Sudden Name Change
Bloober swims underwater with its children. It has a relative, the Scattering Bloober, whose children scatter in all directions.
— Description of an enemy, Super Mario Bros. 3
Bloopers love laughing at other Bloopers' bloopers. No one wants to end up on the Blooper reel.It may be a translator's mistake, a typo, or the author might have had a better idea, but sometimes, a specifically named character or concept introduced in a work of fiction can come to be called by a totally different name later on, often with no explanation at all, or even an implication that their name had always been that. Needless to say, this tends to confuse the audience (sometimes making them think the two names refer to two different things), and authors should try to avoid it. Super Trope of Inconsistent Dub (when it refers to characters). Related to Remember the New Guy. Not to be confused with Meaningful Rename, when the change of name is justified in-universe.
— Description of the exact same enemy, Super Paper Mario
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Anime & Manga
- In Dragon Ball, Emperor Pilaf's dog henchman was originally named Soba when he debuted in the manga. His name was changed to Shuu in the anime, which then carried back to the manga after Akira Toriyama forgot that he'd previously named the character.
- Naruto: Translations from Japanese to Chinese to Malay in the first few chapters of the manga rendered Sasuke's name as Saju, which is odd since the anime has already being dubbed at Malaysia right before the dubbed manga release, and used Sasuke instead. Fixed in the later chapters though.
- In the English dub of The Legend of Thunder!, the characters Eusine and Jackson who had appeared in the Pokémon anime previously were now named Eugene and Vincent. Also, in an Orange Islands episode, video game character Lorelei of the Elite Four was known as Prima.
- The protagonist Jimmy (based off the player character in Pokemon Gold/Silver) had also previously been referred to as "Yoshi", while Marina (based off the female player character in Crystal) was referred to as "Dani". Meanwhile, these days in the English game continuity, the character that Jimmy was based off of is known as "Ethan".
- In Rave Master a case of Inconsistent Dub occurs in the manga translation. In the first volume or so, Haru's sword is referred to by its Japanese name, the Ten Commandments. Every volume after instead calls it the Ten Powers.
- Done again when the translator changed, with the Mystic Realm/Makai World and Star/Stellar Memory.
- In the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena, the main character's last name was incorrectly pronounced "Tenjuu" in the first few episodes of the English dub, and later corrected to "Tenjou". The dub also had other examples of mispronunciation and scripting errors in the first arc, which were settled after the production went on a hiatus before dubbing the rest.
- The '90s English dub of Sailor Moon had Chibiusa's friend Momoko initially named "Melissa" when she appeared in the second season. However, when later seasons rolled around (and a switch in production companies and writers came), she was renamed "Melanie" ("Melly" for short).
- Motoki's girlfriend Reika was initially named "Rita Blake" in her first dub appearance, but had her original name retained in the dub of SuperS.
- The first appearance of Celtic Guardian in Yu-Gi-Oh! had him be referred as "Elf Swordsman." Curiously enough, Elf Swordsman was Celtic Guardian's Japanese name.
- The titular character in Cyborg009 originally had the civilian name of "Joe Muramatsu", but at some point Shotaro Ishinomori decided upon him being named "Joe Shimamura". Reprints of the manga had any early instance of "Muramatsu" corrected to "Shimamura", to fix that lapse in continuity.
- Occurs frequently in the English version of Digimon thanks to being an Inconsistent Dub (and further hurt by Spell My Name with an "S" Engrish); monsters often change from their dub name to their original Japanese name or vice-versa between installments. One of the better-known examples was a knight Digimon who was "Crusadermon" in Digimon Frontier and "LoadKnightmon" in Digimon Data Squad, which doesn't even make sense (better translations of it from Japanese would be "LordKnightmon" or "RhodoKnightmon"). Justified since each installment is its own universe and own continuity, but it's still jarring.
- Berserk's Band of the Hawk has recently suffered from this. Recent chapters have inexplicably renamed the group to the Band of the Falcon.
