Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole

"I say, that plot line made a lot more sense in the original manga."
Bakura referring to the duel between his evil side and Yugi, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series

So you're watching the movie version of your favorite book, and wait — wasn't Alice's sword broken two scenes ago? What happened to the scene where she went to go get it reforged? And why is Bob seemingly flirting with Charlotte? Doesn't he indicate in the third book that he never liked her and suspected her of being a traitor?

Almost no adaptation is perfectly accurate. Details often get left out of adaptations, and sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn't (particularly to those unfamiliar with the original work). Other times, details are added that seem perfectly fine at the time, but end up directly contradicting canonical plot points — with a continuing work, this may even be a plot point the original writers hadn't actually written yet. Sadly, authors are not psychic.

If added material results in a plot hole, it may require an additional scene to Hand Wave it away. If removed material caused the problem, there may be a brief Info Dump to fill everyone in on what they missed. Contrast with its inverse, the Plot Tumor.

If this is caused by a work being translated into another language, it's a Dub Induced Plothole.

If there is simply a lack of explanation as to why something happened, instead of a full-on Plot Hole, it's Adaptation Explanation Extrication.

See The Artifact if something similar happens during the production of an original work.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • The comic version of Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (the one made to look like a Film Comic) misses a plot-critical line of Prof. Calculus: In the animated film, Calculus said the miniature duplicator machine was "a very special version", meaning Tintin actually did try to outsmart Rastapopoulos. In the comic, without this line, it looks like an accident.
  • When Epic Mickey was adapted into a roughly sixty-pages long graphical novel, many things had to be left out. Most notably: 1° Mickey never comes across Small Pete and Big Bad Pete in the scenes where, in the game version, he does; 2° Mickey's adventure when searching for the rocket pieces are reduced to one single splash panel per quest. As long as it was standalone, alright. However, when Epic Mickey 2 got its own graphic novel, it was adapted back from the second game, without checking what had been changed for the first graphic novel; Small Pete and Big Bad Pete are just casually recognized by Mickey who acknowledges having fought them before; same goes for Pete Pan, who was met by Mickey in the Ventureland quest of the game, one of those that had gotten reduced to one panel. But, most important, the single-panel summary of the fight between Mickey and the Mad Doctor in the first installment left out The Reveal that the Doctor turned himself into a cyborg to be immune to the Blot's attack. The whole plot of Epic Mickey 2 is the Mad Doctor wanting to be human again as the Blot no longer exists and his too-quickly-made animatronic parts are starting to break down. And yet, readers who knew the first story only from the graphic novel and had not played the first game itself did not have a clue what the whole "Mad Doctor is a robot" plot point was about.
  • The first Army of Darkness comic was an adaptation of the movie which featured the alternate ending where Ash wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future rather than going back to his own time. The next series of comics start where the movie ended, with Ash fighting deadites at work.

    Fanworks 
  • In Cibus Esculentus Madoka Magica, Homura and Kyoko come off as nothing but arrogant when the former seeks to protect Madoka without the others' help and the latter fights for territory. The person that SeaRover1986 (formerly McKnight) commissioned skipped over a lot of details (such as most of Sayaka's interactions with Kyousuke) assuming them redundant. However, the reason Homura originally shunned everyone's help except Kyoko's was because they brushed her off when she tried to warn them about their fates to turn into Witches and then broke down after having to kill Sayaka's Witch form. As for Kyoko, Grief Seeds which could only be obtained from Witches, were the sole reason Puellae Magi fought for territory in the first place. Both issues should be moot due to a lack of Soul Gems, Grief Seeds, and Witches; Cibi don't wield Soul Gems, because instead of succumbing to despair and becoming Witches, their purpose is to get eaten by Esurientes after keeping their numbers down for a bit, in order to help them reproduce by spawning. This trope is exactly one of two reasons why the author seeks to reboot the story (the other, more importantly, to write it in his own words for reasons explained here).

