Definition of retcon in English:

retcon

noun

  • (in a film, television series, or other fictional work) a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events, typically used to facilitate a dramatic plot shift or account for an inconsistency.

    ‘we're given a retcon for Wilf's absence from Donna's wedding in ‘The Runaway Bride’: he had Spanish Flu’
    • ‘Then came the series finale, and one of the most famous — and fascinating or infuriating — retcons in the history of TV.’
    • ‘In other words, Star Trek is using retcons (an insertion into the fictional narrative chronology) as a means to construct the future history that both fascinates and compels the more serious fans.’
    • ‘To be fair, he has got better over time, although I did think the retcon where it is shown that he is putting on the cockney accent is just inspired.’
    • ‘Americans have always been very accepting of our retcons.’
    • ‘Retcons are nothing new in comics and reformats at DC have been common enough that the writers got in a real twist, dropping in and destroying alternate timelines left, right and centre.’
    • ‘To suggest that because this happened in the 1990s there must have been some inherent, organic connection between the two ideologies from the start is a form of historical retcon.’
    • ‘Should we assume gendered pronouns conform to modern definitions of gender, or is this a social 'retcon' of the language?’
    • ‘Morrison's retcon allows him to link Milena (as nemesis avatar) to Louise (#15 - 'The Trillians Incident').’
    • ‘That film's jaw-dropping ending would get its own retcon in the sixth film.’
    • ‘Although the wikipedia entry gives fleshed details, most of those are a retcon from the Warcraft 3 universe.’
    • ‘Next, let's see them come up with a creative retcon for that ludicrous "people being used as batteries" backstory.’
    • ‘With twelve episodes, though, you can generally map the whole season out, avoiding the last-minute retcons necessary to pull everything together.’
    • ‘This could just be a joke about the nature of retcons, but I wonder if there's something bigger going on.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Revise (an aspect of a fictional work) retrospectively, typically by introducing a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events.

    ‘I think fans get more upset when characters act blatantly out of established type, or when things get retconned’
    • ‘Still, S4 salvaged the worst of S3 and retconned most of the show's history into a thought-provoking but ultimately unprovable conspiracy.’
    • ‘With character development comes the temptation to retcon, to write events out of the history.’
    • ‘Yes, but were there Bergenholms in the original 1934 version of Triplanetary, before Smith retconned it to connect it to the Lensman books?’
    • ‘You mark my words, in a couple of years if not sooner, this reboot will be retconned away by another universe width event with Crisis in the title.’
    • ‘Whether the whole thing will be retconned out of existence next year is of course another matter.’
    • ‘Still, rereading the wiki articles, I see that they've been retconned, so it would look to anyone else as if the original game had a story depth much greater than it really had.’
    • ‘There's just no way they can retcon a remotely sane set of plotlines and relationships without the last season-and-a-half taking place.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we be seeing Ewan McGregor as Kenobi, if we're retconning them?’
    • ‘The shocking ending here would later be retconned in Halloween 5.’
    • ‘In this case, the product drivers have actually been fans of the original product, who have then taken over creation of further product, and retconned the narrative to suit them.’

Origin

1980s: abbreviation of retroactive continuity.

Pronunciation

retcon

/ˈrɛtkɒn/