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Learning card

Fictional Worlds and Transfictional Identity


There are many well-known fictional worlds in today’s popular culture, such as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the Star Wars universe, or the world of the Marvel superheroes. It is also common today, to create crossovers, fusions of originally distinct fictional worlds. This implies the phenomenon of ‘transfictional identity’, fictional entities appearing in multiple fictional worlds. Whereas teens are able to acknowledge transfictional identity without considerable challenges, it would be useful to consider more in detail what it is that makes it possible for fictional characters to maintain their identity in new contexts. For this, students will be asked to produce a poster featuring an example of transfictional identity.

  • Book
  • Comic
  • Media
  • Movies
  • TV series
  • Videogames


  • Create and modify drawings and designs
  • Create and modify photographic productions
  • Use drawing and design tools
  • Use photographic and editing tools


  • Interpret
  • Recognise and describe
  • Compare


Learning areas
  • Foreign Languages
  • Language
Card language
  • Spanish
  • English


2 + deberes
Number of participants
  • 14-16
  • 17-18
  • Computers to show excerpts of films, games, videos etc.
  • Tablets or smartphones (optional)


Key questions
  • What makes up the identity of a fictional character?
  • What kind of effects do crossovers have on their audience?

Session 1

Lesson by teacher introducing the concepts of fictional worlds, fictional characters, cross-overs, adaptations etc. The students are encouraged to describe their favourite fictional worlds and characters; discussion on what makes fictional entities appealing to us. Fiction here may refer to all forms including literature, film, games, comics, TV series. A good example would be Sherlock Holmes in all his forms, or the recent case of the long-running TV series Dr. Who, in which, after almost 50 years of male Doctors, the first female Dr. Who was introduced and what kind of reactions that stirred up. Concepts of canon, official franchise productions, and fanfiction should be described as well. (45’).


The students, working in pairs, should choose one fictional character which appears in multiple fictional worlds (this may be a case of adaptation like filmatization of a novel, cross-over production, or a ‘reboot’ where the old canon is eradicated and a new one established). They should look at what are the constant characteristics, and which elements may change during the transition. A specific question would be, what part of the character cannot be changed or removed without the identity of the character being lost. The student pairs should prepare a poster, with illustrating examples, of the fictional character of their choice.

Session 2

The posters are displayed, and the first half of the class is spent on discussing the posters. After that, the teacher leads a discussion on the defining traits of fictional characters. Also, why do we feel drawn towards fictional characters, what makes them important. (45’).


Understanding fictional characters and their defining traits.

References for professors

Raine Koskimaa. University of  Jyväskylä (Finland),

  • Book
  • Comic
  • Media
  • Movies
  • TV series
  • Videogames