Abled in the Adaptation

Sometimes in adaptations a characters physical or mental illness is removed or downplayed compared to the source. This could be for pragmatic reasons (such as the disability being difficult to adapt) but often times the disability is simply removed. One reason for the removal is to make a character more threatening.

This is inverted in many cases. "Disabled AUs" are a popular type of fan-work and often times adaptations will add on physical or mental illnesses to characters (especially in correlation with Adaptational Angst Upgrades).

Sub-trope of Adaptation Deviation. Compare to Throwing Off the Disability.


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Examples of a disability being removed or downplayed:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Tales from Earthsea, Therru has half of her face red, like a bad sunburn. The original books had her suffer burns which burned that side to the bone, making her lose an eye. Her hand was burned to uselessness as well.
  • Latifa from Amagi Brilliant Park was originally blind in the light novels. This was downplayed to being physically ill with no mention of blindness in the anime adaptation.
  • The first Fullmetal Alchemist anime downplayed a few from the source material. The first anime ended before the manga, however, which means the writers didn't know of the manga ending at the time:
    • In the manga, Alphonse's body is extremely malnourished when it is finally restored. In the anime, it remains in the very same state (stalled aging and all) when it was taken.
    • Edward zig-zags this. In the anime's Grand Finale, he briefly regains his lost arm and leg before performing a Heroic Sacrifice to bring Al back which results to Ed being sent to an Alternate Universe where he once again lost his restored limbs. The source material's Grand Finale has Ed at least getting his arm restored.
  • The original ending of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam has Kamille Bidan defeating the Big Bad at the expense of getting brain damage. The twentieth anniversary theatrical re-release omits this fate.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • Ronno from Bambi is just a friendly buck whose has a lame leg due to surviving a gunshot. In the Disney adaptation and its interquel Ronno's age was decreased, he became a rival to Bambi, and he lacks any disabilities.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quasimodo is deaf due to working with loud bells and was born with a large wart over his left eye. In the Disney adaptation he is able to hear and speak and has two functional eyes.
  • Shere Khan in The Jungle Book is referred to as a "lame tiger" who was born with a crippled hind leg - he is a man-eater specifically because his disability stops him from being fast enough to catch a deer or a bull. Adaptations (including the Disney cartoon) tend to leave out this trait to make him a more threatening villain.
  • According to religious texts Moses was "slow of tongue", indicating a Speech Impediment or speech disorder. In The Prince of Egypt this is absent.
  • Pinocchio (1992) has the Wolf and the Cat at the ending. The Fox and the Cat from The Adventures of Pinocchio become disabled for real after faking disabilities. That doesn't happen with the Wolf and the Cat of this version; they just get imprisoned.
  • In Coco, Frida Kahlo is able-bodied unlike the real Frida, who became wheelchair bound at age six and later had a leg amputated due to an accident.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the comics Hawkeye spent most of his run being partially deaf, wears a hearing aid, and can use American Sign Language. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe none of this is included.
  • Peeta from The Hunger Games loses his leg in the books but not in the film adaptation.
  • Thor: In the comics, Thor's "Donald Blake" alias on Earth is a crippled medical student whose cane would transform into Thor's hammer, which Odin set up in order to teach him humility. Because of the circumstances of Thor's being sent to Earth being different in the MCU, "Donald Blake" is instead an incredibly buff vaguely Scandinavian guy.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: In the comic book on which the film is based, Magneto is paraplegic by the time of the Bad Future. In the film's depiction of the future, he's up and walking around on two feet.
  • In What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Arnie keeps his mental retardation, but in the novel he also was missing an eye.
  • Barbarella: In the original comic books, the Black Queen wears an eye patch, and since she never takes it off, it implies she's blind in that eye. In the movie, she only has the eye patch for one scene where she's King Incognito, and both her eyes appear to be perfectly healthy.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is missing an eye. Many adaptations like the 1939 movie show her as having both eyes.
  • In the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman film series, Commissioner Gordon is shown not to need glasses.
  • Justice League (2017) sees Crispus Allen not needing to wear glasses.
  • In the theatrical version of The Children's Hour and its 1960 film adaptation, Martha's gayngst leads her to be a depressed and anxious woman. In the censored These Three incarnation from the '30s, her angst is watered down and she never kills herself.
  • Not "abled", but a semi-example: In Freak the Mighty, Freak's growth is extremely stunted by his Morquio Syndrome, almost to the point of dwarfism (though he hates being called a "dwarf"). In the film adaptation The Mighty, as played by Kieran Culkin, he's still severely crippled and dying, but his size is average for his age.
  • A Dog's Purpose:
    • In A Dog's Purpose Ellie is a search-and-rescue dog who loses her sense of smell after acid gets on her nose. In the film this doesn't occur because she gets shot before this happens. As a result, Ellie never retires and gets a new job where she helps teach people about safety.
    • Ellie's handler Jakob is mentioned to have been shot before. It almost ended in a Career-Ending Injury. The film doesn't mention that Carlos was ever injured.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Walking Dead:
    • In the source material, Rick loses his right hand after the Governor chops it off. This was omitted in the show.
    • In the comics, Dale loses both of his legs before dying. This is omitted in the show due to him dying much earlier in the timeline, though said storylines were distributed to different characters.
    • Andrea got some nasty facial scars in the comics. It was omitted in the show.
