The SpongeBob SquarePants prequel series, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, retconned how SpongeBob met Gary. Here’s how it changed.
SpongeBob SquarePants retconned how SpongeBob and his pet snail Gary first met in the prequel series Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years – here’s how. SpongeBob SquarePants has been unstoppable since its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, becoming the most successful Nicktoon (even more than fan-favorites Rugrats and Hey Arnold!) and expanding to other media as well, most notably videogames and film with three big-screen adventures. SpongeBob and friends are now ready to branch out to the world of streaming, and their first project is the prequel series Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.
The main SpongeBob SquarePants series follows the title character and his closest friends on different adventures in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob is often accompanied by his best friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, his neighbor and coworker Squidward Tentacles, and his greedy boss Mr. Krabs, who more often than not are dragged into whatever problem SpongeBob gets involved in. Now, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years takes viewers a couple of years back to follow 10-year-old SpongeBob as he attends the summer sleepaway camp Kamp Koral, alongside young Patrick and Sandy, with Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and more serving as camp counselors.
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Kamp Koral has already retconned various elements from the main series, most notably how SpongeBob and Sandy met, but also the first meeting between SpongeBob and one of the characters he loves the most: Gary, his pet snail. Gary is a domesticated snail with mannerisms like those of real-world cats, and even though he was originally created as a minor joke character who would appear mostly in the background, he developed a personality and became one of the series’ main characters. The main series had already shown how SpongeBob and Gary met, but Kamp Koral gave their first meeting a whole new scenario and context, effectively retconning how these two met.
In SpongeBob SquarePants, in the episode “Have You Seen This Snail?” it was revealed that SpongeBob has had Gary since he was a child and Gary was a baby snail, and in the episode “Treats!” SpongeBob adopted him from a pound and he was already as old as he is in the series. However, in the episode “Plankton’s Pet”, it’s shown that SpongeBob bought Gary at the animal shelter. Now, Kamp Koral and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run completely changed these first meetings by having SpongeBob and Gary cross paths at Kamp Koral. One day, Gary ate Mrs. Puff’s tomatoes and ran away, and that’s when Sandy, Patrick, and SpongeBob found him. They disguised him as another camper so Mr. Krabs and the rest wouldn’t hurt him, and Gary and SpongeBob immediately bonded. By the end of the episode (appropriately titled “Camper Gary”), Gary was welcome at camp and he and SpongeBob were already good friends.
It’s possible that SpongeBob didn’t take Gary with him when the camp was over, and they reunited years later when he found him at a shelter, but the Kamp Koral backstory invalidates SpongeBob SquarePants’ story of SpongeBob having Gary since he was a kid and Gary was a baby snail. On the other hand, this retcon can be somewhat justified by the SpongeBob multiverse, setting Kamp Koral aside from the main timeline of the original TV show.
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