Spared by the Adaptation

"Pssh, yeah, like I'm gonna die in a place like that!"
Lt. Virgil, Xenosaga: The Animation.

Both an adaptation trope and a death trope, Spared by the Adaptation refers to cases where a character who died in the source material does not die in the adaptation.

The reasons behind these occurrences vary. Perhaps the Media Watchdogs, Executive Meddling, and/or the creator wanted to make it Lighter and Softer than the original. Maybe the character was a fan favorite and the crew wanted to appease the fan base. Maybe the death stood out as especially pointless, and people in charge took it as a given that life is cruel and unfair so they didn't need to kill a beloved character just to make that point to the audience yet again. Maybe the events where it happens are cut for other reasons. The sky's the limit as for why this happens, which probably explains why it happens so often.

Likely to occur during a Gecko Ending where the adaptation is made before the original is even finished.

Compare with Schrödinger's Cast where a character's fate is different from the source material, but the source material is still ongoing (which may create the need for the adaptors to do a drastic rewrite if the character in question, or their averted death, becomes important later on in the source material).

Contrast with Death by Adaptation, where a character dies in the adaptation, but not in the source material.

Warning: This is a death (or lack thereof) trope and will contain unmarked spoilers. Read the examples at your own risk.


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     Comic Books 
  • IDW's New-Trek-Movie-verse version of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Operation: Annihilate!" spares Captain Kirk's brother George and George's wife Aurelan from being killed by the neural parasites. In the original, George Kirk was dead before the Enterprise ever arrived, and Aurelan didn't last much longer.
    • Dr Elizabeth Dehner also survives the IDW version of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", simply by not being there. (She gets namechecked as having turned down the Enterprise posting because of a past relationship with Dr McCoy - who, of course, wasn't yet the CMO in the original timeline.)
    • All the redshirts in IDW's take on "The Apple", titled "The Redshirt's Tale". The original bumped off four of them; the comic is a Lower-Deck Episode from the perspective of Hendorff (the first one killed in the original, who in IDW continuity is also the security officer who fights Kirk in the movie). At the end, the four are toasting their survival and speculating that in another universe, they might not have made it.
  • In Perry, after the death of Thora, Perry Rhodan entered a permanent relationship with Auris of La-Thor, which lasted until the end of the original comic book series and beyond. In the original pulps, her model Auris of Las-Toór and Perry Rhodan felt attracted to each other, but she was killed (in the fifth issue in which she appeared) before they could get anywhere romantically.
  • The '"Director's Cut" miniseries of "The Clone Saga" sees both Ben Reilly and Baby May survive the events of the story. Despite the former being Retconned as being replaced and never actually having died and the latter resurrected, Aunt May and Doctor Octopus could count, too, since they also died during the Clone Saga.
  • In The Official Comics Adaption of Return of the Jedi Yoda still says he's dying, but Luke merely leaves him to rest according to the narration. There is still the ghost scene at the end, except that it is just one of several bonus pictures following the narrative, so readers might not actually realize that Yoda has also become a ghost.
  • Marvel Comics had a lot of fun with this with Baldur, the Norse god who was made invulnerable to everything but mistletoe, only to be killed with it by Loki. In the Marvel version (where he is a warrior-god called Baldur the Brave) Baldur's death would trigger Ragnarok, so preventing his death is high on Odin's priority. When Loki slays him with the mistletoe arrow, he's Only Mostly Dead, and Odin prevents true death by creating a shield around Baldur's pyre, preventing his soul from departing; then, after most of the Asgardians die at the hands of the Celestials, Thor brings all of them, Baldur included, back to life with potions of life energy they donated. (This would not be the last close call for Baldur, but curiously, he's one of the few surviving deities left at the present time, after the villainous Mikaboshi broke into the Celestial Axis and waged an assault on every Earth pantheon.
  • In the comic adaptation of X2: X-Men United, Jason Stryker actually lives whereas in the movie he's left for dead when the dam begins to collapse. Jean Grey also never has to perform her Heroic Sacrifice and escapes with the other X-Men on the Blackbird, much like in the novelization.
  • In the 1955 Dell Four-Color Mowgli, adapting Kipling's story "The King's Ankus", the last four men to find the eponymous jewelled object are defeated by Mowgli with the help of Hathi the elephant and Mowgli is able to take it back. In the original story, the four men are already dead when Mowgli finds them, poisoned by food prepared by a man they had already killed.
  • The comic continuation of the Justice League cartoon reveals that Queen survived her apparent death in the episode "Wild Cards."
  • In pre-Crisis Superman stories, Ma and Pa Kent are Posthumous Characters who passed away when Clark was in college; post-Crisis has them alive and well as members of the supporting cast.
  • Likewise, both Queen Karnilla and the Grey Gargoyle appear to die near the end of the first season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, but are revealed alive in the tie-in comic.
  • Batman Eternal reveals that, unlike their pre-Flashpoint incarnations, Carmine Falcone and Deacon Blackfire are alive in the present day, whereas Falcone's pre-Flashpoint incarnation was killed by Two-Face at the end of The Long Halloween (and hence early in Batman's career) and Deacon Blackfire's only appearance between his debut in Batman: The Cult and the reboot is as a Black Lantern.
  • In Knockabout's comicbook adaptation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, illustrated by Hunt Emerson, one of many disconnects between the text and the illustrations is that the albatross isn't dead, and spends the rest of the story as a Deadpan Snarker. This has no effect on the curse.
  • In Kevin Van Hook's adaptation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Riff Raff doesn't kill Columbia, though she's never seen again after she takes control of the camera when Frank sings "I'm Going Home".
  • An interesting example is given in Teen Titans Go!, the comic book tie-in to the Teen Titans animated series. The 45th issue, which revealed the origins of Cyborg and Beast Boy, established that Cyborg's mother helped his father fit him with his bionic parts after the accident that injured him. Cyborg's mother died in the same accident that injured him in the original comics and was also implied to be deceased in the cartoon the comic was based on in the episode "The End".
  • IDW's Back To The Future Comic shows that Marshall Strickland is still alive after the events of Back to the Future Part III. Though Buford shoots him in a Deleted Scene so his death was likely non-canon.

