Retronyming is the concept of modifying an object's name because the original name has changed its meaning.
When applied to a movie, TV show, video game, etc., it usually consists of adding a "1"
after the title of the first part of a series (in the case of Numbered Sequels
), or something akin. In Real Life
, this often applies to technology that has branched out from a single product. For example, the term "landline phone" didn't need to exist in 1985; there were home phones, work phones, and pay phones, but there was no need to specify that it was a hard-wired connection, because almost nobody knew of any other kind.
Happens frequently when Title: The Adaptation
is involved. Things designated as "Classic", "Original" or "1/I" are very often examples. The Original Series
is a subtrope.
Supertrope of Franchise-Driven Retitling
The Other Wiki
has an extensive article
including a link to a growing list of examples.
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Anime and Manga
- The Japanese subtitle of the first Dragon Ball Z feature film, Ora no Gohan o Kaese! ("Gimme Back My Gohan!"), wasn't used until the film's home video release.
- Many of Toei's initial film versions of their popular tokusatsu and anime franchises often got new titles when further film versions of the same franchises were made.
- The fighting style of Kenshiro's old nemesis Shin in Fist of the North Star was originally named Nanto Seiken. Subsequent stories after published after Shin was killed off introduced various branch styles of Nanto Seiken (Nanto Suichoken, Nanto Kokakuken, Nanto Hakuroken and Nanto Ho-oken), turning "Nanto Seiken" into an umbrella term for all these martial arts. When the Hokuto no Ken Special reference guide was published in 1986, Shin's style was officially declared to be "Nanto Koshuken" to distinguish it from the general term.
- The very first Sin City story was titled just that... Sin City. The series caught on, resulting in future stories containing secondary titles (i.e. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For). Even when the original story was first collected in a trade paperback format, it retained its original title. Word of God gave it the nickname The Hard Goodbye and that's what Fanon called it when discussing this particular story. When the movie came out, the collected editions added this title. Likewise, this particular sequence in the movie shares the same title. It resulted in a slightly awkward line, however. Every story name drops its own title but this one never contained the line "the hard goodbye" since that wasn't its original name. The line was added to the dialogue in the movie.
- The first Star Wars film was originally known as just that; the subtitle Episode IV: A New Hope was inserted into prints for the 1981 re-release (the first after The Empire Strikes Back). The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi have always had their respective subtitles and episode numbers in the opening plot summary. However, the original film was marketed as simply Star Wars, and the two sequels solely by their subtitles (as opposed to their episode numbers) until the release of the Prequel Trilogy. Even the 1997 Special Editions retained the old style.
- Before the release of the Prequel Trilogy, the Original Trilogy was known simply as the "The Star Wars Trilogy".
- Similarly, the video/DVD releases of Raiders of the Lost Ark retroactively retitled it "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" on their packaging, in line with the titles of the sequels. The title at the start on the movie was left unchanged though.
- When Disney brought TRON and The Muppet Movie to Blu-Ray, the cases of both flicks had the subtitle "The Original Classic," so people could distinguish them from TRON: Legacy and the 2011 The Muppets movie.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black
- TV broadcast prints of State Fair started using the title It Happened One Summer when the 1960s remake came out. Eventually, the critical and financial failures of the remake lessened the chances of mistaking the older movie for it, so this retronym became discarded.
- Starship Troopers has Rico's narration call military sailors on the ocean "wet navy", to disambiguate them from the Space Navy that operates the starships; other SF authors have used this as well. No term is established for what ordinary ground soldiers are called to separate them from mobile infantry. "Sitting ducks" comes to mind.
- The first series of Warrior Cats was called simply Warriors (or Warrior Cats, depending on where you live). Now that there are several other arcs out, all under the same series name, fans have taken to calling the first series "The Original Series" or "The First Arc".
- In-universe example: it is a plot point in one Encyclopedia Brown mystery that the First Battle of Bull Run would not have been called such until after the second.
- In-universe inversion: in A Song of Ice and Fire, reigning monarchs in Westeros not named after an ancestor are optimistically styled "the First of His Name" (as in, "King Robert Baratheon, the First of His Name") under the assumption that their dynasty will both continue to rule and name future monarchs after them. It's not looking good for either Robert or his "sons," Kings Joffrey and Tommen of the Houses Lannister and Baratheon, the First of Their Respective Names, to be commemorated this way.
Live Action Television
- Later reruns of Good Morning Miss Bliss were renamed Saved By The Bell: The Junior High Years after the success of Saved by the Bell.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- In the first Kamen Rider TV series, Takeshi Hongō was not known as Kamen Rider No. 1 until Kamen Rider No. 2 (Hayato Ichimonji) was introduced.
- In the later 1979 series, the new Kamen Rider from that show was forced to adopt the moniker of Sky Rider when the Riders from the previous shows were reintroduced during the series. The name of the show itself remained simply Kamen Rider during the remainder of its original run, but later reruns and home video releases were shown as Shin Kamen Rider (The New Masked Rider) and then as Kamen Rider: Sky Rider to avoid confusion with the straight-to-video movie Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue.
- The earlier TV shows in the franchise became known as the "Showa Kamen Rider Series" following the introduction of the "Heisei Kamen Rider Series" that began with Kamen Rider Kuuga.
- The original Megazord from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers later became known as the "Dino Megazord" to distinguish it from its successors, although the name was mainly used for the 2010 reissue of the toy.
