us. Many fanfics that don't involve shipping will fill in any gaps, often with wild adventures that one would expect would get more of a mention in the work if they'd happened, but don't. Anything in a work of fiction that leaves inviting gaps can be seen as fanfic fuel. The more outrageous or open for interesting plot developments, the better.
Summers between school years in high school dramas are often great sources of Fanfic Fuel, as well as the draw of giving a mysterious character more backstory (which may result in Draco in Leather Pants) or rewriting things from the perspective of someone else whose viewpoint we never saw in canon.
May lead to Continuation or Fan Sequel. See Canon Fodder, a subtrope where these scenarios actually get addressed in the work, or the creators at least imply that they intend(ed) to tell these stories themselves at a later point. See also Fandom-Specific Plot, where specific fanfic scenarios become popular among fanfic writers.
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 Fanfic Fuel
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Film: Inglorious Basterds
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Continuation Fic
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PrivateInvestigator
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Really700YearsOld
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Frozen (2013)
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JusticeLeagueUnlimited
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Moana
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Mulan
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Ralph Breaks the Internet
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TheLionKing
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TheMagicSchoolBus
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Wreck-It Ralph
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Zootopia
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Hey Arnold!
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Several fics based on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess focus on what happened to Midna after she returned to Twilight, and if she ever found a way to reunite with Link.
All the alternate timelines and universes add more of this too. What happened in Termina before and after Link's adventure in Majora's Mask (and what was Majora's own backstory)? The wars in the past that occurred before Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, Skyward Sword and various other titles, of which the Big Bad is usually one of the last survivors? What happened to so and so character introduced in one game that's never been heard of since? Each of these questions usually starts a lot of Zelda fan fic...
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In The Penguins of Madagascar, Rico is animated with a large scar that crosses his beak. It has never been explained in canon, nor do the other characters draw any attention to it, as if they don't even notice it any more. For Rico's past specifically it is a common question of exactly what happened to give him the scar, and how to make it fit in with canon.
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The history between Marceline and Simon Petrikov on Adventure Time. As the show went on, it's clear that Simon's morals and ethics were a heavy influence on a young Marceline, serving as a Parental Substitute. Fans enjoy exploring their bond, coming up with stories that either take place in the immediate aftermath of the Mushroom War (which is this trope in of itself) or take place after Simon is returned to normal in present-day Ooo, to nothing of the various AU fics where he at least makes an appearance as a mentor figure.
For that matter, the relationship between Simon and Betty seems to get a lot of attention.
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Blood aside, Rorshach's "death" at the end of Watchmen could easily just be Dr. Manhattan teleporting him elsewhere, usually to another universe, one example being Rorschach In Equestria.
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Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
Word of God confirms that Homura underwent approximately 100 timeloops before the start of the series, which opens up a lot of potential for alternate timeline fics.
The sheer ambiguity of the relationships between the girls (particularly Kyoko for Sayaka and Homura for Madoka) opens up a whole can of fix-fics that tramples any ambiguity so far into the ground that its Soul Gem shatters.
The nature of the Magical Girl cycle is this: allowing practically any girl to be a Magical Girl, abilities that straddle the border between Imagination-Based Superpower and New Powers as the Plot Demands, the various truths that Kyubey never mentions and the in-universe speculation that hope and despair must balance out in the end, culminating in the transformation into a witch - the Tragic Original Characters practically write themselves.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion: Word of God is that they wanted the viewers to imagine their own sequel to the movie. The movie's ending has enough ambiguity to facilitate a number of different plots. The beginning of the movie can also fit as it's the only time we see the five magical girls living a happy, idyllic existence.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable: Two highly enigmatic witches are introduced in this game, one who cosplays as Kyubey and the other who comes from an alien magical girl. These facts are revealed, but not really explored, raising a lot of questions for the fans.
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Worm:
The majority of canon focuses on events in the USA, and only a few cities at that. There is plenty of room to explore what the rest of Earth Bet is like.
The true Meta Origin of powers means you can easily justify an Alternate Universe Fic where Taylor or anyone else gets an alternate power from another series.
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Wonder Woman : The Contest has inspired multiple fanfics picking apart Hippolyta's selfish behavior and tweaking the meaning and outcome of the prophecy that inspired it.
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And there's the short span in which Ron and Hermione are absent from the narrative in Deathly Hallows, during which they get basilisk fangs and destroy a Horcrux. Considering how emotionally traumatizing destroying a Horcrux is, and that they have their first on-screen kiss immediately following this, there's an entire sub-genre of fanfic there.
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As of Season 5, Samurai Jack has been stuck in the future for 50 years. What adventures did he have during those 5 decades?
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Speaking of Toy Story, what would your toy collection coming to life be like?
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The Jusenkyo Springs in Ranma ½ provide various opportunities for plots: What if Ranma fell into a different spring? What if one of the other characters (or an Original Character) fell into a spring? What if a character from a different fandom fell into one of the springs?
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X-Men:
The main series, and all its related books, went through a canonical "six-month gap" around 2000, where Cyclops was believed dead and Cable joined the team to take his place. All that is known at the end of it was that Psylocke and Phoenix had switched powers, giving the former telekinesis but no telepathy and the latter, the reverse.
The X-Men universe in general, with its countless number of mutants, possibilities for other schools, and numerous other ways to have new and interesting characters show up.
Uncanny X-Men #209 ends with Spiral abducting Rachel Summers. Rachel returns in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn and in Excalibur, and references her time in the Mojoverse, a story planned for a limited series or graphic novel. In prose or as a series of scripts of twenty two pages each, describe the events of Rachel's story in the Mojoverse.
In "End of Grays", Rachel Summers vows vengeance on the Shi'ar Death Commandos for the death of her family, and imprisons them, leaving their fates up to destiny. What has happened since then, and how will the situation be reconciled?
Around the time of the Civil War crossover, the series introduced a new breed of good Sentinels that actually came with cockpits and pilots, making them just as effective against Mutant threats, but without the possibility of them turning against their masters. Even though the writers generally kept the Sentinel pilots as side characters, they could have provided the perfect setup for a good old-fashioned Mecha series set in the Marvel Universe. Just imagine a classic scene of Magneto squaring off against a Sentinel—but told from the Sentinel's perspective.
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Even before The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance came out, there were tons of fanfics speculating about what Thra was like before the Skeksis seized the Crystal, and what Gelfling society was like before the Skeksis wiped them out.
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Kantai Collection, due to the premise being "turn battleships of the Second World War into girls, and be their Admiral" has a huge cast, is rife with Historical In-Jokes, offers a wide area where stories can take place (most of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, as well as coastal bases and cities just about anywhere) and runs the gamut from very comedic to very serious. This allows fan creations of Admirals in all kinds of variations (male or female, old or young, even "Abyssal" Admirals for the enemy faction might exist) as well as battleships without a canon girl equivalent, and fan stories can be almost anything.
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The basic premise of Daily Life with Monster Girl is that the government revealed the existence of monsters to the world and created cultural exchange programs, with some humans being sent to live with monsters and monsters being sent to live with humans. As a result, several fan stories revolve around an Original Character (maybe more) receiving several monsters and having to adjust to life with their new housemates.
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Angel:
Connor!Be-Gone-Fic: Angel Deal with the Devil-ed his son into a happy family and removed all memories of his son from his crew. How did this affect their recollection of seasons three and four? How did Wesley get that scar? Also obvious fodder for Connor/Dawn angst-fics.
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Bones: the post-Season 5 hiatus (during which time Booth and the Jeffersonian team went their separate ways for nearly a year) has produced quite a few fics. Many of them are also Fix Fics, designed to get Booth and Brennan together, usually eliminating Hannah Burley in the process.
The fact that we didn't actually see Booth and Brennan finally resolve their Unresolved Sexual Tension in "The Hole in the Heart" has been fodder for more than a few fics. One notable(and lengthy, at nearly 200 chapters and still going) fic, "The When And The How: A Bone to Pick", suggests that they didn't actually do the deed while she was staying at his apartment after Broadsky killed Vincent, but sometime a few days later, prior to "The Change in the Game", after dealing with Vincent's death and getting some perspective on what they really mean to each other.
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Early on in Metal Gear Solid 2, Otacon claims that almost every major nation, corporation and political group on Earth ends up developing their own version of Metal Gear in the wake of Ocelot releasing the weapon's plans—which means that there are likely hundreds (if not more) models of Metal Gear that we never actually see in the series proper.
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An example from Transformers: Dark of the Moon. By the third film, The Masquerade is completely broken, and everyone is aware of the Autobots' existence. The movie doesn't go into much detail about this, but there are many ideas that can inspire a fanfic. One is how the nations of Earth are shown to dislike the Transformers (there's a mentioning of poll results stating that half the world would feel safer if the Autobots left). One must also wonder how other countries feel about the US using Autobots for non-Decepticon related problems (such as destroying illegal nuclear plants in the Middle East). Overall, there's a whole potential to explore how Earth must cope with the knowledge that one of the world's most powerful nations has Humongous Mecha on its side, as well as the fact that said support also warrants even more alien attacks.
There's also the matter of why Mikaela broke up with Sam.
Before DotM, there was a fairly large number of Day in the Life-style fics regarding Ironhide and Captain Lennox's family. Then Dark of the Moon happened...
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And for that matter, what about the events that connect the original Mega Man to X, and X to Zero? For the latter, there has yet to be a game covering the Elf Wars, which is largely mentioned in passing and only briefly showcased in drama CDs.
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The premise of Inside Out, with everyone's minds being some sort of control center manned by five characters representing five emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust), gives way to this. What would the inside of your favorite fictional character's mind look like while following the movie's rules? Who would their dominant emotion be? What would their core memories be?
For the movie itself, we have how Riley's emotions carry her through her teenage years.
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Miraculous Ladybug: Are Marinette and Adrien protected (by their miraculouses) against Hawk Moth's powers? If not, their akumatized selves are often represented, and nicknamed White Cat and Miss Fortune, respectively. However, the episode Zombizou seems to confirm that they aren't protected against akumatization.
Many fanfics have them revealing their secret identities to each other, which has yet to happen in canon, though they have comes close a few times.
What is the peacock miraculous doing in Gabriel Agreste's safe? Fans speculate that either he or his wife used to be the holder, and their costumes are often represented.
In "Chameleon", Marinette's friends and classmates are quick to force her out of her seat with No Sympathy and are quick to believe that she's picking on Lila when she tries to debunk her lies, leaving Mari to nearly get akumatized twice. The episode has lead to a large number of fics that involve Marinette getting ostracized from her class and/or getting akumatized, while the class is no longer trusted by her after they realize what they've done.
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iCarly: Everyone's parents. Out of the 6 parents of the main trio (and Spencer, who is Carly's brother), only 1 was shown (Freddie's mom Mrs. Benson), 1 was referred to (Sam's mom) until she showed up in a single episode, Spencer and Carly's dad is in the military and rarely shows up in one-sided phone conversations. This leaves Sam's father, Freddie's father and Carly/Spencer's mother, and they have never even been mentioned.
Why did Freddie end up in Seattle, or more accurately, why did his mother come to Seattle on her own, with him. Often combined with the father question.
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The ending of Dai-Guard shows that Heterodynes will never stop coming even after the last one in the series is destroyed. That's several fanfics waiting to happen.
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In Cuphead, what the contracts the various bosses made with the Devil granted them (which are only implied in-game) and the events leading up to making those deals with the Devil has become a fertile source of fan fics.
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In Avengers vs. X-Men, Rachel Summers describes being a previous wielder of the Phoenix Force, but she does not play an active role in the story, nor does she bring up her relationship to the Phoenix since encountering the blue shadow energy of the "Blade of the Phoenix". In three to five pages, describe her reasons for not interacting directly with the Phoenix.
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Naruto:
The fandom already were fond of writing Alternate Universe fanfiction set in high school but when the anime released an ending theme that pretty much set up the roles of each character for them the amount of fanfiction (and fanart for that matter) exploded.
And then, thanks to Road to Ninja and the possibility for a Lotus-Eater Machine Jutsu, these Alternate Universes have more weight to them.
There is also the 1997 pilot chapter, which not only has Naruto as an actual kitsune, but also has the attacking Nine-Tails as his father
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To say nothing of the fact that everyone in Rises seems to go out of their way to pretend The Joker never even existed.
