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What is a 'canon event' TikTok trend from 'Spider

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Versecame out just shy of two weeks ago and it's already Sony's highest-grossing animated release in history. But its influence goes beyond the box office. In a true marker of its cultural relevance, it sparked a TikTok trend. 

SEE ALSO:'Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse' review: This is what animation was made for

The film's focus on "canon events," which in this world are key, shared moments that bind the Spider-Verse together (think, core memories from Inside Out, but in a multiverse), has inspired TikTok creators to identify the own "canon events" in their lives and wider communities. A few examples of things that might be "canon events" are Quinceañeras, going on Omegle, and working in a toxic workplace.

A 'canon event' is an unavoidable, unchangeable event. It's a bittersweet and comical acknowledgement of the impact of weird phases on your life and your inability to spare others from having those chapters. In some cases, it's also a reflection on communal rites of passage that seem to inter-generationally repeat themselves. Like the "filler episode" trend that dominated feeds last fall, the canon events trend uses pop culture jargon to make sense of our lives.

Major spoilers ahead

What is a canon event?

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, we've got you covered. Canon events play a crucial role in the plot and the very foundation of the Spider-Verse. In the film Spider-Man 2099 AKA Miguel O'Hara explains that canon events are the shared experiences that bind the Spider-Verse together and make each Spider-Man Spider-Man.

These include getting bit by a radioactive spider, losing a parental figure, and the death of a police captain close to Spider-Man. Not every Spider-Man experiences all the same canon events, but regardless these events are core to Spider-Man's identity. If a canon event is interfered with or prevented, it can lead to the unraveling of the Spider-Verse.

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How did this idea become a TikTok trend?

As soon as the film came out canon events became the latest meme to make sense of your life. In one of the earlier examples posted on June 1, @greekos_nikos writes, "Realizing it was never trauma, just a canon event." It accumulated over 3.8 million views and over 643,800 likes. 

The trend has since evolved into a standard format. Each video describes a situation, either from the poster's own past or that they are observing someone else in,says they can't or no one can interfere, and ends with something along these lines in parentheses "this is a canon event." At this point, the trend has escaped the Spider Verse fandom and is showing up in a wide range of TikTok niches, including eldest daughter TikTok and transmasc TikTok.

In one example @keeganconsciousness writes, "Nobody stopping me from discovering Brockhampton in 2017 (this was a canon event.)" The hauntingly relatable video received over 668,000 views and 133,200 likes. Another reads, "whenever i see a girl at her absolute lowest in her sophomore year of college (i can't interfere it's a canon event)." The specific circumstances described in these videos are truly endless.


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The videos are typically uploaded using the ominous track from the score, "Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara)." The song soundtracks 58,500 TikToks and counting.

The popularity of the phrase isn't limited to TikTok. It's being used similarly on Twitter and is being subbed in for "it is what it is."

What is the meaning of this?

On social media we use trending media and its tropes to write our own stories and make sense of our lives. The explosion of this phrase speaks to the unyielding impact of pop culture on our expression of self (this is a canon event we can't intervene)

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