Created By: blueranger on December 3, 2012 Last Edited By: Saurubiker on August 8, 2014

Adaptation Age Change

A character\'s age is changed in an adaptation

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Trope
This is most commonly seen in non-animated media since a lot of the time the age change is a good way to get around the difficulties of using child actors (a teenage character does allow for Dawson Casting afterall). Compare Plot-Relevant Age-Up when a character is aged up in universe or SORAS when characters age with no explanation. Note that when adding adult examples, it doesn't really count if a 24-year-old gets changed to a 25-year-old etc. For adults it only really counts if the age change is major. Also compare Hollywood Old. Closely related to Age Lift where a character's age appears to be changed but is not referenced.

Examples:

Anime
  • In Street Fighter II V, Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li (among other characters) had their difference in age vary from the original Street Fighter II games. This was done so that the series could revolve around the adventures of Ryu and Ken in their younger days while still being set in the then-present year of 1995. If you take Ryu's age as default this translates as
    • Ryu's year of birth was bumped from 1964 to 1977 so he went from being 27 to being about 18.
    • Chun-Li's from 1968 to 1980 (+1 year older in comparison to Ryu, from 23 to 15)
    • Fei-Long's from 1969 to 1978 (+3 years in comparison to Ryu)
    • Sagat's from 1955 to 1963 (+5 years)
    • Vega's from 1967 to 1977 (+3 years)
    • Zangief's from 1956 to 1966 (+3 years)
    • Dhalsim's and Cammy's were both changed to unknown birthdates. Balrog's and M. Bison's were left unchanged meaning that they're 13 years older in comparison to Ryu than they used to be.
Film
  • In the original Percy Jackson books, the protagonists were around twelve. Chris Columbus's film changes them to around sixteen presumably to avoid comparisons with Harry Potter.
  • In The Devil's Arithmetic Hannah and Rivka are 12 and 10 respectively. In the film Hannah is old enough to drive and get a tattoo while Rivka is at least fifteen.
  • The Harry Potter films de-age Cho Chang and Katie Bell to put them in the same year while aging up Romilda Vane by two years.
  • In the original Snow White fairy tales, the princess is 10-14. Most films usually age her up to around 16.
  • The Pevensie children are much older in the film than they were in the book of Prince Caspian. Peter was around 12 or 14 but William Moseley was 16 at the time of filming. Caspian in the book was said to be around Peter's age so he was aged up too. The age change is noticeable in all the actors since there is only meant to be a year's difference between the two films but they were filmed three years apart.
  • A Kid In King Arthur's Court is a loose adaptation of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, with the main main character changed to a kid.
  • In the movie of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, the hyperintelligent pan-dimensional beings are played by children.
  • In the book Jurassic Park, Tim is the big brother while Lex is a Bratty Half-Pint. In the film, Tim is younger while Lex is older and less bratty.
  • Mary Poppins never reveals her age but was portrayed as an elderly woman in the books while in the film she was played by a 25-year-old Julie Andrews.
  • Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz was around 8 in the novel but was played by the 17-year-old Judy Garland. Barry Norman's book The Hollywood Greats says the character was meant to be around 14 years old. In the sequel (sort of) the character is the age she was in the books.
  • In the movie version of Logan's Run, the inhabitants of the city are made older; In the book, they are teenagers and are being killed upon reaching maturity; In the movie, they are 20-something adults and are killed when reaching 30 years of age.
  • In the movie version of Lolita, the epynomous girl's age was raised to 14 (in the book, she was 12).

Live Action TV
  • In The Worst Witch books, Miss Drill was a strict older woman. In the TV series she is much younger than the rest of the teachers.
  • In the original book of The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Peter is the same age as Tracy. In the BBC's adaptation, he is younger than her.
  • In the book Stig Of The Dump, Barney's sister is younger than him. In the BBC's newer adaptation, the sister is older than Barney.

Western Animation
  • A variation with Aisling in The Secret of Kells. The character is based on a genre of poetry where the spirit of an older woman appears and speaks about Ireland. Instead of a wise older woman, Aisling is a mischievous little girl.
  • Rapunzel is a young girl in her original fairytale but Tangled ages her up to 18.
  • Pocahontas was 10-12 in real life when she met John Smith but the Disney film ages her up to around sixteen years old.
  • In Hanna-Barbera's version of Richie Rich, the title character was aged up slightly, so that he looked to be around 12 or 13 years old, in contrast with the original comics, where he was a bit younger than that.
Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • December 3, 2012
    blueranger
  • December 3, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • In the book Jurassic Park, Tim is the big brother while Lex is a Bratty Half Pint. In the film, Tim is younger while Lex is older and less bratty.
  • December 3, 2012
    Duncan
    This may be or be related to Age Lift.

