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 base-breaking.

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. Sometimes being more faithful is a technicality rather than anything significant. Consider the following with anything on the example listing.
  • 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 trodden through multiple times.
  • Thus a related problem: other elements have to deviate from the original story to make a re-adapted story seem new. If the origin is incredibly simple, it may require the new origin to be more complicated and convoluted.
  • Not all fans of the movie/show actually read the source material, and are more familiar with the various adaptations. 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 or, at worst, deviating from the original.
  • If the first adaptation adds multiple plot elements that successfully enhance it compared to the source material, the truer to the text adaptation may leave that out, giving the feeling that something is missing,
  • 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."
  • Sometimes the original media has had multiple Retools and possibly even a Cosmic Retcon every now and then, making it so that being faithful in one aspect of the original also makes it unfaithful to another aspect of the original.

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.


Examples

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    Adapted from Comics 

    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 than the 1980 film, apart from the miniseries' Bowdlerised ending. This is a strong example of "more faithful" not equaling "better."
  • Tim Burton plays this straight with his adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, following the book closer than Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (for example, in the Tim Burton movie the lyrics of the Oompa-Loompas' songs are shortened versions of the songs in the book, whereas the songs in Willy Wonka have completely different lyrics).
  • 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 book's beginning with the researchers finding a UFO in the ice containing an alien, but from there diverged quite a bit. Carpenter's version had the alien keep its assimilation powers and overall stayed much closer to the plot of the book.
  • 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. True, Conan isn't Made a Slave and forced to fight in Gladiator Games for years, but the plot is still original.
  • 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.
  • Peter Pan:
    • Hook arguably captured the spirit of the Peter Pan books better than the Disney film, despite being more of a sequel.
    • The 2003 live-action Peter Pan is a straighter example.
  • The 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz makes fewer changes to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz than some silent movie adaptations did. The 1985 Return to Oz comes even closer to the style and tone of the original Land of Oz books.
  • The 1982 film adaptation of Ivanhoe is significantly closer to the source material than both the condensed 1952 film adaptation and the expanded 1997 miniseries adaptation.
  • The Made-for-TV Movie version of Carrie (2002) is much closer to the book than the original film. Like the book, the story is told in flashbacks via the interviews that the few survivors give to the police (the book did this through memoirs, investigative reports, and news articles), Carrie destroys the entire town as opposed to just the school and her house, and she kills her mother with a heart attack rather than stabbing. The only major difference is that she survives the ordeal and goes into hiding, which was meant to lead into a TV series (which never came about).
  • The 1971 BBC eight part mini-series adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans is the most faithful adaptation of the second part of The Leatherstocking Tales to date.
  • The two-part Richard Lester film adaptation of The Three Musketeers is extremely close to the novel despite combining, cutting, and killing off some characters.
    • However, they do what most adaptations do and turn a minor character into The Dragon in order to have a dramatic final sword fight since the real villain of the book is a woman who's more of a schemer and manipulator.
  • In Justified, Raylan Givens is well known for his Nice Hat. However, the character's creator, Elmore Leonard, was never quite satisfied with the look of the hat. In the final episode Raylan's hat is destroyed in a duel with the wannabe duelist Boone. For the rest of the episode, Raylan wears Boone's hat, which is far closer to the hat Leonard imagined for the character.
  • The 1995 made-for-television film Moses is the most faithful screen adaptation of the Book of Exodus to date, making some consider it superior to The Ten Commandments, The Prince of Egypt, and that other film. For instance, the parting of the Red Sea is not immediate but takes time as it did in the scriptures. However, instead of the Pharaoh of the Exodus being Horemheb, Thutmose I or Thutmose II as Rabbinical Judaism, Jerome or Ussher's date for Moses' birth lined up with Egyptian history would indicate but rather Merneptah, the thirteenth son and successor of Ramesses II.
  • The candidates for the most faithful adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the 1959 film The Doctors Horrible Experiment, 1971's I, Monster and the 1980's Burbank Films adaptation. Later Broadway revivals of Jekyll & Hyde hew closer to the show's original vision, which was darker and edgier than the 1997 version and closer to the book, having Jekyll revel in the freedom Hyde gave him and paraphrasing directly from the book as he contemplated his dual natures. Some play versions also keep the twist a surprise and have Utterson keep his investigatory role. However, it must be noted that no matter how faithful the adaptation is a lot of the story will be changed in some way or another and new characters may be inserted.
  • The most faithful adaptation of The Iliad is The Fury of Achilles, a little known Sword & Sandal film from 1962.
  • The 2017 Netflix TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events will be much closer to the book series than the 2004 film. The TV series will dedicate two episodes to each book, as opposed to three stories in one film.
  • The 1972 Italian animated adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio called Un Burattino Di Nome Pinocchio is by far the most faithful adaptation of Pinocchio, having dialogue taken from the book and respecting its topics and times. It shows the Busy Bee Island, for example, which is taken out of many adaptations.
  • Tarzan:
  • The 2002 film version of The Quiet American was much more faithful to the novel than the 1958 film, which was a product of the Cold War years and was criticised by author Graham Greene for being too propagandistic. The biggest change made in the 2002 film was the addition of an epilogue showing newspaper stories by Fowler about the events after the novel was first published.
  • Martin Scorsese's 2016 adaptation of Silence by Shusaku Endo was far more faithful to the text than the 1971 adaptation by Masahiro Shinoda which took massive liberties with the novel's final section and deleted many important elements from the book. Scorsese's adaptation includes virtually the entire novel, including the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • The graphic novel of The Book of the Named is this to the 1980s animated special. It keeps the character designs more intact and is significantly less toned down than the cartoon version.
  • It (2017) has the advantage of a bigger budget and an R rating, meaning that it'll be more closer to the book than the two part miniseries... Meaning that it'll be a whole lot more scary.
  • The Chuck Jones Jungle Book specials and Adventures Of Mowgli have proven to be the most faithful adaptations to date of Rudyard Kipling's famous tales. The former for the most part are the stories themselves with some minor changes, the latter covers Mowgli's life from childhood to adulthood and keeps the tone of the stories.
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is one of the most faithful adaptations of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, oddly enough. It's one of the rare versions that leaves the Horseman open to possibly just being a prank, and also keeps the Ambiguous Ending. It also leaves Ichabod as more of an Anti-Hero to Brom's Anti-Villain. The same movie includes an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows that's much looser, however.
  • The Lightning Thief musical is a much more faithful adaptation compared to the 2010 movie adaptation.