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In Harvest Moon: Animal Parade there's one marriage candidate called the Witch Princess. She sometimes mentions that she doesn't seem to get along with the Harvest King. If you're married to her, you can hear her say, "If you were to be gone from this world... I wouldn't know what to do. It's frightening. So please don't leave my side." Also, when getting her wish for the Purple Bell, she'll say that she wants a potion or something that will pull the truth out of someone. Has she been betrayed before? Lied to? What if the Harvest King is related to all this?
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Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: The original Mystery Incorporated team from the 1960s likely spent at least at much time solving mysteries as the classic crew, but their adventures are only hinted at in vague flashbacks. Exploring their adventures opens up a great opportunity for putting a darker spin on the classic Scooby-Doo formula.
Not to mention Mystery Incorporated's many cryptic references to past historical mystery-solving organizations who were compelled to hunt down evildoers under the Evil Entity's influence. There were the Hunters of Secrets (a quartet of Mayan warriors with a pet jaguar), the Fraternitas Mysterium (a quartet of Spanish monks with a pet donkey), the Alianza Misterio (a quartet of masked Mexican outlaws with a pet skunk), the Mystery Gang (an all-female quartet of cowgirls with a pet bull), the Benevolent Lodge of Mystery (a secret society of Victorian inventors with a pet orangutan), and the Mystery Fellowship (an eccentric high-society family of detectives living in a dark mansion that sank into the Earth).
Scooby-Doo in general, with its simple-but-charming formula, is perfect for any fanfic writer to jump in and play with. Much like Doctor Who, it's ultimately just about a group of close-knit friends and their never-ending travels in a Signature Team Transport, where practically anything can happen.
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And specifically related to Batman Begins: the League of Shadows' involvement in world history, in light of Ducard's claim that they were responsible for the Fall of Rome, the Black Plague and the Great London Fire. For that matter, there's the careers of the men who previously held the title of "Ra's al-Ghul".
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Kirby:
Kirby's Power Copying ability technically gives him an unlimited array of potential powers. And with Kirby having abilities that range from martial arts and electricity to ringing bells and parasols, it's quite fun to imagine potential powers for the little guy. And what makes it even more fun is the possibility of them becoming actual powers in an official Kirby game.
What would happen if other characters found NOVA or another wish-granting machine, and what wishes would they make?
What are the Mirror World versions of characters we haven't seen yet?
If the Robobot Armor can take the ability of its wearer, what would happen if someone other than Kirby used it?
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According to the IDW comics, an alternate universe version of Trixie became an Alicorn princess. This would imply that the main universe's Trixie has the same potential, even if she's never shown it yet.
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Even out of the many background plot points that the series has directly commented on, there are still a butt-ton of unseen adventures that are only vaguely described through in-universe primary sources. The adventures of Prospero's Men note  Prospero, Ariel, Caliban, Don Quixote, Amber St. Clair, Christian and Robert Owe-Much, Gulliver's League note  Lemuel Gulliver, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Captain Clegg, Natty Bumppo and Fanny Hill, the Second Murray Group note  Mina Murray, Allan Quatermain Jr., Orlando, A.J. Raffles and Thomas Carnacki, and the clashes between "Les Hommes Mysterieux" note  Arsène Lupin, Jean Robur, Fantômas, Monsieur Zenith and the Nyctalope and "Die Zwielichthelden" note  Herr Rotwang, Maria, Dr. Caligare, Cesare and Dr. Mabuse that precipitated World War I have all been referred to, but never directly shown.
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Infinite Stratos. For average viewer, it's just a mediocre Unwanted Harem WITH MECHA. Fan Fic writers on the other hand... War, politic, social shift... the potential is limitless, and three point above is rarely addressed in the canon source (except small clues here and there) despite it was said the introduction of titular Powered Armor more than few things changed, leaving the gap for the fic writers to explore. It was not rare to find the sheer difference of atmosphere in I.S. fanfic as the result, from Romantic Comedy/Shipping to Grim Dark War Fic, despite the tiny size of the fanbase.
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Dragon Ball has lots of these. Like, the five years between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, the time between the Cell and Majin Buu arcs, the years that Goku spent training with Kami, the years of training before the attack of the Androids 19 and 20... there are many others like those. Also, there is the fact that we know there were at least 20 androids created by Dr. Gero, but we don't know all of them; the fact that Saiyans were sent to other planets when they were babies to grow up with the planet's civilization to later destroy them and come back to Planet Vegeta, that left open the idea that there may be other Saiyans still alive, living in the planets they were assigned to destroy; the alternative Universe Future!Trunks came from, and the idea that more alternative dimensions can be created with the Time Machine... Dragon Ball is totally made out of fanfic fuel. But it was to be expected from a story of such length (and that was mostly improvised by Toriyama!) and for all the Plot Holes created by the anime series that needed to keep adding fillers while waiting for the manga to catch up.
It doesn't help either that almost all the movies could be considered Alternate Universes because they don't fit very well with the main continuity, so you have many possible universes to tell stories about.
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The Harry Potter series has Loads and Loads of Characters (students, ghosts, professors, shopkeepers) and several summer holidays for those characters to have adventures on. The main trio in Deathly Hallows are away from Hogwarts for much of the year, so that leaves even more gaps to fill.
Also, the very explicit, but non-detailed events and descriptions mentioned by various characters throughout the series, coupled with very effective characterization set up by the chapter "Snape's Worst Memory" have given rise to a huge quantity of fanfic set in the era of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, with dozens of different plays on various unseen canon events.
Not to mention the future of the Wizarding World after the events of the main series, seeing as how it ends with an explicit epilogue showing the characters as married couples with children. Rowling has also been surprisingly generous about offering hints about the future lives of the characters, including such tidbits as McGonagall as the new Headmistress of Hogwarts, Kingsley as the new Minister of Magic, Harry and Ron as Aurors, Hermione as a crusading reformer at the Ministry, Ginny as a professional Quidditch player, Neville as a Hogwarts professor, Harry's children stealing the Marauder's Map and using it to sneak into Hogwarts, and many, many more.
And there's the short span in which Ron and Hermione are absent from the narrative in Deathly Hallows, during which they get basilisk fangs and destroy a Horcrux. Considering how emotionally traumatizing destroying a Horcrux is, and that they have their first on-screen kiss immediately following this, there's an entire sub-genre of fanfic there.
J.K. Rowling has expanded upon the Wizarding World outside of Britain, including some choice details about four previously unseen Wizarding schools. There's Ilvermorny in North America (which Native American spiritual leaders apparently had a hand in founding), Mahoutokoro in Japan (located on a remote volcanic island near Iwo Jima), Uagadou in Uganda (a massive fortress carved into the side of the mythical Mountains of the Moon), and Castelobruxo (which is located in the thick of the Amazon rainforest, and guarded by the local Caipora). The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film gives some more frame to these by taking place in the United States in the 1920's.
There are enough hints dropped about mythical figures in the Harry Potter universe to fill up an entire Expanded Universe. Among other things, Merlin is name-dropped constantly (and he studied at Hogwarts, according to Word of God), Morgana le Fey is apparently a famous witch, the Greek hero Bellerophon was a famous Greek wizard, and "Fluffy" may or may not be related to the legendary Cerberus. All Myths Are True is in full-swing in the Potterverse.
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Murder House: What sort of an upbringing did Michael Langdon have, and how did he turn out when he grew up into the Antichrist? What are his plans for the world?
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The third film, The Dark Knight Rises, seems to practically be powered by fanfic fuel. First off, it's the Time Skip - the film takes place eight years after The Dark Knight, hence a gap for fanfic writers to have a stab at. Then, there are all the backstories of the characters introduced in the film. Bane's background and how he got excommunicated from the League of Shadows. Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate, how she rose up the ranks and her relationship with her father, Ra's al Ghul, and the slightly shippy nature of her relationship with Bane. GCPD Officer John Blake - his growing up in the orphanage, his police training and, once the film ends, how he takes on the mantle of Batman as a Batman-Robin-Nightwing hybrid. And of course, Selina Kyle. Her past, how she met her roommate Jen, her misadventures as a younger girl and all the little Bat-Cat babies she and Bruce would have, since the film ends with them together.
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How Saul Goodman went crooked and built his network of underworld contacts. The producers apparently thought so too, since they decided to actually greenlight a prequel spin-off centered on Saul.
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Attack on Titan:
Levi's past, prior to the release of A Choice With No Regrets.
The Titan Shifters' pasts and motivations.
The following scenarios if Annie, or later Reiner and Bertolt had succeeded in kidnapping Eren.
Bertolt sleeping in strange positions.
The events that led to Marco's death.
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Jurassic World has both pre and post-canon examples:
Pre-canon: How did the titular park become a reality? What happened to Isla Sorna? How did they manage to recapture Rexy? Why did Hammond change his mind about the park? What is Simon Masrani's connection to him?
Post-canon: Blue, Rexy, a flock of pterosaurs and who knows however many prehistoric creatures have been left to roam free all over Isla Nublar. What are they getting into now? How is Blue doing after losing her pack? Are she and Rexy working together to survive? Will the Mosasaurus live or will she starve without anyone to feed her?
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Red vs. Blue's mysterious Project Freelancer has inspired numerous fan fics based on it, the questionable experiments it performed off-screen, and its various agents that all existed before the series occurred.
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Medaka Box briefly mentions the other "main characters" between Iihiko and Medaka, who came along once every thousand years, and would have to have been at least as Crazy Awesome as those two, though they would all be Doomed by Canon since Iihiko killed all of them. Additionally, the whole cast have intricate backstories just waiting to be filled in.
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Supernatural gives fans Dean and Sam's entire childhood to deal, Sam's "Stanford Era" is popular, though it doesn't necessarily focus on Sam. The rest of their childhood leaves plenty of questions. Just how much Parental Neglect did the boys actually suffer? How many schools did they go to? What caused the rift between Bobby and John? The list goes on.
There are also the multiple alternate realities established/suggested: "What Is and What Should Never Be" (2x20), "It's A Terrible Life" (4x17), "The End" (5x04), and "My Heart Will Go On" (6x17).
Also, the four months Dean was in hell (or the whole forty years, depending on the brother the fic focuses on).
The season finales have a tendency to leave a few questions unanswered, which has authors try to explain what will happen before the next season premieres. There are also frequent time skips between seasons, which work for this.
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Cowboy Bebop persistently reveals a lot of background detail to the audience without actually telling them anything, leaving enormous room for speculation. Most of this concerns the past relationship between Spike, Julia and Vicious, though other characters (especially Ein, Wen, and Mad Pierott) aren't exactly lacking.
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Power Rangers has the golden question of what former Rangers do once their show ends — do they just retire peacefully or do they fight other enemies elsewhere in the world? The Boom Studios comic did an entire mini-series using this premise, showing Kimberly, Zack, and Trini fighting Goldar and a new enemy in the background of events during Season 3. Additionally, the page quote comes from an interview where Johnny Yong Bosch says he subscribes to a similar theory for his character Adam, disregarding the throwaway line about him running a dojo in the Milestone Celebration episode "Once a Ranger".
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Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew shows that Ash has enough Aura to be able to activate multiple Aura artefacts. Since this is in a movie, many would think that Ash's Aura potential would be forgotten...until we come across two episodes of the series that reference Aura in such a way that implies that Ash's adventures in Rota Town happened in some form. "He's using his Aura unconsciously" has become a very valid explanation as to how Ash does most of the things he does.
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Neon Genesis Evangelion: Its controversial plotline that only got more Mind Screw-y as the show went on, a very ambiguous mythology surrounding its setting, and a cast chock-full of Woobies who get pushed to (and sometimes past) their breaking points makes this anime a fertile ground for fan writers to step in.
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The Discworld offers lots of these. A.A. Pessimal exploits one-shot cameo characters who appear at most twice and barely exist outside a name and a job description; other hooks in the Pessimal universe are all the countries and regions of the Discworld that are hinted at in canon and have enough "shape" to suggest what they look like and which Roundworld countries they reflect and take Up to Eleven. A Discworld South Africa emerged, for instance, populated by examples of the Amoral Afrikaner. There's also an Israel based on a handful of references to a country, a people and a religion. Events in the history of the Disc, such as the Latatian Empire and its fall, and the Dark War of antiquity, are also filled in. Most lately, a Russia is emerging.
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Axis Powers Hetalia:
Fans have plenty of fun writing for the nations, with all the history between them.
The vast amounts of Ship Tease and Ho Yay between nations (in part due to the main cast being almost entirely male and Ambiguously Bi) has lead to many works putting popular (and in some cases not-so-popular) pairings together, either as Nations, or in a human (usually high-school) AU. The fact most of them has at least one human name suggested by Word of God helps the latter significantly.
