Another thorny issue is that not all stories have a single creator, and the collaborators may not actually agree with interpretations of their story that weren’t made explicit in the work. This is especially likely if they no longer work together, and particularly if they had a real-life falling farmers only out. In this case, there are multiple “Gods” given potentially contradictory explanations, so whose word is to be considered correct? Likewise, in many cases the writers of a story are not the copyright holders, meaning that they’re not the highest authorities on its meaning even if you do subscribe to the Word of God theory.
If a work has more than one creator and they disagree with each other on a crucial point, you’ll likely see fans embrace conflicting statements. What happens when multiple fans are equipped with the Word of God? What happens when one Word turns out to be more ridiculous than expected? Bible fight! The term ‘Story Bible’ is sometimes used for the definitive guidelines for writing an episode of a TV series. Two writers quoting the Story Bible back and forth are having a Bible Fight.
This is also a way that a theory can be Jossed. It’s important to remember that if you disagree with the Word of God, there’s nothing wrong with writing fan fiction that contradicts it, just don’t try to foist your preferred Fanon on fans who acknowledge the official canon or on the actual creator of the work.
Actors can be included under Word of God if they are the actual performers of the characters involved. This is because in order to perform their roles, most actors will spend time working out motivations, backstory, and even what a character is thinking in a particular scene. So even if a scene does not actually have two characters say “I love you” to each other, but the actors say that they played the roles as the two characters being in love, and the writer of the story says they were in love, then Word of God may then apply that they were in love.
When the word does not come from the creator themself but from someone involved in some ancillary role in production, that’s Word of Saint Paul. When the word does not come from the original creators but over time is still treated as such it is Word of Dante. Doesn’t always end up giving fans the answers they were looking for, such as in the case of a Flip-Flop of God or a Shrug of God. Cases of God deliberately misleading the audience go under Lying Creator or Trolling Creator. And then there are cases of fans either misinterpreting or just making up Word of God, resulting in God Never Said That.
Contrast Death of the Author, and What Could Have Been. See also: Canon Discontinuity, Creator Worship, Broken Base, and Revision. Not to be confused with actual scripture, which we have a whole index for.
Works with their own pages:
- The Book of Life
- Brockton’s Celestial Forge
- Captain Underpants
- Dream SMP
- Epithet Erased
- Sleepless Domain
Examples with sources cited.
- Eiichiro Oda, creator of One Piece, runs a column in the collected volumes of his work, devoted to Word of God explanations of various One Piece minutiae. He is delightfully laid back about it, sometimes making explanations up on the spot, or even allowing fans to write the canon for him. Beware Oda isn’t above lying about certain things. He said Sabo was dead. :