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In serial fiction, a reboot is a new start in an established fictional universe, work, or series that discards all continuity in order to recreate its characters, plotlines and backstory from the beginning. It has been described as a way to "rebrand" or "restart an entertainment universe that has already been established". Another definition is a remake which is part of an established film series or other media franchise. The term has been criticised for being a vague and "confusing" "buzzword", and a neologism for remake, a concept which has been losing popularity in the 2010s.
Reboots cut out non-essential elements associated with a pre-established franchise and start it anew, distilling it down to the core elements that made the source material popular. For audiences, reboots allow easier entry for newcomers unfamiliar with earlier titles in a series.
In comic books, a long-running title may have its continuity erased in order to start over from the beginning, enabling writers to redefine characters and open up new story opportunities, and allowing the title to bring in new readers. Comic books sometimes use an in-universe explanation for a reboot, such as merging parallel worlds and timelines together, or destroying a fictional universe and recreating it from the beginning.
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With reboots, filmmakers revamp and reinvigorate a film series in order to attract new fans and stimulate revenue. A reboot can renew interest in a series that has grown stale. Reboots act as a safe project for a studio, as a reboot with an established fanbase is less risky (in terms of expected profit) than an entirely original work, while at the same time allowing the studio to explore new demographics. Reboots also allow directors and producers to cast a new set of younger actors for the familiar roles of a film series in order to attract a younger audience. Unlike a remake, however, a reboot often presupposes a working familiarity on the part of the audience with the original work.
Reboots are common in the video game industry, particularly with franchises that have multiple entries in the series. Reboots in video games are used to refresh the storyline and elements of the game.
List of reboots in fiction
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|Series||Series start year||Reboot(s)||Reboot year||Ref.|
|DC Universe||1934||Silver Age||1956|||
|Crisis on Infinite Earths||1986|||
|The New 52||2011|||
|Legion of Super-Heroes||1958||Legion of Super-Heroes||1994|
|Legion of Super-Heroes||2004|
|Saiyuki||1997||Saiyuki Reload||2002|||
|Saiyuki Reload Blast||2010|||
|JoJo's Bizarre Adventure||1987||Steel Ball Run||2004|||
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||1984||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||2012|
|Valiant Comics||1992||Valiant Comics||2012|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||1992||Worlds Collide||2013|||
|Sonic the Hedgehog||2018|
- Artistic license
- Canon (fiction)
- List of modernized adaptations of old works
- Reset button technique
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- Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 (April 1985 – March 1986)
- Flashpoint #1-5 (May – September 2011)
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #4-0 (Sept. 1994)
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