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Adaptation Displacement
It was a book?!

"One of the greatest novels in Western literature, and all everybody's asking is, Do you sing in it?"
Liam Neeson on being cast in a non-musical adaptation of Les Misérables

You and a pal are talking about movies, and you happen to praise a film that has been your favorite for as long as you can remember. Your pal remarks that although he liked the movie too, the book was much better.

Hang on? There was a book!?

Adaptation displacement is the phenomenon by which a derivative work becomes successful enough to overshadow the original work completely.

It can happen with any type of media, but it tends to happen most often when a little known book is adapted into a successful movie or television show. Even popular works can disappear, if the adaptation is successful enough.

If writers of ongoing media surrender to adaptation displacement, it can result in Ret Canon and Lost in Imitation.

Compare with Older Than They Think, Popcultural Osmosis, and More Popular Spin-off. Contrast with Ink Stain Adaptation and First Installment Wins. The musical equivalents are Covered Up and Breakout Pop Hit.

When a work is displaced by a parody, this is known as The Weird Al Effect.

When a sequel is much more well-known than the original, and is mistakenly thought to be the first installment, this is known as Sequel Displacement.

This is somewhat subjective: it depends on your personal and cultural fields of reference, and most importantly on your age. Just because there must be someone out there who is more familiar with the adaptation than the original, it's not automatically an example of this.


Examples by Adaption:

    open/close all folders 

    Displaced by Anime or Manga 
  • The anime boom in America took place well before the manga boom. As a result, more people were familiar with anime adaptations than the manga they were based on. For a while, the only place to talk about a manga series was the forum of the people translating the manga.
  • AKIRA, being close to the first anime that shocked viewers out of the Animation Age Ghetto, became a popular movie but is certainly more well-known than its expansive manga.
  • Generally, any anime that is based on a visual novel has the tendency to be this, Stateside or outside of Japan. Good examples would be To Heart, Fate/stay night, Tsukihime, the three Key Ani adaptations (Air, Kanon, and CLANNAD), and the three 5pb adaptations (Chaos;Head, Stein's Gate, and Robotics;Notes); few know these came from visual novels.
    • Furthermore, the visual novel medium (a kind of non-linear, interactive, digital graphic novel, like a cross between a Video Game and a novel), is itself largely unknown in the Western world, though it's garnered cult status thanks to games like Katawa Shoujo and My Girlfriend Is the President.
  • A lot of anime that was based on written novels or stories, especially Japanese light novels, is often mistakenly thought of by the Western world as being original stories or based on manga. Some notable examples:
  • The Girl Who Runs Through Time was a very popular 1966 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, adapted into two live action films (1983 and 1997), a 5 episode TV series (1994), a 2002 TV film and a 2004 manga title (A Girl Who Cut Through Time), none of which received wide distribution in the west). They've been displaced by an anime adaptation (which is actually more of a loose sequel) named The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
  • Possibly as an attempt to avoid this, the first Spice and Wolf novel was released in English around the same time as the first season of the anime.
  • The Slayers anime is based off of a light novel series; the anime came out in 1995, five years after the first couple of novels were published. Like most light novel-originated series, most foreign fans find the anime as the truest source of canon. It is rather unusual in this case because the first season of the anime was released in the states one year after it completed its run in Japan, and, as a dub released by Central Park Media, was one of the few '90s dubs that didn't suffer from any form of Macekre, Dub Name Change, or any other edits. Both the novels themselves and most of its manga adaptations weren't translated until the mid 2000s.
    • This also happens with the characters as well; in the novels, Lina and Gourry are the only protagonists; the chimera Zelgadis and the princess Amelia were their allies for the first eight novels, and they were replaced by treasure hunters Luke and Millina for the remaining seven. However, both Zelgadis and Amelia became extremely popular, and when newer anime seasons and manga were made, they were in them, quintessentially making the "Slayers" a four-man band instead of a duo. Very few fans outside of Japan know who Luke and Millina are, especially given that the Alternate Continuity manga The Hourglass of Falces has all six heroes together.
  • Battle Royale is originally a novel, but not everybody knows this. In fact, when Battle Royale was mentioned in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, the Swedish translation included a footnote telling the readers that Battle Royale is a movie and a manga.
  • There are many fans of the Studio Ghibli movie Howl's Moving Castle who are entirely unaware of the children's novel by Diana Wynne Jones on which it is based. It veers off into its own plotline and themes rather quickly. Those who take the time to read the book tend to be shocked by the difference. However, Jones was apparently expecting this, and told them to do whatever they wanted with her script.
  • Some mainstream articles on Pokémon refer to the Pokémon and human characters as anime characters (or simply cartoon characters), often completely ignorant of the franchise's video game origins; a few articles have even implied that the card game came first. This is largely because the anime series was released before the games in many non-Japanese countries (though only slightly before in North America). Matters were further confused by Pokémon Red and Blue having "Ash" as one of three predefined suggestions for the player character's name; North American fans may be surprised to learn that Ash is ''not'' his original Japanese name. The next released Pokémon game, Pokémon Yellow, was more directly influenced by the anime, as was the spin-off Pokémon Puzzle League. This seems to be going downhill, though, as the anime has reached Franchise Zombie status while the games have, if anything, become more popular. The Black 2/White 2 trailers and the release of Pokémon Origins both made a bigger impact on the current fanbase than the current anime series.note 
  • Same goes for Yu-Gi-Oh!, whose manga wasn't even about a card game at first. Once the anime got to the U.S., it took a few months for the card game to show up as well. It doesn't help that 4Kids deliberately picked up the franchise because of the card game plot after how much money they'd made on Pokémon and its various components. The makers of the second anime did this too, so it's also not a surprise they sold it overseas on this. Even elements of the storyline they adapted that had little card game elements in the manga had the Duel Monsters segments played up for the anime to sell the cards.
    • A shame too, since the manga had consistent artwork, the plot made much more sense and had a better Suspension of Disbelief, and it lacked the Merchandise-Driven aspect that the anime had. Most people view the series as a joke because of the anime and its dub.
  • A variation of this is the case of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a Spin-Off that greatly outpaced the original in terms of popularity. Reading through this wiki, you may get the impression that the Triangle Heart series only consists of the third game, which spawned Nanoha. This is also a straight example since Nanoha was originally a mini-scenario of the Triangle Heart 3 game. People still mistake clips from the original as a video game adaptation of the anime instead of the other way around.
  • Sakura Wars was originally a JRPG and initially, the game was never released outside Japan. It has generally been displaced by the anime (OVAs and TV series) released before 2000.
    • Later, the two first games received an official release in Russia and China, of all places.
    • Sakura Wars 5 got a North American release, and the ADV cases did all say "based on the hit game"... although ADV's translated TV series credits say "original manga by Ohji Hiroi" despite the fact that the manga version of Sakura Wars hadn't even started in Japan until 2003.
  • Love Hina is one of those cases (in the United States) where people very often know that a book/manga series exists, yet haven't really read it, and far more often have seen the anime.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! (whose mangaka, Ken Akamatsu, also wrote Love Hina) has several anime adaptations, and most fans know about the first one the most (and it's a rather mediocre adaptation). The manga was being translated by Del Rey's manga division (now by Kodansha USA due to the latter going under) since 2005.
  • Another example is the When They Cry series, consisting of Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry. With Umineko it's managed to be averted, though, since a fan translation of the visual novel began before the anime first aired and the anime got a less-than-enthusiastic reception from fans and first-time viewers alike.
  • Monster Rancher is a non-Visual Novel example of a video game displaced by the anime adaptation.
  • Digimon was originally conceived and designed as the Spear Counterpart of Tamagotchi. Taichi was actually borrowed from an earlier manga wherein he and his (different) Digimon partner traveled the Digital World alone.
  • While both the Sailor Moon anime and manga are relatively well known (the awareness of the manga has increased after ten years), not nearly as many people are as familiar with its sister manga, Codename: Sailor V which stared Minako as Sailor V. Sailor Moon actually began as a spin-off (they ran concurrently) when Toei saw potential and asked Takeuchi to expand it with more characters.
    • When Sailor V was finally published in America in 2011, it was treated as the spinoff.
  • For a long time, it was not too well known in English-speaking countries that Dragon Ball Z was a sequel series to Dragon Ball, or even that it was based on a Japanese manga (without the Z in the title). Even when the original Dragon Ball finally stuck for good in North America in 2001 (after two previous attempts in the '80s and '90s), many believed it was merely a prequel to DBZ, a Babyfication of DBZ's characters, a spinoff of DBZ for a younger audience, or something other than the proceeding show. While the manga was met with some success in North America, there are those who think it's an adaptation of the anime, and those who doesn't know it exists at all. There are also folks who don't even know Dragon Ball Z is Japanese.
  • It's easy to assume that BB Senshi Sangokuden is a SD Gundam take on Romance of the Three Kingdoms, even though the story itself is set within the existing BB Senshi continuity - region names that aren't the same anymore are still referenced i.e. the Nanban region to the south corresponds to Albion. Even character names are sometimes inherited: Moukaku Gundam carries the title of Ashurao from an actual Gundam Ashurao from earlier in the toyline.
  • It's hard to guess that Gungrave, a 2003 crime drama with some sci-fi mixed in for good measure, originated as an adaptation of a lukewarmly received PS2 shooter. It's even harder to believe it after you find out about it, just because of how the action sequences in the show took a definite backseat to characterization and drama, and its overall heavy, depressing feel.
  • In the West, a few years ago if you told someone Fullmetal Alchemist they'd think of the iconic 2003 anime. Nowadays though, more people know of the manga thanks to the new anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
  • Azumanga Daioh is an anime based off Yonkoma strips, rather than conventional serialized manga.
  • The anime Basilisk is based off a series of manga named Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, which were manga adaptations of The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, a 1958 novel. So, double displacement.
  • The 1985 series Robotech is a Cut-and-Paste Translation of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada. Despite modern anime fans bashing the redundant narration and clumsy translation, Robotech continues to surpass the popularity of even Macross in the USA, which was the only popular anime of the three in Japan. Southern Cross was a total flop, and Mospeada is largely forgotten. Original Macross continues, more or less, with sporadic sequels and prequels. Macross Plus (a sequel) has become a classic in its own right, and Macross Frontier was one of the most successful anime series on its release year. Even ADV's recent attempt to market the original Macross series on DVD (including a non-Robotech dub) failed due to lack of interest, probably because unlike Robotech, it was never shown on American TV, and the animation is too old for younger audiences.
  • While not as universal of a displacement as many examples due to the popularity of the original show, there is a fair amount of people that don't realize Powerpuff Girls Z is based on an earlier American cartoon The Powerpuff Girls, or think the anime came first.
  • Whilst Oldboy was a rather successful story about revenge following imprisonment, most people have only heard of its award-winning Darker and Edgier film counterpart. Originally a mystery/thriller story about protagonist Yamashita trying to discover why he was locked up for ten years, the Korean adaptation instead traded a lot of the tension, drama and reveals that probably wouldn't work in a 2 hour film, instead opting for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge approach. Considering the movie is infamous for having its protagonist remove a man's teeth with a claw hammer and eat a real living squid, it really isn't surprising people have a tendency to know and remember the movie version.
  • Even though Ghost in the Shell is a fairly well known series among anime fans, more people will be familiar with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex than they will be with the Mamoru Oshii films or the original manga. Since all three media formats (and Ghost in the Shell: Arise are each their own Alternate Continuity, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the general familiarity of the works for most people is Anime > Movies > Manga.
  • Arashi No Yoru Ni was originally a children's book series. However, the books haven't been translated into English, so English speakers would be more familiar with the anime, which does have a quasi-official dub.
  • Unless you're French, you probably know the name "Lupin" as Lupin III better than the Arsčne Lupin stories that inspired it.
  • The Detective Conan manga still have "based on the hit anime" on them, when really, the manga (47 volumes and still translating) beats the anime (5 seasons and 6 movies). That's for the English version though - the Japanese anime is pretty much around the same area as the manga.
    • As for the English TCG based on the anime and manga? There are practically no traces of it at all.
  • The Fist of the North Star Movie is better-known Stateside than either the anime or manga and is usually what the average anime fan would think of when he hears the name.

