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), as well as part of making a character more badass or (in case the character is a villain) more threatening than in the source material. But more often, the disability is simply removed.

This is inverted in many fanworks. "Disabled AUs" are a popular type of fanfic.

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


Anime & Manga
  • Hayate was paraplegic as a child in the main Lyrical Nanoha continuity (though she later regained use of her legs). Her appearance in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT is capable of walking from the very beginning.
  • 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.


Fan Works
  • Inverted in the Frozen fanfic Café Liégeois. Elsa was born blind in the fanfic. It's also played straight, as she lacks main!Elsa's depression and anxiety.

Film — Animation
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quasimodo is deaf due to working with loud bells. In the Disney adaptation he is able to hear and speak.
  • 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.
  • Ronno from Bambi is a buck whose has a lame leg due to surviving a gunshot. In the Disney adaptation Bambi's age was decreased, he became a rival to Bambi, and he lacks any disabilities.

Film — Live Action
  • In the comics Hawkeye is 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 on, 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.
    • Inverted with Bolivar Trask, who's able-bodied in the comics but played by Peter Dinklage (who has dwarfism) in the film.
  • Played With in To Kill a Mockingbird—Tom Robinson's mangled left hand is still a plot point, but it's an Informed Deformity, since the actor they hired is able-bodied; he simply keeps it still and tells the courtroom that he can't move it.
  • Inverted and played straight in Iron Man 3. Tony suffers from Post Traumatic Stress after the events of the Avengers' film, and tries to go for professional help about it... but Bruce Banner isn't that type of doctor. Tony doesn't suffer PTS 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.

  • While usually not considered a disability, Sherlock Holmes had a cocaine habit in the original books. Most adaptations do away with any drug references. The 21st century Setting Update Sherlock has Holmes as being on a nicotine patch as a Mythology Gag to both his drug addiction and his smoking habit. Elementary, which is also set in the 2010s, goes the full mile and has Joan start as Sherlock's sober companion in order to help him kick his heroin addiction. Sherlock Hound, being a Lighter and Softer family-friendly adaptation, excludes the drug habit but concept art shows that originally the anime was meant to be much darker and actually include Sherlock using drugs.

Live-Action TV

Light Novels

  • Wicked:
    • In the original Wicked book Elphaba has an allergy to water. She bathes using oils and avoids water. 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.
    • In a case of Pragmatic Adaptation, Elphaba's sisters' 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.
  • Inverted 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.

Web Animation
  • DC Superhero Girls combines pre-52 elements and post-52 elements of Barbara Gordon. She had a background as Oracle before becoming Batgirl. She isn't disabled, and in fact the Joker hasn't been referenced in the series (though he might undergo Adaptational Heroism if he does, just like most other villains).

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 DCAU 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-universe in the Avatar: The Last Airbender: a Fire Nation-sponsored play recapping the Gaang's adventures switches Toph's seismic sense Disability Superpower with echolocation, possibly due to having no clue how earthbender powers work.