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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Pre-Canon, Pre-Series, Pre-Show, Backstory Fic
Related tropes/genresFuturefic, Kidfic
See alsoBackstory
Related articles on Fanlore.

Pastfic is a genre of fan fiction set before the beginning or main setting of canon, often many years earlier. Pastfic may explore parts of the characters' backstory such as how characters met, their youths, early careers, and past romantic relationships, and how they got into whatever situations they are in when canon begins.

Often the pre-series timeline is addressed in the source through dialogue, flashbacks or whole episodes set in the past giving starting points to expand on in fanfic. Other time fanon or headcanon backstories for characters can develop in the absence of canon, and pastfics based on these risk been jossed by later released canon. This was a particular problem in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom.


Some romantic pairings exist mainly as pastfic, either because the characters are severely estranged in the main timeframe of canon (for instance, Albus Dumbledore/Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter fandom, and until the release of X-Men: First Class, the pairing of Xavier/Magneto in X-Men Movieverse fandom) or because one partner is already dead when canon begins. In other cases, fans headcanon that two characters are together or had previously been in a relationship, with little or no evidence in canon. This can led to pre-canon works examining their possible relationship; for example Phil Coulson/Clint Barton in the MCU.

In pre-canon gen works, the focus of fics is often on the backstory of a particular character. Some pastfics can also be time travel fics; with a character from the present time in canon traveling back to a pre-canon period.

Some fandoms use specific terms, such as "pre-XF" in X-Files fanfic, "PWB" in Blake's 7 fandom, the wee!chesters and teen!chesters labels in Supernatural fandom, or have specific names for time periods such as Marauders-era in Harry Potter. The term Academy Era is often used in fandoms with a canon academy, Doctor Who, Star Trek and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, to refer to pastfics that closely resemble College AUs.

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