Pokémon Lore's Biggest Retcons | Screen Rant

The Pokémon franchise has retconned its lore on a number of occasions, due to the evolving nature of its setting and the gradual inclusion of new elements into the series that contradict information from older games. The Pokémon games and their story timelines are rather loose, but it's easy to ignore the timeline overall thanks to the ending of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire confirming the existence of multiple timelines and realities. This makes it easy for The Pokémon Company to establish a new status quo, as the older games can exist in their own timeline.

The developers of Pokémon Red and Green had no idea that the two original Gen 1 Pokémon games would go on to spawn the biggest media franchise in the world. Pokémon Red and Blue became a huge hit in Europe and North America, which meant that people around the globe were scrutinizing these Game Boy games on the early Internet. As time went on and the identity of the Pokémon series evolved, the lore of the series changed to accommodate the new direction for Pokémon, with it becoming a cyclical franchise aimed at young kids.

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The canon of the Pokémon series is easy to change and update, due to the mainline games rarely being interested in enforcing a strict timeline. The details of the settings have also been changed within the space of a game, with the old status quo being shrugged off by random comments, even if it's even mentioned at all. This has led to the canon lore of the Pokémon games being retconned over time, in order to fit the information presented in later games.

The Pokémon series has included lots of different concepts over the years and these are often tied to the new regions introduced in each game, such as Dynamaxing only being possible with the aid of Wishing Stones that land on the Galar region, or Mega Stones being created by radiation emitted by the Legendary Pokémon of the Kalos region. This is understandable and the inclusion of these elements into other games can be explained by traveling Pokémon trainers bringing the items related to these new concepts to different regions. It also explains why concepts can be missing from games, like Mega Stones and Z-Moves missing from Pokémon Sword and Shield, as the necessary items haven't been brought to Galar yet.

What's less understandable is why new Pokémon types can be applied to existing Pokémon. This has happened twice in the series, once in Gen II and again in Gen VI. Pokémon Gold and Silver introduced the Dark-type and Steel-type to the series, which meant that Magnemite changed from an Electric-type Pokémon to an Electric/Steel-type Pokémon, while Pokémon X and introduced the Fairy-type to the series, giving Pokémon like Clefairy, Clefable, Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, Mr. Mime, Cleffa, Igglybuff, Togepi, Togetic, Marill, Azurmarill, Snubbull, Granbull, Ralts, Kirlia, Gardevoir, Azurill, Mawile, Mime Jr., and Togekiss suddenly had a new type. The games never explained why old Pokémon have new types added by Game Freak all of a sudden, and it's usually brushed off with a comment about new discoveries being made all the time.

Giovanni was the final Gym Leader of Pokémon Red and Blue, as well as the secret leader of Team Rocket. The player needs to beat Giovanni in order to reach the Pokémon League, and when they do, Giovanni decides to give up his evil ways. Giovanni swears to disband Team Rocket and dedicate his life to the study of Pokémon, before vanishing. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, the remnants of Team Rocket spend the game trying to contact Giovanni, but they receive no response, suggesting they couldn't reach him, or he truly has moved on. An event in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver confirmed that Giovanni went into hiding to train so that he could one day form an even more powerful organization. The event confirms that Giovanni did hear Team Rocket's attempts to contact him and the only reason he didn't return is that the protagonist of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver defeats him again.

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It seems that Giovanni's face turn was supposed to be legit, but it was one of the many changes made during the tumultuous development of Pokémon Gold and Silver. The leaked Pokémon Gold and Silver Space World demo from 1997 confirmed that Giovanni was planned to be one of the members of the Gen 2 Elite Four, alongside Lorelei, Bruno, and Misty. His sprite was also found in the Radio Tower, suggesting that he would have answered Team Rocket's message, though it's unclear if he was returning to his evil ways, or was disbanding the group for good.

It was clear in Pokémon Red and Blue that the Pokémon world was part of the real world, with its Kanto being a representation of the real Kanto in Japan. The Gen 1 games feature numerous references to real-world countries, animals, and even religion. As time went on, these elements have slowly been removed, establishing that the Pokémon world is its own place that is inspired by the real world but isn't part of it. These changes have included Pokémon's Lt. Surge no longer being American, Raichu being strong enough to electrocute a Copperajah instead of an Indian elephant, and Parasect's spores are no longer used as a medicine in China. These changes can be attributed to Pokémon Red and Blue being part of the real world and the concept of the Pokémon world becoming realized over the course of each game.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set centuries before the events of Pokémon Red and Blue, which meant that it had the chance to flesh out different aspects of Pokémon history. It was revealed that Poké Balls are a lot older than anyone thought, as they existed in ancient times, yet characters like Drayden in modern times remember a time before Poké Balls existed and that the Pokédex existed long before Pokémon's Professor Oak, though he could be credited with inventing the electronic version in modern times. One possible explanation is that a lot of Pokémon knowledge was lost over the years and then rediscovered in modern times, though this has yet to be confirmed in-game.

Next: Legends: Arceus Gets New Lore-Friendly Poké Ball For Pokémon Home

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