    Displaced by Comics 
  • Today, Little Lulu is mostly known as a comic book despite debuting as a series of one-panel cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post.
  • The Barry Allen Flash and the Hal Jordan Green Lantern — and their relative legacies — are far more familiar to Joe Average than the Golden Age Jay Garrick and Alan Scott due to the Animated Adaptation of each (they were sort of displaced by their Silver Age versions even before the cartoons, but Super Friends cemented the newer heroes in popular culture).
    • In that same vein, the popularity of the Justice League animated series pushed the John Stewart version of Green Lantern into the minds of the mainstream audience. It got to the point that when trailers for the 2011 Green Lantern movie were released, many people wondered why the Green Lantern wasn't a black man.
    • Marvel Comics has a similar example with the Human Torch. Johnny Storm is the name most comic fans associate with the Human Torch and thanks to cartoons, video games, toys, and movies, even non-comic fans know about Johnny. There was, however, an unrelated Human Torch in The Golden Age of Comic Books published by Marvel's forerunner, Timely Comics. This character spent decades in limbo but had a stint on The Avengers, was in the WWII-era team The Invaders, and shows up on occasion.
  • Speaking of DC Comics, many of the properties they bought are now more closely connected to them rather than to the companies that created and popularized them — The Question and Captain Atom from Charlton Comics, Plastic Man from Quality Comics, and Captain Marvel from Fawcett Comics, who were ironically driven out of business by DC.
  • In large parts of the world (particularly continental Europe), Donald Duck's origin in the Classic Disney Shorts, if not entirely forgotten, is completely eclipsed by his being the central character of Carl Barks's Disney Ducks Comic Universe.
  • Robotman was actually a children's toy in the beginning, which later became a merchandise-driven comic strip. The toys fizzled out, but the strip was doing well, so it continued as an increasingly bizarre and subversive strip. Eventually the character was written out and the strip was retitled Monty.
  • Another DC Comics example: Many comics fans are aware that Caine and Abel of The Sandman were originally the narrators of two of DC's horror comics (House of Mystery and House of Secrets). But do they know that the same goes for the three sisters (The Witching Hour), Lucien (Tales From Ghost Castle), Destiny of the Endless (Weird Mystery Tales), Eve (Secrets of Sinister House, in which she has a raven said to be the soul of a dead human) and ultra-obscure Dreaming denizen the Fashion Thing/Mad Yuppie Witch (The Unexpected as the Mad Mod Witch)?
    • And are they aware that in Starman, Mason O'Dare's girlfriend Charity used to be the host of Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion?
    • And how many people know that Jed Walker was originally from the 1970s Sandman stories his introduction deconstructs?
    • In a similar vine the Marvel character Hellcat actually was actually a Golden Age character from the comic 'Patsy and Hedy' before she immigrated into the Marvelverse and the superhero genre.
  • The popularity of superhero movie versus the relative obscurity of the comics they were inspired by was Lampshaded (in an exaggerated manner) in an episode of The Simpsons:
    Bart: Excuse me, I just heard that before Spider-Man was a movie, it was a comic book. Is that possible?
  • Which brings up the topic that to the general public that don't read comics, this happens to nearly any given comic book character. People "know" that A-list characters like Spider-Man, Superman, Captain America, and Batman are from comic books, but chances are that they grew up knowing them from some other form of media, such as live-action films and western animation. However, C-list and D-list characters get hit with this hard, to the point that people will think they're original characters for whatever they're appearing in. Take Armor for example. She's just some girl from that X-Men anime. The Question? That's the weird faceless dude from Justice League Unlimited. Taskmaster is definitely that Skeletor wannabe that "debuted" in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Beast Boy is that green kid from the Teen Titans cartoo... anime? Anyway, those 4 characters never appeared in anything else before, especially comic books.

    Displaced by Films (Animated) 
  • Most classic fairy tales and works of children's world literature have been eclipsed by the Walt Disney film versions. (See Disneyfication.)
    • Almost every retelling of Snow White since 1937 has the dwarfs described as individual characters, while the original story doesn't describe them that way. The original story has the Evil Stepmother try two other tactics to unsuccessfully kill Snow White, before she finally tries to use the poisoned apple. In Disney's version, he only focused on the apple narrative. Also, the Prince doesn't kiss Snow White back to life, but decides to take her coffin with him, whereupon the thing drops on the ground making the piece of apple that Snow White swallowed fall out of her mouth. Give all this, it's ironic that the tale's one most remembered line ("Mirror, mirror, on the wall...") was worded differently in the Disney version ("Magic mirror on the wall...").
    • Most of Disney's films are based on previous sources, even less obvious ones. The most notorious of these displacement sources is Dumbo, which is based on a experimental children's book (a scroll with pictures) that had an insanely low print run that Disney himself hand-picked out of a bookstore for a couple bucks. They share a basic plot and not much else.
    • Winnie the Pooh is remembered by some people more for the Disney animations than for the books by A. A. Milne. And Disney is working hard to keep it that way (much to the disgust of a number of fans in Britain - although curiously, other Disney movies based on British books escape that reaction in the UK). Which is sad since Walt Disney was something of a fan of the books.
      • Also unusual, because (in the first film, at least) Gopher wants you all to know that "he's not in the book".
    • Believe it or not, Bambi is also based on a book - which is hilarious when you consider the original poster was a picture of the book. Also an example of Disneyfication: the novel was intended for adult audiences.
    • Even Lady and the Tramp, which was based on a short story called Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog. Walt read it in Cosmopolitan, bought the rights, and actually had the author write a novelization of the planned movie which came out two years before the film itself. This was so people would be familiar with the story, since most people associated the Disney studio with adapting famous tales, and it was thought that people wouldn't watch the film if they didn't know there was a book. How many of you knew there was a book?
    • Disney's The Jungle Book is so well known, some people aren't aware that there really were Jungle Books. Or that Baloo was the serious one, and Bagheera the playful one. And Kaa was Mowgli's third mentor.
    • 101 Dalmatians is based on the 1950s British junior novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, which also inspired a sequel, The Starlight Barking. Many believe the animated Disney movie was the story's source.
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit, based on the 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?? by Gary Wolf. The original novel is about comic strip cartoon characters who speak in word balloons, and Eddie Valiant is in fact investigating Roger's murder. Even Wolf acknowledged that the movie was superior to the original, and wrote two sequels to the film, in which Jessica says that the original novel was a dream.
    • How about Pinocchio The Story Of A Marionette by Carlo Collodi? This was possibly for the best; the original Pinocchio story was just plain weird, as Roberto Benigni unfortunately proved by making a more faithful live-action adaptation. The original was also an extremely irritating and tedious Author Tract about obeying your elders, a moral that definitely would not sell will in this modern age of pop-culture rebellion.
    • While not entirely Disney's fault, their 1951 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland forever linked the events of Through the Looking Glass with the very different book it was a sequel to. However, several adaptations in film and theater before it had been doing this well before. In fact, very few people even realize that characters like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum never appeared in the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and it's not uncommon to hear people complain about their absence in works that are more faithful to the source material because they have become so accustomed to seeing the two books presented as Alice in Wonderland. It doesn't help that the two books are often published as a single volume under that title.
    • The Fox and the Hound is derived from a much darker novel in which everyone dies.
    • The Rescuers were based off of Margery Sharp's books, specifically, two of them. There are actually nine books in the series. The Rescuers Down Under, however, was an original story.
    • The Great Mouse Detective was also based on a book series, Basil of Baker Street (which was obviously inspired by Sherlock Holmes). Ratigan's Basil doll closely resembles Basil from the original book's illustrations.
    • There are those who think that Disney created Peter Pan from whole cloth in 1953, with their still-classic animated motion picture. People (usually children, it must be said), are surprised to hear it was a book back in 1904... based off the original stage play that debuted in 1902. There is a rather larger section of the populace who believe that Disney currently own the copyright on Peter Pan. They don't, that belongs to Great Ormond Street Hospital in perpetuity; note  they get royalties on all derivative works, but cannot stop anybody from making something they don't want made (hence Disney rolling out its new Tinker Bell movies).
      • This makes Hook an interesting case: This film clearly contradicts Disney's Peter Pan in quite a number of points. This is because it isn't a sequel to the Disney animated feature but to James M. Barrie's original novel. Barrie himself is mentioned to have been Wendy's neighbor. The Disney movie eventually got his own sequel, Return to Neverland.
    • The Little Mermaid doesn't have a happy ending. The mermaid becomes part of the sky and never marries her prince. Also, the Sea Witch is, in contrast with the Disney movie, not a real villain and more of a simple, amoral saleswoman who grants magical favors for a hefty price (like in the Disney movie, the price here is the mermaid's voice but it's done by taking her tongue away).
    • Many people know that Aladdin was originally from The Arabian Nights, but not very many know that the original tale gave Aladdin two genies (he had a magic ring in addition to the lamp) and unlimited wishes instead of a Three Wishes limit. Plus, there's nothing in the tale about Freeing The Genie.
    • A curious example, but still true. Outside of America, you'd be surprised how many people will act shocked that Pocahontas and John Smith were real people and met and interacted in real life.
    • How many of us know — and how many of our kids will know in the future — that The Princess and the Frog was based on a 2002 children's novel called The Frog Princess (itself a variant on The Frog Prince, a story collected by the Brothers Grimm)? The novel only has a few similarities with the movie, such as the New Orleans setting, voodoo as a plot device and the heroine turning into a frog as well after kissing the prince. The novel has multiple sequels, too, collectively known as Tales of the Frog Princess.
    • The original concept for The Emperor's New Groove was based on Mark Twain's novel The Prince and the Pauper. It's understandable that nobody remembers this, since the original concept was ditched and it was turned into a meta-parody of itself, full of Lampshade Hanging, instead.
    • Disney's animated short version of The Three Little Pigs is another example that's completely taken over the original fairy tale. The pigs all flee to the third pig's house, while in the original the Big Bad Wolf just eats the two of them.
    • While not part of the Disney Animated Canon, Recess: School's Out is starting to turn into this. The show it's based on isn't currently in reruns, but whenever Disney Channel or Disney XD feel generous, they'll show the movie, and it being aired on the premium movie channels sometimes, and some stores still carry the DVD (Store such as Walmart don't sell it in the store, but do sell it online, and stores like f.y.e. or BJ's sometimes carry it). And then Disney might want to rerun the show itself, leading to younger children to think the show was based on the movie.
  • The Shrek series of films is based on an obscure picture book by William Steig which has overall little to do with the films (Steig's son Jeremy Steig, a jazz musician, shows up in Shrek Forever After as the Pied Piper playing one of his tunes — known to younger listeners through the Beastie Boys song "Sure Shot," which samples it).
  • The Iron Giant is based on a book (The Iron Man by acclaimed writer and Poet Laureate Ted Hughes) bearing almost no resemblance to the movie.
  • How many viewers of Over the Hedge know about the newspaper comic on which it was based? We do see characters checking out the comic during the credits, but it's hard to make out on the screen; besides, many viewers don't stick around for credits.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest is a frequent target of mockery of the early 1990s enviromania craze; few realize that it was based on an Australian children's novel.
  • Many people are unaware that The Secret of NIMH was based on a book called Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien. The book had many differences: most notably that the fantasy and magical elements were completely absent, as was the emphasis on love and courage. There was instead a larger focus on the rats. There were also no villains; Jenner was only mentioned in the rats' backstory, having left them after an argument.
  • How to Train Your Dragon. Fairly obscure children's book series, explosively popular movie.
  • How many of you have heard of or read The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch? Now how many have seen the three animated films?
  • Rock-A-Doodle is based on a fairly obscure play (unless you're French) by Edmond Rostand, who's more famous for Cyrano de Bergerac, called Chanticler. To name a few differences, the Edmond character isn't there, there isn't any magic, the Grand Duke is only a minor villain, and the Aesop of the play is centered around how, even though the rooster hero's crowing doesn't make the sun rise, he is still important to the farmyard by waking everyone up and keeping away predators.
  • Possibly as an attempt to avoid this, the first Spice and Wolf novel was released in English around the same time as the first season of the anime.
  • Arashi No Yoru Ni was originally a children's book series. However, the books haven't been translated into English, so English speakers would be more familiar with the anime, which does have a quasi-official dub.
  • Most Americans are unaware that The Adventures of Tintin is based on a Belgian comic book series, due to it being very unpopular in America.
  • When googling Astro Boy, you would get more results on the 2009 film than the 2003 anime, much less the 1960's version or the 1980's version. And that's without going into any of the short anime films.