The nature of being a Nation is touched on briefly in the series, but much is left up for speculation - like what exactly leads to a Nation's 'disappearance', how emotionally damaging is it to be immortal and how being forced to comply with their bosses' wishes (as is implied with WWII-Germany) affects them.
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Every season of American Horror Story thus far has ended with at least one open-ended plot thread left dangling, leaving the door wide open for speculation about what happens after the finals credits roll. And now that Word of God confirms that all seasons take place in the same continuity (with Pepper, Sister Mary Eunice and Marcy the Realtor appearing in multiple seasons), the door is also wide open for characters from different seasons meeting each other. Considering the show's vast online fandom, you almost have to wonder if the creators are encouraging fanfic writers.
Murder House: What sort of an upbringing did Michael Langdon have, and how did he turn out when he grew up into the Antichrist? What are his plans for the world?
Asylum: What plans did the aliens have for Kit's two children? What happened to Kit after the aliens abducted him for the last time?
Coven: What sort of adventures did the Salem Witches get up to after Cordelia became the new Supreme and the student body of Madame Robichaux's multiplied tenfold? How did the world react to Cordelia coming clean about the existence of Witches? How did Zoe and Queenie handle becoming teachers at the Academy?
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Torchwood establishes that Jack has been working for Torchwood for a century. That's loads of adventures. Then there's all the, ahem, adventures he had with various men and women. And aliens. Plus, since the series ended on a cliffhanger, what happened to Rex after he resurrected at the end of Torchwood: Miracle Day?
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Many Golden Sun fanfics focus on what Isaac's party was up to during the first two thirds of The Lost Age, before they joined forces with Felix's group.
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Many have wondered what happened during the time skip between the last episode of the second season of The Transformers and Transformers: The Movie.
Also, since Transformers Animated left quite a few questions unanswered, plenty of potential there. Especially with the AllSpark Almanac Volume 2, which contains unused Season 4 material.
The same goes for the Transformers: Prime finale movie, Predacons Rising - namely: Where did Megatron go; did Starscream survive his encounter with the Predacons; how will Team Prime cope after Prime's death; and what became of Shockwave? While Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) answered the Starscream question, it left the others tantalizingly open.
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Long before there was ever a series to take up the idea, Lilo & Stitch writers had 623 blank spacesnote Experiment 621's appearance in the PlayStation 2 video game Stitch: Experiment 626 and later major character Experiment 625/Reuben's appearances in prequel comics shown in Disney Adventures prevent this from being 625. to fill in with fan characters, a vaguely-described laboratory for them to be born in, and a universe for them to explore. They made sure to take advantage of this.
Considering that, one, most of the canonical experiments remain yet to be seen to this day, and two, experiments after Stitch have been made in the franchise's canon, there are still going to be plenty of fan experiments for years to come.
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Coven: What sort of adventures did the Salem Witches get up to after Cordelia became the new Supreme and the student body of Madame Robichaux's multiplied tenfold? How did the world react to Cordelia coming clean about the existence of Witches? How did Zoe and Queenie handle becoming teachers at the Academy?
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Wicked:
The fact that Elphaba is alive but Glinda is Locked Out of the Loop is shipping fuel for Fix Fics and Dark Fics alike.
Not to mention the 2 to 5 year (depending on what you like to believe) gap between Act 1 and 2 where we go from Elphaba Defying Gravity to Fiyero and Glinda working for the Wizard and Nessa becoming Governor and enslaving Boq. There's a tonne of missed action just there. Also the fact we only get a few Shiz scenes in the musical...
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Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion: Word of God is that they wanted the viewers to imagine their own sequel to the movie. The movie's ending has enough ambiguity to facilitate a number of different plots. The beginning of the movie can also fit as it's the only time we see the five magical girls living a happy, idyllic existence.
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The Vision of Escaflowne never expanded on the Zaibach Empire, or the backstories of Dilandau, Jajuka, and other Dragon Slayers. Luckily, the fans are more than happy to step in and do it themselves.
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Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
The history and origins of the Toon race.
The process of how a Toon is actually "born" or, perhaps "made".
Toons' effects on world history.
Eddie and Teddy Valiant's careers as Private Investigators.
How Roger and Jessica met and fell in love.
The early years of various Toon characters and how they came to know each other while getting their start in showbiz.
Judge Doom's origin and Start of Darkness.
If Toontown survived into the present day, what does it look like now?
The ending seems to open up the possibility that certain features of the modern world (like freeways) don't take off in the movie's universe. How will that affect the state of the world (if at all)?
The appearance of contemporary digitally-animated or computer generated characters.
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Green Lantern has 3,600 sectors worth of badass space cops—belonging to as many alien species—with their own adventures that we never get to see in the main comics.
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Tolkien's Legendarium, being a well thought-out world, filled with many races with long histories lends itself to many ideas about what's going on in Middle-Earth outside of the main books.
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Just what Mulder and Scully did between the end of the series and the second movie (The X-Files: I Want to Believe) is also explored quite a bit in fanfiction.
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There's a three-year gap in the Resident Evil timeline, between the end of Code: Veronica and the "Umbrella's End" stage in The Umbrella Chronicles, that has never been explored to any serious extent. We've been told here and there that the cast was running around the world fighting viruses, arresting evil scientists, and having adventures, but aside from Leon's adventure in South America in The Darkside Chronicles, it's never really been discussed.
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Asylum: What plans did the aliens have for Kit's two children? What happened to Kit after the aliens abducted him for the last time?
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Higurashi: When They Cry:
Similar to the above, the reveal that each arc is in fact a different universe, with Rika and Hanyuu hitting the Reset Button every few weeks opens up a lot of potential - which even the creators have latched onto.
Post-Kai fan works are also popular, due to potential plot lines left hanging, like whether Satoshi will ever wake up, what happens to Takano after she is rescued by Tomitake, and what Toyko will do next.
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As Sanzaru Games refuses to continue the franchise, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time has gotten quite a lot of Fix Fics that either justifies Penelope's poorly-written Face–Heel Turn, or undo the Downer Ending with Bentley and Murray finding Sly in Ancient Egypt and bringing him home, or even having Sly turn up in modern day Egypt instead.
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While the MMO game The Matrix Online might have been disappointingly short-lived, it did manage to open up a very open-ended continuation of the Matrix film series, where factions of human warriors loyal to Zion, the Machines and the Merovingian wage a secret war for control of the Matrix in the wake of the Machines' truce with humanity. Many fanfic writers have taken to using this setting as a starting point for Continuation Fics exploring the future of the Matrix universe.
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Undertale has three burgeoning types of fanfic, coming less than a month after release:
The Fallen Human's backstory. Both Chara AND Frisk's. The backstory we have is anywhere between vague to nonexistent, so it's fertile ground for fan expansion.
What happens after the True Pacifist ending. While what we see is incredibly upbeat and happy, that doesn't stop people from exploring just how both human and monster society deals with such a sudden change in dynamic.
Fix Fics regarding the ultimate fate of Flowey/Asriel. Even the best ending seems to give him the shaft, and more than a few people can't help but feel obligated to try and help give even him a happy ending.
Along with those, what is the fate of the monsters when they reach the human world, and how did they get to where they are? There are some things that happen that couldn't have happened within a short time after the game ended (Toriel teaching at a school being the most obvious).
Who are the six human souls, and what is their backstory? Very little is actually given about them in terms of information.
What if the skeletons switched roles is a popular story. Specifically, what if you killed Sans first? Would Papyrus become a badass and be the one to give you a hard time?
While we're at it, how did Sans get his abilities in the first place? And when (and how) did he become aware of the reset situation?
Who the hell IS Dr.Gaster, and what happened to him to cause him (and those who knew him real well) to not exist anymore?
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A Certain Magical Index: The sheer size of Academy City, number of unresolved plot threads, and the nature of Esper and Magic powers involving practically every area of physical science and fairy tale imaginable provides ample room for creating OCs and new storylines by eager fans.
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Uncanny X-Men #209 ends with Spiral abducting Rachel Summers. Rachel returns in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn and in Excalibur, and references her time in the Mojoverse, a story planned for a limited series or graphic novel. In prose or as a series of scripts of twenty two pages each, describe the events of Rachel's story in the Mojoverse.
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Digimon Adventure has Wizardmon's Mysterious Past. What was his past really like? Where did he get his truckload of powers? What is it that makes him different from most Digimon? What was his relationship with Tailmon like?
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How did various yokai in Yo-Kai Watch become yokai?
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Yume Nikki has little to no context and background information for many areas and characters, including Madotsuki herself, leaves the game's canon very open to fan interpretation and expansion.
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Labyrinth fanfics speculating on Jareth's backstory are common, in part because even the All There in the Manual material had little to say on the issue. How exactly did a handsome Reality Warper who looks, for all intents and purposes, human wind up as the ruler of a land of Ugly Cute baby-stealing goblins who turn their captives into more of their kind?
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Silent Hill, being a premiere Mind Screw series told exclusively from the view of the player character (with the possible exception of Shattered Memories), contains a wealth of information for fans to explore, especially concerning the nature of the eponymous Genius Loci and the cult that worships it.
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A Wrinkle in Time, in addition to all the science fiction elements not explored in great detail (the history of the planet Camazotz, the 2-dimensional planet, etc.), there's also the specific story of the project Meg's father was working on (with the tesseract) and what happened to the first man who tried to tesser. He's mentioned very briefly, when Meg's father is giving Calvin some of the backstory about the project. He left successfully, but they never found out what happened to him (and none of the sequels give any indicator, either).
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The ending of Avengers: Infinity War managed to become fanfic fuel for other fandoms — to wit, the fan author takes a list of relevant characters, flips coins to see who does and doesn't live through The Snap, and deals with the aftermath from there.
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Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. Non-ending?. Check. Not resolving any ships at all? Check. Mysterious characters? Check. Massive potential for crossovers with just the feather as the price? Check. Tsubasa is made of this trope, now, if only the fan fiction writers would use it.....
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The Nostalgia Critic:
The two weeks Hyper had Critic captive. He has trauma from it, they can only reference some things she did (like torturing him), and Malcolm says that Benny was into Critic too.
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Happens a lot with The Dark Knight Trilogy fanfics featuring how The Joker got those scars of his, simply because he was so inconsistent about them in the film.
The third film, The Dark Knight Rises, seems to practically be powered by fanfic fuel. First off, it's the Time Skip - the film takes place eight years after The Dark Knight, hence a gap for fanfic writers to have a stab at. Then, there are all the backstories of the characters introduced in the film. Bane's background and how he got excommunicated from the League of Shadows. Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate, how she rose up the ranks and her relationship with her father, Ra's al Ghul, and the slightly shippy nature of her relationship with Bane. GCPD Officer John Blake - his growing up in the orphanage, his police training and, once the film ends, how he takes on the mantle of Batman as a Batman-Robin-Nightwing hybrid. And of course, Selina Kyle. Her past, how she met her roommate Jen, her misadventures as a younger girl and all the little Bat-Cat babies she and Bruce would have, since the film ends with them together.
To say nothing of the fact that everyone in Rises seems to go out of their way to pretend The Joker never even existed.
And specifically related to Batman Begins: the League of Shadows' involvement in world history, in light of Ducard's claim that they were responsible for the Fall of Rome, the Black Plague and the Great London Fire. For that matter, there's the careers of the men who previously held the title of "Ra's al-Ghul".
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The alternate universe on The Middleman. What happens with Fatboy Industries? Do alt!Middleman and alt!Lacey save the world? And what does aerosolized soup taste like, anyway?
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Then there is the fact that Clara was scattered through the Doctor's timestream to save him from the Great Intelligence. She could be written into old or new stories - or crossovers, such as her cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger.
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The Sarah Jane Adventures also ended partway through its fifth series, due to the tragic passing of the lead actor. What did Sarah Jane do before she met the kids? Who did they help or fight between stories? What happened afterwards? Did Sarah Jane die at around the same time as her actress?note Canonically, no. What did her gang do after leaving Bannerman Road? Did Clyde and Rani ever hook up?
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The X-Files:
By its nature of not showing much of Mulder and Scully's personal lives on screen, the show generates quite a bit of fuel. There are many, many fics about just how Mulder and Scully got from the end scene of "all things" to the opening shot of the same episode; it's heavily implied they slept together, but doesn't show anything else.
Just what Mulder and Scully did between the end of the series and the second movie (The X-Files: I Want to Believe) is also explored quite a bit in fanfiction.
