Promoted to Love Interest

So, you're adapting this great book for the screen. It's got action, comedy, drama, rom... what, it doesn't have romance? Well, that won't do; we can't break the formula. Looks like it's time for a previously platonic character to be Promoted to Love Interest.

The idea is that in order to appeal to a broad audience, we need romantic subplots. An original and successful work (usually not film, because that's where executives have a field day) survived all on its own without a romance subplot . However, studios think that every story needs romance.

This sort of thing happens to everyone all the time in fanfiction, for some reason.

The convention is not an inherently negative one, but when done poorly, this may become a Token Romance or even a Romantic Plot Tumor in the worst cases.

Although normally reserved to adaptations in traditional media, interactive media that feature Romance Sidequests can also fall under this, if a character whom the Player Character cannot woo in one game gets a Romance Arc of their own in a sequel.

See also Hotter and Sexier. Compare Relationship Compression, where the romance is present in the original but significantly altered due to the different constraints of the new medium.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The closest thing to an original canon for Black★Rock Shooter is a music video of the eponymous character fighting Dead Master. Once people started making actual stories, Dead Master ended up as the love interest in one manga, the "other self" of BRS's "other self"'s love interest in both anime, BRS's mother figure in the gag manga, and nonexistent in the game.
  • Bleach:
    • Word of God has stated it's not a romance manga, which is why the two main characters have no romance and any romance that does get covered tends to be in the background (aside of some Ship Tease) or part of another character's back story. However, in the anime filler arc, the Gotei 13 Invasion, the anime team demote all the main cast and even the secondary cast to extras in favour of their filler villains and heroine and their filler evil clones. To ensure there's romance in the arc, they make Kon the hero of the arc (demoting even the main character) by promoting him to the filler heroine Nozomi's love interest (even changing his back story to accommodate her).
    • In the manga, Ichigo and Rukia are Platonic Life Partners and each other's not-love interests, and have Ship Tease with Orihime and Renji respectively. The anime not only takes out some of Ichigo's ST with Orihime but adds as much teasing between him and Rukia as possible without making her into Ichigo's official girlfriend, i.e. adding a Canon Foreigner Shinigami who clearly ships them and making a whole filler episode littered with semi-romantic interactions. Ironically, the manga not only decreased the teasing from the end of the Soul Society arc onwards, but sank the Ichigo/Rukia ship without mercy.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Rose is a minor character in the manga. In the 2003 anime she returns partway through the series and becomes a major character. There is Ship Tease between her and Edward and she is canonically in love with Ed.
    • Inverted with Winry and Edward since she becomes a sister figure to Ed (though official art still portrays Winry as a love interest). In the the manga and the Brotherhood TV series they're the Official Couple throughout the story, with a large amount of Ship Tease and eventually Babies Ever After.
  • Oujirou in the Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer anime. His girlfriend in the manga epilogue gets shoved off with Misaki's own love interest from the manga.
  • This happened somewhat to Yue Ayase in the Mahou Sensei Negima! anime. While it was just barely alluded to in the Class Trip arc (which is where they likely drew it from), the love triangle plot come into play much later in the manga.
  • Naruto:
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • There's nothing to suggest Misty likes Red in Pokémon Red and Blue but in the manga she has an one-sided crush on the manga's Red counterpart.
    • Brendan and May have some mild Ship Tease in Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald but it's not anywhere near the amount of romance between Ruby and Sapphire.
    • Leaf and Silver have never interacted in the games - heck, it is vague if Leaf is even canon in the games - however Blue and Silver have Ship Tease.
  • Pokémon:
    • Lucy and Brock never even meet in the Pokémon games but in Pokémon anime Lucy is one of the few women to like Brock back.
    • Inverted with Professor Kukui and Professor Burnet. They're Happily Married in Pokémon Sun and Moon but are acquaintances in the anime.
    • It has never been concretely confirmed that Misty has a crush on Ash. There are scenes suggesting she might, but they're up to interpretation and aren't as explicit as Serena's crush on Ash. However, 4kids added a few extra Ship Tease moments between Ash and Misty compared to the Japanese version. Even after Misty was Put On The Bus, Ash referenced her at least once in the dub when he hadn't in the original. 4kids also added explicit Ash/Misty elements into supplementary material such as the song "Misty's Song" and theatre adaptation Pokémon Live!.
  • Satoshi from Pokémon Zensho seems to have a crush on Misty. In the games Red is a silent protagonist and Misty is just another gym leader. The interpretation may come from a piece of early artwork depicting Red and Misty taking a picture together.
  • Jun from Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! flirts with Mitsumi, who plays the role of Professor Rowan's assistant from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. In the games Barry doesn't even take much note of the assistant.
  • The Electric Tale of Pikachu:
    • In the anime, Ash and Misty had their Ship Tease moments but the writers are intentionally vague on whether they were intended to be love interests or not (with the lead director of the Original Series, Takeshi Shudo, saying they weren't). In the manga, Ash and Misty clearly like each other.
    • Jessie and James have had some Ship Tease over the years but are mainly depicted as Platonic Life Partners. In the manga, they obviously like each other. The manga ended with them engaged and Jessie pregnant.
    • In "Pikachu's Goodbye", Pikachu befriends a small Pikachu. It's never made explicit if it was small to signify it as a baby (the episode predates Pichu's reveal) or small to signify it as female. In Electric Tale of Pikachu, it is explicitly female (complete with a flower behind an ear) and is a love interest for Pikachu.
