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A story that isn't a Fanfic, but it evolved from one. This can overlap with Serial Numbers Filed Off, but it is by no means necessary. The setting of the new work will often be suspiciously similar to the source material for obvious reasons, but the plots of the two stories can come out very different indeed.

On occasion, a fanfic becomes its own legitimate franchise without bothering to cut all its ties to the original, complete with its own fanbase outside fans of the original, with the blessing of the original work's copyright owners. In some cases, some fans may not even realize that it was a derivative work.

Compare the Weird Al Effect, where fans of a derivative work forget the original existed. Also compare Spiritual Licensee, where a work didn't start as a fanfic but the end result is pretty much the same as this. See also Humble Beginnings.

Contrast Ascended Meme and Ascended Fanon, where derivative material is later incorporated into the canon material.


Anime and Manga

Comic Books


  • Young Adult author Cassandra Clare started off as a fanfic author and later used lines from her own fanfics in her original work. Some plots are clearly copied from Pamela Dean.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga
    • At a very early conceptual stage it was Star Trek fanfiction; Beta Colony and Barrayar are reminiscent of the Federation and the Klingon Empire, respectively. Of course, it diverged away and became its own universe almost immediately.
    • A Bujold Fanfic story, Negri's Boys by Charles Finlay, was rewritten with the serial numbers filed off as The Political Officer, and published in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction. It was also nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Award.
  • Similarly, this is Naomi Novik's origin story for the Temeraire series:

  " was started on January 8, 2004, about ten days before I sat down to write a different fantasy AU story and suddenly went, you know what, this isn't so much Fanfic anymore, and these aren't Jack and Stephen, ("this is not my beautiful house") and off I went to frolic with dragons."

  • The Magicians: Grossman wanted to use Narnia whole at first, but due to copyright issues and "it's just more fun that way" he changed Narnia to Fillory.
  • Many have noted the many similarities between C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, which the latter admits can be read as a "response" to the former. The plots wind up being very different, however, and perhaps even more notably, Narnia is basically a Christian allegory (though Lewis didn't like to call it that) while Pullman's works are a critique of Organized Religion.
  • Harry Turtledove's Videssos cycle began as Fourth Age Lord of the Rings fanfic.
  • Wicked, towards The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It's basically an attempt to make the Wicked Witch of the West into a sympathetic character by showing her backstory and everything that she went through before becoming evil.
  • Fifty Shades Of Grey, literally. Used to be a Twilight fanfic named Master of the Universe. (Not in any way related to He-Man.) Similar examples of "pulled to publish" fanfics plague the Twilight fandom: here is the list.
  • Dennis L. McKiernan's Mithgar novels (The Iron Tower, The Silver Call, Hel's Crucible) started off as Lord of the Rings fanfic. Doomsday wanted to publish. Tolkien Estate said "no". Apparently, changing names was enough to avert lawsuit and so The Iron Tower found itself on the market unscathed.

Myth and Legend

  • Lancelot of the Arthurian legends came by way of French storytellers. Percival was an OC. It could even be said that the entire Arthurian Canon is, in its own way, fanfiction.
  • The Harrowing of Hell story has been considered canon for almost as long as Christian teaching has existed. Why "almost"? Because it's actually a story that a bunch of theologians came up with about a century and a half after the events.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Aeneid, widely hailed as the first work of literature ever and the model for much that came after, was basically a Perspective Flip Fanfic continuation of The Iliad.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Drowtales was originally a Forgotten Realms fanfic.
  • DMFA was originally set in the Furcadia online chat-game-social-roleplaying...thing. So that would technically make it a fanfic. Early strips have a lot of reference to Roleplaying-terms, internet fads, ect.
  • Freighter Tails was originally called "Haul Trek", but the authors remade it, removing all the Star Trek elements in the process.
  • Whatever it might have become, it's fairly obvious from the first strip that Looking for Group was originally a World of Warcraft comic. Things went full circle when the backers suggested a video game was made.
  • Awkward Zombie had a strip about turning itself into an Ascended Fanfic, but it turned out to be onetime gag and the strip went back to using Smash Bros. characters.
    • The author pulls strip ideas from the forums pretty frequently, and even has a thread for the purpose.
  • Arthur, King of Time and Space is based on King Arthur In Time And Space, which in turn was based on Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover fanfic cartoons with the proper names search-and-replaced (Arthur, Lancelot and Guenevere replacing Kirk, Spock and McCoy; Merlin and Nimue subbing for the Doctor and various companions).

Western Animation

  • The Gender Flip episode of Adventure Time was based on What If comics created by the show's character designer, which was in turn based on the Rule 63 images on 4chan.
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