- Stephanie Brown's mother was named "Agnes" when she originally appeared in Detective Comics, but her name was later changed to "Crystal." According to Scott Beatty (who was the first to rename her), he had asked DC editors about the name of the mother but no one could remember, leading to an accidental name change that stuck.
- The original Black Canary, Dinah Drake-Lance, was later referred to as Diana Drake by some writers (Chuck Dixon in particular), presumably to differentiate her from her daughter.
- In his Pre-Crisis appearances and early Post-Crisis stories, Ted Kord's full given name was Theodore. During Chuck Dixon's run on Birds of Prey, his name was revealed to be Edward (with "Ted" as a nickname, similar to the case of Ted Kennedy). Later writers would try to reconcile the differences by listing his name as "Theodore Edward Kord", but his most recent posthumous appearances had the name as "Theodore Stephen Kord".
- In the series The Flash, Wally West's father was originally named Bob West in all of his Pre-Crisis appearances. Post-Crisis, he was suddenly renamed to Rudolph West.
- In the Green Lantern comic book series, Carol Ferris's father was originally named Willard, but from his second appearance onward, he was renamed Carl.
- When Stan Lee forgot The Incredible Hulk's alter-ego is named Bruce Banner and started calling him Bob Banner, it led to a retcon where his full name is "Robert Bruce Banner". He also called Peter Parker Peter Palmer, but at least that was forgotten.
- In The Incredible Hulk #294 Banner is up against a Corrupt Corporate Executive named Max Stryker. Then Hulk is conscripted into the Secret Wars; when he comes back in issue #295 Stryker is now called Max Hammer.
- In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac Devi's best friend was named "Tonja." In I Feel Sick her name is "Tenna."
- Sometime after Plastic Man's son Luke became the hero Offspring in main DC continuity, some writers had slipped up and referred to him as "Ernie" (the name of the Offspring from The Kingdom continuity). This was later explained away as Ernie being his middle name.
- Though it was some time from his introduction that The Punisher's family were named, his daughter was originally named "Barbara". Later on, there were certain issues where she was referred to as "Christie" instead. Even later, during Garth Ennis' run, his daughter is named "Lisa". Strangely, this was never a problem with his son, who is always referred to as "Frank Jr". A tombstone partially glimpsed during the "Fraken-Castle" arc seems to show that her full name is "Lisa Barbara Castle".
- Billy Batson's deceased parents were originally referred to as "Merrill" and "Jocelyn" in the Pre-Crisis days, but modern origins have his father named "Clarence Charles 'C.C.' Batson" (after Captain Marvel's creator, C.C. Beck) and his mother named "Marilyn".
- Chimera, a minor character in the "Team Titans" era of Teen Titans, originally had her full name given as "Sanjeet Rey." However, a later card set by DC called her "Sanjeet Gupta". Even later in the title's (short) run, Chimera gave her name as "Sanjeet Bhatia".
- Trailbreaker of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye starts going by "Trailcutter" between the 6th issue and the Annual issue. The real world explanation is that Hasbro could not use the original name for toys. The in-universe reason was not revealed until his Spotlight issue.
- Bluestreak's name was changed to "Silverstreak" and then back to "Bluestreak" for similar trademark reasons. This has not been given an in-universe reason.
- This is a fairly common phenomenon for Transformers in general due to having to work around trademarks.
- Kenny "King Kong" McFarlane in Ultimate Spider-Man was initially referred to as "Clifford Harlan", although his given name switched between Clifford and Kenny for a bit before Bendis finalized the name.
- Vixen's name was originally given as "Marilyn MacCabe" in her 1978 mini-series, which had been scrapped and reprinted in an anthology titled "Cancelled Comic Calvacade". After her official debut in Action Comics, her name was revised to "Mari Jiwe McCabe" and has stuck that way ever since.
- Wonder Woman's friend Etta Candy has had her middle name vary from being "Marie" to "Olive".
- The Post-Crisis Huntress also had a case of her middle name changing. In her first origin and early appearances, her full name was "Helena Janice Bertinelli". In her revised origin and later profiles, her name became "Helena Rosa Bertinelli".