    Fan Works 
  • Deconstructed in For Want of a Nail fic Better Angels when Shane Walsh outlives Rick Grimes following the Walker Invasion at Hershel's farm. Shane kills Rick and the only people alive suspicious of him are Glenn, Daryl, and Lori. Accusations against him combined with grief over murdering his best friend put Shane at odds with Daryl and Lori, but he is still forced to take over Rick's role as leader when the group begins a journey into Season 3's setting, the prison. Rick's death prevents the group from learning the truth about reanimation and Shane's ruthlessness inevitably puts the group on a darker path than when Rick was alive and Shane wasn't.
  • Many Bleach works invert this, mostly due to the seeming immortality of the main characters. Downfall and Hammered Down are interesting examples because the former has a large percentage of the backstory characters alive and well, others die, though - Hammered down starts plays this somewhat straighter.
  • Trisha Elric in Doctor Who: The Manga
  • A good percentage of fix fics fall under this trope; mainly done if the character in question was a fan favorite.
    • Many Harry Potter fics set after the series will just depict Fred or Snape alive, even if that's not the main point of the story.
  • Professor Quirrell in A Very Potter Musical. And Dumbledore.
  • Particularly popular in Naruto Fan Fics is Haku—Zabuza is spared half the time too, but not as often and almost never without Haku.
    • Haku and the Third Hokage (at least so far) in Team 8. However, in the latter case, he lost an arm and was forced to step down as Hokage.
      • While Sarutobi has survived in a number of stories that cover the canon timeframe, these are rarely serious stories (Lucillia usually spares him in her more comedic narratives, but he usually dies in the dramatic ones) - outside of the need for drama, his death in canon leads to Tsunade's succeeding him, and fanfic writers have commented that giving both characters a role in the story after this point is difficult (which is probably why ''Team 8 forces him to retire so that Tsunade can succeed him anyway).
    • Haku and Zabuza both survive in Fly Free. So far, the story seems fairly lighthearted, though the advent of the Chunin Exams arc seems like it may change that.
    • Following Neji's death in the 4th Shinobi World War Arc, fans have started to spare him in fanworks; Shikaku, Inoichi, Ao and Mabui are harder because of circumstances (and require a vaster plot changed), but Neji can be saved if someone else is Taking the Bullet in the scene where he dies.
      • Some also spare Asuma from his death at Hidan's hands - Dead Garden hasn't actually reached his point of death yet, the Time Skip being yet to happen, but Hidan's death in the first story arc has ensured that if Asuma does still die, it would be very different to canon anyway.
    • Kushina and Mikoto (Sasuke's mother) have also been treated to this trope, whether the work in question covers the canon timeline, is set in a universe where one change to the plot altered the continuity, or is set in a whole different universe altogether. Both of them are alive and well in the High School A.U. fic Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, Kushina is alive but crippled in Dead Garden (where the Kyuubi was sealed into Sakura instead of Naruto), and Mikoto is the main character of One Small Kindness (set around the time of the Uchiha Massacre).
  • Iris and Colonel get this treatment invoked on them in Burning Stickman Presents...Something! by one of the main characters. Said protagonist is Trapped in a Video Game and is well aware of exactly which game he's in, so he takes steps to prevent their deaths and knocks the games' plot Off the Rails in the process.
  • Nihlus in Renegade. Since the MacGuffin on Eden Prime is a Tacitus, rather than a Prothean beacon, Saren is carrying it around with him; Nihlus notices and is about to turn and ask Saren about it when the latter tries to shoot him in the head. Thanks to the movement, though, it's not as deadly as it "should" have been.
  • Evangelion fan manga RE-TAKE does this with Touji. As Shinji knows that Touji will die if he's hesitant when Unit-3 is taken over, he manages to cripple the Eva without kill Touji. However, Touji is still Put on a Bus for the next two chapters because his injuries. Kaji also survives, though it's not made clear if Shinji's actions had anything to do with it or he survived in this timeline's series of events without Shinji doing anything.
  • In Game Theory (Fan Fic), Precia and Alicia Testarossa. Although the latter is not so much spared as brought Back from the Dead.
    • It should also be mentioned Linith is still alive in the story.