    Films — Animated 
  • Just like the original Flashpoint comic, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox ends with The Flash rebooting history and inadvertently bringing about the New 52 timeline. However, this makes no sense, as in the original comic, the New 52 timeline was brought about when Pandora tricked Flash into merging The DCU timeline with the Vertigo and WildStorm timelines. Since neither Pandora nor the timeline merger sequence were present in the film, it's left completely unexplained as to why the Flash and Batman are suddenly wearing their New 52 costumes at the end of the film.
  • In The Fantastic Adventures of Unico no reason is given as to why the gods can't just keep Unico for themselves. In the original manga it is explained that if Venus did kept Unico with her Eros would just steal him back for Psyche.
  • The second BIONICLE movie doesn't explain why the heroes never once use their Elemental Powers in the several battles they take part in, until the very end of the film, when they suddenly defeat the Big Bad with them. Being a Compressed Adaptation, it rendered multiple books' worth of storyline as a short montage, but without mentioning how their powers have depleted during that time, and were recharging over the course of the movie.
  • In most literary versions of Beauty and the Beast, the land where Beauty lives isn't the land ruled by the Beast/Prince's family, nor is the enchanted castle his own castle - he was only placed there for his safety for the duration of the curse, and in the end he and Beauty are transported to his homeland. In the Disney version, the enchanted castle is his own, so the audience is left to wonder why neither Belle nor any of her neighbors know that the castle exists or that their prince was turned into a beast. The 2017 live-action remake fills this plot hole in a new way, by having the curse make the whole kingdom forget the existence of the castle and everyone inside it.
  • In Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings, during the Council of Elrond, Elrond never explains why the Ring must be brought to Mount Doom (i.e. because the fires where it was forged are the only ones hot enough to melt it). Of course, this is easy to skim over if you already know that from reading the book, but if you haven't, it doesn't make a lot of sense, especially since Elrond has already said: "We cannot keep it, we cannot destroy it" a moment earlier.

    Literature 
  • The novelization to Rogue One mentions female stormtroopers even though Attack of the Clones clarified that stormtroopers in this era were all identical clones of the male Jango Fett.

    Radio 
  • In the radio version of New Dynamic English, Max said that he's born in Useful Notes/Portland and moved to San Francisco when he's in college, despite that in the software he said that he lived in San Francisco "all his life".
    • Max also has a son, while in the software's Module 2 Matrix Vocabulary, he said he has a daughter, and later children in Module 4. One can wonder about his daughter's fate.
    • Max said that his full name is "Max Wilson", despite that in Module 1, he said that "Max" is short for "Maxwell".
    • Richard Chin/Chen from Module 1 is the same as the one in Module 6; an elementary school teacher who's married to a fashion model. The illustrations from the software differs, however.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has this happen between editions.
    • In the 3.5 player's handbook, a priest of Pelor, the quintessentially good deity of Greyhawk, is seen using a Symbol of Pain spell, which good aligned gods cannot grant. What happened was that they reused some artwork from the 3.0 PHB of the priest using the pain aspect of the Symbol spell, which was originally an unaligned spell.
    • Drow society in Forgotten Realms is based off of infravision, but 3.5 removed infravision.
    • The original CD&D supplement for the Mystara setting's nation of Karameikos included a three-paragraph summary of the content of an epic poem, roughly equivalent to the real-world Iliad, that underpins much of the native Traladaran culture's history and religion. When Karameikos was re-packaged for an AD&D audience, the three-paragraph summary was presented as the actual saga, meaning it was no longer a poem, no longer exciting, and no longer appealing enough to justify the Traladarans' having revered it for hundreds of years.

