Retcon mechanics are the result of a unique ability imparted to John Egbert upon his touching of The Treasure, which enabled him to transport himself throughout the narrative of Homestuck, and selectively re-write the metacanon.
While at times these mechanics have far-reaching retroactive effects on the story, granting the bearer of the retcon ability (thus far restricted to John) powers equal to or even rivaling that of the author, the precise scope of these effects seem to vary. Possibly at the discretion of the user (or perhaps from author intercession to prevent things getting too confusing for archival readers), retcons instigated through this effect vary in scope from complete and seemingly irreversible modification of previously published canonical content in the real world, to simply re-writing the internal history of the narrative, most significantly in the case of the retconned Game Over timeline. Often, these effects intermingle, resulting in a high level of weird plot shit that may be confusing for even seasoned readers to parse. As John himself says , this power is kind of complicated.
It should be noted that when this power is employed, even if it only affects canonical events rather than the actual structure of the comic, the timeline is altered without resulting in the previous reality becoming an offshoot doomed timeline. In fact, reality is entirely altered, with the post-retcon reality consisting a new alpha timeline, and the previous alpha timeline paradoxically erased from history. However, potentially due to the far reaching power of the Furthest Ring to reclaim souls that are otherwise Void, characters who died in the pre-retcon timeline can still exist within the Furthest Ring afterlife. This is the case with pre-retcon Vriska, or (Vriska).
The retcon ability imparted to John might have been the promised power granted by the treasure sought by Vriska throughout her journey through the dream bubbles in Act 6. As the weapon was promised as a means to defeat Lord English, who possesses unconditional immortality that can only be overcome through exploiting glitches in paradox space, the ability of retcon mechanics to literally re-write the narrative even from the perspective of the readers might constitute a "glitch" powerful enough to erase or otherwise remove Lord English from history. This would also have implied that no character other than John would be able to exploit retcon mechanics, except perhaps Andrew Hussie, who has , as the Treasure can purportedly be used only twice .
However, Vriska believesthat the offensive capability of the weapon has yet to be used against English, and if true this implies that the retcon abilities may have simply been a side-effect of touching the Treasure. This means that additional characters might similarly be able to gain this ability.
Use of Retcon Mechanics in HomestuckEdit
Upon first encountering the treasure, John placed his hand into it 4x13) such retroactive appearances of John's arm throughout Homestuck, which are all ., scattering instances of his arm throughout the Homestuck narrative. This retcon affected the real meta-narrative of Homestuck; that is to say previous pages were amended in the real world to include John's arm, where it had been brought into being by a real "retcon". There are 52 (
John's Random Retcons throughout the NarrativeEdit
Shortly after gaining his retcon ability, John discovers that he is unable to control it, and finds himself seemingly randomlyto different points within the Homestuck canon. This results in to many previous panels, another change to the meta-narrative.
Later, as John's transportations start to become less scattershot, he alters the past by appearingDave Strider and Jade Harley whilst the latter is controlled by the Condesce, averting a confrontation which previously had resulted in the Wayward Vagabond being pushed off of the building that they were standing on. Unlike previous retcons, this did not affect past events in the meta-narrative, and the previous run of events still exists within Homestuck. In the resulting conversation between John and Dave, it is confirmed that this retcon has in fact modified the alpha timeline.in front of
Even later on, a second instance of John appears from the future, and prevents the version of John who had previously changed the course of events in the Dave/Jade conversation from being able to do so (see below).
Following Game Over, John resolves to visit Typheus with the hope that his Denizen will be able to help me with these problems, which also puts him on the path to completing his personal quest. Before he leaves LOPAN, Terezi Pyrope tries to use her Mind abilities to give John some guidance in using his retcon powers, but it apparently fizzles out . John then travels to the center of LOWAS, where Typheus , forcing John to choose between retcon-zapping himself away or drowning in oil. Instead, John manages to pick a third option, zapping the oil away itself, to throughout Homestuck canon. As with the arm retcon, this affected the real world backlog of Homestuck panels. This marked his final mastery over his confining reality, and gave him full control over the use of his retcon abilities.
John's Controlled RetconsEdit
The removal of the oil cleared the LOWAS pipe network entirely, allowing John to funnel the Breeze through it by playing , blowing away the clouds on LOWAS and blowing the stardust out of the Act 6 Act 6 Supercartridge Expansion Pack. At the same time, he makes use of his newly controllable retcon powers, zapping the entirety of LOWAS out of "canon-space" .
...(Remind me to write copy later)...
After an intense staredown, he sends the previous John away to find Roxy, annulling the effects of the retcon that his past-self had instigated. (Note: discussion of how this creates a "stable retcon loop"/John retroactively retcons into his own timeline - should be analysed in this section as per John's own discussion on the subject).
Game Over Retcons/Terezi's InstructionsEdit
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