- The Ultrabeing from Return of Ultraman was given several nicknames to distinguish him from the original Ultraman until he was officially called "Ultraman Jack" in the Ultraman Zoffy movie.
- This is quite common when it comes to reality TV shows getting more seasons, usually this is just done by putting a '1' on the end (Like The Amazing Race but certain shows have done differently to match later season themes, usually by adding the place onto the end where the show was filmed.
- The first season of Survivor has since been named Survivor: Borneo.
- The first season of The Real World has since been renamed The Real World: New York.
- Doctor Who episodes from 1963-1989 are now frequently referred to as "classic" Doctor Who, to differentiate from the new episodes since 2005.
- After it became clear that future seasons would follow an anthology format (meaning that every year would focus on a new cast in new situations), the first season of American Horror Story was given the subtitle of Murder House to differentiate it from Season 2 (titled Asylum) and Season 3 (Coven).
- Colossal Cave Adventure — originally just called "Adventure"; called what it is now so as not to be confused with other games, inc. the Atari 2600 classic.
- The first Battletoads game for the Game Boy was not a port of the NES original, but an entirely new game. When the NES game was later ported to the Game Boy, it was retitled Battletoads in Ragnarok's World.
- The original Command & Conquer was given the subtitle "Tiberian Dawn" after the release of Tiberian Sun, to help differentiate them from the Red Alert sub-series.
- The canceled first version of Resident Evil 2 was retitled Resident Evil 1.5 to distinguish it from the actually released game.
- Mission: Thunderbolt was rereleased as JauntTrooper: Mission Thunderbolt.
- The PSP version of Star Ocean is known as Star Ocean 1: First Departure.
- The original The Legend of Zelda was re-released in Japan under the title of Zelda no Densetsu 1.
- Sierra's 1990 Updated Rereleases of the first King's Quest and Space Quest games were referred to as King's Quest I and Space Quest I, respectively.
- The episodic videogames Sam & Max Save the World and Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space were originally called Sam & Max: Season One and Sam & Max: Season Two.
- Lampshaded in one of The Simpsons's Halloween specials. The story takes place in the 1930s depression era, where Grandpa Simpson states that times haven't been this bad since World War One. This leads Lenny to remark why he keeps calling it that, followed by his response "Oh, you'll see!"
- In a regular episode, during one of his long boring stories, Grandpa explains that they used to call WW1, "International Civil War 2".
- The Return of Jafar, the Pilot Movie for Aladdin: The Series, came to DVD with a case adding Aladdin's name at the beginning of the title.
- PlayStation One (also known as PS1 or the Updated Re-release PSOne)
- An inversion: the original PlayStation was once commonly referred by the gaming media as the PSX, a holdover from its development days back when it was called the "PlayStation X". Sony later used the PSX name for a DVD-R recorder that played Play Station 1 and PlayStation 2 games, much to the confusion of people who still used the PSX abbreviation when referring to the original PlayStation.
- The first two Super Bowls were known at the time as the AFL-NFL Championship Game. The catchier name came about when one of the team owners saw his child playing with a rubber toy called a Super Ball.
- Acoustic guitar (only called such after the electric kind was invented)
- Corded phone and landline
- Terrestrial radio (which would've been an oxymoron if "satellite radio" hadn't been invented)
- Analog broadcasting (only called such after digital broadcasting became conceivable)
- Similarly, there's black-and-white television (compared to color), broadcast TV (compared to cable/satellite), and standard definition (compared to High Definition).
- Which is interesting, as the first electric televisions were called "high-definition" to distinguish them from earlier mechanical televisions, leading to this◊ odd plaque.
- Any food with "original flavor" included on the label
- Coca-Cola Classic
- NapoleonicWars - known as 'The Great War' in its own time, that title was taken by World War One.
- World War I (known at the time as "The Great War", "The World War", or "The War to End All War" until the sequel came out). Perhaps ironically it was still occasionally called "The First World War" before the second world war happened, because it was truly the first war of its like in history at that time, not because anyone was sure there'd be a second. (Though given what Ferdinand Foch said about the Treaty of Versailles, at least a few people were sure there would be a second.)
- Still photography ("still" wasn't necessary until video cameras became common in American homes.)
- Snail mail (once e-mailing was invented)
- "Internal combustion engine" appears to be a near-future example. The term is creeping up in technical conversations as electric cars, hybrid drives, and alternative fuels become more common. Internal combustion was on the other side of this when it was the new technology; up until then all "engines" in common use were external combustion steam engines.
- Incandescent light bulbs. Technically, that's always been their proper name, but no-one ever called them that because there weren't any other kinds available.
- The iPod was originally called just that. While other models branched out, the core iPod line was still called iPod, until the arrival of the Video iPod. Then, when the iPod Touch came out, the Video iPod was renamed to iPod Classic (likely because other models can play videos now).
- Manual anything, when a power/electric/automatic/etc version is introduced.
- CRTnote computer monitors were simply "monitors" until LCD monitors became widespread.
- The regnal numbers of kings, queens and popes tend to follow this convention officially. Elizabeth I of England, for instance, only became Elizabeth I in 1953 when there was an Elizabeth II, and Stephen, John, Jane Grey, Anne and Victoria still have no regnal numbers. The current (as of 2013) Pope is, likewise, just Francis, and will not become Francis I until another Pope takes up that name.
- Describing an album as being available "on vinyl" has come into use since C Ds became the mainstream music medium. Presumably some slang term will soon exist for music available on hard copy over the counter rather than being downloaded.