Adaptational Heroism
A character is more of a hero in an adaptation than they were in the original material.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-07-17 14:05:12 sponsor: RossN (last reply: 2012-09-05 11:26:47)

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Adaptational Villainy is where a previously not particulary villianous (or occasionally outright good) character is made much more evil in a new adaptation of a story. This trope is the opposite; a character originally portrayed as an outright villain is reinvented as heroic, or at the very least far less evil.

As with Adaptational Villainy this is sometimes the result of the adapted character being a Composite Character in the new story.

In some cases this overlaps with Perspective Flip but not neccesarily so, as there is no requirement for the original heroes to portrayed negatively in the adaptation.

See also Historical Hero Upgrade for the non-fiction counterpart.

Examples:
  • The DC Comics villianess Silver Banshee was turned into a troubled but clearly heroic young woman in the New 52 Supergirl stories whose first appearance has her jumping in front of Kara to stop soldiers shooting her.
  • The Disney villain Pete had his evilness dramatically toned down in Goof Troop, going from sadistic bully and (usually) criminal to a grumpy Jerk with a Heart of Gold neighbour.
  • In the original novel Jurassic Park John Hammond was an unpleasant, ruthless Corrupt Corporate Executive who ended up getting a Karmic Death. In the films he is vastly more sypatheic, being a kindly old man who wants to share his dream with the world.
  • Pelinal in Elder Scrolls lore. A Fantastic Racist Sociopathic Hero prone to fits of homicidal madness, reverred as a hero by humans for saving them from the tyrannous Ayleids, but despised by elves and Khajiit for the destructive pogroms he carried out against both races. When he appears in the Oblivion expansion pack Knight of the Nine, in which he assists you against his nemesis Umaril, his racism and psychopathy is conveniently not mentioned.
  • In the original novel 1984, Winston Smith is a self-pitying, hypocritical coward, who was cultivated as a traitor by the Thought Police because he made rebellion against Big Brother look bad. But adaptations usually can't resist making him a heroic martyr.
  • The film version of Kick-Ass makes both Big Daddy and Red Mist much more sympathetic than in the original comic. Film Big Daddy is profoudly messed up but very much a Tragic Hero (as against the liar who is a vigilante for kicks he is in the source material). The film version of Red Mist strips him of his Dirty Coward personality from the comic and plays up his lonelieness.
  • The movie Switch is an unofficial remake of Goodbye Charlie. In both an unapologeticly sexist male Casanova is shot dead and reincarnated as a beautiful woman but in the older film he/she is firmly in Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist territory. In the newer film the reincarnated hero/ine is a much more likable character, actually learns a lesson or two and ends the film on a someone happy note.
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