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Headcanon is an idea, belief or aspect of a character's personality or physicality that is present in a piece of fanwork that does not correspond with information present in the canonical material. Fans and fanfiction authors will often write with these aspects of their headcanon in mind. In certain cases, specific aspects of headcanon can evolve into fanon, which is a specific fandom belief is accepted to the point where it becomes widely accepted concept in the fandom, sometimes escalating to be embraced by canon work.


In fiction, canon refers to the conceptual material accepted the work is based on, being the overall set of storyline, premises, settings, and characters offered by the source work, and the specific incidents, relationships, or story arcs that take place within the overall canon. The term dates back to Ronald Knox's 1911 essay "Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes" to distinguish Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from those penned by fans of the character. The term "headcanon" has been used to describe fan-given traits since as early as July 2007, when a LiveJournal fanfiction author used the term to describe her interpretation of the mother of Gwen from the animated sci-fi franchise Ben 10.

Title: Grief Fandom: Ben 10 Characters: Ben/Gwen Prompt: Writer's Choice Word Count: 267 Rating: T Summary: He says she's worth it, but man the consequences of her choosing him still stung. Author's Notes: I can't think of a good prompt for this. This is just a scene I thought of, because in my headcanon Gwen's mother is a freaking bitch. Insults between Ben and Gwen are terms of endearment as well... so don't get confused with the 'dweeb' bit Disclaimer: Moonie©요emo hazard I hope she doesn't mind herbeing mentioned?

Precursor: Fanon

Fanon[5], a portmanteau of fan and canon, has been used to describe commonly accepted traits stemming from fan works within a specific fandom since as early as 2000. One of the earliest archived mentions of fanon was posted on the alt.startrek.creative Usenet group on March 9th, 2000 when a member asked if the notion that Vulcans discovered humans came from a fan work prior to its appearance in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact. In 2003, similar fanon questions were asked on alt.tv.x-files.creative[3] (shown below) and alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer.creative.[4]

Marleen 4/2/03 ☆ On Wed, 02 Apr 2003 01:55:55-0800, pam <ptplists@NOSPAMm.ndspring.com> wrote >Scully asking Mulder to spend Christmas with her & her family > at Ma Scully's home: fanon or canon? It's a fanfic thing There was the haunted house ep., Mulder taking Scully's keys to get her to spend some time with him "instead of her family. There was the Emily ep. where Scully spends time with her family at Christmas That was Bill & Tara's house, and I don't think Mulder was on the guest list. There were those eps quite close, and I think he even visited her once, or maybe twice aft the time of Scully's abduction. Actually, I think that is about as close to the Scully home that Mulder ever got where Mulder and Mrs. Scully were Marleen

While headcanons are mostly only accepted as plausible by a small group of people and are almost never never regarded as canonical, ideas that are considered fanon may receive enough attention or popularity that they become influential or widely accepted within the fandom. Some examples of fanon include the identity of James Potter's parents[6] in the Harry Potter fandom, Lyra's obsessions with humans in the Brony fandom, and depicting Cecil Baldwin of Welcome to Night Vale with a third eye.[7]


In September 2007, a survey about headcanon circulated around LiveJournal[8], encouraging users to discuss their personal ideas from any fandom. In 2008, LiveJournal users continued to discuss headcanons in the fandoms of the anime series Baccano![9] and manga series Saiyuki.[10] By 2009, headcanons had expanded outside of LiveJournal, appearing in a discussion of Axis Powers Hetalia on the My Anime List[11] forum. Later that year, the 2007 LiveJournal survey meme was shared on the Fantasmic Dreams[12] message boards, asking posters to share ten of their headcanons about Disney characters.

Alice Fantasmic Kingdom Member Re: HEADCANON MEME!!! « Reply #1 on Nov 3, 2009, 8:03pm Alice 1. Her forehead defeats Nicole Kidman in both appearance and mass. 2. Her tears can both clean the soul, as well as flavor a cup of hot chocolate. 3. She might not be Fred Flintstone, but she can talk to cats, and ascertain their devious thoughts. 4. She doesn't wait; she sleeps. 5. Her hair is officially known as sunshine. 6. If you ask her how much her legs weigh, she will answer with a Sammy Fain song. 7. When in hysterics, her giggle sounds like Thumper 8. She speaks when she's spoken to, but she can speak words that would make your third unborn son cower in fear 9. Her favorite color is red, because that is what you'll be seeing through if you ask her about her legs again. 10. I will freely give her away... at least, if that weren't made up. Genus Humanus Alice member is offline "But, you see, Mr Caterpillar said..." Last Edit: Nov 3, 2009, 8:04pm by Alice Link to Post-Back to Top Logged

In April 2010, the LiveJournal community headcanonftw[13] was created to share theories from different fandoms. That year, headcanon discussion took place within a number of different fandoms including Homestuck[14], Neon Genesis Evangelion[15] and Harry Potter.[16] On Tumblr, there are a number of tags to discuss headcanons, including "!headcanon"[18], "headcanon"[19] and "head canon".[20] "Headcanon accepted"[21] is also used to relate the onset of a new idea or acceptance of someone else's, often paired with a reaction GIF.

Headcanon Blogs

Since January 2011, Tumblr users have shared their headcanons with other members of the fandom in community blogs. These submission-based pages can often take the format of text-based confession blogs or the image macros created by Just Little Things-inspired sites. One of the first of these blogs, Headcanon Gallery[17], was created on January 24th 2012 and dedicated to sharing edited photos of couples people shipped from different fandoms. Since then, dozens of these blogs have been created for a number of different fandoms including Hetalia (shown below, left), Harry Potter (shown below, center) and Dangan Ronpa (shown below, right).

France and Prussia argue over Who Spain likes more 0 026. Sirius and James were each other's first kiss, brought about by an incredibly embarrassing set of circumstances that they never, and never will discuss As children, Peko and Kuzuryuu dressed as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask for Halloween.

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