  • In the Attack on Titan/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover story Attack on Titan: The Ponies from Afar, Petra and Auruo were rescued from their canonical deaths thanks to Spike and Rainbow Dash respectively. Less importantly, a minor character, Dieter's friend Ivan, isn't killed thanks to Applejack and Twilight Sparkle and the dead bodies aren't left to be abandoned.
  • In Mercenaries of Fortune, a squadron of highly-trained soldiers are able to reach Saki Konishi and get her out of the TV world before the fog clears up, preventing her untimely demise in the original story.
  • In Worldwar: War of Equals, both Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi live much longer than they did in OTL.
  • A few cases in System Restore
    • The fic's entire premise is based around Togami tripping while rushing over to prevent the first murder, resulting in Hanamura killing Komaeda.
    • On a lesser scale, Koizumi has survived through Chapter 2, when she was murdered in canon, and when the murder victims of Chapter 3 are discovered, neither are the canonical victims; Mioda and Saionji.
  • The crossover between Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon Fist Of The Moon does this with ''one-third of the Earth's population''. Advancements in technology save billions of lives in the Great Freeze.
  • Wally West in many Young Justice fanfics that take place after the Grand Finale.
    • Young Justice: Darkness Falls uses the explanation of Wally being covert zeta beamed off planet by Darkseid as a way to gain metas for his control.
      • Young Justice Titans also gives this treatment to the Aquababy. Aquaman's son is alive and well in Atlantis, and even old enough to interact with others, as opposed to being killed by Black Manta.
  • Played with in regards to Amon in the The Legend of Korra fic Forced To Be A Family; he survives the first arc, but is taken into custody by the police and slated for execution shortly thereafter.
  • In BioShock: Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Guy, Langford died in the game after Ryan found out she was working with Jack and gassed her office, suffocating her. In this story, which is an alternate re-telling with a new protagonist, she survives thanks to Mark having the foresight to realize how paranoid Ryan is and reaching her office in time just as the gas was being turned on. Using his weapons to blow a hole into her office and pull her out. Elizabeth, following her role in the Bioshock Infinite DLC game Burial at Sea, somehow survives her last meeting with Fontaine whereas at the end of the game he brutally beat her to death with wrench.
  • Latios from Pokémon Heroes survives the outcome of the movie's events in A New Chance At Life thanks to a soul-bonding technique with Ash and Latias in a First Episode Resurrection. The rest of the fic deals with Ash traveling the rest of his journey in Johto with the Eon Dragons.
  • In The King Nobody Wanted, the Tower of Joy incident does not occur leaving all participants, and Lyanna, thus far alive.
  • The Little Pony Legend While most of the comings and goings are replicated note by note, there are 2 characters whom the author decided to give life to rather than death: Queen Hou-Ting, and P'Li.
    • The author also allows the Makorra ship to stay afloat from the end of Book 2 onwards.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic Build Your Wings on the Way Down, Nina Tucker was spared when Edward managed to reverse her chimera transformation and return her back to normal. She is then Happily Adopted by the Hughes since her father died.
  • Cycles Upon Cycles: In this Mass Effect cross with StarCraft, Nihilus survives the battle on Eden Prime as does Jenkins. Nihilus then becomes the Normandy's quick pass through Citadel space and Jenkins becomes head of their Piranha force. And as of Legacy of the Void Zeratul as well.
  • Aftermath Of The Games: The Human version of Applejack's parents are alive and well. She and Human Apple Bloom were horrified when they discovered from Princess Twilight that their pony counterparts were dead.
  • An in-universe example happens in Digimon 02 The Story We Never Told where in TK's initial draft (aka Digimon Adventure 02), Ken survives to the very end, with him having a successful career where in reality, he gets murdered by Oikawa right before they escape from the Dark World.
  • In The Sunsetverse, Applejack's mother is still alive.
  • Candy For Your Thoughts spares Cody's alien clone, of all people. He becomes the antagonist of the Area 51 episode and appears a few other times in the story, as a hammy, super-powered villain with some of Cody's personality traits.