- Huntress' parents were named Guido and Carmela in her original 1989 origin, but their names were later changed to Franco and Maria by the time of Greg Rucka's retelling in the Cry For Blood miniseries.
- The Post-Crisis Huntress also had a case of her middle name changing. In her first origin and early appearances, her full name was "Helena Janice Bertinelli". In her revised origin and later profiles, her name became "Helena Rosa Bertinelli".
- In the DC weekly series 52, an Asian magic user by the name of "Terri Thirteen" appeared as part of the Croatoan detective society. Post-52 continuity would clarify that this was actually meant to be Traci Thirteen, a pre-existing character (and Doctor Thirteen's daughter). It appears there was some editorial oversight that lead to the name slip-up.
- Harvey Dent's wife is generally known as Gilda, but was renamed "Grace" in a 1989 Secret Origins story and the name carried over to her animated counterpart in Batman: The Animated Series. All later comic appearances switched her name back to Gilda.
- Also in the Marvel Universe, Dr. Druid (who predates The Fantastic Four) was originally called Dr. Droom. When he was reintroduced, his name was changed to avoid confusion with Doctor Doom but no 'in-universe' reason is given for the change.
- While Poison Ivy's civilian name was initially established as Pamela Isley, Gerry Conway inexplicably gave her the name of "Lillian Rose" when he wrote her origin in World's Finest #252. Post-Crisis, Neil Gaiman would re-establish the Pamela Isley name (along with overhauling her origin).
- Happens to two characters near the beginning of Austraeoh. Ironhoof is first introduced as "Stonehoof", and another character's name vacillates between "Sun Plate" and "Iron Plate" before settling on "Gold Plate".
- In Boys Und Sensha-do, Yakuin Takuma's nickname is "Yakuma" in Chapter 2, but "Yakota" in Chapter 7.
- In the infamous fanfic My Immortal, one character is called both "Professor Trevolry" and "Professor Sinister" interchangeably. In Harry Potter Professors Trelawney and Sinistra are two separate characters, but in the fic it's clearly meant to be the same person.
- In My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic II, the newly militarized MLP cast is called the Friendship Force. In My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III, they are now called "Friendship is Magic"... at least until the Deviant ART rewrite, where they have always been called FiM.
- Red With Rage changes the name of Red's Kangaskhan to Garura to avoid the naming clashes in the fight she was about to have with Giovanni's Kangaskhan.
- In Beauty and the Beast, is the feather-duster's name Fifi (the name used in the second direct-to-video sequel) or Babette (the name used in the stage musical)?
- A minor villain from Cars 2 whose first name appears to be Fred alternates between the surnames "Fisbowski" and "Pacer."
- Similarly, Sal Machiani (a yellow three-wheeled truck seen in Italy) is referred as "Ape" in one of the film's promotional posters.
- Yet another minor villain, Petrov, alternates between the surnames "Trunkov" and "Oilski."
- The Coachman from Pinocchio was referred as "Barker" in the film's subtitles when he finally brings several boys which he kidnapped (including Pinocchio himself) to Pleasure Island. However, the subtitles start to refer him as "Coachman" again when he and some gorilla-demon-looking-things start to round the now-transformed boys into crates headed for either the salt mines or the circus.
- "Jack" from Pitch Black suddenly has a proper feminine name "Kyra" in The Chronicles of Riddick and is only ever referred to as such after the initial clarification.
- Brawl from Transformers is for some reason referred by the name "Devastator" in the actual movie, but by his real name in the merchandise. The real Devastator doesn't appear until the climax of Revenge of the Fallen.
- Similarly, Wheeljack and Mirage from ''Dark of the Moon'' are both referred in-film as "Que" and "Dino", respectively.
- The teaser trailer for 1941 features John Belushi as Wild Wayne Kelso. In the film, he's Wild Bill Kelso.
- Brother Bear from The Berenstain Bears used to be known as "Small Bear" before his younger sister, Sister was born.
- Happens several times in The Bible after a significant event. After forming a covenant with God, Abram and Sarai become Abraham and Sarah. Jacob is renamed "Israel" after wrestling with an angel (but, unlike the case of his grandparents, the text continues referring to him as "Jacob" nevertheless).