  • The French dub of Sonic X combined this with Lull Destruction. The final episode has Sonic stating something inaudible to Amy in the original version. Dubs decided to give Sonic dialogue during this portion. The English dub had a vague enough "Don't worry Amy, I never will [abandon you]". The French dub however took it up a knotch with "Of course I love you Amy—forever".
  • In the Tokkô manga, Ranmaru and Sakura don't show any specific romantic interest in each other, but in the anime they develop feelings for each other and become love interests.
  • The sequel of To Love-Ru, TLR Darkness, add more potential members to Rito's harem:
    • Nana, Lala's younger sister, starts to show interest in Rito after Mia's friendship mending chapters.
    • Rin, one of Saki's bodyguards, develops feelings for Rito after he saves her from a cursed sword (with the help of Mea and Yami).
    • Kyoko was born as fictonial character of her Show Within a Show. After, she appears as real character and became Run's best friend and in "Darkness" she fall for Rito herself after being subjected to the "Princess Carry".
  • In Trigun, Meryl and Milly care deeply about Vash and Wolfwood, but it doesn't go beyond anything platonic. In the anime adaptation they become their respective love interests, and its even implied that Wolfwood and Milly have sex with each other later in the series.
  • Valkyria Chronicles anime adaptation has promoted Faldio to love interest in order to introduce a Love Triangle. Not only totally unnecessary considering the existing romantic subplot, but it's become a rather large Romantic Plot Tumor. For instance, a rather epic battle in the game against an enormous overpowered tank was completely avoided in the anime to allow Alicia and Faldio time to flirt.
  • Nitori had a mild crush on Takatsuki in Wandering Son that went away by the time she dated Anna. The anime keeps Anna and Nitori together but has multiple scenes showing Nitori likes Takatsuki. It isn't helped that the anime ends right after Anna broke up with Nitori, leaving room for Takatsuki/Nitori potentially. In the manga Nitori and Anna end up back together but the anime adaptation never went that far..
  • In the Yo-kai Watch video games, Katie is the female protagonist. In the Yo-kai Watch anime she is the crush and classmate of Nate, the male playable character in the games. Yo-Kai Watch 2 added some Ship Tease between them to go with how it is influenced by the anime.
  • Several manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda add romance, especially between Link and Zelda, when the games rely heavily on subtext:
  • Rurouni Kenshin
    • In the manga, Yahiko and Tsubame were never fully shown as a couple though they did marry anyway. The anime shows Yahiko nursing a big' crush on Tsubame, and on several occasions he gives her presents as well as goes on social activities with her.
    • Similarly, in the manga Sano and Megumi were mostly platonic friends. The TV series shows Sanosuke giving Megumi gestures of affection and while her primary man of interest is Kenshin, she is fully aware of Sano's attraction and appreciates it even if she doesn't necessarily return it. (Yahiko even points out the Ship Tease and ends up smacked for it.) Once she confirms Kenshin's true one is Kaoru, she begins to show affection towards Sanosuke especially in the filler Tales of the Meiji Arc. Even while admitting Megumi was a beauty, manga!Sanosuke never showed the level of attraction towards her as he did in the anime and was too busy with his own personal business to attempt to get with her in a few social activities as the anime filler did.
  • Inverted in the anime adaptation of Sound! Euphonium. In the books, Kumiko and Shuichi have a fair amount of Ship Tease together and eventually end up the Official Couple. In the anime, many of Shuichi's scenes were either cut or altered. Shuichi is still in love with Kumiko however she is Oblivious to Love, and their relationship is presented as more unrequited than in the books. While many fans thought Reina had been promoted to love interest (though season 2 ramping up her Precocious Crush on Taki-sensei left many confused on the series' intentions), the anime ultimately ends with No Romantic Resolution for Kumiko.
  • High School Of The Dead: While there's some UST between Takashi and Saeko in the manga, it's mostly one-sided, since Takashi's rekindling his relationship with Rei. The anime changed things by making it more reciprocal, with additional amounts of ship tease between him and Saeko, especially in the "Drifters of the Dead" OVA.
  • Maken-ki!: In the manga, Takaki became a lesbian after a traumatic event that left her androphobic. Whereas the anime adaptation downplays her phobia, to the point of being virtually nonexistent, to have her instantly become smitten with Akaya.
  • On Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka has a Precocious Crush on Kaji. In Rebuild of Evangelion, it's entirely gone.
  • Lupin III: The status of Lupin and Fujiko's relationship changes dependent on which continuity, or the movie. In The Castle of Cagliostro, they're exes, while in The Secret of Twilight Gemini and The Columbus Files', they still see each other on the side. But in Farewell to Nostradamus, she feels nothing for him, at all.
  • Yamato Hotsuin and the man character from Devil Survivor 2 have a complex relationship to say the least, but the general way to describe it is that Yamato sees the protagonist as a Submissive Badass and treats him as his Number Two and later a Worthy Opponent . In fact if the protagonist goes on another story route but his, Yamato is furious and believes the others "corrupted him". In Devil Survivor 2 however, Yamato's interest in the protagonist, named Hibiki Kuze, is hit with Flanderization and makes Yamato have massive Ho Yay moments, to the point where he outright claims that "Hibiki is mine".
  • In Shimoneta's manga adaptation, Tanukichi eventually develops feelings for Ayame, whereas her feelings toward him remain platonic. But the anime version implies the attraction is mutual at the end of it's 11th episode.
  • Inverted with Chrono Harlaown in Lyrical Nanoha, who was Nanoha Takamachi's rival and later love interest back in Lyrical Toy Box, but that honor instead went to his adoptive younger sister Fate when it was adapted into an anime series. And some time later, Chrono was quite Happily Married to his assistant Amy Limietta.

