"Get ready for the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel, that's got everything you love about the title — and nothing else."This occurs when a derivative work (an adaptation, a sequel, a remake, a reimagining) is so different from the work it took its name from that the only thing actually tying it to the original work is the title. Occasionally this will expand to include character names and the setting. This can happen when the work was originally intended as something completely different, but, being slightly similar to an existing franchise, it is changed to fit in that franchise, or it can be straight-up title hijack. Established properties are much easier to get greenlit than original ideas. In some cases producers purchase franchise rights for the name alone, and slap it on their own original product as a way of getting it pushed through the studio system. Video games and cult franchises are especially popular for this approach as they are relatively cheap to buy and, being "only" popular art, so called, any established canon for the work can be dismissed as unimportant. Many a Cash Cow Franchise has descended to this at least once. It may be considered the Oddball in the Series. Important: This is not automatically They Changed It, Now It Sucks. An In Name Only work may well be decent, or even good (if not better), if it's assessed on its own merits rather than being measured by how faithful it is to the original work. If the work in question is not an attempted adaptation of another work, but merely sports a misleading name, that's a Nonindicative Name. If the name used to be relevant but less or even not later, it is Artifact Title. If a franchise continues after the original source material runs out, that's Overtook the Series. If multiple works share the same name but are unrelated, you have Similarly Named Works. A good way to tell if an example is really this trope or just a bad adaptation: if one were to change the title to something else, would anyone understand that the work is supposed to be an adaptation? If the answer is "no", then the adaptation is this trope.note Compare Dolled-Up Installment. See also Old Guard Versus New Blood. Contrast Serial Numbers Filed Off, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Expy.
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Anime & Manga
- The manga Blue Dragon Ral Grad has nothing in common with the Blue Dragon video game or anime series, except for the presence of Living Shadow Bond Creatures which themselves are very different in nature between sources.
- Dancougar Nova doesn't have a whole lot in common with the original Dancougar, instead resembling Gravion, another Masami Obari mecha anime.
- The anime adaptation of Eat-Man has very little to do with the original story other than Bolt Crank being the main character.
- Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu is a completely new story from Gaiking, but reuses the mecha design of the Robeast Daiku Maryu, and the Humongous Mecha Gaiking, as well as a couple of character names.
- This was the point of Galaxy Angel, which turned a Space Opera into a Gag Series when the first game was delayed. See Writer Revolt.
- Subverted in Ga-Rei -Zero-. The first episode introduces an entirely new crew of Badass main characters, completely different from the ones in the manga. The episode ends with Yomi appearing and taking them all out. Turns out the anime is related to the manga in that it centers around Yomi's Start of Darkness.
- Gatchaman Crowds has most superficial elements of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman stripped away in favor of thematic and series mythology-related similarities. Thus many old fans regard it as this.
- Despite its name, Go Nagai's manga and anime and novel series God Mazinger has nothing to do with Mazinger Z. The characters, the setting and the plot are completely unrelated, and the Humongous Mecha hardly looks like Mazinger. Apparently the similar title is due to it was intended to be Mazinger Z sequel, but that concept was scrapped, and Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer were created instead.
- Idolmaster: Xenoglossia retains some of the characters' personalities from the original video game, but changes... well, everything else.
- In-Universe example in Kochikame: when a popular manga gets an anime adaptation, Ryotsu manages to change the adaption in such a way that the result is nothing more than an extended commercial.
- Masou Kishin Cybuster is this to Super Robot Wars Gaiden. Some familiar names are part of this series. And a few familiar robots... and that's about as far as it goes. Three of the four heralds of the elemental lords don't even get a counterpart in the anime.
- Osamu Tezuka's manga Metropolis is "suggested" by Fritz Lang's Metropolis, in that Tezuka was inspired to write the manga by a single still image he saw from the film: that of a female robot being born. The two works have a few basic similarities, but they're coincidences- Tezuka hadn't seen the film, or even known what it was about, when he wrote the manga.
- A 2001 anime film, also titled Metropolis, is another, quite interesting case. It claims to be based on Tezuka's manga- even billing itself Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis- but is in fact an odd mishmash of that manga, several other Tezuka mangas, and the Fritz Lang movie. The film mostly does its own thing, merely borrowing a lot of elements from those works, making this an In Name Only adaptation of an In Name Only adaptation!
- In-Universe, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam has a moment where one transfer student talks about the Space Pirates supposedly having a Gundam and another student remarks "These days, the media calls anything with two eyes and antennae a Gundam". A margin note from artist Yuichi Hasegawa reveals that Yoshiyuki Tomino (the creator of the Gundam franchise) specifically asked him to include this line.
- The television spinoff of Ninja Scroll: Ninja Scroll: The Series.
- The anime adaption of Toshio Maeda's Nightmare Campus has almost nothing to do with the story of the manga, with the only similarities being that they both share characters called Masao, Esedess, Abe and Yuko.
- Osomatsu-kun is about the misadventures of six rowdy brothers and their wacky cast of cohorts in Akatsuka Ward. Osomatsu-san more or less follows that description, but changes the brothers to jobless manchildren , rids them of their sense of camaraderie and gives them all completely different personalities and looks (which was their primary joke back in the day), demoted all of the side characters (especially the former Breakout Characters Iyami and Chibita) and exaggerates their personalities, and changes the style of humor. The only way you can tell it's a sequel is when they mention it or when they do a plot from the old series.
