“Retcon” is high on my list of words that make me cringe and scowl. It sits there along with “fanservice” and “pandering.” And thus, every time I see it, and the inevitable diatribe of tired old complaints, I feel that twitch in a vein on my forehead.
I often wonder if the supposed retcons are indeed actual retcons. There can be all sorts of reasons for what look to be changes or inconsistencies within a franchise:
- Different teams working on material or products
- Different schedules for the release of material/products
- Certain events are simply matters of perspective - we make assumptions about them based only on what we know at present or what we are allowed to witness (from the PC perspective or a codex entry, for instance)
- There are greater truths about the nature of people, things, or events yet to be revealed
And sometimes details have to change or shift a bit in order to allow for the story to progress properly, or to fix something that was glossed over or not fully fleshed out in the past.
I can’t think of any instance where a perceived retcon has ever made me throw up my hands in disgust and declare that I was done - done with the franchise, done with the author, done with my fandom. If anything, I probably arched an eyebrow and gave the work in question my best Natalie Wood as Susan Walker meeting Santa Claus face. And then I moved on. Because I don’t find such things overly jarring. I’m ready to continue on with the story, which (I hope) is predominantly solid and enjoyable.
I can understand why I may be in the minority here. Not everyone is going to share my opinion regarding perceived retcons. For some folks, any inconsistency is a difficult thing to reconcile. But what I cannot fathom, what is really behind my scowl and facepalm whenever the subject comes up, is the way a perceived retcon is viewed and treated as the worst possible crime against nature and humanity. That those who call attention to a retcon are sometimes taking the stance of holding aloft signs that declare “Repent now, your sins! The end is nigh! For something…someone…has been retconned!!” Oh woe. Oh pain. Oh these tears that burn and sting… think of the children, for goodness sake!!
Some hyperbole, sure. I suppose, all in all, I would rather leave open the door for possibilities, for grander pieces of the story to come together later down the line. For bards from Orlais and witches of the wild to have secrets and mysteries swirling around them. I would rather not treat these little bumps in the road as travesties beyond measure.