Autostraddle March Madness: Canon vs. Fanon – Round 2

Well, the Final Fours for both the men’s and women’s tournaments are set.

After Michigan and UCLA gave us one of the best games of the men’s tournament, their Final Four was cemented: Baylor, Houston, Gonzaga and UCLA. Two #1 seeds, a #2 seed and a #11 seed. The tournament’s Cinderella, #11 UCLA, is just the second team to advance from the First 4 game to the Final Four.

On the women’s side, it’s South Carolina, Stanford, Arizona and Connecticut. Three #1 seeds and a three seed. For the first time ever, two black women — South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Arizona’s Adia Barnes — will lead their teams into battle on women’s basketball’s biggest stage. Staley and Barnes are also the only two former WNBA players to take a team to the Final Four.

We’re still got a few more rounds of voting before we can crown our Final Four but the road starts now. Here’s the way the way our bracket looks, as we head into the second round.

2021 Autostraddle MM Bracket

For a better view, you can use the full-size version of the bracket or check out our updated Challonge bracket.


In the Classic sub-region, the top three canon seeds all advanced to next round. I was a bit surprised that, of the three L Word ships featured in that sub-region, only Shane and Carmen survived to Round 2. I thought surely Bettina fans would overrun our poll and move Bette and Tina ahead in the competition…but I guess they’re still smarting over the news that Tina’s married to Rosie O’Donnell now. Though maybe Bette and Tina never really stood a chance because our love for Brittany and Santana is truly eternal.

Canon: #1. Tara and Willow – Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. #5. Cosima and Delphine – Orphan Black

BTVS vs. Orphan Black

Canon: #2. Shane and Carmen – The L Word vs. #3. Brittany and Santana – GLEE

Sharmen vs. Brittana

On the fanon side, three of the top four seeds advanced to the second round. There seemed to be some consternation about Xena and Gabrielle being listed as a fanon ship — even after I explained why in my write-up — but that frustration wasn’t enough to keep the couple from advancing to the next round. At this point, all the match-ups are going to be tough but Rachel and Quinn vs. Buffy and Faith? Whew…that’s going to be a battle…I can’t wait to see what happens.

Fanon: #1. Rachel and Quinn – GLEE vs. #4. Buffy and Faith – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

GLEE vs. BTVS

Fanon: #2. Myka and H.G. – Warehouse 13 vs. #6. Xena and Gabrielle – Xena: Warrior Princess

Bering and Wells vs. Xena and Gabrielle


In the Grown sub-region, things on the canon side went all chalk, with the top four seeds all advancing to the second round. I was glad to see that The Bold Type‘s season four butchering of Adena’s character didn’t impact folks’ affection for the pairing. I was surprised that Jane the Virgin fandom only advanced one of its canon couples in the sub-region: I thought for sure that they’d both advance and we’d see Petra and JR vs. Rose and Luisa in the second round. I wasn’t as surprised that neither of the couples from Generation Q advanced…though, I wonder, if Emma and Nico would’ve had more of a challenge if I’d put the throuple (Alice, Nat and Gigi) as the #8 seed instead of just Alice and Nat.

Canon: #1. Emma and Nico – Vida vs. #4. Kat and Adena – The Bold Type

Vida vs. The Bold Type

Canon: #2. Petra and Jane Ramos – Jane the Virgin vs. #3. Callie and Arizona – Grey’s Anatomy

Petra and JR vs. Callie and Arizona

On the fanon side of the bracket, I was surprised to see Callie and Addison best Petra and Jane Villanueva in their first round match-up. Y’all are either very particular about your Jane the Virgin ships or your love for Callie Torres is truly unrelenting. As with Xena in the Classic sub-region, disagreement over whether Eve and Villanelle should be considered canon or fanon didn’t hamper the Killing Eve couple from advancing to the next round.

Fanon: #1. Alex and Olivia – Law and Order: Special Victims Unit vs. #5. Callie and Addison – Grey’s Anatomy

Alex and Olivia vs. Callie and Addison

Fanon: #2. Eve and Villanelle – Killing Eve vs. #6. Debbie and Ruth – G.L.O.W.