The fate of Scully's son William whom she put up for adoption. Many, many fans disliked it and thought his adoptive parents could not protect him from the conspiracy. The fics are about Mulder and Scully searching for him or describing his life.
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In A Brother's Price, there's the mysterious death of a whole family that is never really solved. One can believe it was coincidence, but with family sizes of about fifty people, that's not really likely - fuel for wild conspiracy fanfic. And then there are the events of the past, that are only told in flashbacks, and some only mentioned in passing, such as Keifer poisoning the princesses' father. The story ends with Jerin's wedding, and Jerin is certain that he'll be happy - but will he?
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Marvel Cinematic Universe
Following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the titular Winter Soldier flees in search of a way to move on with his life or reclaim his lost memories. So, what all did he get up to, and what was it like for him to adjust to civilian life?
The ending of Avengers: Infinity War managed to become fanfic fuel for other fandoms — to wit, the fan author takes a list of relevant characters, flips coins to see who does and doesn't live through The Snap, and deals with the aftermath from there.
The ending of Avengers: Endgame opens up multiple storytelling possibilities, which may or may not be explored in future movies:
Tony Stark now has a daughter named Morgan, who could be in any number of Future Fics.
Steve Rogers now spent about 50 years Happily Married to Peggy Carter, but also apparently got a new shield to replace the one that Thanos destroyed. So, what else did he get up to during those 50 years?
Hawkeye spent five years as a lethal vigilante after his wife and children got snapped away. During that time, he apparently battled Mexican drug cartels and Japanese yakuza gangs, among other things. What else has he been up to?
Pick any fic with Peter Parker as the focus. One of the following scenarios will likely be explored:
Aunt May's subsequent reaction to the end of Homecoming when she discovers Peter's identity, and how Peter convinces her to let him continue.
Aunt May gets a bridge dropped on her solely so that Tony can swoop in and adopt the boy as a son, sometimes with Pepper as his new mother. Occasionally, a different Avenger becomes Peter's primary caretaker before Tony comes into the picture, or several Avengers (sometimes in a Civil War-noncompliant arrangement or not; Bucky Barnes optional) become his new family, but it's usually just Tony.
Tony elevating Peter's "internship" to an actual one, allowing him to work alongside him on various projects.
An explanation of the exact circumstances of Peter getting his powers, usually involving Oscorp.
The Avengers reuniting after Civil War, and their reaction to the knowledge that Tony had drafted a kid in the battles. Expect such nuances as Black Widow calling Peter "Little Spider", Cap freaking out at his having dropped an airport bridge on Peter, and them deciding to train Peter better since he won't stop being Spiderman.
Peter's class taking a field trip to Avengers Tower/Facility, and their reactions, (especially Flash's), reaction to finding out that Peter does know Tony Stark and the Avengers. For bonus points and hilarity, Peter's identity may be revealed to them.
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The two years worth of memories that were erased from Jack's memory were never mentioned after his first appearance. So what WERE those memories? And how, and why, were they lost?note Addressed in Big Finish Doctor Who.
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Overwatch has two backstories: one of a massive Robot War that spawned the titular organization, and another of the exploits and controversies of said organization in the years following the war's conclusion. With much of the details being fairly hazy, both with the plot and with the characters' individual backstories, fans have planted a record number of Epileptic Trees despite the game being relatively young.
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Fallout 4 takes place ten years after the events of Fallout 3. The Eastern Brotherhood of Steel have reverted to a xenophobic and traditionalist ideology, Owyn Lyons has passed away and so has his daughter Sarah and been replaced by Arthur Maxson, and we have only a few concrete details into the state of the Capital Wasteland except the fact that the Brotherhood have established de facto rule of the region as feudalistic overlords. This has led to some downright juicy speculation into events just after the ending of 3, the fate or whereabouts of the Lone Wanderer and of other characters, and the current state of affairs in the Capital Wasteland.
Considering how, as of Fallout 4, all of the canon games (aside from Tactics...kinda) have been based on only the West and East Coasts of the former United States - Fallout 1 takes place in southern California, 2 takes place in northern California, 3 takes place around Washington D.C. (along with Pittsburgh and Point Lookout National Park), New Vegas takes place around Las Vegas and Zion National Park, and 4 is located around Boston (along with western Massachusetts and Bar Harbor, Maine) - many fans love to come up with theories on what's happened to the rest of the continent. Only a few allusions have been made by the games to what societies exist outside of these two regions (i.e., Ronto, the Erie Stretch, Great Lanta, Crater Banks, and the countless tribes not assimilated by Caesar's Legion or the NCR), so it's mostly been left to fans to decide what other societies have appeared in the intervening centuries.
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Smallville
The summers between the high school years in the early seasons. The dominant one is the (in)famous "red K summer" between season two and three, which involves Clark on red kryptonite, which stripped his inhibitions and turned him into an amoral party animal, while Chloe visited him and tried to get him home. You could probably guess how half of those fics ended...
Then of course, being the origin story of Superman, there are loads and loads of fics that tells the tale of the Man of Tomorrow (literally) in the Smallville universe.
And then, there is the pre-series times, which has quite a few Noodle Incidents mentioned in the show. The first meeting of Chloe and Clark is also frequently used, although their First Kiss was shown in season 8.
And in season nine, after Chloe and Oliver are Strangled by the Red String, abandon shippers from other factions filled the empty space where the build-up belong.
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The Stargate SG-1 Season 1 episode 'Tin Man' is probably this. After all, the episode ended with android versions of Jack O'Neill and Samantha Carter (plus the others...) roaming around. And the boys didn't realise that they weren't fully human until Doc Fraiser tried to take a blood sample... So everything must be there. I shudder to think of how many fanfics out there have them realising that the military regulations that keep the real Jack and Sam apart no longer apply to the android versions...
Then there's the episode where a rogue Asgard made a teenaged clone of Jack. The clone survived the episode and went off to live his own life. There's all kinds of trouble a kid with the memories and skills of a special-forces veteran can get into.
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Avatar: The Last Airbender:
The fate of Ursa. The show left a few other minor plot threads hanging, but that's the one that really got everyone upset, and speculating. It was resolved in Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, though it divided fans and critics.
And, you know, a century-long war, with plenty of rich, undeveloped ground for exciting battles and stuff. And one thousand Avatars in the history of the world, too.
The Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, is filled to the brim with potential fanfic hooks. Not only is the show set 8 decades after Avatar, but there are also several smaller time skips within the show itself, including a whopping 3-year gap between Books 3 and 4. Also, Korra's comparatively faster pace means that a lot of background details that aren't directly relevant to the plot are left open-ended, including the specifics of past relationships, the exact details of villains' rises to power, and even the fates of some of the main characters of The Last Airbender. Considering the creators are well aware of how their show's fandom operates, this is almost undoubtedly intentional. In fact in the Book 4 commentary, they told people to write fanfic about Mako's relationship with Zuko's granddaughter because they couldn't fit her into the show.
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Halo:
All of those Spartans that didn't get a story in either games and or the Expanded Universe. Heck, even the ones who are featured in canon are this, since we still only get a tiny glimpse of their adventures.
The post-war galaxy is this too, since there are hundreds of different factions vying for power in the vacuum caused by the Covenant's collapse.
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Rocket Power: in the episode "Welcome to OttoWorld" the Rocket gang burries a time capsule and wonders if anyone will remember them in the future. The episode ends with a scene in which the time capsule is opened again in the distant future, and we get to see four statues of the protagonists. What did they do to apparently get this famous?
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Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda has gotten plenty of fanfics about what happened to his real parents and how he ended up adopted. Po got the same treatment until Kung Fu Panda 2 revealed his origins.
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The Aincrad story arc of Sword Art Online focuses almost exclusively on Kirito and his unintentionally-gathered harem of female players. But even including all of the side characters from that arc, they are only perhaps 20 out of the ten thousand unnamed, off-screen players who were trapped in Sword Art Online for two years. Nearly all of whom were gamers. The sheer volume of self-insert and OC fanfic rivals many longer-running series.
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Similar with the parents of characters from sister show Victorious. Only Tori and Trina's parents are seen regularly, Jade's dad was mentioned on one occasion, and both Beck's parent's appeared off screen in on episode. Often fics that mention the parents will have Andre's parents dead, Jade's parents either abusive (especially if it's an angsty fic) or just neglectful and uncaring, the latter being more supported by canon. Cat's parents are generally pretty neglectful as well, though just how neglectful they are depends on the fic. Robbie, being the Chew Toy and The Woobie will almost never, ever, have a happy home life, and as of "Locked Up'' that view is pretty supported by canon. Beck's usually the only one who will have anything close to good parents, although there will usually be a few issues considering that he lives in an RV just so he can get away from them.
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The horror RPG Delta Green follows the eponymous group, a secret US agency that fights the creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos, and conspiracies that try to harvest their power such as Majestic-12. Some foreign fans felt that the setting was too "americentric" and later expansions introduced new factions such as PISCES in the United Kingdom, GRU-SV8 in Russia/Soviet Union and M-EPIC in Canada, the floodgates were open to fans create their own secret occult government agencies. One of the writers, Adam Scott Glancy, even released a guide on how to write your own mythos-aware groups, and recommendations of themes, history, modus operandi and ways to not create something too cliché, generic or unrealistic that could look it was one of the "official" Delta Green groups.
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In the Steven Universe episode "Lars of the Stars", Lars and the Off-Colors have gone from forgotten dregs of society hiding from Robonoids in ancient, abandoned areas of Homeworld, to a Badass Crew who hijacked a ship, became Space Pirates and gained an arch-nemesis. What happened in between hiding and escaping from Homeworld, and HOW did they manage those things?
The episode "A Single Pale Rose" reveals that Pearl has the phone numbers of (at least) nine people. She was shown receiving Mystery Girl's phone number at the end of "Last One Out Of Beach City", but it's unclear who the other numbers belong to. Where and how did Pearl get them?
Gem society and history can also raise various questions, because although the show has plenty of worldbuilding, quite a few things are left to the imagination due to show never straying from Steven's POV and whatever concerns him.
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Tales of Symphonia has a two-year gap between the first and second games in the series for fanfic writers to speculate on. Most of the party members also have at least a few gaps to fill in... not to mention the oft-mentioned but barely-seen Kharlan War era, four thousand years ago, which has spawned its own subgenre within the fandom.
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Mass Effect fans have the two years in which Shepard is "dead" to explore what happened to their old crew, as we only really find out what happened to Garrus and Liara, and even they don't get much detail.
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Over the years, Batman has accumulated a small army of much younger assistants who all have their own unique skills and abilities, but can never seem to get out of the Big Man's shadow. What kind of adventures will they have in the future as adult superheroes, when their mentor's inevitable death and/or retirement forces them to carve out their own identities in the DCU?
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The never-seen biological parents of the title characters on Phineas and Ferb. Phineas's mother and Ferb's father are married, they consider them their parents, and no mention is ever made of what happened to their biological father and mother, respectively. This has led to a lot of fan speculation on the subject.
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Mike Ehrmantraut's time as a cop before he became a PI and got involved with Gus. Better Call Saul appears to be focused on showing this as a secondary plot line.
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Star Trek, with its vast, expansive universe of characters, time traveling, alternate realities and Crossover potential, never seems to run out of material.
Before the release of Star Trek: Generations, countless fanfics had abounded centering on the meeting between Captains Kirk and Picard.
And, of course, the various stories of Kirk's resurrection by enraged fans after they Dropped a Bridge on Him in Generations. Notably, Shatner himself got involved in that.
The early life and reign of Khan Noonien Singh during the Eugenics Wars.
Also stories of the time during which he and his followers were marooned on Ceti Alpha V.
Events during World War III.
What the Earth probe Voyager 6 went through to achieve consciousness and become V'ger.
How the Romulans and Vulcans split during the age of Surak.
The histories and beginnings of several enigmatic Trek species such as the Talosians, the Borg and, especially, the Q Continuum.
The formative years of core characters from each of the shows.
The origin of the Guardian of Forever.
Notably, we've only seen brief glimpses of the full adventures of the crews of the USS Enterprise-B and the USS Enterprise-C (in Star Trek: Generations and the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", respectively), fueling some speculation about how they carried on Kirk's legacy.
Even the Enterprise herself, specifically her design, inspiration and construction has gotten backstories.
Let's also not forget the Mirror Universe.
