Canon Divergence AU

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Canon AU, Alternate Reality, Fork in the Road AU
Related: Alternate Universe, Canon Era, Everybody Lives, Denialfic, Epilogue? What Epilogue?, Fix-it, She's Not Dead
See Also: Canon, Canon-compliant
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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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 Discworld, this is known as ending up in "the wrong trouser of time." In other fandoms, this type of AU might be called a Canon AU or alternate reality instead.

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.

Trope Examples

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:

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fan comments

[...] 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.[1]

This, so much. There's this one fic I'm currently a couple of chapters behind on that has over 100k if not twice that much and I'm mostly waiting on the moment when something will significantly change. It's frustrating to read and I wonder if it isn't also frustrating to write, because I had one chapter like this in the fic I'm working on and I was just. so. bored.[2]

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles:

  • 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)

Hamilton (musical):

Harry Potter:

The Lord of the Rings:

External Links


  1. ^ A nonnie on fail_fandomanon here. 2017-11-13.
  2. ^ A different nonnie on fail_fandomanon here. 2017-11-13.