  • Honor Harrington is Horatio Nelson In Space! Except Honor lives through the IN SPACE! version of Nelson's final battle, as found in At All Costs. due to some last minute changes and going Off the Rails. She was suppose to die in At All Costs until David Weber was convinced to move the next generation plot up about 20 years.
  • Possibly the cook in the novelization of Titan A.E. At the very least, their death occurs off-screen.
  • A Bambi read-along book never mentions the death of his mother. Now, she COULD have died, but it just jumps from Winter to Spring and Bambi being grown up with no deaths. She just disappears.
    • Another storybook, this time based on The Princess and the Frog, actually does not mention Ray the firefly's death at all!
    • Some storybooks based on Cars 2 actually leave out the deaths of Rod "Torque" Redline, Leland Turbo, and Tony Trihull. Also, one LEGO playset based on that movie had Leland Turbo's cube drawn in a way so it now shows his pitiful eyes, suggesting that he is still alive even as a cube.
    • In fact, a lot of tie-in Disney storybooks tend to leave out the deaths of important characters, which occasionally result in plot holes, especially if the death is related to the plot. An inversion would be in some tie-in storybooks based on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, King Kashekhim Nedakh's death is not mentioned at all, yet we still see his daughter ____ as a Queen at the end.
  • Youth adaptations of 11th-century Welsh legend How Culhwch Won Olwen cut out the death of Ysbaddaden the giant, skipping straight to the wedding. This is strange because Ysbaddaden's curse - that he will die once his daughter marries - is why he sends Culhwch on the impossible Engagement Challenge to begin with.
  • The novelization of Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Wheelie and Megatron surviving. In the film Wheelie goes down with a Decepticon ship he sabotaged, and Megatron is killed in a final confrontation with Optimus Prime.
  • In the MAD parody/adaptation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Wreck of the Hesperus, both the skipper and his daughter survive the wreck, with the latter still tied to a broken-off 20-foot-tall mainmast (!) and bringing back the former from his frozen state.
  • The novelization of X2: X-Men United spares Jean Grey because of Fridge Logic: why did she have to leave the plane to levitate it to safety? Instead she levitates it from the inside and gets saved with everyone else.
  • The novelization of X-Men: The Last Stand reveals that Psylocke survived the movie's gratuitous Kill 'em All ending.
  • Takanuva in the novelization of BIONICLE: Mask of Light is spared his brief Disney Death, the cause and reversal of which weren't even explained in the animated movie. Also, in Web of Shadows, Roodaka orders a bunch of Visorak spiders to jump down from the top of the Coliseum to make a point. In the movie, they fall to their deaths, but in the novelization, they land on a nearby balcony.
  • The 14th century English poem Sir Orfeo is a Setting Update of Orpheus and Euridyce from Greek Mythology which does this to "Heurodis" twice. At the start, she is abducted by The Fair Folk instead of dying from a snakebite and going to The Underworld, and at the end, Orfeo succeeds in rescuing her.
  • The novelisation of Forbrydelsen (The Killing in English-speaking markets) changes Meyer's fate as the Sacrificial Lion: instead of dying from his gunshot wounds, he's left paralysed for life. The effect on Lund is still as major, though, considering in the novel he openly blames her for the loss of his mobility, which also indirectly costs him the job he loves and the active life he enjoyed with his wife and daughters.
  • Some adaptations of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, including the aforementioned Fantasia 2000 retelling, spare the romantic leads.
  • At the end of the Novelization of the Doctor Who story "Shada" all Skarga's victims are restored to new bodies on an alien planet.
  • The novelization of Civil War ends with Captain America imprisoned for his crimes, rather than assassinated as part of a plot by the Red Skull.
  • The junior novelization of Jurassic World spares one ACU trooper who gets killed in the movie. In the film, he's shooting at Indominus rex but she keeps coming at him despite him unloading his assault rifle into her and eats him. In the book, his gunfire successfully drives her away and he survives.