    Comic Books 
  • In Teen Titans: Earth One, Victor Stone and Tara Markov are portrayed as a high-school couple, despite never having been shown to have any interest in each other in other continuities.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Kitty Pryde is one of Spidey's girlfriends briefly, giving him a relationship with someone he doesn't have to constantly worry about the safety of. They do break up eventually.
    • Ultimate X-Men does this with Wolverine and Storm. Ironically, they would later get together in the regular marvel Universe.
  • In Timestorm 2009-2099, which features an alternate version of the Marvel 2099 universe, teenaged Miguel O'Hara has a bit of UST with Shakdi Hadaad (who in regular continuity is Cerebra of the X-Men 2099). Their counterparts in the regular 2099 universe never even met.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • Stormer and Kimber became very close friends in one episode of Jem. The 2015 comic reboot makes them a couple.
    • In the cartoon, Riot liked Jem (but not Jerrica) while Jem didn't like him back. In the comics, his feelings are requited however she's still in a relationship with Rio.
  • Afterlife with Archie:
  • Sonic the Comic inverts this with Amy and Sonic. In the games Amy has a Precocious Crush on Sonic and being a lovesick preteen is one of her more defining traits. In the comics she is implied to only be teasing Sonic, and once her personality was altered thanks to Executive Meddling even that was gone.

    Films - Animation 
  • Inverted with the Disney version of Peter Pan, which removes virtually any trace of romance between Peter and Wendy present in the original book. Those only familiar with that version mistakenly believe this trope to be at play with the 2003 film version which was adapted closer to the novel.
  • In the animated version of Batman: The Killing Joke has Batgirl pining over Batman. In the source comic she barely even appeared in any panels that didn't relate to her being shot by The Joker.
  • As a part of Revisiting the Roots, The LEGO Batman Movie has Dick Grayson as a preteen and Barbara Gordon as a young adult. During the Silver Age, Batgirl was several years older than the then-teenage Robin. As a result, the movie does not have her and Robin as love interests like has been the norm since the 90s. Batgirl is instead Batman's love interest... sort of. Barbara has no interest in Batman while he is head-over-heels for her.

    Films - Live Action 
  • Liz Sherman from Hellboy. In the comicbooks, she's Hellboy's co-worker and friend, and something of a little sister. In the movies, she ends up boinking Hellboy. It did give her some character, since in the comics, she's mostly a Flat Character that the author has no idea to do with and only narrowly avoided killing off. (Her first four comics appearances all involve an antagonist sucking her power out for his own ends, which was apparently the only plot Mignola could think of for her.) Mignola actually okayed the Re Tool of her character. Interestingly, in the comics Liz actually has something of a romantic sub-plot with Abe Sapien, professional fish-person and Hellboy's best friend. Still, this sub-plot is extremely subdued, but it does get played up a bit in the animated adaptations.
  • Somewhat (and very surprisingly) averted in the movie adaptation to I, Robot. Both the male lead and the female lead are very attractive, yet they never get romantically involved. Well, not explicitly, but there are hints at it, and Susan Calvin in the short stories was an elderly, celibate misanthrope after the first few Time Skips. She gets upgraded to a Hot Scientist, and at least a potential love interest, but thankfully they focused on the robots and the related ideals.
  • For the movie adaptation of Watchmen it was originally planned to give Rorschach a love interest since his actions drive the whole story. But the idea was dropped.
  • The Time Machine:
    • The 1960 film adaptation is an Alternate Trope Namer. In the book, an Eloi woman named Weena shares a close relationship with the Time Traveler, but not a romance, at least not overtly. Largely because Weena, like all Eloi, was a child-sized androgynous-looking creature mentally on the level of an eight-year old. However, the film turns Weena into a love interest, looking human except still with the mentality of a child.
    • The 2002 film goes further: not only was Weena replaced with a love interest named Mara and the Eloi made even less childlike, but the Time Traveler was given an entire backstory of building the machine as a way to save his girlfriend from being killed by a mugger.
  • Isabella of France in Braveheart was in France and ten years old at the time of Wallace's rebellion. Particularly unfortunate as her romantic subplot is at cross-purposes with some of the most powerful moments in the film.
  • The 1966 film version of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 not only had Clarisse survive, but also had her become a sort of love interest for Guy.
  • The Star Trek movie does this to Lt. Uhura. What they probably didn't see coming was that she's Spock's love interest, not Kirk's. Which is less surprising if you keep in mind a couple of early episodes of the original series in which she was blatantly flirting with him (and, more strangely given his later characterization, him with her!). Of course, given the time period of the original series, the only reason Uhura wasn't officially anyone's love interest was probably because of the interracial relationship thing. Word of God did once say he had dropped the idea of Spock/Uhura in the original series because he feared it would reduce Uhura to being viewed as nothing more than "Spock's other half" instead of letting her being a character in her own right.
  • The Film of the Book of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian creates a bit of Ship Tease between Caspian and Susan. It's limited to mild flirting and a kiss at the end, though they still end up separated and Caspian gets paired up with his canon wife in the next film.
  • Three film versions of The Last of the Mohicans de-ages Hawkeye and pairs him up with one of the female characters. Which is silly, because there's already a romance, two even.
  • Maggie Barnes in The Seeker, the movie adaptation of The Dark Is Rising.
  • Trillian in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the original, Arthur met her at a party and tried to (clumsily) chat her up, only for Zaphod to sweep her off her feet and take her into space; when they meet up later on, their relationship is purely platonic. The movie changes this to Arthur missing his chance at True Love by being too wimpy, inspiring him to be more assertive when Trillian gets kidnapped (also helped by introducing a new love interest for Zaphod).