    Displaced by Literature 

    Displaced by Live-Action TV 
  • Not only was Little House on the Prairie based on a book, Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy preceded its publication. (And not only that, but the series was based more on the book that came after it, On the Banks of Plum Creek).
  • The science show Beakman's World has proven so popular, very few people know that it was adapted from a Sunday comic strip - which is still running, even though the show is long over.
  • In this day and age, far more people are aware of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, or the 2007 TV series, or even the 1930s serials than are aware that it was a daily newspaper comic that ran for nearly 70 years.
  • The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed was originally a novel.
  • Mash: Everyone knows the series, and some remember the movie it was based on. How many know the movie was adapted from a series of novels? Not that you'd recognise Hawkeye from the books to the show.
    • Played with on a Saturday Night Live sketch where host Elliot Gould is a guest on a morning talk show.
      Pinky Waxman: "Let's talk about Mash!
      Leo Waxman: Mash! It's my favorite show!
      Elliot Gould: Well, I was in the movie, not the TV show...
      Leo Waxman: It was a movie? Who knew?
  • The original Match Game had two celebrity panelists, four contestants, and no double entendres. It's the second version, Match Game '73, that everyone remembers. It doesn't help that virtually all of the original series no longer exists on tape. To an extent, not many know that Family Feud was derived from the end game of the original Match Game.
  • Try bringing up Bill Cullen as host of The Price Is Right (which he did from 1956 to 1965), and you'll get people born within the last thirty years ask "You mean Bob Barker wasn't the first host?"
  • The British version of The Office was popular in America before the American version started airing. Due in part to British Brevity, the American version has lasted much longer and has been one of the most popular sitcoms of its era. Although the American version is well known and fairly well received, the British version is still the best known. However, Ricky Gervais often makes self-deprecating jokes about Steve Carrel being more famous than he is. The German and French versions also have better ratings than the original in their respective countries.
  • By this point, when people think of Mr. Belvedere, they're most likely thinking of Christopher Hewett's '80s sitcom, little realizing that the title character was once played on the big screen by Clifton Webb...or that before that, he was a character in a novel by Gwen Davenport.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer is now best remembered for being the silly and not particularly good film that was later adapted into a very successful franchise anchored by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. Creator Joss Whedon launched the TV show due to dissastisfaction over the Executive Meddling in the film's production.
  • The '70s sitcom Alice was based on the 1974 movie Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore. The movie has been eclipsed not only by the TV show, but by the later movies of its director, Martin Scorsese.
  • These days the Dexter TV series is much better known than the Dexter book series. It also affected the font on the front of the books, changing the capital "T" in DEXTER to "t" to resemble the show.
  • Stargate SG-1 is far more popular than the film that spawned it, Stargate. SG-1 lasted for ten seasons, spawning two TV sequels, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe; two direct-to-DVD-movies, with one more in the works; a remastered version of its pilot episode; numerous novels; and an MMORPG (though this seems to be stuck in Development Hell).
    • Also an FPS, Online TCG, another FPS, and other direct to DVD movies for the spin off that are supposedly going to happen if MGM is ever solvent again.
  • Andrew Davies changed the ending of the novel House of Cards in his BBC adaptation. The programme was so much more successful than the (still modestly successful) book that author Michael Dobbs wrote a sequel, To Play the King, and retconned it to fit with the ending of the programme. Then Davies adapted To Play the King and exactly the same thing happened again.
  • Although Barry Sonnenfeld claimed his film of The Addams Family was directly based on the original comics, every significant detail was taken from the TV series (for example, the original comic strip never named the characters).
  • I, Claudius; the miniseries displaced Robert Graves's novel.
  • The 60s TV adaptation of The Green Hornet has displaced the original radio series on which it was based. This is most obvious in the characterization of Kato: in the original radio series Kato was merely Britt Reid's valet and the Hornet's companion, and had no notable martial arts skills. Bruce Lee's portrayal of Kato as martial arts master and all around badass is now so firmly entrenched in the audience's expectations that all subsequent adaptations of the property have that as a prominent part of Kato's characterization.
    • In the 1990s NOW Comics adaptations, the writers went so far as to make the entire Kato family (Ikano Kato, companion of the 30s-40s Hornet, Hayashi Kato, son of Ikano and companion of the 60s and 90s Hornet, and Mishi Kato, half-sister of Hayashi and companion (for a time) of the 90s Hornet) proficient martial artists
      • The above displacement of Kato is so famous he got his own Expy without Green Hornet (the 90s martial arts film, Black Mask, has people comment upon the characters' similarity).
  • Many Japanese tourists, upon seeing the "Backdraft" attraction at Universal Studios, wondered why they were playing the theme music to "Ryoori no Tetsujin" (known elsewhere as Iron Chef).
  • Telly Savalas first played Lt. Kojak (listed in the credits as "Kojack") in an Abby Mann-scripted teleplay about a real-life miscarriage of justice called The Marcus-Nelson Murders, which was itself based on a book by Selwyn Raab.
    • However, Raab wrote that book as a non-fiction work, not a novel, so Kojak did debut for television.
  • The Adventures Of Shirley Holmes was adapted to TV from a series of books produced by Winklemania Productions, UK. If you grew up in The Nineties, it's almost a guarantee you've heard of the series: it aired in over 80 countries and was translated to 8 languages. The book is nowhere near as well-known.
  • The original book Deep Love had a large cult following in Japan and while there was a series of popular manga (with multiple spin-offs) the live-action drama was by far more popular.
    • The book actually started out as a series of web novels (keitai shousetsu, i.e. a web novel that was published on a site that was made for cell phone vieweing) which got so popular they got novelized.
  • Tales from the Crypt was based on a 1950s EC horror comic of the same name, complete with Crypt-Keeper.
  • A lot of people know that Sabrina: The Animated Series is an adaptation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but few people realize that the Live-Action TV sitcom is based off a comic book series.
  • The British crime TV series Midsomer Murders has hugely overshadowed the book series by Caroline Graham that it was inspired by and that early episodes were adapted from.
  • The Disney Channel itself has been in existence since 1983, and its tween-centric original series have been in existence at least since the late 1990's, but because the channel rarely shows very much programming dated before 2005, certain generations may be unaware of Lizzie McGuire, Phil of the Future, Even Stevens, So Weird or The Famous Jett Jackson setting the stage for Hannah Montana, That's So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Wizards of Waverly Place. Far fewer have even seen a younger Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, etc. make their debuts in MMC in The Nineties. To say nothing of Under the Umbrella Tree, Dumbo's Circus, The Edison Twins, etc.
  • Life started out as a manga however the TV drama is considerably more well-known for whatever reason.
  • Dinotopia. Fewer people know about the novels now because of the crappy TV series.
  • Highlander falls into this to a point-not everyone realizes there were movies first.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man is one of the prime examples of this trope. The TV series was extremely popular and generated many iconic images and sounds; most people are unaware that the TV series was originally based on the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin (despite it being named on the end credits), and the book has become almost entirely forgotten. In this troper's opinion, just as well; the Steve Austin of Cyborg was considerably more a Jerkass than the hero of the TV series.
  • It's not as bad as others, but when most people think of The Odd Couple, the TV series starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman is usually the first version to come to mind instead of the original play (Klugman actually played Oscar on Broadway before the series) or the movie.
  • How many viewers on HBO realize that True Blood was based on Charlaine Harris' imaginative book series, The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries?
  • Many people outside the USA don't realise that the Hulk was a comic book character that got turned into a TV series.
  • 666 Park Avenue: This series is based (very loosely) on a book by Gabriella Pierce. Chances are you have never even heard of the book.
  • Wheel of Fortune is a weird example of a show displacing itself. The original version ran from 1975 to 1991 on daytime network television (primarily NBC, except for a stretch from 1989 to early 1991 when it was on CBS instead). The nighttime, syndicated version began in 1983 and has continued ever since. Given that daytime ended so long ago, and given that most of it before the mid-1980s was wiped, the lack of references to daytime is understandable.
  • Similarly, the current versions of Jeopardy! (1984) and The Price Is Right (1972) are actually revivals of older shows. The original Jeopardy! ran from 1964 to 1974 with Art Fleming as host, while the original Price ran in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Mr. Freeze was a Batman villian created in the comics at Batman # 121, 1959 as Mr. Zero, a Flat Character with the gimmick being able to freeze things. He appeared few times until the Batman TV show came, and he became a Canon Immigrant for the first time when they did a Rewrite and named him Mr. Freeze at detective comics 373, march 1968, making Batman Create Your Own Villain. However, he become The Artifact at the comics, and was put Out of Focus and even killed by The Joker. Morrison's run on Animal Man presents Mr. Freeze at Comic Book Limbo, and it was only the Batman TV show reruns and some Animated Adaptations that kept Mr. Freeze alive at the fandom minds until his debut at Batman: The Animated Series episode Heart of Ice
  • Flight of the Conchords was originally a radio series, but the HBO TV series is much more well-known. There are also cases of fans not realizing that Flight of the Conchords are a real band.
  • The "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch originated on At Last The 1948 Show, but two of the performers, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, took it with them to live performances of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and thanks to their popularity (and it being on the 'Live at the Hollywood Bowl' film) the sketch is now more associated with Monty Python.
    • And there's John Philip Sousa's Liberty Bell March, which Monty Python's Flying Circus used for a Theme Tune due to it being in the public domain; it is now known more as the "Monty Python Song" than as a standalone piece of music.