- In the New Testament, the Book of Acts mentions "Saul, who was also called Paul" right in the middle of a not-especially-remarkable episode in Saul's missionary journeys. The narrative then completely abandons the name Saul, and the apostle is exclusively called Paul for the rest of the book.
- During the Dinoverse book Raptor Without A Cause, a noble Acrocanthosaurus is nicknamed Green Knight and called such. Early in the very next book, it's suddenly mentioned that he's called Green Knight or "G.K. for short" and the longer form doesn't come up once.
- Towards the end of the "Wyrmberg" segment of The Colour of Magic, Liessa suddenly becomes Lianna. Given the Pernese influence of the Wyrmberg, it was suggested that this might be an intentional parody of the example below, but Terry Pratchett says no, it's a mistake at the printers.
- In Dragonflight, the first Dragonriders of Pern novel, the leader of the "old-timers" is T'ton, and Weyrwoman Kylora is Pridith's rider. In subsequent books, the names are T'ron, Kylara and Prideth.
- The Dresden Files has a handful of examples. One of the vampire Bianca's girls is named as Paula in the first book, and alternately called Paula and Rachel in a later book. Word of Jim has been that one was a stage name, or that Harry just got the name wrong. The Merlin is also addressed by different names, Alfred once, and all later times as Arthur.
- There's a villainous goblin in the last Edge Chronicles book whose name is either Yellowtusk or Yellowtooth. At one point, it changes between the two mid-scene.
- The third book of the Pit Dragon Chronicles has cave people who go unnamed. In the fourth one, written twenty-two years later, the cave people are called "trogs" as if that's been their name all along. This is the least of a host of Series Continuity Errors.
- Up until Harry Potter finds out the actual name of the creatures that guard Azkaban, a wizarding prison, everyone refers to them as "The Azkaban Guards." After he experience their happiness-draining power and is told their name, Dementors, in Prisoner of Azkaban no one refers to them as the Azkaban Guards ever again.
- This happens even more jarringly with the Death Eaters: for the first 3 books, they are simply referred to as "Voldemort's followers" and variants. Once the term and its definition is explained to Harry in Goblet of Fire, no one calls Voldemort's men anything other than Death Eaters.
- A meta example: Word of God statements had long established that Hermione's middle name was "Jane," which the fifth book also established as Umbridge's middle name. Perhaps invoking the One Steve Limit, the final book makes Hermione's middle name "Jean" instead.
- In the Project Gutenberg text of The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins, Lord Montbarry's eldest daughter's name changes from Lucy to Marian between chapters. The same slip is present in the French edition.
- Chapter 3 of Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party mentions Sweetie Drops, while one of the bonus activity pages lists Bon Bon. These are two formerly separate official names of one pony, though she doesn't appear in the book herself.
- P. G. Wodehouse's character Psmith was called "Rupert Psmith" in his first appearance, but had his first name changed to Ronald in the last book, Leave It to Psmith. (This was probably done to enforce the One Steve Limit, as that book was a Crossover with Wodehouse's Blandings Castle series, which already contained a character named Rupert Baxter.)
- Sherlock Holmes character John H. Watson is randomly referred to as 'James' by his wife in one book. It's theoretically possible that this is supposed to be because his middle name is 'Hamish', the Scottish form of James, and his wife just uses it as a pet-name... but it's more likely that Arthur Conan Doyle just screwed up, as he similarly did with the location of Watson's bullet-wound and a few other details.
- Elwë Singollo in The Silmarillion. He's referred to as Elwë in his early chapters, then disappears for a couple thousand years, and then is called Thingol. Because characters in the Silmarillion weren't already hard enough to keep track of. A similar thing happens with Melkor/Morgoth, but there, at least, there's a fairly obvious renaming instance.
- Elwë's example makes sense, because while he was left behind building a kingdom in Doriath, the Elvish language mutated. The Elves in Valinor preserved Quenya, but the new language used by Elwë's subjects was Sindarin, and Elu Thingol is the Sindarin rendering of Elwë Singollo.