    In the original radio series, Trillian was indeed meant as a love interest but things didn't progress the way Adams intended to. That's why their romantic involvement was played up in the movie. In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish we're told that the official answer to the question of whether anything happened between Arthur and Trillian (at least in the book continuity) is "mind your own business".
  • Starship Troopers does this with "Dizzy" Flores who, in the book, is a guy in the same platoon as Rico, and is only mentioned in the first chapter, due to the fact that he dies during a drop, and is not romantic at all. (Per the other wiki and, you know, the book.) [1] Of course, Dizzy gets an upgrade with boobs and boinked. It's good both ways.
  • In the movie of the children's book Tuck Everlasting, the main character, Winnie, is a teenager and thus old enough to have a romance with a Flying Dutchman who's been seventeen for ages. In the book, she was a preteen with perhaps a slight implied crush on him and nothing more.
  • Inverted in Angels & Demons: Vittoria is in bed with Langdon by the end of the book, but in the movie, romance is never hinted at. The same was done in the film of The Da Vinci Code.
  • This is actually inverted in the movie adaptation of Psycho. In the original novel Lila and Sam become romantically involved after Mary is killed and they try to solve her murder. Hitchcock made their relationship platonic in the film, because it would be gross otherwise. In the 1982 sequel Psycho II, though, Lila has married Sam and had a daughter with him, called Mary.
  • One of the changes made in the film version of Kick-Ass. In the film, he ends up boinking with the girl he's got a crush on. In the novel, he ends up crumpled on the floor at high school due to a Groin Attack from her boyfriend.
  • The 1960 film version of Edgar Allan Poe's Fall of the House of Usher makes Madeline the fiancée of the narrator.
  • The film version of Queen of the Damned made the main subplot a romance between the two main characters Lestat and Jesse, who, in the book, do not speak. One of the many things altered from the book is the identity of Jesse's maker. In the book, it's her "Aunt" Maharet (a distant ancestor-turned-vampire). In the movie, it's Lestat. This was obviously meant to reinforce the bond between the characters, which was never there in the book.
  • Harry Potter:
  • Inverted in the film Shooter which is based on the Stephen Hunter novel Point of Impact. In the book Bob Lee Swagger becomes romantically involved with the widow of his old war buddy. In the movie the two become friends and allies, but they do not fall in love with each other.
  • The 2009 film of Land of the Lost has a truly bizarre version of this. Rick Marshall has a romantic relationship with Holly, who was his prepubescent daughter in the original TV show. The movie makes them unrelated and ages her up, obviously, but one wonders why they even bothered to call her "Holly" at that point.
  • In the 2009 film version of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Basil and Dorian finally get together. This is completely justified by all the deliberate Ho Yay in the original book, as at the time, Oscar Wilde could do no more than insert Homoerotic Subtext to let the reader know what was really going on.
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth promotes the middle-aged hotel maid Betty Jo, who nurses an unrequited crush on Alien Among Us Thomas Jerome Newton and is one of his only confidantes in the novel, to an out-and-out love interest. Renamed Mary-Lou, she's also de-aged to her mid-twenties when their relationship, which plays out over several decades, begins.
  • In The Giver, Fiona is a good friend of Jonas's whom he eventually drifts apart from (although he's definitely interested in her). In the film he manages to convince her to stop taking the injections and she realizes she loves him as well. She eventually aids in his escape and he promises her he'd come back for her.
  • Ramona and Beezus promotes Henry Huggins, Beezus's childhood friend in the books, into her love interest, although the Ramona books imply that the two aren't so close any more since they're in middle school.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron makes Bruce Banner, who has little interaction with Black Widow in the comics, into her love interest. This is partially because Bucky Barnes and Daredevil, Widow's two major love interests in the comics, have no real connection to her in the MCU continuity.
  • Lifetime's adaptation of Seeds of Yesterday has adoptive siblings Bart and Cindy ending up together.
  • Inverted with David Campbell in Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. for the simple reason that the movieverse's Susan Who is about eleven.
  • Attack on Titan already takes many, many liberties from the manga, but one of the biggest is the relationship between Eren and Mikasa. In the original, they are adopted siblings (though there are many, many hints that Mikasa sees Eren as more than a brother), while the adaptation drops the adopted sibling angle and goes for a full-on romance between them. While this may not sit well with traditionalists, it's safe to assume those who ship Eren/Mikasa couldn't be happier (not that them being canonically adoptive siblings ever stopped them in the first place).
  • The Hunger Games