    Adapted from Manga 

    Adapted from Theatre 
  • The Children's Hour is a more accurate adaptation of the original play than the 1930s adaptation These Three. They were directed by the same individual, but the original film was heavily censored due to The Hays Code to the point where they had to rename it, as the original play was well-known for being about LGBT matters.

    Adapted from Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • The OVA special Pokémon Origins is a much closer, if abbreviated, adaptation of a Pokémon game than the TV anime, following the storyline of Pokémon Red and Blue very closely. In fact, even taking the pick-and-choose nature into account, it's even more faithful than the previous title holder, the Pokémon Zensho manga.note 
    • Pokémon Generations looks to do the same with later games in the series, of which the TV anime was infamous for sometimes outright ignoring the plots of. It even features game accurate character designs—Pikachu's oval-shaped head from the games is almost never seen outside of official game artwork.
  • Sonic X is much more faithful to the source material than previous Sonic shows, even with the Spotlight-Stealing Squad. Although whether this is a good thing or not depends on where and when each individual fan grew up. (Older fans who know the now-jettisoned American continuity are far less accepting of Sonic X.)
  • Word of God states that the Cosmic Retcon world of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog is pretty much this, as, despite aspects from the American cartoons being retained, the events of the video games have essentially been kept perfectly intact in the new continuity. The only exception so far is the current storyline, which expands upon the story of Sonic Unleashed.

    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.

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