"Fanon" vs. "Canon": The Validity of Fan Theories as Regards "Canonical" Works of Fiction

Analyse "canon" vs. "fanon", and whether the latter has any validity as regards interpretations and criticism of the former. Are fan theories a legitimate way in which to explore the deeper facets of a certain work or franchise, or is it merely a socially acceptable way for adults to waste their time? Discuss how certain fan theories have influenced (or not) storylines in different franchises and creator’s rejections, adoptions, or subversions of popular fan theories (e.g., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Doctor Who, etc.)

  • 'Canon' has always had its 'fanon,' insofar as canonical work requires a certain apparatus of replication. Nothing is canonical if it does not get to the point where it invites imitation. Example: Cervantes's 'Don Quixote' invited, in C18th, the self-explanatory 'Female Quixote' of Charlotte Lennox. It also caused Flaubert to write, a century later, 'Madame Bovary' (about a woman who believes herself to be a character in her favorite romances). Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina' also deals with a protagonist who feels misplaced in the world she is inhabiting. If Cervantes was the original, then all the rest are reinforcements of the same 'canon.' They are, to a certain extent, 'fan fiction.' But they are also excellent examples of how imitation of a precedent can create powerful independent work. – Francisc Nona 8 years ago
  • The R+L=J theory for Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire is practically considered canon in the fandom even though it hasn't been revealed...yet. I think it would be interesting to look into the psychology behind fan theories. Why do people discuss fan theories? What draws them into engaging in "fanon?" – Lexzie 8 years ago
  • Vince Gilligan's attitude toward Breaking Bad is something like, Sure that could be in there. I guess that's a strength of ambiguity, which he admits to employing throughout the series. – Tigey 8 years ago

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