main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Truer To The Text
If a book or comic becomes sufficiently popular, it will almost definitely get a TV show or a movie. While some fans rejoice upon hearing that their favorite series is getting an adaptation, all too often the hardcore fans will find themselves bitterly disappointed, and problems are especially likely to surface when the story is ongoing and the staff has to work with incomplete source material. The result of such circumstances tends to be a Base Breaker.

Sometimes, these complaints are heard, and the result is a Truer To The Text adaptation. When this happens, the story gets another adaptation, or at least go out of their way to cover what they missed out on last time. This time there will be no annoying additions, no alternate ending, no important details ignored, just the original story, pure and proper. If done well, the fandom will probably be quite pleased.

However, it's important to keep in mind that this is not necessarily a good thing. There are four closely related problems with this sort of adaptation.
  • The first is that, however divergent, a series' first adaptation will probably at least begin with the same basic plot, which could give it a repetitious feel; the reboot starts by covering ground that's already thoroughly trodden.
  • Thus the second problem: the beginning might have to deviate from the original story to make a re-adapted story seem new.
  • Thirdly, not all fans of the movie/show actually read the source material. This means that they have no idea what they're supposed to be waiting for, so it might feel like this second version is just more of the same.
  • Finally, depending on the differences between mediums, such as the inevitable problems that come with adapting a book into a film, "more faithful" does not necessarily equate to "better".

This is a list of examples that have already been done or are in the works. Do NOT list a series unless it has been officially announced. Mere rumors are not enough.


Adapted from Comics
  • Arguably, the purpose of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's run by Marvel Studios, rather than owned by an independent studio (such as Fox, Sony or Universal), so they have direct control over the movie they put out. The Incredible Hulk and Captain America: The First Avenger are significantly more faithful to the source material than Ang Lee's Hulk or Captain America (1990) were.
  • Nolan's Batman movies borrowed heavily from comics, more so than Burton and Schumacher, such as Year One, The Long Halloween, and No Man's Land, but still changed many things. For example, the Joker wears make up instead of having his skin bleached white and his hair dyed green, and instead of using the super-steroid Venom Bane has anesthetic gas pumped through his mask so he feels no pain.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man is more faithful than the Sam Raimi version in some ways, less faithful in others. Its mostly quite superficial things, neither is page-perfect adaptation, and either one could be argued to show the "true" Spider-Man.

Adapted from Literature
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein were intended as faithful adaptations of two books that had been quite heavily changed in previous film adaptations. They had their own changes and quirks, though.
    • The 1977 BBC series of Dracula is a closer adaptation than the above, barely deviating from the novel at all.
  • The 2000 Dune miniseries took some liberties with Frank Herbert's book, but compared to the 1984 David Lynch movie, its fidelity is nigh-slavish.
  • The 1997 miniseries of The Shining was far closer to Stephen King's book with the huge exception of the Bowdlerised ending. This is a strong example of "more faithful" not equaling "better"
  • Tim Burton plays this straight with his adaptations of Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • The Coen Brothers said this was their intention when they made their film adaptation of True Grit.
  • Carson McCullers adapted her novel The Member of the Wedding for the stage herself, despite never having written a play before, to preempt the production of a more conventionally theatrical adaptation by another writer.
  • The first two Harry Potter films are noticeably closer to the text than the movies the followed. On the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification, the first two movies would score a "4" and the rest would score a "3". Fans are divided over which approach was better. Critics are less divided and prefer the later films (except for Roger Ebert).
  • John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) compared to The Thing from Another World. The older film used the beginning of the plot of them finding UFO in the ice and it containing and alien, but from there diverged quite a bit. Carpenter's version had the alien keep it's assimilation powers and overall stayed much closer to the plot of the book.
  • The 2011 version of Conan the Barbarian (2011), according to Word of God, was intended to be closer to the original Robert E. Howard novels than the 1982 film was.
  • The American film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is often mistaken for a simple remake, when in fact it's an example of this trope: the Swedish film suffered from some really bizarre adaptational choices, whereas the American version was an almost 1:1 adaptation of the original book with some very minor cuts to make the story flow better.
  • Hook arguably captured the spirit of the Peter Pan books better than the Disney cartoons, despite being more of a sequel.
    • The 2003 live-action Peter Pan is a straighter example.
  • Return to Oz was closer to the style and tone of the original Land of Oz books than The Wizard of Oz.

Adapted from Manga

Adapted from Video Games

Adapted from Visual Novels
  • The anime version of Tsukihime left many fans quite bitter over how much it deviated from the source material, to the point of often being declared nonexistent. There was, however, a manga that retold the original story quite faithfully.

Adapted from Western Animation
  • The Inspector Gadget movie was heavily criticized for many reasons, one of them being unfaithful to the cartoon, like how Dr. Claw shows his face all the time when in the cartoon he never did, the sequel however, is much more faithful to the cartoon, like how Dr. Claw's face is unseen now, however, the reception for the sequel was still pretty negative.

Title: The AdaptationMedia Adaptation TropesVery Loosely Based on a True Story

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy