Adaptation Personality Change YKTTW Discussion

Adaptation Personality Change
Character has a different personality in an adaptation from the original medium
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-01 16:29:20 sponsor: blueranger edited by: paycheckgurl (last reply: 2014-02-13 19:12:37)

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Often when adapting from a book or other medium, a character will be included in the adaptation but their personality will be different from the original medium. Maybe they are a Composite Character and take on the role and personality of the one they get combined with. Maybe they only have a minor role initially but it gets expanded upon in the adaptation. Or maybe in the original their role was much bigger and got cut down in the adaptation, leaving them a little one dimensional. See also Adaptation Explanation Extrication. Adaptational Villainy is a sub trope. Also compare Alternate Character Interpretation. Note that this is not a trope to complain about minor changes in an adaptation.


  • Pokémon:
  • King Dedede of the Kirby games series is usually an Anti-Villain, committing petty acts of villainy at worst and often teaming up with Kirby. In the Kirby of the Stars anime, Dedede is a more actively antagonistic and callous tyrant (if still ineffectual) and his redeeming moments are more few and in between. Meanwhile Meta Knight, more a Hero Antagonist in the games, is Kirby's ally and mentor from the beginning of the anime.

  • In Brian DePalma's version of Carrie, Norma Watson is made into Chris's gal pal and openly bullies Carrie as well as being in on the prank at the prom. This is due to DePalma being impressed with PJ Soles's performance and rewriting Norma to expand her role.
    • Again in the TV remake with Tina Blake. While she is one of Chris's friends in the book, she isn't as big a bully and she isn't in on the prank, which she is in the film.
    • Helen Shyres in the book is mostly just a background character as Sue's friend but gets combined with another girl Frieda Jason in the TV film and so has her scene where she is nice to Carrie at the prom.
  • Cho Chang in the Harry Potter books was written to be excessively jealous and clingy when she and Harry are dating but none of this is shown in the movies.
  • Get Smart turned 99 into a Defrosting Ice Queen and Larrabee into a Jerk Jock, but the most noticeable change is that Max has now has a brain between his ears.
  • Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events was written as very sinister in the original books but in the film he is more over the top and hammy leaning closer to comic relief.
  • Jurassic Park: In the original book, Gennaro the lawyer ends up turning into The Lancer for Alan Grant, and he even punches out a Velociraptor! The film turns Gennaro into a Dirty Coward that gets eaten by a T-Rex whilst sitting on a toilet. John Hammond in the original book is The Scrooge and a tyrant who shortchanges people (giving fat programmer Dennis a reason to betray him), has a Never My Fault mentality, and then suffers Karmic Death. The film turns Hammond into a kindly old man who truly thinks that what he's doing is a good idea (which it isn't), and one result of the change is that Dennis comes off as more of a Jerkass for betraying him!
  • Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films did this with a few characters. Arwen's role is expanded and she becomes an Action Girl, Faramir becomes tempted by the ring and his Parental Favouritism issues are more played up. Elrond is also made to be bitter and cynical, thinking humans are useless. Merry was also more serious in the book but in the films is more carefree and comical. Denethor also gets a bit of Adaptational Villainy when he was simply Good Is Not Nice in the book.
  • The movie of Forrest Gump does this with Jenny (making her a vapid party girl), Forrest's mom (Who loved her son, but was much less in charge), and to an extent, Forrest himself, who in the books is an idiot savant, and much less Inspirationally Disadvantaged.
  • In the movie adaptation of the Tintin comic The Secret of the Unicorn, this happens to Barnaby and Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine. Sakharine in the comics is annoying but harmless, and is implied to be nice enough to offer one of his ships to Captain Haddock's maritime gallery. In the movie, he is a vengeful and vindictive Big Bad. Barnaby in the comics was a spy for the villains who turned informer, and they shot him to keep him from revealing their activities. The film adapts him into a well-meaning Interpol agent who tries to warn and help Tintin, although Tintin doesn't realize this until after Barnaby is shot by Sakharine's henchmen.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks, as well as The Chipettes experience this with almost every new incarnation. While the characters have experienced some natural Character Development over the years (especially true of the 1980s cartoon series), they have also experienced complete changes in their personalities when it comes to the more recent live action/CGI movies. For example, Simon goes from being Deadpan Snarker with biting sarcasm to having a less cerebral sense of humor with a underlying perverted streak; Theodore's innocence and naivete not only becomes a thing of flanderization, but he also becomes more absent-minded (much like Jeanette usually is); and Brittany is hardly the Alpha Bitch diva that she's been known for in previous incarnations.