    Displaced by Music 
  • The Elvis Presley song "Can't Help Falling in Love" is a rewritten version of the French song Plaisir d'Amour, written in 1780 by Jean Paul Égide Martini.
    • Similarly, Elvis' song "It's Now Or Never" uses the melody from the Italian aria "'O Sole Mio".
    • ...and "Love Me Tender" uses the melody from the Civil War song "Aura Lee".
  • Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is rewritten french song "Comme D'habitude".
  • "Pictures at an Exhibition" is less well-known as a piano piece by Modest Moussorgsky than in the orchestral version by Maurice Ravel.
    • Both displaced by the 1971 Emerson, Lake & Palmer album.
    • Speaking of Rimsky-Korsakov, his arrangement of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" completely eclipsed the original, which is nearly extinct nowadays. In turn, R-K's version was rearranged by Leopold Stokowski for Fantasia.
  • This is often the case with literary works that have been used as sources for far more famous classical vocal works. For example, the Carmina Burana manuscript of medieval German poems and dramatic texts that was used for Carl Orff's famous cantata, or Schiller's poem "To Joy" which was used for the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
  • There are plenty of cases in music where a re-make of a song has eclipsed the original version. For example, few people know that Otis Redding first recorded "Respect" as it's been eclipsed by the Aretha Franklin version. And younger people are more likely to know the versions of "I Want Candy" recorded by Bow Wow Wow or Aaron Carter than the original by The Strangeloves.
    • Also true with hip-hop that "samples" earlier music. Most young people who love Kanye West's "Gold Digger" have probably never heard of the Ray Charles song, "I Got a Woman", that Jamie Foxx samples in it.
    • Another Kanye example, in that most don't realize the "Stronger" is essentially him singing along to Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." Or that the video for "Stronger" is a giant reference to AKIRA.
    • The Soul Searchers instrumental "Ashley's Roachclip" is obscure at best. Only one bar of it is really known—and most people don't even know where it's actually from—as a breakbeat used by Eric B. & Rakim in "Paid In Full". This in turn was eclipsed by Frank Farian's use of the same sample for several Milli Vanilli songs.
    • Many Rock and Roll pioneers, like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, made their careers performing covers or re-workings of blues songs originally written and recorded by black artists; many of whom are long forgotten by all but the most stalwart fans. Few of the original creators were ever compensated, or even acknowledged, for their work; and those that were, were typically hired by the music labels at very low pay, and their songs re-recorded by the more popular white artists. All of which constitutes a substantial Old Shame for the American music industry. A few artists, such as Elvis Presley, did attempt to make these black musicians better known, but the institutionalized racism of the time greatly limited their ability to do so.
    • Arguably Jimi Hendrix's remake of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" is an example of this. Since the early 1970s Dylan's own live concert version of it has been based on Hendrix's arrangement.
    • As is The Byrds' version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", which includes only the intro, chorus and second verse of the original.
    • All cover versions of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now" use a tune for the chorus which is slightly but very noticeably different from the one she wrote. The printed title also usually omits the comma.
    • Another Aretha Franklin example is "Think". At least in Germany, many radio stations would rather play the remake from The Blues Brothers than her comparatively obscure 1968 original.
    • Ever since The Fifth Dimension recorded a cover of "Aquarius" (the opening number of Hair) which for some unknown reason included the "let the sun shine in" chorus from "The Flesh Failures" (the closing number), every cover of "Aquarius" has done the same.
  • Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt has been displaced by the incidental music Edvard Grieg wrote for it, except in Norway, where it is his perhaps most famous and popular play. And few people have heard any part which didn't make it into the two suites, which includes the lyrics to "In the Hall of the Mountain King," heard here.
  • "Twist and Shout" wasn't written by The Beatles, nor was it first performed by them. But after listening to their version, it can be hard to remember that.
  • "Mack the Knife" (Die Moritat von Mackie Messer in the original German) has been covered so many times that it's probably no doubt become more recognizable than the musical it was written for, Die Dreigroschenoper. Also, Die Dreigroschenoper itself was based on The Beggar's Opera by John Gay. (Even worse, many people under the age of 30 probably only associate it with McDonald's, thanks to its "Mac Tonite" advertising campaign.)
  • Smokey Robinson's "Who's Loving You?" was overshadowed by The Jackson Five cover.
  • "Black Magic Woman" is today mostly known as a Santana song - few people remember that it was originally Fleetwood Mac's debut single, and was indeed written by their founder, Peter Green.
  • Only ardent Nine Inch Nails fans mention that frontman Trent Reznor originally wrote "Hurt" for his 1994 album "The Downward Spiral". Everyone else assumes that Johnny Cash created the single, despite Cash acknowledging that it was a cover song, and credited Reznor for writing it. Oddly enough, Reznor doesn't exactly mind the confusion. Although Reznor still plays "Hurt" in NIN concerts to this day, he was so thoroughly impressed by Cash's cover, he outright stated, "[Hurt] is Johnny Cash's song now."
  • At least one cover of "Tainted Love" is clearly a cover of the Soft Cell version, rather than The Sixties original.
  • Ever since The Fifth Dimension did a version of "Aquarius", the opening song from Hair, which for some reason tacked on the "let the sun shine in" finale of "The Flesh Failures" (the closing song), every cover of "Aquarius" has done the same.
  • There are some who reckon that "You'll Never Walk Alone" was written by Liverpool FC supporters, not realising that in fact it's the closing number of Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
  • Few people realise that "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix was a cover of a Tim Hardin song — which was itself a cover of a song by The Leaves. (And that's simply the earliest known version. It's likely much older.)
  • The Uncle Remus stories written by Joel Chandler Harris were later displaced by the Disney adaptation Song of the South, which itself is more famous for the fact that, since the 1980s, Disney has suppressed the film because of racial sensitivity. The Oscar-winning song from the film, Zip-a-dee Do-dah, however, has outlived both the film and the Harris stories.
  • There are people out there who are unaware of "I Will Always Love You" being a Dolly Parton song before it was covered by Whitney Houston for the 1992 blockbuster hit The Bodyguard. Even though Parton's version was only a number-one single twice.
  • There are also people out there who are much more familiar with Bananarama's "Venus", instead of the early '70s version by Shocking Blue.
  • Nirvana sang "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" during their famous Unplugged performance in the '90's and it ended the show so well that Cobain refused to play any more songs, convinced he couldn't top it. Unless they've checked Wikipedia or paid close attention during the performance, any random person would likely think it was written by Cobain; it had previously been a success for Leadbelly, and his wasn't the first version either. It's also called "In the Pines" or "Black Girl", and it dates back to roughly the 1870s.
    • The same happened with David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World". That was the title track of his 1971 album, but it was not a big hit at the time. Not long after Nirvana's Unplugged appearance, Bowie made the song a staple of his concert setlists (at a time when he was eschewing his bigger hits) and bemoaned the fact that when he performed it he would encounter "kids that come up afterwards and say, 'It's cool you're doing a Nirvana song.' And I think, 'Fuck you, you little tosser!'"
  • The song "One Night In Bangkok" was a hit in the 1980s, and is one of the prototypical examples of songs from that era. Few people realize it's from a rock opera, Chess, and fewer still realize it's probably the least plot-critical song — simply summarizing the petulant singer's walk around Bangkok when he gets frustrated in a chess match. Though Chess has been rewritten extensively in its many stagings, this song is the only one all but certain to remain in for its popularity alone.
  • Rossini's "William Tell Overture" is arguably his most famous piece, but has long since become more known in the United States as the Lone Ranger's theme.
  • Not counting devoted folk-blues fans, few people seem to realise that "The House Of The Rising Sun" is a very old traditional. Most people who are aware of the song at all seem to think that the Animals version is the "original".
  • Typically Tropical's smash hit "Barbados" has been obscured almost completely by the Venga Boys' cover, which substituted Ibiza for Barbados as the singer's destination.
  • You know Liebesträum No. 3 by Franz Liszt, that extremely famous piano piece that's on all the "Piano Favorites" collections? It's actually a transcription of Liszt's song O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, which was originally for voice and piano. Same goes for the Petrarch Sonnets found in the second book of Années de pčlerinage. Today, the piano versions are extremely famous, whereas the original songs are barely known.
  • More people know Here Comes the Bride as a "trad." instrumental tune played at weddings than as a chorus from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner. (You sometimes even see it listed as "traditional" in film soundtrack credits).
  • The song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" has been covered by a number of english musicians such as the band Cake, Doris Day and the Pussycat Dolls, but few people seem to know that it was originally written in Spanish, composed by Cuban musician Osvaldo Farres. The song was first adapted into English by Joe Davis.
  • The MK Nocturnal Dub (and the slightly edited Dub of Doom) remix of The Nightcrawler's "Push the Feeling On" (with its characteristic indecipherable resampled vocals) completely outshone the original lyrical version, and all later remixes were therefore based on it. This occurs alot in dance music, where a sometimes completely different remix ended up eclipsing the original, such as Age of Love's "The Age of Love (Jam & Spoon Remix)", Underworld's "Born Slippy (NUXX)", Brainbug's "Nightmare (Sinister Strings mix)", Art of Trance's "Madagascar (Cygnus X remix)", and Ayla's "Ayla (Taucher mix)". Can also happen with softer and slower versions, such as the unplugged versions of DJ Sammy's "Heaven" and DHT's "Listen To Your Heart" (covers of Bryan Adams and Roxette, respectively).
  • Luther Vandross's famous hit "A House Is Not A Home" was originally a song by Dionne Warwick.
  • Animotion's song, Obsession, was actually a cover of a song of the same name by Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight released one year prior.
  • Many, many operas are based on stage plays or novels which are now largely forgotten.
  • Most Australian's will recognise Waltzing Matilda as the quintessential Australian song, often used to identify the country when the national anthem is not appropriate. Less common but still fairly well known is that it was originally a poem by Banjo Patterson (it helps that he also helped write the song). What isn't widely known in Australia is that the tune is older, based on a Scottish folk song Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigielea and can cause a bit of surprise when it shows up in works that have nothing to do with Australia.