- The manga adaptation of Princess Tutu has little to do with the show—the names of Ahiru's friends were changed, Ahiru isn't a duck, Mytho isn't really a prince, Drosselmeyer never appears, and the only animal is Professor Cat, for some unexplained reason. The most unrecognizable is Edel, who goes from being a quiet, mysterious woman in doll-like clothing and a huge updo to an energetic mentor who wears slinky dresses and her hair down—oh, and just happens to be the Big Bad of the manga. The consensus among fans range from "It's sort of funny I guess..." to pretending it doesn't exist at all.
- Despite the title and what the credits claim, Romeo X Juliet has nothing to do with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet aside of the characters' names (but not their personalities). The English version made use of some Shakespearean dialogue.
- Tales from Earthsea only really borrowed a few ideas from the Earthsea books and made something completely different. LeGuin was NOT amused, meanwhile (but she was still (slightly) more amused by the anime movie than by the maligned Sci Fi Channel miniseries).
- Tama and Friends: Search for it! The Magic Puni-Puni Stone is technically this to the original Tama And Friends series. Not only did the series have a total genre shift, and a real villain was introduced into the series, but the characters now live in a fantasy world and are more like petting zoo people compared to the original series where they're largely normal animals. And oh, it's now animated by a South Korean company.
- Tenchi Muyo!:
- Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar has extremely loose connections to the Tenchi franchise. The main character, Kenshi, is said to be Tenchi's younger half-brother, but that's the closest it gets. In fact, the series' title in Japan was Saint Knight's Tale, and was created by Masaki Kajishima as a very loose spinoff to his Tenchi franchise. FUNimation changed the title for marketing purposes and to better establish it as a part of the Tenchi series.
- Tenchi Muyo! GXP also has very loose connections to the main series, though not nearly as badly. Tenchi himself only appears in a single episode, despite still being the title character. No other original Tenchi character appears outside that episode. Though the show itself is about the Galaxy Police, which is an important part of the original Tenchi series.
- Tenchi Forever bore little resemblance to the light novel that inspired it. It also takes place in the same universe as Tenchi Universe instead of the original OVAs.
- Sasami: Magical Girls Club has almost nothing to do with the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy or Magical Project S series that inspired it, except for a magical girl named Sasami, and appearances of a couple Tenchi characters in drastically different roles.
- Voltron fans back in the day felt this way when the Lion series ended and they first saw Vehicle Voltron. The reason for this is because it is actually a Dolled-Up Installment of a completely unrelated anime series.
- Hades Project Zeorymer — originally a hentai manga. The title mech and the name of a female character are the only thing the manga and anime share.
- Some of the characters in Ame-Comi Girls. For instance, Jade goes from being the daughter of the Golden Age Green Lantern to a blind Chinese teenager. She ends up being chosen as the new Green Lantern of Earth, rather than being born with her powers like the original Jade.
- The second Bloodstrike team is made up of longtime team leader Cabbot Stone, and Legacy Characters to his original teammates. The legacies have very little in common with the originals in terms of powers, personalities, and costumes, but share their codenames. For instance, whereas the original Tag was a woman with the ability to freeze enemies in place, the new Tag is a woman with super speed. In-universe there's no explanation for this, but writer Tim Seeley went on record saying that it just didn't feel right to have Bloodstrike without Deadlock, Shogun, Fourplay, and Tag, even if they were new characters.
- The Challengers of the Unknown keep being reinvented. In the 1991 miniseries by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale Prof was dead, Rocky was an alcoholic, Ace was Doctor Strange and Red was Rambo. The 1996 series by Steven Grant introduced an entirely new team, as did the 2004 miniseries by Howard Chaykin. And in the New 52, Dan DiDio creates a group of nine characters with the names of the original and 1996 Challs, but none of the personalities.
- Michael Fleisher's run on Harlem Heroes was focused on a gang of convicts caught up in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, rather than the sport of Aeroball the original strip. In fact, the only reason that the name came up in story was due to the games being played in prison and the skill of the protagonists at Aeroball.
- There's an Animesque Brazilian spin off◊ of Little Lulu where the characters in question are teens. The plot is basically a generic teen Slice of Life (with some drama here and there) with characters whose only similarities with the original are their names. And the original cartoons produced by Famous Studios in the 1940s bore almost no resemblance to the comics, keeping only the title character Lulu (though some of her friends did appear in a few shorts. Very few though.).
- Novas Aventuras De Megaman was a Brazilian comic attempting to place the characters in an After the End scenario where Dr. Wily managed to Take Over the World. Beyond the general appearance of the characters, though, there wasn't much left tying it to the video games. Radically altered backstories, personality changes and Roll's increased importance are the most obvious changes compared to the games.
- Scott Ciencin's comic book adaptations to Silent Hill. As Linkara put it, all the adaptations with Ciencin's name on them share is the name of the town and a monster list. Those comics are a prime example of the writer completely missing the point of the source material.
- Many of the characters in Marvel's Noir series of Elseworlds are notably different from their mainstream continuity counterparts:
- Of particular note is Dr. Otto Octavius, one of the primary antagonists of Spider-Man: Noir: Eyes Without a Face. Noir's version of the character is a sickly, emaciated, wheelchair-bound neurologist. He's a white South African, a Nazi sympathizer, and heir to a large fortune. His actions are motivated by racism. The only thing he has in common with mainline Dr. Octopus is the use of mechanical arms, in this case surgical aids attached to his chair.
- In X-Men Noir, there aren't even mutants. Instead, Professor Xavier has a theory that The Unfettered are the next stage of human evolution, leading to an entire team of non-powered Sociopaths that share names and a couple of character traits with the mutant heroes.