    • In the comics, Carol's mental illness becomes so out of hand that she committed suicide. In the show it is more subdued and she is Spared by the Adaptation (for now).
    • Speaking of the Governor, the source material has Michonne greatly mutilating him, namely: taking out his left eye, right arm, and penis. In the show, Michonne only took out his eye, and it's the right one at that.
    • Carl's Moe Greene Special is much more severe in the comics, as the injury also took out his right ear and causes him brain damage. In the show, it is a traditional Eye Scream. Likewise, his Creepy Child tendencies from the source material are greatly toned down.
    • In the comics, Morgan never really got back from his Sanity Slippage after his son's death. In the show he got his act together, and like Carol, he is Spared by the Adaptation (again, for now).
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show downplayed Doran Martell's gout to the point where he is able to move around without his wheelchair while leaning to Ellaria's help to walk around for a bit. In the books, his gout is already so severe that his legs are deformed, which crippled him and gave him constant pain.
    • In the books, Jaime had difficulty in using his left hand after his right hand was chopped off and while he tries to remaster his sword-fighting abilities with his left hand, it actually takes a lot of patience and time for him to adjust. In the show, he initially had trouble in using his left hand but he was able to fight well and used his right golden arm as his shield.
    • In the books, Tyrion actually lost his nose in the assassination attempt on him during the Battle of Blackwater. In the show, it's only a typical facial scar.
    • In the books, Ramsay actually chopped-off Theon's toes and fingers and even plucked most of his teeth, plus his castration is only implied. Theon only got castrated in the show, though he suffers from a limp for a while because of Ramsey's tortures.
    • The show's version of Euron has both of his eyes in display. In the source material he is wearing an eye patch on his left eye, and it's vague if it is still intact.
    • In the books, Myrcella Baratheon loses an ear and gets her face heavily scarred. This is omitted in the show. She gets fatally poisoned instead.
    • In the books, Gregor Clegane's undead corpse is missing his head due to it being sent to the Martells to appease them for Gregor's role in the deaths of many of their family members (Ellia, her children, and Oberyn who in turn was the one who caused Gregor's death). The show's version of the undead Gregor has his entire body intact. Furthermore, when he was alive Gregor suffered from headaches due to his gigantism that even milk of poppy can't numb. In the show no mention is made of his opiates consumption and there are no effects to make him look like an inhumanely huge brute except for the camera angles.
    • In the books, Walder Frey is in his 90s and needs to be carried in a litter to get around. In the show, he's a few decades younger and has no difficulty walking.
  • Arrowverse:
    • In the comics, Mia Dearden is HIV positive. Her Arrowverse counterpart, Thea Dearden Queen, displays no such illness.
    • In many comic stories, Dinah Drake Lance succumbs to cancer long after passing her Black Canary mantle to her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance. Here, the elder Dinah is in good health and even outlives her daughter.
    • Hunter Zolomon is paraplegic in the comics. Here, he is just fine, and is instead Secretly Dying from a speed drug overdose. However, Eobard Thawne pretends to be when posing as Harrison Wells.
    • In the comics, Roy Harper loses his right arm during the battle with Prometheus. That did not happened here due to Roy being absent during the adaptation of the Prometheus arc.
    • In the comics' Bad Future Flash storyline, the future Iris West becomes paraplegic. Here, she isn't due to her being long dead in that Bad Future. The disability was given to Wally instead.
    • In the comics, Nathaniel Heywood has an amputated leg thanks to an undiagnosed infection. Here, all his limbs are intact and his only disability is hemophilia.
  • Adam West's Batman notably lacks the PTSD the character is known for. Commissioner Gordon is also shown not to need glasses.
  • Iron Fist (2017): Harold Meachum in the comics had his legs amputated. Harold Meachum in the Netflix MCU still has his legs.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Gabriel Reyes in the comics was born with an unspecified neurological disorder (the result of his mother having been pushed down the stairs while pregnant), which left him wheelchair-bound and mentally and developmentally slow. In the show, he's a normal 14 year old who's left paraplegic after the attack that gave his brother, Robbie Reyes, his superhero origin story. In fact, it's indicated he's a very intelligent young man who quickly pieces together who Daisy is after spending a few hours with her during a blackout, which the comics version would most likely not be able to do.
  • Gotham sees Jim Gordon and Crispus Allen not wearing glasses. While the former could end up needing them as he gets older, even in flashbacks in the comics, Gordon is shown to need glasses.
  • Orphan Black: 7 Genes omits two disabilities from the series it was based on:
    • Nagase never loses his left pinky finger unlike his counterpart Vic Schmidt due to the characters and Story Arc responsible for it being Adapted Out.
    • The original series' Season 1 finale shows Cosima Niehaus developing the respiratory illness that plagued most of the clones. In the remake, the first season concludes with her counterpart Izumi Odagiri in good health.
  • The Return of the Condor Heroes has The Hero Yang Guo losing his right arm third quarter into the story, requiring him to both re-purpose his fighting style and learn new ones to accommodate his now handicapped condition. Several live action adaptations (except the one in 2006) have swapped it due to Yang Guo being played by right-handed actors.
  • How I Met Your Mother originally concludes with the titular mother dying from an unknown illness some time before the Distant Finale. The Finale Season DVD release features an alternate ending where she is still alive during that time, heavily implying (since there was no new footage) she was eventually cured at best, or just prolonged her life and is still going to die but in a much later time at worst.
  • The Blue Ranger from Mirai Sentai Timeranger is an Ill Boy with Incurable Cough of Death. His counterpart in Power Rangers Time Force is in good health.