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Fantastic Four: During the 90's, Tom DeFalco's run introduced Jonathan Richards, known as Hyperstorm, the son of Franklin Richards and Rachel Summers from an alternate version of Days of Future Past. Hyperstorm was sent to a dimensional void with Galactus, who returned. Hyperstorm was never seen again. In six chapters of five thousand words or more, describe Jonathan Richards growing up in his own timeline before becoming a villain, how he returns from the dimensional void, what he plans to do in modern day, how he defeats the X-men and the Fantastic Four at the same time, and how he fights in ridiculous energy battles versus Rachel Summers, Hope Summers, and maybe Nate Grey, or Vulcan, he hasn't done a whole lot lately. Just like KRPBLRRR BLRPSHKRR like explosions everywhere.
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My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
The thought of there being other mirrors that lead to different worlds other than a human world. Even as is, there's now an excuse for "Human in Equestria"/vice versa fanfics.
Pretty much everything about Sunset Shimmer. The potential for any story about her is staggering, with her early childhood (Did she have a family or was she an orphan? If she had a family, what were they like?), time under Celestia (Was their relationship teacher/student or mother/daughter? Did they even perceive it the same way?), and her experiences in the human world prior to the beginning of Equestria Girls (How did she adjust and survive? How long has she even been there?) being gigantic blank slates, even after the sequels fleshed out her character a bit more.
Both Pinkie and her Alternate Self know of the existence of other worlds, and it's implied they share some kind of mind link. The potential there is just staggering...
Those not turned off by Flash Sentry becoming Twilight's crush or his lack of character can now explore any potential backstory regarding him like what his relationship with Sunset was like before they broke up or explore his Equestrian counterpart's backstory or potential relationship with Twilight.
The existence of a Twilight Sparkle native to the human world was this prior to her introduction in the post-credits scene of Rainbow Rocks. After that, focus shifted to the never-mentioned or alluded to native Sunset Shimmer, with stories ranging from those that have the cast finally meeting them to ones where we learned how she died.
The existence of other villains (such as Nightmare Moon, Discord, and King Sombra) native to the human world.
The identity of the mystery writer who sent Derpy the letter that made her blush has fueled endless speculation.
Who were Trixie's and Derpy's bandmates?
We don't see all the bands competing in a tournament that has 16 spots, so who might have been entered? What songs might they have played?
Now that we know that magic can exist in the other world, and Star Swirl used it at least once to banish the Sirens there, who knows what other magical beings from Equestria have crossed over through the centuries? How many of them are still around?
Twilight finding a way to easily return to the Equestria Girls world without relying on the "thirty-moons" time limit literally opens the door to more crossovers between the two worlds, as does Sunset being able to write back to Twilight.
The Dazzlings were reduced to normal girls at the end of their movie, but their fate was left hanging until the final Equestria Girls special five years later. And even then, how they got to that point is still open to a lot of wiggle room in fan writing.
The Dazzlings' backstories in Equestria, and whether they're friends, sisters, or what. Especially given that they're the closest thing we've gotten to a G4 version of the Sea Ponies.
Since the Shadowbolts didn't get much screen time, but have given characteristics to them they are completely open to write about.
Human Twilight and the rest of the Humane Seven's adventures.
The many possible hilarious situations that would ensue with two Twilights.
Unlike the statue/mirror portal, the magic portals opening up do not change people, leading to more canon possibilities for human-pony interactions.
We get little characterization for Human Shining Armor beyond his pride in his performance in the past Games, leading to questions about just how he'd take Twilight transferring to their school's arch-rival.
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Gargoyles is an absolute treasure trove of this, thanks to its rather abrupt cancellation, and the creator's extremely detailed notes about the planned future of the mythos.
There was going to be a Dark Ages prequel spinoff focused on the early days of the Wyvern Clan in Medieval Scotland, when Goliath and Demona were still young lovers fighting under Hudson's guidance. Not to mention a planned Gargoyles: 2198 Sequel Series, with the cast's descendants fighting off an alien invasion (first hinted at in "Sentinel") in the far future. Both concepts practically beg for fanfiction.
The released notes for 2198 confirm (among other tidbits) that Elisa and Natsilane's descendants would eventually have gotten together, that Lexington and Xanatos would eventually have merged corporations, and that a line of robots based on Lexington would eventually have entered production. All dynamite ideas for fanfiction.
After fans pestered him about it in his "Ask Greg" Q&A forum, Greg Weisman confirmed that he did have plans to work characters from Shakespeare's The Tempest into the Gargoyles mythos. How would they have figured in the story? How would Weisman have portrayed them? How different would they have been from their literary counterparts? Note that the Gargoyles universe already includes sorcerers, Fae spirits, monstrous humanoids, volatile court politics, and an enchanted island fought over by various factions of sorcerers and spirits; a retelling of The Tempest practically writes itself.
After Demona and Macbeth were made immortal by the same magic spell, they canonically lived through over 900 years of human history—barely any of which has actually been seen in canon. What adventures did they get up to while Goliath and his pals were still sleeping in statue-form?
The interstellar war between the N'Kai and the Space-Spawn.
Alexander Xanatos's time studying magic under Puck's tutelage.
Alex Xanatos taking up the mantle of Fox from his mother (a possible future plot point that was hinted at in "Future Tense").
Queen Titania's relationship with Halcyon Renard.
Peter Maza's relationship with the trickster spirit Coyote (the specific nature of which was left rather vague in-show).
The careers of Canmore's descendants who took up the mantle of "The Hunter" after him.
Lexington acknowledging and coming to terms with his homosexuality.
The lives and adventures of the gargoyles in the Wyvern Clan who were all killed off in the pilot episode shortly after being introduced, and also those of Angela's rookery brothers and sisters back on Avalon.
The history and true purpose of the Illuminati.
The Redemption Squad's battle with the Illuminati after the cancellation of the Gargoyles: Bad Guys spinoff.
Brookyln's adventures traveling through time with the Phoenix Gate (which were going to be the basis of the proposed Gargoyles: Timedancer spinoff). All we really know from the comics is that his adventures involved losing an eye, traveling to China and Japan, meeting his loyal pet companion Fu-Dog and his true love Katana, and eventually having a son named Nashville (with a second unhatched child nicknamed "Eggwardo" on the way). Whatever he got up to while time-traveling, he apparently had to seriously sharpen his combat skills in order to survive; when he's seen again, he's sporting an armored breastplate and packing a gun, a katana, and a pair of daggers.
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What are the Mirror World versions of characters we haven't seen yet?
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The same goes for the Transformers: Prime finale movie, Predacons Rising - namely: Where did Megatron go; did Starscream survive his encounter with the Predacons; how will Team Prime cope after Prime's death; and what became of Shockwave? While Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) answered the Starscream question, it left the others tantalizingly open.
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Let's see, Neptunia... Multiple dimensions. Check. Fleshed-out characters.... Check. Almost no history of its world. Check. An absolutely moe, all-female cast? Heavily implied Yuri among said cast?! Check-a-doodle-doo.
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Both Bakuras are absent in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, so naturally there are several theories and fanfics about where they were.
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The Mouse Guard has multiple chapters across the world, some of which provide fodder for non-canon anthology contributors.
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The Boss Baby: At one point during his visit to Baby Corp, Tim asks the titular Boss Baby why he doesn't remember his time at the company, and the Boss Baby mentions that all babies who work there forget all about it once their company pacifiers are taken away. This provides fanfic writers plenty of opportunities to explore what Tim's time at the company might have been like before the events of the movie.
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Star vs. the Forces of Evil has "Running with Scissors" as a major source of this. Marco spent sixteen years in a Year Inside, Hour Outside dimension in this episode, so fans naturally explore the possibilities of all the adventures he must have had during that time. It's also popular to build off of the bittersweet mood of the ending, which implied that Marco would have a hard time readjusting to life on Earth, which ended up not being the case.
Another major source is "Mathmagic". Due to it making Alternate Universes canonical in the lore and world of Star Vs; and more importantly, makes it canonical that the characters are aware that there are Alternate Universes, both of which provided copious amounts of Alternate Universe Fic fuel, especially ones that expanded upon the Alternate Universes already presented in the episode.
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Gundam: Even the original Mobile Suit Gundam made it clear that what was shown on screen was simply one small part of a large war. The UC timeline spans over two centuries, and then there are the Alternate Universe series, and that's not even considering fans making their own Gundam AU. There's also less of an aversion to fans making up all-new casts due to the practice of introducing a new lead character for every anime, manga and video game.
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Death Note has lots of rules that don't come up in the main plot. Example: if someone's name is written in two Death Notes within a split second of each other, it is regarded as simultaneous and the victim lives, unaffected by either note.
Back Story: L's/Mello's/Near's/B's/Matt's Dark And Troubled Mysterious Past. What does Wammy's House do and why was it built? / Light's career as a teen detective and/or what would happen if Light didn't find the notebook or what would happen if Light didn't get his memories back.
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NCIS: Season gaps tend to inspire this on NCIS. How did Tony hold the team together after Gibbs quit? How did Gibbs adjust to his temporary team? How did Ziva survive Somalia? Look up "NCIS" and "Somalia" on fanfiction.net, and you get over two hundred results.
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The Loud House episode "The Loudest Mission" gives us two - 1) Who's going to buy the Santiago residence? 2) What adventures will Ronnie and Bobby have with their relatives? The latter question is eventually answered by the spinoff series The Casagrandes.
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ReBoot ended with a satisfactory Grand Finale in the third season, although the seeds of a greater evil in play were revealed earlier, the Supervirus Daemon having infected the Guardian Collective (who are normally immune to virus infection). The original air date for the season three finale was 1998, and good reruns on Cartoon Network brought about a fourth season in 2001 to pick up on the Daemon arc. In the interim, fanfic writers had a field day telling a Star Wars-esque battle to save the net. When the fourth season finally aired, the story was notably not the epic, sprawling battle expected but isolated encounters that took up a whole 4 episodes to tell. And the less said about The Guardian Code, the better.
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Kim Possible has some common jumping-off points:
Graduation from high school was the ending for the series but presumably a new beginning for Kim and Ron. Quite a few fics follow their adventures to college and beyond to adult life.
The planet Lorwardia was introduced with just enough information to suggest that it's a world of warriors.
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Animorphs:
The main series revolves around a Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World plot about a rag-tag group of Ordinary High School Students battling the secret alien invasion of Earth by puppeteer parasites—but the backstory to the series involves a full-on Space Opera about a massive interstellar war between the noble Andalites and the parasitic Yeerks, which has only been briefly glimpsed in a few flashbacks and two prequel novels. The vast majority of the epic Yeerk-Andalite War has still never been seen, leaving it a wide-open canvas for fanfic writers to play with.
Somewhat famously, the series ended with a very ambiguous and open-ended Bolivian Army Ending that seems to have been written (in part) to encourage kids to continue the story themselves and come up with their own endings. Said ending, in which Jake, Marco and Tobias fly into space in a stolen Blade Ship to find the missing Ax, only to discover him assimilated by a sinister alien entity called "The One", could be interpreted as either a Downer Ending or the start of a brand new adventure.
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BattleTech: with over 10,000 planets, over 13 major and minor factions, and countless mercenary companies, fanfic of Original Characters abounds. Arguably, every campaign of the game played is another fanfic.
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Excalibur #74 has Mister Sinister gloat over acquiring the DNA of Rachel Summers, and this is never brought up again. What could he possibly have in mind, and why hasn't he done it already?
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Also: there's the famous ending of the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, which heavily implies that the US government has a secret warehouse of mystical artifacts that other G-men like Indy acquired in previous secret missions. What artifacts are the government hiding? How did they obtain them? What are they planning to do with them?
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Red Eye is a standalone film, but it has a pretty devoted following full of fanfic writers. Common plots include Jackson Rippner's past, as well as who his employers are, and most especially the Continuation Fics exploring where the story could go after the events of the movie.
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Daria's Bizarro Episode, "Depth Takes a Holiday," is often relegated to Fanon Discontinuity, but other times fans wonder: if Lawndale actually has an interdimensional portal, couldn't that set up all sorts of sci-fi/fantasy fics, not to mention crossovers?
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In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Daichi Misawa has six different decks in the first season (not counting a "practice deck" he uses in his entrance exam and the "7th Deck" he uses against Judai) but he only uses two of them over the course of the series, and the themes and strategies of the other four remain mysteries. A lot of fanfics that feature him explore this further, each author giving opinions on what at least some of them are.