- Many a Super Mario Bros. comic adaptation. The German comics are the strangest here; they share some Mario characters with the series and those characters generally behave how they should, it's just the rest of the plot is outright bizarre to the point of being a Widget Series. Some notably strange ones include Super Mario in Die Nacht des Grauens (Night of Horror) which has a bunch of random Nintendo characters living in a skyscraper attacked by the legions of hell and various movie monsters including Jason, Chucky, and Leatherface and Sag niemals Holerö where Mario goes skiing and has everyone turn into cheese... There were also numerous elements from Street Fighter II and Mega Man included.
- This trope is a deliberate unifying premise in DC's "Tangent Comics" line and the "Just Imagine Stan Lee " series. Unlike Elseworlds, which is a re-imagining of a DC character that usually retains most of the core elements, Tangent and Just Imagine attach the existing names to completely different characters with different powers, costumes, origins, appearances, and personalities — the latter having been co-designed by Stan Lee. Usually, the only common element is that they're metahumans in a modern setting.
- In the foreword to the Wonder Woman Trade Paperback "Gods and Mortals", George Perez mentions that there were several proposals for the Post-Crisis reboot of Wonder Woman, some of which had nothing in common with the original but the name. See also the "powerless superspy" phase from the early-mid 70s.
- Back in the early 2000s, Marvel decided to radically revamp two titles — X-Force and Thunderbolts. X-Force went from the exploits of a mutant paramilitary team to the exploits of a mutant celebrity superhero team obsessed with fame. The title was well-received (and rebranded as X-Statix), partially because it inverted the whole "hated and feared" aspect of mutant culture. Thunderbolts, on the other hand, went from the tales of a team of former supervillains seeking redemption to following an underground fight ring centered around C-list villains. This change was quite a bit less well-received.
- DC Comics created several characters during the Golden Age, but by the end of WWII the interest in superheroes died down, and most titles (except Superman and Batman) were closed or moved to other genres. The Silver Age began with the relaunch of The Flash... besides the name and the speed, Barry Allen had nothing in common with Jay Garrick. The same thing was done with Green Lantern, Hawkman, and others. But the prize goes to The Atom, who went from a rough-and-tumble boxer who was kinda short to a physicist who could shrink to subatomic size.
- Though in this case, things were retconned twice. The first time, it had been revealed that the Golden Age characters lived on Earth-2, while the Silver Age characters lived on Earth-1.
- The second time it was retconned to fit into the new continuity created by Crisis on Infinite Earths. Alan Scott, for instance, was revealed to have received his power from the Starheart, an artifact created by the Guardians of the Universe (i.e., the same guys who made the Green Lantern rings), and Jay Garrick and Barry Allen were later revealed to both have received their power from the "speed force".
- Since DC's business theory (such as it is) is about hanging onto trademarks as long as possible, they have a long history of reusing names in some odd fashion or another. Such as the 1940's superhero Johnny Thunder, the 1950's cowboy Johnny Thunder, and the 1980's noir detective Jonni Thunder. Or all those unrelated characters named Starman. This often leads to the point where a story tries to reconcile these different incarnations somehow.
- Marvel did the same thing with the Human Torch. The original 1930's incarnation was an Artificial Human who would burst into flames whenever he was exposed to oxygen, while the Silver Age (and far better known) version was a human teenager who received flame abilities from cosmic radiation.
- Also The Vision. The Golden Age Vision was an alien police officer from another dimension. The new Vision introduced in The Avengers during the 60's was a Ridiculously Human Robot created by Ultron. The only thing the two have in common is the recycled name and similar costumes.
- Angel. The Golden Age Angel? A Batman-like Badass Normal with tights and a cape. The Silver Age Angel? A wealthy mutant teenager with large, bird-like wings jutting out of his back.
- And Golden Girl. The original Golden Age version was a white Badass Normal and Captain America's love interest. The new version introduced in The Invaders during the 70's was a Japanese-American teenager with the ability to fire concussive Hand Blasts.
- When Vertigo Comics publish a series that shares a name with a DC Comics property, that, and a few loose concepts, will be all it shares (with a few exceptions, such as Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Doom Patrol). The most extreme example (if you don't count Sandman) was Beware The Creeper! which was about a 1920s Parisian surrealist who wore a costume vaguely similar to Jack Ryder's.
- Runaways (2015):
- The series being released during the Secret Wars (2015) storyline, while ostensibly inspired by the Cult Classic Runaways series, features only one member of the original cast, and has a very different plot.
- Most of the Secret Wars storylines go in a vastly different direction from the original storylines they're named after, while still sharing some connection with the original stories. Take Planet Hulk for example: the original storyline is about the Hulk being launched into space and landing on a wartorn planet, while the Secret Wars tie in is about Steve Rogers and Devil Dinosaur traveling through a Hulk-populated wasteland.
- The All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch of The Illuminati. Previously the Illuminati was a team of heroes who tried to police and protect the world in secret, and they eventually had a villainous counterpart in Norman Osborn's Cabal. The ANADM series focuses on a group of villains brought together by the Hood to protect villains from heroes.
- Everything about Bart Allen from the New 52 compared to his previous incarnation. The original Bart Allen was Impulse/Kid Flash II, and was Barry Allen's Fun Personified grandson from the future. He had Thawne blood in him and used the Speed Force for his powers, and consistently worked with the Flash (Wally West, his cousin). The New 52 Bart Allen is revealed to be a kid named Barr Tor from the future (Bart Allen being an alias) and is in no way related to Barry Allen and does not use the Speed Force. He's the first Kid Flash, despite having never, ever worked with the Flash to any degree. And he goes from Fun Personified to Darker and Edgier with a backstory of how he started a galactic war, and he is eventually put on trial for war crimes.
