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: the beginning might 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

    open/close all folders 

    Adapted from Comics 
  • The Marvel Super Heroes may be a case of cheating with a trope but when you get down to it with the Adaptation Dye-Job, Adaptational Attractiveness and Lawyer-Friendly Cameo aside this series of the mid 1960's is the comics brought to life. This means that this is a more faithful adaptation of what came before it, in the case of Captain America, and what came after it, in the case of everyone else barring Namor.
  • The apparent 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. This doesn't apply to the movies post-The Avengers, however. To name a few examples, Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron portray some characters less faithfully than older cartoons did.
  • In contrast to Batman, Batman Returns and Batman & Robin it is the third film in the Burton-Schumacher series, Batman Forever, that ends up being the most faithful film to the source material in that series. Campy elements are just as ingrained into the character as the dark vigilante, the movie shows him taking pains not to kill anyone, using his skills as a great detective, he is much more active in the Gotham socialite and and charity scene and the kind of one man army who drops in the middle of blackguards and takes them all down, all of which are completely absent or heavily subdued in Burton's films. It also helps that this film is free from the Executive Meddling that the next one followed.
  • Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy borrowed heavily from comics and better captured the Film Noir and Crime Drama themes that are common in the original comics. The film series started by Tim Burton captured a lot of the more gothic and campy elements of the comics, which were largely dispensed with in Nolan's series. They also took a lot more of things directly from the comics rather than piecing together an approximation of the Batman mythos, such as Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke and Batman: No Man's Land.
  • In terms of costuming, the Batsuit (and Batmobile) from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is much closer to the comics than the Batsuits from any of the prior major Batman movies. Those movies had a molded armor appearance, with thick rubber or PVC layered on top, and mostly evoke a Batman-esque appearance without actually being based on any previous design. The BvS suit looks more like a textured fabric that he can actually put on without the aid of a costuming department. And from a purely visual standpoint, it is taken right out of the look in The Dark Knight Returns. However, to the great ire of many fans, certain other parts of Batman's character were jettisoned.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man movies are more faithful than the original Sam Raimi movies in certain ways, such as Peter creating his web-shooters and having Peter meet Gwen before Mary Jane. However, they're less faithful in certain other respects, such as having Harry Osborn be the Green Goblin instead of his father, or Peter never catching Uncle Ben's killer. Both series are arguably Adaptation Distillations, just for different elements.
  • The 2014 television series Constantine is aiming to be a much more faithful adaptation of Hellblazer than the 2005 film version was. The movie had the title character more of an exorcist using traditional religious items and creature weaknesses to defeat them, while the man in the original comics was an outright master of dark magics.
  • The 2016 Deadpool movie is much more faithful to the eponymous character than his reviled appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For one, he's actually wearing his iconic costume from the comics; two, he doesn't have a sewn mouth, blades that pop out of his forearms, or any of the other changes that pissed off the fans the first time around; and three, he's been restored to his classic Fourth-Wall Observer self.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) was a closer approximation of the style and tone of the original comics than the cartoon show. Whereas the show was very playful and aimed more towards big sci-fi adventures, the comics and movie had a more gritty, urban vigilante take on the Turtles. In an interesting play on the trope, both were quite successful (the show was a Pragmatic Adaptation in every respect) and both ends of the spectrum are wildly accepted as part of the TMNT lore.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) had an interesting deal with this behind-the-scenes. The original script had the Shredder be the alter-ego of an American businessman named Eric Sachs, who adopted it from the stories of an ancient Japanese warlord. This is actually in line with the comics mythology as many different characters have taken on the name of the Shredder (replicated in the '03 series), but was not present in the '87 TV show or the 90's movie series. Fan backlash to the idea of a "Whitewashed Shredder" led reshoots to have a more traditional Japanese Shredder included in Sach's Evil Plan. The sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, incorporates more elements of both the original movie (Casey Jones) and the '87 TV show (Bebop and Rocksteady).
  • While the Blade anime takes some cues from the films, it's truer to the comics in many respect, including Blade being African-English (even if Harold Perrineau and several others are Not Even Bothering with the Accent) and Deacon Frost being physically middle-aged.
  • The 1990s films based on The Addams Family took on the much darker humor and more genuinely malicious and occasionally murderous characterisation of the protagonists from the original Charles Addams newspaper cartoons, compared to the significantly fluffier TV series (in which the family are essentially just Dark Is Not Evil bohemian proto-Goths in a stereotypical white-picket-fence American suburb). Some fans of the TV show found them quite unpleasant.

    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 and 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.
  • 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 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the 1959 film "The Doctors Horrible Experiment", 1971's "I Monster" and the 1986 Burbank Films Australia production.
  • The most faithful adaptation of The Iliad is The Fury Of Achilles, a little known Sword And Sandal film from 1962.
  • 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 dialos taken from the book, respecting its topics and times. It shows the Busy Bee Island, in example, which is taken out from many adaptations.
  • In contrast to what came before it, such as the Johnny Weissmuller films, and in some cases after it the Filmation series Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle is the most faithful screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs jungle hero featuring a number of the lost cities from the novels, rotoscoped animation based off of Burrough's favourite Tarzan artist Burne Hogarth, Tarzan portrayed as intelligent and well-spoken, his sidekick being N'Kima and much of the Mangani language of the novels is even used. No simple-minded caricature or annoying chimp sidekick here.

    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 

    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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