  • When Agatha Christie wrote the play adaptation of Ten Little Indians a.k.a. And Then There Were None, she changed the ending so that Vera Claythorne and Phillip Lombard both survive. It's helped by the fact that there are different versions of the poem the murderer bases the killings on, with different endings (one of which sounds much cheerier than the "hanged themself" ending actually used in the original book).
  • According to contemporary sources, Euripides had the title character and Haemon survive in his (now lost) Antigone.
  • In Thomas Lodge's novel Rosalynd, usurping Duke Torismund dies in a forest battle at the end. When William Shakespeare adapted Rosalynd into the play known as As You Like It, he spared the Duke, now named Frederick, by having him find religion and make an offscreen Heel–Face Turn. This is probably because the Duke is the father of one of the heroines, who loves him very much and is deeply sad that he's so evil; killing him off would ruin the gleeful party atmosphere of the quadruple wedding at the end.
  • Babes in the Wood is a popular British Christmas pantomime, based on a seventeenth-century ballad. Both versions tell of how an Evil Uncle arranges for his orphaned niece and nephew to be murdered, only for the killers to lose heart and abandon them in the wild woods instead. The pantomime then tells of their rescue, usually by the fairy folk, or by friends of Robin Hood. In the ballad, they have a more likely fate: they die of exposure and hunger after a few days.
  • In the film Big Fish, Don Prince, Edward Bloom's high school nemesis, loses his fiancee to Edward and later dies an absolutely humiliating death when his bad heart gives out in his twenties. In the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation, he not only lives, he becomes Mayor of his hometown and ultimately buries the hatchet with Edward. The Witch is also made far younger in this version, enabling her to outlive Edward and attend his funeral at the end (as does Don).
  • Captain Vere in the opera version of Billy Budd. In the book he's shot in a battle, in the opera he lives to old age and the whole story is his flashback.
    • ...although at least one production (in Hamburg) had him slitting his wrists in the Epilogue, and there have also been productions in which he's played as a ghost during the Prologue and Epilogue.
  • City of Angels: In-universe, Stine is mad at Buddy Fidler for changing the screenplay of the Film Noir adapted from his novel to let Mallory Kingsley survive. (The actress playing her apparently arranged this by way of Buddy's notorious Casting Couch.) Her brother Peter is implied to have escaped death due to more meddling.
  • Clarisse in the adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. In the book she's abruptly mentioned to have been hit by a car. The movie adaptation had her survive and join the party at the end, and author Ray Bradbury approved and so used that ending for the play version of his book.
  • In Sholheim Alechim's Tevye and his Daughters, Tevye's wife Golde, his son-in-law Motel, and fourth daughter Shprintze, are dead by the last story. The musical Fiddler on the Roof has them all remain alive at the end.
  • In The Golden Apple, as in many other adaptations of The Odyssey, Penelope's suitors are spared. This particular adaptation, however, gives them no individual characterization and nothing to do other than hang around and try to convince Penelope to remarry. Paris and Hector also survive as Karma Houdinis, though their roles are greatly different.
  • In Golden Boy, Lorna is reported to have died offstage with Joe in the original play's ending, but lives to mourn him in The Musical's final scene.
  • When composer Ambroise Thomas adapted Hamlet, he actually wanted to keep the title character alive; he was originally supposed to kill Claudius, then sing that he was still depressed, but had a kingdom to rule. It was eventually impressed on him that the audience would not be pleased by this, but he still left Polonius and Gertrude standing in the final version.
  • The stage play adaptation of His Dark Materials, Lee Scoresby is absent from the later part of the story, and as such he doesn't die, and Lyra and Will do not meet him in the world of the dead.
  • There's a stage version of The Hobbit in which Thorin survives the final battle.
  • In the Mozart opera Idomeneo, unlike the classical myth it is based on, Neptune intervenes and has Idomeneo spare his son's life.
  • In Les Misérables, Madame Thénardier lives and gets off scot free. In the original novel, she died in prison.
  • Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Inverted with Mushnik, Audrey and the entire human race, who don't die in the original. (And then played straight again in the film based on the musical, where Audrey and the human race are spared.)
  • Emilia doesn't get killed in the Verdi-Boïto opera Otello, mostly because its Compressed Adaptation of Shakespeare's text leaves no time for minor characters to have death scenes. Some productions have Iago stab her as she flees, though nothing remains in the libretto to suggest this.
  • As in most adaptations, Fagin survives in the musical Oliver! and also escapes; in the original ending he decides to clean up his act, although the Alternate Ending (used for the movie) has he and the Artful Dodger decide to continue their life of crime.
  • In RENT, Mimi survives her brush with death, unlike the Mimi of La Bohème.
  • Romeo and Juliet:
    • In The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, the source material for Shakespeare's version, the Apothecary is hanged and both the Nurse and Friar Lawrence are exiled for their roles in the tragedy. Shakespeare's Downer Ending didn't go this far, and they receive no punishment.
    • Some productions do this to Paris by cutting the scene where he gets killed.
  • In the screenplay adaptation of The Shadow by E. Schwartz, the writer is brought Back from the Dead.
  • The musical Show Boat let Andy and Parthy survive into the final scenes. In Edna Ferber's novel (and the 1929 film, which mostly followed the novel) Andy is drowned in a storm and Parthy later dies during the Time Skip. Also in the novel, Ravenal is never seen again after leaving his family; he and Magnolia are ultimately reunited in all adaptations.
  • Tobacco Road: The play adaptation omits the book's ending where Jeeter Lester inadvertently burns down his house while he lies sleeping inside. However, it's still a Downer Ending for Jeeter, who has been crushed by a Trauma Conga Line and realizes that his life is essentially worthless.
  • West Side Story, which is based on Romeo and Juliet, spares Maria, who is its version of Juliet. (The characters who are versions of Romeo, Mercutio, and Tybalt all still die.)
  • Wicked: Elphaba, the protagonist, and Fiyero, her love interest, are spared their grisly deaths from the book and live "happily ever after" at the end of the musical. Also, Funny Animal goat professor Doctor Dillamond, escapes his death, instead turning into an ordinary, non-sentient goat, while antagonist Madame Morrible is merely imprisoned in the end rather than killed off. In fact, almost everyone in the book who dies either lives or never existed in the musical.