- Fanfiction can easily become this if the writer is bad (and sometimes if the author is good).
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series gradually devolves into what may as well be an original story with some characters who coincidentally share their names with characters from Calvin and Hobbes.
- Doctor Who: The Manga
- The works of Hans Von Hozel often do this almost literally, since some only reference the title of the work they are based on.
- The only thing tying mauroz's Friendship Is Magic series with the show it is based on is the name of the comic series and characters, bringing it closer to a Magical Girl manga.
- Friendship Is Magical Girls is an In Name Only version of mauroz's comic. Despite sharing a similar premise (Magical Girls) and a similar name, it is entirely different. When confronted about it, the author claims that he wanted "to do something a bit different than Mauroz's magical girl comic strip".
- Also, while we're in the topic of this, do not confuse Equestria Girls with EQUESTRIA GIRLS (yes, it is in all caps). The two very clearly do not have anything to do with each other, apart from the characters.
- Homestuck High bears very little resemblance to the original Homestuck, with the only thing even remotely related to the alleged source material being the character names and the title of the fic itself, and after the first chapter has nothing to do with high school.
- The infamous Harry Potter fanfic My Immortal takes this trope to ridiculous levels - to the point where it stops being a Harry Potter fanfic even in name. Many of the characters are given new names. Good vs. evil is replaced with goffs vs. preps, Muggle bands constantly perform in Hogsmeade (though it is more likely to be Vlodemort and da Death Deelers), and there is NO character that could be remotely mistaken for their canon counterpart. Seriously, Hedwig is Voldemort's gay lover in the fic. In the original series, she is a female owl.
- Taken Up to Eleven with My Little Unicorn.
- Robo Bando is this to Elfen Lied.
- "New Universe Three: The Friendship Virus" manages to simultaneously be a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction and a Conversion Bureau story in name only.
- Ponies are not present except for a few offhand mentions of the show itself.
- The eponymous bureaus of The Conversion Bureau are not present and there is no human-to-pony transformation. Instead, the bureau is a bioterrorist group inspired by MLP:FiM to engineer and release a Synthetic Plague that feminizes men.
- The much-loved Thirty Hs bears no resemblance to Harry Potter aside from a few character names, and even those are often altered.
- Basically every single character in Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, but the Dursleys and Voldemort are some of the most glaringly obvious examples. (The Dursleys are a nice, loving family, Petunia is a carreer-woman, and Voldemort is an internet-troll mocking atheist stereotypes by deliberately posting exaggerated versions of them on his Reddit-account.)
- The Last Brony: Kingdom Hearts With a Black Sora is almost nothing like Kingdom Hearts. Black Sora and Black Riku have the same names as their original counterparts, but they are otherwise completely different characters. The Heartless and Keyblade do make an appearance, but they have very little effect on the plot. And the "similarities" end there.
Films — Animation
- The 1997 animated film Anastasia was supposedly "based on" the play by Marcel Maurette. Don Bluth turned it into a musical with Rasputin as an undead sorcerer with a talking bat sidekick, among other changes (the play had already been faithfully adapted to a 1956 film starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman).
- Barbie as Rapunzel has little to do with the actual Rapunzel story except for having a girl named Rapunzel, a witch, and a tower. The famous "let down your hair" scene is relegated to a dream. Instead, the focus is given on a magic paintbrush.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was about a scientist with a strained relationship with his father, turning water into food, and accidentally having the food turn giant. The book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was about a place where food came down from the sky instead of rain, no scientists involved, and it started getting larger until they had to leave. This crosses over with Adaptation Expansion, as the original was a very short picture book.
- Lampshaded in Walt Disney's original Fantasia in the Nutcracker Suite segment. The narrator says "You won't see any nutcracker on the screen. There's nothing left of him but the title."
- Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a noted example. Direct sequels notwithstanding, the Final Fantasy games all take place in different settings, but at least have some shared elements: fantasy worlds (with steampunk and bits and pieces of sci-fi increasingly mixed in for later games), heavy use of magic, swordplay, revolutionaries, tyrannical political institutions, series mainstay creatures like Chocobos, etc. Unlike the high fantasy settings of the games, the film was set in a distantly futuristic Earth, one that had essentially none of these mainstay elements. And perhaps most damning of all: Square themselves made it, and series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi was involved in the film's production. Yes, even creators can fall victim to this trope.
- The notorious 1966 release of The Hobbit takes this to ridiculous levels. Several character names are changed, such as Smaug to Slag, and others such as Bard, Thranduil, and most of the Dwarves are cut out. One major character in this movie is a Canon Foreigner named Princess Mika, who is princess of Dale (despite no royal family being present in Dale at the time the book takes place in). Bilbo slays Smaug himself and marries Princess Mika.
- The Fox and the Hound. How Walt Disney Studios managed to look at what reads like a fictionalized documentary about the life and times of a mongrel hunting dog and a human-reared wild fox who live through bear hunts, rabies epidemics, and the rise of suburbia among other things and thought it would make a wonderful talking animals musical about racism is a mystery for the ages.
- Frozen is billed as an adaptation of The Snow Queen, but it's probably better to say that it's just an adaptation of the title. The original fairy tale was about a peasant girl trying to rescue her friend from an Ambiguously Evil member of The Fair Folk, with random encounters along the way; the Disney movie is primarily about a good, human queen with uncontrollable ice magic and her relationship to her sister, with the threat of Endless Winter and a few original characters thrown in. They both include a reindeer sidekick, though.