    Video Games 
  • The Warriors:
    • One scene has Masai demand to know who The Warriors are and none of the other Riffs can answer him. This makes sense in the film, since we have no reason to believe the Warriors ever did anything to stand out. In the game however, the missions involve fighting their way through several gangs (trashing dozens of members with only four, at most, of their own), beating up or killing several other gang leaders and overthrowing the rival gang of Coney Island who they split from. While the Riffs ARE the biggest gang in the city, and presumably don't follow everything that happens with the small-time gangs, it is strange to think that none of them would've heard about the Warriors given all the havoc they cause.
    • In the movie, Sully has never heard of the Warriors, and is somewhat open (if reluctant) to them passing through his territory. In the game, there's an earlier mission in which Sully starts telling everyone that he and the Orphans wrecked the Warriors, leading the Warriors to invade Orphans territory to wreck them, and culminating in them trashing Sully's car. This would make Sully far less likely to let them go during the events of the final mission/movie, and far more likely to immediately start a fight. The only real difference between the two versions of the scene is that in the game, Mercy reminds Sully that they wrecked his car (like he'd forget).
  • Later releases of Metroid Prime fixed a particularly glaring plot hole regarding the titular creature present in the original release. However, in so doing, they introduced another plot hole: if Metroid Prime was never captured by the Space Pirates, where did it get all that fancy Pirate gear that its first form uses on you? And why is it even called "Metroid Prime" when it was the Pirates who gave it that name?
  • Advanced V.G. II: The opening story mode cutscene features a flashback to Yuka's televised match with Jun, using the exact same footage from the OVA. This suggests that the game takes place sometime afterward, except it creates two problems:
  • The second stage of Turtles in Time, "Alleycat Blues", takes place in a back alley in broad daylight. This isn't a problem for the '80s Turtles, who moved around freely during the daytime, but their Mirage comic and 2003 incarnations generally stick to nighttime activity - so when the game was remade as Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, using designs from the 2003 cartoon...
  • A plot hole created between platforms of The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 3 appears in the Canopy Forest level. There is a squirrel on a balloon who gives a minigame challenge, and reward the player with "a squirrel-y prize". In the console versions of the game, that prize is an acorn-shaped hat, while in the online Flash version, it's a rather nebulously relative pair of green pants.
  • The first world in Rayman involved fighting a tribe of "Moskitos", one of whom (Bzzit) became your ally after you beat him. In the GBA and PC versions, the lead Moskito, who was red in the PSX version, had the exact same colors as his underlings, leaving several players scratching their heads as to why the guy whose Heel–Face Turn they made such a big deal a few levels ago is suddenly out for your blood again.
  • The Bourne Conspiracy video game follows the plot of the first Bourne movie pretty accurately except for some added flashback missions and a runup to the hit on Wombosi at the start. However this actually hurts the premise since it makes the Treadstone program look not so bad, and Bourne more like a coward than someone with principles. The game doesn't allow you to use lethal force against civilians or police, something the movie implied that Treadstone was quite lax about, it creates an odd moral issue when Bourne gets a burst of conscience and can't kill Wombosi, despite that he slaughtered dozens of his mooks to get to him and also killed Wombosi's Dragon, (a character that doesn't appear in the film), and depicts the flashback missions as quite noble and just despite the film implying that they often consisted of killing innocent people who happened to inconvenience the CIA, involving things like fighting off a terrorist assault on an airport and stopping a terrorist from obtaining a dirty bomb. Pre-amnesia Bourne and Conklin come across more like ruthless Anti-Heroes rather than the immoral killers as portrayed in the movie.
  • The obscure NES game Menace Beach revolves around rescuing your girlfriend from a villain. The enemies who attack you are his henchmen sent to impede your progress. The game was later rereleased under the title Sunday Funday as a Christian edutainment game. Problem? To make the game more Christian, the plot was changed to be about you trying to get to Sunday school. With this change however, there is now no explicable reason for all these ninjas and criminals to be trying to violently murder your character, or for your character to take so many detours through the sewers and caves to reach the church. The Angry Video Game Nerd said it best in his review:
    "Who are these raging atheists trying to stop you from going to Sunday school?"

    Web Original 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Vegeta kills Ginyu rather than sparing him like he did in the source material. This eventually brings up a plot hole when the Ginyu Forces gather together at King Kai's planet yet Captain Ginyu himself is not present as he doesn't die in the canon. This will also produce an even bigger plothole should Team Four Star decide to adapt Dragon Ball Super, since its version of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ has Ginyu make a grand return by body-jacking one of Freeza's new minions. (Though they could always have Sorbet revive him as well when he wishes Freeza back).