    Video Games 
  • A number of Video Game Remakes and Updated Rereleases include a sidequest or 100% Completion feature that allow you to save a popular character who was Doomed by Canon in the original game (usually in cases where the death was meaningless to the plot, and sometimes they even allow you to change the plot entirely by saving the character, giving you a different endgame).
    • Among the characters who died in the original version of Persona 3 were Chidori and Shinjiro, both of whom developed strong fan followings. When the game was remade as Persona 3: FES, a sidequest was added to allow you to save the former, then when the game was remade again for the PSP, another sidequest was added to save the latter. The frustrating thing is that both of these are pure Guide Dang It and the latter is only possible if you chose the female main character, so it's missable from the very first choice in the game.
    • The remake of Dragon Quest IV gives you the option of redeeming and recruiting Saro, the Tragic Villain Big Bad, and joining forces to fight The Starscream who was really responsible for the whole damn mess.
    • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, the remake of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, has Maxim and Selan surviving in the New Game+ ending, although it seems to be pretty explicitly an alternate timeline or simply a vision granted to Erim by Duel Blade.
    • The PS2 rerelease of Phantasy Star II allows you to restore Nei back to life, thereby thumbing your nose at her extremely cruel Plotline Death in the original. It involves a very convoluted and difficult process, but good God is it ever worth it.
    • The Wii release of Dead Rising, Chop Till You Drop, let you save the gun shop owner Cletus, whereas in the original game you had to kill him as part of a boss battle. Likewise, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record has a divergent plot from the original Dead Rising 2, where Rebecca Chang becomes Frank's love interest and survives the game, whereas Stacey turns out to be the Big Bad and is killed in the finale.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth: First, Gandalf faces off the Balrog and wins, continuing down the road alongside the rest of Fellowship. Then, possibly because of that, Boromir survives the skirmish on Amon Hen and accompanies Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas throughout Rohan, Helm's Deep and eventually returns home to Minas Tirith. Then Théoden can survive the battle of Minas Tirith and will continue leading Rohan's army.
    • According to Word of God when the game was in development, whether or not those two survived was meant to be up to the player's abilities. They can still die, but if you're careful they'll survive instead.
      • Saving Boromir is optional, but he appears in later levels either way.
  • Several throughout the Star Wars video game adaptations:
    • Greedo and Jabba in Yoda Stories (at least in the Game Boy version).
    • In Rebel Assault, the final mission is a retelling of the Death Star battle from Episode IV. At the end of this mission, many more starfighters are seen to have survived the battle (at least eight in the game, as opposed to two X-Wings and a Y-Wing in the film).
    • Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles loosely tells Episode I's story as an action game, but with two notable differences. The first is Mace Windu and some other Jedi are fighting alongside Obi-Wan and Qui Gon the entire time. The second? Qui Gon lives.
    • Mace Windu vanishes from LEGO Star Wars after Grievous' flagship crashlands on Coruscant.
  • Rather Dashing in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
  • The NES Rambo game based on First Blood Part II allows the player to save Rambo's Vietnamese love interest Co from the grasp of death by ignoring her completely after Rambo escapes from the Vietnamese prison camp. Since talking to NPCs serve as save points, it makes sense from a playing standpoint.
  • The NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge has a new ending where Billy's girlfriend Marian is restored to life, whereas in the original arcade version she remained dead.
  • The Advanced V.G. series puts a different spin on the trope, by sparing Kaori from being raped, rather than killed. In the original H-Games, she advanced to the finals of the previous two tournaments, but lost both times to Reimi Jahana. So she had to suffer the penalty, meaning, she was publicly raped by members of the audience. TGL rebooted the series years later, by removing the hentai aspects entirely and axed the part about Kaori being raped.
  • The fate of Randam Hajile is left ambiguous in the original floppy disk versions of Snatcher. The later CD-ROM versions of the game killed him off for good, but SD Snatcher actually kept him alive until the very end.
  • The first Reinforce is alive and a playable character in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games. However, Hayate's ending in the first game suggests that she will fade from existence in the near future.
  • Several of the video game adaptations of Alien³ allow Ellen Ripley (the main heroine of the series) to remain alive at the end of the game, and disregard the plotline about being infected by a facehugger. The NES adaptation ends with her simply leaving the facility after she completes the final mission (and presumably escaping via unknown means), while the Game Boy adaptation ends with her using Bishop's body to fix the controls of the EEV and travel back to Gateway Station.
  • While it's not a straight-up adaptation, all of Grimmjow's Fraccion in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom survive the raid on Karakura town. Subverted in that they do die later on (D-Roy and Nakeem in a raid on Soul Society, and the rest protecting Las Noches).
  • The good ending for the video game adaptation of Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream allows the player to completely avert the grisly fate that befalls the cast in the original story. The ending sees AM truly destroyed by the protagonists, with humanity seemingly restored thanks to a conveniently-revealed cryogenics facility filled with humans who could potentially repopulate the devastated Earth.
  • The Game Boy game Gremlins Unleashed plays around oddly with the trope. In the final boss against Spike in Gizmo's story, his defeat leads to his usual death animation. The ending cutscene after however shows him alive, humiliatingly captured by Gizmo. Similarly Spike kills Gizmo in his final boss battle, but the ending cutscene instead has him stuffing the still alive Gizmo's face with food as a nearby clock counts to midnight, implying an ill fate for the mogwi.
  • The Super Robot Wars franchise is the king of this trope. While many characters are usually brought back to life as hidden characters, there are a few who actually live due to this trope. Amongst those are Amuro Ray, who is saved from his Heroic Sacrifice in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack during Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, and Flay Allster who must be rescued and subverts the events that lead to her death in Super Robot Wars W.
