The term expanded universe (also called extended universe) originated in the Star Wars fandom. The TV Tropes Wiki defines an expanded universe as everything about a given movie or TV series that is official but not presented in the original medium (movies or TV). For a TV series, any officially licensed material that isn't offered on TV in the same manner as the original show (live action, animated, etc.) is considered part of the show's expanded universe. Depending on the original work, the expanded universe thereof can consist of novels tie-ins, cartoons, movies, comic books and graphic novels, toys, video games, and so on.
The problem is whether everything in an expanded universe is canon. The greater the amount of material produced for any licensed property, the more likely it is that contradictions will creep in. Expanded universe material might contradict popular fanon, leading to fandom controversy, or even be disregarded ("Jossed") later on by other official materials. The Daria community, however, has largely inoculated itself against potential future Jossing with its heavy reliance on the alternate-universe convention, giving equal weight to each writer-created Dariaverse and, sometimes, making them almost equal to the original series itself.
The Official Expanded Universe of Daria
In Daria fandom, the expanded universe would consist of:
- The two books on the series: The Daria Diaries and The Daria Database
- The Daria's Inferno computer game
- Any materials presented in the Daria section of the MTV website
- Daria and Jane’s appearances as TV show hosts (off-canon canon) or in other media (magazine and TV interviews, newspaper articles, etc.), excluding appearances that were not officially sponsored by MTV (see “In the Media” on Outpost Daria--retrieved by the Wayback Machine)
- Any appearance of Daria on the precursor TV series, Beavis and Butt-head, to include episodes on VHS, DVD, or online at the MTV website
- Any appearance of Daria in licensed materials for Beavis and Butt-head (books, comics, computer games, material on the MTV website, etc.)
- Information that appears in interviews with Glenn Eichler, Anne D. Bernstein, or other persons intimately involved in the Daria show’s production.
- Any other TV shows or sources that can be linked in some way with Beavis and Butt-head, such as the animated MTV show The Head.
- The upcoming spin-off Jodie will likely qualify.
The degree to which each of the above is considered canonical is addressed in the article on canon and will not be covered here.
Fanon in the Expanded Universe
However, the Daria series is no longer aired, and no new TV material has been created for it since January 2002, when Is It College Yet? was aired. The fandom has continued to create its own unofficial material since then, and certain elements of fanon have developed wide fan acceptance with no danger of later contradiction. This has led to a somewhat looser definition of an "expanded universe" than might be found elsewhere.
Brother Grimace and Roentgen have both argued that widely accepted fanon, even completely original elements, can be considered part of the Daria expanded universe and thus provide fodder for fanfiction. Indeed, in some fanfics the theme might appear to mandate the appearance of fanon characters or items. A Daria/Harry Potter crossover is more likely to include an appearance by Scarlett, for example, and a story involving any secret government agency might also draw in Kyle Armalin.
The degree to which fanfiction can include fanon additions and still remain popular with the fans is the heart of the matter. Criticisms have been made of many post-canon stories in which many new characters were added, watering down the canon-like feel of the tale. As the fanon elements in Daria fandom grow stronger, however, these objections have become less strident, particularly when fanon creations are more widely used. It will be interesting to see where this issue leads as the fandom continues on its merry way.