- In Swallows and Amazons, the little sister of the Walkers is known as "Vicky" the entire first book. The sequels promptly change her name to "Bridget". The explanation given in-story is that baby Bridget looked like "Queen Victoria in old age" and was jokingly nicknamed "Vicky", but the resemblance and the nickname ceased when she grew older. (In real life, author Arthur Ransome was basing several of the characters on real children, and Bridget was the name of their younger sister—when she got old enough to comment on the first book, she disliked the fact that her name had been changed, and Ransome fixed things up for her.)
- In the Warrior Cats series, there are a couple, all due to author error. Owlfeather of WindClan's name mysteriously changes to Owlwhisker. The outcasts in Moonrise introduce themselves by their full names, two of them being "Rock Where Snow Gathers" and "Bird Who Rides The Wind". The full names are only mentioned once; they go by their nicknames "Rock" and "Bird" for the rest of the book. In the next book, their full names have changed to "Rock Beneath Still Water" and "Bird That Sings at Dusk". Bird appeared again in later books, and the authors attempted to fix their mistake; she is now "Bird That Rides The Wind".
Live Action TV
- Are You Being Served?: in one episode it's revealed that Mr. Lucas' first name is Dick. In other episodes where it comes up, it's James.
- On Boy Meets World, Topanga states that her mother's name is Chloe in season one but in a later season her mother's name is Rhiannon.
- Happened on CSI NY, one of the recurring detectives was Jessica Angell at one point and Jennifer Angell at another.
- The Frasier character Lorna Lynley was suddenly renamed to Lana after her first appearance avoid referencing a real person.
- The Greatest American Hero's secret identity was initially "Ralph Hinkley," but then after a guy named Hinkley tried to shoot the president in real life, he was referred to as either "Ralph" or "Mr. H" and the nameplate on his office was shown as "Ralph Hanley."
- On M*A*S*H, recurring psychiatrist character Major Freedman is given the first name Milton in his first appearance before becoming Sidney from his second appearance onward.
- In the Psychiatrist Milkman sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus, Mrs Ratbag's name changes to Mrs Pim with no notice. Which is to say, in the beginning of the sketch she's called Mrs Ratbag and later on she's called Mrs Pim, but it's the same character.
- The Price Is Right: A pricing game known as "Now and Then" (where one must guess whether the prices of grocery items are their current price or one from an old supermarket flyer, the titular "now" and "then" prices) had its title changed to "Now or Then", for almost no apparent reason.
- Two female monsters from Sesame Street suffered from this. A female pink monster who was originally named Mooba was inexplicably renamed Google, and a female green monster who was originally named Google was inexplicably renamed Phoebe.
- In the second pilot episode of Star Trek crewman Mitchell, possessed of near-omnipotent alien powers, fights Kirk and creates an open grave with a tombstone reading "James R. Kirk". This would normally be a minor matter but given how many times Kirk later introduces himself as "James T. Kirk" it's actually quite jarring.
- Kirk: What mistake? It was a sentence: "James are Kirk." Which I are.
- In the pilot episode of Seinfeld Jerry calls Michael Richard's character "Kessler", who we all know is called "Kramer" for the rest of the series. This is later given a nod in "The Betrayal" during a flashback to Jerry and Kramer's first meeting, where Jerry asks if the latter's name is "Kessler, right?" before being corrected.
- Although name changes in Professional Wrestling occur often due to gimmick changes, sometimes names are changed for no apparent reason. Case in point, John Hennigan officially debuted on WWE Raw as Johnny Blaze, but was changed to Johnny Spade the very next week with no gimmick change. It would become Johnny Nitro just a few weeks later, but this name would eventually get a change in gimmick.
- In August 2015, the WWE unveiled a trio of Divas that were originally given the team name Submission Sorority. Unbeknownst to them, anyone who Googled the name after the announcement wound up being directed to multiple video links from HazeHer, a hardcore porn/fetish website controlled by pornsite operator BangBros! As a result, the group's name was changed to the more generic PCB (the initials of the three wrestlers, Paige, Charlotte and Becky) within a week. Funnily enough, web traffic to BangBros' porn websites shot up 56% the night of the announcement, with a 35% increase in subscriptions.