  • December 4, 2012
    Koveras
    I haven't watched Game Of Thrones but I've heard that they made most characters older than in the original A Song Of Ice And Fire.
  • December 4, 2012
    Waterlily
    Harvey Cheyne, the main character in Captains Courageous is fifteen in the book and about twelve in the 1937 film.

    Technically, she's probably Older Than They Look either way but Mary Poppins is portrayed as an older lady in the books and a young women in the film.
  • December 4, 2012
    triassicranger
    • In the original book of The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Peter is the same age as Tracy. In the BBC's adaptation, he is younger than her.
    • In the book Stig Of The Dump, Barney's sister is younger than him. In the BBC's newer adaptation, the sister is older than Barney.
  • December 4, 2012
    Random888
    In the live-action movie of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Cindy Lou Who is rather practically aged up from "no more than two" to eight.
  • December 4, 2012
    TonyG
    In real life, Pocahontas was 14 when she supposedly met John Smith. Most versions of the story, the Disney version in particular, age her up to her late teens.
  • December 4, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Not 14. 10 to 12.
  • December 4, 2012
    CaveCat
    • In Hanna-Barbera's version of Richie Rich, the titular character was aged up slightly, so that he looked to be around 12 or 13 years old, in contrast with the original comics, where he was a bit younger than that.
  • December 4, 2012
    captainpat
    Please rewrite the description without the Alice And Bob scenario. That an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in the description when you have an example section.
  • December 4, 2012
    MarksmanMarkus
    • In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit451 Clarisse is a young girl in the film and novel version but a young woman in the stage play.
  • December 4, 2012
    Surenity
    In The Wizard Of Oz Dorothy was originally meant to be a little girl, but was instead played by a teenage Judy Garland. She would have been played by Shirley Temple originally.
  • December 4, 2012
    miru
    In tge classic Sonic The Hedgehog games, Sonic is ten. Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog made him 16.
  • December 5, 2012
    TBTabby
    The film adaptation of The Wiz made Dorothy an adult played by Diana Ross, instead of a child like in the stage version.
  • December 5, 2012
    triassicranger
    @Surenity: Your example sounds more like Dawson Casting.
  • December 5, 2012
    Chernoskill
    • In the movie version of Logans Run, the inhabitants of the city are made older; In the book, they are teenagers and are being killed upon reaching maturity; In the movie, they are 20-something adults and are killed when reaching 30 years of age.

    • In the movie version of Lolita, the epynomous girl's age was raised to 14 (in the book, she was 12).
  • December 5, 2012
    PaulA
    How does this proposed trope relate to the existing trope Age Lift?
  • December 5, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Different motivations: ^ is because of the actor, ^^ is because... it is very slightly less evil if she's a teenager?

    Dunno, I think Age Lift should be expanded, instead of starting another article. This mostly describes that anyway, but it "comes in different varieties with different reasons" whereas that is one specific variety.

    (PS: "Dolores's age" is much better style than "the eponymous girl's age", which is trite.)
  • December 12, 2012
    blueranger
    Re: The Wizard Of Oz example. Dorothy was around 8 in the original books but was supposed to be fourteen in the Judy Garland film. Not quite Dawson Casting since Garland was seventeen at the time.
  • December 12, 2012
    McKathlin
    ^^ I second expanding Age Lift to include what this YKTTW is about: changes in stated chronological age between original and adaptation.
  • December 13, 2012
    Chernoskill
    Maybe someone with a firmer grasp can chime in one the various Alice In Wonderland adaptions; It seems that Alice is often made older (sometimes she's a adult woman, especially in sexualized depictions) than the character in the original book.
  • December 13, 2012
    arromdee
    A variation in the live action Detective Conan. Conan is a teenager de-aged to elementary school age. It's hard to find good elementary school aged actors, so the live action series found excuses to show him as a teenager. The first one took place before he was de-aged and the second temporarily re-aged him.
  • December 13, 2012
    Kayube
    Dr Who And The Daleks changed Susan from a teenager to a preteen.
  • December 17, 2012
    bwburke94
    A lot of these examples seem to be young girls being aged up to exactly 16...
  • December 7, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    This trope seems different from Age Lift. According to the Age Lift page it refers to characters being aged up or down due to the actors. This refers to adaptations aging them.