    • The movie franchise adds several hints of a romantic development to Effie and Haymitch's relationship, especially in the two parts of Mockingjay. One suspects this has less to do with the need for yet another romance in the series and more to strengthen the expansion of Effie's character, since she has only a cameo in the last book but plays a far more significant role in the films. There's also the fact that Elizabeth Banks, whose performance was the very reason the series creator Suzanne Collins chose to spare Effie from her planned Demotion To Extra in the first place, was a pretty hardcore Shipper on Deck for the pairing by all accounts.
    • Catching Fire hints at Johanna having a one-sided romantic attachment to Finnick, giving her a bitter speech about his (to her) incomprehensible devotion to Annie. The idea that she might be in love with him pads out her motivations some more than in the books, where she treats him with slightly less disdain than she does everyone else but with no reason given; it also explains why, despite claiming that she's already lost everyone she loves and has nothing to lose, he seems to be the one to convince her to join the rebellion against the Capitol.
  • Averted only through the author's stubbornness in the movie adaptation of Ender's Game. Executives originally wanted to give Ender a love interest but Orson Scott Card refused. Though Ender's friend Petra's role got expanded in the adaptation and her personality was changed so their relationship strongly resembled a romantic one, despite being entirely platonic.
  • DOA: Dead or Alive
    • In the Dead or Alive games the movie is based on, Ryu Hayabusa (same of Ninja Gaiden) protects Kasumi because he made a promise to her brother, his best friend Hayate, to look after her. The film keeps that backstory, but makes it clear Hayabusa is also watching out for her because he has feelings for her (which she ends up returning).
    • In the games, Ayane and Hayate are half-siblings (and cousins, it's complicated). The movie removes their blood relation and turns them into a couple.
    • The movie seems so determined to include romantic subplots for just about every main character that it even invented new characters to serve as love interests for Christie and Helena: conman/master thief Max (who is also Christie's frequent partner-in-crime) and tech genius Weatherby, respectively.
    • Surprisingly averted, however, with Tina and Zack. Zack still flirts with her, but Tina wants nothing to do with him.
  • The film version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, written and directed by the book's author, has a minor example, with Charlie and Sam being promoted from Maybe Ever After to Official Couple.
  • Seventh Son (2015) changes Tom and Alice from twelve-year-olds with Unresolved Sexual Tension to young adults who share a kiss at the end.
  • The live-action Tekken movie makes Christie into Jin's love interest, even though they've never interacted in the games.
  • Jurassic Park turns Ellie into Alan Grant's girlfriend in addition to being his student. The second book does say something about Ellie being "involved" with Grant, but doesn't specify if it was romantic. Ironically in the film's canon, they've split up by the third.
  • Leslie and Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia have a friendship that can be interpreted as romantic, however canonically they're only ever specified as friends. The 2007 film aged them up from 10 to 12 in order to depict their relationship as less platonic.
  • Virtually all film adaptations of And Then There Were None include a romance subplot between Vera and Lombard, two characters who had at most a few Ship Tease moments in the book, and also have them survive together instead of dying. This is subverted in the 1987 Soviet film and 2015 BBC miniseries, however: the "romance" in the Soviet film culminates in Lombard raping Vera which further worsens her mental breakdown and the romance in the BBC series does not stop a paranoid and mentally unstable Vera from shooting Lombard dead just like in the original book.
  • The movie version of Perfect Pie changes Francesca's relationship with the boy who took her to the prom as a teen. In the movie he apologizes when she returns to Marmota for leaving her at the dance, and they share a kiss as they reconcile. In the play, he's never mentioned again after he abandons her.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Inverted. In the comics Winter Soldier and Black Widow were in a relationship while they were both working for the Soviets. In the MCU Widow was born decades after the Soldier became active, so her only encounters with him have been while fighting for her life when he's been ordered to assassinate her.
  • This is inverted with V for Vendetta. In V for Vendetta, Evey and Gordon are lovers. In the movie, they are merely good friends from work, and in fact, Gordon is a closeted gay man.
  • Poltergeist: In the 1982 original, Dr. Lesh and Tangina were colleagues and acquaintances . In the 2015 remake, Carrigan and Brooke are ex-husband / ex-wife (they were also Adaptationally Name Changed, and Tangina got Gender-Flipped).
  • Ant-Man makes Hope Van Dyne into Scott Lang's love interest. In the comics, Hope originally only existed in the Marvel Comics 2 continuity, which was set in the future.
  • In Black Panther, Nakia is T'Challa's ex-girlfriend and primary love interest. This is in contrast to the comics, where Nakia was significantly younger than T'Challa and simply had an (extremely unhealthy) unrequited crush on him.

