Canon Divergence AU
|Tropes and genres|
|Synonym(s)||Canon AU, Alternate Reality, Fork in the Road AU|
|Related tropes/genres||Alternate Universe, Canon Era, Everybody Lives, Denialfic, Epilogue? What Epilogue?, Fix-it, She's Not Dead|
|See also||Canon, Canon-compliant|
|Related articles on Fanlore.|
A canon divergence AU is a term used in some fandoms for fanfiction set in a universe that diverges relatively narrowly from canon, with a point of departure in a character's backstory or even during canon. The changes made to canon usually answer a question like "What if character X lived instead of died?" or "What if character Y didn't meet character Z until later?" Different First Meeting and Everybody Lives are subtropes of Canon Divergence AUs.
In some fandoms, this may be called a Canonverse AU. This term is often used to differentiate AUs set in the canon universe from AUs using a different setting; such as Mundane or Modern AUs. In other fandoms, the term Canon Era may be applied instead.
Not to be confused with fanfic that accidentally diverges from canon due to being jossed.
Fan writers might change any event in canon to produce a wild variety of AUs, but for any given fandom, certain events make a lot of fans want to write an AU:
- Forever Knight: Last Knight story
- Harry Potter: Bring Back Black; Epilogue? What Epilogue?
- The Hobbit: a whole list of Hobbit AUs
- Horatio Hornblower: Live Kennedy Universe
- X-Men First Class: No Beach Divorce
[...] My only quibble with a lot of canon divergent AUs is that too often they try to follow the same events of canon without accounting for the universe changes that should be in the world/characters.
- The Nation That Got Better by lb1412. Schlatt, upon being duly elected as the next president of L'Manberg, instead beckons the other political hopefuls to join the nation's government and its subsequent rebuilding, as opposed to executing one of them via guillotine. (2021)
- Impossible Magic by lorata. What if Cimorene didn't accept that she'd have to wait sixteen years to see her husband again, and then just try to move on with their lives? (2017)
- inimitable by coffeecrowns. What if Alexander "Don't modulate the key then not debate with me!" Hamilton lost his ability to speak sometime during the war? (2016-17)
- Pro Patria Vivere series by girabbit. What if John Laurens was just a little bit sicker on August 27, 1782, preventing him from engaging the British at Combahee, preventing his death? (2016, also American Revolution RPF)
- Hermione Granger's Hogwarts Crammer for Delinquents on the Run by waspabi. What if Harry didn't learn he was a wizard until age 17? (2016-17)
- A Different Sort of Sorting by LullabyKnell; podfic by Opalsong. What if the Sorting Hat decided to take House Unity into its own (metaphorical) hands in 1982? (2016)
- The Dreamer by storm of tara. What if Sunny never smashed his violin, and shoved Mari down the stairs afterwards that afternoon? (2021)
- Where the Grass Grows Green (ao3 link) by Ragnelle. Sauron regains the Ring at Mt. Doom and subjugates most of Middle-earth, but a few still resist him. Features Aragorn and Éomer. (2010-present)
- The Circles of Power by Angmar and Elfhild. The Witch-King does not get killed at the Battle of Pelennor and Sauron regains the One Ring. (2004-ongoing)
- The Accidental Warlord and His Pack by inexplicifics. What if Geralt convinces the Witchers to band together against the mages and then overthrows the King of Kaedwen, accidentally becomes the ruling warlord over most of the northern countries.
- Deviates From Canon works on AO3
- Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence works on AO3
- Recs tagged Fork in the Road AU at Fancake