    Displaced by Theater 
  • Almost all of William Shakespeare's plays were based on earlier sources.
  • The Phantom of the Opera musical has displaced the original Gaston Leroux novel in the minds of many. And also — though not quite to so grotesque an extent — the silent Lon Chaney movie, which was relatively faithful to the book. Other movie and stage adaptations have long faded from public consciousness thanks to the Andrew Lloyd Webber version.
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's first two musicals, Oklahoma! and Carousel, are legendary works of American theatre, whereas the plays on which they are based, Green Grow the Lilacs and Liliom (by renowned playwright Ferenc Molnar), are all but unknown in America. In Europe, Liliom is more popular than Carousel.
  • The operatic adaptations of The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville are both far better-known than the Beaumarchais plays that they're based on. Also that the Rossini version of Barber is at the second (popular) version. Which makes sense if you consider that he wrote his opera 30+ years after Mozart wrote the sequel. Rossini's version completely displaced the earlier opera treatment of the same play by Paisiello; which makes the attempts by Paisiello's admirers to wreck it by disrupting its first performance appear Harsher in Hindsight.
  • The famous opera Porgy and Bess was faithfully adapted from a once-famous play called Porgy, which itself was adapted from a novel of the same name. DuBose Heyward wrote or helped write all three.
  • Colm Wilkinson, who starred in Les Misérables on Broadway and the West End, has spoken publicly about his shock at people who didn't know the musical was based on a novel. Liam Neeson, while working on the 1998 film version, was reportedly annoyed with all the people asking him if he was going to sing. He might have been better off if he had; the musical is a far better adaptation.
    • Even fewer people are aware that the book is partially based on real history - there really was a student-inspired republican rebellion in France in 1832, sparked by the death of General Lamarque.
      • Locally averted in France, where Les Misérables as a musical is only mildly known (even though the original one is French as well. Films with Gabin or Depardieu are better known anyway) but the book is still considered a monument of national literature and a must-read for anyone with half a brain.
  • The famous ballet The Nutcracker is actually based on a book with a slightly different plot and a different backstory for the Nutcracker himself. The ending is also different — many productions of the ballet have Clara awaken at the end to learn it was All Just a Dream, whereas the book ends with Marie discovering that it was all real and her love for the Nutcracker breaking his curse. Some productions of the ballet actually include elements of the original ending anyway; Mark Morris' tongue-in-cheek Setting Update The Hard Nut spends much of the second act telling said backstory.
  • Puccini's opera La Bohčme has handily displaced Henri Murger's novel Scčnes de la Vie de Boheme (interestingly, there was a rival operatic adaptation by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, composer of Pagliacci; this is also forgotten). It, in turn, is probably displaced with the masses by Rent.
  • David Belasco's once-popular plays Madam Butterfly and The Girl Of The Golden West have been displaced by Puccini, as has Victorien Sardou's play Tosca.
  • The musical My Fair Lady is much more popular than the original Pygmalion - not surprisingly due to its In Name Only inspiration and its decidedly unromantic Downer Ending.
  • Maurine Watkins' play Chicago was highly acclaimed when it was first produced in 1926, but now remembered only as the source of the musical adaptation written half a century later.
  • The musical Little Me seems to be better known than the Patrick Dennis book it was based on — which is somewhat odd considering that the show was neither a Broadway hit nor made into a movie.
  • Before Kismet became a musical, it was a play by Edward Knoblock popular enough to have been filmed more than once. Since "Stranger in Paradise", the non-musical original has been forgotten. The melody for "Stranger in Paradise" comes from the "Polovtsian Dances" from Alexander Borodin's opera Prince Igor. While the opera itself is fairly obscure, the Polovtsian Dances are a popular symphonic favorite - but people still always think of the melody as "Strangers in Paradise".
    • And other tunes in the show are also pillaged from Borodin's portfolio, including his 2nd Symphony ("Fate"), his String Quartet No. 2 ("And This Is My Beloved") and In The Steppes of Central Asia ("Sands of Time").
  • Hello, Dolly! is only arguably more popular than Thornton Wilder's play The Matchmaker, but that in turn was a revision of Wilder's earlier play The Merchant of Yonkers, which was adapted from a 19th-century Austrian farce.
    • And many fans of WALL•E are unaware that the latter's title music is from Hello, Dolly! — even though the relevant clip is included in the movie.
  • Many people have seen Guys and Dolls; few today have read any of Damon Runyon's stories.
  • Georges Bizet's popular opera Carmen was originally based on a novel by Prosper Merimee.
  • Though the book series is still popular, most people when they hear Wicked think of the musical first. Due to the book being much Darker and Edgier, most fans of the stage show haven't read it, and many aren't even aware of its existence.
  • Trivia clue for Aida: "Disney musical by Elton John and Tim Rice". The actual source material Disney bought the rights to was a picture book written by Leontyne Price, most famous for portraying the title character of the original Verdi opera.
  • Little Shop of Horrors is remembered as a film adaptation of an off-Broadway musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, but few remember that the musical was in fact based on a (non-musical) comedy made in The Sixties.
    • Similarly, the original 1988 film version of Hairspray is seldom remembered.
  • Before the 1954 play, the 1956 film, and the 1985 TV movie remake, The Bad Seed was originally a novel by William March.
  • Verdi's opera La Traviata is based on the novel/play La Dame Aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas, fils.
  • The Threepenny Opera has become considerably more popular than the 18th-century Beggar's Opera it was based on.
  • So maybe the film hasn't completely displaced the musical, but how many people knew that everyone's favorite Ax-Crazy barber Sweeney Todd originated in The String of Pearls, a serialised of penny dreadful novel from Victorian England? Even the musical's immediate source material, a play by Christopher Bond, is obscure in comparison.
  • More people will be familiar with The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner than will have read either of the medieval works on which it is based, the Nibelungenlied, the Eddas or the Völsunga saga.
  • Everyone knows Cabaret either as a stage musical or a film. Many people will be aware that it was Very Loosely Based on a True Story, but few have read the original novella, Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. Cabaret itself was based on a previous non-musical theater adaptation, I Am a Camera, and that has been quite decisively displaced.

    Displaced by toys 
  • Two of the most important Hasbro franchises did this (both cases are toy displaced by other toy):
    • The well-known 3 3/4'' G.I. Joe figures took their name from an old 12'' figure (in fact, the first action figure). Even odder, the "original" GI Joe (the one from the 12'' line) actually appeared as a character in the 3 3/4'' line named Joseph Colton. The toys themselves were named after the 1945 film The Story Of GI Joe, which they have by now thoroughly displaced.
    • Transformers began as a reuse of the molds for the Takara collections Diaclone and Microman. The original Diaclone collection was about piloted mecha, while the Transformers took the Mechanical Lifeforms approach we all know.