    Literature 
  • Leaving aside the unfilmable indescribable nature of a lot of his stuff, this is probably the recurring problem with attempts at filming the works of H.P. Lovecraft, who was a very unromantic guy and didn't put any love subplots into his stories at all. Apparently, Guillermo del Toro's upcoming version of At the Mountains of Madness will avert this trope, which is why it took him so long to get the permission of producers.
  • Adaptations and pastiches featuring Sherlock Holmes almost always do this to Irene Adler, the one person to outsmart and upstage Holmes, who Holmes refers to as "the Woman". Canonically, Holmes only ever had one brief meeting with Adler, and his feelings for her are more along the lines of grudging admiration. There's also the fact that the one story that Adler appears in revolves around her running off to marry someone else, with Holmes being the best man, no less (Due to him standing outside the church after the couple realized that they forgot to bring some witnesses to the wedding). Even if Holmes was into relationships, Irene seems pretty stoked with her hot lawyer husband.
  • Most adaptations of Dracula make Mina Murray Harker (or her equivalent, as sometimes her role and that of Lucy Westenra are flipped or combined) into the title character's love interest, a trend that's often attributed to Bram Stoker's Dracula (the film), which made Mina the reincarnation of Vlad Tepes' bride Elisabeta. However, a similar incident occurred in the 1970 TV version, where Lucy looked like Dracula's lost love, and even the 1950s Hammer Horror version referred to Dracula in the posters as "the terrifying lover who died—yet lived!" In the book, there was indeed a vague indication that Dracula intended for her to become his queen, but Mina regarded this as a Fate Worse Than Death, complete with all the rape associations that went along with this.
    • Inverted in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which Mina isn't paired off with Dracula—but she still left her canonical Love Interest, Jonathan Harker, after he rejected her for being "ruined"... so that Alan Moore could then put her in a May–December Romance with Allan Quatermaine.
      • Which was doubly inverted in the movie, where Mina's husband is dead and she has no affair with Quatermaine. Sawyer flirts with her a bit and she did have an affair with Dorian Grey in the past, but it's implied that her years of living as a vampire have left her unable to really love anyone.
  • Flonne and Etna from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness in the Disgaea novels. In the game the nature of their feelings for Laharl is very debatable, in the novels they both got a crystal clear crush on him.
  • In the Novelization of Douglas Adams' Development Hell Doctor Who episode Shada, the Fourth Doctor gets some fun sexual tension with a sentient spaceship. In the original her role is simply to be confused by him with a Logic Bomb, but in the book the experience (along with him also teaching her how to time travel in a way suggestively related to him teaching her how to orgasm) makes her curious about the world and eventually fall for the Doctor, who for his part is respectful but not very reciprocal of her feelings - though it's worth pointing out that when he attempts to guilt Skagra about trying to destroy the Ship, his retort (that 'a machine consciousness is worthless') is the This Means War! moment.
    • Chris and Clare also become love interests for each other, though this was an element that Douglas Adams had intended to put in the story, managed to get elements of in the first couple of episodes, but then got cut thanks to a combination of deadlines and Executive Meddling. So in this case, it's more of a What Could Have Been.
  • The Wicked Witch of The West doesn't even interact with Glinda the Good in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and in the MGM film they are enemies, but in Wicked they have a very romantic relationship.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The TV version of Johnny and the Bomb adds a bit of a Toy Ship between Johnny and Kirsty.
  • Alice and the Hatter become a couple at the conclusion of Sy Fy's Alice. Although it isn't the same Alice as from the books.
  • There have been several examples of a Saracen character appearing in Robin Hood stories: Nasir from Robin of Sherwood and Azeem from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but in the BBC's Robin Hood the character is Gender Flipped into a Sweet Polly Oliver called Djaq. Sure enough, she ends up a Love Interest to at least two of the male outlaws.
  • Jack Robinson in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. In the novels he is a Happily Married middle-aged man Phryne has no romantic interest in. Phryne's canon love interest in the novels, Lin Chung, only appears in one episode of the series ("Ruddy Gore").
  • This happens surprisingly little in Once Upon a Time, despite being a Massive Multi Player Crossover for fairytales, as most characters retain their canonical fairy tale love interest or one person of the couple became a Composite Character, or even Crack Pairing / Crossover Ship with another character, but a few stand out: Cora aka the Miller's Daughter and Rumplestilskin as an Unholy Matrimony couple. This ends badly for both of them with the latter got heartbroken as she rip out her emotion for power and the former dead. Inverted with Peter Pan & Wendy (due to the former has a case of Adaptational Villainy) and Rapunzel & her prince (he already married to Snow White and this show is family-friendly)
  • Subverted surprisingly in Elementary. Despite the fact John is now a woman there is no explicit romance between Sherlock and Joan. However there is an example with Moriarty and Sherlock, as she has also been genderswapped and combined with Irene. Their relationship is different though as Sherlock didn't know her true identity at first and she didn't really love him.
  • The Goosebumps tv series seems to do this for Steve and Carly Beth. In its adaptation of "The Haunted Mask," Chuck and Steve confess to the masked Carly Beth that they only teased her "because we liked her," something the book never mentioned or even hinted at. The later episode "The Haunted Mask II" makes significant changes to the plot of the corresponding book, including Steve getting his mask off through The Power of Love when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Carly Beth from the first mask (again, something that never even came up in the book's version of the plot).
  • Game of Thrones did this to two supporting characters, Grey Worm and Missandei. In the books, Missandei is only a ten-year-old child and there's not much interaction between them. In the show, she's given an Age Lift and the writers paired her with Grey Worm which started when she taught him to speak the Common Language.
  • In-universe in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. When two producers from LA want to make a sitcom based on the twins' lives, they give London a Gender Flip to create a romance with Maddie. London's reaction?
    London: I wouldn't want to date Maddie. She's not my type; she's poor.
  • The Scarecrow, one of Dorothy’s friends from the Land of Oz books, is re-imagined as Dorothy’s love interest Lucas in Emerald City.
  • Riverdale:
    • Moose sleeps around with Kevin in secret.
    • While not exactly a "love interest", Archie has a fling with Ms. Grundy (who has been significantly aged down). Things end up very awkward between them afterwards due to their relationship to each other and the fact they're both witnesses to Jason Blossom's murder.
    • Jughead and Betty start dating as of episode 6/7, the first time they've done so in any Archie adaptation.
  • Iron Fist (2017): According to one of the writers, the reason why a romance was written in between Danny Rand and Colleen Wing was because the writers looked at what they'd done thus far and noticed that there wasn't much sex in the show. Furthermore, in the comics, Danny's canonical love interest is Misty Knight. However, the characterization of Misty that was introduced in Luke Cage made the idea of romance between her and Danny a Crack Pairing at best.