And on that note: Fire Dragon. The first OP shows him flanked by two monsters: Water Dragon, a dragon made of water that we do see him use, and a similar monster made of fire, that we do not, nicknamed Fire Dragon by fans. Some take his later monster Carbogeddon to be related to it (since Water Dragon is created from two Hydrogeddons and one Oxygeddon), but it was never elaborated upon.
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Similarly, the universe of A Song of Ice and Fire has an incredibly long and detailed history, and cool past events are referenced quite often. The Long Night that Never Ended, Aegon's conquest, the Dance of Dragons, Robert's Rebellion, and the Greyjoy Rebellion, and countless other events and eras are all very enticing for fans. And since characters' interpretations of history tend to offer clues about their motivations and background, and Written by the Winners is SOP, it adds another layer of intrigue to any historical fic.
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Regular Show has two: What happened on Earth during the three years the park was in space? And what happened during the twenty-five years between the park's return and the reunion?
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While any one-shot character from Ojamajo Doremi has this, Nozomi and Fami get this the most since they had a lot of potential as characters and several loose ends.
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Yet Another Halloween Fic: Also called YAHF for short, these deal with the episode where people wearing cursed Halloween costumes started turning into the things they dressed as. Halloween World is probably the most famous among the fandom.
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 Fan Fic: Halloween World
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Pokémon:
Pokémon has generated massive numbers of fanfics over the years, thanks to the sheer cultural presence in the childhoods of an entire generation. The games (especially the early ones) often had sparse characterization and backstories for many characters (including the protagonists), making alternative character interpretations easy for many writers. And we're not even getting into the related media...
The various "Eeveelutions" are fanart potential, being far and away artists' most popular subjects. Similar body structures coupled with various elemental themes (and vulpine cuteness) mean they're easy to draw and provide great breadth for creativity.
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Around the time of the Civil War crossover, the series introduced a new breed of good Sentinels that actually came with cockpits and pilots, making them just as effective against Mutant threats, but without the possibility of them turning against their masters. Even though the writers generally kept the Sentinel pilots as side characters, they could have provided the perfect setup for a good old-fashioned Mecha series set in the Marvel Universe. Just imagine a classic scene of Magneto squaring off against a Sentinel—but told from the Sentinel's perspective.
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Though the finer details were left intentionally vague, plot points in Toy Story 2 seem to establish that Woody has "lived" for around fifty years, leaving a huge gap in his backstory that could explain how a coveted antique toy wound up in Andy's possession (or, for that matter, why Woody doesn't seem to be aware of the fictional character that he's based on).
Speaking of Toy Story, what would your toy collection coming to life be like?
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Princess Principal had 12 episodes, shown in Anachronic Order, with case numbers going up to 24, meaning half the numbers are missing. What happened in the cases not shown?
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NUMB3RS: There are many fan fics set in Don and Charlie's childhood, which explores what it was like for them both to grow up with Charlie being a math genius.
Similarly, what Don was doing during his time in fugitive recovery.
There are some fan fics inspired by certain episodes like, "Uncertainty Principle", "Janus List", among others.
What life is like for the characters after the series ended.
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Code Geass. The sheer amount of For Want of a Nail moments, particularly when characters get this close to finding out someone's secret, make Alternate Continuity fanfics so compelling to explore. Not to mention the number of pieces in play...
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Mega Man Zero: The Big Bad is immortal, and Zero's death is left ambiguous. Did something else happen to these two after Zero 4 (and before Mega Man ZX)?
And for that matter, what about the events that connect the original Mega Man to X, and X to Zero? For the latter, there has yet to be a game covering the Elf Wars, which is largely mentioned in passing and only briefly showcased in drama CDs.
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As a sequel to Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross has a Wild Mass Guess about the enigmatic masked magician Guile being Magus searching for Schala (the bonus ending of Chrono Trigger DS implies Guile being an amnesiac Magus, albeit one from a timeline different from that of the Magus seen in the main storyline). This leads to many (though still not very common) novelizations of Chrono Cross with the said Wild Mass Guess.
It's worth noting that Guile himself is a Fanfic Fuel regardless being Magus or not, although his fanfics aren't very common.
Guile's Japanese name is Alf, which is probably a nod to Janus' cat Alfador. Some fans interpret him as a cat-turned-human.
Some fans also prefer having Guile not being Magus by giving him a backstory which comes from their interpretations. The most common interpretation is Guile being a magician in the past.
This is less common, but the interpretations of Guile's comment (doesn't want the power of darkness because he thinks Dark Is Evil) about the Frozen Flame are also prone to be a Fanfic Fuel. This usually comes across as Guile's denial of his identity as Magus in the past, but the Frozen Flame is also said to be able to speak not only about the past but also the future.
Another less common Fanfic Fuel is about what Guile is hiding behind his Domino Mask. Why is the Fortune Teller at Termina shocked when he takes it off?
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Scooby-Doo in general, with its simple-but-charming formula, is perfect for any fanfic writer to jump in and play with. Much like Doctor Who, it's ultimately just about a group of close-knit friends and their never-ending travels in a Signature Team Transport, where practically anything can happen.
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The ending of Avengers: Endgame opens up multiple storytelling possibilities, which may or may not be explored in future movies:
Tony Stark now has a daughter named Morgan, who could be in any number of Future Fics.
Steve Rogers now spent about 50 years Happily Married to Peggy Carter, but also apparently got a new shield to replace the one that Thanos destroyed. So, what else did he get up to during those 50 years?
Hawkeye spent five years as a lethal vigilante after his wife and children got snapped away. During that time, he apparently battled Mexican drug cartels and Japanese yakuza gangs, among other things. What else has he been up to?
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100 Bullets has roughly 400 years of unexplored American history in a world where a shadowy cabal of merchants secretly founded the United States; said 400 years includes the family histories of the 13 houses of the Trust, and plenty of opportunities for exploring past incarnations of the Minutemen. The main timeframe of the series has the years of bloody mayhem that the seven present-day Minutemen got up to before the doomed Atlantic City job, which are only glimpsed in flashbacks in the series itself.
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Before the release of Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger had many fanfics centering about Magus' search for Schala because Schala's fate is left ambiguous in the end.
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Metal Gear Solid
The fandom is particularly fond of writing fics about Liquid's backstory (usually set during his time in the Middle East) or the day The Boss killed The Sorrow. In fact, these two plots are so popular in MGS fan fiction that almost every male MGS fan writer has taken on the former, and almost every female MGS fan writer has taken on the latter.
Early on in Metal Gear Solid 2, Otacon claims that almost every major nation, corporation and political group on Earth ends up developing their own version of Metal Gear in the wake of Ocelot releasing the weapon's plans—which means that there are likely hundreds (if not more) models of Metal Gear that we never actually see in the series proper.
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Four words: "The Tournament of Heroines". Fans of Teen Titans can only guess how this event at the end of "Winner Take All" turned out, but writers just love giving their own $0.02 on it. (And all of them notice that Terra was in the background; how that's handled depends on the writer's personal views of the character.)
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What the Earth probe Voyager 6 went through to achieve consciousness and become V'ger.
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And then, thanks to Road to Ninja and the possibility for a Lotus-Eater Machine Jutsu, these Alternate Universes have more weight to them.
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And probably the biggest one post-Serenity: Where does the ship go next after Miranda?
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The Exile's Violin:There is a Time Skip between Serge adopting Jacquie and his death. It lasts for years and is the time when Jacquie learns how to be a detective. There's so much fuel it could fill a midquel novel.
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Practically everything about the universe of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is this, simply because of its unique premise. In the League 'verse, every piece of fiction ever produced is simultaneously true, the universe's history is based on the history of fiction, and every generation produces its own unique fraternity of heroes to fight evil. So far, only a fraction of the universe's history has been described in detail by Alan Moore, and only a few of the past Leagues have actually been shown — which is why fans get such a kick out of filling in the details themselves, and coming up with their own possible Leagues (knowing that any character is fair game for inclusion).
See for yourself: the series' Wild Mass Guessing page, which is filled with theories about how various works of fiction connect to each other in the League universe, is even longer than the main trope page for the series itself.
Even out of the many background plot points that the series has directly commented on, there are still a butt-ton of unseen adventures that are only vaguely described through in-universe primary sources. The adventures of Prospero's Men note  Prospero, Ariel, Caliban, Don Quixote, Amber St. Clair, Christian and Robert Owe-Much, Gulliver's League note  Lemuel Gulliver, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Captain Clegg, Natty Bumppo and Fanny Hill, the Second Murray Group note  Mina Murray, Allan Quatermain Jr., Orlando, A.J. Raffles and Thomas Carnacki, and the clashes between "Les Hommes Mysterieux" note  Arsène Lupin, Jean Robur, Fantômas, Monsieur Zenith and the Nyctalope and "Die Zwielichthelden" note  Herr Rotwang, Maria, Dr. Caligare, Cesare and Dr. Mabuse that precipitated World War I have all been referred to, but never directly shown.
Not to mention the many adventures of Janni Dakkar (a.k.a. "The Pirate Jenny") and the crew of the Nautilus, or Mina and Allan's many years spent Walking the Earth after the breakup of the Second League, of which we only get a few brief glimpses in the series proper. Both periods encompass decades of vaguely described adventures (Janni's crew apparently battled Godzilla at one point) that are just waiting to be filled.
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In regards to post-The Force Awakens, there's the issue of Rey's family and Mysterious Past.
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It's easy to wonder about all the possibilities for adventure surrounding the concept of the Red Pirates in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, as they traveled the universe gathering the Ranger Keys.
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Then there is "Good Times, Bat Times", the episode in which Dale ends up with Foxglove as his girlfriend. It's often considered the chronologically last episode (there is no defined chronology throughout a show that has the pilot in season 2). Either way, we don't find out how things go on with Dale in a relationship with a cute pink bat (unless you count the Boom! comics as Canon). Will Foxy join the Rangers? What'll Chip do, now that he doesn't have any competition for Gadget anymore?
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Invader Zim contains a surprising amount of background detail upon which numerous fans can and have elaborated, ranging from an interstellar war to Irken reproduction. Especially since the show was canceled just as it was developing a Myth Arc, and the creators have revealed their basic plans to fans.
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Robotech Covering three generations and two post apocalypses.
The years it takes the SDF-1 to get back to Earth leaves lots of room for how Robotechnology and the knowledge of aliens effects geo-global politics back home.
Reconstruction Blues, Mad Max meets Robotech has unlimited potential.
The Second Robotech War; the series follows the main character sure, but how is the war effecting the rest of the world which would be a mix of first world and third world conditions.
The Invid occupied Earth, Mad Max meets Robotech all under the shadow of slavery by the Invid and the Flower of Life's take over of the Earth devastated ecology.
And while the Sentinels books and cartoon episode covered what happened to the SDF-3, a lot of people consider it Fanon Discontinuity, so there is ample room to re-write what happened to the SDF-3.
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A sizable genre of The Magnus Archives fanfiction is "Scotland fic" - namely, fanfiction that covers the three-week Time Skip between episodes 159 and 160 that Jon and Martin spent in a safehouse in the Scottish highlands. The popularity of these fanfics can be attributed to two main reasons. One, because episode 160 was followed by a six-month hiatus, during which the show surged in popularity. And two, because the end of episode 159 heavily implies that they're now an Official Couple; Word of God has confirmed this, and stated that it will be more explicit in season 5.
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The Dark Crystal:
The urSkek—the race that was split into the urRu and the Skeksis—are canonically not native to the planet of Thra, but arrived there after being banished from an entirely different world. Where did they come from? What was their world like? And what kinds of adventures did they have there?
Mother Aughra is canonically one of the oldest beings in Thra, and has witnessed most of the important events in the planet's long history. What kind of adventures did she have in her younger days?
Even before The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance came out, there were tons of fanfics speculating about what Thra was like before the Skeksis seized the Crystal, and what Gelfling society was like before the Skeksis wiped them out.
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The Familiar of Zero starts with Louise summoning a familiar, and accidentally summoning a human from another world. Every single fanfic starts by simply changing who she summoned, usually as a Crossover with another 'verse. It's notable enough that our fanfic sub-forum on this very wiki has a thread dedicated solely to collecting interesting Zero crossovers.
Even when the summon doesn't actually change, the entire Zero universe is fuel. A Low Middle Ages/Early Renaissance set, with magic and elves? The possibilities are endless (specially when the writers do their history homework).
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Young Justice gets quite a lot of this with its large Time Skip and cancellation-induced cliffhanger ending. What did the Justice League do when they were Brainwashed and Crazy? What happened to Kid Flash? How does Darksied figure into all of this?