    Literature 
  • The picture book A Sister More Like Me goes into depth on Elsa's and Anna's dueling personalities from Frozen. Due to being an Early Draft Tie-In (and possibly due to being aimed at very young children), it portrays Elsa as a content loner. In the actual film it's shown that Elsa hates her forced solitude and it's caused her no small amount of distress. Word of God is that she suffers from depression and it's also implied she has anxiety issues. In A Sister More Like Me, none of this is present.

    Theatre 
  • Wicked:
    • In the original Wicked book Elphaba has an allergy to water. She bathes using oils, avoids water in all forms, and as in the original Oz story, her death involves Dorothy splashing water on her. In the theatrical adaptation there are rumors that water can melt her—and in the song "Thank Goodness" Fiyero gets upset at the absurdity of the idea—but it's not true. Elphaba ends up Spared by the Adaptation when she fakes her death. Also played straight, as Elphaba's design is based off the MGM Witch and not the original book one, meaning that she has both eyes intact.
    • In a case of Pragmatic Adaptation, Elphaba's sister's disability was changed for the musical. Nessarose was born with no arms in the books; however, due to the difficulty of representing that in a play, she was changed to being wheelchair bound.

     Video Games 
  • Onmyōji: Hangan is apparently blind in the original game, but this is made even more of an Informed Deformity in the MOBA game adaptation where he still says his eyes can't see, but a stock animation sequence has him looking around in search of an object.
  • Samurai Warriors:
    • Historically, Kanbei Kuroda was imprisoned by the rebellious Oda vassal, Araki Murashige, but he escaped at the cost of an injury that left him with a pronounced limp. In the game itself, he doesn't have a leg injury and is able to move just fine.
    • In the games, Yoshitsugu Otani has his whole body covered except his eyes and nose which is a nod to historical counterpart who is a leper. However, the game downplays his leprosy as he is able to move freely.

    Web Animation 
  • DC Superhero Girls combines pre-52 elements and post-52 elements of Barbara Gordon. She's actually made a Decomposite Character, where she becomes Batgirl in the series and is never paralyzed, while Oracle is her AI assistant. The Joker, who is the reason Babs became paralyzed, is only mentioned once in a side comic — to develop Harley's character, with no mention of Batgirl ever having encountered him.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Killing Joke the first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was shot by The Joker. She became paralyzed due to the incident but later became the Disabled Badass "Oracle", until the New 52 reboot retconned her to having recovered the use of her legs after the shooting. In the DC Animated Universe there are no signs of Batgirl ever having been wheelchair bound. In Batman Beyond she is shown as a senior but her legs work perfectly fine.
  • Likewise in Beware the Batman, Barbara Gordon skips becoming Batgirl and goes straight to Oracle without being paralyzed.
  • In the comics, Starfire's sister Blackfire can't fly due to a childhood illness. She can't absorb ultraviolet radiation like others of her species. In Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! Blackfire shows no signs of disability. She is adept at flying and can fly faster than the speed of light.