    Music 
  • Tiffany and Roland in the song "Just One Heart" from the deluxe version of Wintersmith by Steeleye Span, which goes on at length about the Power of Love they share. Admittedly, in the books, there is more than one Shipper on Deck, and Tiffany is a bit jealous when she learns Roland visited a young noblewoman, so a case can be made ... except the album came out long after I Shall Wear Midnight, where Roland marries someone else and Tiffany starts stepping out with Preston.

    Theater 
  • The play The Solid Gold Cadillac had a relatively low-key romance between Mrs. Laura Partridge and Ed McKeever, even though the narration referred to the couple as "Cinderella" and "Prince Charming," who (of course) were married in the end. The movie version is much more of a romantic comedy, playing up the romance between McKeever and Mrs. Miss Partridge to an extent that the Tabloid Melodrama about the characters is fairly justified.
  • In the stage musical of Beauty and the Beast, Cogsworth and the wardrobe are portrayed as a couple, but are much more reserved about it than Lumiere and the duster.
  • In the musical of The Producers the previously minor part of Swedish secretary Ulla is not only expanded into leading lady but she becomes Bloom's love interest and briefly is the center of a one-sided Love Triangle between him and Max.
  • The musical adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel adds a romantic history for the villain Chauvelin and the heroine Marguerite, making the former something of The Vamp, since the latter used to be on his side. In the original novel, they were nothing more than acquaintances in the past and Chauvelin sees Marguerite as nothing but "a tool" now, his faith in her intellect to help him nab the Scarlet Pimpernel and his constant Terms of Endangerment aside.
  • In Seussical, Horton gets a lover interest in Gertrude McFuzz, a character from another of Seuss' books.
  • Wicked:
    • The Wicked Witch of the West and the Scarecrow are promoted to being love interests in the musical Wicked, based on a book of the same name. It seems really Squicky unless you've actually seen the musical ( Wicked Witch Elphaba turned Fiyero, her boyfriend, into the scarecrow to keep him from being tortured to death). After that, it's all just an interesting Alternative Character Interpretation.
    • In the books, Glinda has no feelings towards Fiyero and if anything is Ambiguously Gay. The musical adds a love triangle between her, Elphaba, and Fiyero.
  • In Agatha Christie's own theatrical adaptation of And Then There Were None Vera and Lombard survive and fall in love.
  • The musical adaptation of School of Rock does this to Dewey's boss Ms. Mullins. Aside from them kissing a couple times and them making her younger and around Dewey's age, this does not alter the plot that much from the film. This has some justification in that the original script did have the two ending up together.
  • Sister Act the Musical rewrites Lt. Eddie Souther as an old high school classmate of Deloris who secretly has a crush on her, and at the end, the two end up becoming a couple. They had no such relationship in the original film, however.

    Video Games 
  • Nakaba Hanabusa from the visual novel Clock Zero originally didn't have a route of his own in the PS2 and PSP ports of the game despite all of the members of Clock Zero being romanceable options for Nadeshiko. This, in spite of extra materials all but stating that all of the boys in her club, including him, are in love with her regardless of route. Come the latest Vita port and after much demand from the fans, Nakaba finally gets a route of his own!
  • Harvest Moon:
  • When the Takarazuka stage adaptation of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was announced, fans who were familiar with the Takarazuka's penchant for adding in romantic subplots speculated wildly on who'd end up as Phoenix's love interest, with guesses ranging from the plausible (Mia, Maya) to the highly unlikely (Edgeworth). In the end, the one who got the promotion was, of all people, Lana Skye (well, they called her Leona, but if it walks like a Lana and quacks like a Lana...), a character who appears in only one case (albeit a fairly long one) and doesn't have any particular history or chemistry with Phoenix.
  • In the Mass Effect series, Garrus and Tali weren't originally intended as romance options. Fans liked them so much that they were added to the roster of possible love interests in the second game. Funnily enough, if Shepard pursues neither of them, they hook up with each other near the end of the third game. Additionally, Kaidan Alenko (assuming he survives that long) is promoted to love interest for Male!Shepard in Mass Effect 3, having previously been exclusively susceptible to FemShep's charms.
  • While Aigis had hints of feelings for the protagonist in the original version of Persona 3, she couldn't be romanced due to not being a Social Link. The Updated Re-release FES adds her as a Social Link and romance option.
  • In the Dragon Age games, Cullen's fans have been asking the developers to do this for him since he was introduced in Dragon Age: Origins. They finally did in Dragon Age: Inquisition, making him romanceable by human or elven female Inquisitors. His is one of the longer romance arcs in the game, and he's the only male love interest who will propose marriage in the final DLC.
  • Crea's route in Duel Savior Destiny mostly replaces the harem route from the original game, though in order to accommodate this change they made surprisingly few tweaks to the original story, which makes Crea not really fit in very well with what's going on.
  • In the original Dragon Quest VIII, Jessica was a friend of the hero and her feelings for him were platonic. In the 3DS version, however, there's an alternative ending where the hero marries her instead of Medea.