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Warhammer 40,000, due to the focus on selling miniatures instead of telling stories and the preponderance of Unreliable Narrators provides plenty of space for fan works, with even official material presenting vastly contradictory interpretations of factions, characters and events, the fans following the same policy.
Even discounting the above, the setting gives aspiring writers a very large timespan and region - even if they just stick to the titular 41st Millenium, that still gives them a thousand years and millions of worlds to work with.
The Unknown Primarchs' story will never be revealed precisely for this reason, as it allows fans more freedom in deciding backstories for them or their descendant Chapters.
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Also, since Transformers Animated left quite a few questions unanswered, plenty of potential there. Especially with the AllSpark Almanac Volume 2, which contains unused Season 4 material.
The same goes for the Transformers: Prime finale movie, Predacons Rising - namely: Where did Megatron go; did Starscream survive his encounter with the Predacons; how will Team Prime cope after Prime's death; and what became of Shockwave? While Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) answered the Starscream question, it left the others tantalizingly open.
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Pokémon:
Three words: Ash Ketchum's father. There's a good reason it has its own WMG page on TV Tropes.
The revelation that Ash's new traveling companion in the X/Y series, Serena, is Childhood Friends with him. Certainly opens up new possibilities/insights into Ash's childhood, and that's before considering the shipping factor (a discussion thread for the pairing was already into triple digits after only seven episodes).
"The Cave of Mirrors!" (XY037) confirms the existence of a Mirror Universe where everyone's Mirror Self exhibits personality traits opposite of their regular versions (but not a complete flip-flop). As only the mirror counterparts of Ash, his current traveling companions, some of their Pokémon, and Team Rocket are shown, this leaves the door wide open for Mirror World incarnations of other characters. For that matter, how would the X/Y saga differ (if at all) because of said characters' differences in temperament and ability? How would this affect Ash's past and future journeys?
Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew shows that Ash has enough Aura to be able to activate multiple Aura artefacts. Since this is in a movie, many would think that Ash's Aura potential would be forgotten...until we come across two episodes of the series that reference Aura in such a way that implies that Ash's adventures in Rota Town happened in some form. "He's using his Aura unconsciously" has become a very valid explanation as to how Ash does most of the things he does.
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All the alternate timelines and universes add more of this too. What happened in Termina before and after Link's adventure in Majora's Mask (and what was Majora's own backstory)? The wars in the past that occurred before Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, Skyward Sword and various other titles, of which the Big Bad is usually one of the last survivors? What happened to so and so character introduced in one game that's never been heard of since? Each of these questions usually starts a lot of Zelda fan fic...
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Strike Witches, there exist plenty of non-eroge doujins about the many Witches from around its world. This is set as an alternate timeline of World War II, and the anime only covered a small portion of its European nations. Just think about all the potential there is for fan fic writers and doujinji artists.
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 Anime: Strike Witches
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Since the Beetlejuice cartoon has an almost completely different premise than the movie did, one of the most common sources of fanfic fuel involves figuring out how the cartoon versions of Beetlejuice and Lydia met and became friends. (There is a vague back story given in the comic book adaptation, but it's unclear whether this is intended to be canon to the show.) The other question fic writers like to try to answer is, in the absence of a proper series finale, what became of the duo's relationship in the future?
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The final season of Person of Interest revealed that the Machine had started recruiting more operatives so that it could help the Irrelevants in places other than New York. This leaves things wide open for crossover stories where characters from other stories are recruited to be the Finch and/or Reese of their neighborhood.
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Jimmy Two-Shoes:
Who is Beezy's mother/Lucius' wife, and what happened to her? There was a Mrs. Heinous in the early stages of the series' development, but in the final product, she's Lucius' Rich Bitch girlfriend Jez.
How did Jimmy and Heloise end up in Miseryville? This was actually addressed in the original pitch (which was that Jimmy and Heloise died and went to Hell - by accident in the former's case), but since the final product makes its canonicity dubious, fans have often created their own theories in place, often with elements from the original concept.
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Horatio Hornblower
What exactly has Jack Simpson been doing to Archie and other midshipmen? Clayton's line ("You don't know half what he's capable of") implies horrible things. Archie is particularly scared by him and his presence gives him seizures. His ominous "Jack's missed you, boy" implies sexual abuse.
How come Archie knew Drury Lane like it was his home? Was he an avid theatregoer? Was he a teenage actor? To what extent did he know Kitty Cobham? Usually involves lots of love for The Bard, because Archie was fond of Shakespeare and quoted him, both sober and delirious.
What happens between Archie and Horatio in the Spanish prison when they return and they share the cell like before, but sans surly Hunter?
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Evolve takes place on one planet over a relatively short period of time, while additional information revealed creates a much larger universe with the human-monster war lasting years after what we see in the game. Add in the monster's ability to create new breeds opening up the possibility for fan made creations and their extradimensional nature serving as an easy excuse to drop them into any other fictional universe and you have ripe grounds for fanfiction.
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The Virtual Nightmare Arc in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! was supposed to be a Filler Arc, but it introduced a unique House Rule to the game called the Deck Master system. Despite Kaiba's insistence canon-wise that they forget it ever happened, Fan Fic writers never seem to get tired of using this house rule and putting unique spins on it. (In fact, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses may have been a "legit" example of expanding the Deck Master system with the similarly functioning Deck Leaders.)
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2.) Susan's absence in The Last Battle is brought up once, quickly dismissed, and never mentioned again. Adding to the potency of this fuel is the phrasing of the reason given for her absence.
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Before the release of Star Trek: Generations, countless fanfics had abounded centering on the meeting between Captains Kirk and Picard.
And, of course, the various stories of Kirk's resurrection by enraged fans after they Dropped a Bridge on Him in Generations. Notably, Shatner himself got involved in that.
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Kill la Kill:
A rather funny example from episode 21: Mako tells Aikurou that she was able to remember Satsuki's plan so well because Satsuki had written every detail on her hands. Cue fan artists making a very intimate scene of Satsuki writing the instructions on Mako's hands.
There's the question of what exactly happened to Rei after Senketsu separates her from Shinra-Koketsu... It gets answered in #25.
The alternate life the characters would have had if Ragyo didn't use her children to test the Life Fibers and abuse them or, alternatively, if the Life Fibers haven't existed.
The backgrounds of Satsuki and Nui are also explored in fanfiction, especially with Satsuki's with her mother's abuse, along with the effects thereof. In that line, we get Ragyo's backstory being subject of at least a few, seeing as it has never been seen in the series.
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Soulcalibur V. Gets barely over a year in development. The length of story mode is drastically shortened due to time constraints, with numerous plot elements mentioned in official bios prior to the game's release being ignored or glossed over left and right and only a Japanese-only artbook attempting to fill in the blanks of exactly what happened in the seventeen-year interim between SCIV and this game (heck, there aren't even character-specific Arcade endings to help shed light on things). You can bet your soul (pun intended) fanfic writers are scrambling at this very moment to answer the various questions that SCV couldn't bother to.
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The Hunger Games has Elsewhere Fic fuel aplenty. After all, someone (be it a canon character or an OC) has to have won the Games for years 1-73, and most of them we know little or nothing about.
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Following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the titular Winter Soldier flees in search of a way to move on with his life or reclaim his lost memories. So, what all did he get up to, and what was it like for him to adjust to civilian life?
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Battlestar Galactica (2003) has the idea of what if the refugee fleet wanders into the territory of space were Earth is a dominant power like the United Federation of Planets and find that the Thirteenth Colony is a mighty space power capable of helping them fight the Cylons.
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Toothiana's line from Rise of the Guardians that the guardians were all ordinary beings before being chosen for guardian status gives rise to potential fics about their origins.
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John Carter of Mars has several unresolved plots. The most obvious example is the fact that the last novel, Skeleton Men of Jupiter, has an open ending with the protagonist still stranded on Jupiter. Other examples are the fact that by the end of A Fighting Man of Mars Ghasta is still ruled by the evil Jed Ghron, the missing flier 'The Dusar' from Llana of Gathol, and of course John Carter's own mysterious past, the question how old he realy is and why he cannot remember any childhood.
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There's also Jadeite's anime fate. When Beryl pulled a You Have Failed Me, she sentenced him to "Eternal Sleep." No, that's not a dub edit. Such a thing seems to scream "dramatic return someday down the line," especially as it turns out that people in this series can actually die, so no death stand-in or euphemism is needed if he was truly intended to be dead. So the series has a 200-episode (plus an OVA or two) run and ends with no such dramatic return, well, it kinda seemed like an oversight, and fans have been correcting it ever since. He's not even that remarkable a villain and doesn't get much in the way of Character Development; it just feels so wrong when Chekhov's Gun doesn't get fired. On the other hand, the manga Jadeite is pretty definitely dead.
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Superman Returns ends with the rather divisive Reveal that Jason White is actually Superman's son, and that he's in the process of developing Superman's powers. Since the movie never got a sequel, and it was rebooted with Man of Steel in 2013, we never got to see what kind of man Jason would grow into, and how he would choose to follow in his father's footsteps.
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Road Rovers has loads of things for fans to expand on, including the relationship between Parvo and the Groomer, adding new Road Rovers or creating their own groups, and elaborating on the backstories of the Road Rovers.
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The Book of Life:
How Chakal got the medallion from Xibalba was glossed over, so are the details of how the Lands of the Remembered and Forgotten work. In fact, just the Land of the Forgotten itself.
The reveal through Word of God, that there are a few other afterlives, like the Land Of The Unknown and the Land Of the Cursed as well as revealing that La Muerte has a twin sister, La Noche, who rules the Land of The Unknown, and that Xibalba has an older brother, who rules the Land of the Cursed, a hell like domain. Can probably fuel fics, for a long time.
All of the information that Jorge shared through Twitter could be this.
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Two points in the Chronicles of Narnia have launched a thousand fics:
1.) Most of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe covers the first several days the main characters spend in Narnia. C. S. Lewis devotes approximately two paragraphs in the final chapter to the following years — or likely, decades — they spend in Narnia before abruptly returning (and de-aging) to England the very day they had left.
2.) Susan's absence in The Last Battle is brought up once, quickly dismissed, and never mentioned again. Adding to the potency of this fuel is the phrasing of the reason given for her absence.
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Because Chell in Portal has almost no backstory, there is a lot of room for imagination. Wheatley and GLaDOS/Caroline's pasts are also very vague, and Chell's future is unknown, as all we ever saw was a cornfield.
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A surprising number of Lois & Clark fics were inspired by the episode "That Old Gang of Mine", specifically one scene where Clark is shot at point blank range by a mobster's bullet. More than a few stories tried to explain how Superman dealt with the possibility that he might never become Clark Kent again, since the rest of the world thought Clark had been killed.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Wish!Verse: Remember that Alternate Universe where Buffy never came to Sunnydale? How did Xander get turned? How did Willow? What happened with Darla? How did Angel became a wreck?
Insert!Dawn-Fic: Everyone in the Cast was given false memories of Buffy's little sister Dawn in the Fifth season. How would any given episode in the first four seasons play out with Dawn there? In universe certain sources Retcon Dawn into the storyline, the Animated Adaptation intended to do this and one of the season eight comics has Buffy dream of season one with Dawn.
Normal!Verse: "Normal Again" told us that the entire show was a hallucination being created by Buffy in an insane asylum. Describe that world. Maybe the Big Bads are all just manifestations of her doctors.
Yet Another Halloween Fic: Also called YAHF for short, these deal with the episode where people wearing cursed Halloween costumes started turning into the things they dressed as. Halloween World is probably the most famous among the fandom.
Hell, Halloween Fics have sprouted a tiny subgenre: Xander gets all the abilities and hardware (including a certain blue AI) of Spartan-117
The episode Earshot has spawned several fics regarding Willow's comment about...ahem, her idea of the aspect of the demon.
The episode Helpless dealt with Buffy losing her slayer powers due to a ritual. What if she never got her powers back? Would she still fight monsters or use this chance to live a normal life?
Buffy is only the latest in a long, long line of women who slay monsters. In one short story, describe one of these previous- or future- Slayers.
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The Cosmere: There are still six Pieces of God whose identity and intentions remain unrevealed, there are large gaps - sometimes thousand of years - between various books and a lot of fan-favourite characers are long-lived worldhoppers, not to mention that there's an entire city floating in space that's occupied solely by worldhoppers. Prime fanfic fuel material.
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Touhou: The lack of backstory for many of the characters or the events of the PC-98 games are prime fanfic (and fan comic and fan video) fuel.