- Disney's Hercules. See Sadly Mythtaken for how the film differs in so many ways from the original myth.
- The Dreamworks adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon. While some character names are the same, the plot and setting is otherwise completely different. (An article linked to on The Other Wiki said the new directors found the original story too "sweet and whimsical") The original author approved of the changes, it got stellar reviews and did very well commercially, though, so who's counting?
- Disney's The Jungle Book bears little resemblance to Kipling's original except for a few character names and the basic premise of a boy Raised by Wolves. To Wit:
- It turned Kaa into a literal Smug Snake, Baloo into a hedonist, and Bagheera into something of a godfather.
- Mowgli is changed from a Noble Savage to a Bratty Half-Pint.
- At one point in the Kipling stories, Kaa the python hypnotizes a troupe of monkeys into becoming his helpless (ahem) dinner guests; later on, Mowgli singes Shere Khan's fur with a burning branch, and when that fails to get rid of him, Mowgli and the wolves stampede a herd of water-buffalo over him. As if that wasn't enough, in the story "Red Dog", Mowgli causes the marauding dogs of the title to be attacked by millions of angry bees; those who survive this by jumping into the river are attacked by Mowgli with a knife, and any that are left must then face Mowgli and his enraged wolf pack. Incidentally, Mowgli does most of this while he's naked. It should come as no surprise that none of this makes it into the Disney version.
- Using fire against Shere Khan does show up in the movie. The branch was tied to his tail, but he was never directly singed. Well, not that we see, at least...
- Hathi is a bumbling but benevolent Modern Major General, rather than the heavily scarred, human-hating Shell-Shocked Veteran from the stories.
- Shere Khan is a suave and dangerous badass, rather than the crippled but occasionally dangerous shadow of a once great predator from the book.
- King Louie is an original character; the monkeys in the book, called Bandar-log, have no leader. note The vultures aren't present in the book either; the most prominent bird character is Chil the Kite.
- The pronunciation of Mowgli's name is entirely wrong — the first syllable is supposed to rhyme with "cow," as Kipling himself suggested, rather than with "crow," as Disney's version does.
- The King and I incorporates many of the original songs and characters from the Rodgers and Hammerstein play of the same name that it was based on, but in trying to be kid-friendly introduced many plot elements, comic relief, and supporting characters that made it jarringly dissimilar from the play. There's now a villainous subplot to take over the Kingdom of Siam, evil wizardry, a generic teenage romance, and annoyingly cute animal sidekicks. Fans of the play and moviegoers alike did not take kindly to this version and the estates of Rodgers and Hammerstein pulled all support for anymore animated films based on the duo's works.
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. As one avid fan pointed out, the film and the book had almost nothing in common. For example, Nyra doesn't appear until the 4th book, concepts like moon scalding are removed, species of certain characters are changed, and Kludd and Metalbeak are separated into 2 different characters.
- While it's more of a spinoff of the Shrek series, Puss in Boots has very little to do with the original fairy tale. The only thing the two have in common is that there is a talking cat that wears boots.
- The Secret Of NIMH started out the same as the book, but later told an entirely different story where Nicodemus became an old mentor with magical powers, and the deserter became a murderer. Despite this fact, many people see this as Don Bluth's best work.
- Shrek and all its sequels, though it is entirely justified — the William Steig novelty children's story that inspired the series would barely have stretched to a five minute short.
- Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas has nothing whatsoever to do with the stories about Sinbad the Sailor other than featuring a character named Sinbad who happens to be a sailor. Further, it removes "Sinbad" from the original story's Arabian Nights background and places him in a completely Greek setting - probably because, this having been 2003, the producers felt that it was Too Soon after 9/11 for an Arab hero (which is pretty stupid, like thinking it would be offensive to have a character from Oklahoma in a movie released just after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing).
- Tom and Jerry: The Movie actually starts out pretty faithfully for a little while. When they start talking (although not unprecedented), they start singing about friendship. While they sometimes had loose alliances in the old shorts, they've never been "friends to the end". And then, the plot kind of drifts away from them and focuses on the orphan girl Robyn and they are reduced to sidekicks.
- Aside from the names, Big Hero 6 has very little in common with the comics it's inspired by, incuding Race Lifting the entire team and moving the setting from Japan to the fictional city of San Fransokyo. A case of Tropes Are Not Bad, as the source material is not as well looked upon due to being a rather Shallow Parody of Japanese media tropes.
- For various reasons, the Doctor Who story The Massacre had to be heavily rewritten by script editor Donald Tosh from John Lucarotti's original scripts, so much so that Lucarotti actually asked to have his name taken off the screened episodes. When he came to write the novelisation, Lucarotti took the opportunity to tell the story he'd wanted to tell in the first place, rather than the one that was aired. It has only a passing resemblance to the TV story.
- Any books "written by" V. C. Andrews (Actually her ghostwriter) after her death that weren't either started or outlined by her (It's not exactly known how many stories she outlined), or don't follow the standard Generational Saga. It's been argued that all of the recent "Andrews" books have nothing left of her in them (Particularly the one-off books and the much loathed teen paranormal books).
- The author of the Alatriste novels, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, related in an interview his encounter with two screenwriters who wanted to "adapt" his character for the movie screen. Their proposal was to toss both plot and historical reality aside and make instead a drama about the relationship between Alatriste and the Queen of Spain (a person he never interacts with in the books), who would be revealed to have grown up in poverty with Alatriste before making it big and becoming queen.
