Canon Era

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Synonyms: Camelot Era, Old West, Classic
See also: Canon AU
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Canon Era works are set during the canon timeline of the source material. It is often used in fandoms with a historical setting, where Modern AUs are popular.

The term was first popularized in Merlin fandom, and refers to stories and other fanworks set in the fantasy Camelot setting of the TV series as opposed to a Modern AU setting. It doesn't necessarily mean canon compliant (at least not for anything after series 1) and often refers to Canon AUs, but it also includes regular fanfic set in the canon universe. It does not necessarily imply that a fanwork takes place during the canon timeline: "Canon era futurefic" is fic set in the canon Camelot setting but taking place after canon.

The term appeared rarely in fandom before it's adoption by Merlin fans. It was sometimes used to refer to Harry Potter works set during Harry, Ron and Hermione's time at Hogwarts.[1][2][3] In this fandom, the proliferation of works set in different eras (Marauders Era, Founders Era and Next Gen) necessitated a distinction. Despite that this term has not been widely adopted in the Harry Potter fandom.

Other Fandoms

From Merlin fandom the term migrated to The Eagle fandom, which saw an influx of Merlin fans when the movie came out. The Eagle is another fandom with a historical setting but many popular AUs, which seem to be the basic ingredients for needing a term that marks canon era fanworks.

The AO3 has added a Canon Era tag which increases the chances that the term will be adopted by other fandoms with a historical setting. As of June 2013, the tag is also used by Les Misérables fandom. Many works set in the Hamilton fandom have also begun using this term. This could be because both fandoms have a large proportion of fanfic dedicated to Modern AUs.

Related Terms

The use of the term is comparable to Old West (or OW) in Magnificent Seven fandom and classic in Xena fandom. Both are fandoms with a historical setting where the AU fanfic outpaces the fanfic set in the canon of the respective shows.

In some other historical fandoms where modern AUs are very common, canon-era stories are referred to by the canonical historical period; for example, Pride & Prejudice has "Regencies".

Archives & Links


  1. ^ A Distorted Mirror: Severus Snape and Sirius Black a ship manifesto essay by isis uses the term to refer to fanfic set during the timeline of the books.
  2. ^ Comment by meiface on Livejournal in 2007.
  3. ^ Rec list by darklord-news on livejournal, recs a Canon-Era AU fic in 2005.