    Displaced by Video Games 
  • The vast majority of 1980s arcade games are displaced by any adaptations or sequels on home consoles. This is rather understandable: When was the last time you saw a functional 1980s or 1990s arcade game anywhere?
    • Anyone here know or remember that the original Donkey Kong has a 4th level? Probably not, since when Nintendo has the game pop up, they use the NES version that left off the Pie Factory level (the 2nd level).
    • Most people seem to think the NES version of Bubble Bobble (that is also out on Virtual Console) is the original. There was an arcade version, and it didn't include a compulsory crystal ball.
    • Contra and its sequel, Super Contra, were originally arcade games that were adapted to the NES. The NES versions were more successful than the coin-op versions, and all the subsequent sequels were released specifically for home consoles.
    • The arcade version of Gradius was released in North America and Europe under the name of Nemesis, while the NES version kept the original title. This led many fans to believe that its NES conversion is the very first title in the series. Gradius III is a similar case; the Super NES conversion is far more well known than its Nintendo Hard arcade counterpart, though said arcade original did have a prior American release to Collection, in Gradius III & IV, which was released in 2000.
    • Punch-Out!! started as an arcade game which even had an arcade sequel titled Super Punch Out!! Most players are more familiar with the console versions, Punch Out!! for the NES and Super Punch Out!! for the SNES, both which were completely different games from their arcade counterparts. Even the official site for Punch Out!! for Wii doesn't acknowledge the arcade games.
      • Which is bizarre not only because these games not only introduced many of the opponents, but the entire Title Defense level, which is nothing more than a souped-up version of the "Top Ranked" matches you had after winning the championship.
    • The NES version of Super Dodge Ball is a cult classic, with most people not even aware that it was based on an arcade game of the same name.
    • Most people who know both the NES Beat 'em Up Kung Fu and The Legend of Kage have no idea they were both originally arcade releases.
    • As little as it's remembered today, Legendary Wings is much more known for its NES port (who made quite a few changes to scenery and gameplay) than its arcade original.
    • Kickle Cubicle was based on an arcade game which had identical gameplay but a completely different plot.
    • The NES version of Bionic Commando displaced the arcade version, which had a rather bizarre aesthetic and no sign of Those Wacky Nazis.
    • Duck Hunt predated the NES, appearing in a double unit with another light gun game, Hogan's Alley.
    • Mighty Bomb Jack started life as an arcade game before being ported to the NES.
  • ICOM's adventure games Déjŕ Vu, Uninvited and Shadowgate are most widely known in their NES forms, though they were all originally for the Macintosh.
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet was based of a series of network bumps for Nickelodeon that were aired during the Halloween season.
  • Whenever somebody mentions playing Warcraft, most people would automatically assume this being World of Warcraft MMO, not one of several RTS games preceding it that, you know, actually were called simply Warcraft.
    • Lampshaded by Blizzard during one of their April Fool's jokes. They proudly announced the creation of the new RTS game Warcraft: Heroes of Azeroth and proceeded to list details and show screenshots of Warcraft III. Needless to say, not everyone got it.
  • Many have played the Sam & Max: Freelance Police games without ever knowing they were based on a comic series. Others are only aware of the cartoon series. With the more recent games, many players might not even be aware of the older adventure game adaptation Sam & Max Hit the Road (it also helps that Hit the Road has never gotten another re-release in America aside from the CD-ROM re-release in 1995).
    • In one conversation in Poker Night 2, it seems that Sam himself doesn't remember being in comics, making this an in-universe example.
  • Seemingly very few on the internet know that there was an original Rainbow Six novel.
  • Ragnarok Online, popular MMORPG. Not many people are aware that it was based off of the manhwa Ragnarok.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic turn-based strategy series are far more well-known than Might and Magic, the RPG series they were spun off from.
    • And how many people have heard of King's Bounty, the original TBS that wasn't set in the Might And Magic universe?!
    • After Kings Bounty got a remake by 1C/Katauri, many players of the new games were surprised to learn they were based on such an ancient DOS game.
  • Few Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune players are aware that it is based on the still-running manga series Wangan Midnight. Most think it's the other way around.
  • Even less players have heard of the original Wangan Midnight arcade game, released in 2001 and published by the same publishers of Maximum Tune, as well as its update Wangan Midnight R. These two games, however, bear little resemblance to the Maximum Tune series; they play more like the Tokyo Xtreme Racer/Shutokou Battle series, in that you and your opponent have life meters, an unusual feature in a racing game.
  • The cult Game Boy RPG Magi-Nation was made to advertise a card game made during the TCG fad. The game is more fondly remembered then the cards.
  • While quite a few fans of the Persona video game series know that it is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series, some of them do not know that Shin Megami Tensei is a spin-off of another RPG series (Megami Tensei) that was in turn based off the Digital Devil Story novel trilogy. Most don't even know that there were regular Megaten games that were released before Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne yanked all the Cyberpunk tropes from the series and got translated.
  • Some gamers may suspect that the Xbox version of the Ninja Gaiden series is having this effect upon the original NES series, especially in terms of their Nintendo Hard reputations. Whether or not this is true, both have certainly displaced the original, almost completely unrelated Beat 'em Up arcade game from everyone's mind.
    • The arcade and NES versions of Ninja Gaiden were made simultaneously, but they don't really have much in common other than the main character in both games being a ninja.
  • Any song that gets covered on a Dance Mania album and brought into Dance Dance Revolution (Konami relies on the Dance Mania series for much of its licensed songs). And for that matter, any song that gets ported from another Bemani series into DDR gets mistaken as a song that debuted in DDR.
  • Many have no idea about the Gauntlet series prior to Gauntlet Legends.
  • Ditto Xenon 2 Megablast. It consigned the original to a reasonable obscurity.
  • Parasite Eve was a 1995 novel by Hideake Sena, then a 1997 movie, then a 1998 Squaresoft Action RPG.
    • The Squaresoft game(s) are sequels to the novel, while the movie is an adaptation.
    • However, it's worth mentioning that one of the reasons it's relatively unknown outside of Japan is because they weren't released outside of Japan for awhile. The 1995 novel was actually not published in English until 2007. It's pretty rare.
  • Marth is far better known in the West for appearing in Super Smash Bros. then for being the star of his own game. As such, outside of Japan, he is more associated with Roy and Ike who aren't in the same universe as him rather then characters from his own games such as Jeigan, Caeda, and Ogma.
    • Then, once Marth got a game released in the west, it did very poorly and people still don't realize he's in a seperate game from the other Fire Emblem characters. Like the fact that he speaks a different language doesn't tip anyone off.
  • Similar to Marth, Morrigan Aensland is starting to be far better known for appearing in Marvel vs. Capcom than Darkstalkers. The fact that there hasn't been a Darkstalkers since 1997's Vampire Savior probably contributes to this.
  • Zero Wing. Many forget that the Sega Genesis version was actually adapted from an arcade game (which didn't feature the infamous "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" intro... but had its own screwed up ending), and everyone forgot that there was a Turbo Grafx-CD port (which had a completely different plot).
  • Strider Hiryu is a subversion, since it was actually a three-way collaboration between Capcom and manga studio Moto Kikaku. Moto Kikaku artist Tatsumi Wada drew the manga version, which was published first in 1988, while Capcom produced two separate video games for the project: an NES version which more or less followed the manga (but oddly enough never came out in Japan), and an arcade version which deviated from the other projects completely in terms of story. A common misconception is that the manga was made first without any intention of turning it into a game, but this really wasn't the case at all.
  • Area 88 is a Displacement Food Chain; it started off as a manga, which got adapted into a somewhat more well-known anime, which got adapted into the kinda-more-well-known arcade game (the international title, U.N. Squadron, only made the connection between the games and the manga/anime even more obscure), which got adapted into a well-known SNES port.
  • Turok, Son of Stone was a comic book in the 1950s, alongside such other well-known Gold Key titles as Doctor Solar Man Of The Atom and The Occult Files of Dr Spektor. Valiant Comics got hold of a load of Gold Key Comics properties in the 1990s, and relaunched Turok as Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. In 1997, a video game was released based on this incarnation. The Turok series of games is now much better known than either comic book version.
  • Little Nemo isn't one of the most well-known animated films, but the game Little Nemo The Dream Master resided in many an NES of people who'd never even seen the cartoon. It's likely that few fans of the cartoon (which was a Japanese/American co-production) know that it was originally a comic strip in the first decade of the 20th century.
    • The situation became more confusing when the video game was released in America before the movie was released (even though the movie was released first in Japan and is what the video game is based on).
    • And like the Area 88 example mentioned above, there was an arcade version of Little Nemo (simply titled Nemo) that came out before the NES version.
  • Metro 2033 is an interesting (North America only) case. It's not so much that the book is less well known, but that it has never been released in the U.S.
  • Most people didn't really notice that the obscure SNES platformer Dino City is based on the Made-for-TV Movie Adventures in Dinosaur City.
  • Do you remember Shuma-Gorath? Do you remember him in a medium that doesn't involve Shoryukens? He was originally an enemy of Doctor Strange, and in fact hadn't been seen in six years before Marvel Super Heroes.
    • Shuma-Gorath's a strange example, he was originally from a short story for the 'Kull' series, but the short story was unpublished. When they published it after the author's death, it was adapted into the Dr. Strange series.
  • The Darkness; depending on the circles you orbit in, you may encounter people who are either unaware the comic exists besides the unlockables in the game, or unaware it came first.
  • The original Neverwinter Nights was a MMORPG on America Online that was operational from 1991 to 1997, and used SSI's "Gold Box" engine. The 2002 game by BioWare is much better known now.
    • Notable especially is that the original was the first modern MMO, predating Ultima Online by several years. Previous games in similar veins were typically text-based, with few or no graphics and little depth in comparison to console and computer RPGs of the same timeframe.
  • The original Tetris was released on an Elektronika-60 in 1985, followed by a release on IBM computers (as well as every other Home Computer in existence). However, it wasn't until the Game Boy version, released in 1989, that most fans around the world got into Tetris.
    • This also started the phenomenon of the melodies of Korobeiniki and Dance of The Sugar-Plum Fairy being "Tetris Themes"...
  • A subversion: the Nintendo Entertainment System was a success in North America because of the popularity that the arcade version of Super Mario Bros. (Vs. Super Mario Bros.) enjoyed. Nowadays, not many people are aware that Super Mario Bros. had an arcade port.
    • And if they're aware that Super Mario Bros. was itself a sequel, it's probably only because the original Mario Bros. is a frequent minigame/easter egg in other games.
  • Thunder Force II was originally released on the Sharp X68000, then ported to the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive. Many people think it's the other way around.
  • One of the designers for the arcade Spy Hunter deliberately took the theme music from Peter Gunn, an old, obscure detective show, most likely to stave off any "ripoff" (or worse, copyright) issues. The game became so popular that the song is now far more closely associated with Spy Hunter than Peter Gunn.
  • Subverted by the original Metal Gear. The NES version was the only one available in North America for many years and the fact that it was a port of an MSX2 game wasn't even common knowledge prior to the release of Metal Gear Solid. Since then, Hideo Kojima has saw fit to release the original MSX2 games in various formats (most notably as embedded precursors in certain editions of Metal Gear Solid 3), whereas the NES Metal Gear (and its sequel Snake's Revenge) had never been properly reissued since their original releasesnote , not even on the Virtual Console.
  • A lot of people are familiar with the game The Witcher, but not with the series of fantasy novels it is based on, especially in English-speaking areas.
  • Only the most avid of fans of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer are aware of the fact that the Bomberman franchise started on this computer in 1983 (actually, this version was concurrently released on various Japanese computers), with a rather different look from the iconic NES version. Not even most of them realise that in the same year, on the same platform, Hudson tried out the concept that was to become Pang (as Bubble Buster).
  • Wolfenstein 3D (1992) is widely known as "the first FPS" (it's not), but a lot fewer people are familiar with Castle Wolfenstein (1981), an Apple II game that might be considered the first stealth-based game.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the Re-Shelled edition of Turtles in Time were the omission of numerous stages and bosses from the SNES version of the game. However, the Re-Shelled version was actually based on the original arcade game and the "missing" stages and bosses were simply extra stuff added to the SNES port.
  • Chaos Legion is an obscure enough Hack-and-Slasher by itself, but is apparent based on an even more obscure series of light novels.
  • The Valis series was originally released for various PC platforms, but the series did not gain its cult following until the second game was ported to the TurboGrafx CD. Oddly, the No Export for You TGCD port of the first game wasn't made until after the fourth game, which (save for a watered-down SNES version) didn't make it overseas either.
    • Ys was another PC-88 game series which gained a cult following only with the TurboGrafx CD ports.
  • Below the Root is the best-known of the Windham Classics games and a minor Cult Classic among platform gamers. The books it was based on (and is the canonical sequel to, making it possibly the first of its kind) are terribly obscure and were out of print for years.
  • Monster In My Pocket was originally a line of toys, but nowadays, it's more well known as a classic NES game.
  • Once upon a time, a webcomic called Prodly the Puffin was created as a parody of Pokey the Penguin. The webcomic is long since gone, but an Interactive Fiction adaptation of it has lasted better.
  • The NES version of Nuts & Milk displaced the original version for the MSX, PC-88 and other Japanese computers, which plays quite differently and in Japan is largely ignored.
  • Soulcalibur was only meant to be the sequel to Soul Edge (Soul Blade for home release) but ended up becoming a series. This meant that only a few people know about Soul Edge/Blade due to it not being a numbered entry in the series.
    • Because all of the games after the original Soulcalibur had "Soulcalibur" in the title, most people think that it is the name of the franchise; it is actually the Soul series.
  • Few people remember that a game called Starsiege was the foundation for the Tribes franchise. Fewer remember that Starsiege was a sequel to the EarthSiege games.
  • Jojo's Bizarre Adventure for the Sega Dreamcast was released in America before the OVA ever made it Stateside. Most people either: A) Think that the OVA is based on the game, or B) Only know of the Dreamcast game.
    • This goes even deeper than the OVA. To start, 2 versions of the game were released for the arcade. First, there was Jojo's Venture back in 1998 and its Updated Re-release JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future in 1999. The Dreamcast game contains both of them. With that said, the OVA was released for the States in 2003 and as for the Part 3 manga Stardust Crusaders which these video game and the OVA are based on? It wasn't released stateside until 2005. So understandably, there were people back in the late 90s/early 2000s who didn't know that these aforementioned games were actually Licensed Games based on the 3rd arc of a long running, No Export for You manga series. Every now and again, you'll have someone suggest Jotaro, DIO, or any other character featured in them to appear in an upcoming Capcom vs. Whatever title, falsely thinking that they're owned by Capcom.
  • The 1997 Macintosh RPG TaskMaker is an adaptation of an obscure 1993 black-and-white Mac RPG of the same name, which itself was adapted from a tabletop RPG. What little fans the obscure 1997 version has probably know it only by that version, and not its predecessors.
  • The obscure Dreamcast game Stupid Invaders was actually based on the also-obscure cartoon Space Goofs (or Home to Rent as it was known in the UK).
  • The MechWarrior game series is part of the BattleTech franchise, which began as a tabletop wargame. When MechWarrior Tactics was announced as an online adaptation of the tabletop game, complete with hexmaps and turn-based gameplay, there were immediate complaints that the game was "not real MechWarrior."
  • Cross Channel was displaced by the Flash game Nanaca Crash Why? Cross Channel was a Japanese-only H-game/Visual Novel until its Fan Translation in 2009. Fans didn't need to read Japanese to play Nanaca Crash!
  • It's exceedingly common to see Harvest Moon fans who are unaware that Friends of Mineral Town is essentially a port of Back to Nature with some new features, 2nd graphics, and slight characteriation changes. Likewise fans forget of Harvest Moon 64 - many a fan were confused why Ellimin Treee of Tranquility was a baker, not a nurse - and the ones who don't probably haven't played it.
    • Harvest Moon Original Series and Save the Homeland are both black sheep in the franchise, played by few fans compared to other titles, so it's common for people to miss all the Mythology Gag's in Magical Melody and think the characters are original.