- In the Marx Brothers' radio show Beagle, Shyster and Beagle Waldorf T. Beagle's name was changed to Waldorf T. Flywheel (and the show renamed Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel) because a real lawyer named Beagle threatened to sue. In-Universe it was explained that Flywheel had gotten divorced and went back to his original name.
- One of Barbie's sisters had her name changed from Kelly to Chelsea in 2010.
- In the 2009 Bionic Commando game, Spencer has a move called "Death from Above", where he descends from a great height and strikes the ground hard. For some reason, it was renamed "Bionic Bomber" in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- The Tutorial Pig from Donkey Kong Country Returns got the much more memorable moniker Professor Chops in the sequel, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze after Retro Studios realized that fans had reacted negatively to such a prominent character having a bland, plainly descriptive name. When he got a trophy in Super Smash Bros., the trophy's actual name ended up as Tutorial Pig, while the description refers to him as preferring the name Professor Chops.
- The heroes in the original arcade version of Double Dragon were known as Hammer and Spike, although the NES version later established their names to be Billy and Jimmy Lee. The manual for the Master System version tried to reconcile this difference by establishing that "Hammer" and "Spike" were actually Billy's and Jimmy's nicknames, but the nicknames were never used again in any subsequent game in the series.
- The manual for the Master System version also switched the names of Jeff and Willy for some reason.
- In Battletoads & Double Dragon, Machine Gun Willy was inexplicably renamed "Roper" (which was actually the name of one of the recurring mooks in the first game). The fact that Technos didn't develop this game most likely led to this inconsistency
- In the Compilation Of Final Fantasy VII, Aeris's name was changed to Aerith. (The Japanese name "エアリス" could properly be translated as either, but "Aerith" was the name intended by the developers.)
- Several Final Fantasy games that were localized for North America in the nineties would receive remakes and updated ports that had several name changes for the monsters, items, places, magic spells, among other things. This resulted in more accurate translations and consistency with terms and elements used throughout the series, starting with the localization of Final Fantasy VIII in 1999.
- Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions was hit with this trope HARD, but it was definitely for the better. It is the updated PSP port of Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation. The original Tactics had a bad translation, naturally followed by several mistranslated names. When The War of the Lions came around, it fixed everything. Just look at this list of names that were changed.
- A character in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is referred to as Jak's uncle, but in all later released material is instead known as the explorer.
- In The Legend of Zelda, the aquatic creatures that populate Hyrule are called "Zolas". They would become "Zoras" in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and subsequent games (except for the strategy guide for The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening).
- Doctor Eggman, the Big Bad of the Sonicthe Hedgehog series games is always referred as "Doctor Robotnik" in the US version of earlier games. However, later games changed this so he is now always referred as "Eggman." Lampshaded in Sonic Generations when Classic Tails refers to Classic Eggman as Robotnik and he comments how no one calls him that anymore.
- The Biggy Man from Splatterhouse was originally known as the Piggy Man. A strategy guide misspelled his name and this variant of the name was popularized enough to made its way into the 2010 remake of the series.
- The setting of Star Fox Adventures is "Dinosaur Planet". The planet was later renamed "Sauria" in Star Fox Assault.
- Nintendo's own mascot character, Mario, was originally called the "Jumpman" in the instructions for the arcade version of Donkey Kong, although this was never meant to be a finalized name. The game's designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, was considering naming him "Mr. Video" for awhile until Nintendo of America suggested to call him "Mario" after Nintendo of America's landlord, Mario Segale and the name was officially used in Donkey Kong Junior.
- The squid enemy from Super Mario Bros. was initially called "Bloober" until Paper Mario; since then, it has been called "Blooper".
- Princess Peach had been called Princess Toadstool in America, until Yoshi's Safari, wherein she was given her original Japanese name. (Ted Woolsey seems to have overlooked this when translating Super Mario RPG, however, and even generally shortened Princes Toadstool to simply Toadstool.)