- In 2010 or so, AC/DC released a compilation CD of several of their existing songs. It's called the Iron Man 2 soundtrack, apparently because the director likes AC/DC. Only two of the songs on the CD are in the movie (one was in the first one).
- Alice Deejay - The Lonely One (Airscape remix). The only connection is that Airscape also co-produced the original version.
- The 2008 reformation of Captain Jack bears no resemblance musically to their predecessors. (Francisco Gutierrez, the original Face of the Band, passed away in 2005)
- Aphex Twin has said that some of his "remixes" for other acts were done without even listening to the originals, let alone using any part of them. He's probably not the only remixer who's done this, but most wouldn't admit to it. If you enjoy Aphex's work then it probably isn't going to make much difference to you whether he uses any of the originals or not.
- Bring Me The Horizon is an interesting example. The lineup has been largely the same, but their first album Count Your Blessings is a deathcore album that sounds nothing like their material after shifting to metalcore. They became one of the most respected metalcore acts, so what's their next natural step? Abandon it completely for a nu metal-influenced electronic rock sound fit for mainstream rock radio. If you showed someone who never heard their music without any context, would they ever guess that the same band that made this would be the same band that made this, who in turn would make this? Didn't think so.
- Cygnus X's remix of The Art of Trance - Madagascar, which is the basis for most subsequent remixes, uses almost no material from the original version.
- Dir en grey is a particularly interesting case; while the band's lineup hasn't changed since its inception, every other album sounds like it's been done by a different band. Yep, the same guys who wrote the Visual Kei Cult Classic Gauze are the exact same guys who wrote the Technical Death Metal album Dum Spiro Spero.
- That's not all. They've rearranged many of their older songs in their new style; while some are simply rerecorded with minimal alteration, much of the older material have been entirely rewritten.
- The Meat Puppets' Golden Lies was originally intended to be an entirely new Curt Kirkwood project called Royal Neanderthal Orchestra, hence his being the only original member of the band involved. As with the Red House Painters example, this is because he couldn't get the label to put the album out without the Meat Puppets name attached to it. Golden Lies was at least in a similar style to what the Meat Puppets had been doing in the mid-90's, albeit with a somewhat heavier sound and the curious addition of some Rap Rock influences. This lineup of the band also put out a Live Album that was a mix of Golden Lies material and older Meat Puppets songs.
- The group Gregorian is closest to its namesake in that it's a choral group. Their music involves harmony and full instrumentation, neither of which are involved in true Gregorian chanting.
- Guns N' Roses. Actually, they have been since 1985, two months after LA Guns and Hollywood Rose merged, when Axl Rose fired all the former LA Guns members (making the name of the band confusing) and replaced them with Slash, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler. And now it is that band In Name Only, because, except for Face of the Band Rose, everyone in that lineup left the band by 1997; and besides, the band's style shifted more toward industrial metal than plain old hard rock.
- The reformation of Hole... with only Courtney Love as an original member. Her former partner was much critical.
- A rare case of a singer In Name Only-ing his own song. Ike Reilly's "Duty Free" was covered by Cracker. Reilly then re-wrote the song, keeping only the opening line and part of the chorus the same for his album "Salesmen and Racists."
- Insane Poetry was once a group consisting of three rappers and a DJ. One of the rappers, Cyco, continues to release music under the name Insane Poetry even though the group has disbanded.
- Queen + Paul Rodgers on The Cosmos Rocks. Might as well have been called 'Paul Rodgers, and two ex-members of Queen were at the studio that day'.
- Red House Painters' fifth album, Songs For A Blue Guitar was originally supposed to be a solo Mark Kozelek effort, but when 4AD dropped Kozelek and his project and he got picked up by Island Records, he was pressured into renaming it to a Red House Painters effort. What listeners were treated to was something so vastly removed from the nightmarish, stark textures of the first 4 albums that the album was only lukewarmly received at first. Many were a little jarred to hear Mark suddenly singing slightly more upbeat, borderline Southern Rock songs with some minor folk influences. The album has warmed up in overall opinion, though.
- This is Steve Nalepa's "Monday". And this is The Glitch Mob's remix of it. Other than the riff at the beginning, the two have very little in common.
- The English versions of tatu's Russian songs (sometimes).
- Underworld's "Born Slippy" and "Born Slippy.NUXX" are two completely different songs. The latter became much more popular, due to being featured in the film Trainspotting.
- Most Velvet Underground fans consider Squeeze to be this, especially since none of the original members - especially core songwriter Lou Reed - play on it.
- All remixes of The Vengaboys - Kiss (When The Sun Don't Shine), the best known of which is the Airscape remix.
- The "Inferno Mix" of Xorcist's "Scorched Blood" sounds nothing like the original.
- Yes had a particularly bizarre example, where after a complicated series of membership changes, there existed a band named Yes consisting of original members Chris Squire and Tony Kaye, along with Alan White, drummer since 1973. Their sound was sleek '80s radio-friendly pop-rock. Meanwhile, the band Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, made up entirely of ex-Yes members, essentially was classic 1970s Yes in everything but name. Their tour was called "An Evening of Yes Music Plus," but they couldn't call themselves Yes, despite being closer to the band's prog roots and original sound than the official Yes.
- Many bands where none of the founding members exist, yet the band is still going qualify.
- Any instrumental mix of a song which remains credited to the original singer, even when that person had no artistic input beyond their singing in the first place (which, of course, no longer appears!) Examples might include this vocal-less mix of Kylie Minogue's early hit "I Should Be So Lucky" (back when she was still a puppet of the Stock Aitken Waterman "hit factory"); she neither wrote, nor apparently appears on this mix of the song, but it's still credited to her.