    Displaced by Web Animation 

    Displaced by Webcomics 
  • A minor case, but though the characters of Final Fantasy I had no defined personality apart from their character class, the work of webcomic 8-Bit Theater has largely determined their roles in any future parody.
  • Likewise, Bob and George has done the same thing for Mega Man, to the point where certain fan-characters are often mistaken for canon, and a good chunk of the fandom takes the "Zero kills everyone" version of the end of the Classic timeline as fact, despite its fanon status and Word of God later debunking it.
  • Many people don't realize that Pastel Defender Heliotrope, a webcomic that defines True Art Is Incomprehensible, was based on a light-hearted, straightforward Pinocchio story for the Kamishibai program that Reitz and her husband produced. It's quite jarring for those few souls who read the Kamishibai story first and then tried to read the webcomic.
  • Though this stretches the definition of "adaptation" a little, Girl Genius is probably much better known for being a webcomic than it ever was as the print comic it began its life as. Taking it to an online format from a relatively indie comic book publishing operation has greatly expanded its audience, such that only a small amount of its followers started following it when it was print-exclusive.

    Displaced by Website 
  • Cracked was a humor magazine trying to copy the success of MAD, and while it proved to be the longest-lasting of the many MAD imitators, never did match MAD's success, and eventuallly faded in relative obscurity in 2007... but not before launching Cracked.com, which became the most visited humor website in the world and is generally what people mean when they mention Cracked nowadays.

    Displaced by Web Video 
  • While Pride and Prejudice is much more well-known than its modernised adaptation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the Adaptation Name Change of Mr Darcy's first name into William has caused some fans to believe this was his name in the original, thanks to the novel almost never mentioning that his first name is actually Fitzwilliam. Although lots of fan fics did use William prior to this adaptation.
  • FimFlamFilosophy, the man behind My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series, mentioned in this blog entry that so many people have seen Rainbow Dash Presents: Captain Hook the Biker Gorilla (a comedic adaptation of the grimdark fanfic Rainbow Factory) that some people believe that he created the concept, to the point of accusing Aurora Dawn (the writer of Rainbow Factory) of stealing the idea from him. FimFlaFilosophy is trying to rectify that by linking to the original fanfic and crediting Aurora Dawn when characters that originated from that fic are used in future works (such as the character Aurora in the short "Investment Losses").

    Displaced by Western Animation 
  • The '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon is vastly more familiar to the public than the original black-and-white comics. An example of this is that in every Turtles-related review by The Nostalgia Critic, he constantly criticizes an adaptation for not being "faithful" when its actually using something from the comic instead of the '80s series (such as his constant complaints about April's lack of yellow jumpsuits in the films, or that Judith Hoag looks nothing like April, when her portrayal did in fact resemble the original comic's version).
    • This was taken into account by the creators of the second film who originally intended to stick closer to the comics and have the mutagen be the creation of a brain-like alien race called the Utroms. Professor Perry, who still appears in the movie as the man who created the mutagen, was going to be revealed as the last Utrom still on Earth. However, the cartoon featured a villainous alien brain named Krang who bore a strong physical resemblance to the Utroms but little else. Since the movie was being marketed to fans of the cartoon, the Utrom subplot was ditched because of concern that viewers would assume the brain was Krang.
    • Splinter's backstory. In the original comics, he was the pet rat of a murdered human ninja who was later mutated into a rat humanoid form. In the '80s cartoon, he's a human ninja mutated into a rat. All other adaptations stick to the original backstory, yet the '80s cartoon version worked so well that people who were first introduced to the turtles by the cartoon (which until the release of the equally successful 2003 cartoon, meant most people) tend to reject Splinter's origin out of hand when they see it in the later adaptations as "stupid", not realizing it is in fact his original backstory.
    • The 2012 cartoon does go back to his 1987 cartoon origins.
      • A very localized Turtles example: Roger Ebert, in his reviews of the original two Turtles movies, refers to the Turtles as being from a Nintendo game with no mention of the comics and TV series that pre-dated the NES video game. This confusion likely stems from his review of The Wizard, a movie that references (well, okay, let's face it, advertises) the NES Turtles game. This was likely the only exposure Ebert had to the Turtles before seeing the movie.
  • In the case of DuckTales, it depends on where you live. In the U.S. and the U.K., the cartoon is still remembered, while the comics it was based on have mostly fallen into obscurity. In many other countries, however, Disney comics, especially those by Carl Barks and Don Rosa, are still widely popular, much more so than the cartoon.
    • Up to the point that Duck Tales comics were released to promote the show and they flopped because kids didn't get why the continuity was all different from normal Disney comics.
  • Before Arthur was a cartoon, it was a series of children's books by Marc Brown.
    • Which is strange since after every episode you're told to visit your local library for more Arthur adventures.
    • Before the Arthur cartoon, Bionic Bunny was Brown's first picture book.
  • Many people know about the cartoon series The Magic School Bus than the picture books it was based on.
  • Then there's Little Bill, which was heavily advertised as being created by Bill Cosby, but many people didn't know it was for the fact that he created the original series of picture books, not the actual show.
  • U.S. Acres (A.K.A. Orson's Farm), the middle segment on Garfield and Friends was actually based on a short-lived comic strip Jim Davis did during the 1980s.
  • Ace the Bat-Hound was a Batman supporting character in the Golden and Silver ages. However, many more people remember Ace as Ol' Bruce Wayne's dog from Batman Beyond.
    • And some people are surprised that the mask-wearing incarnation of Ace, Krypto, Streaky, and the Dog Stars (originally the Space Canine Patrol) weren't all made up for the Krypto the Superdog cartoon.
  • You'd be surprised to know how many people are unaware that the My Little Pony franchise originates from the toys, and not the 1980s cartoon. The cartoon was actually made to promote the toys.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas has arguably begun to overshadow everything else in the Peanuts universe, including the actual newspaper strip, which is ironic because most of the special's dialogue is taken verbatim from the strip. For example, a lot of people think that Linus is supposed to have a lisp because his ACBC voice actor Christopher Shea happened to have one. This even carried over into the 1999 Broadway production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
  • Many people are familiar with Rankin Bass' stop-motion animation classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and more are familiar with the song by Johnny Marks. But many don't even remember the original story/poem by Robert May that inspired both the song and the special.
    • And almost nobody remembers that the character was originally created for an old Montgomery Ward ad campaign.
  • Similarly, many people are familiar with the Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of The Year Without a Santa Claus, but have never heard of the original poem it was based on. Wikipedia doesn't even have an article about the original book.
  • Speaking of Christmas specials, while the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! hasn't exactly displaced the book (this partly is because Dr. Seuss is one of the most famous authors of children's books in the world) We challenge anyone to read the book to themselves and not hear Boris Karloff narrating it.
    • Or remember Chuck Jones' animation of the Grinch's expression during the "awful idea" more so than the lower-key one in the book.
    • Notably, the original book was entirely pen-and-ink, with red highlights. The Grinch wasn't even green until the animated version came out, but now nearly everyone knows he's supposed to be.
  • Relatively few people are familiar with the classic Space Ghost, Birdman and SeaLab cartoons. More people are familiar with the Williams Street productions that took those characters and turned them into something completely different.
    • Which is especially odd as these shows completely reuse the animations of the original cartoons.
  • In Superman comics, Ms. Gsptlsnz, extradimensional paramour of Mister Mxyzptlk, appeared during the Silver Age comics. However, she was so obscure that even That Other Wiki erroneously reported her as a creation of Superman: The Animated Series.
  • Everyone knows or remembers the Popeye cartoons; not so many know the Thimble Theatre comic strip (which actually started nine years before its Breakout Character was introduced).
  • The W.I.T.C.H. TV series is much better known in the U.S. and U.K. than the comics, though the comics are well-known elsewhere.
    • This is probably because the U.S. publisher Hyperion didn't release the comics as such at first, but rather novelizations of the comics, with a few pages from the respective comic bookending the text. As with the animated series, Hyperion only got as far as the Nerissa's revenge arc (total run: 26 volumes). (They did eventually release graphic novels, essentially two comics per book, only getting as far as the 8th volume).
  • While (one hopes) most people realize that Batman's sidekick Robin originates in comic books, many fans of the animated Teen Titans don't realize that the rest of the show's main characters, the team and its headquarters, most of the villains, and many of the plotlines on the show, as well as its title, originated in comic books as well. The show's heavy anime-inspired style may play a role to this.
    • As the series progresses, however, this becomes increasingly less likely. Several characters are implied to be sidekicks as well (most notably Speedy, Aqualad, and Kid Flash), and more noticeably the entire final season of the show relies heavily on Beast Boy's backstory. Lampshaded when people react with surprise when they find out Beast Boy's been a member of a team previously, and apparently has more experience as a hero than anyone but possibly Robin. Possibly.
  • One of the main criticisms of the animated special of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer lies in the awkwardly implemented songs. The title song everyone is familiar with, but not so much the other Dr Elmo Christmas songs, believed by many to be written for the movie, when they're all just horrible covers not involving Dr Elmo despite him narrating the special and voicing Grandpa.
  • The cartoon version of The Tick is vastly, overwhelmingly better known than the original black-and-white indie comic.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine is best known for its TV adaptation that's been running since the mid-1980s. Less well known outside the UK is that it was based on a series of books that's been running since the mid-1940s...
  • The Ben-10 follow-up Man Of Action created series, Generator Rex, is based on a fairly unknown and crazier comic from the same creative team titled M.Rex. Considering the comic only lasted two issues, this can also be considered some serious Adaptation Expansion.
  • Martin Mystery is possibly best known for the Western Animation show, that is almost an In Name Only version of the original comic ("almost" because they changed "Mystere" in "Mystery").
  • "Isn't Destro supposed to be black?" is a common question asked by those who questioned the casting of Christopher Eccleston as Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In the original comic, he was caucasian and a Scotsman. In the memorable 80s cartoon, he was voiced by African American actor Arthur Burghardt, hence the confusion.
  • Who remembers that Josie and the Pussycats was a comic before it became the famous cartoon?
  • The Pink Panther movies are very often displaced by the cartoons, to the point where people have complained about the 2006 movie being about an inspector instead of the panther. The Pink Panther mascot is actually a personification of a diamond within the series.
  • Averted with superheroes, as their animated and live-action adaptations may be more famous in-and-of-themselves, most people at-least realize that superheroes generally get their start in comic books.
  • The original Symbiote arc in Spider-Man was almost indistinguishable from future versions, as the costume was portrayed as nothing more than a parasite that unknowingly sapped energy from Peter, slowly weakening him. However, all subsequent adaptations have taken more from the Spider-Man: The Animated Series version where the costume actually increases his powers and brings out his dark side, as well as establishing Eddie Brock as a chracter before revealing him as Venom.
  • The Looney Tunes 'Goofy Gophers' are well known for their excessive politeness to each other - "After you!" "No, after you!" - known more than early 20th-century comic strip duo 'Alphonse and Gaston' who established the routine.
  • More people are familiar with the Bucky O'Hare animated series than the comic book it was based on (probably because it was originally just a back-up strip in an anthology book).
  • The Cramp Twins isn't exactly a well-known cartoon nowadays, but even fewer people know that it started out as a series of books during the mid-1990s.
  • The Question has gone through a lot of interpretations: extreme borderline-Jerk Ass objectivist avenger in the early Steve Ditko comics, mellowing out under Denny O'Neal into a Zen-like investigator, eventually becoming cheerfully fatalistic before passing on his name to Rene Montoya. However, the most famous one by far is Justice League Unlimited's take of a Lighter and Softer Rorschach, voiced by Jeffrey Combs and obsessing over shoelaces.
  • Iznogoud: The few American or English people who have heard of this are either thinking of the god-awful game, or the pretty decent Animated Adaptation.

