TikTok Can’t Stop Talking About Canon Events — But What Does It All Mean?

If you're not someone who has been helplessly drawn into the multiverse thanks to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Sony and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, respectively, you might not have any clue what the "canon events" that have taken over TikTok really mean. For those who are scratching their heads over the popular term that currently has over 390 million views on the app, here's the trend in a nutshell.

What is a canon event?

You may have heard people refer to film and TV adaptations as "canon," which means the story follows the source material or is true to the book it was originally based on. But in Across The Spider-Verse, the latest Spider-Man comic action film, we're introduced to the concept of canon events. In the multiverse (which is basically the collective term for alternate dimensions and multiple timelines that all exist at the same time), a canon event is a character-defining moment that has to happen to every version of you, in every universe.

its okay babe we’ve been there too you will make it through

♬ Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara) - Daniel Pemberton
In the case of Spider-Man, he is told by another Spider-Man (because, in the multiverse, there are many) that in order for his timeline to continue ahead as it's supposed to, he has to grieve the death of at least one person very close to him.
The real catch is that if you know something is a canon event, particularly a painful one that's going to hurt you or someone else, you're supposed to just let it happen and not interfere with the chain of events — which is pretty hard to resist.

Why is TikTok so obsessed with canon events?

Like many pop culture references, TikTok has done its job and turned canon events into a viral trend of its own. Now, your FYP is probably teeming with people lamenting about not being able to interfere in someone else's life when they see something classic or clichéd about to happen to them, especially if you've been through it yourself. It's canon, which means it's an experience you have to live through to turn you into who you're meant to be.
In true TikTok fashion, creators have turned this pretty heavy philosophical concept about the multiverse into some brilliantly satirical and ultra-relatable content. From not being able to stop the bi girl from dating the "below average indie guy" before she finds the woman of her dreams, or the person with curly hair going through their hair straightening phase, TikTok is pointing out some of our most banal, regrettable life choices, both to make light of them and to point out their significance.
But the concept of canon events certainly makes us wonder: Are there some painful and undesirable things that we just have to go through so we can grow, evolve and become the person we're supposed to be? And can we ever just skip past them without any lasting impact on our lives?
It's probably true that certain trials and challenges are beneficial, if not necessary, to our character development — and for that reason, canon events are important. But some might say there is also value in rejecting our predetermined destiny and learning from others' mistakes before we make our own.
@srienaswag toxic codependency builds character (that’s what i told myself) #fypシ ♬ Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara) - Daniel Pemberton
It's heavily hinted that in the third Spider-Verse film, we might see the entire concept of canon events challenged, as Spider-Man and his friends endeavor to go against the predetermined scripts and "go their own way." We'll just have to watch and see if, after its release, TikTok determines whether we'll ever be able to get ahead of our own canon events and say a big fuck you to the strict rules of the multiverse.

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