- Fawful from the Mario & Luigi series was given three different names, one for each game he appears in, in European Spanish (though not Latin American Spanish, which always uses Fawful). He starts out as "Esbirro Jijí" ("Minion Heehee"), similar to Cackletta's European Spanish name, which is "Bruja Jijí" (it translates to "Heehee Witch") in Superstar Saga. Then, he was given the North American name "Fawful" for Partners In Time, and finally, his name was changed to "Grácovitz" in Bowser's Inside Story, which is based off of "Gerakobits" (his name in Japan). This can give the impression that it's a different character in each game, as if there is an Esbirro Jijí species or these "three characters" just happen to be Inexplicably Identical Individuals.
- Between Warcraft III and its expansion pack "The Frozen Throne" a year later, Furion Stormrage had his name expanded to Malfurion with no explanation. Other units gained different names as well; Owlbears were renamed Wildkin, while Ballistae, Catapults, Steam Tanks and Gyrocopters became Glaive Throwers, Demolishers, Siege Engines and Flying Machines respectively, with completely new models and attacks. Why exactly is never mentioned though there is a chance that the Steam Tank and Gyrocopter were changed to distance them from the machines of the same name from Warhammer Fantasy.
- In the transition from RTS series Warcraft to MMORPG World of Warcraft, other names were changed as well. The human nation of Azeroth became known as Stormwind, which was until then the name of its capital citynote . Illidan's fortress the Black Citadel also became the Black Temple for no reason.
- Mulberry's Dumb Blonde friend originally had the name, "Tiff". In 2012, Peter Paltridge changed her name to, "Taffeta Sparks", or, "Taffy" for short.
- In Something*Positive, Davan's ex-girlfriend who appears in the first strip was referred to by a different name which was later changed to "Gia." Previous strips were changed to match the new name.
- George's original super hero name in Bob and George was "Spark". It was later changed to "Blitz" with only a tiny bit of Lampshade Hanging acknowledging the change.
- When Obscurus Lupa reviewed Witchcraft 7: Judgement Day, she noticed how the first vampiric victim's name changed from "Sally" to "Rachel" at one point. As a result, she spends the review calling her "Sally-Rachel."
- Anna, one of the main characters in The Rapture Logs, was named Jane until about halfway through Act III, when "creative difficulties" with the person on whom the character was based necessitated the name change, which was applied retroactively through the archives.
- Sailor Moon Abridged has fun with the Silver Imperial Moon crystal, which is never called the same way twice, even by the people looking for it.
- On Adventure Time, Billy's song mentions him "cast[ing] the Lich King down." However, World of Warcraft already had a villain with that name, so by the time this villain showed up he was simply called "the Lich." There are other examples of production changes; even Finn was originally called "Pen" in the pilot.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Flying Bison are later referred to as Sky Bison. It could be possible that both terms are correct, though, since many animals have multiple common names.
- Considering they are also referred to as Wind Buffalo by a Fire Nation tourist, that seems likely.
- Three from Code Lyoko:
- Due to a translation mix-up, the supercomputer was originally called the "supercalculator" in the English dub. This was later corrected.
- The fictional band The Subsonics was changed to The Subdigitals when it turned out there was a real band called The Subsonics.
- Kankrelats were called "Roachsters" in the first season. They were latter given their original French name.
- Mei Li, the pig princess from one episode of the Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness, was known as "Pei Pei" in some promotional media.
- A strange example: The earlier Looney Tunes cartoons featured a character called Egghead, occasionally portrayed as a recreational hunter. In one cartoon, his name, for no reason at all, was changed to "Elmer Fudd". Through the years, the character changed radically, becoming the stuttering, bald, bumbling hunter we recognize today, known exclusively as Elmer Fudd—one character become another by way of an altered name.
- On M.A.S.K., this happened very often.
- The '57 Chevy shared by Hondo MacLean and Buddie Hawks was called either Hurricane or Night Stalker. (And no, these names were not exclusive to one or the other.)