Examples of a disability being added or intensified:

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Frozen fanfic Café Liégeois, Elsa was born blind. However, she lacks the depression and anxiety of canon!Elsa.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Most humanized fan-art portrays Jasper as having Vitiligo, though least a few gave it to Garnet instead.
    • In the fan series Connieswap, Steven needs hearing aids.
  • The plot of Waiting is worth it is about Izuku manifesting a quirk after becoming crippled and ending up in a wheelchair. It is also mentioned that Shota Aizawa was partially blind in his youth while Hizashi Yamada had hearing difficulties. Disabilities due to one's own quirk seem to be more common that one thinks, with UA having a program to helping their students with these problems.
  • Marinette in Nymph and the Corrupted Miraculous ends up permanently in a wheelchair after pushing Chloe out of the way of a speeding truck, taking the blow in the process.
  • Anabel in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is unable to talk, due to losing her voice after her parents died in a car accident. Somewhat subverted by the fact that she has developed telepathy to communicate with people.
  • Junpei in Airlocked loses an arm during the second round and has it replaced with a robotic one. (An Original Character also loses an eye and later becomes a Cyborg.) As well, all the characters develop moderate to severe PTSD over their experience in the Deadly Game.
  • In canon, Izuku Midoriya is perfectly healthy, just Quirkless. In If I Only Had A Heart, Izuku Midoriya is missing an eye and an arm on top of suffering from a damaged spine after a villain attack wrecked a shop he was visiting. Luckily for him, he also got a heaping dose of Adaptational Intelligence, using his knack for inventing to help remove his disabilities over time through mechanical implants of his own design, though they don't always work quite as anticipated.
  • After being saved from her kidnappers after the story in Splatoon, Callie suffers no apparent issue and is back to her normal Genki Girl self. In the fanfic Her Fractured Spirit she's clearly traumatized (even if she tries to play it off) and has PTSD.
  • In the Lucky Star comic Lonely Kagamin, Konata inherited her mother's mysterious illness and she is also depressed.