Yukari's ability to manipulate boundaries is pretty much made for this. What, exactly, constitutes a "boundary"? Pretty much whatever the hell she feels like, allowing stories about going to the moon, de-aging people, hitting people with trains, bringing people from outside to Gensokyo...
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Very little is explained about Malefor's backstory in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon. Any fanfiction that's not Spyro/Cynder shipping is probably this. His "death" in the final game was also vague, leading to many fanfiction and fan comics.
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The Unreal series, especially the Tournament games. In the SP games we're given several glimpses of what life on Na Pali used to be before/after the Skaarj invasion, the crash of the ISV-Kran, the landing of the Mercenaries and before the crash of the UMS Vortex Rikers, including Prisoner 849's vague backstory. We're also left wondering what happened after Prisoner 849 blows the UMS Bodega Bay, with either both the Bodega Bay crew and the Prisoner itself. And that's only the first game and its Expansion Pack. In the Tournament and Championship games we get vague backstories for every character, location, weapon and vehicle, barring some exceptions. Needless to say, it's part of the reason of why the Unreal series has a really strong Game Mod communitynote The other being the hugely customizable and powerful game engines themselves, way before they fueled complete generations of games. With so many ground to cover, odds are that someone already did a campaign for a question you may have.
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Pyre: In a certain ending where Oralech survives and is left in the same side that Volfred, they will rebuild their relationship, but the details of that conversation will be a mystery, leaving any space for romantic or platonic interpretation to their previously Foe Yay filled relationship The epilogue specifically mentiones that they were "seldom seen traveling separate" afterwards.
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Firefly: Anything, really.
How Wash and Zoe fell in love.
Simon's time studying as a doctor.
What Book did before he was a shepherd.
Heck, let's just say everyone's backstory.
What was the first time Patience shot Mal?
The War of Independence
And probably the biggest one post-Serenity: Where does the ship go next after Miranda?
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Considering that, one, most of the canonical experiments remain yet to be seen to this day, and two, experiments after Stitch have been made in the franchise's canon, there are still going to be plenty of fan experiments for years to come.
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Angel Beats!, just Angel Beats. Let's see here...
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character? How about an entire battlefront of characters? Literally, there were only six characters with an actual backstory in the anime alone!
Executive Meddling: Because of this, Jun Maeda's original plan of 26 episodes were cut in half to 13!
Let's not forget about how the Afterlife Battlefront came to be before Otonashi arrived. From the manga revealing how Yuri & Hinata started the battlefront to the first episode, this gap right here is ripe for fanfic writers to fill in!
And then there's the ship teasing...
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The cameo by Rapunzel and Eugene during "For The First Time In Forever" has launched a number of Tangled crossovers.
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PJ Masks: Due to the show lacking a proper Origins Episode for the heroes and villains, the question of how the PJ Masks became superheroes and how they first met the Night Time Villains has generated multiple fanfics already.
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In Coco, even though Ernesto de la Cruz is exposed as a murderer, who's to say that he doesn't have at least one Looney Fan who'll put up an ofrenda for him and enable him to cross over?
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In Home, now that Humanity has a fellow population of aliens both on Earth and the Moon who are likely sharing all their advanced technology such as interstellar space capability, what happens to Earth's society now (Especially with all other aliens coming to Earth to party as well)?
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Marble Hornets
Jay and Tim's adventures off camera are a common topic, as well as the cast's college adventures.
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House of Anubis: Fabian's the only character whose parents had never even gotten a single mention during the course of the series. Naturally, fans are interested in exploring his missing backstory, often trying to come up with a reason why he never mentioned his parents.
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Many times in the Sherlock Holmes canon, Dr. Watson includes references to cases that Holmes has solved but which were not fleshed into stories, such as the the tale of the giant rat of Sumatra (a story "for which the world is not yet ready"). A large percentage of Fan Fic, including published pastiche novels, centers on one or another of these Noodle Incidents.
Also, the stories often end immediately after the mystery is solved, and any non-mystery fallout of the main plot, such as processing of criminals, recovery from traumatic events, shocking revelations and conflicts caused by a case, healing of injuries, explaining that needs to be done to other characters, etc, are usually dismissed with the implication that it was all taken care of without incident (or at least, without enough incident for Watson to spoil the pacing of his stories by reciting all the details). However, some of the implication of what these glossed-over details involve are quite intriguing — trials for the captured criminals, ruined families and friendships, swearing of revenge, or intensely emotional scenes between Holmes and Watson (or Holmes' apparent non-reaction to emotional incidents). Therefore, there are gazillions of fics revolving around the aftermath of various canon cases. In particular, there is a whole genre of fic involving Watson mourning Holmes/Holmes as a fugitive after The Final Problem or dealing with the reveal of Holmes not being dead in The Empty House. Holmes' fright about Watson's injury after The Three Garridebs, Watson throwing a fit at Holmes for his manipulation of him in The Dying Detective, and speculation about how Watson weaned Holmes off cocaine, are also common fanfic plots.
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1.) Most of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe covers the first several days the main characters spend in Narnia. C. S. Lewis devotes approximately two paragraphs in the final chapter to the following years — or likely, decades — they spend in Narnia before abruptly returning (and de-aging) to England the very day they had left.
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Breaking Bad:
How Gustavo Fring built his meth empire, and the beginnings of his vendetta against the Salamanca Cartel.
Mike Ehrmantraut's time as a cop before he became a PI and got involved with Gus. Better Call Saul appears to be focused on showing this as a secondary plot line.
How Saul Goodman went crooked and built his network of underworld contacts. The producers apparently thought so too, since they decided to actually greenlight a prequel spin-off centered on Saul.
How the One-Scene Wonder Peter Schuler got Madrigal Electromotive involved in the meth trade, and how the alliance between Madrigal and Gus' empire started.
Events in Walter White's early life that may have triggered his Start of Darkness; his friendship-turned-subtle rivalry with Elliot Schwartz and former romance with Gretchen, his initial involvement with Gray Matter Technologies and maybe how he met Skylar.
How Jesse became a player in the drug game, his time as a student in Walter's class and getting acquainted with and having misadventures with Badger and Skinny Pete.
Post-finale:
Jesse's post-Heisenberg life. How will he cope with the resulting psychological trauma from his year in the Aryans' captivity? Will he ever put his life back in order and make an honest living?
With "Heisenberg" now one of the most infamous drug lords in American history, what kind of life will his surviving children have? How will Holly White (last seen as an infant) grow up?
Did Huell ever leave the safehouse?
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Similarly, there's plenty in the post-timeskip epilogue to Tales of the Abyss, except that it's more like essay fuel since people are just trying to explain what the hell actually happened.
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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull establishes that Indy was an active OSS agent throughout the whole of World War II, opening up six years' worth of high-stakes adventures fighting the Nazis in the middle of an all-out shooting war (the original trilogy took place in the years just prior to the war). And that's not counting the ten-odd years that he spent spying against the Russians with the CIA between the events of Last Crusade and Crystal Skull.
Also: there's the famous ending of the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, which heavily implies that the US government has a secret warehouse of mystical artifacts that other G-men like Indy acquired in previous secret missions. What artifacts are the government hiding? How did they obtain them? What are they planning to do with them?
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Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable: Two highly enigmatic witches are introduced in this game, one who cosplays as Kyubey and the other who comes from an alien magical girl. These facts are revealed, but not really explored, raising a lot of questions for the fans.
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Kingdom Hearts has a massive Myth Arc that still contains tons of blank spaces, like the epic Keyblade Wars, and the mysterious period before the fracturing of the Multiverse. It's also a rare official crossover between dozens of Disney and Final Fantasy works, which leaves plenty of room for exploring how the many established characters fit into the original lore of Kingdom Hearts. King Mickey's backstory is particularly juicy: how exactly did he go from a humble steamboat pilot to an apprentice sorcerer to a king, and how did he meet his chief lieutenants Donald and Goofy?
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The fate of Ursa. The show left a few other minor plot threads hanging, but that's the one that really got everyone upset, and speculating. It was resolved in Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, though it divided fans and critics.
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The revelation that Ash's new traveling companion in the X/Y series, Serena, is Childhood Friends with him. Certainly opens up new possibilities/insights into Ash's childhood, and that's before considering the shipping factor (a discussion thread for the pairing was already into triple digits after only seven episodes).
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Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers leaves several questions unanswered and thereby Fan Fic writers with a desire to answer them.
Monterey Jack is the only Rangers whose parents we get to know. Chip's, Dale's and Zipper's families aren't even hinted at. But in Gadget's case, her father, Geegaw Hackwrench, is mentioned enough to fuel the viewers' curiosity. He is only ever seen in a framed picture in "To the Rescue" part 3, and Gadget mentions that she has lost him more than one year prior to the events of this episode. What exactly happened to him remains unknown. In a show that has its fair share of mystery and thrillers, this just has to fuel the audience's curiosity.
Speaking of Geegaw, he and Monty have been in some Noodle Incident in Zanzibar which involved a cheese bread and greatly upset Geegaw. While Monty tells a lot of tales from his past which may or may not be true, this is the one that the Rangerphiles really want to know more about.
Gadget's mother remains entirely unmentioned. Neither Monty nor Gadget ever talks about her. But if CDRR fanfic writers have to solve the mystery of Geegaw's demise, it's only natural that they have to write something about her mother as well.
Then there is "Good Times, Bat Times", the episode in which Dale ends up with Foxglove as his girlfriend. It's often considered the chronologically last episode (there is no defined chronology throughout a show that has the pilot in season 2). Either way, we don't find out how things go on with Dale in a relationship with a cute pink bat (unless you count the Boom! comics as Canon). Will Foxy join the Rangers? What'll Chip do, now that he doesn't have any competition for Gadget anymore?
How come there's a mouse in Hawaii that looks pretty much identical to Gadget?
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Carrie (2002): In the film's new ending, Carrie survives the prom and moves to Florida. This was meant as a setup for a TV series that was never made; what adventures would she have had there?
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Sailor Moon:
Sailor Moon spans millennia and follows only a dozen or so girls of what could be hundreds. Naoko did say that there could be senshi all over the universe, and we even meet a couple dozen alien senshi in the last arc/season. Therefore, there's reams of Silver Millennium, Crystal Tokyo, and "Team Other Than The Sol Senshi" stories out there, and the pile grows all the time. Basically, for any celestial body, there's a Sailor for that.
There's also Jadeite's anime fate. When Beryl pulled a You Have Failed Me, she sentenced him to "Eternal Sleep." No, that's not a dub edit. Such a thing seems to scream "dramatic return someday down the line," especially as it turns out that people in this series can actually die, so no death stand-in or euphemism is needed if he was truly intended to be dead. So the series has a 200-episode (plus an OVA or two) run and ends with no such dramatic return, well, it kinda seemed like an oversight, and fans have been correcting it ever since. He's not even that remarkable a villain and doesn't get much in the way of Character Development; it just feels so wrong when Chekhov's Gun doesn't get fired. On the other hand, the manga Jadeite is pretty definitely dead.
How about Mimete's fate? The last we see of her, she's trapped in a computer when Tellu pulls the plug, so unless it's stated otherwise, all someone would have to do to get her back would be to turn the computer on again.
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If the Robobot Armor can take the ability of its wearer, what would happen if someone other than Kirby used it?
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Inception:
The movie's famously ambiguous ending, which suggests that Cobb may have stayed in the Dreamworld after his big heist, practically begs for a Continuation Fic.
The details behind the history of dream-sharing technology are left very vague, beyond a brief mention of it being developed by the military for training simulations. And since the existence of the technology is apparently kept hidden from most people, it makes one wonder what kind of unsavory stuff the government has used it for in the past.
Related: how did thieves like Cobb and his crew first get their hands on dream-sharing technology?
Even if you believe that Cobb retires from crime by the end of the movie, what will other dream-thieves do once word gets out that inception (read: undetectable brainwashing) is possible? What's to stop them from using it on world leaders? What's to stop world leaders from using it on terrorists and political dissidents? If one inception job could stop an industrialist from monopolizing the world's energy supply, how will inception affect the world's political landscape?
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Gravity Falls has two major examples of this: how the events in the show affected Dipper and Mabel's lives at home after summer vacation ended, and the adventures that the Stan twins got up to after the show's end as well..
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In Earth-3490: Captain America married Iron Woman and thereby prevented the Civil War. So how did Natasha Stark become Iron Woman? How did this affect team dynamics? What was the wedding night like?
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