    Western Animation 
  • Mocked in Mission Hill when Kevin and his friends go to see the movie adaptation of "Feminoid", a comic series they like. Kevin spends the entire movie screaming what is wrong with the movie at the screen, including this:
    Kevin: NOOOOO! She can't talk! Dr. Klaveus removed her voice adapter in issue 213! READ ISSUE 213!!!
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold followed the comic book Retcon that established that the scarab that empowered the Golden Age Blue Beetle was actually an alien robot. No effort was made to explain why the original Blue Beetle's costume still looked like spandex tights when Jaime, the current Beetle, had a suit of Powered Armor.
    • Young Justice, however, did take steps to fix this discrepancy. When the original Blue Beetle was shown in a Flashback, his outfit was a cross between his Silver Age tights and Jaime's scarab armor.
  • In the Ellipse-Nelvana Animated Adaptation of Tintin, part of the dialogue shows that The Calculus Affair took place before the moon stories (Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon) instead of the other way around like in the original comics. However, in The Calculus Affair we see Tintin and Haddock fought off both Syldavians and Bordurians to rescue Professor Calculus. Yet in the moon stories, we see Calculus happily working for the government of one of the countries who fought over his kidnapped self (Syldavia).
  • The X-Men:
    • "Cold Comfort" contained a Flashback Mythology Gag referencing the original Stan Lee /Jack Kirby series by featuring a battle between the teenage founding X-Men and Magneto. The problem? In the show's continuity, it's established that the team didn't encounter Magneto until years later when they were all adults.
    • Likewise, despite being a founding X-Man in the comics, when Angel first appears in the show, it's clear that he and the X-Men have never met before. A few of the later episodes (such as "Proteus: Part I" and "Xavier Remembers") erroneously inserted Angel into flashbacks showing the original founders of the team, despite him never having been a member in this continuity.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men features a similar Plot Hole during a Whole Episode Flashback which shows the Silver Age X-Men battling Magneto. Iceman is a teenager and significantly younger than the founding X-Men in the show, so it makes no sense for him to have been part of the team when they were all teens themselves. He'd have to have been a child when Xavier recruited him for any of that to make a lick of sense. What's worse, in the flashback he actually looked older.
    • Theoretically, it could be that this Iceman is an entirely separate character, explaining the "snowman" look and age discrepancy - after all, it's incredibly common for mutants to have similar powers/themes across all X-Men media. This, however, raises the question of why we never learn what happened to the original Iceman and no one ever mentions him.
  • In The Smurfs original comic books, it has been established that Grouchy Smurf was the Smurf who was bitten by the Bzz Fly in "The Black Smurfs", and his current moody behavior was caused by this (either due to having been more time as a Black Smurf as the others, or because he was directly stung by the fly, while the others were bitten by their infected peers). The Hanna-Barbera Animated Adaptation had several episodes that included Grouchy Smurf (as grouchy as ever) before adapting this story into "The Purple Smurfs", so his behavior is unexplained. It cannot even be excused by Anachronic Order, since Lazy Smurf is the one bitten by the Purple Fly, and it's shown later when Grouchy Smurf is bitten by a Purple Smurf, even telling at mid-transformation "I hate... GNAP!"
  • In episode 7 of Truckers, Gurder claims he's never wanted to lead anyone because he sometimes has doubts about things. In the original book, this refers to an earlier scene (which appears in episode 5) where the Abbott tells Masklin that, "The most important thing about being a leader isn't being right or wrong, but being certain. Though, being right usually helps." This line of dialogue is omitted from the TV adaptation, removing the reason for Gurder's worry.
  • Avengers Assemble
    • In the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline, one of the things that led to Thanos' downfall was his decision to purposefully hold back against the heroes so that he could impress Death. The cartoon adapts this plot point but removes Death from the equation, meaning Thanos basically holds back against the heroes either because of his own arrogance or a random case of Bond Villain Stupidity.
    • Season 3 adapts the original Thunderbolts story arc from the comics, which involves the Masters of Evil, a team of super-villains, posing as a new super-hero team in order to get people to trust them. In the comic, it actually made sense that nobody recognized them despite the fact they were still using the same powers, since the Masters of Evil had been through several line-up over the course of their career, and the members they used for the impersonation all had super-powers and abilities that were, for the most part, pretty common in the Marvel Universe (Baron Zemo/Citizen V was a Badass Normal like The Punisher, Hawkeye or Black Widow; Beetle/MACH-1 had a Powered Armor like Iron Man, War Machine or nearly everyone in Iron Man's Rogues Gallery; Goliath/Atlas had Size Shifting like any hero using Pym particles; Moonstone/Meteorite was a Flying Firepower like Ms. Marvel and plenty of other characters, and so on). Plus, they showed up at a time where most heroes in the Marvel Universe had gone missing, making it easier for them to get accepted with no question, since people were all too happy to have a new team serving as their protectors. In the cartoon, the Avengers have only met the Masters of Evil a few episodes before they show up disguised as the Thunderbolts, the only line-up they have displayed is the one they use while in disguise, very few of the characters with similar super-powers have been introduced, and every Marvel hero is still alive and well, so you are left wondering how the Avengers don't put two and two together when this mysterious new superhero team with the same powers than a super-villain group they recently fought shows up.

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