This goes as far back as the 50s. Calypso singers would normally be backed by a jazz orchestra, and backing tracks would be recorded in advance. Sometimes, the singer would not get round to voicing a track in time for its inclusion on an album or single, so the song would be released as an instrumental. If it was filler on an album it would be credited to the singer, if it was a single track, the orchestra would normally be credited on their own. Lord Melody was infamous for this because he often missed deadlines by being in other countries recording for other record labels.
Ska, rocksteady and reggae artists of the 60s and 70s also did this sort of thing, leading to at least one mistake on a Bob Marley And The Wailers box set "Man To Man" where the song Mellow Skank, an instrumental track by The Hippy Boys(a group that featured several members of The Wailers backing band but none of the singer-songwriters) was included. The song was actually an instrumental of a song called Talk Of The Town by Glen Adams.
- Since the 1980s (if not earlier), there have been numerous cases of musical groups legally (and sometimes illegally) using the name of a well-known rock and roll or pop group, even though the group in question has no original members. This has been a sore spot for years with original group members, especially those who wish to continue performing under their original name, only to find "imposter" groups holding the name rights. (Note: naming groups impacted by this would violate the "No Real Life Examples" rule on this page, so please do not add names here).
- In Brainbug's "Nightmare (Sinister Strings Mix)", the only vestige left of the forgotten original mix is the Dream Melody from the breakdown. The rest of the original was a piano trance tune in the style of Robert Miles.
- Both Throwing Muses and Belly have a song called "Angel", both written by Tanya Donelly. Besides that and the title, there's no connection between them.
Myths & Religion
- This is Older Than Feudalism, as it is a recurring theme of The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus himself explicitly warned that people would pretend to serve Him, but actually be forging His signature on their own self-will. Talk about Harsher in Hindsight.
- Similarly, most "Eastern" religions as practiced in the US would likely be considered in-name-only adaptations of their origin religions by said originators.
- The most blatant example would probably be Buddhism, where most western branches reject reincarnation, i.e. the entire reason the eight-fold path exists. Roughly equivalent to a branch of Christianity rejecting the idea of a God and all that "peace and goodwill" stuff and saying it's all about beating up moneylenders.
- How many other Christians see Mormonism, to the annoyance of the Mormons.
- Aside from the name and a few small sprites on the playfield, Bally's Space Invaders pinball machine had no relationship to the arcade game it was named after. The art design made it look more like an Alien pinball than anything else.
- A version of the Sierra computer pinball game 3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride was released for the Game Boy Color. Aside from the name and general premise, it has almost nothing in common with the original.
- From 1976 to 1978, Bally released home versionsnote of several of their arcade pins: Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, Fireball, and Evel Knievel. Since the home versions reused the same playfield layout and components, they ended up having completely different playfields, rules, and artwork from their original namesakes.
- Similarly, starting in 2012, Stern Pinball released lower-priced home versions of their games under the moniker of "The Pin". Transformers: The Pin came out in 2012 as an Amazon exclusive, while The Avengers: The Pin was released in 2013. As both games shared the same cabinet and layout, removed the originals' dot-matrix display, animations, and sound effects, and are limited to two players, they ended up being In Name Only versions of their originals.
- The Atari 2600 version of David's Midnight Magic bears almost no resemblance to the original Apple ][ game, aside from being a Digital Pinball Table using predominantly black and dark red colors.
- Despite sharing the same name and many game rules, the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Roller Ball is significantly different from the MSX version, with a completely different playfield, a new bonus screen, and a gratuitous New York skyscraper setting.
- Some Professional Wrestling fans refer to WWE's ECW revival as ECW In Name Only, due to the fact that it seems completely opposite from the old ECW in terms of atmosphere, storyline tone, wrestling style, and talent level; WWECW is another popular name for it. Others don't even give it that level of respect. True, it did start out very much like the original ECW - just to get the old fans to tune in - but soon enough CM Punk took over the program and there was much more emphasis on actual wrestling ability than the Garbage Wrestling and Gorn of the glory days. It's doubtful that much of that stuff would have got past the censors anyway, especially since WWE was trying to cultivate a family-friendly image at the time. Still, the likes of Hardcore Holly and Kelly Kelly did their best.
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. The company seemingly embodies this trope increasingly by the day. The ultimate kicker here was on October 14, 2010, where there was so much emphasis on putting over Hulk Hogan's Immortal faction revealed at Bound For Glory as The Illuminati that in the first hour of Impact only ten seconds of wrestling had occurred. That number expanded to nine minutes by the end of Impact, and 20 total minutes of wrestling within the full three-hour block of Impact and ReAction.
- The 1940s radio series, The Weird Circle specialized in Book-To-Radio adaptations that had nothing in common with the source material other than the titles.
- As the old VFL expanded to become the Australian Football League, most of the Melbourne-based teams lost their links to the suburbs (U.S. = neighborhoods) whose names they bear. Collingwood, Hawthorn, and St Kilda no longer have any connection to their original home suburbs, and the other local grounds are only used for training and social purposes. Also, the Brisbane Bears were originally based 70 miles from Brisbane, and their mascot was a koala (Koalas are not bears). They have since moved to actually play in Brisbane, and merged with Fitzroy to be known as the Lions.
- Averted in the case of the Cleveland Browns. In 1996 the original team moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. The NFL established a new Cleveland Browns expansion team in 1999, but in the league's eyes the new Browns are a continuation of the original and the Baltimore Ravens are a separate franchise.
