Stranger Things Wiki

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Stranger Things Wiki

CANON POLICY


Stranger Things Wiki's canon policy is the product of community consensus, and is subject to change.

Although Stranger Things is a relatively small franchise, conflicts between sources nevertheless arise. A 'canon hierarchy' has been established to determine which sources take precedence, in the event multiple pieces of information explicitly contradict one another.

Background

Netflix and the Duffer Brothers jointly own the rights to Stranger Things. While the fine details of their agreement are unknown, it seems Netflix holds exclusive distribution rights to the series, while the Duffers, being the series creators, are probably the ultimate owners of the Stranger Things intellectual property.[1][2]

In 2016, the first season of Stranger Things was released. Following the first season's success, the series quickly spawned an accompanying multimedia franchise, spanning books, comics and games.

However, the Duffers do not contribute to the expanded media in any substantial capacity. They sometimes place hard limits on what other writers can explore in their stories, but beyond that, are not actively involved.[3][4]

Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that the expanded media does not factor into the Duffers' creative process. As a result, details from much of the expanded media are in conflict with what the main series presents.

Stranger Things Wiki covers the events of the series, all of the expanded media, and all other officially licensed Stranger Things material. However, we've created a system to determine what is and isn't canon - at least, according to us...

Defining canon

The term 'canon', by and large, describes the business of determining what material "counts", when making sense of a story and/or fictional universe.[5]

Canon is a somewhat controversial topic. Any attempt to insist upon a 'correct' version of events within a fictional universe, no matter how well-reasoned, will always be flawed, just due to the nature of what fiction is - it’s all made-up! A degree of discontinuity is almost always inevitable, and should be expected. Even the Duffer Brothers have been tripped up by inconsistencies within their own writing (the issues surrounding Will Byers’s birthday being a prime example).

Having said that, canon is important. When a franchise becomes laden with continuity issues, it’s in the best interest of fans to have those issues pointed out to them. This way, fans can make informed decisions when purchasing expanded media, and form level-headed expectations for what the future of that franchise may hold. Insisting upon a strict canon may also incentivise the powers-that-be to make sure the series and expanded media better connect with one another.

To this end, Stranger Things Wiki has devised a canon hierarchy, similar to various other wikis. Here’s how it works:

The hierarchy

Our canon hierarchy is a fan-made tiered system. It ranks the various sources of information about Stranger Things's fictional universe into three tiers, with information derived from episodes of Stranger Things holding the most ‘weight’:

  • If two pieces of information contradict one another, the information coming from the source in the higher tier essentially 'overrules' the other source, and is assumed to be “more canonical”. The overruled piece of information, though not outright removed from the wiki, is deemed "of questionable canonicity". A notice template is then placed on the relevant article to alert the reader (as described below).
  • If there’s a conflict between two (or more) sources from the same tier, the information from both sources should be presented as equally valid.
note: The Canon Tree visual overview is only visible on desktop.


Eleven watching TV
Spoken dialogue/information and on-screen events
depicted in episodes of Stranger Things
TIER 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A4654379-d544-4c4e-bee9-3c46bf19d422 STRANGERTHINGS S4 TUDUM DUFFERBROS Setup01 0048 small
Quotes and statements
from the Duffer Brothers
S-Dy0UdI 400x400
Information derived from
@strangerwriters, the
production team and other
official Netflix accounts
and materials
Stranger-Things-The-Boy-Who-Came-Back-to-Life
Non-spoken information
derived from props or
elsewhere within the show
The First Shadow poster
Information originating from
officially licensed works with
direct involvement from
the Duffer Brothers
TIER 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Information about
relevant real-world
events - e.g. the Cold
War, Project MKUltra, etc.
(Keep it minimal!)
Infomation and quotes
derived from the
Stranger Things cast
Content from the various
officially licensed comic series
Content from officially
licensed Stranger Things
books and novels
Content from officially
licensed Stranger
Things
video games
TIER 3


Stories/sources of info from higher tiers are assumed to overrule those from lower tiers:

Tier Tier sources
Tier 1:
  • Spoken dialogue/information and on-screen events depicted in episodes of Stranger Things.
Tier 2:
  • Non-spoken information contained in episodes of Stranger Things - e.g. info derived from props, sets, graphics, etc.
  • Information originating from the series' creators and production team.
    • Includes: interviews, casting calls, concept art, behind the scenes footage, teleplays, statements by @strangerwriters, etc.
  • Information originating from officially licensed works with direct involvement from the Duffer Brothers (e.g. The First Shadow)
Tier 3:
  • Information originating from officially licensed works without direct involvement from the series' creators and/or creative team - e.g. comics, novels, video games, etc.
  • Information about relevant real-world events - e.g. the Cold War, Project MKUltra, etc. (Keep it minimal!)
  • Information originating from the series' cast.