    • There is one guy who just can't make up his mind on if he wants to live or die in these games: Gai Daigouji, who, in six games the Nadesico series's shown up in (Advance, Reverse, Judgement, Impact, MX and W), two he lives all the way through, three he's an optional character and one he STAYS dead!
      • The Evangelion cast has a much much happier and better existence in SRW, and most of the sympathetic characters live. Ritsuko always dies in any game that finishes the End of Evangelion plot. Only in L was she spared because nobody died in L on account of the Eva plot ending shortly after Asuka showed up. Kaji also usually doesn't make it, although he also survived L for the same reason, and unlike Ritsuko he made it through MX. Gendo always dies, but he arguably deserves it. Mitsato, and at least one of the Rei's always make it, and the Bridge Bunnies always survive although they're never seen again after getting Tanged in Alpha 3. 3rd Impact is always averted, and in a way that doesn't end with Shinji and Asuka alone in a world of Tang.
      • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Lee Linjun dies aboard his ship when he stupidly tries to use it to take down the Kurogane. In the Enhanced Remake, Super Robot Wars Original Generations, his ship is merely crippled in the same scene, not destroyed, which allows him to escape. The Anime of the Game, Super Robot Wars Original Generation: The Inspector, also spares him by keeping him from having his Face–Heel Turn.
      • Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden features a lot of these and an eventually subverted inversion. When they chose to adapt the OVA into game form in the bonus section of Original Generations, the segment ended in Lamia, who survived the OVA, getting shot down dead by Wilhelm von Juergen and thrown off to space, left for the dead, making her seemingly an inversion of the trope. The actual game later revealed that she actually survived, picked up by Duminuss then Brainwashed and Crazy to play the Master Asia part of Reversal. She gets better... and later on, the game pulls a massive straight playing on some of Compact 3 cast, including Fernando Albark, Alion Lucada and Maysis Mark, when you compare to the original where every originals except Folka died. And the game also pulls a surprise one in form of Reversal's Despinis, one of the Quirky Miniboss Squad that you fight in Reversal, resulting her pulling a Heel–Face Turn for good.
      • And then 2nd Original Generations inverts this: In Super Robot Wars Destiny, Perfectio is impossible to kill and only defeated when Treize Khushrenada pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to seal him off forever. They went along with this plot point, and picked Ventus, who was promoted from Secret Character into an automatic-join (and no longer exclusive with fellow secret character Glacies), to take Treize's place in the Heroic Sacrifice of sealing and defeating Perfectio. Also previously in Destiny, Rim gets to keep her two personalities throughout the game. In OG, one of them, the Nice Girl one, Chris... VANISHED, lost forever, and leaving Rim with just one personality, and she is not happy about it.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars: Heinel, Master Asia, Amuro, Char, and Julia Asuka get to live due to various reasons.
      • After Domon's last fight with him, Master Asia needs to return to Dug and enlist aide. Domon, moved nearly to tears, praises Master Asia's dedication to peace and freedom, and the two exchange manly martial words before Master Asia's departure.
      • When beaten in the final battle against Neo Zeon, Char will furiously say that Amuro wouldn't have even had a chance if he hadn't leaked info to the Federation about the Psychoframe, noting further that Amuro wouldn't have even been worth killing in the RE-GZ (the Gundam Amuro piloted before the Nu Gundam). Amuro figures that Char is doomed to look down on others for all eternity. Nanai will then go over and fish Char out, saying that he's indispensable to Neo Zeon AND to her, and ignoring his pleas to stay out of it.
      • Once Zuhl and the Skullrook is eliminated in an Earth Route scenario, Heinel decides to go on a little journey, on which Katherine insists on accompanying him. Kazuya figures that the two of them will be happy together.
    • Super Robot Wars Z series
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo video game, which followed the plot of the movie trilogy, did this with the ending, where instead of Neo sacrificing himself to stop Smith, Smith merges all his pieces into a 500-foot-tall Mega-Smith, which Neo fights as the final boss. This was lampshaded with a tongue-in-cheek cameo by the Wachowski Brothers explaining that artsy everybody dies plots are fine for films, but video games are about punching out Galactus using the Hulk.
  • In Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Game of the Movie, Hayes has a much larger role as The Lancer and survives the events of the game. In contrast, Preston has no significant role in the game other than being eaten by the first V-Rex fairly early on. There's also the unlockable bonus ending in which you can actually save King Kong from his fate atop the Empire State building.
  • The Hook point-and-click adventure game leaves out Rufio's death and you can see him alive and well on the ending screen. Surprisingly, the NES game averts this.
  • A couple Terminator video games use this:
    • The Sega CD adaptation of the first film has Reese killing the Terminator and surviving.
    • LJN's release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day completely changes up the ending that both subverts this trope and plays it straight: after the T-800 knocks the T-1000 into the molten steel, but rather than dying the T-1000 actually merges with it and is fought as a final boss. The T-800 then truly kills it, and then with its mission of saving John Conner complete proceeds to teleport back to the future (somehow).
  • In the adventure game Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade if you're very quick with your Pixel Hunting, it's possible to pick up the Holy Grail before Elsa Schneider can grab it and then return it to the immortal knight, allowing Elsa to live.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • According to the Arkham City Stories in Batman: Arkham City, Carmine "The Roman" Falcone is alive and well in the Arkhamverse. Granted, according to the Arkham City Stories, Hugo Strange and Quincy Sharp drove him and his family out of Gotham and into hiding in Bludhaven prior to Arkham City, but considering Two-Face killed his comics (post-Crisis/pre-New 52) counterpart at the end of The Long Halloween and his The Dark Knight Saga counterpart was driven insane by the Scarecrow's fear toxin in Batman Begins, Falcone in the Arkhamverse is doing quite well by comparison.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight sees this happened to Jason Tood. In a bit of a twist, rather than being killed off and brought Back from the Dead ala the comics, he was instead tortured by The Joker for a period of at least one year, before Joker seemingly shoots him and mails a videotape of it to Batman. However, when the Arkham Knight reveals his identity as Jason, the Joker hallucination plaguing Bruce's mind tells him that he lied about actually killing him and that the videotape didn't show him everything.