    Displaced by Merchandising 
  • Most Brits, and many from further afield, will be familiar (perhaps overly so) with Quality Street sweet assortments. Far fewer will be aware that the brand name, along with the scene depicted on the packaging, were taken from a play by J.M. Barrie, written three years before he wrote Peter Pan.
  • Thanks to Disney suppressing the source material, few people realize that the Splash Mountain ride at Disney Theme Parks is actually inspired by Song of the South.
  • It's often believed that the Coca-Cola Company created the modern image of Santa Claus in his red-and-white garb, displacing earlier portrayls in which he wore other colours (green was a favourite) and styles of outfit, but this is only an urban legend; depictions of Santa in his red suit existed long before Coke thought up their ad campaign.
    • Santa Claus himself is an adaption of the Dutch and Flemish holiday figure Sinterklaas, which is based on the Catholic St. Nicolas.
  • Betty Boop. She's been quite popular with merchandise however most people that like her have only seen her in animation once, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • Intentionally invoked in a Denny's commercial. A girl tells her grandmother that Denny's has a Hobbit Menu. The grandmother responds, "I know. Apparently, they based an entire movie off of it," causing many of the restaurant's other customers, dressed in costumes, to turn around and look at her.
  • The goddess Nike from Greek Mythology is far less well-known than the sportswear brand named after her. One humorous fantasy story mentioned her founding the brand in order to remain relevant in the modern world.

    Displaced by All of the Above 
  • Almost no-one reads H.P. Lovecraft, but you'll find references to his work everywhere.
    • Cthulhu is a geek cultural symbol. In fact, a lot of people are under the impression that Cthulhu is not a creation of Lovecraft, but an actual mythical being from an ancient religion. Within Lovecraft's actual works, he's pretty insignificant, appearing in only one story and not holding a particularly high position in the pantheon. Some don't even realize he's copyrighted, which leads to some issues.
    • Many authors have used Lovecraft's mythos, which he encouraged, to the point that many readers might be more familiar with stories and content that was created by other people.
    • The Necronomicon was a fictional book merely cataloguing the monstrosities in Lovecraft's mythos. It's been so widely used as a literary reference, however, that people have made real life versions (including a visual one that inspired the Alien movie franchise), and some amateur "occult experts" treat these as a serious work on demonology.

    Displaced in Real Life 
  • Hydrox cookies are the original mass-produced chocolate-and-cream sandwich cookie, predating Oreos by a couple years. Most people believe Hydroxes to be the knockoff.
  • The Czech Budweiser beer are sold as Czechvar in the US, even though it predates American Budweiser, which is made by another company entirely. It's Budvar in the UK. It seems to be Budweiser everywhere in mainland Europe.
  • Neufchatel cheese is often marketed in America as reduced-fat Philadelphia cream cheese, even though Philadelphia cream cheese was created as an imitation Neufchatel.
  • More people have probably heard the wordless chorus from the song Centerfold by The J. Geils Band chanted by football supporters than have heard the actual song.
  • Almost nobody seems to be aware of the fact that Beanie Babies are not the only plush line created by Ty, Inc. They had stuffed toys in 1986, seven years before Beanie Babies existed. Many of the Spin-Off lines (Pillow Pals, Attic Treasures, Beanie Buddies, etc.) are also relatively unknown.
  • Since language is a living entity, old language is displaced by new all the time. It's a byword (and frequent complaint in some quarters) that the 1900 New York criminal-classes meaning of "gay" has become the common one, displacing the previous meaning of "happy" (which might cause some Agatha Christie readers to wonder why she "so often wrote about homosexuals"). Likewise, in the 1990s "sad" came to mean "stupid" (though fortunately this meaning didn't catch on).
    • An amusing example of this form of semantic drift is that the original word referring to a woman's makeup table has shifted so dramatically that it now refers to a different piece of furniture, with a different function, in another room of the house. This gets rather jarring when reading stories that take the original meaning, and have women stepping out for the night in style by splashing themselves with toilet water (now known as perfume).
      • ...which is less jarring for people who know the perfume jargon, since "toilet water" (or rather its French name, eau de toilette, as well as counterparts in many other languages) is part of a "perfume scale", with perfume itself being the most concentrated form of fragrance (save for "pure fragrance", such as rose petal oil), followed by esprit de parfum, perfumed water, toilet water and cologne.
    • Related to perfume, the older a word is, the more negative its connotation becomes (one time, when given a list of words related to smell [stink, stench, odor, perfume, smell, etc.] and asked to rank them from most negative to positive, my class put them in almost perfect chronological odor.) This can be interesting when reading older works and hearing about something having a stench and needing a second to realize that it was supposed to smell good.
  • Everyone who started using the Internet after the mid-1990s seems to think that the Web and the Internet are synonymous.
    • Although, people who used MSN may know that the program would often still work even when you couldn't connect to the internet in your browser.
  • Have you heard of Japanese singer/voice actress Fujita Saki? If you're in the anime-watching crowd you might know her roles, but if you aren't, you will probably only know her as the person whose voice is the base for the virtual diva Hatsune Miku, if you know her at all.
  • The Tandy 1000 was designed as a clone of the IBM PCjr, but by the time it reached the market the PCjr had become an Edsel-class fiasco. The Tandy 1000 succeeded where the PCjr failed, and later PC clones that featured similar graphics and sound capabilities were commonly called "Tandy-compatible."
  • The word 'Caesar' has been displaced several times. Originally it (as with all Roman third names) was a nickname to distinguish between two or more people with the same first two names. Gradually these nicknames became part of a person's family name. For the first five Roman Emperors, Caesar was their family name. However, subsequent Emperors simply called themselves Caesar anyway, until it gradually simply became a way of addressing the Emperor (like 'Your Majesty'). Later monarchs simply adapted into their language and made it synonymous with the term Emperor (e.g. Kaisar, Kaiser, Tsar, Czar).
    • Similarly, the term 'Emperor' comes from the Latin 'Imperator' which simply refers to the commander of any Roman army, not the entire armed forces. The term 'Prince' comes from the Latin 'Princeps' which is usually translated as 'Chief' but in the context of the early Emperors meant 'First Citizen' - a role analogous to President or Prime Minister.
  • The Inquisition was neither a Spanish invention nor was it exclusive to Spain. The Spanish Inquisition is actually 300 years younger than the first Medieval Inquisition created by the Papacy in 1184 to root out the Cathars from southern France.
    • Also, inquisition was not the name of the institution (that was Sanctum Officium or The Holy Office) but rather the description of their work, i.e. investigation (cf. the adjective 'inquisitive'). The officials themselves were officially tasked with 'inquisitio haereticae pravitatis' (investigation of the heretical subversions) and thus the common name stuck.

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alternative title(s): Adaption Displacement
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