Created By: Generality on January 11, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on January 12, 2016

Fixed Adaptation

An adaptation is altered to put it up to date with either social convention or current science.

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Sometimes an adaptation has to make alterations, either to the plot or some characterisation, due to something which is unpalatable or would ring falsely to the target audience. Problems in the original work which need to be fixed might include critical research failure by the author, advances in science since it came out, different social mores across time or region, or just inconsistencies in the work that need to be ironed out.

In the case of science, it's common to have changes due to Phlebotinum du Jour, where the original work has something fantastic happen due to, say, a lightning strike or radiation, the adaptation might blame genetic engineering because that sounds more like a plausible explanation to the current audience.

The change in question could be a tiny detail in the middle of the film, which might easily go unremarked, or something so significant the ending is vastly different.

In fanworks, the same issue might be addressed in a Fix Fic. Compare Pragmatic Adaptation, in which changes are made because of differences in the medium itself, Adaptation Distillation, in which the plot is changed because of time constraints, and Race Lift. Contrast Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole.

Examples:

Comic Books to Film
  • The original Spider-Man comic book stated that his powers come from a "radioactive" spider and that it doesn't give him webbing - just elevated strength and agility. (The webbing and wall-crawling were made of gadgets.) In the Spider-Man Trilogy, the spider is changed to be "genetically-enhanced" and that the webbing also comes from it.

Film to Literature (Novelization)
  • The movie Fantastic Voyage contained a plot hole: the shrunken submarine was destroyed, and therefore didn't return to normal size inside the patient (which would kill him)—but destroying isn't disintegration; enlarging debris would be as bad a problem as an enlarging submarine. When Isaac Asimov novelized it, he had a blood cell engulf the debris so that it could be taken out of the patient safely.
  • The Trope Namer for Voodoo Shark is, at least, an attempted example. The novelization for Jaws: The Revenge tried to justify the shark's unrealistic actions in the movie by adding a voodoo curse into the story.

Literature to Film
  • The original James Bond novel Goldfinger is about an attempt to rob Fort Knox. The makers of the film realised this was utterly unfeasible, due to the sheer amounts of gold within, and had Bond smugly inform Goldfinger of this flaw, to which he responded that, in this version, his plan was not to take the gold, but to nuke it, thus making his own gold much more valuable.
  • The Da Vinci Code had Robert Langdon as a Grail believer, categorically agreeing with Sir Leigh Teabing's rather historically dubious account of the bloodline of Jesus Christ. A number of critics and historians expressed considerable doubt about the probability of the novel's claims, and Langdon in the film is a far more moderate character, skeptical about many of Teabing's beliefs, pointing at holes in the theory, and ultimately serving as a neutral point between Teabing's fanaticism and Sophie's skepticism. Ultimately, however, the wild tale proves completely true.
  • For The Lord of the Rings films, among many changes of varying types, the filmmakers modernised many aspects of the characters' speech (mainly to avoid Have a Gay Old Time) and de-emphasised the class difference between Frodo and the other hobbits, feeling that the dynamic of him as a minor noble with Sam as his servant would be distasteful to a modern audience. Given that the book is a major Door Stopper, it's not surprising there were a lot of changes.
    • The physical aspect of Frodo and Sam's relationship is seriously toned-down in places. While the characters in the movie hug, they do not kiss, cuddle, or hold hands nearly as much as they do in the book. This probably reflects the restrictive contemporary attitude towards platonic affection between male friends.
    • The scene where the ring is destroyed is changed to give Frodo a more active role, in keeping with the modern secular view of heroes as free agents of their own destiny. The religious connotations of the scene (Gollum's intervention and fortuitous death can be seen as the act of Divine Grace that allows Frodo to accomplish his mission in spite of his own weakness) are thus downplayed.
    • In order to make it clear that Frodo is the hero, the movie tends to play up his weaknesses and downplay Sam's. This can be most clearly seen in the relationship between the hobbits and Gollum. In the book, it is clear that Frodo's decision to trust Gollum is the right one, and there are suggestions that Sam's hostility towards Gollum actually contributes to his eventual betrayal. The movie recasts these events so that Sam's objections to Gollum all come off as wisdom and Frodo's trust of him as foolishness. Most of Sam's scenes of doubt and self-questioning have also been removed, with all the focus placed on Frodo's inner struggle. Frodo thus emerges as the more rounded and morally-complex character, while Sam is relegated to the role of flatly virtuous sidekick.
    • After the Twin Towers terrorism attack, scenes were removed which would have portrayed the films' villains (especially the human ones such as the Haradrim) more sympathetically, and pointed out the flaws in the good guys (such as the Rohirrim's hunting of the hill men). The film had been geared to portray matters in a somewhat morally ambiguous light, as in the book, but after the incident it was decided that people would rather have a more black and white morality contrast. As a response, the films were accused of glorifying war.
    • Although the filmmakers have not specifically addressed the subject, the removal of Saruman's change of attire from white to rainbow clothing was probably done to avoid Unfortunate Implications due to current associations of rainbows.
  • The film adaptations of The Hobbit have had numerous plot changes, many for the sake of padding, others to seal plot holes within the book. Most notably, in the book the dwarves' plan to have one burglar sneak into Erebor and steal Smaug's entire horde of gold was implausible, so in the film they were specifically after the Arkenstone, which would have given Thorin the authority to rally the Dwarves to take back the kingdom.
  • The film version of Gone with the Wind tones down the racism of the original book, which was thought to be uncommercial even in that time period. And by modern standards, the movie is still overflowing with Unfortunate Implications.
  • The book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas contains numerous factual errors about The Holocaust which are rectified in the film adaptation. In the book Bruno has basically no knowledge of who Jews or Adolf Hitler are, highly unlikely considering the amount of propaganda German children were fed during then and made all the more egregious by the fact that Hitler himself actually visits his family for dinner. In the film the dinner with Hitler is omitted, and Bruno is shown hearing anti-Jew propaganda but not being very interested in it. Other fixed errors include the fence not being electrified, and Shmuel's not being spotted by guards while sitting near the fence as being because he's not easily visible behind a small debris pile.
  • The revolution in the film Fight Club is rather more sympathetic than the one in the book. In the book, the target of the big bomb at the end is a history museum: Tyler basically wants to destroy all art and culture. In the film, they're blowing up credit card companies in order to erase debt records.
  • Twoflower in the first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic, is a Japanese Tourist-analogue, coming to Ankh-Morpork from Agatea, the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial Japan, bringing an annoying camera and more money than sense. That trope having declined in popularity and relevance since The '80s when the book was written, the 2008 TV adaptation gave Twoflower a Race Lift and made him an American-accented, Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist played by Sean Astin.
  • In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (the book), Captain Nemo's submarine runs on electricity, a nearly unheard-of power source at the time. The Disney film made it nuclear-powered instead.

Literature to Animated Film
  • In the Tarzan novels, written in the early 1900's, Tarzan is raised by a fictional ape species called "Mangani", while gorillas are portrayed as simple-minded, vicious monsters and enemies of the Mangani. The leader of the Mangani, Kerchak, is however almost as violent, but more intelligent, than the gorillas, and he kills Tarzan's biological father. The Disney Animated Adaptation turns Tarzan's family into gorillas, and the writers took advantage of 100 years of biology studies to portray gorillas more accurately: Kala is a gentle and loving female, while Kerchak is a stern silverback violently protective of his family, but ultimately a good guy. Tarzan's parents are, instead, killed by a leopard. The original books also portrayed the African natives as primitive savages, which would be considered racist nowadays, so the Disney film completely removes them from the story.

Literature to Animated Series
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow becomes King of the Emerald City after the Wizard departs. The sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz, introduces the idea that there was a royal family who ruled the Emerald City before the Wizard took over, and when the Scarecrow is deposed by General Jinjur's army, Glinda refuses to help restore him to the throne because he has no more right to it than Jinjur has — even though she approved of him taking the throne at the end of the previous book. In the animated series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which adapts both books, Glinda explains that when she approved of the Scarecrow becoming King she thought the royal family had died out, and only since then had learned that the rightful heir had been hidden away but was still alive.

Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • January 15, 2012
    PaulA
    • In The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, the Scarecrow becomes King of the Emerald City after the Wizard departs. The sequel, The Marvelous Land Of Oz, introduces the idea that there was a royal family who ruled the Emerald City before the Wizard took over, and when the Scarecrow is deposed by General Jinjur's army, Glinda refuses to help restore him to the throne because he has no more right to it than Jinjur has -- even though she approved of him taking the throne at the end of the previous book. In the animated series The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, which adapts both books, Glinda explains that when she approved of the Scarecrow becoming King she thought the royal family had died out, and only since then had learned that the rightful heir had been hidden away but was still alive.
  • January 16, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    The Oz example is simple retcon. This trope is about adaptations, not sequels.
  • January 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^I think Paul's point was that the Animated Adaptation has a fix of the inconsistency amongst the two books.
  • January 16, 2012
    Generality
    Yes, its valid.
  • January 17, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    My mistake.
  • January 18, 2012
    arromdee
    The movie Fantastic Voyage contained a plot hole: the shrunken submarine was destroyed, and therefore didn't return to normal size inside the patient (which would kill him)--but destroying isn't disintegration; enlarging debris would be as bad a problem as an enlarging submarine. When Isaac Asimov novelized it, he had a blood cell engulf the debris so that it could be taken out of the patient safely.
  • January 26, 2012
    luislucas
    I think this troupe would be sort of an Adaptation Distillation in reverse, but I think there is too much margin for fans to compare "their" adaptations as the best with disastrous results.
  • January 27, 2012
    Generality
    This is not a trope about an audience's feelings about an adaptation. It's about how a studio chooses to make that adaptation, regardless of whether these changes are appreciated.
  • January 28, 2012
    IsaacSapphire
    Would the Dr. Doolittle reissues count under this? The original books apparently contained some words that are considered ethnic slurs today and the more recent (late '80s/early '90s) editions changed this. I know that some other classic books with the same issue of containing ethnic terms that have Unfortunate Implications, such as some of Mark Twain's work, has been altered for the same reason.
  • January 28, 2012
    Generality
    I'm not sure if reissues count as adaptations.
  • March 3, 2012
    Generality
    Anyone have further thoughts? I'm still not sure this is a needed trope.
  • March 3, 2012
    abk0100
    I was thinking this is just Pragmatic Adaptation, but reading your description, it's distinctly different. And if we have Adaptation Induced Plot Hole, then we should have the opposite of that too.

    The Voodoo Shark trope namer is an example, or at least an attempted example. The novelization for Jaws: The Revenge tried to justify the shark's unrealistic actions in the movie by adding a voodoo curse into the story.
  • April 19, 2012
    StevenT
    A fan-made game of The Room called The Room: The Game fills in some of the plot holes.
  • April 19, 2012
    Hello999
    The film version of Gone With The Wind tones down the racism of the original book, which was thought to be uncommercial even in that time period. And by modern standards, the movie is still overflowing with Unfortunate Implications.
  • April 19, 2012
    Generality
    ^^ That's a fan-work, which I'd say puts it under Fix Fic.
  • February 20, 2014
    DAN004
    Fixed Adaptation can be mistaken for an adaptation without any changes (everything's "fixed"). Maybe Fixed In The Adaptation?

    this reminds me on my query in Lost And Found, so thanks for making this :D
  • February 20, 2014
    DAN004
    • Subverted in one instance in One Piece: before the Fishman Island arc (after the Time Skip), in the manga, Chopper manages to transform into his special forms without the long-established special drug Rumble Ball to intercept an attack; the anime fixed that by having Chopper chew on one before it happens. The subversion comes when, some chapters later, it is established in the manga that Chopper really doesn't need the Rumble Ball anymore. (Except for his uncontrollable monster form, but no, he didn't morph into that form behorehand.) A case of Overtook The Manga.
  • February 20, 2014
    DennisDunjinman
    • Is it like how the Disney version of Tarzan took advantage of 100 years of biology studies to portray gorillas more accurately and remove racism from the source material?
  • February 20, 2014
    Generality
    ^ I'd like some more specifics, but that sounds like a good example.
  • February 20, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Planet Of The Apes: In the original novel and the 1960s-70s film series, gorillas are portrayed as agressive "meat-eaters." However it turns out that gorillas are, generally speaking, Gentle Giants. It's chimps that are hyperagressive killers. The 2001 film makes the Big Bad General Ripper a chimp instead.
  • February 21, 2014
    KJMackley
    Most of these are just artistic changes, with nothing really being "fixed" but just interpreted differently. As it stands right now it is Pragmatic Adaptation described in different words, alterations made in an adaptation that work better in the new format or would be better received by modern audiences. That includes eliminating social, political and racial views that wouldn't translate well.

    If this has any hope as a trope, make it a deliberate counterpart to Adaptation Induced Plot Hole. Actual, honest Plot Holes from the original (not archaic viewpoints or research mistakes) that don't exist in the adaptation. Maybe Adaptation Filled Plot Hole or Adapation Repared Plot Hole.
    • A rather infamous change in The Lord Of The Rings is when Faramir was tempted by the ring just the same as any other character but was convinced to let Frodo and Sam go after learning his brother Boromir betrayed them and tried to take the ring for himself. The change was made because Faramir's ambivalence towards the ring in the book was at odds with everyone else having a supernatural attraction to it.
  • February 21, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Does my example count then?
  • February 21, 2014
    Snicka
    Expanding the Tarzan example:

    • In the Tarzan novels, written in the early 1900's, Tarzan is raised by a fictional ape species called "Mangani", while gorillas are portrayed as simple-minded, vicious monsters and enemies of the Mangani. The leader of the Mangani, Kerchak, is however almost as violent, but more intelligent, than the gorillas, and he kills Tarzan's biological father. The Disney Animated Adaptation turns Tarzan's family into gorillas, and the writers took advantage of 100 years of biology studies to portray gorillas more accurately: Kala is a gentle and loving female, while Kerchak is a stern silverback violently protective of his family, but ultimately a good guy. Tarzan's parents are, instead, killed by a leopard. The original books also portrayed the African natives as primitive savages, which would be considered racist nowadays, so the Disney film completely removes them from the story.
  • October 28, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    • The book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas contains numerous factual errors about The Holocaust which are rectified in the film adaptation. In the book Bruno has basically no knowledge of who Jews or Adolf Hitler are, highly unlikely considering the amount of propaganda German children were fed during then and made all the more egregious by the fact that Hitler himself actually visits his family for dinner. In the film the dinner with Hitler is omitted, and Bruno is shown hearing anti-Jew propaganda but not being very interested in it. Other fixed errors include the fence not being electrified, and Shmuel's not being spotted by guards while sitting near the fence as being because he's not easily visible behind a small debris pile.
  • October 30, 2014
    Chabal2
    • In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (the book), Captain Nemo's submarine runs on electricity, a nearly unheard-of power source at the time. The Disney film made it nuclear-powered instead.
      • Captain Nemo was originally a Pole whose family had been killed by Russians. As France was allied with Russia at the time, Verne's editor convinced him to find a more acceptable nationality, and so Nemo became an Indian fighting the British (though the book's illustrations still show him as Caucasion).
  • October 30, 2014
    DAN004
    Who's managing this?

    I wish I don't have to grab this...
  • October 30, 2014
    Generality
    I'm keeping an eye on it. I'll probably update the examples soon. I'm trying to figure out how to address the issues that KJ Mackley mentioned.
  • October 30, 2014
    Ominae
    I wonder if this can be applied in the case of mangas with animated adapatations. Since sometimes, the TV show ends with a cliffhanger or a different conclusion...
  • October 31, 2014
    Generality
    ^ A lot of the time, that's just a Pragmatic Adaptation to deal with the fact that they Overtook The Manga. That happened with Trigun, for example. If the change is made in order to address issues within the work itself, then it might count.
  • November 1, 2014
    BlueIceTea
    Another LotR example (similar to the Have A Gay Old Time one):

    • The physical aspect of Frodo and Sam's relationship is seriously toned-down in places. While the characters in the movie hug, they do not kiss, cuddle, or hold hands nearly as much as they do in the book. This probably reflects the restrictive contemporary attitude towards platonic affection between male friends.
  • November 1, 2014
    BlueIceTea
    More LotR changes:

    • The scene where the ring is destroyed is changed to give Frodo a more active role, in keeping with the modern secular view of heroes as free agents of their own destiny. The religious connotations of the scene (Gollum's intervention and fortuitous death can be seen as the act of Diving Grace that allows Frodo to accomplish his mission in spite of his own weakness) are thus downplayed.
    • In order to forground Frodo as the hero, the movie tends to play up his weaknesses and downplay Sam's. This can be most cleraly seen in the relaitonship between the hobbits and Gollum. In the book, it is clear that Frodo's decision to trust Gollum is the right one, and there are suggestions that Sam's hostility towards Gollum actually contributes to his eventual betrayal. The movie recasts these events so that Sam's objections to Gollum all come off as wisdom and Frodo's trust of him as foolishness. Most of Sam's scenes of doubt and self-questioning have also been removed, with all the focus placed on Frodo's inner struggle. Frodo thus emerges as the more rounded and morally-complex character, while Sam is relegated to the role of flatly virtuous sidekick.
  • November 7, 2014
    BlueIceTea
    Incidentally, would it be possible to have inversions on here? Like, where an adaptation is less in line with modern values than the original work? I can't think of any examples right now, but I feel like it happens.
  • November 7, 2014
    Generality
    That kind of just sounds like flame bait to me.
  • November 7, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • The revolution in the film Fight Club is rather more sympathetic than the one in the book. In the book, the target of the big bomb at the end is a history museum: Tyler basically wants to destroy all art and culture. In the film, they're blowing up credit card companies in order to erase debt records.
  • November 7, 2014
    robinjohnson
  • November 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Do Generality or Pichu-kun ever update this?
  • November 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Btw regarding advancements in science, this trope may be related to Phlebotinum Du Jour.

    In which case:
    • The original Spider Man comic book stated that his powers come from a "radioactive" spider and that it doesn't give him webbing - just elevated strength and agility. (The webbing and wall-crawling were made of gadgets.) In Spider Man movie, the spider is changed to be "genetically-enhanced" and that the webbing also comes from it.
  • November 8, 2014
    Generality
    ^^ This thing has been dead for ages, then it suddenly got a load of responses. I'm updating now.
  • November 10, 2014
    brickonator
    Would this also include works that have been updated that contain updates, changes, clarifications or additions to work better along newer sequels, prequels and/or expanded universe stuff? For example, the 2014 Fate/stay night anime adds a lot of scenes and elements to make it better fit in with Fate/zero.
  • November 10, 2014
    Generality
  • December 5, 2014
    BlueIceTea
    Bump.
  • December 5, 2014
    eroock
  • December 5, 2014
    DAN004
    I don't think we should have "X to Y" media sections. Just list the original medium as usual, that way we can have cases of lots of different media adaptations.

    E.g maybe Spider Man cartoons offer different explanations on other things?
  • January 11, 2016
    zoop
    Would fixing a plot hole in the original be the same trope? I asked if we had a trope for an adaptation that fixes a plot hole and someone suggested I look here.
  • January 12, 2016
    Arivne
  • January 12, 2016
    DAN004
    ^^ somebody already suggested that this is turned into strictly a plot hole-fixing trope.

    Dunno though, currently it's rather broad on what "fixed" refers to. It fixes issues coming from Time Marches On for one.
  • January 12, 2016
    Generality
    ^ I was thinking about breaking it into two tropes: one for fixing plot holes, another for updating a work to address Values Dissonance.
  • January 12, 2016
    Snicka
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I remember:
    • In the original War Of The Worlds, the alien invaders came from Mars. Since decades of research found no evidence of life on Mars, the film adaptation changes it to the invaders coming from another solar system, but setting up a base on Mars before invading Earth.
  • January 12, 2016
    gallium
    How is changing the submarine in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea "fixing" anything? Diesel electric submarines still exist. You could make one powered by a nuclear reactor if you wanted to.
  • January 12, 2016
    DAN004
    Again, title needs to be Fixed In The Adaptation.
  • January 12, 2016
    shimaspawn
    I think Updated In The Adaptation would be more accurate than fixed.
  • January 12, 2016
    zoop
    I'm with @Generality: Spilt this into two tropes. Fixed In The Adaptation would be an adaptation that fixes a plot hole in the original, and... something else but I can't think of a good name for it... would be an adaptation that updates a story due to Science Marches On, Society Marches On, Have A Gay Old Time, etc.
  • January 12, 2016
    DAN004

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=5wqr6ud77wi7bcrx5mwlkokw