    Film — Live Action 
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Bolivar Trask is able-bodied in the comics but played by Peter Dinklage (who has dwarfism) in the film.
  • In Iron Man 3, Tony suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the events of the Avengers' film. Tony doesn't suffer PTSD in the comics. They allude in the first two films without mentioning it to the disability Tony has in the comics: he's an alcoholic. (Specifically, in Iron Man 2 he becomes alcoholic because of stress from the fact that he's dying. Both problems are fixed by the climax.)
  • In Power Rangers (2017), Billy is autistic, something that was not in the original series.
  • In the DC Extended Universe, Lex Luthor clearly suffers from a form of mental disorder in addition to being a sociopath which is traditionally what he is in the comics and most media.
  • The Batman film series:
    • While not focused on, Pat Hingle, who played Commissioner Gordon, was missing his left little finger due to an accident he had in 1959.
    • Batman Returns:
    • In Batman & Robin, Alfred Pennyworth develops a rare and fatal disease which becomes integral to the plot. He's always been in good health in the comics.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Two surviving (as of this edit) characters from the source material, Sophia Peletier and Carl Grimes, both die in the show by becoming walkers.
    • In the source material, Hershel dies with his entire body intact. In the show, he loses his right leg in the Season 3 premiere before getting beheaded in the following season. Interestingly, both mutilations actually belonged to two different characters in the comics. The left leg amputation actually belonged to Dale (see above), while the beheading belonged to Tyreese.
    • In the comics, Bob is alive and well. In the show, his left leg was chopped-off by cannibals and dies a few hours later. Much like Hershel, this arc originally belonged to Dale in the comics.
    • As mentioned above, Tyreese dies in the comics by getting beheaded. While the mutilation is less severe in the show (he got his arm chopped-off instead), it was done so because he got bitten. However, said infection, in addition to the pain that was heightened by the Life-or-Limb Decision, directly led to his death.
    • The show's version of Ron goes through a severe case of Sanity Slippage after Rick kills his Asshole Victim of a father. In the comics, Ron is still a Love Martyr for his father, but more-or-less remains a sane kid till his death.
    • In the comics, Denise dies because she refuses to have her infected arm chopped-off. In the show, she dies due to a severe Moe Greene Special.
    • Denise's aforementioned death in the show actually belonged to Abraham in the source material. So how did Abraham die on the show? By getting his head repeatedly whacked by a barbwire-laced baseball bat until it's nothing more than a pile of mush.
  • TheGifted: Comic Book/Polaris is depicted as suffering from bipolar disorder. While her comic book counterpart has suffered some sort of mental disorder, it hasn't been actually specified which one.
  • Arrowverse:
    • In contrast to many Green Arrow stories and adaptations, Oliver Queen's PTSD from his time away from home is heavily emphasized.
    • Deadshot's right eye is badly damaged (if not completely blind) in this version and his advanced Eyepatch of Power essentially serves as his artificial eye. In the comics and most media, his right eye is just fine and the advanced eyepatch merely serves as a gadget for his job.
    • In this version, Slade Wilson kills his Evil Former Friend Billy Wintergreen by a brutal Moe Greene Special. Wintergreen never lost any eye in the comics.
    • Slade also chops-off Anthony Ivo's right hand. Ivo was never mutilated in the comics.
    • Quentin Larry Lance suffers from a weakened heart after the battle with Deathstroke and his minions. He has no such illness in the comics (nor did he fight against Deathstroke).
    • Jefferson Jackson suffers a Career-Ending Injury thanks to performing a Heroic Sacrifice. He remains a healthy high school athlete in the comics.
    • Felicity Smoak requires glasses and becomes paraplegic later in the story and is only able to walk again thanks to a chip attached to her spine. She wasn't injured that way (if, at all) in the comics, nor did she have poor eyesight.
    • Oliver chops-off Malcolm Merlyn's right hand during their Trial by Combat. In the comics and most media, Merlyn's limbs are all intact. This is mitigated with Merlyn getting an Artificial Limb shortly after.
    • While Eliza Harmon/Trajectory is reliant on a speed drug in the comics, a side-effect of her gaining Split Personality is added in this version.
    • Subverted by Leonard Snart. Towards the end of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, he freezes his handcuffed right hand and shatters it in order to go after the rogue Mick Rory. However, his team's futuristic Cool Airship has advanced regenerative medical facilities that is eventually used to restore his hand.
    • In the comics' Bad Future Flash storyline, the future Wally West is dead. Here, he's Spared by the Adaptation and becomes paraplegic and shell-shocked. This storyline actually belongs to Iris in the comics, whereas here she's the one who is killed-off.
    • The same Bad Future Flash storyline also features Vibe losing both of his hands, and then the use of his powers since he can't channel them through his Artificial Limbs. No such storyline happens to him in the comics.
    • Savitar is ultimately revealed to have suffered an Eye Scream, as shown by his right eye being discolored gray and surrounded by burnt skin. The comics Savitar never had such an injury, and neither did Future Flash, Savitar's true self.
  • Game of Thrones: Jorah Mormont gets infected with greyscale in Season 5 after rescuing Tyrion from Stone Men. In the books, this Story Arc belongs to Jon Connington while Jorah himself remains healthy. Jorah gets cured in Season 7, though.
  • Spartacus:
    • Oenomaus loses his left eye near the end of Season 2. No historical records prove that this also happened to his Real Life counterpart.
    • Agron, who is a Decomposite Character of the historical Castus, loses the ability to clinch his hands near the end of the Finale Season due to being crucified. Like Oenomaus above, no historical records prove that this happened to the historical Castus.
  • The Punisher (2017): Curtis Hoyle was an able bodied man in the comics. In the show, however, he's lost his left leg below the knee from an IED and wears a prosthetic. It doesn't really do much to affect Curtis's contributions.
  • In the Childhood's End miniseries Milo Rodericks is in a wheelchair when introduced, though the Overlords cure that easily enough, his book equivalent Jan never was paralyzed.
  • Goushi, the Black Ranger from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, has a complete set of fingers. While not focused on, Walter Emanuel Jones, who played Goushi's counterpart in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, was missing his left middle finger.

    Theatre 
  • In a 2015 production of Spring Awakening, many of the major characters were played by deaf performers while hearing people would translate their sign language.
  • In the stage version of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo's deafness from the original novel is brought back. He speaks mostly in broken monosyllables and hand signs; only in his solo songs does he become fully articulate, because they represent his inner emotions.

     Video Games 
  • Splatoon 2: In the Spanish and French versions it's mentioned that Pearl wears contact for her bad eyesight. This isn't mentioned in other versions.
  • ''Dynasty Warriors:
    • Wei Yan has a speech impairment where he tends to talk in phrase. There's no evidence in the historical records and Romance of the Three Kingdoms which the games are based from that he suffers from a speech impairment.
    • In the games, Guo Huai is portrayed as sickly man who keeps on coughing. According to Word of God, he's very workaholic when fighting loyally for Wei that it exhausts his body. Historically, he was only sick in two major events which are the campaign in Mt. Dingjun and Cao Pi's coronation.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

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