Live Action TV
  • In the original The Worst Witch books Miss Bat appears only in the second book and appears to be your average strict teacher. The TV series has her as a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and much more empathic to the students. Miss Drill is also written as a tough Drill Sergeant Nasty type of PE teacher in the books but is much more friendly in the TV series, as well as being rewritten to be mortal. She is implied to be a witch in the books.
  • In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, Mirri Maz Duur is implied to have honestly treated Khal Drogo's wound in a way that would make him well, and his condition only worsens when Drogo refuses to continue the treatment. In the Game of Thrones tv series, it's strongly implied that she intentionally botched treating his wound so that he would die.

Web Original
  • Super Mario Bros. Z turned Shadow from a low-key, brooding, level-headed character into a hot-tempered, angry character to better mirror Vegeta.

Web Comics
  • Awkward Zombie portrays Marth from Fire Emblem rather differently than the games do. The author was rather surprised when confronted with a game highlighting the difference, noting that "Sometimes I forget that I kinda sorta totally made up his characterization for the purposes of this comic."

Western Animation
  • Scarface's mate in The Animals of Farthing Wood is mostly just a background character and isn't necessarily evil but the cartoon expands her role into a proper Femme Fatale. Also Friendly takes on Bold's role as the sneak between Charmer and Ranger, making his name in the cartoon rather ironic.
  • A lot of Sonic the Hedgehog adaptations do this. Perhaps most notably Sonic Satam turns Dr "Eggman" Robotnik from a clownish Anti-Villain to a (mostly) deathly serious Complete Monster overlord. Sonic's personality in different medias can range anywhere from an incorruptably kind and laid back Ace to a Jerk Ass Knight in Sour Armor. Pretty much the whole cast that has been in more than one enterpretation of the franchise has underwent this process to some extent.
  • Mickey Mouse may be an odd variation in that it was his adaption enterpretations that avoided such a change. While the Mickey of Classic Disney Shorts was slowly tamed into The Everyman, the comics continued to refer to his earlier more adventurous and abrasive persona for a long period of time. Epic Mickey even plays with this, allowing you to choose between evolving Mickey into either his former or latter persona.
  • In BIONICLE's first Direct-to-Video film, the protagonist Takua was written as a irresponsible, goofy and rather dim to contrast with Jaller's Straight Man, whereas in previous and arguably every other incarnation he is an adventerous Guile Hero.
  • Done in spades for most Disney Animated Canon adaptations of novels. In The Jungle Book for example, Baloo and Bageehra essentially switch personalities and Kaa becomes a clownish villain rather than a wise mentor for Mowgli.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The characters are reinterpreted in every retelling especially Michelangelo and Raphael. They typically fit the same archetype, but express it in different ways
    • All were extremely flanderized in the 1987 series except for Leonardo who was only mildly flanderized. Donatello went from being intellectual to being a Gadgeteer Genius, Michelangelo went from being mostly laidback to being a surfer dude obsessed with pizza, but most egregiously, Raphael went from being dark and violent to being snarky and constantly breaking the fourth wall.
    • Michelangelo: Mirage Comics - laidback, 1987 Cartoon - surfer dude, Film Series - jokester, 2003 Cartoon - prankster.
    • Raphael: Mirage Comics - violent, 1987 Cartoon - wise cracker, Film - brooding, 2003 Cartoon gruff.
  • * Many characters of The Railway Series have ended up altered in Thomas the Tank Engine due to Flanderization coming into play during the show's long run. Thomas in particular is a more rude and pretentious character in most of the novels (only warming in the very later books). While early seasons kept to this depiction, he quickly became more altruistic and kind as the show branched away from the novels, as well as becoming something of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander come the CGI transition. Wiser supporting characters such as Edward and Toby also became more flawed and childlike to enable more spotlight episodes.
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