    Visual Novel 
  • In the original version of Little Busters!, Sasami and Kanata were minor characters who were only relevant when it involved Rin and Haruka respectively. When the Ecstasy version was released, the new content included routes for the two of them.
  • In the original Dengeki Stryker, Hilko was an antagonist from the Balboran Empire who uses telekenesis as her main type of attack and has tried to kill Yuuki at some occasion. In Chou Dengeki Stryker, Hilko has a route where she can romance Yuuki, ignoring that he is Stryker.
  • Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow follows the "interactive media" deal described above, by first introducing the cast and then gradually releasing the romance sidequests: that way, charas that are seen in the background of each path at first gain their own romance routes. The strategy includes four "release series", each one featuring three prospect boyfriends (or five, in the last batch) whose quests are released gradually as months pass:

    Western Animation 
  • BIONICLE:
    • The franchise usually follows the No Hugging, No Kissing rule to the extreme — justified since the characters are cyborgs who don't reproduce that way — but in the second and third movies, Matau noticeably flirts with Nokama quite a bit and there are some pretty noticeable hints that Nokama herself is into Vakama. The third movie also involves an Unholy Matrimony plot with the villains. (Other Bionicle media does include this stuff, but pretty much only to keep consistent with the movies. In the case of the Unholy Matrimony, Word of God writes off "marriage" as strictly political in this 'verse.)
    • In the first movie, there are some incredibly obvious hints that Hahli and Jaller like each other, though this was back before the hugging/kissing rule was really brought in.
    • The fourth movie took place in a world where the characters weren't nonromantic cyborgs, and one of the female characters (well, the only one to ever get a spotlight, anyway), Kiina, has shown feelings toward Berix — which Word of God promptly declared to be a show of mere sympathy. However in the sequel novel, Kiina was then promoted to a romantic interest, for real, to the movie's main hero Mata Nui. But as the storyline was still targeted at a younger male audience (who, according to the creators, are still afraid of cooties), and since Mata Nui was an outcast from the no-romance world and also had to turn back into an Humongous Mecha, this "relationship" didn't last beyond one small reference in the novel.
  • Happened to Spider-Woman in the Iron Man cartoon. Considering the Merchandise-Driven nature of the show, this was assuredly so that they could give Tony Stark a love interest who could get a toy.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man inverts this in the case of Mary Jane Watson. In the comics, she's one of several Love Interests for Peter, albeit the one he finally married (until One More Day, at least). In most adaptations, most notably the movies, she's given a greater role while the others are reduced, cut or combined with her. In Spectacular she goes with Peter to a dance in her first appearance, but is otherwise just a friend—the main love interests are Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan (plus some heavy-duty flirting from Black Cat when she appears). However, there were five seasons planned and according to Word of God, Mary Jane would have eventually been promoted. Notable in that Gwen Stacy would still be alive.
  • Also Inverted in Ultimate Spider-Man where early episodes went out of their way to ship sink Peter and MJ. Given his teammates were often jerks in the first season, this led to it looking a lot like Harry Osborn was the closet thing to a love interest. However in the end Peter seems to just not be shipped with anyone by the show.
  • Inverted in Martin Mystery, where a character that serves as the protagonist's fiancee in the original comic is made his stepsister instead. Then it becomes something else.
  • In Justice League, an animated adaptation that set in the DC Animated Universe, we have Hawkgirl and Green Lantern John Stewart. In the Unlimited seasons, she went into comics canon pairing with Carter Hall, but John engaged in a relationship with Vixen, which fits this trope. Also, Huntress and the Question.
  • Almost none of the couples in the Young Justice animated series are present in the comic; Miss Martian and Superboy are paired up together despite the former being single and the latter being in a relationship with Wonder Girl II in the comic; the Artemis from the comic is a villain and never had a relationship with Kid Flash; on the other hand, Speedy and Cheshire did get together and have a daughter in the comic. Robin (Dick Grayson) and Zatanna are an interesting variation. In the series, Zatanna is a teenager roughly the same age as the rest of the main cast, rather than being around the same age as Batman. Zatanna has been a romantic interest for Batman in certain continuities (particularly the Main DCU and the DCAU). Dick and Zatanna only dated for a short time on the series anyways. The tie-in comic also reveals that he dated Rocket at some point and currently has an ill-defined thing with Batgirl.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Kid Flash is paired with Jinx, who is also a supervillain with whom he had no relationship in the comics. So apparently he has a type.
    • It's inverted with Beast Boy and Raven. While in the comics that were out at the time had them in a romantic relationship, in the cartoon they have more of a brother-sister relationship instead. Canonically. Don't tell the shippers.
    • It's inverted with Robin and Raven. During the '80s run that the show is based on, Raven had an unrequited crush on Robin. It is not present in the cartoon. They're strictly platonic on both ends.
  • Teen Titans Go! is based on the aforementioned cartoon but is set in an Alternate Universe. Raven and Beast Boy are no longer platonic, and Cyborg gets teased a lot with Jinx. Inverted with Starfire and Robin. Robin is head-over-heels for Starfire but many jokes are made about how Starfire only likes him platonically (though Depending on the Writer there are some implications she may like Robin).
  • While the episode focused on Gus and Cornchip Girl in Recess had the trappings of Star-Crossed Lovers and Dating What Daddy Hates plots, it was nothing more than Ship Tease given the characters' ages and midsets. The Japanese dub, however, simply made it an actual romance plot by titling the episode "Gus's Girlfriend."
  • Inverted in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Mario and Peach are possibly the video game Official Couple but there is no romantic implications between them in the cartoon.
  • The Legend of Zelda is cartoon infamous for this. Zelda and Link are given an Age Lift and Link is constantly asking for a kiss. In The Legend of Zelda I there is nothing to suggest anything between them besides Link saving Zelda, plus they're both in their "young" forms rather than their teenage versions.
  • In the mainstream Sonic the Hedgehog games, Amy has an unrequited crush on Sonic and is very loud about it, much to his distress. In Sonic Boom, the two are good friends and Amy keeps her crush a secret. Unlike in other continuities, Sonic is shown to also have feelings for Amy.

Alternative Title(s): Weenalized, Promotion To Love Interest

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PromotedToLoveInterest