- Buddie's mask was called either Penetrator or Vibrator. (Yeah, I know.)
- The driver of the Slingshot was named either Ace Riker or Ace Striker. His mask was called either Boomerang or Ricochet.
- Bruno Sheppard's vehicle is called either Stinger or Scorpion.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Pony Joe, a one-scene character from "The Best Night Ever", had his name out-of-nowhere revised to Donut Joe when he reappeared with a bigger role in "MMMystery on the Friendship Express". Since both names were only used once each (he's called just "Joe" most of the time), it isn't clear which name is correct; "Donut Joe" is newer, but "Pony Joe" had also been used by fan-designed licensed merchandise beforehand.
- The New Adventures of Superman. In several early episodes (e.g. "The Deadly Dish") Lex Luthor's henchman was named Blinky. In the first Season 3 episode "Luthor's Lethal Laser" the henchman's name was changed to Kinky, with no explanation.
- South Park is very inconsistent with names. Several of the parents changed names early on (for example, Sheila, Sharon and Liane were all "Carol" at one point), as well as various background characters. Even more important characters have changing surnames—Jimmy went from "Swanson" to "Valmer," Token went from "Williams" to "Black," Clyde went from "Goodman" to "Donovan" to "Harris" and back to "Donovan," etc. Butters was also known as "Swanson" in his very earliest appearance (and before that, was intended to be named "Puff-Puff"); the "Swanson" can be heard in one episode, but without it being clear who is being addressed.
- SpongeBob SquarePants, Long Runner that it is, has suffered from this on occasion - sometimes it's not terribly noticeable or important, such as the Invisible Boatmobile being called the Invisiboat for one episode, but sometimes they'll do something like call Sandy Cheeks "Sandy Squirrel."
- Shockwave from Transformers Animated was given the name "Chugway" in the subtitles for the episode "Autoboot Camp."
- Daisy Duck was actually referred as "Donna Duck" in her debut short, Don Donald. It wasn't until her second short in which she was beginning to be referred to as her current name.
- And Goofy used to be known as "Dippy Dawg."
- He also went through a period of being called George Geef. It's possible that this was supposed to be his real full name, and 'Goofy' was a nickname, based off of its similarity to his surname. However, Disney tends to maintain these days that his full name is Goofus D. Dawg - which retroactively explains the Dippy Dawg thing, but makes 'George Geef' completely inexplicable.
- And Goofy used to be known as "Dippy Dawg."
- For the 2015 revival of the 2008 George of the Jungle series, Magnolia and Ursula's names were switched for no explicable reason.
- A great many streets and highways will change their name as you drive down them for no apparent reason. This can be very confusing and cause you to get lost. The reason tends to be things like it used to be two streets that were combined or you crossed a state or county line, or in suburbia a normally main street is given a different name based on the flora that ostensibly grows there when it passes through a residential area.
- The same street can, of course, also be renamed following the death of a public figure or important event. In places with ethnic tension, this can become very political as power changes hands. A good example is Quebec, where many formerly English-named streets were gradually named for prominent francophone Québécois figures (e.g. in Montreal, Dorchester —> René-Lévesque; Maplewood —> Édouard-Montpetit) or official English versions disappeared (Mountain —> Montagne; St. Lawrence —> Saint-Laurent).
- Can happen to people, especially (but not always) when inheriting a new noble title — Prince Albert, Duke of York becoming King George VI would be a well-known example.
- Popes also traditionally take a new name when elected.
- Monks and nuns often take a new name to use in their religious life.
- In many cultures, a person can change their legal name with (usually) little trouble.
- In fact, just watch the confusion when someone with a long-established name or nickname decides they want to be called by a different one — you might be "Rich" to your college friends, but you'll always be "Dickie" to your family.
- Countries change names regularly for various reasons, often because of a revolution, the redrawing of borders or the use of an endonym to replace an exonym. For example, Siam —> Thailand; Abyssinia —> Ethiopia; Persia —> Iran, etc.
- This Very Wiki does it with changing names of trope pages all the time.