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Retcon is a relatively new word that was first included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2012. We will examine the definition of the word retcon, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Retcon is a literary device in which new information is introduced that puts a new meaning on previous events in the story.  Retcon may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are retconned, retconning. While the use of a retcon may be a clever twist in a story, usually readers or movie goers are angered by the use of a retcon. The word retcon is a portmanteau of the words retroactive and continuity. A portmanteau is a word that is composed by blending the sounds and the meanings of two different words. The term retroactive continuity was coined in the 1970s by E. Frank Tupper in his work The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg. The term was usurped by comic book fans engaging in discussions on Usenet in the 1980s. Eventually, the expression was compressed into the portmanteau, retcon. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the word retcon made its way into mainstream English.


The much-derided X-Men Origins: Wolverine film finally gets a retcon in Deadpool 2, as Wade Wilson travels back to the very end of that film, to take on his silent self from that movie.  (The Daily Express)

Meanwhile, Luke, Rey and Chewbacca fly the Millennium Falcon back in time in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to retcon the prequels out of existence. (The Tallahassee Democrat)

When the DC rebooted the universe for the New52/Rebirth Era, it was retconned that Martha and Jon died when Clark was a teen, as seen in Doomsday Clock #1, but still has a great influence over both of Clark’s lives. (The Albany Times Union)