    If this is true, I have noticed most of the stuff on Age Lift doesn't fit the "Opposite of Dawson Casting/Characters aged up to fit the actors age" definition.
  • December 7, 2013
    DAN004
    So Age Lift is specific to actor-driven age change, while this can have many things for its reasoning?
  • Film
    • Alvin And The Chipmunks. While the actual ages of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are rather vague, they're at least old enough to attend high school, as opposed to all previous media (such as The Eighties cartoon series) where they are eight.
      • Conversely, Little Alvin And The Mini Munks ages them down to toddlers (except for Eleanor, who's a baby, for some reason), since it was a direct-to-DVD movie aimed at preschoolers.
  • July 24, 2014
    acrobox
    The Street Fighter eample doesnt really count. The DOB was changed so the characters could stay about the same age and still be set in modern day.

    Thats the equivalent of saying the 15 year old Ninja Turtles in the 1987 show (born in 1972) are a different age than the 15 year old Ninja turtles in the 2012 show (born in 1997)
  • July 25, 2014
    rodneyAnonymous
    Tropes Are Flexible, this is too fine a distinction.
  • July 25, 2014
    acrobox
    Whatt i mean is, say the hero of the story is 15 years old in a show set in the 90s. There's a Series Reboot updated to present day, and the main character is a 15 years in 2014. Is he the same age? From a storytelling standpoint yeah because its still a show about a teenager, so the Reboot can rehash a lot of the same tropes and story arcs. He still meets all his friends in highschool.

    As opposed to the hero of the story is 15 years old in a show set in the 90s. The reboot is updated to present day, and the main character is aged up to be 29. Is he the same age? Well technically yes because he has the same DOB. Narratively however you have to retool all the story arcs to fit an adult. Highschool has to be changed to at the office etc.

    So is this trope about characters having a different DOB in adaptations, or being at a different stage in their lives when the plot starts? Those are two very different things
  • July 25, 2014
    acrobox
    And really all the examples on the page are about being at a different age when the plot starts. Thats why I singled out the Street Fighter example as a bad egg.
  • July 25, 2014
    johnnycache
    • In the 2009 Star Trek movie and its sequel, several characters' ages were changed even though the altered timeline should not have had this effect. Checkov and Sulu were made older (about the same age as Kirk), while McCoy and Scott were made younger.
  • July 26, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Live Action TV
    • Several characters in the Children of Dune miniseries (which was technically an adaptation of both Dune Messiah and Children of Dune) were made older than they were in the two books. Wensicia, who was supposed to be Irulan's younger sister, was played by Susan Sarandon, who was much older than Julie Cox, who played Irulan in the miniseries. Meanwhile, Leto and Ghanima, who were 9 years old in the books, were played by James McAvoy and Jessica Brooks, who were both in their 20s.
  • July 26, 2014
    Psi001
    • Concerning the Chipmunks again, in earlier media such as The Alvin Show Theodore was the middle child (or at least taller than Alvin). In the eighties series onwards, he is portrayed as the naive baby brother of the three.

    • Many characters were aged up in the Sonic The Hedgehog comic series due to continuity. Most of the SEGA cast are two or three years older than in the games, most of the Sonic Satam characters are similar, though Antoine and Bunnie are conversely in their early twenties. Perhaps the oddest example is Amy, who, due to her age alteration in the games (from eight to twelve) used a magical artefact to wish herself up, making her a ten year old in a teenager's body.

    To correct one example above however, official bios for the classic games such as that in Sonic Jam labelled Sonic 16. This still counts as a change however since the later bios label him 15 (Knuckles who was 15 originally is now 16 instead).
  • ^ Actually, Theodore was always the youngest, and Alvin was always the oldest; it's always been a source of confusion for a lot of people out there, especially when some people assume Simon is the oldest for not only being the tallest, but also being more mature and intelligent than Alvin and Simon. But yeah, Word Of God back during The Alvin Show was that Alvin wanted it known that he was the oldest despite being the smallest (at the time).
  • July 26, 2014
    rodneyAnonymous
    What's up with just ignoring questions about tropeworthiness and motions to discard?
  • July 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ dunno, maybe it's just you?
  • July 27, 2014
    Psi001
    ^^^ I suppose it could be considered a Deconstruction, since early Theodore was essentially a Big Little Brother and had yet to gain his childlike personality, while in the later medias he looks and acts like Alvin's genuine baby brother.
  • July 27, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In the Gor series, Marlenus is Gor's greatest warrior in the prime of life. (The doctors on Gor have developed a serum which essentially "cures" old age, so nobody - or at least nobody important - ever physically ages beyond their mid-30s.) In the film Gor Marlenus is a decrepit old man.
  • July 27, 2014
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^^^ Um, what is just me? I am not the only one who questions whether this is worthwhile.
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