  • A strategy game based on The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Chaos Island, allows Eddie to be used throughout the entire campaign. Occasionally, clicking on him will cause him to lampshade the circumstances: "Didn't I die? In the movie, I died."
  • The LEGO Adaptation Games, due to their Pragmatic Adaptation treatment, tend to allow characters to survive for the sake of gameplay (Satipo, for example).
    • It's also Played for Laughs a lot of the time. In the Jurassic Park game, Muldoon, Gennaro and Nedry all survive their death scenes, and at the end of the Jurassic Park segment of the game, Muldoon can be seen running for the helicopter evacuating the survivors only to arrive late, and then later on in the Jurassic World levels, it turns out that they've been living on the island during the whole 22-year Time Skip by squatting in the ruins of the Visitor Centre and sleeping in one of the jeeps, complete with long grey old man beards.
  • More like "Spared by the Localization", but the extended ending in the English translation of Earthbound Beginnings and its re-release in Mother 1+2 show Teddy alive and well. In the original version, the game simply ends after beating Giegue, and Teddy is implied to have died.
  • In the video game adaptation of Tomorrow Never Dies for the Playstation, James Bond is successfully able to save Paris Carver, who died in the original film.
    • Though he still ultimately dies, in video game of From Russia With Love Red Grant lasts a bit longer than his film or novel counterpart. He secretly survives his fight with Bond on the train and shows up at the very end for one final showdown before being put down for good.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Aerith infamously dies in Final Fantasy VII but in the Kingdom Hearts games, which are set in an Alternate Universe, she's alive and well.
    • Kerchak never gets shot by Clayton, but his world has since been retconned from canon (or at least, it won't appear in any future games).
    • Maleficent appears to have some form of Joker Immunity: while she dies at the end of the first game, the good fairies' terrified memories are enough to bring her back to life.
    • In the manga adaptation, the Riku Replica survives to go on a journey of his own to find his purpose in life.
    • The unseen villagers from Mulan's world are said to just be hiding somewhere.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure Heritage For The Future: Avdol, Iggy and Kakyoin can survive their original points of death and kill Dio! Sadly, Kakyoin still dies from his wounds in his ending and New Kakyoin is still doomed by canon.
  • Speaking of videogames based upon Jojos Bizarre Adventure, Jojos Bizarre Adventure The7th Stand User will let you save anyone you have the highest FP with, and this trope is taken Up to Eleven in the "Everybody Lives" ending, where everybody lives.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 has a few in-universe example. The first thing you see in the game's opening sequence is the conclusion of the Armageddon, with several of the combatants dead. Sonya has been torn in half (by who is not known) Johnny Cage has been beheaded (again, it is not known by whom) Sheeva, Baraka, and Scorpion are dead, presumably by Nightwolf, Kung-Lao, and Sub-Zero, respectively (due to the weapons lodged in their bodies) and Quan Chi's body is present, though it's impossible to tell how from his injuries. Although Raiden's attempt to change the timeline is very much a Pyrrhic Victory (while the Armageddon is averted and Shao Khan is - probably - dead, most of the Earthrealm warriors are slain and Shinnok is about to attack with their enslaved souls) Sonya and Cage survive at the end and can fight the oncoming threat, while Sheeva, Baraka, Scorpion and Quan Chi also survive.
  • The TurboGrafx-CD game based on The Addams Family has Tully survive (assuming that you beat the game).
  • HOME, a spinoff of OFF, has The Judge's brother Valerie survive being possessed by Japhet, to join your party. Justified, as HOME takes place after the events in OFF were reset.
  • In the video game adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Aunt May mentions that Gwen Stacey broke up with Peter Parker some time after the events of the previous game. She never appears onscreen, so she isn't there for the battle against the Green Goblin, where she died in the film.
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Guldo manages to outlive Burter, Jeice and Recoome in the altered timeline. Bardock also survives the destruction of Planet Vegeta by being sucked into a wormhole.
  • In most versions of Ys, the fortune teller Sara is murdered, but in the Turbo-Grafx 16 CD version, she flees town instead, returning in The Dawn of Ys.
  • In the The Iliad, Ajax dies during the war of Troy. In the campaign of Age of Mythology he survives and accompanies the hero, Arkantos, during the rest of his journey.
  • In the original Japanese version of Megaman Battle Network 6, Lord Wily dies with his hatred as his headquarters crumbled along with him. In the English version however, he somehow managed to survive mostly unscathed and in the future managed to become a dedicated scientist to help Lan's father to search and destroy the viruses.

    Web Comic 

     Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged reveals that the Kanassans, a psychic race that were killed off in the original show (and the main reason Bardock could see the future), managed to miraculously repopulate.
    • Also, while Nappa stayed dead in the actual series, he's accidentally wished back along with everyone killed by Freeza and his minions at the end of season 2.
    • Nail and Kami also receive this - while they effectively ceased to be after fusing with Piccolo in the series proper, here they still exist as voices in Piccolo's head.
    • Dr. Wheelo from The World's Strongest gets this as well, as well as an upgrade from evil Mad Scientist to good Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. He's eventually wished a new body to live his life in peace.
  • Several Sassy Gay Friend shorts involve the title character stepping in just in time to stop a famous character's death, including Juliet, Desdemona, Ophelia and Anne Boleyn.
  • Rhett & Link's Middle School Musical version of Breaking Bad falls under this trope. Having an original ending made before the final season, they save Hank, who arrests Walt, implying he falls under this trope as well. The musical can be found here.
  • Episode 6 of RWBY Chibi revealed that Pyrrha was still alive in that continuity, much to the shock of Team RWBY.

Alternative Title(s): Spared By Adaptation