Killing Eve vs. G.L.O.W.


Over in the Baby Gay, Juliana and Valentina’s fandom delivered the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, ousting Elena and Syd from One Day a Time. Coupled with Kate and Emaline’s first round defeat of Cheryl and Toni from Riverdale, our second round will feature a battle between the first two champions of March Madness: Juliana won the Best Coming Out story crown in 2019, while Kate and Emaline won for Best First Kiss in 2018.

Canon: #5. Kate and Emaline – Everything Sucks! vs. #8. Juliana and Valentina – Amar a Muerte

Battle of the March Madness Champions

Canon: #2. Casey and Izzie – Atypical vs. #6. Emily and Sue- Dickinson

Atypical vs. Dickinson

On the fanon side of the bracket, we get a second round match-up between two fanon ships from the same show: Pretty Little Liars‘ Sparia vs. Manna. I’d give the edge to Spencer and Aria based on the first round voting — which, to be clear, I still don’t get — but you can never be sure of anything when Mona’s involved, can you? I’m excited for Girl Meets World‘s opening round success…especially since its one of only a few couples in the field that features an out queer actress.

Fanon: #1. Betty and Veronica – Riverdale vs. #5. Maya and Riley – Girl Meets World

Riverdale vs. Girl Meets World

Fanon: #2. Spencer and Aria – Pretty Little Liars vs. #6. Hanna and Mona – Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars Battle Royal! Sparia vs. Monna!


It was all chalk in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy canon sub-region with all the top four seeds advancing. I was a little surprised that Alex and Kelly didn’t get a boost from the return of Supergirl last night but I suppose that folks are loyal to the Sanvers ship. I’d picked Waverly and Nicole to win this canon sub-region, handily, but Maggie and Alex and Nomi and Amanita both put up strong showings in the first round. This sub-region really is a toss-up.

Canon: #1. Waverly and Nicole – Wynonna Earp vs. #4. Sara and Ava – Legends of Tomorrow

WayHaught vs. Avalance

Canon: #2. Maggie and Alex – Supergirl vs. #3. Nomi and Amanita – Sense8

Supergirl vs. Sense8

Over on the fanon side, things went about as expected with three of the top four seeds advancing. I wasn’t surprised to see Jessica and Trish advance over the RWBY pairing but if you’re an anime fan, maybe put that web series on your radar. Emma and Regina of Once Upon a Time is a strong #1 seed, producing one of the most lopsided wins of the tournament those far. While I certainly thought Swan Queen was on a collison course with SuperCorp, an underwhelming show by the SuperCorp fandom in Round 1 plus a better than expected showing by Thasmin, have me second-guessing my bracket predictions.

Fanon: #1. Emma and Regina – Once Upon a Time vs. #5. Jessica and Trish – Jessica Jones

Once Upon a Time vs. Jessica Jones

Fanon: #2. Lena and Kara – Supergirl vs. #3. 13th Doctor and Yasmin Khan – Doctor Who

Supercorp vs. Thasmin


As always, the clock’s set: you’ve got 48 hours to cast your ballot in the second round of March Madness. After that, we’ll tabulate the votes, update the bracket and introduce you to the Sweet 16 on Friday!

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 183 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. People are mad about Xena and Gabrielle being labelled “fanon” because it’s just plain wrong. The show clearly depicts them as bisexual characters with multiple male and female love interests and confirms them as each other’s soulmate many, many times.

  2. I must say the explanation why Xena and Gabrielle are labeled as fanon here doesn’t make it any better. Endless confirmations of the entire cast, main writers who wrote them as lovers but had to stay subtle due to restrictions and plenty of interviews with Rob in which he confirms their relationship outnumber one questionable quote of him by far. And yes, it’s frustrating because it’s a slap in the face for all queers (especially lesbians) who felt represented for the first time by two main characters. They kissed before Ellen came out,they literally spend eternity with each other, all of the couples here are their heirs. Still,sure we’re voting for them. Let’s see how far it goes.

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