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Are alternate/parallel timelines canon?


phart010
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******Spoiler alert for Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity.....


When something is canon in a series, it is part of the “official” storyline. When things happen that don’t agree with the “official” storyline, we used to say that they are not canon. That is to say, they are just fun ideas, but they shouldn’t be confused with the official story.

It seems that the idea of parallel universes has been gaining popularity over the past decade. With parallel universes, there is an easy solution for explaining away inconsistencies in storylines, they are inconsistent because they are happening in an alternative timeline. Since the inconsistency can be reconciled for as an alternative, but true timeline, does that that bring it back into the realm of canon?

I started thinking about this with Breath of the Wild and Age of Calamity. In Breath of the Wild, Hyrule lost the war and it led to a one hundred year period wherein Link was recovering. I thought that Age of Calamity was going to tell the story of what happened leading up to the war, but actually Link and Zelda are victorious, win the war, and prevent the 100 year period from happening.

So it would seem to not be canon. But it happened as a result of the little robot traveling back in time and creating an alternative timeline. So the “canon timeline” still exists. But is this timeline not also canon?

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lol at Nintendo for trolling everyone with a BotW prequel that doesn't actually lead up to BotW.  Really?

If there is a multiverse, then yes alternate timelines co-exist.  If not, then it is just a What If/Elseworlds "imaginary" story.

"Imaginary" story right, aren't they all? 😉

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It's pretty silly that Nintendo even began to acknowledge that the Zelda games are "tied together" at all, what with the official timeline and all.

Sure you can argue for a lot of it with alternate timelines and whatever, but why do you need to? That's not the mindset the games were conceived with (maybe Skyward Sword being the exception, but even that has its own world entirely). It's just video games 😚

 

Sorry, I know that's not the answer you wanted. I guess, yeah, if you actually go as far as placing the events of a game in an "alternate timeline" that would make it canon? Unless you're just using the term "alternate timeline" as a substitute for "not canon".

Some video game canons are all about alternate timelines. Just look at stuff like the Legacy of Kain series.

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Member · Posted

As a culture and in general, I wonder how the Japanese view continuity in storytelling.  It really seems that the importance of unbroken continuity has arisen in the West in the last 30, to maybe 50, years.  Look at pseudo-technical shows like the original Star Trek.  There were more than a couple of inconsistencies (consider original star dates) and this was never a concern and wasn't addressed by Rodenberry until years later. 

Going back before then, continuity was never super-important.  Granted, I think Tolkien tried to do his best but mostly other than that, a story and a "universe" suited the purpose for the specific story, and inconsistencies were generally acceptable in continuing stories within a given universe.  Perfectly keeping up with fictionally, historically accurate details was never important so long as it wasn't out-right blatant and took away from the enjoyment of the story.

But with that state, it makes me wonder if BotW will actually be an expanded universe story, and Hyrule Warriors will be the main story line.  I mean, we want the good guys to win, right?  I could see that becoming canon over BotW's story arc.

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Member · Posted
50 minutes ago, phart010 said:

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I don’t really like alternative timelines 

Were you into comics as a kid?  When stories that I grew up loving, but wanted continuity with started to deviate, I decided to take a comic-reader mindset.  Comic universes reinvent themselves with tremendous frequency.

I wish this never happened with the Star Wars universe (which we don't have to get into. It's just my personal opinion) but it made it easier to accept that Dash Rendar, the Solo twins and Mara Jade will never be in movies when I simply accepted "that's a different comic book universe".  I guess the same can be said for Zelda, Mario and all other franchises.

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7 minutes ago, RH said:

Were you into comics as a kid?  When stories that I grew up loving, but wanted continuity with started to deviate, I decided to take a comic-reader mindset.  Comic universes reinvent themselves with tremendous frequency.

I wish this never happened with the Star Wars universe (which we don't have to get into. It's just my personal opinion) but it made it easier to accept that Dash Rendar, the Solo twins and Mara Jade will never be in movies when I simply accepted "that's a different comic book universe".  I guess the same can be said for Zelda, Mario and all other franchises.

I get comic book universes, but it’s done out of necessity since they pump out such a large number of comics and there’s new writers and artists retelling the series in different generations.

With games, there’s so much planning that goes into every title and they’re so spread out that I guess I have a higher expectation. With many games, like Mario and such, it’s ok because it’s not really story based with all the sports titles and kart racing and so on.

But I kind of like Zelda to be cohesive though because it’s so story driven.

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For Zelda specifically I think the timeline is such a mess that it honestly doesn't matter either way. I haven't played this game yet, but if there's a time travel reason for it, it sounds like both timelines can technically be canon, even if nothing else ever happens in this timeline?

If there's no clear timeline (for Zelda I know there "is", but for all intents and purposes there's no actual planned story for the series) I think of it more like comics. It's a mosaic of stories and the brightest, most important elements are the ones that shine through and are real. Superman and Batman straight up kill dudes in the early comics but that's not really part of the character, although I think those Golden Age characters are on Earth Two or something separate from their modern versions, so they're in a different universe? You know typing this I just realized once there are multiple universes or timelines in any story I just don't give a shit. Good luck with multiverses everyone.

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