What counts as a canon conflict?

It’s important to note that the hierarchy is only relevant if there’s a conflict between multiple sources:

  • A story or piece of information might be on Tier 2 or 3, but this ranking doesn’t automatically make it non-canon. The hierarchy essentially acts as a mechanism which only ‘activates’ in certain situations. (Sort of like a cheese-trap, except the mouse is a Demogorgon, or something…)
  • You should exercise charitable thinking and open-mindedness before concluding that a canon conflict definitively exists. For example, Henry Creel's page includes two contradictory accounts of the character's past; however, as Kate Trefry notes, one account is subjective while the other claims to be objective, which might reconcile the differences between the two accounts.[6]
  • Explicit pieces of information should be valued above implications. Concrete details derived from Tier 2/Tier 3 sources might overrule what the series' dialogue merely implies - in which case, the canon conflict arguably doesn’t exist. However, cases like these ought to be discussed amongst editors.

Templates & canon-referencing

After a canon issue has been resolved in reference to the canon hierarchy, some combination of the following templates are added to the relevant places:

{{CanonicityPage}}

Used when a whole article is deemed to be non-canon/of questionable canonicity (placed at the top of the page).
Hopper-template-test
"Oh my god, none of this is real."
The content of this article is of questionable canonicity.

{{CanonicitySection}}

Used when aspects of an article are deemed non-canon/of questionable canonicity (placed 'around' the aspects in question, and usually put as an addendum to a larger section).
Hopper-template-test
"Oh my god, none of this is real."
This information from a secondary source is of questionable canonicity.

{{CanonicitySectionSmall}}

Used when an large section of writing includes details deemed to be non-canon/of questionable canonicity (placed at the top of the section, beneath the section's subheading).
This section includes information from a secondary source, and is of questionable canonicity.

{{CanonRef}}

Used to generate a references section with a relevant ‘canon hierarchy’ subsection. It looks like this:

CanonCanon hierarchy

  • Part 1: A very manner-of-fact explanation stating that the "Canon Hierarchy" has been 'triggered', that one source is from a lower tier than another source, etc.
    • Part 2: A more detailed description explaining why the sources are in conflict with one another.


If a character or subject exclusively exists within the expanded media, but does not cause a canon conflict, the {{ExpandedSource}} template can be added to the top of the page.

All articles which use {{CanonRef}} are automatically added to the Canon conflicts category.

Non-canon works

Some works - like The Vanishing, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles X Stranger Things - appear to be intentionally non-canonical; characters and elements from these works are not subject to the canon hierarchy. However, the canon notice templates are still used to present intentionally non-canon information. In these cases, the template parameter 'noncanon' is set to 'yes', which adjusts the appearance of the template.

Examples

Here are some model examples of canon-referencing within articles:

Canon hierarchy examples

Non-canon examples

The wiki’s independence

From time to time, the Duffers, @strangerwriters and others respond to questions asking if a piece of media is canon, or ‘part of the canon material’.[7] However, the wiki’s canon hierarchy is an independent, fan-made system, and thus, decisions involving the hierarchy must always treat these types of statements as being in 'Tier 2'; they are only authoritative up to a point. Each piece of info must be evaluated for how it fits into canon, rather than simply assuming that it does.

Amending the system

This policy is not set in stone. You can raise issues, or simply ask questions, by contributing to this policy's talk page. The more that people contribute, the more that this policy can be refined and improved.

Besides, the wiki is not actually a final authority on Stranger Things canon, and we don’t claim to be. We hope to provide a useful guide to what exists out there, and help people arrive at their own conclusions.

References

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