- Similar situations exist in other leagues. The NBA has the Charlotte Hornets and its de facto successor, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the MLS has the San Jose Earthquakes and its own de facto successor, Houston Dynamo.
- Played straight in some cases like in the NHL, the current Winnipeg Jets is officially NOT the original Winnipeg Jets reborn - the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes did not relinquish its original Winnipeg Jets history to the new Jets, only its name and colors.
- And in the NBA, there were two separate versions of the Baltimore Bullets - one of them is the only dead NBA team to win an NBA Championship, the other is the current Washington Wizards.
- Rifts Manhunter started live as a property completely unrelated to the Rifts Role-Playing Game. Then Myrmidon Press got permission to use the Palladium Rules system for their title, and decided to tack on the Rifts name. The only thing that connects the game to Rifts is that magic and technology exist side-by-side, and sparse, obviously shoehorned in mentions of rifts in time and space appearing later in the setting.
- La gioconda is allegedly based on Angelo, tyran de Padoue by Victor Hugo; they are every bit as different as chalk and cheese (e.g., Hugo's play is set in Padua (Padoue in French) whereas La gioconda takes place in Venice).
- The 1919 Broadway musical Irene was revived in 1973 with a completely different book and most of the score replaced by miscellaneous song hits from the period.
- Skyscraper (1965) was originally supposed to be a musicalization of Dream Girl. It ended up sticking the original play's main character, Georgina Allerton, into an unrelated plot about a contractor planning to buy an old brownstone and demolish it to build a skyscraper.
- The musical version of Wicked is starkly different from the book. While it shares the core element of "Deconstruction of The Wizard of Oz from the point of view of the Wicked Witch", its otherwise much Lighter and Softer, makes both Elphaba and G(a)linda much more sympathetic, adds in a number of plot points, and removes a number of others. Considering both it and the book are very popular, though for different reasons, it reminds us that Tropes Are Tools.
- Animorphs are Transformers. Well, the toys are, technically. In 1999, Hasbro released a small toyline based on the popular book series and included them in their Transformers action figure line, complete with the familiar logo in the commercials. (Likely, they just weren't large enough to warrant their own line (seeing as only 17 of the Animorphs toys were made) although, to say it in the most polite terms possible, fans felt that Hasbro was shameless trying to promote Animorphs with a popular franchise name.
- Invoked in Dresden Codak "Dark Science" arc: Ronnie Awning made adaptations of famous works without reading them. Which allowed his sponsor to use the authors turning in their graves for energy generation.
- Megamanspritecomic has hardly anything to do with the Mega Man canon, featuring its own characterization and story.
- Platypus Comix's longest-running series, Scrambled Eggs, received inspiration from a juvenile fiction novel titled Hello, My Name is Scrambled Eggs, but Peter Paltridge says the only similarities the current comic and the novel have include some characters' names and the use of "No kidding!" as a Catch Phrase.
- Parodied with The Way of the Metagamer 2: In Name Only — a Fictional Document sequel to The Way of the Metagamer, starring The Detective and The Watson.
- Some comics released under the name VG Cats have only cats, others have only gaming, and others have neither.
- Atop the Fourth Wall: Several in-universe namings of the trope (though this applies to single characters more than franchises).
- By two-thirds of the way through his Superman at Earth's End review, Linkara can only bring himself to refer to the title character as "Bearded Idiot."
- In an early text review he dubs the title character of All-Star Batman and Robin "BINO" (Batman In Name Only). In the video version he decides that "Batman" must actually be an insane hobo who found a Batman costume and dubs him "Crazy Steve."
- During a review of a later issue of All-Star Batman and Robin, he deduces that the version of Wonder Woman as seen in the comic is an escaped mental patient who wears Wonder Woman's costume, and dubs her "Bonkers Betty".
- The plot of Godyssey is so in contrast to Jesus' actual life and teachings that Linkara suggests the Greek gods found the wrong crucifixion victim, naming him Jesús note , the Christian martial artist. He was All Just a Dream anyway.
- The Previously On segments are all very much this—it is mercilessly played for laughs.
- Cracked.com has nothing in common with the (defunct) MAD rip off magazine except the name and comedy theme.
- There is a Flash Gordon comics series available for the iPhone, and probably other portables. Flash is a former CIA operative, and Dale a current one; they know each other from the Agency, and Dr. Zarkohv is a close friend of Flash. He's also considered a terrorist, and believed to be creating WMDs.
- KidsWB.com, supposedly the relaunched version of the programming block from which it got its name, is more like a website for pre-1997 Cartoon Network.
- Napster is another example. The original Napster shut down in 2001, but it was resurrected in 2002 as a new name for the subscription music site by the same people that shut it down. As one article termed it, "It was as if a victorious Darth Vader had licensed the rights to rebrand the Empire as the Rebel Alliance."
- In computing, there is a technology called "Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks" (RAID). One version, RAID 0, has no redundancy (which makes it extremely vulnerable to one drive error ruining the entire array, kind of defeating the purpose of a RAID, which is to set up multiple physical drives as a single logical array, wherein a single error does not necessarily mean a failure of the array).
- TF-Media is a site called, "Transformation Media". However, the transformation you'll actually find on the site is limited to Transgender. (And even then, most people who go there think "female to male" transgender is "Pass the Brain Bleach" anyways, so it's really male to female) The users in the chatrooms are different, and have gotten much better about the transgender saturation, but the site is still predominantly Transgender transformations in between the one or two different types. Even the users are well aware of this and point out that it's really, "TG media".