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. 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.
  • 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.


Adapted from Comics
  • 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. To name two examples, Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy portray some characters less faithfully than older cartoons did.
  • Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Saga 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 Mans 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.
  • 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. The faithfulness of the movie and its sequel are subject to interpretation, since they are Adaptation Distillations that draw from multiple sources (such as the Ultimate Spider-Man series) rather than just the original comics. How faithful they are largely depends on which continuity you are talking about.
  • The 2014 television series Constantine is aiming to be a much more faithful adaptation of Hellblazer than the 2005 film version was.
  • The 2016 Deadpool movie is aiming to be much more faithful than the character's reviled appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For one, he's actually wearing his iconic costume from the comics, and 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.

Adapted from Literature
  • Bram Stokers 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 2002 TV Movie version of Carrie 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, Carrie destroys the entire town, not just the school, and kills her mother with a heart attack rather than stabbing. The only major difference is that she survives the ordeal.
  • 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 combing, 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.

Adapted from Manga
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was a far more faithful retelling of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. The 2003 anime adaptation in this case was quite popular in its own right, but at the same time, it left fans of the manga livid. That said, some fans found Brotherhood lacking as well.
  • Hellsing, in a rather similar vein, got a more faithful adaptation in the form of an OVA series, titled Hellsing Ultimate. The fact that creator Kouta Hirano hated the 2001 TV anime is probably a big reason for that.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! is an interesting case. The OVA releases have been faithful to the manga, but they're so deep into a story that none of its multiple previous adaptations properly covered, that they won't make much sense to anyone who hasn't read the manga.
  • Dragon Ball Kai serves as a remastered Adaptation Distillation of the first Dragon Ball Z anime, with most of the filler removed (not to mention greatly reducing the original show's infamous abuse of Talking Is a Free Action).
  • Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is the most faithful adaptation to the original manga in spirit, tone, and content – even more than "Green Jacket". The series having a wholly original storyline, and its first female director and head writer, may have contributed to that effort.
  • The TV anime of Part One of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is much more faithful to the manga than the unreleased film from 2007. The TV series' art style is much more in-line with Araki's original artwork and only a few plot-irrelevant scenes are cut. By contrast, the movie had a rather different art style and went so far as to remove characters. Part 3 is also this, in comparison to the OVA series from years before.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal is stated to be a more direct Animated Adaptation of the original manga than the 90's anime or live-action show, albeit with a Setting Update from 1992 to 2014. To this end, character designs have been Art Shifted closer to Naoko Takeuchi's Noodle People aesthetic, and the plotting and pacing follow the manga's structure closely, recreating some panels scene for scene. As with the manga's chapters, episodes are called "acts", and each episode takes its title from the chapter it adapts.
    • The Viz redub of the original anime is much more faithful to the original Japanese script. Among other things, Zoicite is a man again and he and Kunzite are stated as lovers.
  • Gunslinger Girl Teatrino is this to the manga. The art style resembles the manga more closely, it's more of an action/thriller like the manga, Henrietta smiles a lot more in comparison to her perpetually stoic looking original anime version, and it diverges less from the manga plot. Note it being Truer To The Text is seen as a bad thing by many fans as the changes are widely scorned.
  • The 2011 Hunterx Hunter anime is this to the 1999 version. It goes much deeper into the plot as well.

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 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.