Appropriated Title

An appropriated title is when a franchise is better known by a different title than it was originally known as. There can be various reasons for this:

See also Sequel: The Original Title.


Anime and Manga
  • Great Teacher Onizuka (a.k.a. GTO) was a spinoff of an earlier work by the same author titled Shonan Jun'ai Gumi (The Pure Love Gang from Shonan Beach) and later had its own spinoff titled GTO: 14 Days in Shonan. When Shonan Jun'ai Gumi was adapted into English, it was retitled GTO: The Early Years.

Comic Books
  • In an unusual case of entire companies doing this, DC Comics, Archie Comics, and Marvel Comics all got their names from their previous incarnation's most popular title.
  • The adaptations of Scott Pilgrim take their name from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the second book in the series.

  • The first Rambo movie was actually called First Blood. It wasn't until the sequel, Rambo: First Blood Part II, that the Rambo name was used at all, followed by Rambo III. This enabled them to call the fourth film Rambo, since that name was never actually used.
  • The first release in the The Chronicles of Riddick canon was called Pitch Black. This goes along with the complete change in tone and focus the series underwent after the first installment (so much so that when the movie the re-released, it was retitled The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black).
  • The first Indiana Jones movie was just called Raiders of the Lost Ark, while all other media include Jones' name in the title. For what it's worth, later re-releases did change the title to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The ninth, tenth, and eleventh Friday the 13th movies went under the Jason name. However, this was only out of necessity, as New Line did not own the rights to the Friday the 13th title; once they bought them, the series reverted to its original name.
  • Although the third and fourth films in the Alien franchise, respectively Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection, went under the original title, most spin-off merchandise is known under ''Aliens, which was the second movie.
  • Batman Begins has two sequels, both under the Dark Knight name, in what has come be known as The Dark Knight Saga.
  • If you can believe it, the Star Wars series was originally meant to be called The Adventures of Luke Skywalker. The first film's tremendous success and fame negated this.

  • The English-translation titles for The Millennium Trilogy books are all structured like the title of the second book, translated as The Girl Who Played With Fire. The first book, whose Swedish title means Men Who Hate Women, was retitled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; the third book, literally translated as The Air Castle That Was Blown Upnote  was retitled The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. The whole series is also colloquially known as the "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" books.
  • Thomas Harris's series of books featuring Hannibal Lecter began with Red Dragon, but it's known as the Silence of the Lambs series due to the popularity of that film.
  • The Dark Is Rising takes its series title from the second book in the sequence.
  • Gormenghast is given a series title taken from its second book (and from the setting of the first two books). However, this was contrary to the designs of the author, who had intended that the series would centre around the doings of the title character of first book, Titus Groan, who leaves Gormenghast Castle to journey the outside world at the end of the second book.
  • Judy Blume's 'Fudge' books actually started with Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing. Of course, since The Protagonist constantly focuses on the antics of his brother Fudge, it makes sense.
  • Inverted with the Inheritance Cycle: the series always had that title (well, except for originally being a "Trilogy"), but used Inheritance as the title of its final book.

Live-Action TV
  • Saved by the Bell was a spinoff of a short-lived Disney Channel sitcom titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss, but proved to be more popular than its predecessor, to the point that not only it had two spinoffs that carried on the Saved by the Bell title (The College Years and The New Class), but the original series it was spun-off from was retroactively retitled Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years in syndication.

Video Games
  • Early games starring Mario went under a variety of titles, the most well-known games being Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Wrecking Crew. It wasn't until Super Mario Bros., the fourth starring role in the series (excluding Game & Watch spin-offs), that the series finally got a definitive title.
  • Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island both had sequels that went by their subtitles' names. Though, the originals weren't really sequels anyway.
  • The X-COM series started as UFO: Enemy Unknown. It had to relabel itself X-COM to avoid confusion with the television show and "UFO" was a pretty generic title to begin with.
  • The Soul Series started with Soul Edge which was retitled Soul Blade on home consoles (at least outside Japan) due to legal issues with the word "Edge." As a result, Namco titled the sequel SoulCalibur and that name has been used for every new installment since then.
  • The Dark Forces title was replaced with Jedi Knight when the second game (Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight) proved more popular.
  • The Starsiege series is infamous for this, in combination for no two games sharing the same naming scheme.. The first game was MetalTech: EarthSiege, which then became EarthSiege 2. After that came Starsiege, then Starsiege: Tribes, then came Tribes 2. The two most recent games follow the Tribes: [Verb] naming scheme. Starsiege Tribes itself is often simply called Tribes or Tribes 1.
  • No One Lives Forever was originally the subtitle of the first game, fully titled The Operative: No One Lives Forever.
  • Marvel Avengers Alliance features about fifty different playable Marvel superheroes and the story mostly focuses on S.H.I.E.L.D.. Many of the heroes were never members of The Avengers or are not current members but due to the popular movie, the game uses Avengers in the title.
  • Metal Gear Solid was originally the third canonical game in the Metal Gear series, following the MSX2 games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the title being Hideo Kojima's subtle way of indicating it was the third installment without actually titling it "Metal Gear 3". The Metal Gear Solid branding has been carried over to every sequel since then, aside from a few odd spinoffs such as Metal Gear Ac!d and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
  • Ninja Gaiden was originally the American title of what was known in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden (The Ninja Dragon Sword Story) and in Europe as Shadow Warriors. When Tecmo revived the series with the 2004 Xbox version by Team Ninja, they used the Ninja Gaiden title over the two in every region in order to have the franchise under one worldwide name.
  • Castlevania is known as Akumajō Dracula (Demon Castle Dracula) in Japan. During his tenure as producer, Koji Igarashi tried to rebrand Japanese version of the series under the Castlevania banner in order to have one name for the franchise in every region. As a result, Concerto of the Midnight Sun, Minuet of Dawn and Lament of Innocence (simply titled Castlevania in Japan) were all released under the Castlevania brand instead of the usual Akumajō Dracula. This rebranding didn't last long due to negative feedback from longtime Japanese fans and the series went back to the Akumajō Dracula name with the Nintendo DS entries.
  • The original The Legend OF Zelda was titled Hyrule Fantasy: Zelda no Densetsu in Japan. Presumably Nintendo intended for "Hyrule Fantasy" to be the title of the franchise rather than "Legend of Zelda", but that was dropped in the sequels.

Visual Novels
  • In North America, the Ace Attorney series began with the game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, with the intention of the series being called Phoenix Wright. The announcement that the fourth game would star a new character prompted the North American publishers to release all future releases under the Ace Attorney title, leaving the first game the odd one out.